About Sex and Being Close to God (Not Necessarily in That Order)

life-is-good-BIG

Since I began receiving help from my doctor and therapists, things have been going better for me. What has really helped me, though, is my faith.  As they say, there are no atheists in foxholes.

Last weekend my family and I were on our way to the park to play 18 holes of disc golf (yep, even our two young children can hang with us for all 18 holes!). Out of the blue, my wife said that, if she could go back in time and do things differently, she would like to be a pediatrician. She is realizing that she loves being around children and helping them. Part of this is due to the fact that our youngest son will start kindergarten in the fall, and, for the first time, she will be home all alone during weekdays which is one reason she wants to start working outside the home.

My wife then asked me if there was anything that I wished I could do over. “Nope. Nothing. I’m happy with the way my life is.”

Huh?!  Did I really just say that?

My wife was just as shocked. “Really?” I expected her to say something smart like, “Well, I wish you could have chosen a better major in college so we’d have more money now,” or something to that effect.  Instead: “Wow. You’re lucky!”

Yes. I am lucky. For the first time in my life, I am totally happy in my relationship with God. I have made many sacrifices and have gone through many trials in order to be so close to Him. It was hard. Man, was it hard. But after all these years, I finally understand what St. Paul is saying: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Sure, it would be nice to have a job that paid a six-figure salary like so many of my friends who are my age or even younger. It would be great to be able to take my kids to the Harry Potter theme park in Florida even though they are totally thrilled just to watch the DVDs at home. It would be nice to pay my mother back for the thousands of dollars she spent on my hospital bills over the past 12 months.

But what I have now is peace and joy. Peace because I know God will continue to provide for us. Joy because I have never been happier doing God’s will. I gave up everything that was hindering me: extreme metal music, going out drinking every weekend, pornography, ogling every female I came into contact with, and so on.

Believe me, sin is fun (as if you didn’t know). But it leaves an emptiness inside after the high quickly wears off. But by giving up all that stuff to God, He is able to use me to my fullest potential, filling my whole heart and soul with His spirit. It is the most wonderful feeling.

Before, I would achieve various states of this, but it was always a self-fulfilling prophecy: I was afraid that my joy and trust in God would evaporate after a few days’ time, and, sure enough, it always did.

This wasn’t the first time that my wife had asked me about what I would do over in my life. We are both intelligent and earned degrees in fields that we loved back in the day. However, as people get older, they change. Sure, it would have been really cool to learn how to play drums when I was younger so that I could be an expert now. But those are just thoughts; not even bucket list items. As I mentioned in another post, I’m not really into bucket lists. I’m not sure why. I guess there is so much stuff that I’ve already done, and I am completely happy with my two little sons, even though our marriage has morphed into something that neither one of us expected. This was my wife’s decision, but after MUCH prayer and advice, I decided to offer it up to God, and now we are both okay (?) with it.

Credit: Fotolia

Anyway, I believe that in order for me to avoid mortal sin (contraception, coitus interruptus), and since my wife is a non-believer, a Josephite marriage (see above link) is actually a good idea for us. Would I recommend it to Catholic or non-Catholic couples? Absolutely not. There are so many factors involved; taking it on a case-by-case basis would be the best idea. Plus, talk to someone who is licensed.

Do I hope that we become intimate with each other again one day? Absolutely. But it’s not like I’m holding out or anything. I never thought it would be possible for me, but it really is not a problem. Now that is proof that there is a God; there would be no way that I could remain totally abstinent, being the gross sinner that I am.

So, teens and young single people: abstinence is indeed possible. If a married guy living in the same house as his wife can do it, then so can you!

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

~topaz

What are your thoughts on married couples who choose abstinence? Is it too strange? What if one party is not open to marriage counseling? Should a Josephite marriage be established to avoid divorce? Please let me know your thoughts. I’m just a blogger and could benefit from your feedback.

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About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

6 responses to “About Sex and Being Close to God (Not Necessarily in That Order)

  • Jolene

    Wow, what a great post!!! I never heard of a Josephite marriage and after reading the link I am surprised this was never once mentioned in all the years that I attended catholic school, CCD or youth group…..or even by my daughter who is highly involved in the Catholic church….maybe she just didn’t think this would be a subject to bring up to mom.

    I am not sure if I would have the ability to do this in my marriage. Going a week or two without being intimate just makes me crazier than being on a diet that consists of no carbs. My husband is 14 years older than me and his NEED isn’t as great but he taught me the difference between showing love doesn’t always mean sex……so I’ve somehow tamed down my desires and enjoy those nights that he holds me in his arms and whispers I love yous.

    I give you a lot of credit, your spirituality is one to be admired. Was your wife on board with this decision? To answer your question “is this strange”, no …… to each his own, I always say.

    • Topaz

      Jolene,

      Thank you so much for reading and also for your awesome comments!

      To be honest, I heard the term “Josephite marriage” on a Catholic talk show. Even though I didn’t fully understand all the implications, from what I heard, it seemed to describe my marriage. (I just now Googled it and found this link: http://catholicexchange.com/a-meditation-on-%E2%80%98josephite%E2%80%99-marriage/)

      Believe me, my wife and I in no way resemble Joseph and Mary! I’m cracking up just typing this. 🙂

      I’ve talked to therapists, and they tell me that sex doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be a part of marriage. (It sure helps, though) It was my wife’s idea, actually. She is from a different culture, plus she tells me that she honestly does not like sex and never wants to have it again. I was hurt for several years because she wasn’t considering my needs. But what could I do?

      Obviously our marriage was consummated at one point since we have two kids, but I just couldn’t reason with her. Believe me when I say that it can be the most excruciating pain knowing that I’m in a valid marriage and having to live celibate. I never dreamed that I would get married someday only to live like a monk.

      Then, little by little, I was finally able to say “Screw it (no pun intended). I’m not gonna let this NEED control me.” I never thought I could live this way, but I’m doing it.

      I suppose my faith is getting stronger because I’m willing to stay in the marriage. Several years ago I would have probably ended up in an affair or leaving my wife. I struggle a lot with not only the loss of a physical relationship, but even with a total lack of cuddling, holding, and kissing. I’m a very emotional type of person, so I tend to miss these things more than the act itself.

      But now I’m like, “God, there’s a reason for all this. I don’t know what the heck it is, but you do. So you better help me.”

      Talk to you later!

      • Jolene

        well…..I guess it’s better than what I use to do when I was married to Mr.Crazy (2nd husband), I was repulsed by him that I faked early menopause (was 37 at the time) and told him I lost total interest in it. I just couldn’t stand his touch anymore…..I think in the end, his depression just consumed me too so being sexual wasn’t a concern of mine…..I just wanted out.

        Good luck …..and yes God has a reason for all that he does and puts in front of us. It’s a true test of our strength and our faith in him which will keep us from falling.

      • Topaz

        I appreciate your honesty in sharing. It’s interesting what you said because I used to worry that I was driving away my wife with my depression. I could feel that she wasn’t being truthful with me. In the end, though, I guess it didn’t matter. As I mentioned before, there is a reason for everything. In my post I stated that it was a blessing in disguise so that our consciences would be clear.

        Anyway, I really appreciate your encouragement.

  • quirkywritingcorner

    You don’t have to be “virginal” to be close to God. I can’t count the number of patients I saw, both old and young, who were unable to have sex for a variety of medical reasons. It does help for you both to be of the same mind and religion. When you truly love your spouse, the lack of sex can be merely a bump in the road. Share hugs, back scratches, holding hands, and talking. Don’t forget kisses, walks outside, listening to classical music, dancing, and simply sitting together while watching TV. You can do all those without stimulating desire.
    It’s natural to miss what you can’t have, but don’t focus on it constantly or it will overwhelm you. Keep your prayer life active. Pray to Jesus if you don’t feel like talking to God Himself.

    • Topaz

      Thank you, friend! I appreciate your advice and encouragement. Keeping my prayer life active is key. I tend to dwell on things that I can’t have, like being intimate with my wife — and with women in general.

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