Monogamy and Marriage: The Battle Between Biology and the Buck Essay

Monogamy and Marriage: The Battle Between Biology and the Buck Essay

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Monogamy and Marriage: The Battle Between Biology and the Buck

Monogamy does not imply fidelity (Fisher 63), and marriage does not imply monogamy. To understand this surprising statement, the word "monogamy" must be interpreted in a biological sense, and marriage in a legal sense. In other words, monogamy is just two people in a relationship for their mutual benefit, perhaps involving an extended family and children. Monogamy does not necessarily mean a life-long relationship, but it can, nor does it exclude occasional philandering. It is monogamy as long as two people maintain a pair-bond for their mutual benefit, no matter how short the relationship lasts. Marriage, on the other hand, legally recognizes many different mating systems from monogamy to polygamy.

The association between monogamy, fidelity, and marriage has been the concern of religion over the years. It is said that Saint Augustine, who lived from A.D. 354 to 430, spread the Christian idea that adultery is a moral transgression for both men and women. Even the Ten Commandments forbid adultery. This attitude toward adultery, Fisher says, has long influenced the Western view of monogamy (84). In other words, religion has tried to moralize monogamy by injecting the belief that adultery is sinful and monogamy is permanent. Therefore, monogamy in a biological sense, contrary to the religious sense, does not necessarily connote sexual faithfulness of the partners, nor is it necessarily long term.

Actually monogamy had developed long before religion became interested. According to Fisher’s estimate, nearly every human society has been monogamous to some degree (69), and she claims that human beings have a biologically natural preference for mo...


... middle of paper ...


...cause the word “love” will never disappear from the dictionary.

Works Cited

Cable-McCarthy, Benjamin. "All We Ask for Are the Same Rights and Responsibilities Granted Heterosexual Couples." {National Press Club} 13 Apr. 1998.

Fisher, Helen E. {Anatomy of Love}. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1992.

Horn, Wade. "Marriage and Government." {The World & I} 1 Nov. 1997.

Longley, Clifford. "Sacred and Profane: What Exactly Do We Mean by a Family?" {The Daily Telegraph} 30 Jan. 1998.

Lowry, Suzanne. "The Reinvention of Marriage." {Independence} 6 Oct. 1998.

Quale, G. Robina. {A History of Marriage Systems}. Westport: Greenwood Press, Inc, 1988.

Shaffern, Robert W. "Christianity and the Rise of the Nuclear Family." {America} 7 May 1994.

Williams, Armstrong. "Fading Ring of Wedding Bells." {The Washington Times} 18 July 1999.

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