Novena and Lenten Reflection: Week Seven
Seventh Week: Bonding Through Sex and Touch
For young people, the great danger is the ‘hookup culture’ which comes from fear of or simply disinterest in communication, and thus communion, with a living, breathing human being. Hooking up divorces sex from the experience of love. All human beings desire love and want to be loved by our parents, friends, and eventually by our spouse. We want spousal love to involve every part of our lives.
Conjugal love binds husband and wife together. Love can be a feeling, a passionate attraction and the purest form of willing the good of another.
Some mistake sexual attraction for love and once the initial desire that led them into the arms of the other fades, nothing remains.
St. John Paull II writes:
“The full sense of the virtue of chastity cannot be fully comprehended without understanding love as the function of relating one person to another, the function disposed toward the union of persons”
Love and Responsibility)
. Spouses can forget about their spouse as a person, treating sex as nothing but self-satisfaction. Marriage is the workshop of chastity.
Perhaps you chose this reading from the Old Testament Book of Tobit which recounts the wedding night of Tobiah and Sarah:
“On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.' Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs. They began with these words:
Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.'
They said together, 'Amen, amen.' "
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
- Tom Robbins
In the beginning stages of a relationship, passion is a strong emotion felt by both parties. However, as time passes, some couples experience a lull in their relationship. They think this is a “normal” part of growing together, however, that is farthest from the truth. Dr. Johnson explains that “secure bonding and fully satisfying sexuality go hand in hand …” (Hold Me Tight, pg. 186). You cannot have one without the other.
Typically, sex in a committed relationship through the Sacrament of Marriage is the first thing to go when a relationship hits a rocky point. If you dive deeper in the relationship, you can determine that this lack of intimacy is because one or both of you are losing a sense of security and/or connection. It’s crucial to address why this intimate bond is unraveling in the bedroom because sex is the ultimate sign of self-giving. The husband pours out his life to his bride just as Jesus poured out His life for His bride, the Church.
Three Kinds of Sex:
Sealed-off Sex - This type of intimacy is devoid of emotional connection. This “disengagement”is detrimental to a relationship because one or more of you feels like an object used rather than a partner to be cherished.
Solace Sex - one or both of you feels anxiety or stress about your relationship and use intimacy as a means to numb and alleviate your emotions. You’re essentially putting a Band-Aid on a knife wound. You’re craving touch with your partner, but not expressing your true feelings about what you need.
. Synchrony Sex - You are fully experiencing A.R.E.
(Accessible, Responsive, and Emotionally Engaged)
conversations with your partner. This openness leads to a complete form of intimacy because you are both fulfilled and connected to each other. To achieve this, you both need “emotional safety” (Hold Me Tight, pg. 195).
As the connection and security within a relationship improves, typically the sexual intimacy improves as well. Trust your beloved. Work together to improve your love life outside of the bedroom and be open and honest with each other to improve your love life inside the bedroom.
The Sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“When I think of Christian homes, I like to imagine them as being full of the light and joy that were in the home of the Holy Family. The message of Christmas is heard in all its forcefulness: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.’ ‘And may the peace of Christ triumph in your hearts,’ writes the Apostle. It is a peace that comes from knowing that our Father God loves us, and that we are made one with Christ. It results from being under the protection of the Virgin, our Lady, and assisted by St Joseph. This is the great light that illuminates our lives. In the midst of difficulties and of our own personal failings, it encourages us to keep up our effort. Every Christian home should be a place of peace and serenity. In spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection should reign there together with a deep-rooted calm, which is the result of authentic faith that is put into practice.”
- St. Josemaria Escriva
For the Married (together if possible):
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that our home may be a place of peace, a place where You are always welcome, a place where charity and understanding are never absent. You call us to make our home a bright and cheerful place by taking advantage of every opportunity, both small and great, to serve each other. Help us to build up our home and our relationships by this attentive and constant love, loving one another as You have loved us. Amen
For the Engaged and the those seriously considering this commitment of married love (together if possible):
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to be devoted to Our Lady and St Joseph, who will teach us how to make our future home into a place where You are pleased to dwell. The Psalm tells us: “If the Lord does not build the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps 127:1). May we always allow You to build up our family and home life by accepting from Your hand all of the opportunities You give us to serve each other and grow in mutual love. Amen.
All close by praying:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we give our hearts to you.
Offer one Hail Mary together, inviting Our Blessed Lady to pray for you.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
on Sunday, March 31, 2019 at 2:00AM