Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Garfunkel and Oates sing about "God's Loophole" in purity

I find this hilarious and brilliant. But be warned: NSFW for anal sex references and language.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New links on the About page

I've updated my About the blog page to include links to all the posts that tell my personal story. I wanted to make it easier for newcomers to understand who I am without having to sift through the archives.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recommended Viewing

I recently watched a documentary called I Do, I Don't about a marriage between two young people who were prominent members of a church. Their marriage ended within a year, and through interviews with the couple and members of their church, you see the different perspectives of what happened and what should happen.

I was particularly interested to hear the husband say he realized they never got to develop a personal relationship with each other because they were a public couple that was accountable to everyone else. They wanted to be above reproach, and as a result, they spent very little quality time alone together.

Even though the wife never gives specifics about the things that made her realize they had made a mistake, it was clear that their problems started before they got married. But they and the people around them ignored the warning signs. It made me think of a couple I knew in college. They were both very liked and respected in our Christian community, and everyone was happy for them when they decided to get married, except for her two closest friends. They divorced a few years later and it was rumored that he was abusive. I would guess that they were encouraged to marry by most of the people they knew, the same as the couple in this documentary. It concerns me that this might be a common phenomenon in Christian communities, where everyone assumes that the two perfect Christian kids would make a perfect couple, and the couple, in turn, feels pressure to live up to everyone's expectations.

The other documentary I came across last week is one that is not finished, but you can watch some of the interview videos and read the back story: Give Me Sex Jesus. Anyone who has ever prayed, "God, please don't let me die before I've had sex" should be able to relate to it. I know I and most of the friends I had who believed in the purity movement definitely had that concern.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When Christian guilt causes irrational decisions

Last night I had a long phone conversation with an old friend (I'll call her Emily) from bible college. She's been having marriage problems for the past year and has finally started seeing a therapist. Despite her misgivings and embarrassment over having to go to therapy, it has allowed her to look at factors in her Christian upbringing and experience in bible college that may have played a part in her current problems.

Her therapist, who attended a similar bible college for her undergrad, pointed out that the pressures to find a spouse ASAP and to do things "the right way" in those environments leads some people to choose to marry the first person they have a mutual attraction with. That is something I've assumed for a long time, but it was news to Emily. Now she's asking herself if that was what happened with her relationship. Her husband was her first serious boyfriend, they were young, and they had little other relationship experience. They met through work during her senior year of college, and were married the Christmas after she graduated.

They've been married for seven and a half years now. For as long as I've known her, last night was the first time she admitted to me that she and her husband had sex before marriage. Maybe she felt more open to sharing after I told her that I was planning to move in with my boyfriend this summer, but whatever the reason, I'm sad she didn't feel comfortable sharing that until now.

She said that since they both believed in saving sex for marriage, they rationalized what they had done by deciding they would get married. The guilt of having done it wrong pushed them to try to make it right the only way they knew how: marriage. She now wonders if the relationship could have naturally gone a different way if they didn't feel the pressures to stay "pure." Even after getting married, the guilt of having had premarital sex made her feel like sex was still wrong.

Once she left bible college and started work in a non-Christian setting, she was surprised to learn that most people thought it was crazy to get married after only knowing someone for a year. That was completely normal at bible college. But now she is faced with another normal. A lot of them in fact. It seems to have taken the breakdown of her marriage to make her question everything she was taught and to see her life from a different perspective. She now realizes how skewed her perception of reality has been due to the Christianity she grew up in.

It makes me sad for her. And sad for me. It took me until 26 to open my eyes the way she is doing now at 30, so I can relate. Even today, I still find lingering warped perceptions in my head that I need to deal with. But she is suffering worse consequences than I did, because she invested in a marriage and baby while under the veil of purity culture, while I, as a single person, escaped relatively unharmed. Being single in purity culture was its own form of suffering for me, but now I count it a blessing.