One concern I’ve gotten from a few Christians is that I place a greater emphasis on Adult Nursing Relationships than the Bible does.
First and foremost, what I am not defending in this article is my intermittent idolatry. I’m genuinely thankful for the faithful believers who have called me out when I’ve gotten sinfully distracted by this desire. I’ve noticed that I go through seasons of idolatry and I’m eternally grateful that one way or another, God frees me from my nearsightedness (pdf).
The issue at hand, however, goes much deeper than me wanting an Adult Nursing Relationship. The real desire is for extreme physical intimacy.
The top three reasons men and women give for pursuing ANRs are intimacy, sexual gratification and a desire to nurture, and I think we can agree these are all clearly mentioned (positively) in Scripture.
Consider these Bible verses: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. [So they are no longer two, but one flesh.] And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:23-25, Mark 10:8 in brackets), “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:28-32).
So you see, if you were to probe deeper, you’ll see it’s not really about me placing an undue emphasis on anything that’s not found in Scripture. It’s all about me desiring the extreme marital intimacy that’s already in the Bible, albeit sometimes to the point of idolatry.
But idolizing something doesn’t make it wrong, it only means your heart is in the wrong place. If a man who genuinely loves his wife told me he has never idolized her, I’ll have great difficulty believing him. Wives or ANRs aren’t the problem, our deceitful hearts are, and the solution isn’t to divorce your wife or quit desiring an ANR, it’s to repent and run to the Cross.
Again, for me, it’s really about said underlying desires. If I found anything that’s simultaneously more deeply intimate, spiritually meaningful, sexually gratifying, and promotes a stronger nurturing bond, an ANR would take a back seat. It’s more about intimacy than sexual obsession.
One reason I appear to idolize it is Couples Nursing’s uncompromising, unattenuable nature. ANR-desiring Christians are in a tough spot. Say for example, you’re very affectionate and want 30 minutes of cuddling daily, you’ll probably settle for 15 with the otherwise “perfect” mate. At least you still get to do some snuggling. No meeting halfway with ANRs, however. You’re either in an Adult Nursing Relationship or you’re not, just like there’s no such thing as being half pregnant.
I’ve said I’m far too convinced about the benefits of an ANR to not be upfront about my desire. But I don’t want it so much that I’ve lost all biblical grounding and I’m always mastered by it. I’ve had to turn down possible relationships with Christian women who agreed to an ANR in marriage. Some just weren’t my type and one was simply too prideful to bother pursuing. Because a believer wants an ANR doesn’t make him or her blind to more important spiritual details.
It’s possible to desire your favorite [insert any item here: wedding dress, sports car, vacation, gadget, candy or ice cream], realize it won’t bring ultimate satisfaction but pursue it anyway, knowing it’s a gift from God that makes life a little sweeter.
To that point, my study Bible comments on Psalm 48:
“[this psalm] recognizes that though material fortresses may have their place, it is crucial that God himself be the defense of his people.” It is okay to pursue material happiness while keeping God the main delight.
Despite making it clear that an ANR isn’t his cup of tea, on an article devoted to ANRs, a website owner who writes about sexuality from a biblical perspective stated how he’d have an easier time using the Bible to defend the practice than refute it, then he quoted Proverbs 5:19 as a defense.
*Reminiscent of the Christians in the opening paragraph who called out my ANR overemphasis, some “atheists” would also claim we emphasize God too much despite little to no evidence, but as God gives just enough evidence of Himself through His general and special revelation so men are without excuse, we have three specific, hard to dispute Biblical references, in addition to lots of general/anecdotal evidence, so God gave just enough evidence for Couples Nursing.
The authors of ‘I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist‘ rightfully declare that it’s not a lack of evidence, it’s your will that keeps you from believing.
I’m glad I found at least one ANR refuser courageous and honest enough to admit this.
*The preceding paragraphs are by no means an attempt to equate God and ANRs. I can live without one but not the other. It’s just an analogy that I deemed helpful.