The Five Defining Features of Marriage

Barb Wire

For all of the pontificating and foot-stomping by the homosexual activists who are always spouting off their redefined buzzwords such as “equality,” “rights,” and “freedom,” one thing that seems to have been noticeably misplaced by the radical perversity-pushing crowd is an actual definition of marriage. Lost somewhere in the hateful haze of mindless vitriol and nasty epithets, the marriage-destroyers have conveniently neglected to make even a feeble attempt at identifying what’s being legally, socially and morally tussled over. That’s because they incorrectly assume marriage to be an institution that can be imprudently tinkered with by “enlightened” social engineers or just about anyone who wants to cast aside the “constraining” standards of society. Nevertheless, here’s a look at the five defining features of true marriage. 


Sexual Compatibility – Opposite-sex marriage is anatomically complementary and alone has the potential for natural procreation.

As for the infertile or elderly couple, when they engage in sexual intimacy, they are still acting in accordance with sexual compatibility because they are utilizing the sexual organs as biologically designed. They are also benefiting from gender complementarity (see below), experiencing the balance and advantage of both the masculine and the feminine.Basically, the sexual relationship of any infertile couple remains FUNCTIONALLY EQUIVALENT, even though the reproductive organs are not FUNCTIONING EQUIVALENTLY.Or to put it another way, they are procreative in TYPE, but not EFFECT. 

Furthermore, although there will always be rare exceptions, procreational ability remains the general rule for most married couples at least during some period of their relationship.

However, it will always be impossible for same-sex couples unless unethically aided by medical intervention. And marriage law, like any laws for that matter, must be based upon such general rules. For example, as a general rule, running red lights is usually a dangerous activity for ourselves and/or others.  However, since there are rare exceptions of people running red lights without anyone being harmed, does that mean we should eliminate all such traffic laws? Of course, not! Likewise, marriage law must be based upon what has been empirically proven to be generally best, not rare exceptions.           

We are also not saying that ALL heterosexual marriages must have children to be validated, but what we are saying is that ONLY heterosexual marriages have the potential to naturally produce children. Moreover, there is a big difference between intentionally choosing a relationship that cannot biologically produce children, and one that unintentionally experiences infertility. As an additional negative, gay couples also deliberately deny children the right to have a mother and a father, which is the clear ideal for raising and providing a child with the best nurturing environment and a proper, psychologically beneficial social context (discussed further below).   

To put it succinctly:  Defining marriage as one man-one woman is not bigotry; it’s biology. 

Gender Complementarity – The advantages of the masculine and feminine counterparts to marriage are undeniable.

True marriage clearly benefits from the emotional, psychological, and relational differences that naturally exist between the genders. These inherent differences stretch heterosexual couples to practice compromise, mutual sacrifice, and selflessness. In fact, marriage is the best cure for self-centeredness, resulting in greater personal growth, moderation of the gender extremes, emotional balance, compensating for personal blind spots, and the domestication of the powerful male sex drive. Although individuals involved in homosexual relationships do experience a measure of personal differences and relational adjustments, it is to a much lesser extent because homosexuality is based upon the love of sameness or self (narcissism). Same sex couples are admitting to as much when they often futilely attempt to fill this obvious void by mimicking the hetero-normative relationship roles, in which one participant usually plays the part of the opposite sex.    

Again, it is also very important to note that in heterosexual marriages, it is the children who also greatly benefit from experiencing the full spectrum of the masculine and the feminine. Every child has a right to a father and a mother, not an intentionally designed household that excludes one or the other. The heterosexual bond forms the best and broadest social environment for the security, nurture, and welfare of children. Research clearly demonstrates that children do best when raised by both of their biological parents. So, the sky-rocketing divorce rate is undeniably very harmful to children, but unlike same sex relationships, heterosexual couples who are divorced did not originally get marriage with the express intention of ending their relationship and thus depriving their children of the ideal setting for child-rearing.The same is not the case for homosexual couples, which by design are purposely structured to eliminate that which is most advantageous for children.

Very reliable studies conducted by Mark Regnerus, Douglas Allen, Theodora Sirota, Lauren Marks, D.W. Harris, and Paul and Kirk Cameron (not the actor) have all been conveniently ignored or attacked by the homosexual activists because these studies strongly illustrate the inherent inadequacies and, in some instances, the harm that is suffered by children who are raised in same sex households. For obvious reasons, none of these studies has been warmly received by the homosexual community. To the contrary, these studies have been the constant target of homosexual slander and vitriol. For example, following a homosexual smear campaign intended to discredit his study, Mark Regnerus has been completely vindicated following an independent and internally-initiated University of Texas (Austin) academic inquiry…much to the consternation of the radical homosexual activists. Moreover, in a Wall Street Journal article, entitled A Social Experiment Without Science Behind It, George Mason University law professor Nelson Lund, speaking about the superiority of the Regnerus study, accurately noted, “It has been vociferously attacked on methodological grounds by the same organizations that tout the value of politically congenial research that suffers from more severe methodological shortcomings. This is what one expects from activists, not scientists.”

After reviewing the evidence on both sides of the debate, California State University (Northridge) Professor Robert Oscar Lopez, who was himself raised by two lesbians, also stated emphatically, “Same-sex parenting isn’t merely controversial or untested; we know that children have poorer life outcomes when they are raised outside a married biological-parent households.”

Simply put, there is no positive spin that anyone can put on the severely methodologically flawed studies purporting to prove the qualitative equivalence of same sex parenting. When marriage becomes all about adult desires, it will inevitably lead to parenting deficiencies. And our children are way too precious to be the unwitting victims of another ill-advised liberal social experiment gone awry.

Exclusive Intimacy – Monogamy between opposite sex couples is a required, and indispensable, component of true marriage.

Every study ever conducted on homosexual relationships (even in countries where it is completely legal) has demonstrably shown that on average they display less faithfulness. And it is beginning to have a very negative effect on straight couples as well. New York magazine reports, “Many straight couples struggling with (monogamy) issues look to gay male friends, for whom a more fluid notion of commitment is practically the norm.” The article goes on to describe a heterosexual husband’s desire to make his marriage more “open” after hearing a gay friend boasting about his sexual pursuits outside of his so-called committed relationship. 

The Christian Research Journal reports, “In the Netherlands, for example, where same-sex ‘marriage’ was first legalized, one study found that gay men in same-sex ‘marriages’ had an average of eight sexual partners per year outside their ‘marriage’ or ‘partnered relationship’, usually with the full knowledge of their spouse.”

It was also “gay” activist Dan Savage who notoriously coined the term “monogamish” to describe his and the relationship of many homosexual couples. Likewise, Ryan Anderson has reported that the SSM movement has also paved the way for additional terms such as “throuple” and “wedlease.”  Even if same sex ‘marriage’ should become legal everywhere in America, homosexual journalist Andrew Sullivan argues for “the need for extra-marital outlets.”

Psychologist Dr. Alan P Bell and Sociologist Dr. Martin S. Weinberg reported widespread evidence sexual compulsion among homosexual men:

“83% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime, 43% estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners, and 28% with 1,000 or more partners.” 

Likewise, Dr. Katherine Fethers, Caron Marks, Adrian Mindel, and Claudia Estcourt found that “lesbians have twice the number of male partners than heterosexual women, and they are also 4.5 times more likely to have 50 or more sexual partners in their lifetime.”

It really goes without saying, but homosexual relationships are a far cry from exclusivity. Rather, what they tend to display is a proclivity to promiscuity. 

Permanent Unity – Marriage creates an indissoluble physical, emotional, and spiritual bond between a husband and a wife.

Marriage is the covenantal union of body, mind and soul for life, resulting in distinctive norms that strengthen the family structure. 

Once again, on average, every study ever conducted about homosexual relationships has shown that they display less permanence and stability than their heterosexual counterparts. On numerous occasions, in my debates with homosexuals, this assertion has been adamantly denied. Therefore, I have repeatedly issued a challenge to them to provide a single scientific study which supports their claim. So far, there have been no takers. Many have stated that I’m wrong about this fact, but to date, no one has stepped forward with any credible evidence to back up their contentions. The only responses I have received as of late are “cricket chirps.” But I’m still waiting; something tells me I’ll probably be waiting for a very long time. In the meantime, I’ll take that as a tacit admission of defeat.

Charles C. W. Cooke, writing in a National Review on-line article, states that, “In Norway, male same-sex marriages are 50 percent more likely to end in divorce than heterosexual marriages, and female same-sex marriages are an astonishing 167 percent more likely to be dissolved. In Sweden, the divorce risk for male-male partnerships is 50 percent higher than for heterosexual marriages, and the divorce risk for female partnerships is nearly double that for men.”

However, to support the homosexual narrative, the mainstream media will traipse out every fairy tale “gay” family they can find. They will typically broadcast segments about homosexual homes in which everyone is wonderfully happy and all of the children are well-adjusted. Even if these isolated media reports are basically accurate in their details, they are not a truly representative sample of what’s actually happening with most homosexual relationships. One thing is for sure, today’s correspondents will certainly avoid the flamboyant, raunchy displays at “Gay Pride” parades like the plague. All of this points to the journalistic malfeasance that is being perpetrated against the general public with regards to this issue. As a matter of fact, if the reporters presented any real probative questions or follow-up stories instead of the superficial coverage we’ve become accustomed to, the myths of same sex “marriage” and the “fulfilling” homosexual lifestyle would rapidly vanish.

Although ever so slightly off-topic, but still very relevant for illustrating my point, 60 Minutes first featured a pair of 9-year-old twin boys, Jared and Adam, during a broadcast originally aired on March 12, 2006. The segment introduced the boys in the following way, “Jared’s room is decked out with camouflage, airplanes, and military toys, while Adam’s room sports a pastel canopy, stuffed animals, and white horses.” Adam also expressed a desire to transition into a “girl,” and his mother Danielle considered using puberty-delaying drugs until he was old enough to consent to a gender-reassignment surgery. However, even before Adam turned 12, reports began surface via the boy’s mother that he no longer wanted to become a “she.” However, where was 60 Minutes then? The reporting of this update fell to the more obscure media outlets. The blatant media blackout of this follow-up story demonstrates their extreme bias when it comes to projecting any semblance of fair reporting on homosexuality-related stories. This story also demonstrates the very real dangers of redefining gender, family and marriage based upon fleeting whims and selfish desires.

Ultimately, it’s not just what the media decides to tells you; it’s also what they conveniently choose not to tell us that speaks volumes. But this is symptomatic of a leftist media that simply cannot be trusted. 

Yes, as stated earlier, divorce is an alarming and tragic reality in the U.S. and around the world for heterosexual couples, but it hardly makes any sense to utilize this sad fact as a defense for supporting same sex “marriage.” Pointing to bad behavior to justify other bad behavior is purely poor logic. Two wrongs still do not make a right…at least so long as we are able keep the bad math/logic of the Common Core “education” program at bay. Moreover, traditional marriage supporters have been very quick to identify the damage that “no-fault” divorce has wreaked upon the family, and the last thing we need now is another, ever more destructive assault on marriage.    

Divine Sacredness – Marriage was divinely designed by God and is not a social experiment to be haphazardly redefined.

True male-female marriage finds its origin, spiritual cohesion, sanction, and blessings in the presence of God who is mystically interwoven into the very fabric of holy matrimony. God is the third unseen, and most important, strand in the braid of Biblical marriage. Moreover, as the masculine and the feminine halves of humanity come together in marriage, the united couple presents an authentic representation of the complete image of God. The Apostle Paul also described marriage as a mystical union whereby a man and his wife become “one flesh,” forming an indissoluble spiritual bond (Eph. 5:31-32). Most importantly, same-sex marriage also clearly violates Jesus’ definition as found in Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9. 

Male-female marriage and sexual union are once again exclusively emphasized in 1 Corinthians 7:2-3.  However, there is nowhere in the Bible that describes so-called same sex ‘marriage,’ nor are any biblical guidelines ever given for such relationships.  Yet, we do, in fact, find numerous such guidelines for opposite sex marriages [i.e.:  “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25)]. That’s what we call “conspicuous by its absence.” In other words, the silence of Scripture regarding guidelines for same-sex unions speaks for itself. SSM is completely unbiblical and a definite perversion of the created order of humanity. Unions that blatantly disregard the obvious biological facts of gender are something that God never conceived of as being permissible. Therefore, they will never experience the sacramental blessing of God’s spiritual presence. That’s also why homosexuality, in general, is never presented in a positive light anywhere in the Bible.  It is considered complete and utter rebellion against “nature’s God.” 

Based on these five defining features of real marriage, same-sex counterfeit “marriage” fails on all counts. Moreover, like any counterfeit, as homosexual unions become more prevalent in society, they will inevitably devalue authentic marriage, at least in the minds of many. For “if” marriage can mean anything, then it actually means nothing. This also helps explain why Columnist Stanley Kurtz noted that “in Sweden and Norway, the granting of ‘marriage’ rights to same-sex couples has resulted in a general cultural trend away from marriage and toward ‘more frequent out-of-wedlock birth and skyrocketing family dissolution.’” For this reason, Christians must categorically deny that marriage can mean anything because it forever means everything to us.

Those who attack these five incontrovertible facts are engaged in an all-out subversive and perversive effort to deconstruct and destroy God’s obvious biological, social, and spiritual truths regarding human nature and marriage. 

Governments are charged with the responsibility to recognize and protect true marriage, not to redefine it. And Christians have a critical responsibility to reinforce true marriage by demonstrating it to its fullest, not to naively succumb to those who foolishly seek its ruination. 

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jeff Allen is both a senior editor and columnist for BarbWire. He also serves as senior pastor in a mainline Christian church in Indiana. He is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Jeff is involved in several community ministries.

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