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What is a platonic marriage?

translate platonic marriage

The concept of a “platonic marriage” is becoming more accepted in today’s society. A platonic marriage is the legal union of two people who come together in marriage but without any expression of sexual or romantic love. It is similar to the concept of a “platonic relationship” in which two people form a relationship based on close friendship or emotional connection but, again, without any sexual activity or romance.

The word platonic is derived from Plato, the name of an ancient Greek philosopher who argued for the existence of abstract objects. As it relates to relationships, the word platonic is used to refer to the abstract, undefined nature of a relationship. In other words, a platonic relationship is a friendship, but its designation as ”platonic” implies that it is not a ”full” or “complete” relationship.

There are various types of platonic marriages, and people may choose to form a platonic marriage for a number of reasons. They may feel a special connection with a friend but have no romantic or sexual desire for that friend. The platonic marriage allows the friends to spend their lives together and somehow make the friendship more “official.” Another apparent reason why people enter a platonic marriage is to receive a tax advantage. In the United States, married couples who file their taxes jointly receive tremendous tax breaks compared with couples who are not married. By coming together in marriage, even without expressions of sexual or romantic love, the couple saves money and pays less in taxes. Other practical reasons may for a platonic marriage include having someone to help raise children, split financial expenses, or provide care in old age.

According to God’s Word, marriage is to be a lifelong, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:23–24; Song of Songs 4—5; Matthew 19:4–6) in which they give themselves to one another fully. The biblical ideal is that a married couple are united physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The Bible commands husbands and wives to regularly fulfill the sexual needs of one another (1 Corinthians 7:3–5). So, the normal expectation of a biblical marriage is that sexual activity will take place.

There may be nothing overtly wrong with a healthy man and woman being legally united in marriage and choosing not to engage in sexual intercourse. On the other hand, there may be something very wrong with it, depending on the motivations of the couple and the exact nature of the relationship. If the married couple view the marriage bond as nothing more than a legal contract, with no thought of the sacredness of the bond, there is a problem. If the couple’s platonic behavior is purposefully designed to avoid children, there is a problem.

In the end, a platonic marriage seems to twist the meaning of marriage into something the Bible does not recognize. It is debatable whether sex is required for a marriage to be valid, but the active avoidance of sex within a marriage violates one of the fundamental aspects of the marital union, as presented in Scripture. The two are to become one flesh (Mark 10:8).

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What is a platonic marriage?
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This page last updated: January 23, 2024