Well, I thought I was done with aphorisms, but while reading old posts for a project that I am working on, I realized that one of the aphorisms that I mentioned needed another going-over. Rather than the Gamble Rogers’ line about works speaking for themselves, I am going to flesh out some thoughts I have on the Bob Jones line, I don’t care how high a man jumps when he gets saved; I’m more concerned with how straight he walks when he comes down.
Two years ago, I wrote a couple of posts about what “Better” looks like; you know what I mean–“I’m sorry, I’ll try to do better.” In the first post I talked about the need to get down to specifics when having The Talk™, to not speak in broad, amorphous generalities, and in the second post I wrote about ways to start defining “better”.
But in re-reading those old posts, and going over the comments that followed them, something occurred to me that connected with the Bob Jones line about how straight someone walks, as it might relate to sexless marriages. After all, we are all capable of making multitudes of promises. The question is whether we keep those promises.
When I wrote those two Better posts, I hadn’t yet run up against the concept of “Reset Sex.” However, after I learned of the term and its meaning, I realized that I had read about the phenomenon many times over in the testimonies of refused husbands and wives.
What is Reset Sex? Reset Sex is sexual activity that occurs after a spouse has had The Talk™ with his/her spouse, telling the gatekeeping/refusing spouse of the pain that they are feeling due to lack of intimacy. And voila, sex begins to happen. The question, however, is this: does this represent a true sea change in the marriage, a well-intentioned resolution, or merely Reset Sex?
A regimen of sexual activity might be undertaken in sincerity by a husband/wife, who hears what their spouse tells them and truly wants to do right by the marriage–this isn’t Reset Sex. Conversely, this same course of sex might be engaged in by a less-than-caring spouse in order to placate the complaining partner. This latter activity is Reset Sex.
The defining factor of Reset Sex is that it is only temporary, by design; the temporary revival of the marriage bed is a staged placation, in which the well-known “intermittent reinforcement theory” is observed. As has oft been noted before, refusers/gatekeepers know how to give just enough intermittent reinforcement in order to boost hope. And after enough intimacy has been introduced in order to create hope in the heart of the refused, the old ways are re-instituted. In essence, the marital clock has been reset to zero and the counting starts all over again–until the next time another booster shot of hope is needed. In essence, nothing has changed; instead, you’ve just been reset and your sentence has been extended.
A good-willed spouse promises to do better, and fully intends to do so but after a bit, routine and ingrained habits come back, and the newly-undertaken sexual revival begins to peter out. This isn’t Reset Sex, as it lacks Machiavellian intent; however, it is the equivalent of a well-intended New Year’s Resolution–“I’m going to start going to the gym”, “I’m going to lose weight”, etc. This is a well-intentioned attempt to revive the marriage bed and is not begun with a nefarious intention to merely reset the hurting spouse. Unfortunately, it is merely a promise without a plan.
Failure to plan is planning to fail.
This is a well-known business adage, and I like it. I realize that it comes from the business world, but there is real wisdom behind it that is applicable to all areas of our lives, and is an explanation of why Resolution Sex fails.
The Bridge Between Resolution Sex and Reality
When Wife and I began attending the Methodist church that we are now members of, the pastor applied a word to the Christian faith that I had never heard before:
The concept that he presented was that we don’t achieve the things that we want in our lives by being slipshod in how we approach our desires. We intentionally work for them. And if we want to be good disciples of Jesus, we need to be intentional in our walk with Him. We will do the things that bring about the growth of Christian graces in our lives.
And this is absolutely applicable to marriage, as well. While a resolution is an attempt to find ways to break out of old habits and complacencies that had led to marital stagnation in the first place, failure to define real, achievable goals, to visualize just what will be involved in turning a couple’s intimacy around, just means that they, through misplaced deference and sensibilities, are going to try to blindly grope toward a goal that they can’t even describe. They, in essence, plan to fail because they fail to plan.
In my next post, I will talk about how being intentional can help you to transforming your marriage bed.
Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, or pastor. For that matter, Wife says I don’t play well with others. My advice and comments come from my concern for hurting Christian husbands and wives. Someone once said to me, “Church shouldn’t hurt”, and I believe the same thing goes for marriage. I’m going to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but please, don’t take my word as gospel. Yes, read what I say, pray about what I say, but do your own “due diligence.”