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A New Kind of ‘Sexy’

It was Sunday evening. 21:35 GMT, maybe.

OkikiOluwa was in my arms trying to struggle with me over who should be using the laptop while OdodoOluwa was behind us, sitting on the carpet in the living room and watching his favourite ‘dinosaur song’ on TV—with uninterruptible attention, I should add.

Anu was in the kitchen doing the dishes after quite some cooking.

The weather has been unusually windy and rainy for the past couple of days. It gets so windy at times that the wind speaks in tongues with its whistles and all. Hence, I didn’t know what to think of the sound that seemed to be coming from the kitchen area. Was it even coming from the kitchen area, or the noisy wind is playing games with my mind?

The sound didn’t stop, and the more I leaned in to make sense of it, the more it felt like a conversation was going on in the kitchen. I know my wife; she doesn’t talk to herself, normally—occasionally, perhaps—and to the best of my knowledge, there isn’t any other person with her in the kitchen.

To assuage my curiosity, OkikiOluwa and I decided to check on his mum in the kitchen and solve the mystery once and for all. We could tell she was a bit shocked when we stealthily bumped into the kitchen uninvited and unannounced. She was slightly startled but she kept her cool.

“Eku ise o” (Well done), I greeted her.

“Thanks”, she responded.

“Are you okay? I thought I was hearing a conversation or something. Were you talking to yourself?”

“No”, she replied without looking away from the dishes she was doing. Then after a slight pause, she added “I was praying.”

“Ah! I see. Makes sense.”

Okiki and I hurried away so we don’t interrupt her flow for too long. But the Holy Spirit says to compliment her for what she was doing—doing the dishes AND praying simultaneously. I thought of the most honest compliment I could give her at that instance; I eventually found it so I went back to tell her:

“That’s sexy, you know?”

“Pardon?” She said with a raised voice as I was already on my way back to the living room to continue what I was trying to do on the laptop.

“I said praying, conversation style, while being ‘alone’ in the kitchen, is VERY SEXY.” I shouted back.

“Oh, Really? Thanks!”

And she went back to her conversation, this time, with reckless abandon.

I meant the compliment. At that instance when she admitted to what she had been doing in the kitchen alongside doing the dishes, I really felt romantically attracted to her afresh. There was a that’s-my-babe-in-whom-my-soul-delights feeling that enveloped me at that instance. I felt proud of her anew. I felt satisfied that I’m married to her. I felt honoured to have such a lady—who is so in tune with Jesus that they could have a verbal conversation while she’s doing the dishes—as my wife.

And the Holy Spirit gave me a perfect compliment for that moment. ‘SEXY.’ It’s a new kind of sexy.

Dear young lady, perhaps you thought being sexy is being able to sway your waist in rhythmic fashion as you walk the streets? Or being able to carve your eyebrow till it looks like Barbie’s, Rihanna’s or Beyonce’s? Or painting your face and lips in fifty shades of red? Or sounding like a transposed key on the piano? Or wearing that low dress that shows us your cleavage, your shape, and some skin from the slit that reaches up to your waist?

Well, that may get the attention of some shallow young men. It may be a head-turner for some sensual guys out there. But what profits a lady who dots her i’s and crosses her t’s in the school of being ‘sexy’ only to win the attention of a shallow, sensual heartbreaker?

Well, there is a new kind of ‘sexy’—the original kind of sexy. Given the fact that sex was originally God’s idea, and being sexy—being sexually attractive—was also God’s making (which was expressed for the first time when Adam laid his eyes on Eve and screamed “Wow! Man!” from whence came ‘woman’ . . . LOL), then it only makes sense to think that being sexy is supposed to be linked to being in God’s presence.

Being sexy is more than being sensual, seductive, sultry, slinky or shapely; it transcends being voluptuous, luscious, flirtatious, or bootylicious. More than being beddable, being sexy is being a God worshipper to the core. Being sexy is being able to be able to go on your knees or lie flat on your face, melted into the embrace of your Abba Father. Being sexy is being able to prioritise talking to God over talking to folks. Being sexy is being able to stay behind the scene while you beautify the location where you and your folks gather to worship this one true God. Being sexy is being able to be immersed in a load of tasks on your to-do-list and still stay connected to your dad.

If you miss this kind of sexy, any other kind, I suspect, will catch you a heartbreaker at best. The Yorubas will say

“Ìyàwó tí a gbé lójú ijó, onílù ni yó bàá lọ” 

— in other words, the wife you met at a dance will eventually elope with the musician at the party. Of course, the proverb connotes a deeper message, viz: “People cannot shed their innate habits”, however, the comparative deduction of the analogy is striking. How you ‘find’ your spouse says a lot about what your marriage will look like.

As a lady, if you allow your devotion to God—your worshipfulness kind of sexy—to shape the other ‘physical’ kind of sexy generic to all females, you will be a modern version of the kind of woman King Lemuel describes in Proverbs 31 (as taught by his mum).

“There are some—indeed many—women who do well in every way, but of all of them only you are truly excellent.” Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others.” (Proverbs 31:29-30 The Voice)

You want to be the heartthrob of a man that fears God? This, right here, is the password. Explorative King Solomon gave an insight about his choice of his Beloved out of the many options he had:

“I could have chosen any from among the vast multitude of royal ones who follow me. But ONE is my beloved dove—unrivaled in beauty, without equal, beyond compare, the perfect one, the favorite one. Others see your beauty and sing of your joy. Brides and queens chant your praise: “How blessed is she!”” (Song of Songs 6:8-9 The Passion Translation)

Dear young woman, I guess here is the sum of what I’m saying: Bury your heart so deeply into God’s that it will take a man ardent in his pursuit of God to find it.

And dear young man, BE THAT MAN! Be the kind of man that grows past sizing up ladies by the physical indices of shapes, shades, and shakes.

Again, the Yorubas will say

“Ọmoge ńrelé ọkọ pèlú-u májèlé, alárẹnàa rè-é mú apó dání, ọkọ ìyàwó di èbìtì síle; ká wá wo irú ọmọ tí wọn ó bìí.” 

In other words, “A young woman leaves for her groom’s home carrying poisons; her intermediary carries a quiver, and the husband awaits them with a snare; let us see what sort of children they will produce.” The point is clear: Some things are predictable simply by considering the surrounding facts. As a young man or young woman, one can predict what your marital life will look like simply by looking at how you go about ‘finding’ your ‘one’.

As a young man, if you busy yourself with a passionate pursuit of God’s purpose for your life, you cannot but find the one intended for you as you keep digging the treasure mine in God to which you have been called.

You don’t find this kind of wife by SEARCHING for THEM (after all, you are clueless as to where to begin your search); you find such by SEARCHING for GOD and His plans for you! If you will focus solely on pursuing God’s assignment for your life and keep digging deeper into that, you will find the ‘helpmeet’ that God intends for you, undoubtedly—and that may be a wife, or for those called into celibacy, some other kind of ‘help’ that will foster the fulfilment of God’s call upon your life.

As I type this, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to today’s date at the bottom right corner of the laptop. 10/02/2020. I’m immediately reminded of what the date stands for in my life’s journey. 10th February 2012 was the day my wife agreed to my marriage proposal. It was the day a WhatsApp message of three words (“I am ready.”) would change the trajectory of my life for good. It was the day Valentine came four days early for me. It was the day my life’s purpose was reborn. It was the day that hope came alive about fulfilling God’s purpose in life.

And as I remember all these, I also remember that I didn’t go out there searching for a wife when I found her. I was just busy serving God and digging deeper into pursuing His plans for my life. I wake up each day now without regrets in this area of my life. Sure, we have our moments and quibbles, but they never diminish the certainty that we have both found in one another, a match-making adventure only God can pull off. I sometimes wish above all things that God can reproduce the bliss we enjoy maritally with every young unmarried man and woman in our sphere of influence. But the Holy Spirit laid it on my heart that it’s up to each individual. The best we can do is to be generous with this principle that is working for us.

And that is what I have done in this post.

May the Holy Spirit breathe upon the words and saturate them with His grace—grace for marital bliss.

Amen.

I hope this helps someone today.

PS: #iRemember is a daily mentoring retrospective look at Chronicles of our past—my wife and I—drawing life lessons from past experiences. It is exclusive to members of Alive Mentorship Group—an online mentorship platform for young adults across the world that provides an avenue to learn practical life lessons across geographical barriers. If you will like to be a part, just click here and/or get added to the Telegram group here.
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Are you unmarried?

Author’s note: I wrote this at a point in my courtship with my fiancée when it dawned on me that nothing short of my death (and her death) will make our marriage work. Want to know what I mean? Read on…

“A man in love is incomplete until he’s married. Then he’s finished.” Zsa Zsa Gabor

A couple of verses from a Pauline epistle gave rise to these thoughts. Let’s revisit the passage.

1 Corinthians 7:25-28 MSG
25 The Master did not give explicit direction regarding virgins, but as one much experienced in the mercy of the Master and loyal to him all the way, you can trust my counsel. 26 Because of the current pressures on us from all sides, I think it would probably be best to stay just as you are. 27 Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don’t get married. 28 But there’s certainly no sin in getting married, whether you’re a virgin or not. All I am saying is that when you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time, and I want to spare you if possible.

Very typical of Paul. Sharing thoughts in lumps—sometimes in lumps that are too difficult to swallow. Here, it’s understandable. It was a time of distress (7:26) when society was going through change (7:31). There was not much time left for serving the Lord (7:29). For all we know, it is possible that there were political and economic pressures in Corinth at the time. So in view of the difficulties, Paul submitted that it would be better for a person to be unmarried.

However, the lenses through which Paul viewed marriage here reveals more than some first century circumstantiality to some age-long all-time deep truth about marriage! And that is the quarry where we’ll be mining . . .

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispers to her mother, ‘Why is the bride dressed in white?’ Mother decides to keep things simple and replies, ‘Because white is a happy colour and today is the happiest day of her life.’ The girl thinks for a second, then says, ‘So why is the groom wearing black?’ (You figure that out!)

And while you are figuring that out on one hand, and looking forward to walking down the aisle in white gown with Mr. Right on the other hand, may I inform you in-between both thought threads before you get too deep into the journey that: MARRIAGE IS DEATH!

Song of Songs 8:6 GWT
“. . . Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love’s flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD.”

Marriage is death—death to self. Death to “I”. Unfortunately, our culture has turned individualism into a virtue—a culture that screams that we “deserve” to be fulfilled and have a “right” to personal satisfaction and true-to-me happiness. That model just doesn’t work with the model of marriage! The cruel irony is that fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness are ultimately found in sacrifice, serving and giving—even to the point of giving one’s “life”! Are you ready for this?

“Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don’t get married. ”
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).

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This death-thing is counter-cultural.  It’s a paradox to logic.  In the book of Ephesians, Paul calls it a “mystery”—something that we wouldn’t have figured out with our human logic.  This is a model that was given by God.

Andrew Peterson poetically captures the difficulty of this journey. I recently stumbled across his song “Dancing in the Minefields”—a lovely wedding anniversary song! (I look forward to penning my version of that to Eleos in about twenty years’ time).

The second verse of the song refers to John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” In stating this, Jesus is referring to what He was about to do for His people. Jesus calls us His friend (John 15:14) and He laid His life down for us so that we may live eternally with Him. And remember, our marriages are a reflection of Christ and His church (see Ephesians 5). I once heard that the love of God, and His sacrifice in Jesus Christ for us, is a frame for us to place our wedding picture in. (Cute, right?)

Through a beautiful word-picture, Peterson makes a poignant point of what happens at a wedding, and it is something that most people fail to recognize when they enter into marriage. A very large part of marriage is giving up your own life for your spouse.  I do not mean this in terms of your literal life, although many of us readily admit we’d die for our spouse, but when we marry we must recognize that our life is forever changed and that some of our old habits, friends, interests, and activities might, and sometimes should, end. Are you ready for this?

“Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don’t get married. ”
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).

Too many young couples marry with the illusion that they are adding their “soul mate” to their existing life, and then they get frustrated when their spouse necessarily demands more of their time, interest, resources, and affection than anticipated. We seem to think that our spouses are just going to adopt our lifestyles as their own, which is a faulty assumption. Well, that was my assumption, and few months into the prelude to the melody of my marital life, I can see how wrong I was!

Christ makes it clear that we are to “submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21). Husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:25) How did Christ love the church? He served her! Wives are to submit to their husbands (not in a demeaning way, as if they are their husband’s maid or slave—but equal partner with different roles). Each person in a marriage should be willing to give up their independent life to become one with their spouse, in all areas of life.

A good marriage is hard work. A great marriage is the hardest of all because it requires the equally selfless devotion of both parties. Are you ready for this?

“Are you married? Stay married. Are you unmarried? Don’t get married. ”
(1 Corinthians 7:27 MSG).

Refreshingly, there is an anchor—God’s Grace!

Grace changes us. Slowly. Emphasis on slowly. We learn to look at our spouse through the lenses of grace.  We begin to see our spouse (and by extension to the community of believers) not as sinners trying to become saints by more right behaviour but rather as saints who still sometimes err. (Many times, in the case of people like me). It is an important distinction. We are all saints who are righteous because of Christ alone. We still err. We need grace. All of us. So when I err (as I often do), grace compels Eleos to run towards me and not to run away. Grace does not allow her to condemn and judge me. I need grace to be restored as she will need that same grace soon. Likely very soon.

Grace is always the answer.

Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth about hardships and the message he received from the Lord. I like his choice of words—His choice of words:

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12, NLT)

Jesus told the story of a Father who runs to embrace His child who has made terrible mistakes. He doesn’t wait for him to crawl back and grovel. At the first turn of repentance He sprints to him and throws a party. That is grace.

The same grace that appeared to you does appear to your spouse

  • Are you willing to give up habits (good or bad) if they seem to be detrimental to the health of your marriage?
  • Are you willing to end relationships that do not honour your marriage?
  • Are you willing to pool your financial resources into one account?
  • Are you willing to participate in leisure activities that are not of interest to you—but that your spouse enjoys—so that you can have quality time together?

If you aren’t, well, there is an alternative . . .

1 Cor 7:33-34
33 Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, 34 leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.

So? Maybe you should consider staying single!

Until you are willing to give up your life and lay it down for the sake of your spouse, your marriage will not be what you desire it to be.

Marriage is when a man and woman become as one; the trouble starts when they try to decide ‘WHICH ONE’. I know without a doubt that marriage, and life in general, will eventually be harder than we dreamed that it could be. But I have no fear at all that, with Christ at the center of our relationship, Eleos and I can accomplish anything. Face anything. Walk through anything. Together. Clinging to Jesus. Always. (We know which “One”!).

I can’t wait to start that journey!