Ever since I got married, friends who call, text, or write me on Facebook will often start the conversation by asking, “So, how’s married life?”
I never quite know how to answer. Should I give the trite and expected, “Great”? Should I have a little awkward-turtle fun with a “I love it—sex is FUN”? Should I be honest and tell them how freaking hard it’s been?
Truthfully, that question feels about the same as being asked on my birthday how it feels to be another year older. Really, in spite of all of the ridiculous build-up, I don’t feel any different. I’m still me. Chris is still Chris. It’s just that we share life together now. And, perhaps it’s just me being a pessimist, but in my experience life is far more likely to suck than to be “great.”
That’s not how the movies portray it, is it?
You see, just like fairy tales and chick flicks make love/marriage into this big-deal, life-transforming moment, I see much of the “true love waits” movement doing something similar. Everything is so focused on one thing—”getting married.” A wedding. A legal ceremony, sacrament, and ridiculously large and expensive party all smashed together into one big event that’s so important it often takes at least a year to plan. (Is it obvious that I hate weddings? Well, I do. I really, really do.) Once the vows are exchanged and the license is signed, suddenly the happy couple is supposed go from being two people practically banned from being at all in touch with their sexuality to magically being “one flesh.”
Even if you’re completely ashamed of showing your naked body to this person. Even if you try to have sex, with expectations for a big fireworks show, and can’t bear to finish because it hurts too much. Even if you wake up not feeling any different than the previous morning. Even if you spend half of your honeymoon fighting. Even if it takes months to even begin to get over all of the shame you’ve associated with sex, bodies, and desire for so many years.
Is that really what marriage is? Is that really the box God wants us to fit our sexuality into?
This post is part of a Marriage and Sexuality series.