Monogamy –by design, or custom?

monogamy_by design or custom
Jun 03, 2016

Monogamy –by design, or custom?


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #25
Rite of Passage Nine –A shoal of two–
(1955 to 1957) Age 21-23

Q: Monogamy in nature: Geese, swans, penguins, foxes and white rhinoceros’ have single male female relationships for at least a season. Do humans live with one partner as a result of a social convenience rather than a natural law?

monogamy_by design or custom

I have spent over three years of my life researching the Chinook salmon. By now you will have become aware of this rather odd metaphoric comparison in which I set our lives (Treena and I) alongside a couple of Chinook, a ‘buck’ and a ‘hen’.

I sincerely doubt that salmon share anything like the monogamous relationships enjoyed(?) by geese and white rhinoceros but for my tale to work…it will have to be!

Treena didn’t like the fish speaking in the first person until we reached this week’s chapter 9 -when their fins touched (as our hands had touched as we exchanged rings at our marriage).

From that moment on she ‘got it’ and began to see our lives differently through the life experiences of the Chinooks.

I do hope that can happen for you, because the more we can identify with this endangered species, the more we shall see how we humans can endanger not only such wild life…but also each other?

So…what about now?

As I now write –we are becoming increasingly aware of the small number of humans that are living a different kind of life than that lived by vast numbers of people for at least the last five thousand years?

It started –the notion of a monogamous relationship– as a means of security, of needing protection and of needing to offer protection…if for no other reason than to protect their vulnerable children.

And so it became socially important to be ‘family’ and this ‘life support system’ has endured ever since.

I have a basic rule that I try really hard to live by (it isn’t easy!) and that is to sit in judgment of nobody! Their lives are theirs to live as they see fit…just so long as their choices do not deliberately harm others, and if they do then I might go to them directly and seek, gently and respectfully, for a shared understanding.

In my maleness, I loved taking care of Treena and joining with her to provide protection for our children. We survived and flourished through such an interaction.

The Chinook, in my story, are therefore a ‘couple’…all the way to their very end.

P.S This week I read Treena’s poem The Promise


  1. Jean Says: 12:56 pm

    Amen Graham – peace brother.

  2. Gary Gillman Says: 5:41 pm

    A couple all the way to the end, this is important, I agree, all well put.

    I will buy the book soon, glad to see you did a memoir, am a long-time fan. To the question, why is your life important, it is just is, your achievements, the varied places you have lived, the different experiences and life paths. I’d like to know what New Zealand was like in the 50s; how did Canada and America strike you on first arrival; do you find Britain has changed on return visits; your views of the food scene today; and some other questions; hopefully the book will explain some of these, but I encourage you to explore them here, too.


    Gary Gillman

  3. Jon Stevens Says: 8:42 am

    If God had wanted me to not be monogamous, he would have made me a dog or a cat or a chicken. But He made me a human being and so I am being true and faithful to my wife and my commitment to her. The question is for how long is that commitment made? My brother who made a lifetime commitment but who then said kiddingly that it was up for review every 5 years is once again divorced.

    But what about those who have completed their lifetime commitment and still live after their spouse dies? Or is the marriage vow a forever vow, not just until death do us part? Since Jesus overcame death and in the new Kingdom of God’s there is no death, then it seems that our marriage vows are a forever vow.

  4. Graham Says: 6:53 am

    I want you all to know how very grateful I am to find myself in the company of such creative responders. I was worried, at first, that my story was so relatively unimportant in the overall scheme of things. What right had I to think that it might sustain interest? And then I saw it as an opportunity to be truthful and transparent in a world that seems to be wanting to show off only carefully selected ‘polished parts’. Now, because of your sharing this river with your lives, it seems to me that we have been joined in a powerful purpose…to upstream our remaining years in such a way as to encourage those who follow and will, one day…lead. Oh how we do need one another and how grateful I am for every one of you. Upstreaming in good company…not so lonely anymore. Graham.

  5. Jean N. Sozio Says: 10:53 pm

    The journey of this blog has been amazing. I marvel at your zeal to think such deep thoughts and enlighten us in doing the same. I am imagining monogamy as not wearing all the clothes in your closet at one time. There are certain pieces for certain times and conditions. Single – play the field. Married – cause for one spouse and family. Widow/Widower – cross roads – even unto oneness. I believe we are destined to a pre-programed design according to specie. I don’t know how a female dog accepts seeing her pups taken away for adoptions only weeks after giving birth if not that the emotion of such separation is not built into her. As humans, designed in God’s own image, we have the emotion of devotion – like the salmon – a pair of two becoming one for the creation of many. Is adultery or polygamy devotion or merely hunting – seeking and finding? Parents, one couple, are devoted to many and not just one child in the clan. It’s a matter of purpose and position. On judgement – consider first “the plank in thine own eye”. God looks on the heart – the sincerity and focus of our worship. He is a jealous God and such jealousy is what prompts us to be monogamous with each other as with Him – one God, one body.

  6. Lynn Severance Says: 10:08 pm

    Graham’s posting last week about “vows” truly carries over to how I view the sacredness of being in a marriage relationship that is monogamous. How far our culture has come as many do not value the intimacy of a love that is unconditional, forgiving, and willing to work through the times that challenge. For those who have children, it is healthy for them to view such commitment. I have seen the devastation done in relationships where marriage vows are broken and the lives of children impacted, as well. In general, with our culture’s focus on self-satisfaction first, I fear for the future and what our children are seeing and experiencing vicariously or, in many instances, how their innocence is violated all for the means that belies a Love for which relationships were intended. True, we are not to judge another but I cannot help but judge behavior that knowingly corrupts and cripples the essence of another’s heart and being.

  7. Pauline Says: 4:02 pm

    Happy to know there are people who still value monogamy. I do believe that those who have been blessed and privileged to enjoy a stable marriage should never cease to give thanks and encourage others.
    My husband and I met in college and have been married for nearly 41 years, blessed with 2 children and 4 grandchildren. We do believe that God brought us together and has kept us together. As the saying goes: Coming together is a start
    Working together is progress and
    Staying together is success!

  8. John Kairis Says: 12:30 pm

    Once again my life and your postings coincide. Last evening we met old high school friends the night before our 45th high school reunion. They all commented that they could not believe that Barbara and I were still together – since 11th grade! Today I read your post on monogamy. My wife and I do have something special. Yes, we work at it. No, it hasn’t always been wonderful. The death of a child, financial problems, accidents, employment issues; all get in the way sometimes but one works through them. Last night I realized, once again, that I deeply love this woman and believe that I was, and still am, blessed to have her in my life.

  9. Kerryn Says: 8:52 am

    Woops! Spelling error…. monogamous…. not monogonous!! LOL! 😉

  10. Kerryn Says: 8:48 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart & insights in this & through Treena’s poem. What a gift that together you’ve had decades of sharing life together with Treena & your children. Such a privilege! I can’t imagine the pain without her now. May God comfort you in your grief & new life without Treena. May God guide you into blessed new avenues.
    I’m sooooo thankful for my beloved husband. We often say how incredibly privileged we are to have met each other, fallen in love, married, had children & are more in love now than when we were besotted with each other at the altar! It obviously doesn’t just happen, but takes work, lots of saying sorry & lots of answered prayer.
    It’s our joy to often see the colourful Adelaide Rosellas on our balcony in the Adelaide hills in South Australia. They come in pairs & are monogonous, working as a team to protect the seeds, that we place on the balcony, from other birds. They’re cheeky birds & their bright colours always lift the spirits on a tough day! Another of God’s beautiful creatures!

  11. Kathy Bartley Says: 5:13 am

    I love reading your writings. It is as if I can hear you speaking. As if, you are telling me yourself. Thank you and Ms. Treena for your consistency and transparency.

  12. Karl Says: 4:54 am

    I have often pondered that same question.
    When confronted with the worlds view on relationships,sex and marriage,one can get easily confused and thrown off balance.
    When reading the scriptures it gets even more troubeling.
    How can God call David “a man after Gods own heart” and how about Salomon,Jacob,
    Abraham and all the other men and women
    in the Bible.Multiple wives,broken relationships and families.Yet God still loved them.
    We know Gods intention in the beginning was that man and woman where to compliment each other,love God first then each other.The fall changed this and we were broken ever since. The work of Christ changed this and we can once again look to eternal life restored.However as long as we are in our broken body the battle will go on.
    I came to the same conclusion as you,I can not judge anyone,because I don’t walk in their shoes and nobody walks in mine.
    Gods grace and mercy is sufficient for all

  13. jennifer Says: 4:25 am

    Dear Graham

    I can only say that Treena was blessed to have you as her husband.


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *