Sex, Marriage, and the Christian

Here are some brief thoughts about sex, marriage and the Christian. It's not meant to be complete or exhaustive, so don't go jumping to conclusions, or in assuming the worst.

I think Christians are hung up over sex. Many Christian couples don't talk about it because it's taboo. It's of the flesh...dirty...and even sinful to fantasize about having sex with someone else, even though they all do it.

Christian, if you are married, do you and your wife experiment, role play? Christian men, if you aren't married you masturbate, don’t you? Do you deny this? How many times a week do you do it? Can't admit that you do? Then that's what I mean. If you're married, then how many times a week did you do it before getting married? Won't admit it? Then that's what I mean. How often do you look at pornography on the web? Do you have any latent homosexual tendencies that you know of? But I suspect you won't discuss this with even your closest friend, or your wife. Then that's what I mean. Christians suppress these things, as Freud pointed out, and it's emotionally unhealthy. [Of course, spilling your guts out to just anyone is equally unhealthy].

Sex is biologically based and yet Christians don't talk about it with their kids, except to tell them to wait until marriage to have it. Christians feel guilty about their sexual fantasies, and are afraid to bring them up to their spouses, so their sex life goes dull after about seven years of being married. I had an affair once. Would I have had an affair if I never was a Christian? I don't know. Did this Christian suppression in the area of sex cause me to look elsewhere? I'm not sure. Will you have an affair? You don't really know, either. Life brings upon us many things we never can anticipate.

There are reasons why people have affairs. One of them is that they no longer feel loved and no longer love their spouses. One of the vows we say at a wedding is that we promise "to love and to cherish" our spouses. That’s the whole reason for marriage in the first place. That’s the basis for a good marriage. But what do you do when your spouse no longer loves you? What do you do when you no longer love your spouse? My ex-wife told me she was no longer attracted to me. What would that do to you? Only people who have been married over 23 years like we were know the pain and struggle of it all. Some choose to go ahead living their lives out, fulfilling the one vow about being faithful, and yet living the rest of their lives unhappily in a loveless relationship. Others choose differently, like me. I divorced and remarried. I am very happy.

I remember going to a marriage counselor just after my ex-wife and I separated, but while we were still married. My soon to be ex-wife was having a hard time and so I went to see her counselor for a session alone. This counselor was a woman who was a Christian and worked one day a week for a big church. It was part of the church’s ministry to its members, of which we were both members. I remember her talking to me about commitment and the stuff my ex-wife and I had struggled with for a few long years. The stress was on commitment, mind you. After this talk I looked her right in the eye, knowing she was married for 12 years herself, and I asked her point blank, “are you happy?” Her eyes drifted to the floor, and then she realized what she had just done and brought them back up to meet mine again, and said, “that’s not the issue here. I am committed to my husband.” I asked her again, “are you happy.” And she said that she was the counselor here…she would ask the questions.

But it was I who was doing the counseling that day, not her. And she knew what I was saying. We both knew she was not happily married herself. Her body language communicated it all. Sometimes personalities and the birth orders of those who fall in love when they are 17-21 just won't work in the end. It's not healthy to stay together. And yet she was the counselor. We both knew she didn’t have much of a right to counsel me at that point if she couldn’t figure out how to be happily married. As we looked at each other she knew what I was thinking, “Counselor, heal thyself!” She liked me though, and we laughed. She saw that I was very happy. I asked her some tough questions. I even critiqued her counseling method in a few short sentences, since I could tell the method she used from the diploma on her office wall that told me where she graduated. She later said one of her superiors would like to take my case over since it was so unique, having quite a bit of knowledge about counseling myself. So I said, “if I am such an unique case, then he ought to be willing to counsel me for free!” Later she told my ex-wife that I was “charming, but arrogant.” ;-) I suppose it's arrogant to counsel the counselor and to know about as much as she did. I initially went into graduate school to be a counselor!

I remember so many older church couples who would argue with each other over everything...everything. They didn't even like each other. They felt stuck because of their vows. The bickering and fighting every time I saw them made me want to puke. Ahhhh, but they are doing something I failed to do. They are faithful. Bullshit! Their marriage is a sham. A pretense. A farce. A lie. I was not going to live out my life in a lie. They cannot be completely faithful if they no longer love one another, for being faithful must also mean loving their spouse. If it's only about monogomous sex, being faithful means nothing much at that point.

Pollster George Barna's research has shown that “a surprising number of Christians experienced divorces both before and after their conversion.” []. Why should it be different for skeptics when they leave their religion?