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Source: (consider it) Thread: (more) sex before marriage
DaleMaily
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# 18725

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Given the original SBM thread is in Oblivion, I was hoping to resurrect the topic and ask around for some opinions regarding my personal struggle (for want of a better word):

I have had sex, and all but the first time was as part of monogamous, committed relationships. I have a since become a Christian and my partner (also a Christian) is very much no sex before marriage. I have no argument with her beliefs and have no wish to change her mind - on the contrary, I would probably feel worried if she did suddenly do so.

The problem from my partner's point of view is that we are not having sex for different reasons: she because God prohibits it outside marriage, and I because I respect her opinion to choose not to have sex with me (which I would obviously do so if it were a question of faith or simply personal morals/conscience). For me, this needn't be a problem, but she thinks that my opinions are not based on what God thinks.

I would say my opinions on sex and marriage are somewhat liberal-traditional: I think one night stands (I don't like the word "promiscuity" as it makes me think of defence lawyers using it to bully rape victims) are likely to be emotionally damaging, and I do find aspects of the conservative argument for marriage (as expressed here) appealing (if a little utopian), but I'm still not convinced that what I did was sinful. Or is my pride getting in the way?

Sorry for the ramble, I hope it's all a bit more coherent on-screen than it is in my head!

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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lilBuddha
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Adam and Eve had sex before marriage, so, hmmmm.
The Christian church did not get all het up about marriage for nearly a thousand years after Jesus.
Paul is the typical justification, but he thinks the best option is celibacy. A case can be made that Jesus said the same.
In practical terms, sex has risks. Disease being one. But then just interacting with others brings higher risks in that regard.
As to the emotional damage argument, it is only potentially emotionally damaging because of the onus place on it. Relationships are way more emotionally damaging and only a few suggest we should have only one of those.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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quetzalcoatl
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I'm curious why one night stands are thought to be emotionally damaging? I would have thought that long term relationships are potentially way more damaging, although of course, some are not.

Also, curious as to how this damage is measured.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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DaleMaily
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# 18725

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I'm curious why one night stands are thought to be emotionally damaging? I would have thought that long term relationships are potentially way more damaging, although of course, some are not.

Also, curious as to how this damage is measured.

I must admit that I am guilty of going by anecdotal evidence and my own view of making sex and relationships inextricably linked. I should qualify that I probably think that sex is preferable within a relationship, but I recognise (though often forget) that what works for me doesn't necessarily work for others. Up until I became a Christian that was fine by me: mind my own business and live and let live. What I'm not sure about now is that if me becoming a Christian changes anything, and if not, do I have a theological position on my side?

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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In my lifetime, it was definitely risky to have sexual intercourse before marriage, because, other than difficult-to-obtain condoms, all sex had the risk of pregnancy. We didn't worry much about disease, AIDs hadn't arrived. This tied sex to making a relationship permanent.

Because of the risk of pregnancy, sexual activity was taken more seriously; you were trusting the other person with your future, and it seemed your life. I wonder if it reinforced social stereotypes of the aggressive male and passive woman.

When sexuality was freed from risk of pregnancy - The Pill was a really big deal, sex for fun and limited worry about pregnancy changed everything. The rule seemed to be that if you were in love, having sex was okay, with most seeming to be pretty serious about their partner and thinking they would marry.

In former affluent times, couples could settle down in their early 20s. I actually bought a house when I was still a university student. If the economic situations force young people to live with their parents until they approach 30, wouldn't we expect them to be sexually active?

There is a trend that does disturb me though. This is the casual hook-up culture, where is it supposed to be grand to have sex, and to specifically not care about the person. It seems to start in the teens somewhere This seems to be a denial of a truth: that sex is about caring about being with someone else. Though we are also hearing lately that people have significantly less sex today than their grandparents did.

Casual sex? I'd suggest that it does effect people emotionally. Sex contains emotion, as does any significant bodily function. If it contains emotion, can it not but contain an element of one's soul? Damage? that is a different matter than causing an effect.

[ 12. March 2017, 18:04: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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mousethief

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Is sex about caring for someone? Caring how much? Clearly not caring enough to marry them. That level of caring is no longer required. But hook-up culture is apparently not caring enough. So the proper amount of caring is clearly somewhere between those extremes.

So how much is enough? I care enough about you to move in with you? I care enough about you to give you the keys to my Ferrari? I care enough about you to go on a third date with you? A second date? I care enough about you to sit up all night talking, then get a hard-on thinking about seeing you naked?

How much caring is enough?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I suppose minimal caring is enough to involve another person in your sexual activity, otherwise, just masturbate on your own. [Disappointed]

Sexual hook-up culture research summary: "...developing research suggests that sexual hookups may leave more strings attached than many participants might first assume."

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We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
The problem from my partner's point of view is that we are not having sex for different reasons...she thinks that my opinions are not based on what God thinks.
Well, you can take this middle-aged no-sex-inside-of-marriage guy's opinion, or leave it. Seems to me that your respect of her reasoning is a God thing, if one is a Christian. Someone may of course resent feeling like they're the one with the responsibility to say 'no' all the time. To which you say what? 'Well, good luck finding a Christian man who's attracted to women and who has a more right-on attitude than I do'?

I think you're trying to do the right thing, for what it's worth.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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I've always accepted the traditional view that sex belongs in marriage, but I was also aware of the traditional understanding that marriage begins when it begins, and that the ceremony (either in church or elsewhere) is a solemnisation of something that could already be existing "an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace", and like the other sacraments the temporal positioning of the outward sign and the inward grace are not of major importance.
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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I suppose minimal caring is enough to involve another person in your sexual activity, otherwise, just masturbate on your own. [Disappointed]

Then there is de facto no minimum for you. It's all okay. Which rather goes against what you said earlier. Which is it?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Sex contains emotion, as does any significant bodily function. If it contains emotion, can it not but contain an element of one's soul? Damage? that is a different matter than causing an effect.

An artfully crafted meal, a beautiful sunset, making a terrific image; all those contain emotion foe me.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I suppose minimal caring is enough to involve another person in your sexual activity, otherwise, just masturbate on your own. [Disappointed]

Masturbation is fun, but nothing compared to a good partner.
Sex is a skill. Caring can enhance any experience. They are different things.
quote:

Sexual hook-up culture research summary: "...developing research suggests that sexual hookups may leave more strings attached than many participants might first assume."

Quoting studies without revealing methodology renders the reference nearly useless.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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SvitlanaV2
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DaleMaily

This is a fairly liberal website, and there are also posters who aren't Christians. So you're unlikely to be told point blank that pre-marital sex is sinful.

The problem for me as a Christian is that it's hard to imagine Jesus as having lived a laid-back serially monogamous sexual life. We do know that he disapproved of divorce. Maybe he married Mary Magdalene, but going from her to Martha, then Martha's sister, then the woman at the well, etc., doesn't seem to have been the kind of wonderful liberation that Jesus was promoting. And he did get into enough trouble to be put to death, so avoiding scandal was hardly his main concern....

Also, on a sociological level, I feel that sexual liberation as we know it is so closely bound up with the secularisation of Western culture that it's very hard for the churches (as opposed to individual radicals) to argue convincingly that the theological foundations of such behaviour are authentically Christian. Religious decline has gone alongside rising levels of extra-marital sexual activity, reductions in the marriage rate (and particularly Christian ceremonies), a rising divorce rate, and half or more children born out of wedlock. Correlation is not causation, of course, but the scholars I've come across routinely connect the former with the latter.

For most mainstream churches, then, it's a matter of sensitive pastoral care or simple pragmatism; declining churches are less likely to turn away people whose lifestyles would once have been beyond the pale.

Ultimately, if we're looking at the possible spiritual blessings (or 'fruit') of a formal change in approach, I'm afraid I don't think there's much sign that a more tolerant approach to pre-sexual activity than currently exists would serve the gospel. As things stand, it wouldn't reduce decline and aid church growth in our culture, although it might benefit some liberal congregations with a sophisticated demographic. But outside of academia, where are the liberal Christian intellectuals who might promote Christian pre-marital sexuality as a respectable, liberating or radical choice?

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I suppose minimal caring is enough to involve another person in your sexual activity, otherwise, just masturbate on your own. [Disappointed]

Then there is de facto no minimum for you. It's all okay. Which rather goes against what you said earlier. Which is it?
Irony lost.

--------------------
We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I suppose minimal caring is enough to involve another person in your sexual activity, otherwise, just masturbate on your own. [Disappointed]

Then there is de facto no minimum for you. It's all okay. Which rather goes against what you said earlier. Which is it?
Irony lost.
I was more interested in having a discussion than scoring humor points. Maybe I picked the wrong thread.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Quoting studies without revealing methodology renders the reference nearly useless.

You don't get away with that. The link is summaries of research. What is known, as a collection of review. It isn't a meta analysis but it is a credible summary. For CE purposes.

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We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Quoting studies without revealing methodology renders the reference nearly useless.

You don't get away with that. The link is summaries of research. What is known, as a collection of review. It isn't a meta analysis but it is a credible summary. For CE purposes.
Where does it show their methodology? What questions they asked, did they factor in the economic environment, religious POV, economic background, etc. I downloaded the report summary and have only skimmed it, but I dis not see this.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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DaleMaily
Apprentice
# 18725

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:

In former affluent times, couples could settle down in their early 20s. I actually bought a house when I was still a university student. If the economic situations force young people to live with their parents until they approach 30, wouldn't we expect them to be sexually active?

I'm no expert, but I always thought it was the case that a majority of married Christians (at least those I've come across) still do marry younger than the average. Part of the argument that always rankled with me was that it seemed that people who had gone to uni, met someone at the CU, then married a couple of years later were essentially asking (or demanding..) something they never had to face themselves. I know that has no bearing on what is "right", but it smacks a bit of lack of understanding. Basically, not having sex for 5 years has to be way easier than not having it for 15 years, for a variety of reasons.

quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
Someone may of course resent feeling like they're the one with the responsibility to say 'no' all the time. To which you say what? 'Well, good luck finding a Christian man who's attracted to women and who has a more right-on attitude than I do'?

I think you're trying to do the right thing, for what it's worth.

Thanks. With regards the "saying no" bit, it's (unsurprisingly) greyer than that: if and when stuff happens (ugh, I sound like I'm 14...), sometimes it's me who stops it and sometimes it's the other way round. Either way, there's never been any "danger" of us actually having intercourse, although that then brings up the "where is the line?" question.

quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

The problem for me as a Christian is that it's hard to imagine Jesus as having lived a laid-back serially monogamous sexual life. We do know that he disapproved of divorce. Maybe he married Mary Magdalene, but going from her to Martha, then Martha's sister, then the woman at the well, etc., doesn't seem to have been the kind of wonderful liberation that Jesus was promoting. And he did get into enough trouble to be put to death, so avoiding scandal was hardly his main concern....


But does that not suggest that he was concerned primarily with the problem of divorce, as I imagine pre-marital sex would have been rather rare, the age of marriage generally being on the low side? I've seen Jesus's musings on divorce be extrapolated to what gay people can and can't do, which doesn't wash with me: if he's talking about divorce, he's talking about divorce...

Jesus didn't campaign to abolish slavery (old chestnut, I know...) but that doesn't mean he didn't approve, rather I imagine he was acutely aware of his limited time on Earth and his impending doom (and conquering of doom), so he had to prioritise, being completely human and all. Considering then that we probably have to infer from his teachings that he wouldn't have approved of slavery (I think we can all agree on that), we then have to try to infer and work out for ourselves (because we have to take some responsibility for what we do with our lives) what we should do. The problem with that is that inferring doesn't always lead to consensus, and the debate quickly regresses into the usual tic for tac insults and holier than thou attitudes from both sides.

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I've always accepted the traditional view that sex belongs in marriage, but I was also aware of the traditional understanding that marriage begins when it begins, and that the ceremony (either in church or elsewhere) is a solemnisation of something that could already be existing "an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace", and like the other sacraments the temporal positioning of the outward sign and the inward grace are not of major importance.

I think that's pretty close to where I am, to the extent that I think sex belongs within the context of a committed relationship and that the marriage ceremony is a worthwhile expression of that.

I was brought up on no-sex-before-marriage principles and have no regrets in that respect, but have come to the conclusion that this cannot be convincingly argued on the basis of Scripture alone.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
I'm no expert, but I always thought it was the case that a majority of married Christians (at least those I've come across) still do marry younger than the average. Part of the argument that always rankled with me was that it seemed that people who had gone to uni, met someone at the CU, then married a couple of years later were essentially asking (or demanding..) something they never had to face themselves. I know that has no bearing on what is "right", but it smacks a bit of lack of understanding. Basically, not having sex for 5 years has to be way easier than not having it for 15 years, for a variety of reasons.

You may not mean to do this, but you make it sound as if the duty of religion is to indulge people whose priority is to find a great job and have fun sex before eventually looking for a spouse! I doubt that St Paul would have approved; he rather than Jesus seems to have been the one to address 'fornication' directly as a problem. (I'm aware that lots of Christians dislike Paul. But in theory, his writings still 'count', for now at least.)

quote:
I imagine pre-marital sex would have been rather rare, the age of marriage generally being on the low side? I've seen Jesus's musings on divorce be extrapolated to what gay people can and can't do, which doesn't wash with me: if he's talking about divorce, he's talking about divorce...



Interestingly, there are clergymen who accept that long term committed relationships are more or less equivalent to marriages. In that case, when those couples split up, is that equivalent to getting divorced? Dismissing the 'piece of paper' as unimportant or anachronistic doesn't seem to make such questions easier but more complicated....

quote:
[We] have to try to infer and work out for ourselves (because we have to take some responsibility for what we do with our lives) what we should do. The problem with that is that inferring doesn't always lead to consensus, and the debate quickly regresses into the usual tic for tac insults and holier than thou attitudes from both sides.
I don't think it's a matter of 'holier than thou attitudes'. Firstly, if you don't attend the church down the road and you don't like its 'attitude', who cares? Happy ecumenical arrangements can be made elsewhere.

Much more importantly, it should be realised that for some people this isn't about a polite, minor difference among rational, educated men; it's seen as a matter of salvation itself. And it may well be for the demographic of some churches.

Perhaps some Christians can go joyfully from lover to lover and also develop a profound and fruitful relationship with God. There's an interesting book to be written about that, no doubt. But ours is a faith primarily for the weak, the discouraged, the weary, the poor.... And for many of these people, serial monogamy without marriage could well be a source of their spiritual problems rather than a spiritual benefit.

A well-brought up gentleman might treat his short-term partners with utter respect and care; but due to background or experience another will find it much harder to do. A middle class girlfriend might be thorough with contraception; many women with low self-esteem or living chaotic lives might not be. Some women can master their emotions so as not to expect too much from their co-habitees or hook-ups; others haven't developed that skill. Some can brush off a teenage abortion; what about the ones who can't?

Research I've read suggests that these behaviours may (though not always, of course!!!) lead to situations which make a Christian outcome more difficult to achieve. High rates of serial monogamy in a culture don't help to create lasting marriages. Living together before marriage has in recent times made divorce more not less likely (although the difference has since declined, because nearly everyone in the West now lives together first). Unmarried parents are more likely than married parents to split up while their children are still young.... (Refs are available.)

Therefore, if we're concerned about not leading other Christians astray (which is a NT imperative, AFAIUI) we should be careful about presenting these behaviours as spiritually neutral and reasonable choices for all our brethren. Put bluntly, many of the world's Christians are poor women, and they probably won't be the ones getting the caring, liberal, respectful boyfriends....

But each to his own. We all fall short of the glory of God.

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Louise
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# 30

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hosting

This isn't a Dead Horse. It may have been so many moons ago but isn't now. Please check the very limited number of subjects which are Dead Horses in the board guidelines before posting. I'm moving this to Purgatory.
thanks!
Louise
Dead Horses host

hosting off

[ 13. March 2017, 23:00: Message edited by: Louise ]

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
quote:
The problem from my partner's point of view is that we are not having sex for different reasons...she thinks that my opinions are not based on what God thinks.
Well, you can take this middle-aged no-sex-inside-of-marriage guy's opinion, or leave it. Seems to me that your respect of her reasoning is a God thing, if one is a Christian. Someone may of course resent feeling like they're the one with the responsibility to say 'no' all the time. To which you say what? 'Well, good luck finding a Christian man who's attracted to women and who has a more right-on attitude than I do'?

I think you're trying to do the right thing, for what it's worth.

I'm older than middle aged and more of the wait for marriage bent. But even though I'm closer to Dale's more conservative partner's view, I also think Dale is doing the right thing.

Further, and not wishing to make more of a muddle, I'm a bit concerned about Dale's partner's belief that it's important that they both believe the same things, and for the same reasons. This won't be the first time you disagree-- about faith matters, or about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher. Making unanimity on all matters a goal seems to me a recipe for disaster. Much more important is simply having a partner who is willing to work thru disputes in a respectful and reasonable manner, and even make sacrifices at times out of love and respect for the other. It seems to me Dale is exemplifying this (very marriage-able IMHO) quality here, and that is to be applauded more than focusing on different parsing of what is, at best, inconsistent biblical teaching.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Stercus Tauri
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# 16668

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Browsing the 16th century records of the Presbytery of Stirling, as one does*, it was instructive to read that back then they didn't get particularly exercised over the issue of cohabitation before marriage. However, it was failure to follow through on a promise to marry that would incur their wrath, and it could be expensive, with public repentance and heavy fines involved.

On the original topic, one of my favourite ministers, asked his opinion of sex before marriage, replied that didn't think it was as important as sex after marriage.


*Scottish History Society, 1981

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Gramps49
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Question, do you love your partner enough to marry her? That solves the problem. If you do not think you can make the commitment, is it time to move on?

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
Given the original SBM thread is in Oblivion, I was hoping to resurrect the topic and ask around for some opinions regarding my personal struggle (for want of a better word):

I have had sex, and all but the first time was as part of monogamous, committed relationships. I have a since become a Christian and my partner (also a Christian) is very much no sex before marriage. I have no argument with her beliefs and have no wish to change her mind - on the contrary, I would probably feel worried if she did suddenly do so.

The problem from my partner's point of view is that we are not having sex for different reasons: she because God prohibits it outside marriage, and I because I respect her opinion to choose not to have sex with me (which I would obviously do so if it were a question of faith or simply personal morals/conscience). For me, this needn't be a problem, but she thinks that my opinions are not based on what God thinks.

I would say my opinions on sex and marriage are somewhat liberal-traditional: I think one night stands (I don't like the word "promiscuity" as it makes me think of defence lawyers using it to bully rape victims) are likely to be emotionally damaging, and I do find aspects of the conservative argument for marriage (as expressed here) appealing (if a little utopian), but I'm still not convinced that what I did was sinful. Or is my pride getting in the way?

Sorry for the ramble, I hope it's all a bit more coherent on-screen than it is in my head!

I don't know how much value there is in trying to convince you of the sinfulness of something you aren't doing and aren't likely to do again in the future. Seems a bit academic to me, particularly with the blood of Christ covering all, etc.

I confess that I am very out-of-step with most of the rest of the Ship because I do still think sex is only within marriage--though I'd worry about any couple that found it easy to keep to that stricture during their courtship!

It's because of the view I take of the Scriptures, of course--but there are other things that play into it as well that might be worth mentioning here.

One is that I really think there ought to be some level of one's being that is reserved solely for one's permanent, till death do us part spouse--and that includes both physical and spiritual aspects. Not every room in my house is a public room. Even my good friends don't normally waltz into my bedroom--or if they do, they don't make a practice of getting into the bed under the covers. Dumb analogy I suppose, but do you see what I'm driving at? I've got different sets of boundaries, and one of them is set to admit one person only. (and another admits nobody but God.)

Another thing that I mull over is just how much psychological callousing or pain I'd be laying myself open to if I got involved in multiple sexual relationships and the hurt etc. that comes when they end in conflict (as they often do). Someone that close to you can hurt you so much more powerfully. I'm not ready to lay myself open to that amount of possible damage (and who is always lucky?). Marriage is enough of a risk that way.

And then there's what a lot of you will consider the stupid shit--the fact that some people can never forget that their husband or spouse had other partners before them, can never stop wondering if their willingness to break one boundary implies a possible weakness in future faithfulness. (Now someone's going to flame me for sure.) But it's a real problem. I'm watching the final days of one marriage that is foundering on just that rock (among others, yes, but the mutual suspicion they had of each other didn't help at all).

Anyway, I've been dreadfully old-fashioned and was a virgin at marriage, with no partners but my husband since. To a lot of people that will equal "You don't know what you're talking about." Maybe so. But I've become more glad of it as the years go by and we approach our 30th anniversary. I've never found a reason to regret it.

ETA: should have said: I am not a Good Little Evangelical or anything of that sort. I'm a mainstream ordinary Lutheran.

[ 14. March 2017, 02:33: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

Interestingly, there are clergymen who accept that long term committed relationships are more or less equivalent to marriages. In that case, when those couples split up, is that equivalent to getting divorced? Dismissing the 'piece of paper' as unimportant or anachronistic doesn't seem to make such questions easier but more complicated....

This is pretty close to what I think--which is why I wish they'd do it right and get the legal and social protections in place so they have a better chance together. Marriages today may have a high divorce rate, but cohabitation is AFAIK even worse for breakup rate--I'd like to see them have every advantage, especially if there are children involved.

Paul appears to have thought that what makes a marriage union is primarily sex--at least, I think that's why he goes off so hard on people visiting prostitutes. He sees that as a real union, possibly a permanent union--and if he sees prostitution that way, how much more cohabitation!

So yeah, I do think of those as marriages--but disadvantaged ones, as there's often at least one person who won't fully commit, and that leaves the other person in an anxious kind of limbo. And then there's the failure to secure inheritance rights and all that. It really sucks when you have to tell a young not-quite widow that her boyfriend's mother is taking the car, the bank account, and everything, because she isn't legally married and has no inheritance rights. And the children lose out because the parents didn't put his name on the birth certificate, and how are they going to prove paternity now?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

IME, this is from cultural pressure than anything innate. Many women love sex for its own sake.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

IME, this is from cultural pressure than anything innate. Many women love sex for its own sake.
And believe it or not the other converse is true also.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Galilit
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

Or an old 1980's feminist saying:
For men, sex is about sensations; for women, it's about feelings

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She who does Her Son's will in all things can rely on me to do Hers.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

IME, this is from cultural pressure than anything innate. Many women love sex for its own sake.
And believe it or not the other converse is true also.
I have no reason to doubt this.

ETA: It is incredibly difficult to separate culture from biology and to evaluate it objectively. This is why I challenged the link no prophet offered. And Kinsey, TBH.

[ 14. March 2017, 04:20: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
It's because of the view I take of the Scriptures, of course--but there are other things that play into it as well that might be worth mentioning here.

I agree with a fair amount of your "other things".

For me an overwhelming argument in favour of marriage as opposed to cohabitation is creating an opportunity to discuss one's respective expectations of the relationship. Not everybody takes the opportunity offered but it is there.

However, on the narrower question of "no sex before marriage", I would like to know what in the Scriptures informs your view.

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mr cheesy
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Is anyone else disturbed by the idea that relationahips and sex are inextricably linked?

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Question, do you love your partner enough to marry her? That solves the problem. If you do not think you can make the commitment, is it time to move on?

I am reminded what my dad used to say. Men give love to have sex. Women give sex to have love.

I don't agree.

One of my sons is married, the other cohabits. I see no less love in one relationship than the other.

These days - from what I see - they get married when children are on the cards, not before. So the marriage is the commitment to the children, they are already committed to each other when they move in together.

I moved in with my husband in 1976, which was quite unusual in those days. He wanted to get married, I didn't. I did as the youngsters do today and married him when children were in the offing.

Why do you assume the onus is on the man?

'Love her enough to marry her' ??? You talk as if she has no choice in the matter - as if you are giving her some special gift.
[Roll Eyes] if marriage is not a partnership, what is it?

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Is anyone else disturbed by the idea that relationahips and sex are inextricably linked?

Mmmmn, not really. ISTM that the idea that you can interact with another person and not have a relationship with them is on a par with the idea that you can have an opinion which is free of context.

...just as I'm about to click 'add reply', it occurs to me that you might actually be asking, not, is anyone else disturbed by the notion that all sex is about relationships, but - is anyone else disturbed by the idea that all relationships are potentially about sex. In which case, yes. Yes, I am disturbed by that. I have frequently been disturbed by that notion. Because, despite my actual chasteness, I've often found myself attracted to people that I become close to. Sometimes women as well. Yep, disturbing. As best I can make it out, when thinking it through, it's about wanting to give more of yourself.

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When you listen to Bruce's music you are [no longer] a loser. You are a character in an epic poem...about losers.
- Jon Stewart on Bruce Springsteen -

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

However, on the narrower question of "no sex before marriage", I would like to know what in the Scriptures informs your view.

Fwiw, I don't think Christian sexual morality has much to do with the bible. Like abstaining from alcohol, it is possible to create an argument about sexual relations, but there is very little foundation for it.

Indeed, it seems to me that the vast majority of sexual relationships pictured in the bible are defective and do not follow the "norms" we are all supposed to believe in.

That said, I think there are good reasons to promote long term commitment and monogamy on a purely sociological basis.

Love and commitment are a better basis to build society than selfishness. Suggesting relationships are more than mechanical encourages human flourishing rather than diminishes it.

I know others disagree, and I know there are some who have unquestionable levels of commitment whilst not jumping through the traditional civil hoops. I'm not saying that people who disagree should somehow be disadvantaged, but still think that the church should be "for" long term, committed, monogamous, more-than-sex relationships.

Possibly just me then.

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
Mmmmn, not really. ISTM that the idea that you can interact with another person and not have a relationship with them is on a par with the idea that you can have an opinion which is free of context.

Ah sorry, I had totally missed that reading of what I'd written.

But, again, I disagree. It seems humans are fickle and it is entirely possible to sexually interact with another person outwith of any emotional ties however the problem seems to be that it is impossible to tell when you will develop those ties at unfortunate times or what the other person feels about it (or what someone else who is close to that person feels about it). Sexual relations are rarely totally free and without any consequence, it seems to me, and it is a bit of a lottery to know before getting into them.

quote:
...just as I'm about to click 'add reply', it occurs to me that you might actually be asking, not, is anyone else disturbed by the notion that all sex is about relationships, but - is anyone else disturbed by the idea that all relationships are potentially about sex. In which case, yes. Yes, I am disturbed by that. I have frequently been disturbed by that notion. Because, despite my actual chasteness, I've often found myself attracted to people that I become close to. Sometimes women as well. Yep, disturbing. As best I can make it out, when thinking it through, it's about wanting to give more of yourself.
Call me naive, but it seems to me that there are a lot of close relationships that develop that are not sexual. It disturbs me to contemplate that people really only have sex in mind when forming those relationships and I really don't want it to be true.

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

However, on the narrower question of "no sex before marriage", I would like to know what in the Scriptures informs your view.

Fwiw, I don't think Christian sexual morality has much to do with the bible.
I think it depends partly on how you assess marriage: is it a sacrament? a legal arrangement? a social or relational contract?

(FWIW I think a lot of evangelicals are actually functional sacramentalists on this and other similar matters).

The problem I have with "no sex before marriage" is not so much that it's a bad principle but that like so many other things, it's presented as being self-evident from the Bible when in fact it is one possible conclusion of a whole set of biblical considerations about intimacy, commitment, faithfulness, and so on.

People often parrot the "rule" instead of really thinking through the reasons behind it for themselves, which in relationships can be a recipe for disaster.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I think it depends partly on how you assess marriage: is it a sacrament? a legal arrangement? a social or relational contract?

(FWIW I think a lot of evangelicals are actually functional sacramentalists on this and other similar matters).

The problem I have with "no sex before marriage" is not so much that it's a bad principle but that like so many other things, it's presented as being self-evident from the Bible when in fact it is one possible conclusion of a whole set of biblical considerations about intimacy, commitment, faithfulness, and so on.

People often parrot the "rule" instead of really thinking through the reasons behind it for themselves, which in relationships can be a recipe for disaster.

I think we're basically in agreement. If one holds a sacramental view, it is possible to read the bible and see it there. Personally I don't think it is possible to read the bible and get to a sacramental view of sex. Indeed, marriage in the majority of the bible seems to be about property ownership rather than relationship between equals.

These days I tend to believe that almost all evangelical ideas along these lines are built on air and that they're kidding themselves with claims that they're self-evidently biblical. And that very often is destructive.

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Martin60
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Lamb Chopped.

No flaming here.

I'm old school in that there is no such thing as emotionally, relationally consequence free sex. If there is then you're psychopathic, alexithymic, dead.

My only thought is that there can be nothing special about SBM for Christians apart from being Christlike. Maximally kind. Patient. Considerate. Thoughtful. Decent. Respectful, including of parents. Mature. When you're 15 ...

As I was normally catastrophically parented and schooled and socialized and educated and abused ... no chance.

We still aren't grown up, don't talk enough, about sex and emotional hygiene and health. Especially in the incredibly shrinking church.

[ 14. March 2017, 09:37: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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opaWim
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
The problem from my partner's point of view is that we are not having sex for different reasons: she because God prohibits it outside marriage, and I because I respect her opinion to choose not to have sex with me (which I would obviously do so if it were a question of faith or simply personal morals/conscience). For me, this needn't be a problem, but she thinks that my opinions are not based on what God thinks.

If I were your partner, I would count my blessings and be very grateful for the respect you show for her, her feelings, her beliefs, her convictions.

Forgive me if this sounds harsh, but it seems to me that you respect your partner a lot more than she respects you.
It may all work out fine in the long run, but if partners do not respect each other in their particular relation to/with God and in their convictions, what basis is their for a longer term relationship?

Disclaimer(s):
I have had sex with only one partner, my wife.
I do not encourage casual sex.
But also I do not judge people on their sexual life-style.

[ 14. March 2017, 10:05: Message edited by: opaWim ]

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mr cheesy
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Harsh. If I believe in something and my partner doesn't, it isn't simply about respect. Right and wrong is much deeper than that.

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


Indeed, it seems to me that the vast majority of sexual relationships pictured in the bible are defective and do not follow the "norms" we are all supposed to believe in.

That said, I think there are good reasons to promote long term commitment and monogamy on a purely sociological basis.
[...]
I'm not saying that people who disagree should somehow be disadvantaged, but still think that the church should be "for" long term, committed, monogamous, more-than-sex relationships.

Possibly just me then.

I agree that the Bible doesn't spend much time focusing on happy, monogamous marriages. One reason is that attitudes towards marriage are culturally defined. We expect to find all sorts of personal fulfillment in marriage, but the ancients mostly needed marriage to provide other things.

Also, some would argue that the Bible focuses on 'great men' of action, who are almost never the kind to stay at home and prioritise domestic contentment.

The love marriage does seem to be problematic, though. Disillusionment and divorce are constant risks when expectations are so high. Modernising countries like India have realised that arranged marriages are more likely to last. Which doesn't help us liberal, tolerant Westerners, of course.

As for the church supporting 'long term' etc. relationships - trying to define that is of course more complicated. What length are we talking about? Marriage also has the unfair advantage in that you can congratulate a couple who've just got married. To even things up a bit should the church similarly rejoice when couples just move in together?

The 'more-than-sex' thing reminds me of a situation I read about in Canada, where a minister was faced with two gay men who wanted a church wedding but revealed that they had no intention of being sexually faithful to each other.

It's a brave new world.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:


The love marriage does seem to be problematic, though. Disillusionment and divorce are constant risks when expectations are so high. Modernising countries like India have realised that arranged marriages are more likely to last. Which doesn't help us liberal, tolerant Westerners, of course.

I understand that arranged marriages can indeed be very lasting, wholesome and uplifting. But then they may also be hard to get out of and abusive.

quote:
As for the church supporting 'long term' etc. relationships - trying to define that is of course more complicated. What length are we talking about? Marriage also has the unfair advantage in that you can congratulate a couple who've just got married. To even things up a bit should the church similarly rejoice when couples just move in together?
I'm not sure a definition more than "till death do us part" is really necessary. It may well be unrealistic for many, I'm not sure that the church should be criticised for having a difficult ideal.

On your other point, I have long thought that the church* puts far too much emphasis on the wedding and that this, in fact, perversely can lead to problems and even divorce.

* perhaps more accurately it is society that emphasises the "big day" but the church often seems to be enthusiastically encouraging stupid behaviour.

quote:
The 'more-than-sex' thing reminds me of a situation I read about in Canada, where a minister was faced with two gay men who wanted a church wedding but revealed that they had no intention of being sexually faithful to each other.

It's a brave new world.

I suppose this is one of those situations where even though something might be legal it doesn't mean it is right.

I wouldn't marry someone who was that casual about their relationship. But then I'm not sure I'd marry anyone, I'm probably the last person to ask on this..

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

The love marriage does seem to be problematic, though. Disillusionment and divorce are constant risks when expectations are so high. Modernising countries like India have realised that arranged marriages are more likely to last. Which doesn't help us liberal, tolerant Westerners, of course.

These aren't quite the same thing. You can marry for love, or marry because your families think you'll make a good match. These are both ways of selecting a marriage partner, not ways of behaving whilst in a marriage.

It may well be true that people going into an arranged marriage tend to have a more realistic idea of what is required to make a marriage work than those who marry for lurve. It is almost certainly true that people in societies where arranged marriages are common face more social pressure to remain married than liberal, tolerant Westerners.

But neither of these is necessarily true.

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SvitlanaV2
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Certainly, arranged marriages are maintained in communities or societies where there is cultural pressure (or more positively, support) to keep those marriages together.

If you just have the arranged marriages on their own, without the cultural support, they'll quickly collapse. This has happened whenever a Western reality show has brought a handful of people together, subjected them to personality tests, etc. and married them off to people they don't know. Disastrous.

ISTM, though, that Western love has always been ambivalent about marriage. Courtly love long ago was about adultery, and even today, there's the popular sense that sexual love should be liberating, all-consuming, unshackled by bourgeois norms, religion and legalities - so how can it be constrained by mere marriage?

Sexual variety is obviously a strong impulse, both before and after marriage. Religion has tried to curb that tendency, but over time Christians have expected their religion to work around it. But I think there's a limit to the usefulness of religion, if its purpose is merely to sanction the things that we were going to do anyway....

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L'organist
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The no sex before marriage thing was always and ever about one thing above all: that the man in a relationship - and the society of which he was a part - thought it the best way of ensuring that the first child, at least, (preferably a boy, of course) could be guaranteed to be his.

Eventually some societies, including British society at least lower down the social scale, it became the custom that while a betrothal might occur when a girl was 12 or so, no formal marriage would take place until either the bride was pregnant or even after the birth. So plenty of people - albeit betrothed/engaged - were having pre-marital sex, and often with the tacit blessing of the church.

While it was acknowledged that men would enjoy sex, there was precious little enjoyment to be expected for the bride - indeed, the act of sex was often referred to as the "marriage debt", in other words sex was the price women "paid" for the respectability conferred by marriage. And it was often seen as a sign of a woman's virtue if she did't enjoy sex, and therefore acceptable if a husband fulfilled his "baser needs" outside the marital bed, so long as he didn't flaunt any such liaisons.

Now we have a situation where not only is it accepted that both men and women can (should?) gain pleasure and enjoyment from sex, it is seen as being the mark of a successful relationship and the linchpin of a "healthy" partnership.

Bearing this in mind, isn't it remarkably stupid to assume that what has come to be an integral part of a relationship is left as a big question mark? It is, after all, accepted that it is perfectly possible for people of different gender to have very close, loving friendships without them being sexually attracted to one another, so why do people assume that "love" means there is sexual attraction or compatability? And what about the rather important fact that libido can differ greatly from person to person?

I realise that some may find the analogy banal, but surely if you were thinking of buying the one car you'd ever own you'd want to do more than just look at a catalogue? You'd want to sit in it and take it for a test drive. Well, so with sex.

As for DaleMaily's girlfriend and the problem she has with them refraining from sex for different reasons: it is about far more than respect, it is about a judgment made as to which is the more "virtuous" reason for abstinence. Not a happy situation for you, DM, and one I'd consider very carefully before committing to anything like an engagement, never mind marriage.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Is anyone else disturbed by the idea that relationahips and sex are inextricably linked?

It only became possible to split the one from the other in living memory. The invention of reliable and widely-available birth control allows a woman to have sex without worrying that a baby will appear nine months from now. And it is that baby, with its attendant 18 years or so of support, that made having a relationship before sex absolutely essential in the past.

Which is why when you discuss these issues you need to acknowledge that great divide. Before birth control and after birth control -- I suggest that the moral and right behavior has now changed. You can still be emotionally hurt, sustain spiritual damage, even acquire a venereal disease, from that single fling. But a woman can avoid pregnancy, without the cooperation or even knowledge of the male partner.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The no sex before marriage thing was always and ever about one thing above all: that the man in a relationship - and the society of which he was a part - thought it the best way of ensuring that the first child, at least, (preferably a boy, of course) could be guaranteed to be his.

That's such a bland statement as to be almost entirely unfalsifiable. That clearly is not the case in many Christian communities today, where pre-marital sex is considered a sin.

Unless you stop posting bland statements and give some detail which amounts to more than your idiosyncratic version of the history of religion, it is going to be very hard to discuss this with you.

Who are you talking about and when? What evidence do you have of this tendency?

quote:
Eventually some societies, including British society at least lower down the social scale, it became the custom that while a betrothal might occur when a girl was 12 or so, no formal marriage would take place until either the bride was pregnant or even after the birth. So plenty of people - albeit betrothed/engaged - were having pre-marital sex, and often with the tacit blessing of the church.
Again, you need to be defining which period you are talking about here.

quote:
While it was acknowledged that men would enjoy sex, there was precious little enjoyment to be expected for the bride - indeed, the act of sex was often referred to as the "marriage debt", in other words sex was the price women "paid" for the respectability conferred by marriage. And it was often seen as a sign of a woman's virtue if she did't enjoy sex, and therefore acceptable if a husband fulfilled his "baser needs" outside the marital bed, so long as he didn't flaunt any such liaisons.
Mmm.

quote:
Now we have a situation where not only is it accepted that both men and women can (should?) gain pleasure and enjoyment from sex, it is seen as being the mark of a successful relationship and the linchpin of a "healthy" partnership.

Bearing this in mind, isn't it remarkably stupid to assume that what has come to be an integral part of a relationship is left as a big question mark? It is, after all, accepted that it is perfectly possible for people of different gender to have very close, loving friendships without them being sexually attracted to one another, so why do people assume that "love" means there is sexual attraction or compatability? And what about the rather important fact that libido can differ greatly from person to person?

I realise that some may find the analogy banal, but surely if you were thinking of buying the one car you'd ever own you'd want to do more than just look at a catalogue? You'd want to sit in it and take it for a test drive. Well, so with sex.

That's so inane. Plenty of things are not like buying a car. Close human relationships are not about a checklist of compatibility that you can test-drive.

quote:
As for DaleMaily's girlfriend and the problem she has with them refraining from sex for different reasons: it is about far more than respect, it is about a judgment made as to which is the more "virtuous" reason for abstinence. Not a happy situation for you, DM, and one I'd consider very carefully before committing to anything like an engagement, never mind marriage.
My goodness, you really are attempting to give marriage preparation lessons via this limited information imparted on a bulletin board.
[Mad]

[ 14. March 2017, 13:10: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

I realise that some may find the analogy banal, but surely if you were thinking of buying the one car you'd ever own you'd want to do more than just look at a catalogue? You'd want to sit in it and take it for a test drive. Well, so with sex.

So when you've committed to a particular car, and it no longer performs the way it did in the test drive, what then? Are you trading it in for a new model?

I think your test-drive analogy only makes any sense at all if you think people's sexual preferences and compatibility are constant over time. And I don't think they are.

quote:

As for DaleMaily's girlfriend and the problem she has with them refraining from sex for different reasons: it is about far more than respect, it is about a judgment made as to which is the more "virtuous" reason for abstinence.

That's not my reading. It's not about some kind of virtue-signalling nonsense: it's about faith. DaleMaily's girlfriend seems to be concerned that she and DM are not on the same page with regards to faith. She is saying "God says it would be wrong for us to have sex" and DM is saying "God thinks it would be fine for us to have sex, but I know you don't want to and I respect that."

It's not about sex - it's about God. The question is whether DM and his girlfriend can reconcile their differing beliefs.

[ 14. March 2017, 13:23: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Gramps49
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# 16378

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A few years ago, it seemed to be a fad among fundamentalist churches to get their teens to commit to purity, or chastity, until married. As I recall, the results were, well, disappointing. There was in increase in unwanted pregnancies among the teens. They also found that many of the young adults reported sexual dysfunction when they did get married precisely because they had forgone sexual experimentation that seems to be a part becoming sexually mature.

I am sure the fundamentalist churches still encourage their teens to stay chaste, but the teens are dropping out of those churches in droves because the message does not match with the teen's reality.

Am I encouraging promiscuity? I do not think so. I am just saying be careful about what you do when you cross that bridge.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
This is pretty close to what I think--which is why I wish they'd do it right and get the legal and social protections in place so they have a better chance together. Marriages today may have a high divorce rate, but cohabitation is AFAIK even worse for breakup rate--I'd like to see them have every advantage, especially if there are children involved.

Paul appears to have thought that what makes a marriage union is primarily sex--at least, I think that's why he goes off so hard on people visiting prostitutes. He sees that as a real union, possibly a permanent union--and if he sees prostitution that way, how much more cohabitation!

So yeah, I do think of those as marriages--but disadvantaged ones, as there's often at least one person who won't fully commit, and that leaves the other person in an anxious kind of limbo. And then there's the failure to secure inheritance rights and all that. It really sucks when you have to tell a young not-quite widow that her boyfriend's mother is taking the car, the bank account, and everything, because she isn't legally married and has no inheritance rights. And the children lose out because the parents didn't put his name on the birth certificate, and how are they going to prove paternity now?

Indeed. The laws in Canada vary from province to province. In some being common-law is enough to have property divided as if married, in others reverts to family of origin. I expect to try to gently tell one of my children when I visit over Easter, that if never marrying, please see a lawyer and draw up some sort of contract for cohabitation. Parents may also need to revise wills to ensure money goes to descendants and not half of it to siblings.

I realize in this day of satisfying individual aspirations, extended family has limited or no say. But I wonder, at what point do the parents of a cohabiting consider the partner as a common-law in-law, part of the family or whatever. I am told 8 years is enough. I suppose it is. People do try to tell me it doesn't matter, but it does to me. Probably they say it doesn't matter because it doesn't matter to them, and they come from a large extended family, and don't have the refugee symptom of concern for family continuity after a hecatomb of decimation in war. Of course the best is not to say anything at all, which I learned the hard way.

I think it is easier to dismiss marriage with cliché like "piece of paper", men want it to ensure the kids are their's, and empowerment of individuality and doing your own thing when your family is large and there are cousins.

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