“I think marriage is very romantic; it’s a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing…I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for so many people—for everyone—the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.” – Scarlett Johansson
It’s sad to see a mother claiming that monogamy is not natural because it’s “work.” From a psychological perspective, those things which are difficult for us to attain tend to be what is best for our psyche. Developing the virtues necessary for a person’s state of life is not easy. The virtue of fortitude, for instance, takes time and effort, yet most people will acknowledge that having fortitude is a good thing. If people believe that being a person with fortitude is beneficial, and yet developing fortitude is difficult, then one can see that Ms. Johansson’s logic is faulty: just because something is “work” doesn’t make it unnatural or something to avoid. Without the virtues, we cannot hope to live out a flourishing life, and without a flourishing life we cannot hope to find any semblance of fulfilling happiness in this life.
Furthermore, as mentioned in a previous article, our fallen human nature causes us to incline towards disorder in our lives instead of order. While we can never destroy this inclination, we can work each day to combat our base desires and realize that only when we act in accord with how we were intended to be that we will find reasonable happiness in this life. Monogamy is one of those things that we must fight for each day knowing that giving into such things as infidelity, divorce, or polyamory not only harm ourselves but also our children and society at large.
According to both psychological and sociological research, those who engage in divorce tend to have children who suffer from low levels of trust towards their parents, have a fear of being rejected by romantic partners, and have a more negative view of marriage which in turns hinders their ability to fully give of themselves in their own romantic relationships. Within themselves, divorced individuals tend to experience increased rates of physical illness, depression, and substance abuse. Finally, with both children and adults suffering, our society at large begins to suffer as we no longer believe that people are capable of permanence and that what was once considered a sacred institution is now merely seen as a social contract.
The idea that monogamy is somehow unnatural because it is hard work is illogical, and Ms. Johansson’s interview harkens to a more disturbing trend which claims that marriage, the institution which predates and formed civilization, is somehow outdated and should be overhauled. Such a trend is a disturbing movement given that when marriage weakens, we all lose. The good news is that we all can do something to reverse this trend by doing such things as supporting married couples during tough times, and by forming our children with the habits they will need to succeed in this life.