Interesting day: Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of marriage to my best friend. (Steve: “How did this happen?!” — Bette: “One day at a time”). However, Bette was not feeling well, so we postponed the “celebration” to June 6th (quiet dinner in a corner booth at one of our favorite restaurants). This series of days in early June is bittersweet in many ways — my father’s only trip to Europe was via Omaha Beach, and D-Day has always been a solemn date to me (and many others, of course). My parents’ wedding occurred on June 8, the year following the end of WW2. Had he lived another 15 months, this would have been their 70th anniversary. Verily, nothing in this fallen world is truly “permanent.” I am content to be “in the moment.”
I don’t know the author but this woman is really on to something very important. as the original disclaimer says, Don’t read the post if you are easily offended or blush when someone says “sex.” because it says sex like 100 times.
As I figured, the last post has gotten a ton of traffic. I’m praying that it is helpful and healing to many who read it, offering the kind of wisdom, hard-bought in my case, to be heeded for those facing decisions about their sexuality and singleness.
Along with the ton of traffic, I’ve gotten some really good feedback from folks who had some questions and a little bit of push back. I more than welcome it. In fact, I love it. I firmly believe that individual experience is unique and should be treated as special, that my experience is not going to be the same as yours and vice versa. I also always want to be open to critique and questions from sincere and seeking people who want an honest dialogue about important issues like sexuality.
Two things I have to point out that I didn’t do for multiple reasons…
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A different perspective on a vital topic — please be sure to read the last paragraph!
[Editor’s Note: Don’t read the post if you are easily offended or blush when someone says “sex.” because it says sex like 100 times.]
Some time ago, a post on Huffington Post’s blog gave a list of how to know you are sexually compatible. It was from the standpoint of a single male who decided that you HAD TO have sex before you committed to the person because that was the only way to know for sure this was the “right one” for you. A few days later, The Gospel Coalition posted a reply of sorts by another single male who explained the party line on why you wait until marriage to have sex and he did a fine job of defining sex in terms of God’s design for a married couple.
But as a single woman up until the age of 39, and far far far from a virgin, I…
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Yet you say, Wherefore? Because Jehovah has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion… Malachi 2:14
The Hebrew word for “companion” in this passage is only used here in the Old Testament, and is feminine. It makes sense then, that this is a one-of-a-kind companion to the man, which should make them special to each another.
The prophet obviously speaks to older men who were “dealing treacherously” with the women they had married young, trading them in on a new model, as we often say nowadays. They had forgotten the covenant they made when they were younger to be a companion, not just for awhile, but for life. Men are not the only ones who need this reminder. So you will be delivered from… the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; Proverbs 2:16-17.
Since we cannot look to other uses of the word in scripture, it might be helpful to examine the English word the translators chose. Originally it derived from “someone to share bread with.” It speaks of a closeness beyond simple acquaintance. When people put their feet under the same table, they learn far more about each other than they ever will with a handshake in the foyer. For a man and woman to share a meal, the assumption is intimacy. What do you think of a couple you see eating together in a restaurant? Either they are married or dating.
The intimacy of a marriage, of course, goes far beyond eating together. When I see a man whose tie is askew or whose collar is turned up, I tell his wife. I would never put my hands on another woman’s husband in quite that way. In the same manner, Keith and I eat off one another’s plates and share drinks, we brush lint off one another, and get in one another’s personal space without a second thought. The sexual relationship, which we have already discussed (see “Cistern”), is a natural element of male-female companionship and all these small nuances are its natural byproducts. That is why married people should be careful who they spend the most time with.
God meant that this companionship begin, ideally, in youth, and continue for a lifetime. “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife…” Gen 2:24. As he reaches manhood, as she reaches womanhood, they search out a companion, make a covenant together and begin a marriage. In their “youth,” however a particular culture may define it, they learn together and grow together. They make plans and share a purpose—together. These are choices they make, not some overpowering feeling they cannot control. Choosing to be together and using that time to best effect makes the relationship more and more intimate as the years go by. But just as the myth with children, “quality time” does not happen if a quantity of time is not being spent at it. Anything that lessens companionship, in both quality and quantity, is a danger to the relationship.
Dating couples need to be talking about these things early on. If you cannot agree on life goals, if you do not share priorities, if you become bored in one another’s company, maybe this is not the ideal companion for you. Stop now before you get in so deep you feel unable to get out. It will only make the hurt worse to continue in something that will have no good end. You are talking about a lifetime decision here, one that will affect you as no other will, one that can even determine your eternity.
It is interesting that Barnes defines “companion” as “another self.” While some time alone can be re-invigorating to a marriage, it should always leave one with a sense that something is missing. Couples who make it a habit to be away from one another are lessening that sense of belonging. “But we’ve grown apart,” some will say to excuse divorce, condemning themselves in the process. The whole point of the relationship is togetherness. Do we think this happens by magic? It is my responsibility to make sure we grow closer together, not further apart. That does not mean that we must share every single interest, but we should share the things that matter the most.
When you’ve started out young and made it together through the various trials of life, the relationship grows stronger, deeper, and sweeter. Knowing there is always someone you can count on, that any little tiff will soon be over and all will be right again, gives you a sense of security that will see you through the toughest times, and that includes the time when this lifetime relationship is broken by death. To hear my mother say to my father just moments before he died, “Wait for me at the gate. I’ll be there soon,” was something I will cherish till my time comes to say the same words. That is what companionship is all about.
From those first baby steps as a brand new person—“one flesh”—to the maturity of an interdependent couple who have seen the both the best and the worst of each other, who have helped each other, supported each other, lived together, worked together, laughed together and cried together—a married couple should cling to one another and no one else in this relationship, under the loving watch of the Father who designed it.
And God said, It is not good for man to be alone… Gen 2:18.
Excerpts from “Wait For Me”
The Boss (Bruce Springsteen), 1992
Sung at the wedding of Lindsay and David Mast, 2001
Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me
Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me