Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So. Much. Better.

Picture Linsey took last night

The innocence I lost on my honeymoon had more to do with naïvety than virginity.

I was probably 17 when my family was walking to Ralphs – which is strange because we never took walks – and my dad said “If you have sex with Linsey before marriage I'll disown you.” It was a joke, a clumsy attempt at a man-to-man talk, but ominous all the same. I guess I listened. Linsey and I did what good Christian teens do: listened for footsteps in the hall while we danced on the edge of the genital sex chasm. You know...everything but.

Those years are a blur of youth group meetings about staying pure, books about God's plan for sex, giant teen conferences with famous speakers – all saying the same thing: If you wait, it'll be so much better. And I really have to give them some credit. It wasn't “if you give in to lust, you're a sinner.” I mean, yeah, that message was there, but the emphasis was always on the promises of God's plan for sex. If you can just wait for marriage, it will be so much better.

Josh McDowell...Tony Campolo...Jim Burns...James Dobson...Charlie Shedd...
All the same, all the time: If you just wait for marriage, if you follow God's plan, sex will be

Always the intoxicating slippery slope, the guilt, the swearing to change. But we held the line 'til the honeymoon, which was kind of a nightmare, and it was pretty much downhill from there. Worse before it got better. The gurus never talked about that.

They never talked about incest survivors (which is strange, because it seems like most marriages have one.) They didn't talk about sexual aversion or sexual self-loathing. Sometimes I think: maybe they didn't really have the tools. No one really talked about sex addiction back then either. We've come a long way. But then...they lived in the real world didn't they? They had to struggle in their marriages too, right? Why didn't they give some indication that everyone, at some point along the way, needs help?

Everyone needs help. If there's one thing I'm trying to teach my kids, it's this truth. We're all broken. Along the way, we all get lost sometimes. Practice the words. Say them: “I'm hurting, I'm confused, I need some help.” No one makes it on their own.

Outside my window is Morro rock. The sunsets over the ocean have been breathtaking. We've had beaches all to ourselves and eaten fresh peaches from the farmer's market. But I ache inside. This is where we honeymooned, where I lost my innocence. No one told me what it might be like.

If you follow “God's plan”, there's no guarantee things will be good. It just doesn't work that way.