C.S. Lewis said it well when he said that “love is pain.” This is so because love involves risk–the risk of putting one’s heart out there… only to have it stomped on.
Again and again throughout life.
The temptation here is to–like Montresor in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado–wall one’s heart off, thereby insulating it from risk.
This desire for self protection is endemic to our race, but in closing off our hearts we run the (much greater) risk of denying ourselves the joys of intimacy.
This is not necessarily even sexual in nature. What I’m getting at is the intimacy of knowing–and being known. Whether it be in a marriage, or a friendship, how well are you known? How well do you know your friends? Your spouse? How well are you known?
(Please note: I’m not advocating wearing one’s heart on one’s proverbial sleeve, nor I am saying we should continuously reveal our inmost selves to those who repeatedly trash our hearts. Use discernment, find “safe people”).
Let’s take, for example, marriage, and sexual intercourse. Sex in this context is supposed to be the capstone–the pinnacle–of intimacy–of two souls fully knowing, and being known to, each other. Of being “naked and unashamed” on a far more than merely physical level.
Is it always thus? No–but it should be. It’s what it–sex–is designed to be. But as with all of God’s gifts, His “ape”–Satan–has twisted it into various shapes–thereby playing to our basest nature.
The latest of these “shapes” (not at all new–it used to be called fornication)–is the supposed “friends with benefits.” The idea here is that two people, apart from any love, or intimacy, can come together to have commitment-free sex. (Sorry, folks, there is probably no greater oxymoron known to man than this: “commitment-free” sex. Our hearts just don’t work that way. Nor were they designed to).
Because it’s a need, or a biological necessity, or something. But even here, despite the supposed lack of emotional bonds, people are acting out of that deep need–which we all share–to be connected to another. To know, and in turn, be fully known. Oh, they may deny it, but why go to the trouble to have sex at all when, as we all know, sex isn’t strictly necessary to get one’s “rocks off?” Why? It can’t be strictly about the orgasm–as good as they feel–right?
I’ll leave that for you to ponder.
For myself, and I’m laying my cards on the table here, I’ve seen the destructive power of sexuality misused, and abused, via infidelity in my parents’ marriage–and I want none of it.
Do my wife and I have a perfect marriage? Far from it. Am I still taken aback by the monthly mood swing (after almost twenty one years)? Unfortunately so. Does this make me want to withdraw, hide my heart? You bet, but…
I’m old enough now to realize that misunderstanding–and the closer you are to someone, the greater the risk–is the price of intimacy. Love is pain. For the sake of the depth of the relationship I have with my wife, it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
How about you?