Tuesday, September 4, 2012
"On Fire": Other Perks That Should ONLY Come with Marrying You
This morning, I was doing some praying for some of the "On Fire" women as it relates to what I call "cul-du-sac" relationships. You know, relationships that basically are a *dead end* but we use another word to make it sound (or is it feel?) better so that we won't deal with the *real reality* of the matter. Anyway, as I was finishing up my prayer, I read a quote from actor Shia LaBeouf about a past relationship that he had with a woman (who is now married to someone else, by the way):
"He told the Sunday Times magazine: 'She's happy as hell right now, and we wouldn't have been able to make it like that. She was chasing marriage, family, kids more than I was.'
LaBeouf - who is currently dating fashion designer Karolyn Pho - hopes to marry himself one day but won't rush into settling down as he plans to tie the knot for life.
He added: 'I'm not opposed to marriage. I just think I'm quite young. I come from divorce. I'm only doing marriage once. It's not a game for me. I'm not a religious person, but I have ethics.'"
OK, I've dated "him" before. Many times over, actually. And while I never thought any of those guys were *dogs* (Men are made in the image of God. I'm not going to call them a *dog*), I will admit that I allowed myself to be *dogged out*...again, many times over, because I didn't *listen* to what they said.
Women stay in relationships for years with men who are not chasing marriage as much as they are. Women stay in relationships for years with men who are not rushing to settle down (rushing to have sex with you is not synonymous with rushing to marry you...nor does it make them want to rush to marry you after they get the sex). Women stay in relationships with men for years who will admit that they are professionally, emotionally, financially, relationally or spiritually *young* (I Corinthians 13:11). And what's amazing about ALL of these instances is that 12-24 months in, when the woman realizes that the guy *meant what he said* when he said that "I'm not ready for marriage", they end up being upset, professing that they got "strung along".
Strung along, maybe. By the guy? No. The guy didn't say that he minded being the benefactor of whatever it is that you wanted to give him. He simply said that what he would not be *giving you* is a ring and a proposal any time soon in the process. *That's not being used nearly as much as it's volunteering*.
Then, when the Spirit led me to revisit Proverbs 31, things really started coming together. There are so many women I know who are doing the things on that list for men who they are not married to. And when I looked at the title again, the Lord was like, "You see how it says 'The Virtuous WIFE', not the virtuous girlfriend. Why women who are not married are killing themselves to act like they are is really unfortunate. There are other perks to a man marrying you other than only getting to sleep with you."
Then I thought about women (around) my age who claim to be in abstinent relationships, but they are doing *so many of the other things* that a wife does for her husband. When I asked the Lord how to differentiate, even that response was "profoundly simplistic": "If you wouldn't do 'it' for a friend, you don't need to being doing it for a boyfriend, either. And I don't know a whole lot of grown women who have slumber parties with their platonic friends often."
I do love the Lord. He tickles me sometimes.
So, in the effort to "clear the path of understanding" as it relates to things that you really need to "put on the back burner" until you jump the broom, I have enclosed a list of 7 perks that should *only come* with marrying you:
1) Sleeping with you. Whether it's spending the night after sex, spending the night without sex or finding some excuse to share your bed for a few hours (a couple of times per week), if one of your girlfriends was asking to do that, you would probably think that something got lost in translation re: the relationship, that she was a leech or that she was simply crazy. Hebrews 13:4 says that *the marriage bed* is pure. This includes having sex in bed, but also sleeping in it with your covenant partner as well.
2) Being "on call" for him. I have some really close friends, but sometimes when they call me, they still get sent to voice mail and sometimes when they want something, the answer is "no". This goes for them with me as well. When you take the vows of "for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health, 'til death do us part", that is when you make the commitment to *become one* (Genesis 2:24-25) with someone; when your "oneness" needs you, that is when you should be readily available. After all, how do you split yourself in two? Until those vows are taken, though, you're pretty much riding solo. "He: can get sent to voice mail and told "no" too.
3) His family becoming your family. My mom has this running joke with me and my brother that until it's time for her to wear her "big hat", she doesn't want to get emotionally involved in our dating situations. Some people may think that is odd, but personally, I find it to be *extremely healthy*. I've "divorced" boyfriends that I've never married before and it wasn't just hard on me and the guy, but our family members as well. Can his mom still call me or not? Is it OK for him to still be my brother's close friend or not? Will either of us cuss the other out for sending a Christmas card? It's just too much drama. When you get married, you don't *marry the family*, but you do become a part of one another's family tree and when that happens, that's when it's both safe and appropriate to spend tons of quality time with each other's folks.
4) Sharing each other's bills. Do you know that in one of my relationships, I was actually paying a bill on a monthly basis? That's ridiculous on a number of levels with one of them being, if you can't pay your cell phone then *who knows* when you'll be able to pay the rent (and preferably, the mortgage!)? I have platonic friends who I have helped out from time-to-time (that's what *friends* are for), but none of them are on my payroll and I don't have a ton of information about their financial issues, either. Married people share credit histories and bills and such. Roommates might, but in the context of this message, if that's taking place between you and your boyfriend, that's referred to as "shaking up", right? Bottom line, if you are checking "single" when you're filing your taxes, then *you* are solely financially responsible for *yourself*.
5) You dealing with his deep-rooted issues. I've said it before, a few times by now: "What wives do is called 'commitment', what girlfriends do is often called 'settling'." I work with a ministry that deals with porn and sexual addiction and it blows my mind how many *girlfriends* will stay around simply because "I want to marry him someday." When it comes to addictive behaviors, if you are single, you'd better thank your lucky stars that you don't share the same last name and address with him! A guy who is addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sports, work, fame, money, *religion* or anything else (including his ego) doesn't need a girlfriend. *He needs therapy*. How would you deal with your girlfriend and her sexual addiction? If you're a *good friend*, you'll probably pray for her and keep a safe distance as she works through her issues. Yeah. My point exactly.
6) You compromise to the point of sacrificing. OK, even when a woman becomes a wife, she shouldn't lose her sense of self. But, because I know that the Lord hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and he takes *vow keeping* VERY SERIOUSLY (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7), I totally get why a wife who risk just about anything to make a marriage work. A girlfriend? Not quite so much. In other words, moving to another state to be with a *boyfriend*, giving up a great job opportunity to be with a *boyfriend*, choosing a totally different path in life just to be with a *boyfriend* is not what being single is all about. Singleness is a time to be whole and cultivate your *individuality* (Psalm 33:15). Do you think that God is not BIG ENOUGH to have you two meet (back) up at the right time if it's truly meant to be (Acts 1:7-Message)? If you don't, that's even more of a reason why you should spend some more time being single (Hebrews 11:6). Ask any (godly) wife and she's tell you that *BIG TIME FAITH* is needed to make *any marriage* work!
7) He knows everything about you. Being "naked and not ashamed" is not just about someone seeing your body parts (there's a pretty good article about marital intimacy here). It's about knowing all of your secrets and strongholds and vulnerabilities. Many women have found themselves devastated after a relationship ends because they literally gave a guy *their everything* without any real guarantees. When a guy stands before God and promises to love you like his Son does the Church (Ephesians 5:25-28), what he is basically saying is that he is committed to taking *all of you on*...the good, the bad, the ugly and the *extremely intimate*. Until someone signs up for that, setting up emotional boundaries is not just something to consider, but it's *extremely recommended*. A man pays a price by way of his marriage vows to have full access to your mind, body and your spirit. Make sure that he *pays accordingly*. If he doesn't, you'll probably find yourself in emotional debt, with very little of his interest left (it's a play on words by design).
God is great. Good is good. ;-)
Pass this list along to a single friend of yours when you get a chance. It might spare a(nother) "non-divorce divorce" that can be just as painful as the real deal. *Trust me*!
Oh, and let LaBeouf be a reminder to us all that unless a man says, "Yes. I am ready for marriage", then he's not. If you feel like you are and you stay with him anyway, he's not a "bad guy". You're just a woman who either is willing to wait, didn't listen or is severely settling. In all cases, that is *quite a gamble*.
Stay prayerful! (Proverbs 28:9-Message)