Category: May/Jun 2011

Virgin is Not a Dirty Word

mute2There used to be a sign in my middle school health class that said, “Virgin… it’s not a dirty word.” For some reason the words of that poster stuck with me and still do to this day. At 25 years old I am happy to say that I am still a virgin and saving my body for my husband. Praise God! I mean, what is there to be ashamed about?

It feels like there is little respect for the idea of virginity. Television shows and movies are completely full of– or even based on– not waiting until marriage for sex. It feels like the world is actually encouraging having sex by high school or college. Losing your virginity is not like losing your baby teeth or learning the alphabet: there is no standard time frame in which it should be done.

God tells us to wait until marriage for sex. He wants you to preserve your virginity for your spouse. Not because He wants to kill your fun or because He wants Christians to simply act holier-than-thou. God wants sex to be enjoyed to the fullest, without complications or chaos. He wants people to experience rich and deep intimacy with their spouses.

Take a look at Song of Solomon 4:12: “You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain…”

Look at how much Solomon delights in the virginity of his bride. She saved her body for him, and he takes great joy in her waiting. It adds such a beautiful element to their romance and marriage. Solomon doesn’t want a woman with “experience”, he wants his bride to belong fully to him.

And your future spouse– whether you’re a man or a woman– will delight in your waiting as well.

“Virgin” is a not a indication that you are unattractive, a horrible person, or a social outcast. It’s an indication that you are waiting for the right time– whether you get married at 19 or 55– to enjoy sex with your spouse to the fullest, the way God designed it. And there’s nothing dirty or shameful about that.

Date Behaviors

kidsSometimes we need a little reminder to be mindful on a date. Whether you’re on your first date, a year into the relationship, or celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary, there are ways you should and shouldn’t behave on a date.

Don’t:

  • Text message or make unnecessary phone calls
  • Pay more attention to the sports game than your date
  • Talk about how great (or annoying) your ex was
  • Assume your date is paying the bill
  • Talk mainly about yourself
  • Push for physical intimacy
  • Over analyze every sentence that comes out of your date’s mouth

Do:

  • Be flexible in your schedule
  • Be open minded to new places
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Be kind to others you encounter on your date
  • Make eye contact
  • Watch for red flags
  • Listen
  • Relax
  • Have fun

Possessive

crab2When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I discovered those little crabs at the beach that bury into the sand. I loved them instantly. So I decided to keep a few of them in a jar and take them home with me. In the back of my mind, I felt like I should leave them in their homes; the place where they would have probably been the happiest. But at the same time I loved them and wanted to keep them for myself. I told myself I could take good care of them and I was sure they would be happy with me. So I put sand and sea water in a jar then captured a few crabs to take home.

When we reached home, I reached down and picked up the jar. When I looked into it, I had found that the crabs had floated to the top of the sea water. It took me a second to realize I had never poked holes in the top of the jar and that they all had suffocated.

I had been sure that the crabs would be safe and happy with me, but instead I bought about a terrible ending for them. When I look back on this memory, I don’t so much blame the lack of air for the end of the crabs, but instead, my own selfishness.

When we cling to a living thing, we give it less room to breathe. We want it to be ours; we want to claim it solely as our own. In the end, we don’t do it any favors. It’s easy to cling to a crush or a boyfriend or girlfriend with good intentions– with the feeling that that person will be happy and content with us as their source of affection– but when we fail to realize that people do not belong to us but instead belong to God, we end up not only treating human beings as possessions, but we also suffocate them. In reality, we are not driven by our good intentions, but instead our selfish desire to be needed.

In The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, there is a conversation between a woman and her brother who are both in the afterlife. The woman is demanding that her son be brought to her because the boy belongs to her and nothing– possibly not even Heaven– can make the boy as happy as she could. She then becomes angry with her brother and even God for not immediately giving her back her son, not listening to her brother’s words that human beings can only make each other happy temporarily and that her “love” is, in truth, a false god. Later, the supporting character says to the protagonist, “She loved her son too little, not too much… That kind is sometimes perfectly ready to plunge the soul they say they love in endless misery if only they can still in some fashion possess it.”

Influence

ripple2“Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives.”” –Nehemiah 13:26

It amazes me how much influence a single individual can have on others. In Solomon’s case, he was blessed with wisdom and a wonderful kingdom, but when he went against God’s command to not marry foreign women who worshiped other gods (1 Kings 11:2), Solomon lost everything. The influence of these wives– and the gods they worshiped– brought a terrible consequence.

Even though Solomon was clearly responsible for his own actions of marrying women God had forbidden, I can’t help but think of the influence his wives had. What “gods” do we as girlfriends, wives, boyfriends, or husbands bring into our relationships that influence our significant others and turn them from God? Do we encourage God’s commands or do we encourage the thoughts of this world?

We will never be perfect, but we can choose what we set our eyes on. Whatever our god is– whether it be sex, money, possessions, pride, or reputation– not only destroys our own lives, but the lives of those we influence. Relationships can’t survive with false gods getting in the way. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of our idols and get our sights back on God.

Date Idea: Astronomy Date

spiralstarsNature is magnificent, isn’t it? The skies hold so much wonder. Being beneath the stars has always been a romantic setting, but what are some other ways to enjoy the fullness of the universe together?

On Your Own

Midnight Picnic
Grab something warm to drink and put out a blanket so you can look at the stars, taking a flashlight and a star chart. Keep on eye on the moon cycles and go out on a picnic under a full moon. Make wishes on stars. See who can find the most shooting stars. Try to find planets and satellites with the naked eye.

Telescope
If you have the resources to pick up a telescope, don’t be afraid to try it. (Or just borrow somebody else’s if you can.) Look on astronomy websites for things to look at through the telescope, including specific stars, planets, or the surface of the moon. If you can’t get your hands on a telescope, binoculars are a close second and can be just as entertaining.

Study the Mythology of the Stars
Each constellation has a story to tell. Find a few of these stories together and try to find the constellations. Speculate on the chores of Hercules or the accuracy of the astrological signs. Make up your own silly or romantic mythologies for one another. If your date received their own constellation, what would it be and how did they earn it?

Guided Help

Museums
If there’s anything museums love, it’s space. Find a space exhibit or a science center focusing on the universe. Spend time taking tours, taking part in events and even crafts, and exploring exhibits.

Observatories
If you have an observatory nearby, it is worth checking out. Observatories allow you to take a look at nature skyusing high-tech equipment. Find a local observatory and schedule a viewing. (Be aware that some observatories are seasonal.)

Planetarium

If you don’t feel like going through the trouble of researching the skies, have someone teach it to you. Planetariums give you a history of the skies, getting in-depth about the solar system. It’s a fun way to get educated about the universe and how it’s affected cultures and science alike.

Night Hikes
Some nature parks offer guided walks at night specifically for star-gazing. If you can’t find a park that does this, there is bound to be a hiking club in your area that does. If you can find a group that hikes at night, join them!

Special Gatherings
Some locations will hold gatherings for astronomical events such as eclipses, meteor showers, or things called star parties. These are usually ran by local astronomy groups that you can contact and take part in.

Other Fun Things Related to Space

Use an Astronomy Program
Star computer programs are chock-full of information and history. With a computer program, you can look up everything from different galaxies to what the skies looked like in 100 AD.

Sci-fi Themed Date
Just about any guy will appreciate this type of date. Make a date centered around his favorite sci-fi series, or watch old sci-fi films, or take part in sci-fi events. If you don’t like sci-fi but your date does, find an angle of sci-fi that you can enjoy together, such as video games or creating your own sci-fi universe.

Spell Out Messages With Glue-On Stars
Sneak into the bedroom and glue stars to the ceiling that spells a message. When your love turns out the light to go to bed, they are sure to have sweet dreams!

Name a Star
Forget sending in money just to get back a certificate that doesn’t really prove whether or not you got what you paid for. If you want to name a star after your love, a better way to do it is to pick a constellation that has beautiful mythology behind it, pick one of the stars in the constellation, and simply tell your love that the star is theirs. Explain in an elegant letter the story behind the constellation and why it reminds you of them.

Do Something Cosmic
Try an event that involves glowing in the dark, such as cosmic bowling or roller blading. You can also go online and buy glow in the dark sports equipment such as Frisbees, ping pong balls, golf balls, or even volleyballs. Wear glow bracelets and necklaces, or even pick up a strobe light.

People have enjoyed studying the skies for centuries, so be inspired to enjoy them with the one you care about.

Hope Chest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA hope chest is a collection of items a woman needs when entering a marriage and new household. Even though there are wedding showers and registries, there is an added benefit to a woman collecting items in advance. With the fluctuation of the economy, there is no telling how much money and resources a woman might have when she is ready to marry. A hope chest can be a huge help at the beginning of a marriage if money is tight.

If you are all ready married, invest in a hope chest to keep romantic valuables and keepsakes, such as the bride’s wedding gown, your wedding champagne glasses, photo albums, memorabilia that has special meaning for you both, and trinkets from your dates.

Things to put in a hope chest:
Towels/washcloths
Tablecloths
Dishes
Money
Home decorations such as clocks or paintings
Blankets/sheets
Cookware
Baby clothes/blankets
Books on home repair/gardening/cooking
Sewing supplies
Rugs/doormats
Curtains/window dressings
Shower curtains
Bath sets

The Waiting Game

waiting“Why wait?”

This seems to be question behind many marketing strategies these days. Why should you have to wait on a slow internet connection? Why wait in line at Disneyland when you can get a Fastpass? Why wait for something to cook in the oven when you can put it in the microwave?

The world has been flooded with impatience. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting a faster internet connection, but there is a problem when we become so consumed by instant gratification that we complicate and destroy our lives.

Such is the issue with sex. It is an instant gratification issue that people have accepted, same as a faster internet connection or using the microwave. However, people fail to see that the consequences of premarital sex have a bigger impact than other forms of instant gratification. The consequences of emotional distress, pregnancies, and diseases have conveniently been forgotten because of a small string of widely held defenses.

But these defenses have holes in them.

“Sex isn’t really that sacred. It’s just for fun.”

A relationship in itself has value. We wouldn’t hold relationships with one another if they had no value. If sex is an expression of your relationship, then it too has value.

Even the media knows that sex has value; marketing value. Sprinkle in a little sex with your sitcoms, commercials, and music and you get more viewers, buyers, and listeners. Sex has marketing value because it is valuable to the public.

If sex has no value, then why do we try so hard to satisfy our urges? If something is important to us, it is constantly on our minds. If it didn’t have worth, then we would not spend so much energy on it. And because sex is important to us, we compromise until we get what we want, even by telling ourselves that it’s not as valuable as it really is.

“It’s part of human nature. To deny your natural urges is unhealthy.”
People confuse sex as a need. Food and water are needs; if you deny yourself of these needs, your body and mind will fail . Your body and mind will not fail if you choose to wait for sex until marriage. There is an argument that says if a person denies sexual urges when they arise that it will cause that person psychological damage, but society has conveniently confused sexual self-control with sexual repression for the sake of winning an argument.

Abstinence and sexual repression are two different things. Sexual repression has to do with guilt and fear that keeps a person from having anything to do with sex, not how often the person has it. Think of it in this way: people who have repressed memories do not have this because they do not use their memories often enough. They have repressed memories due to the negative emotions attached to them. Choosing to regard sex as something that holds high value is far from unhealthy. In fact, it will help you make better decisions which lead to fewer sexual problems and a healthier psychological state.

“It’s my body; my decisions on what I do with it only affect me.”
Even when we think people aren’t watching, they are. Everything we say and do has an affect on others, regardless of it being “personal” or not. Even our own thoughts ripple out into society, because whatever we think affects our actions and speech, and those in turn affect others.

Humans beings will naturally compare themselves to one another. When someone respects or looks up to a person, he will mimic that person. A child who is proud of his father will most likely be as kind or as rude as he is. When you admire somebody and refer to them as a good person, you will align your actions with theirs. Even in the sexual realm.

Think of the possibilities of who and what your sex life can affect. It can affect your relationship with your parents. It can affect the actions of your siblings and family members. It can affect your future husband or wife. It can affect your partner’s future husband or wife. It can affect the actions of your friends. It can affect the actions of your children or other people’s children that look up to you. Your sex life affects you– and you affect other people.

“I’m very responsible when it comes to sex. I make sure my partners do not have any sexual diseases and we always use a condom.”
As adults, we are responsible for many things, such as work, family, and bills. Now say you have a $200 car payment due by the end of the week, which is just the exact amount you have available in your bank account. Despite your car payment, there is a product you really want that costs $100, and will only be on sale for that week. So you decide to spend half your money on this product, and half your money on your car payment so you don’t get in trouble. Does this make you just as responsible? Of course not. Trading in what is best for what you want is not mature nor is it responsible. You have dodged the consequences, but you have also compromised the best action. Responsibility is not about what you can get away with, but what the best response to a situation is.

And since when did condoms become guarantees? And when did people forget how to lie? Someone can tell you that they are a virgin or have no sexual diseases, but that proves nothing. Nobody is above denial or stretching the truth a little to get what they want. If there are consequences, who are you to them? Satisfying an urge might be your entire worth to someone.. Whether or not you catch a disease or become pregnant is not a concern. Without a ring on your finger and a license in city hall, there is absolutely nothing stating that someone cares about you enough to take responsibility for your relationship.

The Idea

Abstinence is more than just preventing pregnancy and STDs. It is about sharing a deep, intimate relationship with your husband or wife that is separate from any other relationship. Abstinence not only deepens your relationship with your future spouse, but it also protects your life the sexual chaos of such things as unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and complicated relationships. Your sex life should never be complicated. It should be something you can enjoy to the fullest.

The idea of abstinence is not that sex is bad. Sex is anything but bad. Looking forward to sex is as pure as looking forward to your 21st birthday or being excited about buying a new car. It gives you something to be excited about and work towards. But you don’t celebrate your 21st birthday at 19, and you don’t buy a car on blocks because it’s the first thing that is available. You wait for the right time for these things because waiting makes it that much better. Compromising and doing things sooner than they should be done is settling. Sex before marriage is settling. Instead of asking “Why wait?” the question should become “Why settle?”

25 Ways to Ask Someone Out

658726_28187867Being creative in the way you ask someone out can add great memories to an event, whether you’re trying to get a first date or going on a date after ten years of marriage.

1.Use window markers and write it out on his/her car window
2.Write a song or poem
3.Bake a cake and spell it out in frosting
4.Send him/her a message to decode that shows a rendezvous location
5.Send him/her anonymous flowers and notes for a week, then finally ask him/her to meet you
6.Take out an ad in the newspaper
7.Dedicate a karaoke love song to him/her and then ask him/her out publicly
8.Send him/her a Mission Impossible type tape stating the location and time of your date
9.Leave a note hanging from the car rear view mirror or under the windshield wiper
10.Write it out in the sand at the beach, take a picture, then email it to him/her
11.Formally invite him/her using fancy stationary
12.Kidnap something of his/hers and send a ransom note saying your demand is a date
13.Hide the invitation in the book s/he is currently reading
14.Be a singing telegram
15.Leave a wrapped present on his/her bed (such as a ticket, dress, tie, etc) with a small invitation card
16.Put a laminated card in the shower or bathtub
17.Write him/her a song, record it, then send it to him/her
18.Order personalized M’Ms and ship them to him/her
19.Send him/her pictures that each have a clue to the location of where you are going on your date
20.Tack a scroll to a tree with an arrow, Robin Hood style
21.Change the label on a box of soap, beverage bottle, or anything s/he uses on a daily basis
22.Custom make a wallpaper for his/her phone or computer
23.Use sidewalk or grass chalk
24.Write him/her a short story about a person that turned down a date and was eaten by a dragon. End the story with “Go out with me and you won’t end up like that person.”
25.Pretend to be a psychic or palm reader and predict your future date