Being a Christian do we still see intimate relationships the same way that the secular world likes to romanticise them?
Being a Christian… A Christ follower and devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’ve fancied myself a hopeless romantic… more in theory than in practise. I haven’t been great in the few relationships that I have been involved in but I have always been enamoured with the idea of a fully working relationship where the couple in question are full of passion and indulgence for one another.
When I was younger and I would feel vulnerable, the first thing I did was look for a good story with the themes of what was making me uncomfortable. Example: when my parents separated (for the last time) I was at Uni and instead of going to class, I hid in my room and read story after story which illustrated happy families and overcoming adultery. That was almost a decade ago and there have been other instances but only recently did I understand and acknowledge that by doing so, I was falling into a limiting habit of self preservation, that narrowed my life experience.
The need to read those stories now has decreased both because I am so busy and because I have grown up enough to pick up on the signs to realise when I am about to go into hiding so that I can stop.
I wasn’t brought up in a loving home, strictly speaking about my parent’s relationship. It was a functional and standard home but it wasn’t a romantic one. My father was always away travelling for work and my mother ruled home much like a business and never seemed to need anyone. They married out of some sense of duty but were never in love. My brothers and I had happy childhoods and we were provided for, however, we didn’t have a fundamental understanding of a family structure, which, not taking away from my parents and their efforts, makes for a very confusing understanding on how to approach a lasting and intimate relationship as an adult.
I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home either; I wasn’t brought up in a religious setting of any kind, despite being called Catholic and attending a Nun’s school. I knew some areas and ideas about my faith – the one I cling to now because I wouldn’t know who I am if I’m not in Jesus – yet I feel woefully inadequate and unprepared for life even now and completely blank about what being a Christian sometimes means.
Still, the question keeps coming to mind.
When I was fifteen my mother told me to use condoms during sex – although it was the furthest thing from my mind and in fact, it felt a little like a slap to the face as other mothers were telling their daughters not to have sex. I suppose I was a late bloomer and most of my interest, at that age, lay in books and hiding in my room.
I didn’t actually have sex until I was twenty-two years old and that happened a little by accident… kind of when you get into a situation willingly without knowing the full consequences, then you don’t know how to get out of it and really that lightbulb in your mind pings too late. It wasn’t anything particularly special and I didn’t put a lot of thought into it after that.
Some time later I had sex with a boyfriend because, well, we were in a relationship and that’s what you do, right…? He had been cheating on me so that was the end of that.
There’s been hit and misses with casual friends. Times where we could have done the deed if either party was sober enough to perform. Truly, chastity and virginity has had little meaning in my life. I was sexualised from a young age and although it wasn’t necessarily physical all the time, I have taken a lot of stock in verbal cues and body language. It’s the eyes that always get to me though.
I joined church half way through my twenties and I started to learn things and gain friends that would speak wisdom into my life and my heart but growth is such a slow and often painful process. My third physical partner was the man I thought I was going to marry but by then I was starting to get the hint. I wanted more than just verbal promises and although I was no virgin, neither was I wholly experienced in the pleasures of the flesh – or experienced in healthy relationships by the looks of it.
Half the time I feel like I need that dreaded “birds and the bees” talk so that I can find some equilibrium in my life.
So what is common sense to most Christians, doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me. I’m fairly simple in terms of my needs and what I think is right and wrong but the more I pay attention to things the more complicated things become. I’m definitely highly emotional, so if something doesn’t feel right, I will be out of sorts for days, if not weeks.
It seems to me that no one really talks about these thing, not with me at any rate. If they do, I have been missing those meetings. I keep wondering if perhaps there are reasons for every little instances of life and maybe we’re just misinterpreting everything. Most of what I do is based on gut feelings – that doesn’t always work out when I can’t distinguish between my gut, heart and head.
I’m pulling my thoughts from the written words that thus far I have read. People don’t live out these words so much, as far as I can tell, but they seem to be very popular when it comes to romance and relationships. They write books, Valentine cards and songs. The Movies and TV programmes are all about that illusive someone special, that someone that is your all.
So the question still remains.
As a Christian we say that God is our everything; whether it is practised or not wholly depends on the Christian.
So as Christians do we aspire to be in relationships with our significant other that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re relying on that other person to be the beginning and end of our happiness and highly expect to be the same for that person but do we look for that special someone that makes us feel like in that moment in time, in that relationship things do transcend a level of understanding that prioritises our most basic and emotional needs and predilections surpass the every day norm?
We talk about settling and not settling for less than we deserve, however, what does being in a relationship with someone you “deserve” feel or look like? What are the actual expectations? What makes one person’s encouragements better than someone else’s?
I know everyone is different but are we supposed to follow a certain checklist of traits to aspire to have in ourselves and to find in our significant other that will make life less insulting? Because the way I see it, everyone gets offended over anything and everything all the time now. Myself included.
So the question is: What are we looking for and what are we supposed to find in that one person we share such a significant amount of our lives with?