The Real Threat to ‘Biblical Marriage’


Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church…Wives submit to your husbands out of reverence for the Lord…A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…Let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)

A while back, Patti and I attended a seminar on sexuality in which the speaker stated the following: “Homosexuality is not what threatens biblical marriage. Loveless and unfaithful marriages threaten biblical marriage.”

I think this is a very thoughtful comment…one that thoughtful Christians ought to consider.

Both Genesis and Jesus say regarding marriage that “God made them male and female.” Some believe that broad acceptance of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage are the biggest threat to the sanctity of this statement.

Does God feel that the institution of marriage that he created is threatened? If so, what would God say is threatening said institution the most? Is it homosexuality? Perhaps for marriages in which one or both party’s same sex attraction is luring one or both from the marriage. But how about other marriages?

Along with the speaker, I don’t think that homosexuality is the biggest threat to “biblical marriage.”

While the impact of culture’s shifting viewpoint on same sex relationships does have an impact, I think the much bigger issue is one that has been around since long before the gay debate made it into the mainstream. I believe the biggest issue negatively impacting “biblical marriage” today is distorted heterosexuality.

The more I think about this public conversation, the more I believe that homosexuality, though important as a subject, is also a subject that diverts from even bigger threats to marriage such as pornography, objectification of women, hookup culture, deifying the Victoria’s Secret and GQ body, spousal attention deficit, workaholism, children-olatry, cohabitation without covenant, the ease and no-big-dealness of divorce, and loveless, unfaithful marriages. In terms of volume and frequency, these problems inside and outside the church wreak havoc on marriage as God intended it to be…more than homosexuality by a landslide.

Oh, and if homosexuality is going to get so much of our attention and consume so much of our energy, what about greed? And gossip? And lies?

We would do well to revisit 1 Corinthians 6:9-10…all of it.

Then we would do well to ask ourselves if the bigger problem is closer to home…in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our own homes. We should at least consider that maybe the problem is as much “in here” as it is “out there…” and maybe even more so.

Then we should run to Jesus where mercy awaits all who come in the spirit of Herman Melville:

Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.

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