• The Lies of the Christian Romanticists

    Romance.

    Christian Romanticists are very lovely, very sincere, very loving and well intended people. But some of them paint a rather spectacular, idealistic, and highly romanticized version of godly married life. They are not lying, but what they believe is simply not true for all of us. Sadly, reality quite often fails to measure up to their promise.

    Total Transparency

    Some marriage councellors and Bible teachers say continual communication and total transparency about everything all the time is the road to a truly intimate marriage. Well, in your dreams. Most of us do not live in such an ideal state, or with a spouse capable of such a relationship. The man who tells his wife everything all the time is placing a load on her she may be ill equipped to bear.

    “Dear, I was watching the news the other evening after you went to bed. The female reporter was especially pretty, her neckline was noticeably low, and she bent over her desk unintentionally exposing even more. I found it very arousing. And I got a hard-on.”

    We need to be as open
    with our spouse as we can,
    but an un-tempered openness
    can be hurtful, even damaging.

    Give it a break man. What woman wants to hear how attractive and sexually stimulating you find another woman? Yes, go ahead and enjoy the view, but keep your private thoughts private. Show some sensitivity to your spouse’s feelings. Don't drag her emotions though the inner recesses of your mind and imagination.

    Un-tempered Openness

    Secrets are not good. We need to be as open with our spouse as it is possible to be, but an un-tempered openness can be hurtful, even damaging. Christians (or anyone for that matter) should never lie, but we must learn to share opinions tactfully, flavoring our words with grace and mercy.

    Some Independence

    Unity Candles.

    A romantic ideal often promoted at weddings is that of the bride and groom each with a candle, igniting a third and the original two being extinguished. But what works for one couple does not always work for another. Not every couple feels the need to completely merge their identities. Some are quite comfortable maintaining a degree of independence, and keep some things for ourselves. This is especially true for those who marry later in life. For them a better image would be two candles igniting a third, with the two staying lit. It becomes a marriage of you, me, and us.

    And for some that measure of that independence extends to their sexual life. While know that adultery, fornication, and homosexual activity are sinful and damaging to all involved, they know from the Word of God that masturbation is a natural part of life, and a part of God's plan for our sexuality. So when their spouse is unavailable or disinterested they can, with joy and a clean conscience, have a private time of sexual play.

    Celibacy and Sensational Married Sex

    In every way possible premarital sex is destructive. It has absolutely no redeeming virtues. It is essential that we stay virgins until marriage. This is not optional. And if we have failed, if we lost our virginity before marriage, we must repent and abstain. But it is a rather nasty fantasy to suggest that premarital purity will be rewared with total marital bliss. This is simply not true. Premarital celibacy does not guarantee a wonderful married sex life. Virtue is its own reward; we are not promised anything more. I wish it were not so, but sometimes good people have miserable marriages and holy people have miserable mates and unsatisfying sex lives.

    Reality

    Let the husband render to his wife the [physical] affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NKJV)

    As much as we might
    long for God’s ultimate
    standard of total sexual
    fulfillment in marriage,
    few have attained it.

    The Biblical ideal is that the husband and wife make love regularly, and frequently. In fact, because each has no authority over their own body some see the practical application of this as a "never say no" policy. As often as a man would want to masturbate, he is entitled to have sex. For sure this is close to God's ideal. But, the verse does not say, "Do not refuse." It says "Do not deprive." Twice In One Year. A subtle difference, but a difference none the less. But it is clear that God's order for marriage includes frequent marital relations, interrupted only by mutual consent.

    If the biblical marriage ideal of frequent and adventuresome lovemaking was fully realized, there would be little need for anyone to seek out nudity and erotica on any website, and masturbation would be rare. But as much as we might long for God’s ultimate standard of total sexual fulfillment in marriage, few have attained it. We are imperfect people. We live in an imperfect world. Out of compassion for our flawed spouses we make adjustments: adjustments in our expectations; adjustments in our actions; adjustments in our theology. We do not demand our full “rights” but in love we accommodate each other and do the best we can with what we have.

    My wife just does not have the grace for as frequent sex as I would like. So I masturbate. I masturbate because it is God’s provision in the face of marital imperfection. I masturbate because I love my wife enough to settle for the “less” when I really want the more. And I don’t bother her with the details. Those are between the Lord and me, and the three of us in this relationship – God, my wife, and me – are fine with that.


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