Evangelical relationship counseling in two words:

Get married.

That’s the sum of Christian Post guest contributor KC McCauley’s advice to amorous youngsters, at any rate. It’s typical evangelical drivel, nonsense pulled from thin air by a pontifical moralist manifestly unqualified to offer advice on the subject.

In the tradition of disposable internet articles, it takes the form of a list, “5 Rumors (or Lies) Young People Believe About Romantic Relationships”. Who are these young people? How many of them actually believe these rumors and/or lies? Who the fuck knows, but I’m sure KC McCauley’s demographic research is a model of statistical perfection.

Rumor No. 1: You can’t truly know each other until you’ve lived together.

Living together isn’t the only way to get to know your future spouse. There are plenty of people that you’d say you really know, but you don’t live with them. To take this logic to its furthest extent, if you don’t truly know someone until you’ve lived together, then why would you decide to live with someone that you don’t truly know? Sounds sketchy.

If you pursue marriage God’s way, there shouldn’t be any major surprises when you get married and live together. Sure, you may discover that he leaves his clothes everywhere and she takes a long time to get ready. But those things don’t really matter. Your future spouse should be your future best friend, whom you know extremely well. Before marriage, if you know them relationally, spiritually, and emotionally, and have honesty, integrity and accountability, you can have confidence that the physical act of living together will surely be fine.

Well that’s bullshit. You can get to know someone without living with them, but, to paraphrase Mark Twain, you’ll never know for certain whether you love them or hate them until you’ve traveled with them. But travel is off the books too, unless you’re staying in different rooms. And that would defeat the purpose of Twain’s rather apropos anecdote.

But that’s neither here nor there, because this is shit terrible advice, regardless of whether or not premarital cohabitation is a necessity. If you “pursue marriage God’s way, there shouldn’t be any major surprises when you get married and live together”? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Let’s say you get married and six months down the road discover your husband is a serial pedophile. What would the great and knowledgable KC McCauley have to say about that? “What? You didn’t know? Well, tough shit my dear! If you had pursued your marriage God’s way, you would have known all about that stash of kiddie porn he’d been hiding in his bedroom.”

Rumor No. 2: You need to know if you’re sexually compatible.

News flash: If you’re members of the opposite sex, then you’re sexually compatible. Because of pornography and Hollywood love stories that are really “lust stories,” people have unrealistic knowledge and expectations of sex. In reality, the physical, sexual relationship between a husband and wife is something that is special and unique to them, and something that they get to learn and experience for a lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, as Rick Warren says, “Sex with one wife for life isn’t like playing one record over and over, but learning one instrument well for years of beautiful music.”
As we prepare for marriage, instead of pursuing promiscuity, we get to know their personality; instead of focusing on the physical, we focus on the relational. Instead of giving ourselves to those who may not become our spouse, we save ourselves for our spouse. And instead of having nothing to look forward to on your wedding night, you’ll have plenty to look forward to as you become “one flesh” with your spouse. It’s worth the wait. You’ll be sexually compatible. And God will bless it.

What does “sexually compatible” even mean? The ability to produce children, or simply “Tab A into Slot B”?

If it is the former, then sexual incompatibility is a thing regardless of your gender or orientation. Some people are infertile, KC. Way to keep up with current events.

If it is the latter, then no two people on planet earth are incompatible. Whatever your persuasion, there’s something out there — be it a person of your own gender, or even an inanimate object — that will get you off.

Rumor No. 3: You can date around and have fun now, and settle down later.

As Jefferson Bethke says, “Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.” If your perspective of having fun now is hooking up, messing around, or having friends with benefits, and that marriage is something you do later in life to settle down, then you definitely have the wrong intention and perception of marriage. If and when marriage does come, you’ll have all sorts of unnecessary baggage and regret because of past relationships and sexual experiences.

Instead of playing around with girls or guys, you need to be preparing for the person that you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Instead of delaying marriage for something in the distant future, you can prepare for marriage—spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially—and ultimately get married, whereby you’ll obtain favor from the Lord and rejoice in the spouse of your youth (Proverbs 5:18; 18:22).

There they go again.

Just what is this “unnecessary baggage” that having had multiple sexual partners brings to the table upon a couple’s marriage? Christians have been harping away at this trope for as long as I’ve been alive, and so far no one — and I do mean no one — has been able to describe, with any specificity, what exactly that “baggage” is.

Frankly, I’m thinking that baggage is bullshit.

Rumor No. 4: You can’t get married until you’re older, have finished college, have a great job, and have a lot of money.

You don’t have to wait for your dream job to get married. It’s really unfortunate to be in a godly relationship where you both want to get married, but you “can’t” because of school, money, or the lack of a career. Granted, you don’t want to be unwise and make foolish financial decisions, but many have false expectations of having to have a nice house and lots of money when first married. It’s OK to live in an apartment for however long is necessary; it’s OK to eat macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. Education, financial stability and careers are definitely important, but marriage is the most important commitment you’ll ever have. It’s foolish to push off the greatest commitment and blessing that will last a lifetime, for smaller commitments that will often change. Prepare for marriage; work hard; be mature; save your money; and, trust in the Lord to provide. When you do things the right way, with the right person, the “right time” should be sooner than later.

Fuck college. Fuck employment. Get married as soon as possible and eat macaroni and cheese every night.

That’s sound advice.

Rumor No. 5: You have to find “the one.”

Whoever you marry will be “the one.” If you’re in a relationship that’s headed toward marriage, you don’t have to question if you’re marrying the wrong person because “the one” might be somewhere else out there. Yes, God will provide the right person for you, but you don’t have to search frantically for the one person on the entire planet that’s specifically for you. Kevin DeYoung provides some helpful insight with this myth: “The problem with the myth of ‘the one’ is that it assumes that affection is the glue that holds the marriage together, when really it is your commitment to marriage that safeguards the affections. So ditch the myth and get hitched.”

Instead of focusing on trying to find “the one,” you should focus on being “the one” — the godly spouse God has called you to be. Instead of running every person through “the list” that you’ve created for your future spouse, create your own list of what you need to do to be a godly spouse. And instead of always praying that God would show you Mr. or Mrs. “Right,” pray that you’d be the right kind of husband or wife.

No, there is no such thing as “the one”. If you have it in your head that you’re going to go out there and marry the perfect man or perfect woman, you’re either going to be sorely disappointed or you’ll be single  for the rest of your life.

That said, there are a lot of truly shitty partners in this world. There are alcoholics and drug addicts, bullies and domestic abusers, gamblers and philanderers, and no amount of trying to be a “godly spouse” will change them. This is an unrealistic solution to a potentially dangerous problem. Some people, despite appearances, are simply unworthy of marriage, and in such situations it is the sane decision to cut your losses and leave.

But we already know what KC McCauley would have to say to that: divorce is not godly. Besides, if you had married according to God’s way, you would have married the right person in the first place. So, if you’re hitched to a guy who drinks like a fish and beats you to pulp in front of your kids, it is all your fault.

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