When ‘No’ Means ‘Yes’

I noticed a really attractive man while driving home last week. He looked so good that I had to look twice, without serious detriment to my focus on the road, of course.

Now, being a modern, 20-something, working woman who is about to start a family, and who, like Stephen Colbert, is giving Catholicism a try, I don’t necessarily like prolonging my glimpses.

Many would argue that there’s neither any harm nor foul in sneaking a little peek, but I like the idea of reserving the best of my heart and mind for my husband.

Call me old-fashioned, but I wouldn’t enjoy greeting my husband at the door only to have him respond with, “Honey, I saw the hottest woman at the grocery store, with the most amazing body. I probably imagined having making out with her for 15 minutes. Mm mm mm!”

I’m sure some would agree, while others would be inclined to tell me to get with the times; that my personal liberation is far overdue.

But is it truly freeing to let your heart lust after every person you find attractive?

While skimming my Netflix recommendations the other night, I came across a new series called “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On”, which looks at the modern intersection between technology and sex. I decided to give it a try and watched an episode titled, “Love Me Tinder.”

The 30-minute homage to the famous dating app was an account of a 40 year-old man living and working in Las Vegas and serially hooking up with 20-something’s by swiping right. It started with Mr. Rhine’s celebratory tone as he basked in his conjugal accomplishments, and then gradually declined as hurt women began returning from his past. He came to the realization that many people wanted and expected more than a casual encounter, and many of them truly desired exclusive and committed relationships.

It was proof that fidelity and monogamy are fading echoes of past traditions which we’re pretending not to miss, but is ridding our relationships of them making us any happier?

Or perhaps I could scribe another question to further develop my inquiry.

How can saying ‘yes’ to more sexual partners make us happier in an age when people are increasingly miserable because of their inability to say ‘no’?

Renowned bloggers who focus on personal improvement and behavioral psychology, such as James Clear, often allude to Warren Buffett’s two-point strategy for prioritizing one’s most important tasks: Write down the five most important things you’d like to work on, and once you have, scratch the bottom three. Buffett’s financial success has come from saying ‘yes’ to only a couple of things, and ‘no’ to almost everything else.

Arianna Huffington left the newspaper she founded to start a new company dedicated to the renewal of sleep in the Western world. Like Clear and Buffett, she emphasizes the need to simplify our lives in order to thrive more; to learn how to say ‘no’ more and better so as to be able to say ‘yes’ to what truly matters, like eight hours of rest every night.

Writers and thinkers are trying to get these points across because we’re scientifically discovering that it’s what our bodies need.

And that’s when I wonder if saying ‘no’ to the man walking down the street in order to say ‘yes’ to my husband is what my heart needs.

If I’m going to try this Catholicism thing out, I should try to accept one of the most fundamental tenets the religion provides me: God created my heart, knows it best, and knows what will make it the happiest. And if He told us not to commit adultery when revealing the Ten Commandments, only to up the ante later on in the New Testament when Jesus would tell us that lusting after someone in our hearts was already an act of adultery, then perhaps saying ‘no’ will make my ‘yes’ all the more fulfilling.

by Beretta Molla

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