I have a file where I draft blog post ideas. A couple of days ago I was digging deep into it, looking at things I had shelved or never finished, and against my better judgement, I decided to edit (only slightly) and revive this. For context, it may be helpful to read Sex
Being single, I don’t know, but have speculated based on some honest conversations that the early part of a marriage is a lot of sex and fights. Maybe there’s a valid point here. If a person shows their best face during dating, and their worst face to their family and ordinary acquaintances, then perhaps the ecstasy and conflict wave of early marriage is a settling process, as the one courted, the one for whom the best face was worn, becomes family and ordinary acquaintance.
Also, when I say ‘best face’, I don’t mean to imply that deceit was involved. I am saying that there will be a learning curve no matter what. No person can see his own soul completely and objectively in the present time. There are things about my soul that are clear today but I was blind to yesterday. There are things about my soul which I will learn tomorrow, though I am unaware of them today. If things can be so complex within the individual, then why not within a couple? Accordingly, it is to be expected that emotional and relational factors that could not have been calculated for will arise as the relationship develops. I say this because each person has a developing identity that they bring into the relationship, and, they are now coming to terms with a third identity, them together.
The antiquated euphemism for sex, “to know”, or “to know intimately”, is very fitting, for I am describing the early stages of a marriage as a rough and tumble getting-to-know process. I do want to clarify that he wasn’t writing about sex in this instance, and I have drawn this analogy on my own: when the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about prayer and worship, he said, “I will pray with my understanding…”. I believe that fights and arguments are an example of getting-to-know via understanding. Then Paul said, “I will also pray with my spirit”. Sex is analogous to this. Though a physical act outwardly, the feelings that sex and the desire for sex arouse imply, or at least mimic spirituality, even if no other reason than that they have the power to circumvent logic and understanding.
Another smart ass remark I once made had to do with marital conflict management, which is probably rooted in pop-cultural references to “make-up sex” rather than anything really credible: first you argue, then you don’t talk to each other for the rest of the day, then have crazy sex that night, and then everything’s sunny and fantastic in the morning. Following the previous analogy, there is a scripture that talks about ‘the Spirit interceding for you when you don’t know what to pray.’
Is sex merely a concession to an unavoidable animal nature, for which marriage is the spiritually approved mechanism? Or is it a type of redemption, interceding for us when we don’t know what to say to our spouse? The Christian words for marriage are commitment, sacrifice, and responsibility; stark words, stoic words, black and white words… the words of a strong soul… but that soul was made strong by things of the spirit; such a soul would do well to be humble about the source of their strength, particularly when trying to give others advice about marriage. I get that the language may be hard to come by, but to enlighten the naive single person, more complete words are in order.