Thursday, September 18, 2008

My shingles never bonded together—why eroticism is important in marriage

Yesterday a roofer came out to inspect my roof and put up a tarp to prevent further damage. When he showed me one of the shingles that had blown off my roof, he told me my roof was not bonded properly and the whole roof would have to be replaced. Bonded properly? What does that mean? Well I'll tell you.

A roof is made up of hundreds of shingles that overlap and together protect the underlying plywood from wind and rain. Each shingle is made of tarpaper bonded to granules. Each shingle has a stripe of tar that acts as glue to bond each shingle together. Now, when the shingles are being stored in a warehouse or on their way to the site, the roofer doesnt' want the shingles to bond together then. If they did, instead of a package of useful shingles, the roofer would have a great big brick of melted together shingles. So, the manufacturer puts on a protective plastic strip over the strip of tar to prevent the tar from sticking to the other shingles in the package.

When the roofer is ready to nail the shingles on the plywood of someone's home to make a roof, the protective plastic strip is removed from each shingle, exposing the stripe of tar that will bond the shingle with the shingle it overlaps. The heat of the sun melts the tar and bonds the two shingles together.

When my roof was installed a few years ago, the roofer who installed my roof did not peel away any of the protective strips from the stripe of tar on my shingles. My shingles were individually nailed down to the plywood, but my shingles never bonded together. So when the storm came, they were much more easily separated from each other. They peeled off and blew away, leaving my plywood exposed and allowing water to pour into my attic and into my home.

Wow does this remind me of marriage!

I've said for years that sex is the glue that bonds a husband and wife together. It's true that love is a choice and the value of an allies-till-death committment cannot be downplayed. But as my roof analogy shows, it takes both commmittment (nailing down the shingles to the plywood) and sex (allowing heat to bond each shingle together) to make roof that can stand up to the storms of life.

I think about my roof. For years I looked at it, and it looked just fine. All the shingles were in neat rows and safely nailed down. But under the surface, they were not bonded. Each shingle was holding something of themselves back. Not allowing heat to melt a part of them and fuse them together. For years, my marriage was like that. I had the nailed down committment but I had not allowed the heat of marital eroticism to melt me and bond me together with my husband in such a deep way. Oh, we loved each other! We were committed to each other. We had a good marriage. But in order to experience the bond we have today, I had to peel away the protective layers around my heart and allow my body and soul to experience the heat of eroticism with my husband. Bonding cost me something. I had to allow my self to get hot enough to get to the melting point. Experiencing truly hot eroticism takes some personal growth. David Schnarch's book Passionate Marriage taught me that. And there's a beautiful healthy balance. The entire shingle is not gluey tar. Each shingle is still an individual. That's differentiation. When two healthy separate individuals choose to nail down their marriage with committment and also allow the heat of erotic love to melt them and bond them together, the storms of life won't easily separate them.

Here's to being hot, committed and bonded!


Sloan said...

Brilliant, Shula. One of those analogies that can really deepen the understanding.

Have you ever read "The Mystery of Marriage" by Mike Mason? A friend gave it to us as a wedding gift many years ago; it's not a devotional, but MK and I read through it bit by bit together as though it was, every day at breakfast. It's not a "how-to" book either; it's just a young, recently-married husband's reflections and meditations on various aspects of marriage. It is a profound and deeply spiritual read.

In the chapter entitled simply "Sex" he speaks of how, in the very beginning, the two were indeed "one flesh," since Adam was the one God created first and contained within himself the "matter" from which his partner would be formed. And from Adam God formed and fashioned another, like him in some ways and different in others (and viva la difference!!). Sex can be thought of as an effort to get back to that original to skin, breath to breath, entwined and wrapped up in each other and in each other's "otherness" and yet striving for ultimate oneness. And in the process, we do, in a sense, become "one flesh."

It's this striving for oneness that makes married sex so very special...or, at least as it should be. It occurs to me that eroticism is a BIG part of this whole process, as it contributes to the practice of pleasing each other.

I do so enjoy your blog. Keep typing! :-)

Kyra said...

I'm sorry I've been away and I must catch up. My heart goes out to you.

On this particular topic... Well, what a beautiful analogy. I don't know whether it was in a blog (yours?) marriage vows or somewhere else that I read someone refer to the comfort of each other's bodies. I was thinking of this today, how much I need to give and receive that comfort. And surely that bond you speak of is in there. It's not just the sex, although that is vital to the bond, it goes beyond into the soul. Both you and Sloan speak of it so eloquently.

I hope there is a chance still to find it. I will resolve to open myself up to it, as you suggest. It of course isn't one-sided, but it can't possibly happen without me doing my part.

Sensuous Wife said...

Welcome sloan!
Pleased to meetcha. Y'all come back now, ya hear!~ (grin)

Thank you for recommending Mike Mason's book. I've put it in my Amazon list and I hope to buy a copy on my next order.

So beautiful the way you and Mike describe Eve and Adam being one before she was taken out of him. What a feeling of peace, goodness and "everything's right in the world" when we feel that union with our mate. We're each back where we belong: together.

I do so enjoy being enjoyed. Keep commenting! :)

Sensuous Wife said...

Thank you Kyra. It's good to see you, hon. You're right, the bond is the sex and the soul. Cori just wrote something really beautiful recently on soul-nakedness and your comment reminded me of her post.

Your desire to experience the comfort of each other's bodies is a good one, Kyra. The comfort and the passion both. May God grant you the desire of your heart. I really want that for you!


Who am I said...

This is just an awesome word picture. My compliments.

Abe said...

most analogies fall apart - this one works on soooo many levels. Kudos!