Marriage Cancer: Sarcasm (Part 3 in a series)

People brag about being sarcastic all the time. They place an “I’m really good at sarcasm” medal around their own necks and show it off like a badge of honor. But the truth about sarcasm is that it is nothing more than thinly and purposely veiled insult. Sarcastic people use it as a tool to say what they really want to say without actually saying it. They like to use sarcasm so that they are not held accountable for their words. It is a tool that is used to manipulate, belittle and shame another person. Then, when feelings are hurt, the remark is dismissed as “just kidding! Can’t you take a joke?” Like it or not, that is the real truth about sarcasm.Oxford online dictionary defines sarcasm as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.” Mirriam-Webster defines it as “a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual,” and “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.” The word sarcasm has its roots in the Greek word “sarkamos” which means “to tear flesh in rage; to sneer.”
Bring the attitude way down and also—be nice to people. Sarcasm truly is like a cancer eating away at the free and open communication and intimacy of any relationship, including marriage and it is not okay to use it to get your way in an argument. Can I be frank? If you cannot “win” an argument by presenting a reasoned case for your point and you must resort to sarcasm, then you very well may not have a valid argument in the first place. Listen, any two people living together will run into some troubles. They may be relatively small or they may be overwhelmingly huge problems. It does not really matter the severity of the trouble, you will not solve it with sarcastic, caustic remarks toward your spouse.
The damage of sarcasm. Sarcasm does a number of things none of which are actually beneficial.
Sarcasm belittles. It shames the recipient into feeling stupid. Be honest—sarcasm is really an insult. God’s word tells us, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matt. 5:22 (ESV).
Sarcasm divides. When you are in the midst of issuing sarcastic remarks, you are not thinking about how to come into agreement with your spouse. You may be trying to get your spouse to come into agreement with you by making them feel foolish, but there is no true reconciliation at the heart of sarcasm. Instead, it creates a greater divide. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (ESV). We are also told in the scriptures, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24.
Sarcasm controls. Sarcasm is a tool used to manipulate and bend another person to your will. If you can make another person feel foolish or stupid for his or her point of view then they have a hard time holding on to it—even when their point is perfectly valid. Perhaps your spouse is just not as adept at making cutting remarks as you so you find yourself winning a lot of arguments. Even if you get your spouse to agree via this method they are only agreeing in order to avoid further cut-downs. Nobody likes to feel stupid. And when we are made to feel stupid we will often concede the point since to hold on to it would further the feeling of stupidity. James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (ESV) If you are popping off witty sarcastic remarks, I doubt you are practicing the “slow to speak” principle.
Sarcasm inflames. Sarcasm is fuel for the fire. It escalates an argument rather than resolves an issue. Prov. 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Think back to our definition of sarcasm. It is meant to “convey contempt” and depends upon “bitter and caustic language” for its effect. “The power of life and death are in the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Prov. 18:21. This verse doesn’t actually tell us not to use the tongue, it simply lets us know that we will eat of the fruits of our words. Are you feeding yourself death or life with what you say?
Sarcasm seeks revenge. There are really only two goals of sarcastic remarks. They are used to control or they are used to purposely insult in an act of revenge. The revenge may be for something your spouse did or said to hurt you. Perhaps you are perfectly justified in your hurt. Or you might just be ticked because your spouse won’t agree with you. But if you choose the path of caustic remarks to inflict pain upon your spouse, realize that you are contributing to a cycle of hurt that can spiral out of control. The enemy wants you both to add fuel to the fire and say worse and worse things to one another so that a divide between you can grow and grow until it is unbreachable. Every caustic remark, even when you have a right to be mad, places another brick in that wall. Jesus admonishes us in the book of Luke “forgive and you will be forgiven.” Once those words are out, you can never take them back. And they speak volumes. “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Your spouse will always know you were thinking that about him or her.
Sarcasm is more than just a joke. When you employ sarcasm in your relationships, whether you think of it as “joking” or whether you use it to cut people down to size to get your way understand that it simply a mask for insecurity. In the first case it is a form of self-aggrandizement at the expense of others. If you aren’t insecure, why do you need to show off how wittily you can cut another person down? Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” In the second case, you are using sarcasm to control a situation and get your way. Needing to have your own way is a manifestation of insecurity. Letting another person be right or letting their way of doing things be good enough threatens your identity.

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We are accountable for our words before the Lord. Jesus tells us, “But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the Day of Judgement for every careless word they have spoken.” Matt. 12:36 (ESV-italics added). That is a sobering thought isn’t it? You may still be thinking, “Jeez—take a joke. It’s not that big a deal.” First, your words may be hurting someone more than you know. They might laugh at your sarcastic jokes, even the ones pointed towards them, but it very well could be a façade covering their real feelings. When you cut somebody down to size, you are cutting down a person made in the image of God and he clearly takes that very seriously.
Don’t worry, you can still tell a good joke! Sarcasm is only one form of humor. And the honest truth is, many people don’t actually mean sarcasm when they brag about being sarcastic. What they really mean is that they are facetiously witty. What many people call “sarcasm” would actually be classified as being facetious. Here’s a definition of facetious, “not meant to be taken seriously or literally: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor.” It comes from a Latin word meaning “jest, witticism.” We can think of this form of humor as “sarcasm light.” We are a family that loves to laugh. We joke around and tease each other all the time. We are adept at a well-placed joke to lighten the tension. And I wouldn’t ever want to change that. Humor is, in fact, a key to a healthy and happy relationship. But humor at some else’s expense is not helpful, it’s harmful. Try removing sarcasm that is pointed at any other person from your arsenal for just one month. See if anything changes in your relationships. I think you will be surprised. And if you truly are the master of sarcasm and you simply must get it out of your system, make sure that you are the butt of your own jokes. People who can make a little fun of themselves are often the most well-liked people in the room anyway, so it’s a win-win. You can stretch your sarcastic legs and nobody gets hurt.

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Marriage Cancer: An Unbalanced Sex Life (part 2 in a series)

When two people meet and feel an attraction for one another, they can scarcely imagine the future in which they are married with children and barely have sex any more. At first, all is sunshine and happiness. It’s always that way. You can’t wait to be with your boyfriend or girlfriend. You think about that person all the time and the very thought makes you smile. You’ve never been so happy. So, naturally, you decide to get married. And then, woot-woot! Let the good times roll.

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” That old rhyme is simply true. And babies are an amazing blessing to a marriage, however, this is frequently when the sex life starts to break down. Kids come into the picture, bodies (and hormones) change. Mommas are in danger of becoming more interested in their infants than their husbands. In addition, life starts to become more and more hectic. Kids come with needs. And with age and experience, responsibilities at work, in our social circles and at church also begin to increase. This can be the very space where the cancer begins. Ignore it and it will grow. Practice some preventative medicine and you can save you marriage from the brink of disaster.

Stereotypes, whether we like to admit it or not, usually contain at least a modicum of truth, even if exaggerated. When you think of the typical sexually unbalanced couple, you picture a sex-starved husband and an uninterested wife. And this kind of couple does make up the greater number of unbalanced couples. But not all. There are many women out there, suffering in silence and feeling very alone precisely because of this stereotype. They likely feel the rejection with a higher degree of intensity because it seems like everyone’s husband is a horn-dog that can’t get enough, everyone’s, that is, except their husband. This woman might actually be very attractive. And let’s be real, she sees very average looking women have to hold their husbands off with a stick, so she is left to wonder-what’s wrong with me? Just like a woman can have hormone imbalances or other sexual dysfunction that may come from a difficult sexual history, so too can men. Though it can be very hard to wrap your head around, one partner’s lack of sexual interest has much more to do with their own physiology or inner turmoil than with the other partner. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily solve your problem of achieving a more active sex life, but maybe it can take away just a bit of the sting of rejection.

Before discussing this topic further, let me make it clear. If there is a history of sexual abuse in one partner’s history OR a true medical issue, these are serious matters over which there should be no guilt and should be treated by professionals. If you CAN get healthy, you SHOULD get healthy. Sexuality is an integral part of marriage. In the rare circumstance that it is medically impossible, I encourage this couple to find creative ways to include physical intimacy in the marriage.
So, let us suppose you are one of the myriad of couples who have different sexual frequency needs. Let’s say, one partner would like to have sex every day. The other could easily go for once a month. Whether the difference were three times a week compared to three times per year or twice a day and once a year, the principle here is basically the same.

Here’s the principle: neither of you has the right over your own body any more. I know that goes against what the world would tell you—that you belong to you and you do whatever makes you happy. Let me make it very clear what I am saying. You have no right to withhold sex from your partner. You don’t have the right to say “no.” (Please understand I don’t mean someone should be forced or that concessions are not to be made in cases of illness or whatever, I’m talking in a general, regular sense). Conversely, if you are the one with the greater appetite, you don’t have the right to seek sexual release outside your partner and you don’t have the right to demand a frequency that suits only you.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
A church I went to for years did a series on marriage. The Pastor’s wife shared the following thought and it has stuck with me ever since. She said, “You are your husband’s only legitimate sexual outlet.” We could substitute “partner” or “spouse” for husband here. We need to understand this. Really understand it. Too often, those with the lower sexual appetite too readily dismiss the needs of the other partner. Because it is not a big deal to the one, there is an assumption that it ought not be a big deal to the other. That is not true. If it’s important to your spouse, like it or not, it just became important to you. That’s marriage. You said the vow, you signed the paper.

There is a huge danger here. I cannot caution you enough. You can create a situation in which your partner constantly feels at your mercy. Is that a way you would want to live? Suppose one partner has the power over the food. You do not get food except at your partner’s leisure. And you cannot get it unless you ask nicely, in a way that doesn’t get on your partner’s nerves and when you do ask, even when you wait until you’re so hungry that you can’t stand it, what you hear is “you’re too fat.” How would it feel to be absolutely famished and have zero idea when you may get to eat again? It could be days. When you withhold sex from your partner and nine times out of ten reject sexual advances you are essentially starving your partner slowly to death. Not only that, because sexuality is so tied to our view of ourselves, you are making your partner afraid. Asking for sex becomes a scary prospect because more than likely, your partner is about to experience rejection. It should not be so in a marriage.

Let’s say you find yourself at the center of a vortex of infrequent sex and an unhappy marriage. Looking back, you find it hard to pinpoint exactly which came first-the unhappiness with one another, the frequent arguing, the silent treatments or the lack of sex. Likely, the two grew in proportion to one another. When speaking in generalities-we could look at sex’s place in marriage like this:
• Women need to be at peace with their partners first, then sex follows, i.e. everything needs to be okay between us before we can have sex.
• Men need to have sex to feel they are at peace with their partner, i.e. I know everything is okay between us because we had sex.
So what do we do to fix this imbalance? How do we stop the vortex from spinning out of control and landing you in divorce court? There are a few very practical things both partners can do.

1. Understand that sex doesn’t start in the bedroom. It starts with a spirit of service. Suppose dad comes home and his wife has three little ones clinging to her and she hasn’t been able to finish dinner or the dishes. Maybe she has been touched by three pairs of tiny hands all day long and her touch meter is maxed. Without an agenda, help with the kids. Help with the dishes. Give that mom a break so she can breathe and have a little space. It will help her feel better. Whatever the practical need here, fill it. Daddies who play with and take good care of their children and do a few dishes are sexy. Trust me on this. Also, hug your wife sometimes just to hug her, not to cop a feel. Then she feels she is getting affection for who she is as a human being and not just for what she can do for you in the bedroom. It will make a difference.

2. Make appointments to have sex. It really is okay to make a plan. See, we have this Hollywood version of what sex should look like and it’s a lie! A lie from the pit of hell, I tell you. It says that the only legitimate sex is born out of being first extremely turned on. There has to be a big romantic scene that gets you in the mood. And if that does not happen, then no sex. But here’s the truth, sometimes you have sex because it’s Wednesday. Wednesday is sex day. It’s an appointment. This may seem cold or to lack spontaneity, but that’s only because you are still clinging to your childish fantasies. If you come to your sexual appointment with your spouse rolling your eyes and bothered by it then it will be a cold and less-than-useless experience, it will be a harmful one. But if you come to it with love for your spouse, ready to put aside the troubles of the day then guess what, you don’t have to be in the mood before you start! You can get in the mood. Light some candles, put on something sexy. Put on some nice music. Maybe you need to take a shower because you feel grimy from the busy day or maybe put on a little make-up to feel prettier. Whatever. You can actually decide to participate and end up having a good time. Here’s the deal. Remember the starvation scenario? These appointments help each partner to feel like he or she is not starving to death. Each knows that their appetite will be satiated making it easier to bear with sexual temptation.

3. Compromise on the frequency of sex. It is extremely likely that one partner will want sex more frequently than the other. That fact is extremely common. I don’t have stats but I bet it would be somewhere above 90% of the time. Philippians 2:4 says, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” This means that each partner must take into consideration the needs of the other person. This means we need to be grown-ups and be able to talk with one another about sex. It is very important that both be able to speak their needs without the other responding in shock or disdain! The man says “twice a day.” He’s not a weirdo or a pervert and should not be treated as such. He’s simply got a very active libido and lots of testosterone and sexual hormones surging-hey and maybe he thinks his wife is super-hot. The wife says “once a month.” She’s not an ice queen. Maybe little kids touch her all day. At any rate, clearly twice a day would wear the one out and once a month would leave the other in the lurch, struggling to stay pure. What can you both live with? My suggestion here would be at least a couple of times a week, but each couple must come up with a compromise that suits their life situation. Let me encourage-and I do mean strongly encourage the partner with the lower libido, initiate sex sometimes without being prompted. Decide to surprise your partner with a sexual encounter. Just having you initiate sex even once a month (more often if you want!!) will go a long way in your partner’s self-esteem. It gives the person a feeling “I was too sexy to resist” and thus will boost the person’s sense of well-being immensely.

4. For the partner who has the greater sexual appetite, don’t be offended that you have to do more of the asking. It’s really not you. It really is mostly just a hormone level thing. Your partner loves you and thinks highly enough of you that even if his or her hormones don’t dictate the need for sex, love for you does.

5. Get a sexual attitude adjustment. Honestly, sexual boundary setting could get its own article. However, understand that the Bible actually has some things to say about this matter. Read the Song of Solomon. It has some pretty sexy things to say about the marriage bed. We all grow up with baggage and idea about what is dirty and what is not. If you feel dirty about most sexual activity, you may need to renew your mind. Likely, we all need at least some renewing of our minds about sex anyway, even if we’re fairly healthy. Let go of your pre-conceived notions and come at the subject with an open heart, willing to fulfill your spouse’s reasonable desires and be willing to have your perception of “reasonable” adjusted. Having said that, there are some non-negotiables. Your sex life includes two people and one Holy Spirit. That’s it. No more. No less. Everyone needs to feel respected. Beyond that, explore what the Bible has to say and read what well-respected marriage and intimacy experts have to say. Joe Beam, president of Marriage Helper has written and spoken much about what is okay and what is not sexually speaking. You can read more at marriagehelper.com.

6. Treat your spouse like you’re still dating. That means you should take some care with your personal appearance. You don’t need to feel any pressure to look twenty when you’re forty. But do take the time to bother about your appearance. If you’re going out with your spouse, look nice. It communicates something. It says, “you’re worth the bother.” Do fun stuff together. Do stuff the other one likes. My husband and I go to baseball games and the theater. I watch one football game a week during football season. I could live without it. But it doesn’t kill me to watch and show interest. We went to see a performance of Shakespeare recently. It was long. He paid attention anyway. And discussed the pros and cons of the performance afterwards. And dream together. It’s good to talk about your dreams and aspirations together and to have goals as a couple.

Good marriages start with service and sacrifice one for another. They culminate in fulfilling sexual union. The two are so intertwined so as to be impossible to separate. Trying to do so will literally break down the structure of the other. Don’t wait until your partner gets better at serving before you increase your frequency of sex and don’t wait until your partner starts having more sex with you to increase your service to him or her. If you want a better marriage, you will do both. Now. The joy and satisfaction in each will grow simultaneously. Romans 12:10 says “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV) Put this into practice both inside and outside the bedroom and your marriage in guaranteed to grow.

Did You Say “Sexual Restraint?” You’re a Bigot.

When it comes to sex and sexuality, we humans certainly do get very defensive. We definitely don’t want anyone stepping on our toes when it comes to fulfilling our personal sexual desires. Yet, I think a case can be made for taking sex and sexuality a little more seriously than we want it to have to be. We humans have gone to great lengths over many generations to remove the consequences of the sex act from it. We have done so with little success for the most part. Once we removed the imminent possibility of pregnancy with the advent of the “pill” sexually transmitted disease was a quite a bit more free to have its way with us, even coming up with a new and powerful punch, HIV/AIDS. While the pill, when taken correctly, does prevent most pregnancy, it comes with its own set of side effects and possible complications. The proliferation of the condom has also done a lot to prevent disease from being passed as freely as it might have, however neither has been a panacea for unplanned pregnancy or the passage of STD. In other words, whether or not we want it to be, sex is a very serious matter and comes with very serious consequences, life and death consequences, in fact. With such consequences at stake, is it truly any wonder that we ought also to take it seriously? But the fact remains, humans tend to want to do what they want to do and they don’t want to be told any better, but that does not mean we ought not to continue to fight for a better path. I do not want to place legalistic rules, boundaries and mores around other people’s personal lives. I would far prefer to sway hearts and minds to understand why sex and sexuality ought to be viewed in a different light than our culture is currently telling us we ought to view it. There can be no doubt that both men and women have an influence upon them to view sex sexuality in certain ways. Women, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, right? If the man is allowed to be free sexually, to pursue many partners, then why too, should not the woman?

Even if you remove morality and spirituality from sex, there are still some pretty serious ramifications involved, practically speaking. Sex creates new people. I know we all know how babies are made, but I’m not sure how seriously we take this matter. In a world of casual sex, whatever happens, whatever choices are made, it is the woman who is left with these consequences. Potentially, the man can decide to leave, say he never “had sexual relations with that woman” and essentially disappear. He is free to go along his merry way with nary a consequence to bear. Not so for a woman. We’re not really gonna get away with “oh, this? It’s a beer belly. I’ll lose the weight in a few months.” We bear the very obvious consequence and then must bear the responsibility of choosing what best to do with this brand new human being. It’s a person. That is a very serious matter. Additionally, sex transmits a number of diseases. Some of them present sooner than others, but they are able to hide within the woman’s body in a way that they cannot in a man’s. They also often present similar symptoms to other non-STD complications of being a woman.  Logically, this may be the very reason why the grip of sexual mores was historically held more tightly over women than over men. I’m not saying that it SHOULD have been that way; I’m simply saying that it is one practical explanation.

Consider the following from statistics from the CDC*:

·        STDs affect males and females of all backgrounds and economic levels. However, nearly two-thirds of all STDs occur in people younger than age 25.

·        STDs are on the rise, possibly due to more sexually active people who have multiple sex partners during their lives.

·        Almost one in five adolescents (19 percent) of adolescents in grades 9 to 12 has had four or more sexual partners.

·        Many STDs initially cause no symptoms. In addition, many STD symptoms may be confused with those of other diseases not transmitted through sexual contact – especially in females. Even symptom-less STDs can be contagious.

·        Females suffer more frequent and severe symptoms from STDs. Consider the following:

·        Some STDs can spread into the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to both infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

·        STDs in females also may be associated with cervical cancer.

·        STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before or during birth. Some infections of the newborn may be successfully treated, but others may cause a baby to be permanently disabled or even die.

Is it possible that we have bought a lie, lock, stock and barrel? This great lie creates a great scenario under which men, having already historically already had the upper hand in access to whatever sexual desires in which they cared to partake, have as much or even greater access to that sexual freedom and less responsibility to the consequences. In fact, we women sometimes even glory in our ability to make a baby with some dude and then be left behind to deal with consequences, because it shows how tough we are, how much better we are than they. For the most part, the pendulum regarding mores on sexual behavior has swung between two extremes: sex is dirty, unsafe and forbidden or get rid of all restraint and just enjoy yourself. Neither extreme is honest nor helpful. Both approaches lead to much harm, rampant disease, unwanted pregnancy, prevalent abortion and damaged lives. What I lament is that when given the opportunity to level the playing field during the women’s liberation movement, rather than demanding better behavior and greater responsibility from our male counterparts, we chose to throw off restraint in an ill-advised attempt to show we could be just like them and have sex with whoever and not care. We decided to show that we could be just like men. What has this done for us? Are our lives really improved because of the proliferation of sexual freedom? It is as though we equate the idea of sexual freedom with ultimate happiness. And if I say to you that you should practice restraint in your sexuality then I am a brutal lawmaker, forcing you to bear the burden of outmoded religious and moral expectations from a less intellectually evolved, less enlightened time. What it really boils down to is an almost childlike tantrum in which societally we squeeze shut our eyes, clench our fists and scream “You’re not the boss of me!” Twentieth century author and philosopher, Aldous Huxley, eloquently expressed it this way:

“For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom…” Ends and Means (pg. 273)

“The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.” Ends and Means (pg. 272)

I seriously, philosophically, morally, intellectually and in all other ways question the notion that doing whatever I want sexually or otherwise really make a happier, healthier person or a happier, healthier, more satisfied, peaceful society. Some say it is the feeling of restraint via religious and moral codes which brings the unhappiness, but, really, our society has freed itself more and more throughout twentieth century (as have humans everywhere periodically throughout history) of moral restraint. How is our society doing when it comes to the feeling of happiness and satisfaction with life? Not so great. Case in point, we are an extremely medicated society, relying on many different drugs to solve emotional issues, many of which, if we’re honest, were caused by some sort of sexual abuse, betrayal or dysfunction. (Sidebar, I advocate appropriate treatment and medication for emotional and psychological issues). But you may think that here I stand with my outmoded morality trying to push it on society, and don’t I care about people’s feelings? Let’s get something straight. When we talk about feelings here, what we really mean, but don’t want to admit is impulse. I want you, god, the universe, society or whomever, to let me alone to be led by impulses, especially sexually. Fine, we mostly can all agree that if I have an impulse to punch an idiot clerk at the checkout stand in the face, I probably ought to check it. If I have an impulse to stab said idiot, I defiantly ought to check it. If I have the impulse to take your stuff, or stuff from the store, I ought to check it. But the line gets very blurred when it comes to sexual impulse. We want to be allowed to follow our own sexual impulses, but we know there should be some kind of lines as to which sexual impulse one ought to follow and which we shouldn’t. But the real point is, that many of the sexual “feelings” we want to be free to follow have very little to do with higher human emotion and a lot to do with impulse.

 Yeah, we have more drugs and treatments to free us from the consequences emotionally and physically from our behavior, but they only mask the deeper internal issues which come from the society which tells us we should be able to do whatever we want sexually. We still, in spite of scientific and medical advances, have rampant fatherlessness, overcrowded prisons (most, not ALL, most in prison will tell you they grew up fatherless), drug abuse, unwanted pregnancy, prolific abortion, prolific STDs, rampant emotional problems. And by the way, women, supposedly sexually free are now more objectified than ever, with a porn industry worth billions and a constant barrage of media images setting standards of perfection very few women can ever attain. Sexual freedom didn’t buy us happiness after all.

Just because we’ve been historically bad at staying the course sexually speaking doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and join the fray thinking, “everyone’s gonna do it anyway.” We all know that what is good for us isn’t always what’s popular or accepted. Which is why I have chosen to teach my children that abstinence until marriage is the best goal for them sexually speaking. This is not the unloving, rigid approach that many would perceive it to be. What I want for my children is the ideal, set forth in the book of the Bible, The Song of Solomon, in which the married couple enjoys a robust, clearly exciting and satisfying sex life. The book is filled with some very sexually explicit metaphors about sexual pleasure. I want them to have this. I want my daughter to be the apple of her husband’s eye. I want her to know that her body is never weighed against another’s and thus to be free of the fear that it doesn’t measure up. I want my sons to be able to be fully satisfied with their married partners, because they employed the self-restraint required and waited for her and all that she brings to the marriage bed is more than enough because it’s not compared against dozens of other experiences and unrealistic standards for his wife’s appearance. I want for them safety, knowing that with their sexual partner, they are safe from the harm of sexually transmitted disease. I want my grandchildren to have a mom and dad that love each other and have proved to one another that each can be trusted because they had the self-restraint to wait until marriage. If a young man or young woman had the self-control a patience to wait until marriage does this not build a case that they can practice the same self-control within the marriage and stay faithful when life requires it? Isn’t having someone in your life that you can completely trust and who will stick with you through the trials of life and be a partner to you and a witness of all your triumphs and all your tragedies, both public and private a great deal of what marriage is about?  That is what I want for my children. It’s not about the rules. It really, really isn’t. I teach my kids Christian sexual purity from a parent’s heart. I believe that I have a heavenly parent who asks sexual purity of me because He wants the same thing, from a Father’s heart. The rules aren’t about the rules for Him. The rules are about the His kids. You may think I believe in a fairy tale. If you do, then that’s alright with me, but either way, I still believe that sexual exclusiveness, morally, spiritually, emotionally, practically, medically and societally is a better way. Admittedly, there is a great divide between what Christians say they believe about sexuality, what they actually practice and what the culture says about sexuality. If we are honest, professing Christians bear a great likeness in practice to our non-professing counterparts. At one time, our culture had far stricter standards on sexual practice, in theory, at least. Humans have never been fantastic at practicing self-restraint when it comes to sexuality and that’s why the “world’s oldest profession” is, well, the world’s oldest profession. I, myself did not practice self-restraint, however, I do not stop striving for a better way just because we haven’t been good at practicing a better way up until now. At any rate, the “kids will do it anyway” does not ring true. Nor should it be what drives what I teach about anything. Parents who thoughtfully teach their children about sex, sexuality and the consequences of engaging in sexual activity can and do actually influence their children to postpone sex either longer than their average peer or until marriage. And YES, some, albeit few at the moment, since it is not encouraged societally, do choose to wait until marriage. There’s a lot of stuff that’s fun, but comes with serious risks and consequences and I’m going to teach my kids about those consequences and teach them to avoid them. Narcotic drugs make you feel good, but they come with a consequence, and not just because they are illegal. It’s called addiction. I don’t want my children enslaved by the consequences of their choices so I’m going to tell them that they were born with the ability to think and to choose and that just because “everyone’s doing it” that does not mean your own personal brain has been removed from your head and that you have no ability to practice self-control, so just go ahead and I’ll try to soften the consequences as much as I can. Nope. No way. I am going to teach my children that they are actually capable of not living up to the expectations of a society that tells them they will have sex anyway, they will drink to get drunk anyway, they will experiment with drugs. I’m going to tell my kids, hey, you don’t actually have to do any of that. You actually can do something else! Just because you’re a kid and it’s expected that you will rebel against every moral and standard your parents taught you, you don’t have to. You can think for yourself and make a different choice for yourself. You’re darn right that’s what I’m going to tell my kids. Maybe they will do differently. They may make some choice that I hope they avoid, but it won’t be because I taught them it was inevitable, that they had to. I guess it’ll be because they decided to. And, I’m going to love them anyway. I have taught them that they can choose because I love them in the first place.

*http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/STDs-Women-042011.pdf