As an unmarried man with a nonexistent sex life, obviously I feel qualified and seasoned enough to write about the intricacies and mysteries of sex and marriage. Even to the point of giving advice so that your sex life and marriage won’t disappoint you or not live up to your expectations. I mean, somebody has to talk about it right?
We live in a culture that is defined by sex. Romance and relationships is what we see plastered all over magazines, the internet and movies. Find your soul mate and live happily ever after. But why do half of marriages still end in divorce? Or at least find someone you can convince to sleep with you and then you’ll be happy and really be living.
I think that’s the problem right there. We grow up learning to put our hope in sex or marriage. That is what we strive for. Are the guys down at the bar really just there for some friendly conversation? No, they’re lonely and seeking fulfillment from what they’ve been taught. They put their hope in bagging a girl by the end of the night. They put their hope in sex.
Or what about women? If we’re honest, how many girls grow up putting their hope in their wedding day? From a young age they begin dreaming about their wedding dress, the colors, the flowers and most importantly the groom. I’m not saying this is bad or wrong, but if their wedding day or marriage is their main source of hope, they’re more than likely going to be let down sooner or later.
Or maybe you’re like me and put your hope in not just your wedding day, but your wedding night. See, I grew up in the church where we are taught about how amazing sex will be if we wait until we’re married. I’m sure that’s true, but we start to miss the point and put out hope in that instead of Jesus. I ended up putting all of my hope in my wedding night. “I just have to make it this far, and then I’ll be fulfilled.” I had the naive idea that if I obey God, then obviously He will bless me with a perfect girl who doesn’t have any baggage, we’ll get married, be happy and have sex all the time for the rest of our life.
After I started dating an amazing girl, we opened up about our pasts and wounds. I found out that her past wasn’t perfect or spotless like i anticipated and that she had had some pretty manipulative guys who took advantage of her. The very thing I put my hope in vanished right in front of me. I was bitter, I was resentful and I was devastated. (I know some of you are thinking, “What’s the big deal?” But I grew up a sheltered Christian boy, so just bear with me). I couldn’t believe God didn’t keep up his end of the deal. But in actuality, it was my own fault. I put my hope in something so fragile and I made an idol out of it.
We end up putting so much pressure on someone or something that was never intended to bear that weight. If you put all of your hope in marriage, or your spouse, or sex; you’re going to be let down. You’re making them your god and they will never be able to live up to those unrealistic expectations and demands. We do it all the time. No wonder John ends his letter in the bible (1 John) with the seemingly out of place concluding remark; Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
What’s that one step you’re asking? Don’t put all of your hope, fulfillment, validation and unrealistic expectations on your spouse, sex, marriage or your wedding day. Otherwise you’re going to be let down and and going to be disappointed.
Everybody is looking for the same thing, Christian or not. We are all looking for fulfillment, joy, identity, satisfaction, answers and meaning. But we end up seeking all of those things in the wrong places and we get let down time and time again. They can be great things, but become broken cisterns that will never completely fulfill us.
What do you place your hope in? Or what do you find yourself saying “once I have that, then I’ll be satisfied” about? Is it in God or Jesus alone? Or is it Jesus and? (Jesus and a nice house, Jesus and a fulfilling marriage, Jesus and a comfortable life, Jesus and a good job, Jesus and your wedding day.) Anything outside of Jesus that becomes an idol or our source of hope is too fragile and will let us down sooner or later.
Photo Cred: © Tim Larsen Photography