In 1942 Christian writer C.S. Lewis published The Screwtape Letters. The book is a series of “letters” between Screwtape, a senior demon and his nephew Wormwood, a junior demon about how to ensure the damnation of people. Lewis makes some chilling observations in the book about many subjects including love and marriage. In this passage “the Enemy” is God and “our Father” is the devil.
The Enemy’s demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy. Ever since our Father’s first great victory, we have rendered the former very difficult to them. The latter, for the last few centuries, we have been closing up as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and the novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually short lived experience which they call ‘being in love’ is the only respectable ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent, and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding. This is our parody of an idea that came from the Enemy.
The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses….’To be’ means to ‘be in competition’.
Lewis seems to have nailed the basis of the struggle in the current culture with marriage 67 years ago.