The problem with "Couple to Throuple"

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“Couple to Throuple” normalizes polyamory: Responding with secular evidence for biblical morality

February 20, 2024 -

Three wooden figurines are tied together with red string around a woven heart, illustrating a throuple. By Andrii Zastrozhnov/

Three wooden figurines are tied together with red string around a woven heart, illustrating a throuple. By Andrii Zastrozhnov/

Three wooden figurines are tied together with red string around a woven heart, illustrating a throuple. By Andrii Zastrozhnov/

Have you heard about the latest relationship “reality” show?

Couple to Throuple is airing on Peacock. It tells the story of four couples who are curious about polyamory (“many loves”) and head to a resort where they begin dating a group of singles. This is just one way many in our secular culture are working overtime to promote “consensual non-monogamy” through books, cover stories, and other articles extolling its virtues.

As I have noted before, the ongoing sexual revolution follows a four-step strategy:

  1. Normalize aberrant behavior.
  2. Legalize.
  3. Stigmatize those who disagree.
  4. Criminalize such disagreement.

It is obviously best to respond as early as possible. To this end, what can those of us who believe in biblical morality say to persuade those who endorse and normalize polyamory?

Is polyamory “relationship suicide”?

I doubt that you need me to remind you that the Bible forbids sexual relationships outside the lifelong covenant of one man and one woman in marriage (cf. Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5; Galatians 5:19).

But what about those who don’t care what the Bible says?

As a cultural apologist, I am called to declare and defend biblical responses to the critical issues we face today. This work often begins with the apagogic task of demonstrating the flaws in the worldview to which I am responding.

To this end, let’s note what is objectively wrong with polyamory, with links to articles by secular counselors and other professionals:

  • Polyamory prevents “the depth of intimacy human beings really want and need” that can be accomplished only through “deep commitment” to a single individual.
  • It raises enormous issues for children: “If one parental figure were to leave, and there wasn’t the institution of marriage stopping them, it can be extremely devastating for the child.”
  • Some argue that polyamorous families offer more love for the children, but in one counselor’s experience, they actually feel themselves to be less of a priority and learn that “significant people are replaceable.”
  • Many who engage in polyamorous relationships do so to avoid intimacy, hedge against real vulnerability, and sidestep adult responsibility.
  • According to one counselor, polyamory is “simply one more technique of conflict avoidance and problem escapism to the external.” She warns that “polyamory is a detrimental non-solution for marriages, it is relationship suicide and a problem just waiting to negatively impact the emotional welfare of children.”
  • A writer who tried polyamory said it did not work for her because of jealousy issues, power plays within the triad, and a deep sense of loneliness over not being someone’s primary love.

The best predictor for happiness

Now let’s pivot to the positive: Are there secular arguments in favor of the biblical version of marriage?

I just finished a fascinating and deeply researched book on the subject by University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox. In Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization, he demonstrates conclusively that nothing predicts happiness better than a strong marriage between one man and one woman.

Here are some key facts:

  • Those who are married are nearly twice as likely to say they are “very happy” as those who are unmarried.
  • Both men and women who get and stay married accumulate much greater wealth than people who don’t marry or remarry.
  • Married men and women with families report more meaningful lives compared with their single and childless peers.
  • Married adults report much lower levels of loneliness than single parents and those who are single and childless.
  • Children from intact families (where their biological mother and father are still married) are far more likely to graduate from college and have far fewer problems at school. They are also far less likely to go to prison and far less likely to be the victims of abuse.
  • Parents are much less lonely and much more likely to say their lives are meaningful and happy than non-parents.
  • Those who believe marriage is for life are far more likely to be “very happy” in their marriage.
  • Married couples who regularly attend religious services together are more likely to say they are “very happy” with their marriage, “very happy” with their sexual relationship, and “very satisfied” with life than couples who do not.

Unsurprisingly, God’s word turns out to be right yet again. So, be encouraged: when you declare and defend biblical morality, you are offering others the truth they desperately need. When you live by that morality personally, you are showing them the reality and relevance of your faith.

To do both, ask the Holy Spirit to make you holy and to use you to help others be holy. A. W. Tozer was right:

“When we have the Holy Spirit we have all that is needed to be all that God desires us to be.”

If you’re a Christian, you “have the Holy Spirit” right now (1 Corinthians 3:16).

How fully does he have you?

Note: In addition to The Daily Article, Denison Ministries produces First15, a daily devotional experience with God; Foundations with Janet, a Bible study resource for individuals and small groups; and Christian Parenting, resources to help parents raise children to know and love the Lord. These ministries are intended to work collectively to build a movement of culture-changing Christians as a catalyst for spiritual awakening and more transformation. I encourage you to try them today.

Tuesday news to know

Quote for the day

“There is not one instance in all of God’s word where God advocates or celebrates sex outside of a marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Not one.” —David Platt

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