Have a question about life, love, or faith? Post it as a comment or email it to melfert@stjohns-cathedral.org, or submit your question online privately.

Hey Rev!

I’m in a wonderful, very happy relationship. However sometimes I find myself attracted to other women. Is that a bad sign for us? Or is that just human nature?

- The Looker

Father Knows Best

Father Knows Best

Dear Looker:

Setting aside the somewhat creepy name with which you’ve chosen to sign your letter, I don’t think that you have a problem.

When I plan weddings with couples, I steer them pretty strongly away from writing their own vows. That’s because the old school vows (the ones that I know best are found in The Book of Common Prayer) are road tested in a way that brand new ones, by their very definition, cannot be. Through years of use, the BCP’s vows have proven to be a succinct and powerful articulation of the promises which both form the foundation of a marriage and which sustain it across the years. Reading your letter, Looker, one aspect of those vows particularly popped into my mind: that’s the part in which both partners promise to forsake all others.

Notice what is implicit in that promise: there will be others to forsake. The folks who put the wedding ceremony together were wise enough to recognize that, even after we get married, it’s normal to sometimes be attracted to other people. Thus, the BCP doesn’t make us promise that our spouse is the last person whom we’ll ever think is hot. Rather, it invites us to promise that, even as we notice the hotitude of others, we confine our affections to our partners.

As long as you’re not being a loser about it, Looker, looking is just fine: don’t leer or otherwise behave like an ass; and don’t say or do things which are likely to build up insecurities in your partner. (Some couples enjoy sharing their crushes on coworkers and movie stars with one another, whereas others find such information totally threatening. How much you want to share is up to you and your partner.)

Finally, don’t ever forget that being in a wonderful and happy relationship is an extraordinary and an enviable gift. Make sure that you do the hard but vital work of nurturing that relationship. And make sure that you stay grateful for it. The world may well be full of women whom, if you were single, would make great partners for you. But the fabulous news is that you don’t have to find out whether or not that’s true. You’re already with the woman to whom you’ve given your heart.

Have a question about life, love, or faith? Post it as a comment or email it to melfert@stjohns-cathedral.org, or submit your question online privately.

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Martin Elfert

Martin Elfert

The Rev. Martin Elfert is an immigrant to the Christian faith. After the birth of his first child, he began to wonder about the ways in which the Divine was at work in the world. Shortly thereafter, he joined Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC, where he and his new son were baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2005 and where the community encouraged him to seek ordination.

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