One of the unintended consequences of teaching our children to pursue holiness is that they can begin to expect or assume that everyone they come into contact with has grown up walking that same path.
Case in point - watching something die in the heart of a student who finds out that his girlfriend or her boyfriend has previous sexual experience. Mind you, this took place before this particular relationship had begun, so we're not talking about betrayal within the relationship.
But the situation is no less devastating - the dream of a first kiss or first touch dies with that confession. But my greater concern is that somehow our parenting has traded in the gospel for religion. To the degree that we not only call our children to personal holiness but (unintentionally) demand the same for their friends or even future spouses, are we discounting the transforming power of grace?
Is the young woman who has been changed by the gospel, leading her to confess to her fiancee that she has a sexual history - is she now damaged goods, suffering from evangelical leprosy, unfit to be loved by someone who grew up dreaming of a virginal bride? Can any good Christian girl stay together with a guy who confesses that he struggles with porn or same-sex attraction?
They also profile the Samson Society which is doing some very good work in providing authentic relationships for men in a group environment.
I'd say the statistics in the article are conservative and you might quibble over some of the explanations and solutions, but it's becoming increasingly impossible to sweep this under the rug in churches. So how do we handle this without making assumptions about people and how do we discuss something personal in a public forum?
I ran across this post by Lauren Chandler, whose husband Matt is the lead pastor at The Village Church in Dallas. Simply put, it is the story of many people and the threat that their goodness poses to relationships with other people. My guess is that more than a few of us were 'the good kid' and while we grew up thinking that the problem was 'being bad', Lauren's post reminds us that our goodness can ruin us as well.
We had issues, just like every other couple. It was the same argument,
the same frustration, the same disappointment, the same resolutions
over and over again. It was insanity. Everything would be going along
swimmingly for about a month and then something would set it off. We
would be thrown into the same whirlpool, trying to cling to some common
ground. Eventually, Matt grabbed a life line. He started going to
counseling to deal with his hurts and hang-ups. I, on the other hand,
continued to swirl round and round in disappointment in myself and in
my resolution to "get my act together" and "be the wife I should be."
just needed to read the Bible more. I just needed to commit to think of
and serve Matt selflessly. I just needed to anticipate his needs. I
Fellas, I'm ripping this off of The Family Room blog out of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md. As we work to live out Christ-centered, gospel-saturated marriages, here are a few questions for you to work into conversations with your girl:
What circumstances are challenging or troubling you right now?
What decisions that need to be made are most weighing on you?
How are you currently experiencing temptation? This week? In this season?
Are you more aware of your sin or how Christ is at work in you?
In what ways do you most need my leadership?
Where do you need me to provide more spiritual direction/nurture?
What passage of scripture would you like us to meditate on together? As a family? (Guys, let’s make sure we know why!)
How can I help you set priorities?
In what area do we need to be more unified?
Do you know where I most need your help/input
Now you might want to word some of these differently, but the main thing is taking time to be intentional and to give your wife the gift of uninterrupted time.