Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales: Spoken Word by Jefferson Bethke
Even before Christian author and Youtube sensation Jefferson Bethke married his wife Alyssa, he knew a thing or two about marriage. In his Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales spoken word poem, Jeff reveals the secrets to a happy marriage–and judging by the barrage of negative comments and accusations below the video, these secrets are not common knowledge.
“Marriage isn’t just sex; it’s conversation and laughter.”
In our instant-gratification, materialistic, me-first society (sorry, is that too harsh?), it is too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that marriage is simply for personal pleasure. The minute it becomes too much work and not enough pleasure, some spouses decide to peace out. But is this truly what Jesus intended?
According to Jeff, the key to a happy marriage is to “become friends first, before you ever become lovers.” Genuine interest in each other’s well-being will sustain your marriage long after the novelty of sex with your partner wears off.
But all too often, spouses become co-inhabitants–sex becomes routine and no longer intimate and partners live side-by-side without really sharing a life. Jeff pointedly asks, “You might share a checkbook and a household, but are you actually friends?”
It is exactly in this situation, when marriage is “consumed” for personal pleasure, but it loses that elusive pleasurable feeling, that marriages end. Usually at least one partner leaves in search of another, more pleasurable alternative–which also will eventually lose its sparkle.
According to Jeff, “Guys continually sacrifice their marriage on the altar of sex and lust. If our dollars were honest, they’d say in pleasure we trust.” I’d add that it is not just men who do this; many women struggle with temptation and illicit desire as well.
So how do we preserve the sacred institution of marriage in this hostile climate? Read on, friends.
“Most problems arise when we elevate our spouse to God.”
Jeff jump-starts his poem with the observation that we, as a society, have forgotten that Disney movies and fairy-tales are fictional; we expect to find “the one” who will fulfill all of our wants and needs. And then, when–not if–that doesn’t happen, we hit the road.
But our expectations are misplaced. We mistakenly expect God-like things from our human spouse. (Well, when you put it that way…) Only our Heavenly Father can truly fill the void inside. For this reason, Jeff advises us to, “Pursue Jesus as your foundation.”
“Wife honor your husband, husbands give up your life.”
Jeff turns to Ephesians 5 to explain the proper roles of a wife and husband. Although ambiguous spousal roles are the modern trend in marriage, the Bible clearly has a blueprint for a successful marriage. A husband and wife have equally important, but distinct, roles: a wife is to honor her husband, and a husband is to lead his wife.
This blueprint for marriage does not suggest that wives should be meek and submissive. On the contrary, Proverbs 31 paints a portrait of a strong, independent, and wise wife who goes to the market, provides food for her family, advises her husband, ministers to the poor, sews clothing, and, above all else, praises the Lord.
And the Bible also doesn’t justify an abusive or domineering husband. Rather, a husband is meant to lead his wife with a gentle hand, treating her with understanding (1 Peter 3:7).
With this blueprint in mind, daunting marriage vows aren’t so daunting. According to Jeff, the modern view of “‘till death do us part” is really “until the feelings go away.” But he argues that “it’s not the love that sustains the promise, it’s the promise that sustains the love.” As husband and wife work to fulfill their proper roles, a deep, abiding commitment to one another sustains the marriage.
“You don’t fall out of love as much as you fall out of repentance.”
Jeff ends his dynamic spoken-word poem with this zinger. While many people blame their spouse for “causing them” to fall out of love, Jeff advises such people to look in the mirror. In unhappy marriages, at least one spouse refuses to humbly bow down before the Lord. I mean that literally, not figuratively. A happy marriage is inevitable when both spouses spend time daily in God’s presence. It may seem simple, but it’s divinely simple.
“Where some guys propose on a knee, Jesus proposed on a cross.”
A final secret to a happy marriage is to model it after Jesus’s love for the Church. Ephesians 5:25-27 instructs, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her … that she would be holy and blameless.”
If you want a happy marriage (and who doesn’t), Jeff Bethke believes you should turn your gaze from fictional fairytale romances to Christ’s devotion to the Church.