From ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis

The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words ‘one flesh’ would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact—just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined. The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

I guess I have to say it: a violin and bow in careless hands don’t always make beautiful music, but two bows trying to fiddle with one another just isn’t the real thing.  It may be confronting and sound unloving to put it that way, but a lot of practical morality comes down to having to face facts. There is always a cost in not being real about moral and personal issues, and there is hardly any place that cost is more painful than in marriage and family.

Christan marriage and marriage under Australian law are not and don’t have to be the same thing. But Christian expectations for marriage have helped make us what we are and we must not expect there to be no cost in moving away from that to accommodate those who insist that marriage be what it cannot be.



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