Thursday, July 23, 2009

do not awaken love until...

"I warn you, daughters of Jerusalem, not to awaken or stir up love until it wants to arise!"

Song of Solomon 8:4

True love waits. I know it's an overused cliche, but it really is a true statement. In order to understand why, we must look at the sanctity of sexuality. If sexuality is one of the strongest forces within a human being that is made in G-d's image, what does G-d have to say about it? What is sexuality anyway and how should we view it as G-d fearing individuals?

In looking for a holistic (rather than biological) understanding of sexuality, I found this quote in one of my favorite books, Toward a Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson (it's based on the teachings of Rebbe Schneerson, so although I may not agree with everything in there, I have found great wisdom in this book). Jacobson says, "Sexuality is an internal, G-dly energy, a meeting of body and soul, that is nourished by true intimacy, by modesty and subtlety. It can only flourish in a healthy manner in the context of the sacred institution of marriage. Sexuality itself possesses both a body and a soul, a physical and spiritual dimension. Its body is the union of human bodies, accompanied by the deepest physical pleasures. Its soul is the union with G-dliness, accompanied by the deepest spiritual pleasures. When sexuality's spiritual nature is removed or ignored, it can become an irrational obsession that consumes an individual. Sexuality is among the most potent forces in life. It can either lift us to the great heights of self-sacrifice and commitment or lower us into the depths of self-interest and demoralization. Sexuality is never neutral." (p.67)

If sexuality is removed from its proper context (between a husband and wife), it becomes a mere biological function that can never truly be satisfying. For a woman especially, her body and her emotions and her mind and her spirituality are all intimately connected, and if any one of those is experiencing difficulty in some way, the others will most likely be affected. Sex is never just a physical act for a woman, it has to be much more, because she was created for relationship. Some may try to fill a void by being sexually active outside of marriage, but it is a losing battle. In a book called The Thrill of the Chaste by Dawn Eden (don't take this as a recommendation to read it, the quote just resonated with me), the author writes that in today's society, couples "become physically intimate to see if they want to be in a relationship... the underlying concept is the old Freudian conceit that people have sexual "needs", and that these needs can exist either on their own or as the prelude to a relationship, but that it is unnatural to prioritize other types of intimacy ahead of them. Although I myself have these "needs"-- or, rather, desires-- I never really wanted to place them before emotional intimacy. I don't think it's natural for women to operate that way unless they have serious problems with emotional intimacy-- and even then, I don't think it makes them happy." (p.114) I agree. It's not natural for a woman to operate that way, nor should it be. Need I also say, it's not biblical...

Sexuality, especially that of a woman, can also be a powerful weapon, either for good or for evil. Delilah is said to have been a woman who used her sexuality to bring down the strongest man in the Scriptures, Samson. On the other hand, a woman's other needs are oftentimes stronger than her physical desires, so she may find it easier than a man to initiate (and also reinforce) the "boundaries" necessary for a relationship to remain pure and godly before marriage.

A great article has been written on the subject of pre-marital sex and what the Bible has to say. It was written by messianic scholar, Tim Hegg, and it can be found here:
I remember reading this article with my fiance who is now my husband.

In summary, the most important aspect of a godly relationship is communication, before and after marriage. Communicate with G-d concerning your desires (after all, He created them, and He knows that you have them!), and communicate with your partner. Even a force as powerful as sexuality cannot withstand the united force of G-d, a godly man, and his ezer (strong helper) by his side (that would be you)...

"If you are close when you should be distant, you will be distant when you should be close."

-Rebbe Schneerson

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