@This Time Round:
I know that we generally underscore each other’s counsel on these boards when it comes to a great many areas but that this particular topic, along with a few other major issues, is one on which we strongly hold very different views.
However, I just wanted to say that I am very glad that you took the time to raise an extremely valid point that sometimes couples who have waited until marriage to have sex do indeed experience great disappointment and frustration in this area (and perhaps many other areas) of their marriages, and that they may be shocked, stunned, confused, disappointed, upset, angry, and even devastated to discover this. I do think it’s important that people are aware of this possibility, not because I am agreeing with you that they should test the waters prior to marriage, because I definitely do not believe that, but because I think it’s very helpful if people are prepared for the possibility that they may face some disappointment when they first begin having a sexual relationship.
I know this not only because I am somewhat familiar with Kathy Lee’s story as well as that of another prominent Christian leader involving his first marriage from a similiar timeframe, and not only because I’ve had Christian friends and family in real life who have experienced this, and some of them have had friends and family who have experienced this, and because I’ve had at least one anonymous bee PM me on this topic after I commented on her thread about this issue, but also because it happened to me.
Because I married so late in life, and I had waited such a long time for God to bring the man He had chosen to be my husband into my life, I certainly had many years to dream about what married life would be like, including intimacy. Like most people in our culture, I am sure that my views on love, romance, dating, marriage, and sex were at least somewhat influenced by the rather unrealistic portrayal of romance and relationships by the media and the entertainment industry. I’m sure that, in part because of this, and, in part because of my own imagination, I had developed some rather lofty and unrealistic expectations about what married life, including intimacy, would be like. I don’t mind saying that, although I was intellectually familiar with this very real possibility, I was completely unprepared emotionally, and, I think, even spiritually, for the reality.
However, as a born-again, Spirit-filled, evangelical Christian, I believe that God’s Word is — and will always be — the final standard by which I must live my life and that it is God’s will, His purposes, and His plans that matter, not mine. His Word is clear that He will honor us if we will honor Him. His Word is filled with wonderful promises for those who obey Him. He has proven to me, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that I can have great trust and confidence in Him to do what is best and right for me, if I will surrender my will, plans, and desires to His will, even in times when choosing His way may not make any sense at all to many of those around us, and even when it is not easy.
As you know from reading many of my other posts, my DH and I had all kinds of major challenges to overcome when we made the decision to join our lives together (completely long distance relationship, commuter marriage for almost the first year, DH’s incredibly busy schedule and his working every weekend; my becoming a stepmother to multiple children and taking on the role of senior pastor’s wife; my having to leave behind my career, my friends, my church and my very full and happy life in my city and relocate to a small town in a rural area of another state, where I knew no one but my DH and his children and a few people I had met from his church, etc. etc. etc.) There were geographic adjustments, financial issues, relationship stresses, continuous schedule conflicts, and so much more. He is a night owl, and I am a morning person. We had young ‘tweens/teens with us much of the time we were able to be together, especially early on in our marriage. We had very different ideas of and expectations regarding what our life together was going to be like. And there were many, many times when one or both of us said to ourselves, and, in perhaps different words, to each other, “This is NOT what I signed up for. This is NOT what I thought it was going to be.” We were both surprised, hurt, upset, disappointed, disillusioned, and angry. There were times when we did not like each other very much at all. Obviously, this backdrop was not the ideal canvas against which to begin to paint our physical intimacy. There definitely were many, many tears — most of them mine, feelings of frustration, and feelings of loneliness and unhappiness for both of us as a result.
However, both of us were, and still are, committed to God, and both of us were, and still are, committed to our marriage and each other. Even in the most difficult and most emotionally painful of times, we knew the character of the God that we serve, we knew the character of the person we each had married, and we knew that we were going to obey God and honor the vows we had made.
Because of this, and because of the grace and power of God; and with the help of a good, Christian counselor; and thanks to the supremely wise counsel of Godly friends; and with the spritual insight gained from some wonderful, eye-opening, faith-based resources (John and Stasi Eldridge’s book, Love & War being my favorite), we have seen God at work in every area of our marriage, including our physicial relationship.
We both have had to experience new levels of surrendering to the Lord. We both have had to experience in new ways the daily “dying to self” that is so crucial to being a Christ follower. And, in the process, we have begun to live out and experience the statement that I chose to quote as part of what I said to my DH when I addressed him at our wedding, immediately prior to our taking our formal vows. It is a quotation that I first heard more than 25 years ago from Christian psychologist and author Dr. Richard Dobbins:
“Christian married love is the persistent effort on the part of two people to create for each other the circcumstances in which each can become the person God intended him or her to be, a better person than he or she could become alone.”
That is the type of marriage I wanted, and, I am so thankful to say, that is the type of marriage that I have. God is the center of our marriage, and He continues to be faithful to us in every area of our marriage, as we choose to honor and obey Him. It most definitley has not been easy, but, then again, almost everything worth having in life takes effort. God is FAITHFUL, and He does indeed bless and honor those who choose to honor him, even, and, I think, especially, in the hard times.
So, I do not disagree with many of your observations, and I think it is very helpful that you have taken time to detail them. However, where I must continue to hold a different view is in regard to some of your conclusions.
As always, I enjoy communicating with you on these boards, and I appreciate so many of your comments.