Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

The Blessing is a Curse

Sometimes I wonder if the people in ancient times didn’t have the better idea about certain things. Take marriage for example.

Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to have an arranged marriage, but at least there the rules and roles were laid out in black and white, and you didn’t have all this vagary and angst in relationships.

Back then, they also had initiation rites for becoming an adult. The transition was stark and absolute: Today you are a man. (Or, woman.) The duties were clearly understood, and all in one ceremony, you assumed them. There was no confusion about roles, stages or identity.

That time usually came around the ages of 12-14, and with it came the ability to marry. Seems pretty weird to us, and I still think the average teenager, barely out of adolescence, is prepared to cope with being a true adult, let alone a married one.

But one thing you can’t deny, God in His wisdom ordained the human body to mature at that age.

Suddenly, along with every burden we must suddenly carry, every awkward growth we must suddenly cope with, we bear sexual characteristics as well — and worse, sexual desires.

All at once, a secret and sacred fire bursts into flames deep inside a heart. The fire is not yet understood…but burning all the same.

The church says very little to youth during this time. We’re too busy distracting them with games and activities, and we’re too embarrassed and ashamed of the subject and our own shortcomings to deal with it directly. We hand them a “thou shalt not” or two and that’s the end of it. The world is waiting in the wings to whisper the “real story” in our ears as our eyes grow wide. If we give any encouragement, validation or promise to these burgeoning adults, it’s with a stern “wait for marriage” edict. We give them a destination without the slightest hint of a map to get there.

Our society tends to view marriage at the ages of 18 or 20 as too soon. People who marry in their low- to mid-twenties are generally assumed to be doing it right.

If you do the math, that’s well nigh an entire decade where God expects us to carry and subdue these flaming, raging desires and urges. Adversity produces strength, I know, but clearly this is a test that even fewer people pass than I thought.

There is little help for the burning heart. There is even little acknowledgement of it from the church, particularly the married couples who might — if they try — be able to recall the misery and mournfulness of living under the burden of that blessing twice cursed. If they can, they (might) just pat your head condescendingly, reflect on distant days of loneliness shrouded by decades of marital bliss, and tell you you’ll get there. Thanks a lot.

The world bids you eat. They wave all manner of tempting odors before you, and your stomach murmurs and groans in hunger. All your friends either dive in or give in.

And there some of us are, sad, hungry, frustrated and thoroughly alone.

Sexuality is one of the only gifts of God I know of which is a curse before it becomes a blessing.

March 30, 2012 - Posted by | Loneliness, Purity

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