PO Box 55045, Phoenix Az 85078-5045
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
COPYRIGHTED 1997 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - MAY BE REPRINTED OR QUOTED
FROM ONLY IF CREDIT IS GIVEN LIBERATED CHRISTIANS, MAILING ADDRESS IS SHOWN AND
WE ARE SENT A COPY OF PUBLICATION.
Responsible Non-Monogamy in Christian Marriage
Affirmed By Theologians.
Embodiment: An Approach To Sexuality and Christian Theology, by James B. Nelson,
Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary
"Fidelity is a commitment of emotional and physical intimacy with the partner;
it means caring for the growth and fulfillment of each as a person; it is commitment
to growth of the marital relationship itself; it requires honesty, openness, and
trust; it involves willingness to explore ways of opening self to the partner at
the deepest level; it includes openness to secondary relationships of emotional
and potential sexual expression but with commitment to the primacy of the marriage.
Personal growth for either wife or husband may well require other intimate friendships
with consent and seeking the best for each other. Secondary relationships can serve
not only personal growth but also and at the same time serve the marriage itself.
Raymond J. Lawrence, Episcopal chaplain and marriage counselor, observes that transmarital
sexual relationships would only be considered "unfaithful" if done for
inappropriate motives such as revenge or to hurt the other. But, "the refusal
to open oneself to secondary sexual relationships can also be based upon inappropriate
reasons. An emotionally immature, religiously self-proving desire for purity and
innocence might be one. Another might be the resistance to sufficient autonomy
and the persistence in a clinging dependency upon the spouse - which is different
from mature interdependency. The high degree of intimacy possible in a good marriage
seems to depend in no small measure upon the relative absence of possessiveness
and clinging dependency.
Rosemary Ruether presses this further. Historically, she notes, monogamy has been
closely linked with the private property relationship of man over woman in patriarchal
society. Ruether wonders if we have not lifted up the wrong priority by apparently
prizing sexual exclusivity over enduring, intimate companionship and personal fidelity.
We might have more of the latter if we were not so insistent as a church on sexual
In another of his books, Body Theology, James Nelson proposes we reclaim sexuality
and become sex-affirming, understanding sexuality as a moral good rooted in the
sacred value of our sensuality and erotic power without needing justifications that
applied to a much different biblical culture.
Return To Section Contents Page
Back To Home Page
Copyright © 1997, Liberated Christians, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.