Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Why I Stopped Watching Grey's Anatomy. On Healthy 'Sexpectations' and Holiness

Can I start by saying just how much I used to love Grey's? Like, seriously SO much.  I have a group of friends that used to get together every Thursday to watch it together, but I had no interest in joining them because I just loved sitting down by myself with a glass of wine, a box of tissues and having myself a big 'ol cry. Man, do I love a good cry. When Chris and I started seeing each other he dutifully watched it with me. I don't think he ever loved it like I did, but he probably wouldn't say he hated it either.

Then we got married, and it got a little more complicated.

OK. Deep breath.

When Chris and I were dating and engaged we remained abstinent - we both agreed that because of our strong beliefs in Jesus and in the truth of the Bible, we did not want to have sex before we were married. This was not an easy task by any means, but with a LOT of help from the Lord, and only by his grace, we were able to save our first time for our wedding night.

In those days leading up to marriage we talked a lot about our future sex life. We imagined that it would basically be the best sex life anyone had ever heard of. We talked about how often we would do it (a lot) and how much God was obviously going to bless us in it based on our obedience to him.

The first few weeks? Spot on. It was enjoyable and happened quite frequently. But then something happened.... I think it's called life. Or at least that is what I was lead to believe - that it was "normal" to not want to have sex as often as my husband wanted to. I think "normal" has been added to the list of words that I hate. The honeymoon was over (literally) and we went back to work. My libido went from a skyrocketed position, to hovering somewhere just above sea level. Chris was obviously devastated. What happened? We talked about how awesome this was going to be. He felt as though when we were engaged I had painted a picture of what our sex life would be, and I certainly wasn't living up to it. He felt cheated. I felt pressured. We were both hurt and sad about the whole situation. The one area we were so sure wouldn't be a problem for us was turning out to be the hardest area of our marriage.

I started believing lies about sex in marriage. I looked for answers to questions that should never be asked. "What is a normal amount of times to have sex each week?" "When is it ok to say no?" Normal is different for every couple, and trying to gauge what is normal for us based on what is normal for other couples is just plain dumb. Asking when it's ok to say no.... well that just gave me excuses that I felt justified in for not making love to my husband. "I'm too tired" "I have a stomach ache" "I'm upset" Friends... that can easily account for 5 out of 7 days if I let it.

Just as I was looking in the wrong places for what was "normal" it became apparent that Chris was doing the same thing, but he was looking to media- TV shows and movies that portrayed sex as always exciting, hot, heavy and VERY frequent. Grey's Anatomy, being the sexually charged show that it is was hurting our marriage. The topic of sex had become such a hurtful, tear filled topic, that anytime we were confronted with sex on TV we both instantly felt awkward. He wondered why we weren't having that experience, and I silently hated the women that made it all look so effortless.

So, in large part for that reason we stopped watching it, and any other show that had sexually explicit content. But then a funny thing happened. We started to evaluate everything that we were watching. We were acutely aware of the fact that what we choose to put in front of our eyes and allow our hearts to say "Yes" to was shaping and forming our thoughts, and ultimately our hearts. I started having a very hard time watching anything that has a large amount of swearing in it. I found the curse words would swirl around in my head for days after. It became part of my inner dialogue. So we cut that out too. Then the more we started paying attention, the more we realized how many horror movies (used to be my favorite genre - I just love to be scared!) have underlying (or blatant!) spiritual content. Chris, being gifted in discernment would become so bothered by it, we would end up turning movies off part of the way through. While it didn't bother me as much at first, now I also can't even look at commercials for spiritual movies without feeling a check in my Spirit- a nudging from the Father to look away and not let the images enter my mind and heart. Lastly, we have both become disgusted by movies or TV shows that have couples that cheat on each other. How people find that entertaining is beyond me.

At first it was hard. We felt like almost everything we were watching didn't fall into the criteria that we now had. There were a lot of frustrating moments of feeling like we had nothing to watch on TV, or spending more than an hour on pluggedin looking for a movie that we could actually watch. Chris even had to give up one of his favorite video games because of the spiritual content. It has been a sacrifice, and truthfully it wasn't always a joyful one- but we knew it was right. We knew God was calling us to it. He, in his infinite wisdom used a very hard situation to call us towards holiness. To a place where we were intentionally moving towards choices that fit into the Kingdom of God.

Our sex life is no longer challenging. We enjoy a mutually satisfying intimacy, and we are no longer held down by our expectations that have been found in the wrong places. There is a lot more to the story of how God healed us of that affliction, but I will save that for another day. That being said we have no intention of watching Grey's again. We have had our eyes opened to how we are affected by what we choose for entertainment, and we have no desire to have our hearts and minds affected in anyway by a show that is so blatantly opposite to the Kingdom of God. Also, we just don't enjoy it anymore. It's kind of gross to watch... it's kind of like if you were to give up sugar for a time, and then you take a sip of a White Mocha from Starbucks. Blech.

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  1. It's amazing how soft our spirits can become overtime. I was the same as you. I LOVED horror movies, but knew full well what they were about (after all, I was a pastor's daughter). I can no longer watch any horror movies and even some thrillers, as my stomach has gotten weaker and my spirit stronger. Trust me, I've tried. But, I realized it was opening up fear in my life, and I needed to shut that door. For each person it's a different journey, and some people can watch/listen to things without being affected like others.

    As for the sex life, I do recall hearing they were thinking of introducing free cable television into third world countries to help with bringing the baby making down a few notches. Something to do rather than make babies, I guess.

    1. Thanks for your comment Trisha- sometimes when i write these things I feel so alone in my thoughts. It's so refreshing to have like-minded friends that are so encouraging. You are very right that different people are affected by different things. Sexual content was a trigger for us for obvious reasons, but I can imagine there are many that don't struggle with that.
      That's ridiculous about TV's in 3rd world countries!

  2. Hello, I stumbled across your blog via a comment you wrote on Alyssa Joy's blog!
    Like your reply to the reader above-it is very comforting to know others are being nudged by the Holy Spirit in the same ways. I also feel alone in my thoughts at times. There are a lot of movies and music I can no longer listen to without feeling uncomfortable. There was a time where I would not think twice about what I was watching or listening to but now I change what's on frequently to keep my mind from being polluted. Good to know I'm not alone!!!

    1. Hey Adriana (or should I call you AJ?) :)
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It really is comforting to know we're not alone, isn't it? Blessings on you today!

  3. Just read this entry today, it is good. We are trying to evaluate what should and shouldn't be watched in our household. We were thinking more of the violence and language, but I never thought of the effect of sexual content on Steve and I - thanks for your prospective!

    1. Thanks for commenting Marci :) Good for you! It isn't always easy to listen to the Holy Spirit when it affects our daily lives like this, but it's so worth it in the end, and really such a blessing just knowing you are being obedient to what He is calling you to. Many prayers for your future decisions in this!