Thursday, July 28, 2011
Sex Is a Small Part of Life
We had a wonderful evening planned. Just my wife and I. Our three children were with my brother-in-law. We had a room at a spa all to ourselves. It was just fantastic. We hardly ever get a chance to be alone without our kids. And here was this beautifully decorated room with a chilled bottle of champagne, fresh flowers, and a Jacuzzi. A Jacuzzi and no kids, Wow! We had dreamed for weeks of this romantic evening in a spa famous for its mineral springs. My brother-in-law called it his favorite get away spot. We filled up the Jacuzzi, got in ready to spend some quality alone time. And then I got light headed. I had trouble breathing and I was starting to pass out. I got out of the tub and ended up sleeping our romantic night away. I had a bad reaction to the sulfur fumes from the hot springs. The spa was famous for its mineral springs – and it nearly killed me.
Oh well, so much for l’amore. Next time we’ll have to find a spa that uses good old fashioned chlorinated water. I hope there is a next time and I hope it won’t be too long in coming. Every couple in love dreams of romantic evenings alone. Romance and sex are wonderful. But our lives are complicated. We are busy with work, family and other stuff. There really isn’t a lot of time for romance – and that’s fine with us. We make time for intimate moments – but our relationship is so much richer than any single component. But one wouldn’t think that could be the case by looking at the culture around us.
For example, when I turn on the TV I am bombarded with suggestive and blatant sexual content. If I were to judge our culture just from what I see on the tube I would say that Americans are consumed by sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One TV commercial I’ll never forget is the sexy, scantily clad blond haired woman selling cough drops. She was yodeling a Germanic tune and wearing almost nothing. It sure wasn’t her voice they wanted me to notice. Sex and cough drops – you’ve got to be kidding me. I sure can’t figure out what one has to do with the other, but someone with a lot of money and power figured out that if you put together a great pair of legs and a bag of cough drops you will have a winner. All across the dial the message is clear – sex sells everything.
So I am sure it will not surprise you if I were to say that sex and sports go together. My brother-in-law gave me a subscription to Sports Illustrated as a gift. Yeah, the same brother-in-law who tried to kill me at the spa. Now, I’m not a big sports person but I take a peek at the magazine every now and again. When a big fat issue showed up one cold February day I paid a lot of attention to it. I’m talking about the swimsuit issue. The first time it came to the house it disappeared immediately. I searched all over the house for it. I found it in my sixteen year old son’s room under the mattress. He was hiding it like it was pornography. Actually it’s pretty darn close to being pornography. I mean, why do they call it a swimsuit issue? They show as little swimsuit as possible. I remember one picture - they had a single string going down a girl’s back. And they called that a swimsuit? Obviously the object is to show as much girl as possible without being labeled pornography. And I tell you they show a lot of girl. No wonder it’s the biggest selling issue Sports Illustrated puts out.
And I’m sure that you are aware of the volume of money that flows into the sex industry? I am aware even though I don’t want to be. I cannot express the horror I felt when I first found a pornographic ad in my email box. What if my little girl had seen this garbage? What if my son had gotten to this before me? I wanted to jump through the tube, fly through the cables come out the other end and strangle the guy responsible for this junk. If someone is sending this filth out to millions of people in cyberspace then there must be more than a few people who want to see it. And of course they are willing to pay for it. Pornographic web sites continue to grow exponentially. Sex sells everything – including sex.
I can’t help but wonder why there is so much fuss over sex. Why do people seem to be so consumed by it? It’s fun but there is so much more to life than just this one activity. My wife and I have a wonderful relationship and sex is only a small part of it. I don’t have to be having a ‘good time’ every day to be happy. I love to spend time with my spouse. I love to sit and talk with her out on the deck. I love to watch a movie with her. I love to go to the mall together and shop. I love to go to a nice outside garden and just walk. I love my whole life with my wife including the ins and outs, the ups, and the downs. Our life together is not dependent upon what happens or doesn’t happen in bed. The rest of the things we do together are just as good. Sex is just a small part of the wonderful collage of moments that add up to a great marriage. I wish that more people would see life the way Betsy and I see it. I think they would be happier.
People would certainly be happier if they realized what the sexiest aspect of life really is – a committed relationship. Our marriage is based upon mutual love and respect. Our lives revolve around the sensitive expression of feelings and a respectful consideration for those feelings. Love and respect require open friendly communications. A loving relationship requires sensitivity to the feelings of others. You know the old saying; love given out gets love in return. A temporary surge of emotions will never replace the satisfaction of being truly loved for who you are. Indulging in fantasy will never take the place of a person standing right in front of you who says, “I care about you”. Our successful relationship is much more wonderful than temporary hook-ups or purchased thrills.
And most important, the durability of our relationship is because of selfless sacrificial living. We have a strong commitment to each other and a willingness to sacrifice. If something was to happen to my wife and we couldn’t have sex anymore, we would still remain together. And that is because our relationship is not built upon the sandy foundation of intense emotions but upon the rock of unselfish love. Marriage demands the willingness to give up something for others. A selfish life destroys relationships. Our love creates an equal partnership in which no one person dominates and no one aspect controls. And our relationship is anchored by our faith in God, who gave us the ultimate example of selfless love.
At some point Betsy and I will get a chance to be alone again. Hopefully it will be without any weird fumes coming from the plumbing. In the meantime we will be together with our friends, our family, and our love for each other. No matter what we will be together and that is what counts.
God Bless You,
Pastor Bill Whitehead