The Most Important Relationship
Boats Safely in Dock
Ill state up front that this article is for women written by a woman. I would suppose that most of the information in this article will also be applicable to men, but this is basically a girl talk article since this is mostly a girl type issue.
Insecurity in relationships is something that most women feel at some time or another throughout their lifetime. Sure, men struggle with this as well from time to time, but by far, more women are insecure in their relationships than men. Although in some cases there might be a reason behind this feeling of insecurity, the majority of the time there really is no basis for it, and it reveals something else deeper that a woman needs to grapple with.
God created all humans to be in relationship, both with Him and with other humans. In fact, the only thing about creation that God declared, not good, was that Adam should be alone. For women especially relationships are of utmost importance. God planned it this way, giving women an understanding of relationships that is a vital component to keep the family together.
However, when sin entered the world, so did relational problems. We must remember this sin factor as we look at our own relationships because how we view all of our relationships will be slightly (or sometimes greatly) distorted by our own sinful point of view as well as the sin of those with whom we relate.
As women, we have many types of relationships: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, business associates, church family, and friends. But by far, our most important relationship must always be the relationship we have with our Creator and Savior. How we see God will color every aspect of our lives and this is especially true in the area of relationships.
Who do you spend the most time thinking about during your day, that cute guy with the incredible blue eyes and blond hair, rippling with muscles? Or the God who created you and sustains your life? Who is the one you look to for your sense of worth? If you are in-between relationships, do you feel worthless and alone?
The message of todays society to women is that our value needs to come from the man we are presently involved with. If we cannot talk about our man when with a group of women, we feel left out and put down. If we are a woman without children, we feel devalued even more.
Yet this is not where God intended women to find their value. When we rely on our boyfriend or our husband or our children to be the source of our worth, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Remember what we said earlier about the distortion caused by sin? If being with a man is what makes you valuable, then when the man does something sinful like walking away from your love, does this then mean you are no longer valuable? Too many women feel this way.
God, on the other hand, has given you a source of worth that never changes, no matter what. God says you are very valuable. He tells you that He paid the ultimate price to make you His -- His life. How much are you worth? You are worth God coming down to earth to die a horrible, painful death just for you. Did He do this because of your beauty or your brains or because you are good in bed? Did He die because you have all the right curves or because you are a good cook or a good mother? Oh, no! He did this because HE LOVES YOU!
You see, our worth was never meant to be based on who we are or on what we can do or what we are like. Our worth was always meant to be based on Gods love for us. God doesnt merely love us; He is love itself. Gods very character is to love, which means that He cannot do otherwise. If God did not love us, then God would not be God. It would be like saying water isnt wet. The very essence of water is to be wet. The very essence of God is to love.
If Gods love for us were dependent on who we are or what we do, then sometimes God would love us and sometimes He wouldnt. His love would change from moment to moment, always keeping us guessing about whether He loved us at this moment or not. But how wonderful it is to know that His love cannot change. It cannot be more or less than it is right now. He loves us as much as is possible at every minute of our lives. If this is not true, then God is not really God. The God of the Bible must love us this way. It is His character, the essence of His being.
Do you know much about boats? I live in northern Indiana, not too far from Lake Michigan. Recently weve had some pretty severe thunderstorms, and I wondered about the combination of these two things. Picture this. Storms are coming and you are on a boat in the lake. Which would you prefer to be on, a boat that is far from shore when the storm hits? Or a boat that is tied securely to the dock? We would prefer the secure boat tied to the dock, of course. (Okay, you people who want to be out in the middle of the lake: 1. have never been in such a situation before and are totally oblivious to how dangerous that can be, or 2. have a death wish that we need to talk about. lol)
What is going to happen to the boat in the middle of the lake? It will be tossed around, completely at the mercy of the winds. What will happen to it? Who knows? Will the people on board be okay or will they die? With this boat, you can never be sure what will happen. The surrounding environment will determine its fate. Even if you see other boats around you, trying to get close to them will be dangerous because the waves will throw your boats together, turning both ships into kindling.
Now, lets think about the other boat, the one tied to the dock. Sure, the water may go up and down and the wind may blow around it, but because it is tied to something that is not going to move, the boat is safe. The security for this boat does not lie in the boat itself, but in the unmovable, unchangeable dock. There is no fear of other boats around it because they are all anchored in the same stable foundation.
The same is true for us. When we find our worth in those around us, we are like that boat in the middle of the lake. What will happen to us? Who knows? Will we be safe or will we be ruined? We have no idea. No one can ever know. If this particular storm is not too bad, we may survive. If the storm is too fierce, we might die. And we will never be certain of our status. Are we valuable? Who knows? It all depends on things that are so very much out of our control, people who may or may not choose to love us.
But when our worth is rooted in the rock of Christ Jesus, we can guarantee safety and security. Jesus Christ is the same. He never changes. His love for us is the same today as when He hung on the cross. It is the same today when we sin as it was yesterday when we did the right things to please Him. It is the same whether we feel like He loves us or not.
Now, lets apply this to our human relationships to see how knowing this will affect us.
Im putting this one first because most of you would scroll down to it anyway. I mean, be honest, who would you rather have dinner with, your best female friend or your special man? No contest, huh? So, lets go on with it. Whether you are married or not, whenever you are in a relationship with men, there are some basics that apply. If you are the ship in the lake, you will have a tendency to cling to your man like a drowning person clings to a rescuer, hoping he will add stability to your sense of worth. But honey, let me tell you, if this is where you are in a relationship, married or not, instead of drawing that fine man towards you, it most likely will push him away.
For most men, this type of woman gives them claustrophobia. They feel suffocated, and the typical response is to flee. When a rescuer first swims up to help a drowning person, what does the person do? Finally, a glimmer of stability, something secure, someone who offers them hope. Do they relax and say, Thank you so much for coming out here. Ill just lean back and let you take me easily in to shore.? Of course they dont! They grab on to the rescuer and sometimes almost drown the other person in the process.
If you build your life around your man, you are going to be in trouble. If you must have him by your side 24/7, look out! Just as the drowning person pulls down the rescuer, your man will feel as if he is drowning and will do things to avoid that feeling.
What are some signs that you are being too clingy? If you feel depressed if hes gone for an hour or so, you are clinging too tightly. If you feel you must pull him away from something he really enjoys, something that lasts only for a short period of time, because you want to be assured that you are more important to him, too clingy. If you feel like every woman he talks to is on the make for him, too clingy. If you have no real friends to go see a movie with (other than your man!), too clingy.
Think about this. If you do nothing all day but think of him, when he gets home from work, what are you going to talk about? When you begin dating, most couples do a good deal of talking. Why? Because theres a mystery, the unknown about the other person. Just like the Proverbs 31 woman, you need to fill your day with activities. Keep yourself busy and find yourself projects to do. Most men dont want the conversation over supper to be about dishes, dusting and diapers. Have some things you can talk about, something new and fresh to bring to the table each day. Good conversation is an art, and it is a whole lot easier to do if you have something interesting to talk about. Does your man like politics? Well, read up on the latest political news. Does your man enjoy discussing his work? Make sure you know what he does and what all his job entails. When couples begin to date, they often do a good job of this, but over the years, conversation skills can diminish. It will be worth your time to work at being a good conversationalist. A clingy woman tends to get self-centered and self-focused, and it will become obvious in her conversations.
Okay, ladies, Im going to be honest with you on this one. This was never a trouble spot for me, but its one that many women have come to me with, and I can tell you that marriages are disintegrating over it. Yep, you guessed it, sex.
This is going to be a touchy area, and some of you may not agree with me, but from my study of the Bible and from what I know of the roots of Jewish marriages, this is my conclusion. Ill just say it right out and then explain why I believe the way I do. Unless you are seriously ill, and I do mean really sick, I dont think you should ever tell your husband no. Not tonight dear, I have a headache, is not a valid excuse. Im not in the mood, nope. Every time you reject him, you take one step closer to divorce.
Lets say you come into some inheritance money and buy your husband a brand new, red Jaguar. From time to time he wants to take it out for a spin, but you wont let him. Is it really his car if you are in control of when he drives it? When you said, I do, you were giving him the keys to the car of your body. And you thought it was still your body! Ive got news for you -- its not! Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that marriage makes that female body of yours the property of your husband. This means that when he wants to take it out for a spin, theres really no reason you should tell him he cant.
So, what do you do if you are not in the mood? Or if you dont enjoy it? Or youd rather be doing other things? Grit your teeth and bear it? Oh, my, no! If you personally do not enjoy sex with your husband or if you are not in the mood or for whatever other reason you have for not wanting to join him in this, Id like to challenge your understanding of why God made sex part of the marriage relationship.
Remember, sex was Gods idea, and it was God Himself who made it an integral part of a bond between a husband and wife. If you are turning him down all the time, or giving it to him grudgingly, then I would like to suggest you look at where your focus is. When you are making love, are you focused on what you can get out of it? Or is your focus on what you can give to him? It is sad that our culture has made sex into something so self-centered. IM not getting MY needs met. IM not enjoying it. IM not in the mood. Thats not the focus God intended sex to have. Sex was meant to be focused on what you can give and not what you get. Its evident from the Bible that marriage is often used as the picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church. I think the reason for this is that marriage should be two people who give all they have to each other.
I know some of you reading this have been sexually abused in the past and having sex brings back horrible flashbacks. While I do understand, its essential that you work past this as quickly as you can. Although its not everything, sex is an important part of the glue that holds a marriage together. God planned it that way. Be honest with your husband about the feelings it causes in you, but try not to cut him off completely. If you do, it will isolate you and him from each other, which might become a wedge too big to overcome.
Women look at sex differently than men. I read an article the other day that said that after 36 hours since a woman has had sex, her libido begins to slow down. For some women, they have turned down their husband so many times, and sex becomes a once a month chore that they dont even miss it any more. They lose their desire for their husband sexually, and they dont even notice its missing.
If this is you, honey, you better start looking for a signs of a mistress -- and you will have nobody to blame but yourself. It is a rare man who will put up with infrequent sex for long. When a woman withholds sex, she is actually putting herself in control of the marriage. She controls what level of intimacy they have. He must abide by her decisions. And this is exactly opposite to what God intended the authority structure to be in a marriage. The man is to be the head of the relationship, not the woman. He should be the one to call the shots, not her. Christ runs the Church; the Church does not tell Christ when to do things.
This is what women must remember. You must learn to respect his role in your relationship, striving to please him. If you tell him no, he will feel that you do not respect him, and it will make it very difficult for him to love you. Does this give your husband the right to treat you like a slave? No. He is responsible to God to treat you as Christ does the Church, and in turn, you must give him the respect the position of husband deserves.
Interestingly, the more you give yourself to him, the easier it will become. And soon, you will be deriving a good deal of pleasure yourself from the experience, and you will start to want more of this. Again, this is how God intended for spouses to stay together.
In the Jewish wedding covenant, the Ketubah, many specifics of the marriage were spelled out. Usually this included how often the couple would make love (called marital rights). This was negotiated in advance, before the marriage was ever consummated. A minimum of one time a day was not uncommon. While that might be a little too often, I would suggest that less than once a week is not healthy for your marriage.
For a woman, we gauge the status of our marriage by how much we communicate or how often we kiss or hug. For a man, they gauge the status of the marriage by how often they have sex with their wife. Both partners need to compromise and venture into both types of intimacy in order to fulfill the needs of their spouse. Failing to meet sexual needs (unless there is a serious medical condition that precludes it) is as certain to put extreme stress on a relationship as it would be to never feed your husband.
All that I said for married women .dont do it until you ARE married. Many single women get involved in sexual relationships because they are sure that will keep the man in their lives. But here again we see this clinginess. If you are willing to sleep with men before you get married, then you are setting up your marriage for a fall before you even get to the altar. You are putting yourself in a tenuous relationship (theres that boat out in the middle of Lake Michigan again) and when the storms start blowing, you will cling to him.
Why do single women have sex? For a couple of reasons, I think. The first reason is that our society expects it. Theres a show I saw on TV called, Extreme Dating. On this show, a man and woman go out on a date. One of them, however, is wired up so they have 2 of the other persons ex-s in their ear, trying their best to dish out the worst about that person. It becomes obvious from this and many other forces in society that sex will be a part of their relationship from the beginning. There are no questions about it. And the thought of an entire dating relationship without sex becomes ludicrous. Dating without sex? No way, our culture says. Besides, with all the sex acts seen in the media, it builds it up to almost the point of the only way of telling if a man loves you.
The second reason is because women believe the man will not date them if they do not give him the sex (which strikes me as odd because these same women turn around and wonder why their husbands leave them when they refuse to give them sex in the marriage). And the sad thing is, most men will leave. Does this mean its okay for the woman to give in?
If youve bought into either of these reasons, or another Ive not listed, youve bought into a lie. You remember when we talked about God. He loves you perfectly, right now, right as you are. And since He loves you perfectly, He will always want the best for you. In the Bible we are told to keep the marriage bed pure and that sex unites a man and woman into one flesh. Now, if the God who loves you perfectly says, Dont sleep with someone unless you are married to them, how can that possibly be an unloving thing for Him to say? And if that is a loving statement, then the opposite of it must be a very unloving statement. What does this mean? Well, if the guy you are seeing says, Honey, if you love me youll have sex with me, you turn right around and tell him, God says that if YOU love ME, you will wait until we are married.
Will the guy leave you? Perhaps. But if he doesnt love you enough to wait and he doesnt respect your wishes now, do you really think its going to get any better when you do get married? I can tell you for a fact: it doesnt work that way!
I think we as single women need to start making these men who call themselves Christians live up to the standard of Gods word. And we need to hold our own selves accountable for the same thing. If we stop letting them sleep with us before marriage, they will soon start getting the hint.
Oh, and by the way, girls, staying celibate wont kill you, and it wont make you sexually cold in bed once you do get married. I speak from experience on this. I was a virgin on my wedding night, five days before my 36th birthday. Believe me, there will be passion aplenty when you need it. ** Wink! Wink! **
So, if you are noticing that you feel insecure in your relationships here on earth, its time to examine the most important relationship in your life. What do you think about God? Is He the one who loves you and gives meaning to your life? Or are you relying on some human man to do that? Or your child? Or your friends? Which kind of boat are you? Are you out in the lake, tossing and flailing about, drowning in insecurity?
Or are you the boat anchored safely in dock, resting on the perfect love of a perfect Lord to keep you secure in who you are?
The Bible is full of seemingly contradictory statements. Those who save their lives will lose them. Those who lose their lives will save them. This idea of self-worth is along the same lines. The more you cling to others for your self-worth, the more distanced from you they will become. The more you cling to God for your self-worth, the more others will be drawn to you.
Its not a matter of our feelings in this. Jesus never changes so His love for us never changes. Therefore, our self-worth never changes because it is rooted completely in His character. God is love. Period. He can do nothing less than love us perfectly. Base your security in that truth and your boat will always be secure in Him.
Have you read our article:
"A Practical, Biblical Perspective on Sex and Marriage"?
©1998-2008 by OAIM