Have you ever been walking through a mall or grocery store and the song playing in the back ground while you’re shopping totally gives you earworm, regardless of whether you like it or not, know it or not?
(An earworm is a piece of music that sticks in one’s mind so that one seems to hear it, even when it is not being played.)
Well, I’ll admit it! I have.
This can be very dangerous when you’re a mother of four younger children. Well, depending on the song, of course.
Not so long ago I was shopping for an outfit and the store was rockin’ Justin Timberlake’s radio version of Sexy Back over the loud speakers. As much as I’m not for or against pop music, truthfully, I just don’t listen to enough of it to really know the lyrics or the singers. All I do know was on this day, (and yes) all day long, I had this chorus and hook lingering in my mind as I ran the rest of my errands. “I’m bringing seexxy back!” (as I put my bread in my grocery cart), with a little “Get your sexy on!” (while picking up my husband’s dry-cleaning).
All under my breath, of course.
If we are honest. It happens to all of us. Maybe not Sexy Back. Maybe Neil Diamond. Maybe Otis Redding, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Beyonce and on and on … I guess it all depends on where you shop. But it happens.
The day went by and eventually the worm was gone—until I was scrolling through my Instagram and saw this picture posted by a friend.
I immediately felt frustration and anger. Not the kind that judges and wants to get as ugly as what they feel they see, but the kind that feels deep dissatisfaction that something meant to be so beautiful and life giving was not being seen or experienced for the life giving gift it was meant to be. Enough so, to be judged by 39% of Americans as going obsolete! Its value being stolen by perception, hurt and media. What some would like to call obsolete, I would like to offer the term: Endangered (like any great conservationist would).
As I was mulling what I considered a tragedy over and over in my heart a song weaseled it’s little melody and chorus to the fore-front of my brain.
You know what song I’m talking about! I took the liberty to add a couple of my own lyrics since the theme of the original song doesn’t quite match the passion of my article. I’d like to change the lyrics to the following for all the marriages I know that contend for love and growth to something like …
“We’re bringing seexxxy back … to marriage!”
And not just marriage—Christian marriage.
As Christians sometimes we get a bad rap in the area of sexuality, marriage and family because of several reasons: the bad choices of visible Christian leaders that has led media to reflect their poor choices on Christianity as a whole; the veil of religiosity and legalism that has taught many that being a Christian is a list of rules to be kept, not a relationship to be had, full of grace, with a loving God; and unfortunately the distortion of words that were meant to be healthy, wholesome, full of loving boundaries in marriage, like honor, respect, love and submission. When these are expressed in their true design, they liberate a marriage to God’s full potential for it (and that’s pretty sexy!)
How can I use the word God and sexy in the same sentence?
Glad you asked. Easy.
It was His first.
He created the sexes (male and female), and the two became one all in the first book of the bible (Genesis 2-4). God gave us the original sexy and it’s been hijacked; we need to simply take it back. Our culture and media have portrayed sexy as a pushup bra or sports magazine full of women in bathing suits once a year (and I’m going light on you, friends), but at the end of the day that sexy is full of self-gratification and emptiness. Somewhere inside all of us (because we were made that way), we long to be truly known by another person.
I personally love that the first sex in the Bible wasn’t called “sex”—it was called knowing (“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain …” Gen 4:1). We were made to be known. What a beautiful picture of intimacy God gave us in marriage that mirrors His desire to love and be in intimate relationship (not religion, a relationship experienced through His voice and His presence) with the mankind He created.
I’m not naïve. I understand that with relationships, especially ones created for vulnerability and intimacy, there is a level of risk in which there is opportunity for hurt.
Our culture, full of gadgets to make almost anything less work and more convenient, has in some ways taught us that if it hurts it’s not good for us, if it’s not easy trade it in and get an upgrade. That’s fine for an iPhone, but not so much for marriage and may be just one of the many reasons marriages are becoming ‘endangered’; it takes intentionality, determination, sacrifice, humility, endurance, all the stuff that adds value and richness to life because it came with added investment.
I know this to be true. My husband will tell you he has been happily married for 11 years (we’ve been married 13).
I like to call the first two years of our marriage our learning curve.
In those first two years I learned how to and what did … hurt him. He learned the same.
Then we had to learn that with that knowledge when we were angry and hurt ourselves how not to hurt the other person the way we knew we could. We began, with God’s help, to value the relationship more then the temporary gratification of blowing off steam with hurtful words, where we always had regrets.
Marriages are alive, like the very people that exist within them. They have to be fed, nurtured, bathed and maintained like every other living thing. They experience highs and lows, ebbs and flows. They change like seasons that come and go, marking the Earth with time.
I am no longer married to the man who stood in front of me 13 years ago at the altar; he has grown and changed—and so have I. In marriage God has given us the opportunity and gift of falling in love with the same person over and over again as life changes us. If I tried to keep my husband from changing or changed myself in spite of him, we would both walk wounded instead of in unity. (Not to allude that we’ve always done it right; we are extremely thankful we have the Holy Spirit to walk us through stonier paths.)
What’s sexy about hurt and change and stonier paths in marriage?
When both sexes (male and female) bring the expression of their God-given design to the table in marriage, the beauty and humility in that cannot be duplicated outside of the security and commitment of marriage. The way a woman brings her innate beautiful to a marriage by being nurturing and affirming and is accepted by the man; as well as when a man brings his innate wild to the marriage, adventurous and encouraging and is accepted for who he was created to be … that is crazy insane sexy right there. Each one is rockin’ their God-given design in loving submission to one another (instead of being told they’re wrong because their innate qualities are different.)
So what’s hot and what’s not?
I could share a lot of scripture here from the New Testament that is full of amazing marriage counsel, like the Beatitudes (Matthew 4) or recite the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) but I’m going to throw them all into the sexy soup and summarize it like this:
When a woman is kind (when she is offended), loving (when she is hurt), shows self-restraint (when she wants to scream out her feelings like arrows) while remaining vulnerable, honest and affirming in a marriage (understanding that prayer is the quickest way to change both hearts) … watch out! The world cannot compete with her hotness!
When a man loves and lives with his wife in an understanding way (not that he’ll ever fully understand her), when he’s gentle in his communication (even when he just wants to say it the way it is), humble as he leads (not lording his leadership, yet fully aware that it is his), when he chooses to serve (even when he is exhausted from his responsibilities) remaining vulnerable, honest and encouraging in a marriage (understanding that prayer is the quickest way to change both hearts) … watch out! He’s bringing sexy back!
Our sexuality and makeup as opposite sexes is for more than just sex, although that’s an amazing bonus. It’s for connectivity that feeds the marriage with life and in turn produces life. God created Eve because He knew Adam was better with connectivity.
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18
We were made to be sexier together than we are apart!
It’s my heart as Christians we are encouraged to bring sexy back where it belongs: our marriages. That we don’t let TV and media define sexy for us and our children as something to do with how our body looks or how we dress. But it has everything to do with our hearts yielded to one another in the beautiful exchange of marriage.
Marriage should be fun and deep and easy and hard and enough and worth it … and ahem … sexy!
To all those who aren’t married, I pray you find a new appreciation for marriage. That you would know you aren’t getting gypped any sexy because you wait for that union to be known.
For you married people, that have this amazing gift in your life, I have just one request, really: Get your sexy on!
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)