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#10 What he said: A conversation with my guy friend.

Brent and Nicole Clair married since 2008

Today's Guy: Brent D. Clair, married to Nicole for two years.

How long I've known him:  Over ten years.

Today's topic:  Celibacy in committed relationships

In 2008, I went to Chicago for Brent and Nicole's wedding. The story of their relationship is one that I found so inspiring.  When I first met Brent he was something like a party boy, with a spiritual side.  We used to joke...well I used to joke him about the "interesting" women he dated.  When he spoke of Nicole I always felt like she was THE ONE...mainly because she wasn't like the other ones, plus she had a strong personality and spiritual thing going on.  Brent and Nicole dated for 4 and a half years, and did not consummate their relationship until they married.

Me:  I've had conversations with people about celibacy.  I did a relationship panel, and this young lady was concerned that guys would not wait to sleep with her.  So my point was, if a guy is really interested in you, for you, he'll wait.  

But some people there disagreed with me to an extent.  But I know a number of guys who have waited to be with the women they wanted to be with, and you are one of them.  So what I want to talk with you about is how you made the transition.  Because we used to talk a lot about everything, so I know some of your past things....

Brent:  Playa! Playa!!! Ok...I'm sorry...I'll stay professional.. You know me, you know I can't stay civilized sometimes! I'm sorry...I'm sorry audience...sometimes I can be ignant!!!

Me: (cracking up laughing)  Fool! I'm trying to conserve my voice!! (I had a cold and had lost my voice during this interview.) So what I want to talk about is the Brent before he met his wife, and the Brent when he met his wife.  So let's start out with the Brent, I first met.  What was he like?

Brent: Oh man! Like I said...I was a PLA-YA!! You know the Brent that you met, I was in a state where I liked options when it came to women.  And I can't really say I was a very committed person.  I guess in a nutshell that's pretty much it.

I wasn't like a dog or anything.  I was just pretty active when it came to dating. Like how I treated women, is that what you want to know?

Me:  Yes, that's part of it.

Brent:  I will say this, I was always respectful to every single woman that I dated. I was very genuine to every woman that I dated, even though I wasn't the most committed.  But when it all came down to it, I was always very very very respectful. 

At the same time, when it all came down to it, I was the type of person who would never let a woman run over me. Meaning that if they tried to overstep their boundaries, and test my manhood with certain things, I wouldn't allow it. 

I would say that I didnt' have a lot of patience.  When I was dating a woman, a lot of times I would get bored quickly.  Like at the snap of a finger. Like all of a sudden, I'd just get tired. I'd just get bored and stop calling them. Like never return their phone calls ever again. 

Me:  Wait!! Wow...that's kinda deep.  Let me ask you, as far as dating is concerned...did you ever get to a point where the woman wanted a relationship and you didn't?

Brent:  Yeah, yeah.  There were some situations where the woman wanted to take it to the next level. And I wouldn't necessarily say, "No, I don't want to do this..." I was never really that bold when it came to stuff like that.

I would kind of give a response that would buy myself a little more time, to either figure out if this is what I really want to do. Or if may I just still wanted to have the benefits that were in this so called dating relationship or whatever.  So yeah, I have run into those situations.

Me:   So at that point you would sleep with the women?  Are those the benefits that you're talking about?

Brent:  For the most part yeah.  In some situations like that, those would be the turning points of me completely losing interest. So I would say yes and no.

Me:  I'm not going to go all deep into your business...but you know we used to joke about your choices in women.  Do you think that the women who you would have more of a casual relationship with, did you already know those weren't the types of women you wanted to be with in the long term anyway?

Brent:  Actually I did not.  My attitude was always, "well here's the situation, let's see what happens."  I do remember that women that I genuinely did get into, I actually wanted to take it to the next level. 

But, I myself have had situations where they would back away from me. To answer your question, no, it would be "Well she looks good, she has this going on, she's cool people, so let's see what happens."

Me:  How soon after meeting a woman would you actually sleep with her, or start a physical relationship?

Brent:  Like the average time?

Me:  Yeah I guess so.

Brent:   Ummm...welll... I would say, no more than three weeks average.  So two and a half to three weeks.

Me:  hmmm.... let me get to the main point of this convo... That is that when you started dating your now wife, you made a decision to remain celibate.  How IN THE WORLD did that happen?

Brent:  It started with her.  At that time she'd just recently rededicated herself you know to the Lord, and with that she was really really really all about you know just living a life of holiness and righteousness.   Outside looking in they would probably call her a holy roller.

I may have even called her that.  She was really gungho about that, she changed her life around. And gave herself to the Lord.  And you know she brought that to the table.  Just pretty much like, "here's where I stand when it comes to dating." You know, like I said, I was like hey she's a good looking woman and she's a Christian. 

And mind you, Connie, from day one even the times that I was dating, in college and stuff like that, that was always my ultimate goal.  I always wanted to have a woman to marry, but I just didn't have the right things inside of me to be deserving of one.. But ANYWAY... Umm.. going back to this it was like.. "okay well...let's just see what happens, let's see how it goes." 

Granted it was also too, Connie, at the time that we exclusively dated, we had already known each other for a couple years back already.

Me:  Right

Brent:  So in terms of when we decided to exclusively date, she brought that to me, and I said okay let's just see where it goes. Also too, along with that, God just intervened in my life.  Because I knew, you know it always bothered me in the back of my mind and you know in my spirit that I would be going to clubs, Friday nights/Saturday nights, drinking. 

And you know, chasing around girls and doing stuff that I know if my pastor was at the club watching me I'd know that it was wrong.  And then the next Sunday morning going to church.

Me:  HEATHEN!!! naaaah...just jokes...:)

Brent:  Going to church with a hangover...going to church still smelling like alcohol after I took a shower.

Me:  Ooowww you were one of THOSE people.

Brent:  Yeah...I was. I mean even during service I'd think about the night before. Like "man! I got me a Brazilian one, let's see what's up with that!"  You know, while I'm listening to the word.   And I knew I wasn't right, I knew I wasn't living right.  And the older I got, the more it bothered me. So I saw my wife as a way to bring me, to where God wants me to be spiritually. 

So it was like, I took it as a spiritual challenge.  Also too, Connie, I always knew that having sex before marriage was wrong.  I knew it was wrong before the incident happened, and during, and after.  As I got older, after sex, I would always feel really bad. 

It was just be this condemnation over my spirit.  Every time after I'd do it.  It would bother me more and more and more.  I mean even while I'm chasing all these women at the clubs and stuff. I'd be like "man this isn't right, but man she sure does look good, so let me just do it anyway," ya know? 

With Nicole, it was really like, she just kinda saved me from going the wrong direction.  Where I know God didn't want me.  That was really the starting point.  When she came to the table with that.

Me:  Let's talk about how difficult it is, once you cross that threshold of having sex, to go to being celibate. I remember talking to you during this time period.  It wasn't easy.  How did you actually handle that, fighting the urges?

Brent:  I didn't do it, God did it.  I didn't do it at all.  If I would have tried to do it in my own strength it wouldn't have happened.  God did it. What I mean by that, Connie, is being in constant prayer.  Being in constant prayer. 

Meditating on God's word.  Just getting closer to God.  Just constant prayer over my spirit. Every single day.  All day, every day.  If there was a tempting thought in my mind or whatever, I'd just pray for a hedge of protection, over my mind, my heart and spirit. 

And with that comes revelation from God and the Holy Spirit.  And that revelation coming from God was like, "Well, Brent, maybe you shouldn't go to the clubs with your friends."  "Maybe you shouldn't look at this person's television show." "Maybe you should go here and not go there."  So it's just that constant meditation and submission to the Lord. 

Me:  So not only were you praying, but you were also changing your activities?

Brent: Yes, definitely changed my activities.  No I'm not going to sit up here and say I became a holy roller and all I did was sit up in my house all day every day with a Bible in my hand, and going around telling people if they don't do this they are going to hell, if they don't do right. 

It was just the necessary changes that I needed to make. Of course I still hung out and had fun, it was just in moderation. 

Me:  Back to your relationship, when you and Nicole were "courting", I'll call it that, because you weren't being physical or anything, do you think that helped you have a more healthy relationship?

Brent:  Absolutely!! Absolutely!!  The reason why I say that, Connie is because it's just two people liking each other, and all we have left is friendship to go off of.  So with that all we had was friendship to go off, and not sex to cloud our judgment. 

Or to cloud the whole friendship bond that we had, and most of all staying obedient to God.  So therefore, when we came into our marriage we were already like best friends.  Not only was it a benefit in those terms, but the way we took one step toward God in obedience, He took two steps toward us. 

Not only did He take two steps toward us in our marriage, but He took two steps towards us financially, health wise and in our careers.

Brent spoke more about how sex can cloud your judgment.  And how deep sex really is, beyond the physical part, to the spiritual ties it creates.  He also talked about the changing dynamics of friendships when you decide to go toward building a relationship with God.  We also talked about the strength of commitment and monogamy in relationships. The conversation continued from there, but you'll have to read about it and others in later writings.  So what do you think? Is celibacy viable for your relationship?  Do you believe it is difficult for men to be celibate and faithful in a sexless relationship?


Candy said…
wow!!! another God-fearing man out there that loves his wife. Connie, I love this blog!!! it's so important for women to see this positivity! i'm impressed with this gentleman's transformation. all the best to the both of them...

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