(BBC News Magazine) Daniel Nasaw—Is it possible to have a happy open marriage?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several years after their wedding, Jenny Block realised that even though she loved her husband and wanted to be with him, she needed more.

Today, Ms Block, a writer, lives with Christopher in Dallas. Her girlfriend Jemma does not live with the couple - but spends a lot of time in the house.

"It's been me and my girlfriend and me and my husband, and the two of them are really good friends, but they're not sexually involved," says Ms Block, 41, author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Timothy Fountain wrote:

Of course it is.  It is possible to have a “happy” affair - or to be “happy” doing whatever I want on my terms.  The “seared conscience” that is not aware of God’s plan and purpose can be very happy - but emphatically not “infinitely happy.”

January 24, 11:20 am | [comment link]
2. Mark Baddeley wrote:

Agreed, Timothy Fountain. Talk about setting a bar that you can just walk over.

It is possible to win big at Vegas. And I can interview a number of people who think they have. I can even interview some who genuinely have. But I might get a different impression if I ask a larger group.

And that’s before you even ask whether ‘my happiness’ is a good moral principle to make the decisive factor to frame a story.

My frustration is the dynamic going on here where we have women (often like here, with a monetary interest in the fruits of sexual liberation - a sex educator and ‘feminist pornographer’) pushing a position that will likely favor men over women. In the population as a whole, how many husbands are likely to be faced with a wife saying, “I’ve been having an affair with my girlfriend and want us to make the relationship open at that point” and how many wives with a husband saying, “I’ve been having an affair with my girlfriend and want the marriage open”?

Even if you factor in the likelihood that wives interested in a male lover will be larger than those interested in a female lover, I think this is going to do to many women what the article makes Newt Gringich’s former wife look like - make it appear that they should collude in their husband’s long-term infidelity with a single partner (or, hey, with lots, but only while he’s away on business trips). Men, as a group, are more often interested in sex outside the relationship. Making open marriages fine will, in practice, simply be a way of rehabilitating polygamy, however much the media will focus on ‘girlpower’ for the framing narrative. 

“Forsaking all others”; it’s important on multiple levels.

January 24, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
3. montanan wrote:

Cause and effect is hard to prove in social trends.  However, the ‘sexual revolution’ and easy divorce have had a strong correlation with increasing the number of women and children living below the poverty line.

January 24, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
4. pastorchuckie wrote:

I can’t speak from personal experience or make a universal claim from a single anecdote, but… 

In my lifetime, I’ve only known one couple who admitted to having an open marriage.  (They also said they were Christians!)  When together, telling me about it, they boasted what a wonderful arrangement it was.  When I talked to the wife alone, she was actually pretty resentful.  The “open marraige” was all for the husband’s advantage. 

Then later, she decided she had a right to fool around on the same terms as her husband did.  Suddenly he didn’t think open marriage was such a good idea.  Or at least he couldn’t stand the fact that his wife was doing the same sort of thing as he had been doing.

So when I hear that some combination of 2 or more people are “happy” in an open marriage, I suspect that not all parties are equally happy.

Pax Christi!
Chuck Bradshaw
Hulls Cove, Maine

January 24, 2:55 pm | [comment link]
5. Formerly Marion R. wrote:

[Marianne, Gingrich’s second wife] told an interviewer that Mr Gingrich had asked “that I accept the fact that he has somebody else in his life” and also suggested that she share him with his mistress.

“I said to him, ‘Newt, we’ve been married a long time.’ And he said, ‘yes, but you want me all to yourself. Callista [Gingrich’s third wife] doesn’t care what I do,’” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Thursday. “He was asking to have an open marriage. And I refused.”

Were Mr. Gingrich’s expectations really out of line considering Marianne herself had apparently been ‘willing to share’ him with his first wife, Jackie, in the late 1970s?

I don’t think I’m going to be voting for this guy in our primary, but this stuff is driving me bonkers.

January 24, 4:59 pm | [comment link]
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