Jennifer Lawrence and Relationships

I recently read a rather depressing article the other day. Maybe you had seen the hoopla over the past few weeks surrounding celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence who were victims of hackers who access naked photos of them in order to spread around the internet and make a profit. It was more than a scandal, it was a reminder of just how sadistically cruel some people can be. It was ugly.

Everyone always waits for the reaction from the celebrities in these moments. For a while Jennifer did not say anything. Something that I think was actually really smart of her to do. An immediate response can be risky in those moments, and I think she was working hard to have a clear head. I say all that because I don’t want this post to be picking on Jennifer Lawrence. She has gone through a huge ordeal, and the last thing I want is to draw attention to her specifically. However, I do want to draw attention to a sad truth that she pointed out in her response the other day. In the midst of sharing her feelings she made this statement, “”I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

Most people might have missed this statement when cheering the rest of what she said about staying firm and calling out the hackers for their crimes. This is genuinely one of the saddest things I have ever read. People really feel this way. Guys, there are lots of girls out there that think we are so hopeless when it comes to issues of lust. It’s a really sad realization, and it makes me very concerned, because I don’t think she is alone in feeling this way.

She described a loving and healthy relationship as being with someone who is going to quit when things get hard and look at porn if he doesn’t get what he wants form her. What? How is that any part of a definition of loving? I love my wife. Part of how I show that is by not looking at other women. There is plenty I could say on this, but I want to narrow it down to a couple of things.

1.Girls deserve better. This isn’t one of those “Girls should expect perfection and Jesus incarnate in their boyfriend” because that is an equally big problem in Christian dating today, but girls do deserved to be treated as a human being. If you genuinely feel pressured to give your boyfriend something whether it be an exposing picture, sex, or anything that pushes your boundaries in order to keep him around and interested in you then he is not worth keeping around.

2. Not all guys are pigs. I’m not saying porn isn’t a struggle for guys out there, but we are capable of not looking at it. Don’t just assume that all guys only want one thing. I get a little tired of hearing about that actually. I grow weary of the experts “factual” statements about how all guys think about is sex. It demeans us too.

3. Understand that there is a real problem. Not all guys are pigs, but plenty of others can be. That is really just the tip of the iceberg. I read this statement to a friend who said that is was unfortunately probably true. That is the saddest part to it all. What she said was probably 100% true. The irony of this whole statement was that people seem to fail to realize that Jennifer’s view of her healthy relationship and the sadistic hacker are incredibly connected. It is all interwoven into a major heart issue where we mistakenly believe that sex is what will make us happy and we have a right to have access to it even if it is harmful to another so long as it satisfies us. It’s not just sex that is this issue. Anything that we seek to obtain that can be harmful to another is a real heart issue. Just because someone might be willing to bend in satisfying that desire does not mean there is not a problem.

4. The world is full of really broken people. I don’t expect people who do not have a relationship in Christ to act like they do. Look around though, this is a world full of really broken people. Jennifer’s statement on a healthy relationship is a view held by countless others. We assume we can keep our brokenness in control by putting sin in control. Too often our solution to things relating to sex is to provide it in a safer environment. Kids will have sex anyway so provide them with the condom. My boyfriend is going to have sex with someone so it might as well be me so I can at least feel loved.

5. Men need to start speaking up. Guys, it is time we actually spoke up and proved that there are better options out there. It is time we lifted up our broken pasts and showed that it is the cross that can control sin. This is how lots of girls out there actually feel about us. I’m not ok with that anymore. Are you?

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No Sex Does not Automatically Equal Healthy Dating

It seems there have been a lot of articles, and news reports about teens and sex lately. Maybe it is just me, but it has seemed to be a common discussion lately. All of the discussion moved my thoughts towards the struggles of virgins interact with the world today. It’s a little awkward isn’t it? My wife and I having been watching the Amazing Race on Hulu. One of the seasons had a Christian couple that identified themselves as the long-term dating virgin couple. As we watched the season we were just stunned out how awkward their relationship was, and how awkward they were in interacting with everyone else. It was all just a little odd.

I think sometimes we can run the risk of putting too much pride in our sexual purity. That sounds risky to say, and part of me even feels it is wrong to say it, but I think that really drives my concern home even further. I feel sometimes we focus so much on sexual purity that we can miss the point of sexual purity. It almost becomes a bragging right. You may know someone like this. It is the person that constantly needs to remind everyone that they are a virgin. They constantly need to point to how well they have abstained from this temptation. It almost becomes a glorified attention grabber for them. It at least can feel that way can’t it?

Suddenly avoid risky situations becomes a need for keeping this badge of honor. We don’t hold hands or hug because we don’t want to have sex. Not wanting to have sex outside of marriage is a wonderful thing, but since when was it the only thing? My wife and I chose not to kiss until our wedding day. It’s not something we believe is a hard and fast rule. We don’t point to any Scripture to defend our reasoning. Our reasoning was made out of a more personal decision. It was an easily defined line, and we had serious reasons for why we chose to do it that way. We also didn’t tell everyone we met that we were not kissing until we got married.

It’s an awkward balance. You don’t want to hide from virginity in embarrassment, but it shouldn’t be your identifying mark either. One of my first jobs in High School was awkward as the Christian kid. My friend and I were probably some of the only virgins in the entire establishment. That never seemed to keep us back form being friendly in a social setting with everyone else though. My co-workers knew I was a Christian. The Christianity thing did not bother them much. It was when word got out that I was a virgin that shock resonated throughout the place.

The guys could not fathom the thought that I was a virgin. It was so foreign to them. Part of what made them surprised is that I did not act like the stereotype version. I was always respectful, but I was not always making a point to let them know how pure I was (Read “How much purer I was than them”). That’s the real problem with this whole purity obsession I think. We have somehow been convinced that we are supposed to use our purity to show the rest of the world how dirty it is. We can somehow get stuck defining our dating relationships solely based off of our abstinence.

We want to keep everyone else at arm’s length because we are just little cleaner than they are. Maybe if we could work harder at opening up to show how a dating relationship can be healthy, adventurous, and enjoyable without sex we would be more effective. Maybe if we stopped making the focus of dating not on what we are not doing, but rather what we are then we could make other people hunger for something a little better. A successful dating relationship does not just mean avoiding having sex. I grow concerned how many times we have made that the main thing. I have even gone through points where in my mind I have made that the main thing. Abstinence is important, but it is far from the only ingredient in the magical formula of a healthy dating relationship.

We don’t ignore the discussion of being a virgin, but based on my own experience I believe we could use some more effort at times pointing everything else out as well rather than just shining the spotlight on the abstienence.