Wednesday, July 2, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: '8 Signs You’re In Lust And Not In Love'
I can't tell you how many times I sit in a counseling session and I'm like...
"Yeah. I wish someone had been more responsible in telling the both of you what it *really means* when the Word says that it's better to marry than to burn. It's so taken out of context.":
"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion."---I Corinthians 7:8-9(NKJV)
What Paul was saying was that *in his opinion*, it is better to remain single. But if you cannot control your sexual urges, if you feel that you won't be able to exhibit self-control in that area, it is better to marry than to allow your sexual desires consume you.
Paul was not saying "Oh, so you have lust problems? Hurry up and get married."
We wouldn't tell two crackheads to hurry up and get married.
We wouldn't tell two alcoholics to get married too.
Marriage is not something that should be entered into lightly.
It is to be entered *soberly*. Yeah...people should spend a significant amount of time sexually abstinent to make sure that they love one another and are not simply "in love" with how they make each other feel.
In the wise words of a guy I know "Sex makes you 'love' people, you don't even like."
OK, enough from me....
On the heels of all of this, here is an article (S-C-A-P) that addresses all of this quite poignantly:
I’m preparing to move to Paris for about a year or so. One of the major things this involves is getting rid of stuff that I should have tossed forever ago, but just haven’t yet. While tossing clothes and shoes is emotional enough in its own right, what’s really killing me the most is my “box of yesterday.”
True to its name, my “box of yesterday” is a nightmare collection of things from past relationships. I say nightmare, because who saves receipts from Brooklyn Bowl because it has an ex-boyfriend’s name on it? This gal. Who thinks it’s necessary to keep shreds of a ripped t-shirt from a wrestling match after too many martinis? Me, obviously.
The project of weeding through these things and deciding which is reasonable to keep and which solidifies me as a straight-up lunatic has forced me to face a fact: my last relationship, if we can even call it that, wasn’t love at all. Of course, at the time I was convinced it was love, as we all tend to think in similar situations, but in reality it was nothing but lust tangled up with infatuation, and because of it I was the most unstable, crazy, jealous, human being I’ve ever been. Looking back now, I blush at who I was, and that I was capable of such insanity because of a man.
With those days officially in my past and locked there safely so I can no longer touch them, I can see clearer than ever what I was experiencing. I was not in love with a guy whom we’ll call “C,” but in lust.
Here’s what I learned from it all. If you recognize yourself in any of this, I suggest you run like h--l. Now.
1. There’s more fire and less stability.
Love — real love — is about commitment and communication. These two important components lead to stability within a relationship. Of course, fire can be part of the equation, but when there’s lots of drama, chaos and more emotional gut blows than butterflies, you’re looking at a lustful situation.
2. You focus more on the outside than inside.
I could stare at C for hours. I was so enamored with his beauty. To me, he was gorgeous from head to toe without a single flaw to be found. I was obsessed with his beauty, and relished in the fact that I got to be seen in public with him and got to “tap that” at the end of the night.
3. You prefer the fantasy.
From the beginning, I knew C and I didn’t have a future. We were far too similar to have been able to conduct a grown-up relationship, and he was never going to want me the way I wanted him. With him, I acted younger than I was for far longer than I should have — the drinking, acting out, immaturity and irresponsibility were quadrupled when we were together. I didn’t want a “grown-up” life with him; I loved the days on end of debauchery that allowed me to escape from reality.
4. Why aren’t we having sex right now?
Although I loved talking to C, because we did have so much in common, whenever we were together just hanging around or watching a movie, I’d always catch myself wondering, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?” I’m serious. I couldn’t give a d--n about the ending to whatever movie was on, if it meant we were having sex instead.
5. You’re not friends.
C and I were not friends. For a long time we called each other “best friend,” but the truth was I was in lust, and he was just waiting for something else, something, to use his words, better. Despite knowing that, the lust kept me coming back for more.
6. Intimacy doesn’t exist.
Although cuddling can be really satisfying and comforting when you’re in love, when you’re in lust a body against you just feels like dead weight. You’re also likely to ask yourself again, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?”
7. You experience intense neediness.
If I didn’t get the attention I needed from C on a daily basis, I felt like my world was falling apart. Was he texting with someone else instead? Was he not home, as he said, but out with someone else? Having sex with someone else? Why isn’t he answering my calls? It was exhausting, to say the least.
8. The feeling is conditional.
Anyone who’s been in love can attest to the fact that love is unconditional. Lust, however, is not. Lust is steeped in gratification without concern to anything else. I could easily sleep with someone other than C and not feel a twinge of regret, but if I were to do the same to the man I love, I’d never forgive myself. Lust has blurred boundaries as to what’s right; love kicks those blurred lines into place.
Here's something additional from a Christian platform perspective:
Lust is always self-focused. When we lust we are in a battle of seeking only to pleasure ourselves. We can lust not only sexually but also for things, jobs, or relationships. We can become so self-focused in our attempts to get these things that we are blinded at the journey…the journey towards death. Because this world will never satisfy you, you will NEVER get enough. Whether what starts with a porn magazine escalates to watching it on the computer, buying a few pairs of shoes turns to dozens, reading one romance novel to joining an addicts club, lust can take over. Lust will begin to feed on your self-focused desires. You will find yourself talking others into become a part of your destructive journey as well. I mean if someone is also committing the same sin, at least you are not alone. But eventually lust will tear down your relationships too and you will BE ALONE.
Love is other-focused. When we love, our goals, our purpose, our desires are to please the other person. Whether it’s helping someone with their yard work, serving at church, taking a grocery cart back to the store for someone, or dating with respect and honor, all are other focused. When you love someone, you will want the best for him or her. You will want to lift them toward Christ. You will want to build a bridge, not tear one down. When you love another person, you are not thinking of what you are going to get out of it but how God gets the glory. Love does not go too far sexually, yell, intentionally hurt, lie, or cheat. If you have pure love, in all things you will want to show the love that Christ has shown to you. Love leads to relationships and NOT BEING ALONE.
That takes it right back to Scripture:
"There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body."---I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message)
You can't *lust your way* into a healthy relationship.
That is how you transition into the kind of love that is ready for marriage.