I have a health goal that I've been pursuing since April. Mostly I've done well, though in the holidays I did worse, though still better than I had done before April. With the new year I wanted to do better so I made a little flip chart that could count up to 99. After it was done and a few days into the count I decided to reward myself with a pair of boots when I got to 99.
Over the last few years I got rid of all the closed toe shoes except for my hiking shoes and my mud boots. So I don't have anything nice to wear on the 4 Sundays a year when I'd like to not wear sandals to church. But I'm not one to just go out and buy new shoes. These are the shoes I own:
Black sandals bought 6 years ago after lP's birth
Saltwater sandals left by my sister 3 years ago
Sketcher slide sandals bought after L's birth
Tevas bought off craigslist 5 years ago and still going strong
Hiking shoes bought 3 years ago for our big trip west
Gardening boots bought 5 years ago
I could go out and get any pair of closed toe shoes to keep around for those cold Sundays. But I don't really like pantyhose either. I'd like some really nice leather, up to the knee, boots.
When I'm tired and bored or stressed out, and tempted to give up my health goal, I think, "Do I really want to loose all these days?" on the counter. So I don't eat the one treat that would have led to more treats and then feeling like I may as well just eat all the treats... It goes downhill fast.
These boots I plan to get, I'm undecided on whether to get brown or black. I know there are really good sales on them right now. So thinking of buying them now and saving them for later is tempting. But if I have them, I'd probably wear them, I'd find an excuse, or it'd be cold! Then having worn them, I'd probably wear them again before April, when I should hit 99 days. February is cold here.
I've decided to wait until April to begin shopping. I'll go to the outlets and try on really nice boots, like $100-$200. I've never paid so much for shoes in my life. And these are shoes I know I'll only wear a few times a year. I also hope they last me for about 40 years. And I hope that they will be special to me because I paid a price in time money and sacrifice to "earn" them. And because of the price I pay for them, I hope I don't start hankering after another pair of boots.
So this is not a perfect parallel for sex. But the casual attitude some people have toward sex is a lot like the usual attitude toward boots, try them all out, get them just because you can, use them for a while then get rid of them, or have many pairs at the same time.
In the grand scheme of my marriage, sex is like a seasonal item of apparel. There is so much more to our relationship, our work together as parents, and daily sharing a home and life. Sex is a fun and useful part of our eternal purpose here. And it is made more special by the sacrifice we made to save it for marriage. A lot of good people live together before they are married. They live together for years deciding if this is the right person, and ironically, saving up for a big wedding. But what does a wedding mean? Imagine cruise passengers living on the ship all year and then throwing a party for the day it leaves the dock to float in the harbor. Marriage doesn't take you to exotic places. But it can be an exiting journey if you save sacred things for sacred purposes. But when you make sex a casual thing, that's what you've got.