I've been studying lately about the properly place of sex in a healthy marriage and the more I study, the more I realize that our culture has SO many myths about sex that are just plain untrue, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the field of infidelilty! There is tons of ... well BALONEY... portrayed in the movies, on TV, in our advertising and even in our legal system that is just not true! So today I wanted to write about "What is the truth about sex and infidelity?"
The first myth I want to tackle is the place of sex. These days almost everyone, Christian and non-christian alike, views sex as a physical experience only. Yes, it can release tension. Yes it is a physical response our bodies have to certain stimulation. Yes, it is involves our senses and extreme pleasure. But Christian men are being bombarded from the youngest ages with images of "the Barbi doll" woman and told that they should control their lusts, and Christian woman are being taught that sex is siinful and nasty, and that if they were really "good Christians" they would tolerate it for the sake of having children. It's sad to say that I have personally witnessed young ladies being taught to use their femininity and sexuality to catch a young man, and once they are married, to use it to control him and make him jump through hoops! Meanwhile she lets herself go and says, "How shallow is he to want to be attracted to me! If he were a good Christian, he would love me for who I am!"
Sex was instituted by God. He created Adam and Eve, and He said, "This is GOOD!" so He specifically gave us this gift to enjoy. But like many of His gifts, He told us that there is a proper time and place for sex, and that is within the confines of a committed, covenant marriage between a husband and a wife. Any other use of the gift taints it and introduces an element of sin into the gift. For example, God created grapes and they are good. Grapes can be made into wine and even that is good. He has told us when to drink wine (Ecclesiastes 10:19 says "A feast is made for laughter,wine makes life merry...") and when not to (there are several examples of even a patriarch getting so drunk that he acted immorally). So it's not the grapes or the wine that's the sin--it's using the gift outside of proper usage and to excess. That's also how we come up with a lot of the sexual wrongdoing today--using a gift God created for marriage outside of it's proper usage (by HIS definition) and/or to excess.
So myth #1--Godly Sex is not sinful. God has given us the gift of sexual pleasure to enjoy within the boundary of a committed, covenant marriage between a man and a woman.
From that one myth, let's cover two or three that are related:
Myth #2--Godly Sex is not between several partners. Your sexuality is reserved for the ONE spouse you will be marrying. All other variants--bigamy, polygamy or polyamory, infidelity/adultery, swinging or open marriages, lusting after others, being controlled by lust, viewing pornography for lust--are outside of the gift God gave us to enjoy, and that's why it gets so messed up!
Myth #3--Godly Sex is not outside of marriage. Your sexuality is reserved for the ONE person with whom you will be entering into a lifelong covenant. The covenant is between you and your spouse and God is the third party to the covenant. And when two people are in a relationship that is THAT committed, then they have the gift of knowing each other intimately in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Knowing and being known--physically--is pleasurable to our senses, but that is reserved for marriage. If you can not control yourself before marriage--what security does your spouse have that you'll now miraculously be able to control yourself after marriage?
Myth #3--Godly Sex is not between two men or two women. I am not saying this to debate the whole concept of homosexuality or gay marriage or any of that. I personally wish that they'd take heterosexual marriage away from government and the IRS too! But that's just me. Anyway I look at it like this: "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ~Romans 3:23. Godly Sex is reserved for the ONE person with whom you will be entering into a lifelong covenant marriage, and a godly covenant marriage is between a man and a woman. Now before we became believing Christians, maybe we were alcoholics, or doing drugs, or greedy, or vain, or had no idea how to manager our anger. Maybe we lived a life of lust, or we were jealous, or lazy. When we become believers I John 1:9 tells us "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." But that doesn't change the fact that God made sexuality with limits: it's within the confines of a committed, covenant marriage between a husband and a wife.
Now let's address some specific myths about infidelity.
HUGE INFIDELITY MYTH #1--Adultery is NOT a Love Story!
I could go on and on about this myth, but let's first look at just a few of the lies we've been told by Hollywood. In movies like "Bridges of Madison County" or "The English Patient" -- or TV shows like "Sex in the City" and "Desperate Housewives" unfaithfulness is depicted as glamorous, exciting, passionate and fulfilling. From these kinds of shows, many of the myths about infidelity are perpetuated. Let's go over a few!
Infidelity Myth #2--Adultery is about hot, passionate sex (or not getting enough sex). Infidelity experts across the spectrum (myself included) all agree that this is not the case. Experts Agree: Cheating is not About Sex. What happens is that both spouses stop doing the things that make the flame of love blaze, and simultaneously they start doing things that douse the flame (or extinguish it). When this happens, they are vulnerable and along comes someone who's looking... Because we have it so ingrained that Love=Sex, most affair partners do gradually go from having feelings for each other to having sex, but it is EXTREMELY rare for a man or woman to sit down and say "You know, I just am not getting the kind of sex I like. I think I'll cheat." It's usually the culmination of several things--yelling, blaming, disrespect and finally rejection--and then finding someone else who doesn't yell, blame, or reject and who treats them with respect.
Myth #3--Being unfaithful makes you happy. Have you ever had a friend either involved in an affair or a friend whose spouse was having an affair? The loyal spouse cries, hurts, is miserable and the very person who is supposed to love them is the one doing the hurting! The children are abandoned, angry, and act out! The disloyal spouse cries, is confused, often loses their job because they can't concentrate at work, and ends up living with another person in a small apartment barely above the poverty level. Does that sound like "happiness" to you? That's because happiness does not come from some other person (like your spouse or the Other Person) making you happy; happiness is a choice YOU make and it comes from the Lord! Deuteronomy 5:33 says “Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess" and John 13:17 says “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Myth #4--The affair partners are "in love." Nope. An easy read of I Corinthians 13 tells us many of the attributes of Godly love: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Now think of the two people committing adultery. Are they patient? Or do they want to RUSH a divorce so their relationship looks more legitimate? Are they kind? Or are they tearing up *two* families--tearing about two sets of grandparents from their grandkids--hurting others and not caring? Are they content with what they have or do they envy "other couples who look so happy" and say stuff like "Don't I deserve to be happy too"? Do they build up others (like their spouse) or do they boast about *this* or *that* showing off how they are "meant to be"? Are they humble and able to admit they made a mistake, or are they too proud to admit it even when it's staring them in the face and it's obvious to everyone? Do they honor those to whom it is due (their spouse, their pastor, their parents), or do they tear people down and rebel against everyone? Are they seeking what's best for their spouse or even for their affair partner, or are they selfishly seeking what's best for THEM and what THEY WANT...despite who it hurts? I think we could go on with this but I bet you get the picture!
- New Title Vows to Make Marriage an Essential Part of Readers' Lives (prweb.com)
- Why Marriage Can't Be Anything Other than What It Is (deaconforlife.blogspot.com)
- 10 Christian Intimacy Tips (mademan.com)