Why Monogamy is Unnatural and How That Fact Can Strengthen Your Marriage

Let me tell you a little secret about monogamy that you may find it surprising: Monogamy is not natural to human beings. Yep. We struggle with it, and it’s because of our biology. Don’t be discouraged though. This is actually a good thing in the grand scheme of things for a lasting marriage. Here’s why…

Because monogamy is actually unnatural, it is not easy to maintain. Just wait…I’ll get to the good news in a bit after I give you the facts.

Okay, we all know that monogamy takes a lot of work and commitment. Of course it does. We are constantly straying with our eyes and with our emotions. Others look attractive to us, and our spouses have the same challenges. Marriage does not make that fact go away. Marriage never guarantees fidelity. We are always capable of being attracted to others outside of our marriage.

Don’t think for a minute, “We are meant to be. I will never look at anybody else in the same way that I look at my spouse.” This just isn’t true. You will be attracted to someone outside of your marriage and so will your spouse. It’s not a question of “if” but “when.” The key to having a successful monogamous long-term relationship with your spouse is to protect your marriage in a way that these attractions do not turn into threats or infidelities.

In their book, The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, Barash and Lipton confirm that monogamy does not come naturally for human beings. In fact, they state that biologists have discovered that members of many species cheat. Yes indeed, cheating is the rule rather than the exception among all sexes! And humans are part of this equation.

That humans are naturally inclined to cheat may seem depressing to you, but like I said…there’s good news ahead. The truth about monogamy is actually very liberating. Knowing that monogamy is a difficult thing is essential to the survival of your marriage. Accepting the myth of monogamy is actually dangerous because you are thrown into thinking that your marriages should just work because love alone will conquer all. It doesn’t. Relationships take work, and there is competition. If you don’t meet each other’s needs and work together, someone else might be in the running.

So why do we choose to be monogamous if it’s unnatural for us? Well, the fact is that monogamy works very well for most people, and one of our unique traits about being human is our ability to overcome our biology in order to make our own choices based on what we think is best. Isn’t that something? Just because we are naturally inclined to not be monogamous does not mean that it isn’t what we think is best for most us.

Men get the most grief about cheating, but I have to tell you…men are wrongly scapegoated in the grand scheme of things. Despite all the flack men get about straying, they really prefer monogamy in the end. Check out Steven Lake’s article on why he chooses monogamy. It’s also a fact that more men than women reach out to me for marriage help. It’s really a testament to men that they want their monogamous marriages to work. They want to stay where they are with the partner they chose in the first place. In her blog, “Sex Lust and Love,” Heidi Doheny interviewed men about successful marriages and found that men believed that “the grass is always greenest where you water it.”

So there you have it. Knowing that monogamy is not natural is just an avenue to strengthen your marriage because you really realize that you have to work on your marriage. You have to put in the effort in order to overcome your biology. If you know this from the beginning, you are prepared for the work that is ahead instead of assuming that your marriage will just naturally be monogamous.

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