Thursday, March 7, 2013

Avoiding lust while choosing a spouse

A few months ago, Lisa of the Broken Daughters blog wrote about what happens when sexual attraction is viewed negatively: how when people want to flee from sexual immorality so badly they flee from sexual attraction as well. This can lead to people choosing spouses they are not attracted to physically or sexually.

This is not something I can say I have experience with, but I don't doubt for a second it happens in purity culture. People who are passionate about living for their religion will do just about anything if it appears to be more holy or a higher standard to achieve. I do not know if any of my friends chose spouses they were not attracted to, but it is a possibility. I myself was never quite so vigilant about my sexual thoughts, so I had no practice in repressing them or fleeing from them. But I was well-disciplined in not acting on them when it came to relationships.

The Christians around me never appeared to be fleeing from sexual attraction. They flaunted it, really. By that I mean they raved about their significant others' good looks and how hard it was to stay pure before marriage, or how great it was to finally be married. They liked to emphasize how important physical attraction and sex is in a marriage. But I learned to talk the talk, too, and I know how easy it is to preach one thing while practicing another...and how hard it is to truly be honest in a Christian community that is passionate about righteous living.

When the pressure to marry young is ever present in the back of your mind, and you meet a great person who likes you and has all the qualities you're looking for in a spouse, it would be very hard to break off a relationship that seems to be going somewhere based on a lack of chemistry. Especially if you don't know what chemistry feels like, and you're not allowed to experiment to find out. So I wouldn't doubt that there are people I have known that have married someone they were not sexually attracted to.

Today, someone commented on that blog post with his story of marrying without passion, and it was heart breaking. I'm posting part of it below, but I urge you to go read the whole thing.

Long story short, I married a woman 13 years ago to whom I’m not sexually attracted, and I’ve never lusted after.
I knew it before I married her. I knew it the day I married her. I’ve known it for 13 long years in a passionless marriage.
She’s a really nice girl, and I’m devesatingly ashamed that I’ve ruined the woman she could have turned out to be… I see her as the true victim in it all… lack of passion has done that to both of us.
Warped by church teachings, I literally convinced myself that God was going to bless me with sexual attraction for her, by being obedient to marry her… like some magic wand of his would tap me on the head and “poof” …. Happily Ever After.
And, no, I’m not gay… I can sense you all wondering.
I had cold feet right up until the wedding, but had convinced myself that it was “just lack of faith.” … so I supressed it.
The night before the wedding, I got no sleep. I had no peace of mind. I don’t remember too much about that day…. and we left the reception early during the festivities… I was too tired to continue. But the full force of what I’d done hit me during the week… like a cold chill of death running down my spine… I was married… marriage is forever, and I’m unhappy…. forever … the exact opposite of what i’m supposed to be… I can’t get a divorce… divorced people go to hell in the express lane or the handbasket, or something. There may even be a reserved section in hell for divorced people, I thought… like maybe even a VIP entrance.
I felt so ashamed of myself. In a foreign country… surrounded by my new fundamentalist in-laws (still my neighbors today after all these years)… I vowed to just stuff it… all of it… just repress it and forget and go through the motions, and to never say a word to anyone. Too ashamed to admit what I’d done. Just put on a happy face… smile…. go to Church… and pray like hell.
Within two weeks I was being confronted by the father in law… something was wrong, since i was obviously not happy, not sleeping with his daughter…. emails were being sent back home to the pastors in the states… who also flew over eventually to meet me and my wife… I was ashamed, alone, and scared … I still believed that I needed to believe in the “right answer” … so I lied to them, and told them that my marriage was God’s will (besides, who wants to go to hell for divorce.) so I tried really hard to “do the right thing…” … and just stuff the negativity and the lack I was feeling….
My married life became one of fear, obligation and guilt.
Well, I don’t have to tell you, that women aren’t stupid. It’s been hard on both of us… and I didn’t become honest until several years and several children later.

1 comment:

  1. And it can be hard to know what chemistry is when you've never dated....