The Trouble With Love
By Jim Henderson
After much analyses, I have figured out the problem with this love thing. The problem is that it takes two to make it work. Now the possibility that there are two people on the same planet that could actually love each other is not that remote. The problem is getting those two together. The current system to search, select, and acquire this ethereal combination of mutual love leaves much to be desired. The present system appears to be one of chance, occurring at random, governed largely by proximity and probability. The finality of the process doesn't allow room for error. In the business realm, it would not be considered peculiar to make public the availability of a position, set criteria, and conduct interviews. This would seem to reduce it to crude rudimentary elements in the realm of personal relationships, seemingly to exclude the most apparently critical element, that of two people who love each other. While the current system is cumbersome, the alternative of advertising in the classified section seems nonetheless commercial and crass.
Now love does exist in the unilateral realm, that is, one party loving another party regardless of the whether or not that love is reciprocated. Romance requires however that love must be mutual between both parties to be legitimate. When one loves another but the second party doesn't share the other's affection, it falls under the category of infatuation rather than love.
Let's examine the elements of love. Certainly appearance plays a significant role. Both parties must mutually find the other's appearance tolerable if not pleasing. Beyond the perception of the object of our affection's appearance, other factors must be recognized. Regardless of how pleasing their appearance may be, ultimately personality is one attribute you can't ignore. You must not overlook the behavior of your potential soul mate. Beauty is merely the bait that attracts us but it is our behavior that hooks and retains our affection. Regardless of how powerful the forces that attract you, eventually that bond of appeal will dissolve and disintegrate if the party of the second part behaves intolerably toward the party of the first part, you. Don't overlook common interests and especially values that you both embrace. Disparate value systems will rend asunder the strongest of relationships.
Now to address the matter of sex. Like love, it also requires mutual consent. It cannot exist, one party independent of the other. It requires the participation of both parties.
Only a benevolent Diety could have conceived the concept of sex and awarded to his children this pinnacle of physical pleasure that surpasses both procreation and recreation! Obviously our Creator endowed us with more than simple biological functions. He also instilled in us the ability to appreciate the aesthetically pleasing. We live in a world rich in color, variation, and beauty. We are able to enjoy a plethora of physical sensations including sight, sound, and touch. We are endowed with a certain innately instilled capacity that allows us to appreciate the concept of the beautiful and the pleasant. We are by no accident designed to be sensual creatures. While there is merit in temperance and self control, we are undeniably made to embrace and enjoy the lovely. Who can explain the beauty of a sunset or the awe we feel when we gaze into the heavens at night? Nature is replete with sights and sounds, the music of a creation that soothes the senses. We are enthralled by the singing of birds, lulled by the sound of a restless ocean, and serenaded to sleep by a symphony of a thousand chirping miniature musicians in the orchestra of the night. Truly God richly giveth us all things to enjoy!
With this in mind, should we be surprised by the ecstasy of sensual pleasure afforded the two willing participants in a legitimate relationship within the confines of Hebrews 13:4. For those of you who may not have a New Testament readily available and would be hard pressed to get your hands on one in the immediate future, I have enclosed the preceding reference for your convenience. It reads, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongerers and adulterers God will judge." Sex only becomes evil when we take it out of its proper context and pervert it into a vehicle of instant gratification at the expense of our partner. Wielded without restraint or in disregard toward the obvious consequences, it wounds and alienates those whom it should unite. The male and female anatomies are mated components that cannot function independently of each other in the matter of sexual satisfaction. They fit together like hand and glove, each formed to bring ecstasy and fulfillment to the other. But as perfect as the male and female anatomies are, as wonderful as the sensual pleasure they bring to each other, I have found a flaw in the mechanism of love. It takes two to make love. This requires mutual consent, willingness, and participation from both parties. When one element is withheld, it cannot exist apart from the consent of the other. Fulfillment merely collapses like a house of cards.
Which brings me to my next point, the legitimate outlet for sexual fulfillment. Under the strict confines of the rules of divinely sanctioned sexual conduct, (again, Hebrews 13:4) there is only one legitimate outlet for sex, that being between the properly espoused parties. Anything outside of that falls under the category of impropriety, to be specific, adultery and fornication. In order to avoid temptation, each party has an obligation to see that the other is not left out in the cold, prone, exposed, open and vulnerable to attack by lust because that is the only recourse left to the defrauded party. To knowingly withhold sex from the other is to defraud your partner. It is rightfully termed fraud as sex is a legitimate human need, compounded by the fact that when it is unmet, it needlessly exposes the other to temptation and into direct disobedience to the laws of God. Fraud is all the more fitting, as it is each partner's responsibility and obligation to meet the other's needs regardless of whether or not they want to satisfy their spouse's rightful appetites. Although the guilt of excluding the sexual needs of your partner is less flagrant if it is unintentional, the consequences are none-the-less the same to them if you inconsiderately assume that the other's needs are met or account that they are inconsequential. Trivializing your partner's appetite is not justified. To rationalize that because you don't feel the same urgency or appetite to the same degree as your partner, that their needs are excessive and can merely be rejected arbitrarily without fair and sympathetic consideration, is grossly unfair.
At best, all the components for a successful sexual encounter are fleeting and even arbitrary, dependent on the attitudes and perceptions of both parties, compounded by forces that negate its fulfillment, as stress, and other complications.One particular thief to the only legitimate outlet for sex that a spouse is entitled to, is that of incongruent and unequal sex drives between the spouses. One party views the others desires as excessive, even perverse while the other perceives the first party as prudish and stingy. Sex becomes a source of contention and conflict. It becomes a wedge that separates a relationship, causing animosity and enmity. Oftentimes sex becomes a weapon in a warfare between the spouses. Withheld or even given grudgingly, it can be awarded in a derogatory manner.
What is the conclusion of the matter? If your relationship is a match between partners of equal and congruent sexual appetite, you are indeed fortunate. If your relationship isn't, then it will require consideration and understanding on both partners to resolve the conflict. Let sex be as God intended, to bring intimacy and unity between two committed individuals joined both physically and emotionally. Let sex unite instead of divide.
Jim Henderson is currently employed in the field of environmental regulatory comopliance. He enjoys writing as a past time and has had several article published in various on-line publications.