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Further Reflections on Divine Sex, Talk #2
I remember seeing a therapist while I was engaged with my now wife, plagued by the nagging question, “what if there’s someone better for me out there?”
My therapist, more a seasoned mentor with years specializing in relationships and male sexuality, listened thoughtfully and responded, “Yucan, here’s the deal. In all other decisions in our lives, we are given the chance to back out and make a different decision. Even the big decisions that in previous generations were hard to get out of, like buying a car: we can back out of them easily now! Marriage is heading that way as well. But for you, this is a decision that is unlike any other because, in you’re mind, you can’t back out.”
He would continue to describe what I’ve come to realize in a deep and personal way: we have all been deeply shaped by a world of options and easily changeable commitments, way more than we realize. And, for some of us, it prevents us from entering well into a long-term relationship, let alone marriage.
Clinical psychologist and marriage expert Dr. Scott Stanley notes that making commitments involves a choice to give up and grieve over other choices we will not be able to make. His book, The Heart of Commitment, along with the words of my therapist, have profoundly shaped me.
And so how might we begin to learn fidelity even before we commit to a lifelong marriage? Here are just two thoughts. Feel free to share some of yours!
- Ask God to begin to show you how you are shaped by the environment of options. As He does, begin to ask Him if there’s a different way to live (check out Romans 12:1-3 and how it describes the journey we face). For example, as Jesus drew me closer to him, I realized that a lot of the music I was listening to was shaping me in profound ways, and that I needed to change that up quite a bit. Let God direct you, and be ready for some significant change. Be ready for your friends to note the differences and ask you about them! But know that, if He’s guiding you, you’re headed in a good direction.
- The grief cycle has been described as involving at least 5 basic progressive phases: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and adjustment. Begin to recognize how you may be entering into a grief cycle when you are not happy with certain choices you’ve made, whether with your job, friends, place of residence, and so on. Note when you may back out of those choices (e.g.- in the anger phase). Begin to learn how to walk through the phases with the help of God and others.