Monday, February 23, 2015

When God Showed up to my Wedding Part II: Saving Yourself for Marriage

*Mom, and Cheryl, if you are reading my blog, please don't read this post :)*

The first time I had sex was on my wedding night.

Inevitably, if someone knows you long enough, or is nosy enough, if you are unmarried, the subject of sex is going to come up. 

....and inevitably, someone is going to ask you if you are a virgin.

and if you are you will get some variation of one of two comments.  
"Whoa! I don't even understand how that is even POSSIBLE!"
"Wow! That's cool, I don't think I could do it, but that's really admirable" 

My husband and I have had several conversations about our struggles with sex through our lives, and ultimately, it always comes down to misunderstandings about sex and God's design for marriage.

Some of this post is going to be written by the hubs. His writing will be in blue.

To be honest, I didn't really have a conception of what "struggling with sex" meant until I was in college. In high school I wasn't really allowed to date, and I just wasn't in the mind frame.

In college, I was inundated with exposure. It was depressing when my girlfriends were out with their boyfriends Friday nights, while I was drafting, or reading or making s'mores over the burner on the oven in the basement.

I think that's when I really started to feel entitled; when I felt like God was giving everyone else something that I wanted, but He was denying it of me.

It was hard to watch romantic movies and listen to popular music without feeding the fire so to speak. Sometimes I would cry myself to sleep at night, angrily praying to God, or begging Him to give me the things I most desired.

When you believe you're entitled, you open the door to sin.(AGREED!)

When I started dating, it was a constant struggle to "keep myself" physically pure. I would tell you that, only by the mercy of God, did I make it to meeting my future husband without physically having sex.

I didn't save myself, God preserved me.

For me, I had to keep telling myself that my virginity cannot be taken away from me, * and it's the only thing I can prepare to honor my husband on our wedding night...

but when I was feeling entitled, I would think...."I'm not even going to HAVE a wedding why does it matter?"

      "Sex!" The first words I would say on stage to a bunch of teenagers listening to a presentation. It is an attention grabbing, powerful, controversial, take sides and stand by it kind of subject. Sex is fun. Sex is science. Sex is a gift. Sex is great. My experiences with sex, in general, started with band in sixth grade. Ripped out pages of Playboy being passed around. Eighth grade, eaves dropped conversations between classmates. High school, and the great '.com' era, internet exposure. In a sense, I was an addict before I even left high school. 
      Sex also ruined my first marriage. It was my selfish actions, self serving, self centered-ness that didn't serve my (ex) wife. My concern was not for her, and that makes me sad, to reflect and see how selfish I was. 
       Sex is something we do and there is a formula, a recipe, an instruction booklet on sex. (It's called the bible.)Within marriage, with your spouse that you are married to, and not prior. Period. Sex is not (but is unfortunately) about one's own personal agenda. It is about loving your spouse in the manner that they feel loved.

Many of us"Echo Boomers" came from parents and churches who either did not talk about sex at all, or treated sex as a chore or duty, and otherwise, something that was "dirty" and "sinful." That way of thinking is contrary to God's word.

First Corinthians 7:5 tells us to only withhold sex from each other in times of fasting and prayer.

So many times we hear of spouses (especially women) withholding sex from their husbands as a punishment, or using sex as currency, "If you rub my back, and make me dinner I'll have sex with you."

Sex is a physical manifestation, an outpouring, of your love for your spouse. A realization that coming together as one may overflow into a "mini-me," a living, walking testament of your love for one another.

One of our pre-marital counselors illustrated it this way; Sex isn't in the act, it's in the way of being with your spouse. It's in the way you make each other breakfast in the morning, it's in the way you greet each other when you come home from work.

 I had come to grips with the fact that sex wasn't dirty, and it wasn't bad, but it was ONLY intended within the sanctity and holiness of marriage. There's this amazing illustration of the holy trinity within the framework of intimacy in marriage. As the father, son and holy spirit are one, so are God and a believing husband and wife.

At the same time that sex is this outpouring of love, it's also a covering of protection. Sex is an animal instinct, a basic primal need. If you are not selflessly fulfilling that need for your spouse, you are making it VERY difficult for them not to look for a fulfillment of that need elsewhere.

You are to ONLY become one with your spouse. Having sex outside of marriage is not only committing adultery against your future spouse, it is also committing adultery against God. You are choosing something other than God to fill up His space in your heart, and so cannot be content living in His ways.

I read a horror story posted on Facebook of  a woman who waited until marriage to have sex and she was traumatized the night of her wedding. As I was reading it, it reminded me of a few of the "chat rooms" I had browsed while digesting the fact that I was about to become a step-mom. This woman was NOT communicating with her future husband, and did NOT communicate with him through her adjustment of thinking, which was problem number 1. Problem number 2 was that the perspective she had on sex, that had been affirmed through her mothers teaching, and through the teaching of the church, was not God's teaching! And number 3, she was being incredibly selfish. The marriage shortly ended in divorce.

 I was talking with the hubs about having sex months before we got married. I told him what I was worried about, what I was looking forward to, what I wanted our wedding night to look like, what I didn't want our wedding night to look like. I also communicated with him that I wasn't even sure I WANTED to have sex on our wedding night because it kinda freaked me out a little that it felt like everyone was expecting us to. WEIRD! (People aren't supposed to KNOW that you had sex last night RIGHT?!)

You are entering into a great unknown, and yes it can be a little scary beforehand, but really, I've been learning that things are less scary than you imagine them to be, and the fear factor is cut down by about 60% when you open your mouth and talk about it with your significant other.

God's way can be difficult, but I'm here to tell you that God's way is not wrong, God's way is beautiful, and good, enjoyable and FUN! God's way isn't about you, and how you feel, it's about serving the other person. If you are both mutually serving each other, sex is going to be amazing!

The entire book of Songs is riddled with sexual innuendo's and metaphors, some more explicit than a romance novel.

The hubs and I joke that a one night stand could never look like they look on T.V. Sex gets better with communication, and learning about each other. The flopping in bed looking up at the ceiling, not being able to breath (I'm thinking of Big Bang Theory with Penny and Leonard here) is not going to happen when you are dating someone (or married to someone) that you feel a continuous need to impress in order to keep them.

Good sex is going to come when you feel comfortable, and are not self-conscious; naked and vulnerable (both literally and physically) in front of your spouse. The master bedroom should feel like the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, "naked and not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25)

That was God's intention for man and wife.

If you ARE having sex outside of marriage. God want's you to stop. Turn from your sin, ask for forgiveness and wait for God's good and perfect timing.

* I want to make sure that it is clear that I do not believe that sexual assault would cause anyone's virginity to be "ruined." It is not something you gave up, it is something that is stolen FROM you. If you have experienced sexual assault, I pray that you have  the courage to tell someone and are getting help, and that you are currently experiencing love and support all around you.

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