I am a big NFL football fan. In fact I like all kinds of football, from high school, Canadian university football, to CFL and NFL football. I am a loyal Bills fan (no boos or sneers please). I know what it is go a long time without a winning franchise (15 seasons without a playoff appearance as of this year). As a fan there are players that I like and like any fan, there are teams that I loathe, and yes, that one that is in New England is one of them, as are the one from Steel Town PA, and the one out west in Seattle. Each of those 3 teams do have players that I have liked for a variety of reasons, and the QB of the Seahawks is one of them.
This past weekend, Russell Wilson was at The Rock Church and shared in an interview. You can watch the interview here. Fox Sports posted an article on this interview, and the article dealt with two ideas and concepts that are kind of “out there” today, when it comes to relationships.
Wilson intimated that God spoke to him about “leading” in the relationship with pop superstar Ciara, and that was leading as in giving leadership in how the relationship grows and develops, and in particular in “abstinence” before marriage. So Wilson stepped out and spoke about abstinence, and did so in a society that has no frame of reference for someone publicly holding to that ideal.
Here is a transcript of Wilson talking about his relationship, which begins at the 24-minute mark in the video above:
“I met this girl named Ciara, who is the most beautiful woman in the world. She’s the most kind person, the most engaging person. I could probably learn more from her … everything that I could ever want.
“And so I’ll never forget: She was on tour, she was traveling, and I was looking at her in the mirror. I was sitting in the dressing room, and she was getting ready to go, about 15 minutes before she went on stage. And she was sitting there, and God spoke to me and said, ‘I need you to lead her.’ And I was like, ‘Really? Right now?’
“He goes, ‘I want you and need you to lead her.’
“So I told her right then and there, what would you do if we took all that extra stuff off the table and just did it Jesus’ way?”
What I found fascinating is that Wilson shared this in a church, and that this got on to YouTube, and the entertainment and sports tabloids all got into the act. Here it is 2 days later, and Google has posted under a search “Ciara Russell Wilson abstaining from sex”, a total of 131,000 hits. Really? We as a society are that obsessed with the comments of superstar athletes and their sex lives?
So here you have a young man, one of the best starting quarterbacks in the NFL, handsome, successful, who can play both football and baseball, and could become the next successful dual sport professional athlete, talking about abstinence and about leadership in a relationship with a woman.
So in our rabidly self-centred individualistic culture, we have a young sports idol superstar, a “role model” that is modelling and giving a role model of “male responsibility” and “leadership” in “dating relationships” that is unheard of in our day. You have this athlete practicing abstinence and being honest enough to say that it is not easy, and that he needs prayer and support in walking out this desire to walk out a life of relationship integrity and abstinence until marriage. Wilson stated:
Yeah, we’re talking about sex.
“For me, I knew that God had brought me into her life to bless her and for her to bless me and to bless so many people with the impact that she has, that I have. We’re not gonna be perfect, by any means. Life’s not perfect. Nobody’s perfect, but he’s anointed both of us, and I know that he’s calling for us to do something miraculous, something special.
“I said to her, and she completely agreed: ‘Could we love each other without that?’ If you can really love somebody without that, then you can really love somebody.”
“I ain’t gonna lie to y’all now, I need y’all to pray for us.”
The other issue is this role of leadership in the relationship, and what that means in the relationship between a man and woman who are courting and relating together. Is it a shared relationship of leadership? How does that work? What kind of give and take takes place in making decisions? What are the processes in making decisions based on understanding and trust, and commitment? These questions matter, no matter how old you are, but this is particularly striking in a culture that is obsessed with sexual image and status as a cultural icon and star, and that sexuality is this thing that is projected and talked about “as if everyone is doing it”, when in fact, not everyone is doing it. In fact, this interview is a stark contrast to those that “do it” and find that to be normal.
Perhaps the “new normal” is what Russell Wilson is talking about here. Perhaps courtship and relationship without the sex, is what is needed in a society that “sex obsessed”. Perhaps amid all the raised eyebrows and all the snickering in the background, people just don’t get it, and wonder why? Perhaps the ridicule and laughter will subside, and more serious questions and reflection will occur where people start to seriously evaluate their relationships and the role that sex plays and is taken for granted within it. Ciara and Russell Wilson are telling our society that dating does not necessarily include sexual activity. Relationships matter, and sexual relations in its proper place and context is what Wilson hopes to promote and convey. I wonder how many people are actually listening and thinking about what he and Ciara are talking about.