Meeting the Needs of Your Mate
Imagine your child is at home. In the home, the child has all the food they could possibly need. The pantry is stocked, freezers are loaded, and dinner is slowly simmering on the stove. There should be no need for your child to be hungry. There should be no need for your child to have to starve. There should be no need for your child to feel they have to sneak out of the house to steal food. When we see stories like this on the news we feel anger, rage, the urge to take action. Why would a person who has been entrusted to provide for the needs of the child treat them this way? Why not feed the hungry child? It is their responsibility to ensure the child's basic needs are met.
Now let us look at our relationships. In our relationships we undertake the responsibility of meeting the needs of our mates. Why then are so many people unfulfilled in their relationships?
One of the reasons is that we fail to see the needs of others from their eyes. If we have just eaten, it may never occur to us that our partner is starving. If we are content with going out to dinner once a month, we do not think that they may want to dine out more often. The easiest practical demonstration of this fact is sex. PUT DOWN YOUR BIBLES AND ANOINTED OILS!!! We are allowed to talk about sex, it was given to us by God, and ordained for our enjoyment. Don't believe me? Pick up the Bible you were about to throw at the screen and turn to Song of Solomon (Song of Songs or Canticles). Make sure your kids aren't looking over your shoulder. Read a few chapters. I'll wait.
Seen enough? Put a bookmark there, you'll be back. As I was, saying, sex is one of the gifts God gave us. As such, it should be treasured, revered, and enjoyed. Too many relationships have suffered because of a lack of this understanding and unwillingness to communicate about it.
What's that got to do with a hungry child? Well, too often one of the spouses is like that child. They can see their mate, and desire their mate, but not be able to enjoy their mate. In a marriage there is very little privacy, you can see everything, and since part of the reason we marry is physical attraction (it is, don't get too holy on me), it is a torture to see your spouse cavorting around and not be able fully partake in their presence. This raises a hunger that is not fed, and puts a pressure on the hungry spouse to maintain their integrity while starving. (I'm intentionally using gender neutral pronouns, because both genders deal with this issue.)
What makes the issue more difficult is the spouse that is not hungry often believes that their mate is either as content as they are or is being unreasonable in their requests. Because it is such a sensitive topic, any conversation initiated to solve the difficulty swiftly deteriorates into a defensive standoff. We are not taught how to effectively communicate about sex, and even the topic of sex is viewed as somehow unholy. Therefore conversation never happens and the hunger builds, leading to bitterness, resentment, loathing, and eventually action.
I see you over there. "But Fish, we should each be responsible for our actions." True. And if the hungry spouse choses to eat at another house (yes, I'm keeping this metaphor going, it’s the cleanest way I can do this), that spouse should and will face the consequences. But what about the spouse that is refusing to feed their mate? Shouldn't there be consequences for them? They are also going against the Word of God. Don't believe me? Turn in your Bible, no not to the Song of Solomon, but to 1 Corinthians 7:4 "The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife." Again, the direction is for both genders to feed each other, so if one spouse is not serving good food (GOOD FOOD), then they are not in order.
"But Fish, what if there are issues in the past that prevent me from feeding my spouse?" Good question. Because our unions are forged in honesty, we should explain this to our spouse before we enter into holy matrimony. Too late? Never! I can tell you from personal experience that you can still explain to your spouse why they’re not being fed the way they like. In most cases the explanation, coupled with the desire to resolve the problem, makes the hunger diminish at least until the problem can be resolved. And I know that this is not just a one day, week, or month solution. However, if we start somewhere and work diligently, we can get to a conclusion. And at that point both parties can truly begin to enjoy the food in their kitchen.
So, I'm Fish, the male half of this equation. The piece you have read above is pretty much my viewpoint and approach. In coming editions you will see more from me, Bird, and actual pieces that we will collaborate on. I welcome your opinions, but not your condemnations, your questions, but not your interrogations, your comments, but not your sermons, and your feedback, but not your insults. I hope that we can embark on a journey of learning and growth as our Lord directs us.
Fooled By the Brochure!
After discussing this topic with Fish, we decided this was a necessary blog. This seems to be a topic that the church does not want to deal with, but it needs to be addressed with the utmost sincerity. I'm going to just jump straight to my perception. Sex is a gift from God FOR us! It is not a chore, a treat to be rationed out, a weapon or tool (however, one may try to justify using it as such), a hobby, or means to simply populate the earth. IT IS A GIFT THAT WAS INTENDED TO BE ENJOYED BY HIS CHILDREN!
Imagine Christmas day. You just know that the one thing you have wanted all year is up under that tree. You get to the tree and there it is! Just as beautiful and amazing as you have imagined. Your parents stand by grinning and high fiving each other because they know they got this one right. No doubt about it. You rip off the ribbons and whatever paper that was concealing it because what was underneath was way more important than how it came wrapped. There it is. Everything you could possibly imagine about this gift is running through your head. OMG! All the creative things you're going to do with this new gift. And then... It happens. Parents put it together, hook it up, put in the batteries, or whatever the setup is and the beginning of the end has started. Who remembers this:
Easy Bake Oven: The recipe did not taste as good as the actors portrayed on the television. In fact, they really looked as if these were the best mini cakes ever baked! What about those cookies that oozed all over the oven never taking shape? Their cookies were iced and sprinkled shaped perfectly. You and your mother or sister scraped your cookies off the bottom of that light weight bread box and had to replace the light bulb because you couldn't get all of the watery dough mix off of it. So every attempt to bake anything after that filled the house with smoke and that burning stench. Finally, the oven ends up in the back of some closet with the intentions of making it better... One day.
Remote Control Race Car: Man, that commercial really let you know that you could do some things if only you had THIS remote control car. Remember the high jumps over the boulders? But you could only get yours to coast really fast over a plastic cup or the cup would knock your race car over if went to slow. How come the bumper didn't come off the car on T.V. when it crashed, did a tailspin, and burned rubber leaving the scene of the stunt? So you decided to have yours jump off the coffee table. So what! That's what it's designed to do right? Right? Three wheels and one headlight later; oh and a broken antenna, the car ends up as scrap toy metal at the bottom of the toy box.
Ladies and gentlemen I just described a couple of marriages. Marriages? I thought this was about sex? That's my point. We would like to believe that we still live in an age where sex is a separate issue from marriage. It is when you are talking to single people. We can agree that single people have different struggles with sex. However, can we "admit" that marriages have their own struggle too? Is the church ready to admit that sex is an issue in marriages that can then spill over into the house of God? And quite honestly it should. God created it. If something is wrong with it, then let Him deal with it, in His house, in His way.
We cannot continue to act like this is not a subject that does not belong in the church. It should have its own office space if you ask me. Sex is one of the biggest issues, dare I say problems, in the church and its marriages. The enemy wants to keep us at that place where we only teach abstinence and no sex before or in between marriage(s). This is ridiculous when our sanctuaries are filled with single parents, teen parents, people who have or are committing adultery, and most of all unsatisfied married couples. Don't believe me? Let's see how you respond if you find out someone in your church has their eye on your Christmas gift. This is even for some that are tucked away in your closet because we have some gifted repair and maintenance workers sitting in the congregation just waiting to put in work on your junk. Somebody somewhere out there just heard what I said.
Listen, I am in no way condoning promiscuous behavior or adultery. What I am about is beating the enemy in yet another crucial area that he is raking God's people over the coals with silently behind the doors of the church. Sex is real, and so are the desires that come with it. This is not a curse or a scourge from the devil. It is simply yet another gift from God that the devil has been able to manipulate and use for wrong motives. Satan has also taken our ignorance and naivety about this subject and made headway within our households and church families. As people of God we have got to recognize this and do something about it. Sex is just as real as any other problem we go to the altar about, and not for the obvious assumptions. That's where I feel we're missing it; looking at it from one side. Sinful! In upcoming blogs we will discuss this further, but I wanted to give readers a glimpse of the real subject matters we plan to discuss in our judgment free zone.
B&F Ministry of Atlanta