A non-Christian friend recently commented to me that he just couldn’t get past Christianity’s requirement to pick one person to have sex with for the rest of your life. Still a young and fiery 25-year-old, he has no intentions to get married anytime soon, and he also has no intentions to stop having sex. Then, as so many have before him, he followed that with, “If I don’t try things out now, how will I know what I like when I do get married?”
My Experiences in the Negative
Prior to meeting Christ, I held a similar position. I intended to marry, eventually, but I thought the Christian ideal of just-one-woman was unrealistic and unnecessary. In this day, we can practice safe sex, so the health risks are minimized, and it’s a whole lot of fun to boot. As much as I could be, I was a slut, albeit a socially awkward one who didn’t have nearly as many options as I would have liked. So my lifestyle reflected my beliefs. No one had yet made a case for monogamy that held any merit.
I experienced a lot of sin’s pleasures and wages. And since all of that has passed, thanks to God, I’ve also tasted a healthy monogamous marriage.
Even after I gave my life to Christ, I resisted on this front, though I suddenly felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit when I broke God’s commands. And once I became certain of who I would marry, I still bucked. Even when I was faithful to this woman, she and I were sexually active at my insistence. I knew it was wrong, yet I pushed onward.
Then time passed, and I flirted with other women (and disaster) many times, eventually had an affair, and found more and more ways to defile the marriage bed. As Paul wrote in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do” (NIV). I was miserable from the conviction warring against my flesh, but I still did it. From pornography to wandering hands to flirtation to full-blown adultery, I experienced a lot of sin’s pleasures and wages. And since all of that has passed, thanks to God, I’ve also tasted a healthy monogamous marriage.
From the reckless abandon of my pre-salvation days to the sowing of oats (sounds so sickeningly harmless that way, doesn’t it?) during my engagement, and everything that I carried from that lifestyle into marriage, nothing holds a candle to the marvel of monogamy. I can’t say I’ve done it all, but I’ve certainly tried both ends of the spectrum, and there’s no comparison, even without the conviction of the Holy Spirit spurring me away from sin. And when speaking with my single and secular friend, I told him as much.
As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “I could never mix in the common murmur of that rising generation against monogamy… To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once… It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once.”
A Sequel in a Series
The best way I can describe it is to compare it with fantasy fiction. The Author of sex wrote it as a sequel to marriage, and it makes so much more sense in that context.
This bit of enjoyment is like the random tinkling of a wind chime as opposed to an orchestra performing the wonders of Beethoven, Bach, or Tchaikovsky.
Suppose I read Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone followed by Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Tolkien’s The Return of the King. Then, I follow them with Paolini’s Inheritance, King’s Wolves of the Calla, and Goodkind’s Faith of the Fallen. And to finish, I read Jordan’s excellent work, A Crown of Swords. I will have read books numbered one through seven, albeit from seven different series by seven different authors. and I will have read seven good books with interesting stories and enjoyable characters.
But any one of them, despite the thrills I get reading them, gains nothing from being read alone, apart from its own series. Only when read as the author intended, in the sequence the author intended, can the full marvel of the story, the characters, and the setting be appreciated.
Otherwise, here’s what I can tell. Harry Potter is a wimpy, if lucky, kid who’s never going to accomplish anything other than maybe hooking up with Hermione. This Aslan guy is important for some reason, but maybe he’s just the only talking lion in Narnia. I’m not too surprised that this Aragorn got named king, seeing as how he’s so famous as a great warrior. Murtagh seems weak, and Eragon sure seems strong. Roland can really dance the commala, and we say thankee. Richard carves a statue of some random woman, and I guess people thought it was pretty cool. And Mashadar had a big lunch.
“Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman.”
Alone, any of these plot elements sounds significant, but its meaning is stripped without the proper context. I still enjoy it, but that enjoyment is needlessly hollow, though I’ll never know it until I read the whole series as the author intended. Otherwise, this bit of enjoyment is like the random tinkling of a wind chime as opposed to an orchestra performing the wonders of Beethoven, Bach, or Tchaikovsky.
The Real Deal
The depth of monogamy’s sex makes the alternative seem petty, and why not? As Chesterton wrote, “Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman.”
The undefiled marriage bed, founded on the commitment, transparency, integrity, and love of a healthy marriage, becomes a bottomless rabbit hole of sensuality thanks to the security offered in the context of a godly marriage. Suddenly all things are available. This well runs deeper than any pittance I may find in premarital or extramarital entanglements.
Having experienced both, I desperately wish I could have done things right and not wasted intimacy on inconsequential wind chimes. I cannot undo the past, though. Perhaps I can help some other Christian couples recognize the rich goldmine available to them in an undefiled marriage bed.
And now I have the answer to the old question… If I don’t try things out now, how will I know what I like when I do get married? In short, in following God’s lead to the wife He has for me, I get everything I want and more. God created a horny wife for me, and our appetite for each other has only grown with our creative expressions of our God-ordained love.