In the previous chapter Lewis talked about the negative side of human sexuality and what is wrong with our sexual appetite. In this chapter Lewis looks at the positive expression of human sexuality, which is a fully committed marriage relationship between a man and a woman. This relationship, in which one man is joined to one woman on all levels, not just the sexual level but totally combined, is the proper expression of human sexuality. It is not the sexual act itself which is sinful when one engages in sex outside of marriage, rather it is the fact that it takes one kind of union (sexual) and attempts to wrench it completely apart from all the other kinds of union which are supposed to be a part of any marriage relationship.
Lewis notes the role of chastity in Christian marriage, and then noting that it is also about justice. Keeping one’s promises is a huge part of justice, and it is an integral part of any Christian marriage because the marriage is built upon the promise by both spouses to be faithful to each other until death. Here Lewis expresses the rather controversial view that if people do not believe in marriage we should just allow them to live together unmarried:
If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep. It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
Lewis goes on to draw the distinction between love and “being in love”. So much of our culture is saturated with propaganda from TV, movies, and music which sends the message that this state of “being in love” is the ideal state for any relationship or marriage, and that if you don’t have it in your marriage then you should get out and find another relationship where you do have this feeling. Continue reading “Mere Christianity 13: Christian Marriage”