Would you marry someone at first sight? ☆

question mark 2A door opened and a bride began her walk down the aisle.  The thing which stopped my channel surfing and glued my eyes to the TV screen was that after she looked at the groom, her eyes teared up – and her face looked incredibly distressed.  This was not a movie drama.  This was a very real wedding ceremony which is part of an “extreme social experiment” called “Married at First Sight,” a very popular show which began in Denmark which has found its way across the globe to us.  We learn in voiceovers that this bride was not in any way, shape, or form, attracted to the person she saw standing at the altar.  Not a good way to start any marriage, I’d say.

Read this description:  “Married at First Sight” is an extreme social experiment that follows six brave singles yearning for a life-long partnership as they agree to a provocative proposal:  getting legally married to a complete stranger the moment they first meet. . . The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle and see each other face-to-face, for the first time, at the altar.  Over the course of several weeks, episodes capture each couple’s journey as they go from wedding, to honeymoon, to early nesting, to the daily struggle of working on their marriage.  After several weeks together, each couple must make a decision:  do they remain together or decide to divorce?”

Of this A&E channel show, Heidi Stephens for The Chicago Tribune writes (June 3,:2014):  “I love this idea.  Not because it will lead to three beautiful, blissful unions.  It won’t, obviously.  But because it forces us to reckon with, once again, our complete and utter hypocrisy about marriage.

I have to agree with that last statement.  We live in a time when marriage is still desired – and yet shunned – because it is considered by some to be old-fashioned, out-of-date, and unnecessary.  Lip-service is given to fidelity, and yet too often, common practice is anything but faithful.  Books, TV, and movie themes so often center on someone’s affair while attempting to keep a marriage “intact.”  Internet offers 24/7 access to whatever the mind can imagine.  Yet, so many who are addicted to spending time on explicit sites are often the ones we would least expect, and they would be embarrassed if it was known.  Hypocrisy ruins a lot of lives!

Thousands of men and women signed up to be considered for “Married at First Sight.”  Many have tried over and over to find “the one,” their “soul mate.”  They have tried online dating sites and some may have met a variety of possibilities; some have not.  Biological clocks are ticking and years are passing, and that special person is not showing up.  People are grasping at straws to find something to satisfy their deep longings and desires for companionship.  I understand that the numbers were pared down considerably when folks realized that it really did mean exchanging vows with someone they had never actually seen until the big day.

So, what about the ones who remained?  Who would actually put their lives in the hands of people they have never met – a psychologist, sociologist, sexologist, and spiritual director – to choose the one they could potentially spend the rest of their lives with?  Do they really believe this outside analysis can accurately decide who is compatible and will guarantee attraction?  Well, apparently.  For some things in life, it is easier if someone else makes the decision.

I can understand the loneliness and yearning in hearts of those who think they have waited long enough for Mr./Miss Right to show up.  It seems to be logical to try something which promises longed for results.  This program, however, offers an escape clause.  The cameras follow the couples around for one month.  ONE MONTH?  If they have decided not to continue, “Married at First Sight” helps them get a divorce.  Something is definitely wrong with this picture!

The whole concept makes me sad.  Nothing can replace building a strong relationship before making a lifelong covenant with one another.  Even then, the challenges of marriage are great.  It takes both people giving 100%/100%.  While this program does have a “spiritual adviser” on the panel, he is described as a “humanist chaplain” at Harvard, with the words, “agnostic” and “atheist” following his name – which shouts volumes about his interest in “spiritual things” –  minus Jesus.

So, who would I want to walk into the sunset with?  Well, of course, there would need to be mutual attraction and enjoyment in being together – on a foundation of mutual belief that the Bible does indeed provide instruction – which works – in all areas of life, regardless of marriage status.  We would have to agree in the truth of who Jesus Christ is – Lord of lords, King of kings, Savior – God!

That would take longer than a month!

Marriage is too valuable to be called an “extreme social experiment!”

 

Casual glance, casual dress, and, oh yes, casual sex. What??? ☆

I’m back to my fave book, the dictionary, for a summary of the word “casual.”

  1. Happening or coming to pass without design.
  2. Happening without being foreseen or expected.
  3. Relaxed and unconcerned.
  4. Careless or offhand.
  5. Occurring by chance.
  6. Seeming to be indifferent to what is happening.

OK.  That’s plenty of definition which I believe makes the phrase, “casual sex” an unfortunate oxymoron – two words which aren’t compatible, like “definite maybe.”  In fact, if you search online for “oxymoron casual sex” you’ll find a lot of articles secular and faith-based which discuss this for what it is:  a twisted view of something precious.

Now, I’m all for good communication about all aspects of life.  From what I read, most parents find it uncomfortable to have “the talk” with their kids.  In fact, if you are brave, and you want to laugh uncontrollably, go to monastery.com and read this hilarious response to her kids’ questions.  Just a note:  while she draws some spiritual ideas in her blog which i do not hold, “Sex is tricky” has got to be one of the funniest articles of the year.  Now, my guess is that most of us did not gain this intellectual knowledge in quite the same manner or intensity.

What in the world happens to us?  Well, when we are babies and little tots, people are really protective of us – of every part of us.  Cute clothes cover parts of our anatomy considered precious and private.  Little kids are taught not to just disrobe anywhere they please.  We teach value and respect for the body, especially because the mature mid-body areas have the capability of bringing forth new life.  Think about that a bit.  Not only is pleasure involved, but the possibility of bringing forth new life is an incredible gift – not to be taken lightly.

Shouldn’t we have a large measure of awe and respect for something so powerful?

So, what in the world happens?  Where, here are a few things:

Little children are thrust into a sexualized world at earlier and earlier ages through things like beauty pageants where they wear makeup, fake teeth, hair extensions, and are taught to move provocatively.  Little children, especially girls, may see this on TV and learn at a very early age that the way they look is most important.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love to see little girls and boys in dress-up clothes.  But, forcing them to act in sexualized adult ways is not cute.

How is it that school children in younger and younger grades are seemingly compelled to experiment sexually with one another?  What has happened to the respect for all parts of our anatomy which should have carried over from baby and toddler days?  How it is that so many folks from high school on up make intimacy so commonplace?  How did baring their bodies to each other become so commonplace?

TV and the Internet have certainly carved deep paths into minds of all ages, giving access to a whole bunch of input for people who may not have anyplace to put it.  Along with that, many of us do not get compelling teaching that sexual intimacy is reserved for those who make the covenant of marriage with one another.  We are not told that we are precious and are not meant to give ourselves away with reckless imitations of intimacy.

People want to be important to themselves and others.  They want to feel good.  No one denies that sexual intimacy is desirable – it feels good.  But, even the best things are often made better by restraint.  Eating a piece of dark chocolate cake is enjoyable.  Eating the whole cake is not.

The Message puts it so well in I Corinthians 6:16-20:

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin.  Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.  As written in Scripture, “The two become one.”  Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever–the kind of sex that can never “become one.”  There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others.  In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another.  Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?  Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?  The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.  God owns the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.

(Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible called The Message.)

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