Thursday, June 30, 2005

Zero Sum Game

Despite the religious slant towards the end in this article on the perils of pre-martial sex, it is still well articulated, objective and balanced overall.

Reading it I remembered what my best friend A wrote to me a while back on the subject of relationships and marriage in the context of my circumstances.

"I think the litmus test of any man in a relationship is how serious and how soon he is willing to enter into a formal arrangement i.e. matrimony. This will exhibit how sure he is of the relationship, his acceptability of your unique situation and his ability to shoulder the responsibility of a married life.

There are advantages to a formal arrangement right from the beginning. The intimacy of body and soul reached in matrimony is more long lasting and durable. When the courtship is too long with it's attendant weaker moments, marriage becomes an afterthought and more of an obligation than a thing to look forward too."

Opinions can vary radically on the subject on intimacy prior marriage and can often be the deal breaker in a relationship. The inherent common sense of testing the waters before plunging is the most used defense.

Heather Jamison has the perfect story to illustrate what it is to reclaim intimacy after pre-martial sex

When I engaged in premarital sex, I became like Farmer Tom. I didn't aim at authentic intimacy but shot in the general direction of what looked like love and thought that would be good enough. I could always paint a bull's-eye later to give the illusion that I'd struck true intimacy.

Once married, I aimed at escaping loneliness and thought painting the bull's-eye around my arrows would make me feel secure. The tendency I had refined while engaging in premarital sex, that of aiming at people to feel fulfilled, continued. Seeking to satisfy the longings of my heart through people had grown into a habit.

When I got married, I aimed at things to fulfill me, and I painted bull's-eyes around what I'd hit - a nice home, children and church involvement with Brian. With my arrows in so many bull's-eyes, I was surrounded by illusions of hitting actual intimacy.

I had relied on premarital sex to make me feel that I had an intimate relationship with Brian. But when arguments, trials and emotional detachment came between us, I no longer had premarital sex to fall back on. I saw it for the lie it really was. Even so, I was used to looking for the validation, or expression, of intimacy in tangible areas of my flesh. I turned, then, to new things in my relationship with Brian to confirm our affection for each other. They, too, didn't last - especially past the next fight or during times of mutual dissatisfaction. After many years of this, I realized that I had been looking to Brian to meet a need within me that he was not even capable of meeting.

Like A, I tend to be conservative and have had the singular misfortune of connecting only with the ultra-liberals. Needless to say it is a zero-sum game.

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