Posts Tagged marriage
This is singlehandedly one of the best essays I’ve read on a Biblical Understanding of Sexuality, Marriage, Singleness, Dating and more by Timothy Keller. Though quite long, well worth plowing through to the end.
Q: Why is the Bible so strict on prohibiting pre-marital sex? What’s the big deal?
Pastor Greg Boyd sheds some light on the Bible’s perspective on this sacredness of sex and marriage:
Today in western culture people tend to have a rather “recreational” view of sex. It’s just a pleasurable physical activity we engage in. Even people who don’t consciously believe this are influenced by it , since we’re bombarded with this message every day through movies, television shows, radio, magazines, etc. Because we’re influence by this recreational view, we have trouble understanding why the Bible makes such as big deal about this.
I want to help us see what the “big deal” is. I’ll make four points.
1) Jesus and the rest of the Bible teach that when two people engage in sexual intercourse, they become “one flesh.” Jesus says, “they are no longer two, but one” and “what God has joined together, no one should separate” (Mt 19:5-6). Intercourse clearly involves much more than two people getting physically intimate with each other. God himself is involved in creating a new “one” out of the two. This new oneness reflects the love and ecstasy of the Trinity and is the foundational covenant between humans in the Bible. The welfare of couples and of society hangs on honoring and protecting this new “one flesh” reality that God creates.
2) Paul indicates that this “one flesh” reality is created whenever two people have sexual intercourse. “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh’” (1Cor. 6:16). Even when the partners intend sex to be purely recreational – as when one has sex with a prostitute – it still creates this “one flesh” reality! Something profoundly spiritual, metaphysical and foundational is going on, even when the parties are “just having fun.” Read the rest of this entry »
A good reminder from Mike Glenn:
A recent article in the Tennessean showed that less than half of the families in Middle Tennessee were headed by the traditional father and mother. While there are a lot of factors that have brought us to this new reality, one of those factors is the increasing numbers of young adults who are choosing to live together without getting married.
For a lot of reasons, the couple doesn’t see marriage as being relevant to their relationship.
3. Sometimes they want to maintain the freedom to leave. They want to “see how things go” before they make the “big commitment.”
But people are not used cars. You can’t test drive someone’s heart. The tentative, cautious approach of living together before getting married actually destroys the very thing that holds a marriage together over the long haul.
What’s that? It’s a total commitment to the marriage by both spouses. A type of “we will be together come hell or high water” decision that rules out every choice but staying.
Only then, in response to this uninhibited commitment, does the other feel the safety to begin to explore and reveal their deepest self. This can only be down if the spouse feels totally secure in the love of the other.
Living together always has an escape clause and this “I’ll leave if I’m not happy” level of commitment means the spouse never shares their deepest selves and therefore, the relationship is never sealed at those deepest levels.
While the world may say living together makes sense, faith teaches us that love is never conditional or contractual. Authentic love responds with a reckless abandonment of unlimited commitment long before the question is asked in real life. Then and only then, do we see the tying together of two lives that survive the test of time.
• How do you need to communicate your love today
They’re going to school longer, delaying marriage and children, job-hopping and apartment-swapping. They’re also moving back home after college to save money, traveling to faraway places to work and generally taking “me” time to decide what they want their futures to be. While their baby boomer parents lament that they’ve somehow gone wrong, experts studying why these kids aren’t more like their parents’ generation say there’s a clear explanation: It takes longer to grow up these days.
-Tim Dillon, USA Today
I want to spend a couple posts highlighting the broader societal trends related to “prolonged adolescence” . Today I want to focus on teenage sex drive and the delay of marriage.
As a senior high youth pastor I address the topic of teenage sexuality regularly. I know the statistics regarding teenage sexual activity. I also know God’s design is for sexual intimacy to be reserved for marriage. My challenge is to communicate God’s beautiful design to a room full of hormone-crazed teens whose primary decision-making organ right now is not necessarily the one above their neck! While I am committed to teaching our teens to follow God’s plan for sexual intimacy and imploring them to “wait for marriage”, I am also aware that certain societal trends continue to make this fight for “sexual purity” more and more difficult. Let me explain one giant, rather obvious societal shift that has taken place over the centuries.
When it comes to sexual decision-making we have at least three forces exerting their influence on our readiness: physiology, society, and morality. Physiologically speaking our bodies are physically ready for sexual following puberty. Just ask your 9th grade Health teacher for details. Most girls and boys reach puberty in their early teens. You don’t have to be an secular evolutionist to understand that human beings develop strong, natural, sexual urges that begin to exert a strong influence over us during adolescence. For the most part, the age and process of human physiological development has remained quite constant throughout the centuries.
What has changed quite drastically is the age that that young couples in society tend to settle down, get married and begin having children. Without citing hard data, my guess would be that in the last 50 years 30 has become the new 20 as far as when many couples are saying their vows. In more ancient times and in less complex societies such as the time of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, girls were typically given away in marriage in their early teens. For example, scholars generally describe a young 14-year old Mary betrothed to Joseph. Men were often a bit older than their bride — old enough to provide for his new bride and children that would soon follow — but still much younger than newly wed men today.
Finally, the third factor influencing decisions to refrain or engage in sexual activity is one’s morality — in this case one’s commitment to biblical teaching. The main observation I want to point out today is this: Men and women physically hit their sexual prime in their late teens and early twenties, and yet they are not getting married until later and later. This means that guys and girls whose God-given sex drive is in high gear by age 16 and yet are not getting married until nearly 30 years of age are in for one long, tough 14 or so year battle against their strong sexual urges! This brings a whole new meaning to the polite pastorally admonition: “Just wait until marriage.” For the 15 year old in the room another 15 years is quite literally “a lifetime.”
Now, compare this to earlier Bible times when men and women married in their teens (when their sex-drive is at full force), began having children with the man often taking over the family trade where he’s been an apprentice since age 12 and the wife taking on the traditional role of child rearing and household management. Whatever other judgments we may have about this older way of life, it does seem fair to say that such a society would have made “saving oneself for marriage” much easier than it is today.
I am not suggesting or arguing anything here. I am just highlighting an interesting societal shift over the centuries and the implications for remaining faithful to God’s design for sexual purity — i.e., waiting for marriage. What do you think? Does our society set us up for failure when it comes waiting until marriage for sex? How do youth workers address this reality? Do we need provide our young people more counsel and wisdom than just repeating the mantra: “Just wait”?