Before I explain my position on the incongruity of secular society partaking in the institution of marriage, allow me to briefly catch you up on the latest with Miley Cyrus. I’m assuming you—like me—aren’t following closely along, and she happens to be the catalyst for this string of thoughts on marriage and culture.
Miley Cyrus’ team confirmed over the weekend that she and her husband of less than one year, Liam Hemsworth, were ending their marriage. Images of Cyrus vacationing in Italy and making out with Kaitlynn Carter in public sent the rather obvious signal that perhaps there was some trouble on the homefront.
Cyrus then added to the confusion with an Instagram post waxing poetic about “not fighting evolution” and nature “always being on time” among other things.
Cyrus raised some eyebrows with comments just a few weeks earlier, when she explained, in so many words, her marriage is not really a marriage at all.
According to ET Online:
Cyrus’ trip comes a month after she opened up about her “modern” marriage to Hemsworth in a cover story for Elle magazine’s August issue. “I think it’s very confusing to people that I’m married,” said Cyrus. “But my relationship is unique. And I don’t know that I would ever publicly allow people in there because it’s so complex, and modern, and new that I don’t think we’re in a place where people would get it.”
A source told ET that Cyrus refers to her relationship with Hemsworth as a “modern relationship” because the two “both have freedom as individuals.”
“They are best friends and lovers who are both self-sufficient and independent. Miley is also referring to her relationship as ‘modern’ because she is very open about her sexuality,” the source said. “She’s chosen Liam as her lover, her lifetime partner and best friend, all while she admits she’s attracted to women.”
“Miley is trying to be as open as possible regarding her sexuality, but she also wants to keep her home life with Liam private,” added the source. “Liam accepts Miley for who she is, despite the fact he is a straight male and from a very traditional family.”
First, a side note: I find it very interesting that Miley’s characterization of a straight male from a traditional family reads like it’s some sort of stain on his character. Miley is trying to accept him, “despite” his apparent “traditional” shortcomings. If the new woke is being inclusive of everything, why is his particular situation frowned upon?
But I digress. Moving on to my point about secular society and marriage. Marriage was created by God. It is a reflection of God, and despite what popular culture teaches today: it is not about us.
From Desiring God:
Our earthly marriages exist to be glimpses, mirrors even, of the beautiful relationship between Jesus and his bride (Ephesians 5:31–32). In other words, how we act in marriage must mirror how Christ has acted towards us (John 15:13; Philippians 2:5–8). When we sacrifice for our spouses, our marriages produce sweet gospel aromas to the world, as well as sweet reminders to our own hearts. The aim for marriage is not for our spouse to satisfy our every longing. That’s Christ’s job. Knowing he has met all our needs and fulfills us completely, we can freely give ourselves away. John Piper explains this beautiful truth in This Momentary Marriage. He writes, “Marriage is meant by God to put that gospel reality on display in the world. That is why we are married. That is why all married people are married.”
Given that the main purpose of marriage is not primarily to quench every last personal thirst, and that marriage points to something higher than ourselves, we should be prompted to wonder why so many unbelievers bother with marriage in the first place?
Miley’s worldview appears to place a high priority on her own sexual desires, putting those ahead of everything else. Her primary measuring stick of happiness appears to rest on whether or not she’s appeasing every sexual desire she has — a position quite literally the exact opposite of what a marriage is designed to do. Marriage is, in a way, a death to self, a sacrifice. Miley, along with many others—sadly, including Christians—place the focus on self first.
Miley represents an extreme example of the conflicting nature between Godly, monogamous, heterosexual marriages and what secular society tries to pass off as the real thing — but the friction is real.
Unbelievers must strain to fit their anything goes, self-centered view of marriage into the narrow confines God intended; so much so, that it’s a mystery as to why secular society is drawn to such an institution. What is the point of remaining monogamous in a worldview that doesn’t require it?
If marriage is intended to glorify God and paint a picture of the Gospel, atheists, polygamists, LGBT, or anyone else not a ‘straight’ person from a ‘traditional’ family would be consistent to abstain from it altogether.
I know atheists will balk at my historical basis for marriage being founded on God, and are fond of employing the claim that marriage predates religion. However, you will be hard-pressed to find anything definitive in relation to that: Rampant speculation? Yes. Wild theories? Yes. Hard evidence? No. This is because, as they say, marriage predates recorded history. However, scriptures explain very clearly the stated purpose of marriage and the command for us to engage in it, and why it is important.
Because some animals (allegedly) engage in monogamous behavior, as some of the atheist writings will point to, is not a very compelling reason for everyone everywhere—in early human existence up until now—to engage in marriage. In fact, if we are all just species evolving and have no greater purpose other than to gratify our own sexual desires, marriage would be the absolute worst thing you could do. Monogamy flies in the face of our fleshly desires. Miley Cyrus has realized that her sexual desires and marriage are incompatible, and she’s chosen to feed her desires.
So, secular society, the challenge stands: If you don’t believe in what marriage was designed for, just stop engaging in it. Create a new institution, a new bar for relationships, if you don’t like or adhere to the one God ordained for His glory. Then, at least, you’d be consistent in your worldview, and not putting yourself at odds with the millions who do cherish and hold marriage as a sacred covenant from God.