Top 10 Saddest/Craziest/Understandable Things I’ve Seen Christians Believe About Relationships

Before I start this post, can I just say HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS PICTURE I took last weekend? KK thanks. Also, we just discovered the flower district in downtown LA (that’s where the flowers are from + where that awesome old store is) and I will be trying to convince Max to go with me every single weekend for the rest of my life, probably. Alright. Carry on.

OHANDALSO: If something in this post offends you, my deepest apologies. Unless maybe you needed to be offended, then let me assure you that I was offended first. Because I used to believe a good number of these things myself. Actually, almost all of them. Eesh.

1. Your future spouse will not be attractive. You know, I used to believe this, and I’ve tried for the last 12 1/2 minutes to figure out why. I’m thinking it’s because the first cute guys we all had crushes on were “bad” for us, so we adopted the dessert/vegetable complex. If it’s healthy for you, it won’t taste good. (No pun intended.) Unfortunately fortunately, wait – yes, unfortunately, men are not food items, and you absolutely 100% will be attracted to him. Keep in mind that attraction is multi-faceted* and emotional investment does a LOT for the oo-la-la factor – BUT – if you’re engaged and you realize that you’ve never felt physical attraction to your guy, you need to take a step back. (*Attraction is not a check “yes or no” on if this person is “hot.” It’s something more special. And sometimes it ebbs and flows, so don’t freak out when its a little Less than it is More at times.)  

2. Your husband will always want more sex than you, because Men Need Sex. Always. This horse has been beaten to death on my corner of the Internet, but I have to say it YET AGAIN because I still KEEP HEARING that pastors are teaching sermons on “Why Men Need Sex” and I STILL KEEP GETTING EMAILS from women who are crying themselves to sleep [like I used to] because they thought something was wrong with them [like I used to/am still working at this] because their husband wasn’t a raging sexaholic [like we’ve been brainwashed to believe] and for them to desire sex and their husband to be too tired or stressed out means ITSMYFAULTIMNOTPRETTYANYMORE. It pains me to say this, but sex is not a need. For anyone. It’s a desire, and it can be a really really really strong one, but it’s not a legimate need as in If You Don’t Eat Food You Will Die. (However, if you ever see a news article titled Man Drops Dead From Not Having Sex, please alert me immediately.) There’s also a good number of women who are borderline terrified of marriage because they’re convinced it’s going to be like a Christian version of 50 Shades of Grey where they’re just forced against their will to do all kinds of nonsense while wearing an apron. Which brings me to…….

3. Having sex when you’re not remotely interested (or on your period) is part of submitting. Okay. A man having sex with you when you’ve vocalized that you don’t want to is rape. Yes, this is extreme. But in the same way that “marital submission” obviously does not make rape “okay,” it also does not make “just sucking it up and going along with it even though its physically or emotionally painful because your entire spirit is not able to participate in sex right now” okay. I hope by the grace of God you marry a man who loves you, and I guarantee you that if a man loves you and you communicate your feelings, he will not force or guilt you into having sex when you really do not want to. And, he will also listen when you say so. If you feel like you can’t tell your husband how you’re feeling, sign yourself up for counseling ASAP. And if your husband is guilting you into sex, then get counseling ASAP. This isn’t good, and it sure as heck isn’t Biblical. Take care of your heart. <3

4. I’m 19 and I’ll never find The One. I joke about this, but I remember being 19 and feeling like I’d already lived ages and ages, and when 25 year old women told me that “the next 6 years will go so fast!!” I wanted to punch them in the face. I won’t lie to you. Six years will not go by “so fast.” But they will go, and they will be AWESOME, with or without The One. So get some ice cream, dance around in your underwear, and commit to loving your life. Marriage comes when the time is right, and we are literally commanded to not worry about tomorrow.

5. Past mistakes will ruin your marriage, and your husband won’t want to marry a girl who isn’t a virgin. First things first. If you ever meet a man who says “Oh I won’t marry a girl unless she’s a virgin,” run for the hillllllsss are alliiiiiive with the souuund of conntroollll problemmmmms. Spare yourself from a lifetime with a man who hasn’t yet grasped God’s grace or the reality of brokenness within his – and your – heart. This whole, big, great and beautiful life is about learning how many mistakes we’ve all made, and choosing to love one another through it. It’s love that covers a multitude of sins, and it’s the greatest gift we’ve got. Try every single day to learn to give and receive it in more and more ways. Note: Sexual purity isn’t solely defined by virginity. Every single one of us has some sort of past. It is impossible to marry a “sinless man” and no good man expects to find a “sinless woman.” A man who judges you for your sexual history has yet to remove the plank from his own eye, or is living in denial or fear. You have been forgiven by Jesus already. Find a man who forgives like Him.

6. Counseling is for people with worse problems than you. Counseling is for people who have gone through hard things, and who don’t have all the answers. Which is me, and my husband, and every person I know. For me, going to counseling with my husband for the first 6 months of our marriage has been one of the best decisions of my life. I will never forget Day One when I realized that this man next to me on the sofa, spilling his heart, was just as messed up as I was – and we were BOTH trying as hard as we could to make this work. All those things that annoyed me, that hurt me, that I wondered about? None of those were “intentionally against me.” He was just….trying. And imperfect. Just like me. Counseling is invaluable in understanding this. [PS. I know counseling is ‘expensive,’ but prioritize counseling up there with food/rent, start praying for a counselor every day, and ask around until you’ve annoyed even the people greeting at church.]

7. You “give up your life” for marriage. We all know at least one horrifically miserable person who changed into someone else’s Perfect Spouse, instead of marrying someone who loved everything about them. Maybe this was one of your parents. Don’t let this screw with your head. Your life will always be yours, and a good man will understand and love that. Sure, your life will change, and you’ll have someone to share it with now – but it will always be yours. IT’S FREAKING AWESOME. EVEN IF ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU SHARE. Again, if you’re in love with a guy who wants you to “give up your life for him,” he’s got it all wrong. Send him away. POOF. Poofity-poof.

8. It’s a sin to be attracted to someone.  This, from what I can tell, comes from our unfortunate misunderstanding that physical attraction/attractiveness = lust, and since lust = sin, attraction = sin. Lust, believe it or not, is actually the attempt to appropriate to oneself something that does not belong to you. Read that again. It’s trying to make something yours, when it isn’t yours. Or acting like it’s yours, when it isn’t. Simply put, wishful stealing. God warns against lust to let you know, “Oh hay. I see what you’re thinking. And your thoughts matter to me just as much as your actions, because your heart is actually more important than your body.” Recognizing that someone is attractive, and also BEING ATTRACTED [desiring sex, etc] is not sin. It’s things like adultery, cheating, and fantasizing/getting off to people who are not Your Amazing Committed Lover that are highly not-recommended. Both by the Bible, and me personally, based on lots of experience.

9. You’ll meet The One when you don’t want him anymore. Thanks to this gem, 95% of single women at your church are silently punishing themselves for not yet figuring out how to obliterate their desire to get married or have a boyfriend. And simultaneously blaming themselves for keeping a good man away (with their thoughts? their energies? vibes? Karma? God’s punishment/reward system? I’ve never understood the mechanics of this part.). Look, if you really want to be a mom or wife one day, don’t kill off your natural healthy desires just because you can’t fulfill it right now. You wouldn’t try to convince yourself that hunger is a sin just because dinner isn’t served for another hour and a half, would you? No. You recognize it as good and healthy, and you wait patiently before the Lord. Or the cook.

10. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever initiate with a guy, ever. Yeah, you know, because The First Interaction Formula is a fool-proof way of getting a guy who’s going to be responsible and servant-like in your relationship. I’m sure the wasted guy at the bar who has NO PROBLEM asking you out for a date will be a winner, and the shy boy at church will be the cause for your future divorce. Waiting for men to initiate is rule based on a good principle – but do.not.miss.the.principle because you’re too hung up on the rule.  Good guys have been burned in the past, just like we have. And it doesn’t make them inherently shitty husbands, nor is it reason for you to emasculate them for not asking you out the very first time they see you. HAVE LOVE. AND GRACE. Just say OHH HAYY I LIKE YOU A LOT AND THINK YOU’RE PRETTY AWESOME. Or something. You’re not disobeying Christian Guidelines For Being a Woman, you’re being the real you.

* * *

It’s worth noting that Christians are not the only ones who believe some or all of these things to be true – many are common secular beliefs as well. The title was chosen as a reflection of the common beliefs I often see being discussed/asked about by young women in a Christian environment online..

bits of the hudson apartment, and self-portraits.

“hooooo-um.” she stretched her vowels and lips as her eyes widened, joy spilling out from her self-accomplishment. “hooooo-um,” she repeated again. the new word. the boy who had taken her in, woven his fingers with hers to keep her close, was patiently explaining all of the new intricacies of life to her. discovery was hers. this life that everyone had been living in, while she had – morning after morning – splayed her little feet under and through the dirt. she bubbled through deep breaths of excitement over the new and delicate, but often fell against deep pains and childlike confusion over the ugly. it was so much. but she was determined. “hooooo-um.” determined for this. this word. she was home.

lnd – 7.20.12.

to the body that belongs to lauren nicole: a love letter.

to the body that belongs to lauren nicole: i do call this a love letter, and it is one of love. the problem is, i’m not even at the place where i can tell you why i love you so much yet. i have too much to say i’m sorry for. so, as love requires, an apology.

* * *

dear you,

i need to apologize.

if you were a friend, you would have left this relationship long ago. and honestly? i would have understood. i never say my thanks, i never say i love you, and every gift i’ve given you was just because i wanted to make me to look better. not because i cared about you. i’ve been so unforgivably selfish.

if you were a lover, even the truest of the true, you would have given up on me. i can’t remember the last time i valued you for who you are. on my bad days – and there have been lots of them, you know – i assaulted you. i told you how disappointed i was in you. i listed all the things i hated about you. i made sure to hide you from certain people, because i was embarrassed to be seen with you. i judged you. i stood in front of the mirror and made sure you knew exactly why i hated you so much. and on my good days? our good days? i was content to tell you i wished that i had better – but that you would have to do for now.

now that i think about it, i’ve never treated anyone worse than i have you.

now that i think about it, i’m sorry doesn’t seem to cut it. but i’m going to try. i’m going to finally say everything i should have said long ago.

i’m sorry.

* * *

i’m sorry i’ve treated you like a burden, instead of a gift.

i’m sorry i’ve verbalized every single flaw, instead of finding joy in all of your perfection.

i’m sorry i’ve compared you to every woman i’ve seen, instead of making sure you knew you were loved.

i’m sorry for never thinking you were good enough.

i’m sorry for not defending you to others, and talking shit about you to my closest friends.

i’m sorry for hushing what you’ve wanted, and silencing every valuable thing you’ve wanted me to know.

i’m sorry that i made you an enemy, instead of an ally.

but most of all, i’m sorry that it’s taken me twenty four years to realize that we’re stuck together forever. twenty four years to ever realized i need to say i’m sorry.

* * *

maybe i need to apologize to each tiny piece of you. you’re so intricate and delicate, you know? i know. i know you so well. and i know every tiny piece has been so badly hurt by me.

i’m sorry, feet, for hiding you. it’s been embarrassing how you turn purple sometimes. the kids used to make fun of you, and it hurt my feelings.

i’m sorry, legs, for always telling you that you’re the only thing i’ve got going for me. that’s a lot of weight to carry, and i know i’m setting us up for failure.

i’m sorry, butt, for all the jokes that my parents made about you, and that i accepted them as the truth. i did learn to like you for the last couple years, but this year, it’s been really difficult again. i twist and try to see you in the mirror every day, and i’m sorry for wishing that one morning you’d just be less.

i’m sorry, tummy, for comparing you to photoshop every single day. it’s just so hard, you know? maybe you don’t. it really gets me down every morning. but i promise, i’m trying. i try to remember that one day, you’ll make a baby in there, all by yourself. that’s so beautiful. i’m trying to remember it.

i’m sorry, breasts, for all the things i’ve thought about you, that i won’t repeat again.

i’m sorry, back, for wishing you were better so that i could show you off in those sexy dresses.

i’m sorry, arms, for never getting all those beautiful tattoos i wanted years ago because i thought you were fat, and didn’t want to draw extra attention to you.

i’m sorry, lips, for spending so much money on lip gloss with chemicals that would change you. my husband tells me now that he thinks you’re perfect, and i promise to agree from now on. you really are.

i’m sorry, nose, for despising you since i was so little. i read once that every single woman hates her nose, and it must really suck to be you. i’m really going to work on it.

i’m sorry, eyes, for wishing you were brown my entire life. i don’t know where i got the idea that women with brown eyes are prettier, but you’re so beautiful. i want to let you be that.

* * *

dear everything. i’m so sorry that i have never been grateful.

you’ve done every single thing i’ve ever asked of you – except that one awful 10 mile hike – and i’ve never once said thank you. i only looked at you with disdain and asked why you couldn’t have looked better doing it.

and so, dear everything. dear body. dear self. dear cells that are more countless than the stars in the sky, who give flesh and bone to my soul, i love you.

even now, while i’m sad, while i sit here judging you, hating you, being disappointed by you – know that i’ve finally realized it isn’t you. it’s me.

and i promise to begin to change that.

promise. cross my heart, hope to die.

because we will one day, together, and i want to have lived having loved you. 

* * *

note: more ‘love letter to my body’ pieces can be found at the sheloves syncroblog project..

roses and hummingbirds, in photos.

location: front porch | | my kitchen | | hollywood | | los angeles | | california

shot with: canon xti | | tamron 2.8 17-55mm | | canon 1.8 50mm