Monday, January 13, 2014

Going to the Chapel ... You're going to WHAT??

Why does society not accept intimate relationships between step brothers and sisters?
Thank you for sending this question. Truthfully, there is no Biblical guidance or persuasion concerning the ethics or morals involved with marriage relationships between step siblings. So there is no Biblical ground to stand on in telling anyone they are wrong and in sin. Any guidance here is completely subordinate to that.

There are no laws against step siblings getting married.  If the step siblings have any blood relation however (like if a man were to marry his sister-in-law and they both had children - cousins - those children would share blood).  The law prohibits people of the same blood marrying up to and including the 3rd cousin line.

So I think that a lot of how people react depends on the type of relationship the two have.

For instance:

If the two were raised together as brother and sister from infancy, it might be awkward for the family and friends since part of the marriage relationship involves an intimacy that appears incestual ... though it's not ... but for aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and ultimately parents, it would be a hard adjustment.

If the two met as teenagers or even as adults, the awkwardness would be much less likely.

From the church's perspective, I think we jump to quickly at judging taboos as sin ... and this would certainly qualify.  We, in our weakness, often are too hasty to look for something to connect as sinful when we are confronted with something that makes us uncomfortable.  Mature Christians do not quickly assign something alien to them as sinful and wrong.  Unfortunately, many in the church are not mature. 

I could see how it would be awkward if my two step children got married (though I don't have any) ... but I also see how that could be understandable.  Part of growing into an independent person is properly classifying relationships and handling them appropriately.  A step child who is entering into adolescence usually makes a choice to refer to his step parent by whatever the role is being defined as.  If the step parent is nurturing, they will often choose to refer to them as a parent ... if the step parent is distant (either positively or negatively) the child will refer to that parent by a name.  That doesn't mean it's bad, it only is indicative of the type of relationship the two have.  Not all step parents try to raise their step children as their own ... which can be a very healthy thing.  (One is not better than the other if both are concerned about the well being of the child!)

The same is for the step siblings themselves.  We like to think that step siblings are raised as blood (thanks to several TV classics) but that is not always true.  So if the step siblings are raised seeing each other as friends, it could be easy to see how that relationship could develop into something alien to the healthy intimacy blood sibling develop as they mature.  When a concerned brother steps in to defend his sister or a sister is sympathetic to an ailing brother, it tightens their blood bond.  But if the step sibling who are not raised as blood experience these events, it can stimulate different responses ... those that are more familiar to what leads to sexual intimacy.  I read a statistic about the number of marriages that result from two people experiencing a traumatic event ... it is quite normal.

I think it comes down to this.  Do the two love each other?  If they do, and if they are not blood, then facing that kind of awkwardness head on and together would be best.  Realize, most couples have to deal with this in some way ... often times the couple is not accepted by all in their families and friendship circles.  Dealing with skepticism is normal ... and should be expected.  How it is dealt with speaks multitudes about the strength of the individuals in the relationship and the relationship itself.  

My advice? Stay calm ... and let people grow to the idea of being a couple.  Address awkward responses directly.  Let people feel they can ask the questions they will ultimately ask behind your back ... only this way you can be the ones who answer them ... and not some other "expert" on your family.

When my wife and I announced our intention to marry, many were skeptical.  Many were outspoken about being against it.  Time and availability took care of most of it.  When people got around us and spent time with us .. they knew.  Plus, no one was going to stop us!

That's my take anyways! Great question!!!  

Don't be confused.  LEARN STUFF!!!
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  1. I think u answered that one well! I have a friend in this situation that eventually got a divorce bc of the craziness of the situation. Ultimately it comes down to this. Your going to have children one day. Do you want to sit down and explain to your child his/her father is technically their uncle?
    I was raised with step brothers. We were all treated equally from both parents. We had our typical "the baby is being treated better, the oldest is getting whatever they want" but we were raised as there was no step we were all "siblings"
    As a mother now
    with step children I do as I was raised. I have never referred to them as "step" they are treated as my oldest is treated. When they speak to others about each other that is their brother and sisters. They all think they have same blood. When you think of a person as your sister or brother by blood no way can their be any thing intimate about it. I know in high school I had a young man interested in me but he looked so much like my older brother that I could not have a relationship with him!
    Not every one is raised together like so or even have the same way of thinking as we do. Not saying they are wrong and definitely wouldn't turn my nose up towards them. To each is own on this topic. Its not illegal and nobodys place to judge! Like I said I have a friend that is in this situation

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience. That is the hope of every post .. that ppl who have experience in the area posted can add valuable insight. When it comes to ma y real life situations we often are too focused on education via academia vs education via experience.

    I have often said that some of the most miraculous love can be found in blended families ... transferring the natural family love forged through blood relations to ppl who are not blood ... and studies have shown that the two can often be indistinguishable.

    Thanks again for your insight and your comments. They were very informative.

  3. Good subject, I so often wonder why people who call themselves Christian, are so quick to judge those whom they say they love. It seems to me that we are supposed to be family and love each other, not judge each other. We seem to be the only family on earth that shoots it's wounded. If two people are raised with the same standards, and beliefs, would they not be the most compatible for each other? One can so clearly see why God hates divorce, it has such negative affects on the children.
    If marrying someone from your own family where considered such a sin, why would Abraham send his servant back to his family to find a wife for his son Isaac? Read Genesis chapter 24, I think this will show us what God thinks. I say any time there is a question in life we have a hard time with, see what the Bible says first.
    Jim Jarrell

    1. Jim, thanks for your comments. I can assure you, the "shooting their wounded" is not only in the church ... in fact, If it can be an encouragement to you, I would suggest that only the church seems to think it is wrong. Where I have been, killing their wounded family is the norm.

      People are quick to strike at what they don't know. The Croods movie made light of this. "Don't touch that, it's new!!!" was a common thematic element and phrase.

      I would ask for clarification - "If marrying someone from your own family where considered such a sin, why would Abraham send his servant back to his family to find a wife for his son Isaac? Read Genesis chapter 24, I think this will show us what God thinks."

      the post is concerning step siblings, not blood. God declares incest as a heinous sin in the Bible (Lev 18, 20, Deut 27). Rebekah was the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham's brother. The blood line would be distant ... 3rd cousins. That is a lot different than brother and sister.

      For additional info to consider, early marriage rituals were discussed in this post:

      Look forward to your response!