I sat down with my wife last night to watch “The Bachelorette.”I know. I know. Bad move. Such a bad move. I think I could actually feel my soul dying inside.
I had never seen an episode before, but let me tell you, watching one girl simultaneously date a group of competitive suitors is not my idea of a good time. At first, it actually made me physically nauseous witnessing a group of grown men literally fighting over one woman, who, might I add, showed no restraint of her own sexual appetite whatsoever. I just kept thinking, “That’s all this is; a competition. These guys have no idea who this girl is. They don’t want “her,” the person, they want “her,” the prize. They would rather use sex to win, than be known and loved for who they truly are.“ I turned to my wife and said, “Do you think these people need counseling after this?” It all felt set up to be purposefully and inevitably emotionally devastating.
The episode ended, and I was consumed. I seriously couldn’t even get up off the couch. I was stuck in my head and couldn’t get out. I ranted on Twitter. I tried to watch ESPN to turn my mind elsewhere but I just couldn’t shake the melancholy. It was all right there on primetime ABC. A live in color picture of where this generation’s sexual values are. It seems like we have embraced sex as nothing more than a consumer good. I could almost hear the heart of God breaking. Covenant and commitment are not only unnecessary, but seem to be unwanted hindrances in today’s dating economy; while using your body as advertising has become the norm. I think that’s what got me writing this blog at the moment. I can’t get over the idea we were never meant to use sex to convince someone to stay with us. Rather, we were meant to glory in the gift of sex by employing its power to celebrate the safety and the mystery of loving one person forever. Sex wasn’t meant to be currency, it was meant to be cement.
Come to think of it, a girl once told me that in high school. She said, “Sex is supposed to be cement for the soul.” At the time, I thought she was crazy, now I think it’d be crazy not to believe her. Seems to me, the show, though obviously hyped up by television and marketing dollars, was painting a vivid picture of how many people view marriage, sex, and dating. I call it, “cultivating the spirit of divorce.”
We call it, “covering all my options.” But no wonder over 50% of marriages end these days. I mean, in our dating lives we get closer, emotionally and physically, until we find out something we don’t like, and then we split. Of course that mentality carries over the walls of wedding vows.
Here’s the thing though, my mom is smarter than me.
I remember when I first starting dating my wife and she said to me,
“Oh I like her. You should marry her!”
“Mom!” I choked in disbelief, “We’ve only been dating a few months.”
“But you’ve known each other for years right?” She countered.
“Well yeah, but I just don’’t know how compatible we are. I need to figure it out.”
My mom was cutting into my relational consumerism, and I didn’t like it.
“Mike,” she went on, “Here’s the thing. Do you think your father and I have been married over 30 years because we’re perfect for each other? Not a chance. Even if we were perfect for each other back then, we wouldn’t be any more, because people change. So, to stay married, you have to commit to keeping up with the other person’s changing, and keep asking God for the grace to love whoever they become.”
Like I said, she’s way smarter than me.
My friend Zach and I were on a run the other day, and he put it perfectly, “Choosing to love one woman for the rest of your life is a far far wilder ride for your heart than promiscuous sex will ever be.” I love that, makes me feel like we’re all worth a lot more than we think.
So I don’t know if any of that makes any sense to you, but I want to say to anyone single out there, don’t believe the lie you have to let them sample the milk to buy the cow. It’s simply not true. In fact, I’ve witnessed it over and over again, more often than not, when you get physical too quickly, it only clouds how connected you really are. I believe the physical was really meant to be the cement on top of the foundation of emotional and spiritual connection, not the other way around. Mortar works best when you have bricks already to work with.
Married peoples of the earth, remember, you’re displaying something much more powerful than yourselves by staying married. Your covenant to one another displays not just your own love, but testifies to the covenant keeping grace of God that Christ has for his bride the church.
And to us all, sex is God’s gift, to become a living gift to someone who will give all of themselves back to us. It speaks to us but a shadow of the intimacy we were created for. Or to say it this way, if your lover wants your body, but won’t give you the promise of forever, that kind of sex, sex without covenant, lacks integrity. It says, “I’m willing to give you my body, but I’m not willing to give you my life.” And my friends, our God wants more for us. We are not currency. We are His. We’ve been bought with a price, we are not our own, therefore, honor that love with your body.
Originally published by Mike Donehey at Seized by Grace and Affection: mikedonehey.tumblr.com.
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