There’s something to be said about not getting naked in front of a stranger.
I don’t mean just physically undressing (although, yeah, obviously, physically undressing). I mean that familiarity can be hotter than newness, and a life-long adventure way more fun that a day trip. The trick, though, is intimacy.
When I was a Christian neophyte, fresh baptismal waters still dripping from my skin, I was excited. Something very real and very amazing had happened to me, and I wanted to tell the world. I was focused. I was oh-so sure in my faith. I had found the way, the truth and the light, and I wanted to share it with everyone I met.
I was also an asshole.
God had not yet schooled me in the comfort of doubt. How could he? Like a first date, I was on my best behavior, afraid He might see the spinach in my teeth. I was intolerant because I thought God was. I didn’t yet realize that God’s beauty lay in the foggy gray area of our questions and longings, our desires and our fears.
I didn’t want to go there, into that fog, because I was unsure of the steadfastness of his love. I didn’t know Him well enough to recognize his voice in the mist; I was not yet his intimate. He was, back then, my crush. He made me giddy when I thought of Him, and everything about God seemed romantic, but not sure. Exciting, but frightening. A rush, but not a respite.
I wasn’t ready to get naked in front of him. Not really, anyway.
Only later, as I started walking out this life with Jesus — with all its guts and snot and the dirty hot mess this world can create — did I get the Christian grit under my nails. More importantly, I was able to let God see my dirty fingers. Like kids change a marriage, I was finally able to let God see what I really look like (and, ashamedly, act like) at three o’clock in the morning, when I’m unable to discern if that stuff on my shirt is breast milk, baby pee, puke, or something worse.
This is the kind of messy grit we get with intimacy, with knowing. And it’s a beautiful kind of grit.
Finally, I was able to walk through both sunny days and foggy ones, sure of his unending love for me. I could strip down — emotionally, spiritually, and sure, even physically — in front of a God I knew was mad in love with me, and I with him. Like any good relationship, life in love with Jesus is not devoid of struggle and the occasional argument (God always wins, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from trying). Yet always there is forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, and ultimately, unconditional love.
Not to mention, there’s someone else there to clean up the poo when I just don’t have it in me.
Like my journey as a Jesus Freak, marriage can get better the longer the walk together. When we know each other deeply, that intimacy can create a much more fulfilling feeling than minor flirtation. There is a wonderful relief I feel when, at the end of the day, my husband and I collapse into our reserved spots — his on the couch and mine on the chair right next to him. There is comfort in moving through the kitchen together, anticipating each other’s moves. There is a certain sexiness to our Friday night cocktails, even if they happen in my home office now instead of the hip bar where they once filmed The Sopranos like they used to.
Enter Dr. Megan Fleming
But can monogamy actually be hot? Sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming says, “Yes! All it takes is a little imagination about what’s possible.”
Megan is another one of the amazing women lined up to speak at The Whole Woman Summit this March, and my guess is her session will be a sell out. In her talk, Megan is going to help us understand what’s actually possible in our monogamous relationships, and she’ll show us how to recognize if we’re in what she calls a “Foreclosure of Imagination.”
Let’s face it: the Christian narrative hasn’t always been all that sex positive, even for marriage and despite that gorgeous poetry in Song of Songs. These narratives, along with many others, says Megan, can undermine and disempower our capacity for pleasure in our relationships. In her talk, Megan will show us how to stake our claim in hot monogamy, and how we can use that gritty intimacy to create a ridiculously sexy marriage.
The kind of relationships God calls us to have are intimate ones — with Him, and with each other. I don’t know about you but intimacy scares the crap out of me. Not just the getting naked part. The vulnerability part. I much prefer to keep my strong-woman armor on, thank you very much. Telling someone my feelings is, well, gross.
But that’s what God wants from us — that kind of deep, knowing intimacy. It is both easy and impossible at the same time, both nothing and everything for which He asks. Yet I know that there is nothing on this earth that could satisfy my soul as much as a long, quiet talk with Jesus.
And meanwhile, while I’m here on earth, my husband and I might as well have some hot sex while we’re at it.
Each Friday for the next few months, I’ll be writing about one of the amazing women who are speaking at The Whole Woman Summit in March. These are women who are movers and shakers, Christian and not, who are doing very cool things in the world. The summit is all about the things that matter — MIND. BODY. SPIRIT. WORK. RELATIONSHIPS. JUSTICE. The summit is entirely online, and all registrants will receive video recordings of all sessions, so no worries if you miss any.
See you at the summit!
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