In forthcoming film The Song, on a stage in front of an un-enthused crowd at a bar too quiet for comfort, musician Jed King (Alan Powell) leaned toward the mic and sang a line that can’t not affect a good listener: “Love is a choice worth making.”
The life Jed didn’t yet know he would lead would put the line he sang into perspective. But that night, Jed — then young and single — sat offstage after the show, across from a manager who had no work to offer other than a gig a half hour from home at a fall festival hosted by a vineyard.
He met her there — “the most beautiful girl in the world,” he said in a song he made up as he went along, whose ex-boyfriend broke up with her “for the dumbest reason in the world” (she wouldn’t sleep with him).
She was Rose (Ali Faulkner), the vineyard owner’s daughter whose prudence inspired Jed’s. They dated, with the vineyard owner’s permission — it was Jed’s idea to ask him, not Rose’s — and decided, upon Jed’s proposal, to get married.
This post is an excerpt from chapter 1 — “Chastity: A Better Sexual Ethic” — of my forthcoming book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, (Ave Maria Press, 2014).
I parked my Plymouth Neon in a dirt lot and skirted the rocks strewn atop it by taking a shortcut across a patch of grass.
My flip-flops finally smacked pavement when I reached the street between the parking lot and the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, a complex that covers the quiet, northwest corner of the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus.
I traipsed across a covered courtyard, where a handful of fellow grad students in the Department of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling congregated at picnic tables. I walked into the building. Inside, the cold air eradicated all evidence of the late-afternoon heat from the mid-May sun outside. I took off my sunglasses and turned a couple of corners toward classroom 1636 for the first session of my human sexuality class.
I sat at the back of the room, plugged in my laptop,and pretended not to be nervous. The professor, Dr. Dae Sheridan—a young, spirited sex therapist—interrupted my anxiety by inviting the class to shout the names we know for sexual activity and for the body parts we associate with sex.
3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.
This edition features Tyler Braun, author of Why Holiness Matters and pastor at New Harvest Church in Salem, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and two kids.
AS: How did you meet your wife?
TB: My wife Rose and I met at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon (30 minutes from Portland). We were friends for the first two years of school. Despite being good friends Rose wasn’t too fond of me early in college. She thought I was cocky and full of myself (she was right), but thankfully I changed a lot before I asked her out on a date. We played against each other in intramural basketball, and we led worship together for a student-led chapel. I finally got the courage to see if she’d want to do something just us at the beginning of our junior year.
AS: When did you get married?
TB: We were married on January 6th, 2007 in Salem, Oregon. This kind of gets at question number four, but a quick tip for those who are single and wanting to get married, I highly recommend a winter wedding. All the typical wedding services are less expensive. A honeymoon to someplace warm during those cold months is a treat in itself. And you don’t have to compete with all the other weddings on people’s calendars.
AS: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in marriage?
This post is an excerpt from the introduction to my forthcoming book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, (Ave Maria Press, 2014).
I rested my head on the tall back of a black vinyl, executive-style chair and stared at a computer screen. The chair’s wheels rolled audibly across the mat beneath it as I—a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times—reached toward the desk in front of me to type.
The e-mail, addressed to an editor named Jim, expressed my sudden reluctance to do what I already promised I would: write about sex. A week earlier, I had pitched the idea to Jim with confidence: a sex essay for the front page of the “Perspective” section of the Times, inspired in part by the demise of a bad relationship.
The day I pitched it, how many readers we had—more than four hundred thousand on Sundays—hadn’t dawned on me. When it finally did, all that had been bold in me got anxious. I—a budding columnist, a practicing Catholic, and a virgin by choice—had a passion for putting what I believed in print. But that morning, the thought of revealing my virginity to the secular public sounded like a bad idea. I so warily considered the potential repercussions—unwanted attention, unsafe situations, and uncomfortable colleagues—that I forgot why I pitched the idea in the first place.
The Q: My significant other is jealous, and I think that’s unreasonable. What do I do?
The A: When I was 20, I sort-of-dated a bassist in a rock band. From behind merch tables in crowded church halls, I watched him sign posters with Sharpies and take pictures with fans. While he stood and smiled surrounded by flirty girls, I pretended not to feel what I probably usually felt: mildly jealous.
To be jealous is to “feel or show suspicion of unfaithfulness in a relationship.” To express jealousy is, in my observation, on a lot of peoples’ unwritten lists of “what not to do while you’re dating.” We are probably hesitant to express jealousy while we date because the phrases “jealous person” and “unreasonable person” are often — and wrongly — used interchangeably.