And now, Sex-Free “Friend Marriage”

And now, Sex-Free “Friend Marriage” May 10, 2021

There is sex without any thought of marriage.  Now there is marriage without any thought of sex.

Among the plethora of marriage variations available today, we now have people who are marrying their best friends, with sex not entering into the marriage at all.   Sometimes they are same-sex relationships and sometimes they involve a man and a woman.  But they are described as “asexual” (not sexual) and “aromantic” (not romantic) relationships.  In this kind of marriage, partners are free to pursue those elsewhere.

Another term for this practice is “platonic marriage,” following Plato who believed that love untainted by physical desires is the highest form of human love.

The New York Times has a story about this phenomenon by Danielle Braff entitled “From Best Friends to Platonic Spouses.”  The writer interviews a number of couples, some of whom take the last name of their spouse and even sleep in the same bed, though platonically.  Here is what some of them say:

“We wanted the world to know we are each other’s go-to person in the world, and to be able to handle legal matters with the other appropriately,” Ms. Guercio said. “We are a couple, a unit and partners for life.”

“Our daily life is that of best friends: We talk and laugh a lot, watch movies, but there is almost no physical element in it,” Ms. Reiter said. “Sometimes we hug or give massages to each other, and every night we have our good-night kiss, but we have separate bedrooms. We are the most important people in each other’s lives.”

“We’re committed to investing in one another so we can both be successful, and ultimately, we love each other so much,” said Ms. Brown, 30, a disabled Navy veteran. “In every way that you’d look at a husband or a marriage in terms of interpersonal connections and intimacy, it’s there.”

“Meeting people is hard, getting a bond and romantic feelings is hard, and more and more young people are starting to realize that there are other benefits to marriage other than romantic love: I mean, isn’t the point to marry your best friend?” Ms. Teah said. “So why can’t it be your literal best friend?”

Is there anything wrong with this, from a Christian point of view?  If the couples aren’t having sex, wouldn’t that make any same-sex marriage OK?

From a Biblical point of view, sex is what defines a marriage.  Jesus Himself says what marriage is:

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

Here is the basis of marriage in creation.  Here same-sex marriage is excluded, since marriage has to do with our having been made “male and female.”  Marriage creates a new family, as the couple separates from their childhood families to form a family of their own.  And here is the role of sex:  “the two shall become one flesh.”  In sexual union, the man and the woman become one organism.  In turn, this union can result in the formation of a child, who shares the DNA of both parents.  A child really is the parents’ “flesh and blood,” and the members of a family share each other’s “flesh.”

None of this is to disparage friendship.  We need to cultivate friends in these isolating times.  Friendship has taken a hit today because the tendency now is to sexualize all kinds of love, making some people who care greatly about a friend think that they must be gay.  But there are many kinds of love, as the Greeks well knew as reflected in their language.  (Eros, erotic love, but also  philos, non-erotic love between individuals–which would include friends–also storge, family affection, and agape, the giving, gracious kind of love that God demonstrates and that we can have for our neighbors.  See C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves.)

For another Christian commentary on these “friend marriages,” see Glenn T. Stanton’s How ‘Love Is Love’ Leads To Sexless ‘Marriages Between Friends’.



Image:  “Friends,” by Bansi Patel from Pixabay

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