For years since coming back into the Church, I have hesitantly answered many a question about my living situation -- no, I don't live with Tyler. Yes, we know we're in our mid-twenties and yes, we know how long we have been together. I have hesitantly answered many a question about my fertility -- no, we don't plan on using contraception and yes, we are aware that sex makes babies (were you aware that is, kind of, the point?). I have answered questions about what we "do" -- once people learn we don't have sex, they typically want to know what we do instead -- and no, we don't do anything "instead of" sex with our genitals together. If the point of what you're thinking of is to obtain sexual relief and/or achieve orgasm, no, we don't do that, and God-willing won't until we're married next April.
These are questions I hesitate to answer, not because they make me uncomfortable at all, but because of the response I usually get. People are weird about Catholics, and it's probably because Catholics are weird. Nonetheless, questions about sex and intimacy don't offend me. Not usually.
There is one. When people find out we don't sleep together, they become concerned, and make faces like these:
|Look at these freaks. I bet they never get laid.|
"What if you aren't sexually compatible?"
People who care about us seem occasionally inclined to worry about whether we will enjoy sexual intimacy together in marriage. Their concern is twofold: (1) our disappointment will devastate our relationship and (2) we'll be "stuck" with each other per our marriage vows.
Instead of hesitating to answer this question, I try to simply not answer it at all, except with a determined "I love Tyler." And I do love Tyler, so much, and that is the precise root of the offense I take to this question. The implication that I would allow awkward, painful, or boring sex to unwind everything Tyler and I have built together for the last almost-decade is, frankly, repulsive. What I hear when this question is posed to me is "Is Tyler really worth it?" Of course the answer is yes. We haven't had sex for just under a decade. I think we can survive a few hurdles of figuring things out, if there is anything to figure out.
I've had sex before, and I will say that what I have with Tyler is something I would choose over and over and over again before I would have all the sex in the world with anyone else. He is the most beautiful person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I can't wait to spend a lifetime getting to know him more and more. Sex is great, and it's something I greatly look forward to, but we've got a lot of other stuff going on between us, too.
For example, I trust him more than anyone else. He makes me feel safe, and he can make me laugh when I'm angry. I have never loved anyone else the way I love him, and I am amazed that a heart so darkened and weak as mine can hold so much affection. We cook together, and have yet to be disappointed with a result. We binge watch Netflix together, and waste hours picking apart shows and sharing observations no one else would care about. We talk about politics, philosophy, religion, social trends, music, and bras. We set goals together and sometimes we even achieve them.
I already "know what I'm getting myself into." I'm getting myself into a lifetime of unity and shared mission with the most important person in my life. I'm getting myself into decades of growing and learning with the man I hope will be the father of my children. I'm getting myself into the most precious title I will ever hold: Tyler's wife.
He's a human being with an endless mystery of "self" to explore. There is no need to "test drive" something we'll have the rest of our lives to practice and perfect anyway. There is no need to test drive a person. How repugnant, really.
When, God-willing, Tyler and I stand before God and everybody and profess our commitment and love to one another, I'll feel like the most blessed person in the whole room. I'm the only person who will ever be Tyler's wife. In a room full of people who held him as a baby, watched him grow, kept his school pictures on their refrigerators and in their wallets, saw him graduate high school, and still even remember getting the call that he was going to be born, I'm the one who will be standing before him hearing him tell me and God that he vows to be mine for the rest of our lives, that he vows to be open to the gift of children with me, and that he vows to love me all the days of his life.
I assure you, sincerely, that no amount of awkward or boring, which I doubt will even be a problem, will ever overshadow that moment for me.