Comment below what you gained from this episode.
Is love purely a physical endeavor? What does good sex mean and how can you have a relationship founded on the principle and centered on belief in God?
True Parenthood is the focus of this episode, as guest Maarten Meijir, educator and author of the book The Marriage Blessing, and the Principle for Lasting Love, Good Sex, and True Parenthood, shares about what lasting love is and should be.
And how does educating oneself increase his or her intimacy and relationship not just with his partner but more importantly with God?
- The book on The Marriage Blessing, and the Principle for Lasting Love, Good Sex, and True Parenthood
- Sex is a focal component in Maarten’s book because everybody thinks about sex in one way or another, either in a positive way, a negative way, or mixed up way or a neutral way
- The problem is people who dominate the discussion on sex don’t have a clear or coherent philosophy for life or human relationship
- Another huge problem is absolute sex or morality based sex, or heavenly sexuality or anything, has terrible marketing, and it always has, and it’s always associated with prudishness
- The reason why we fall for so many traps along the way in the area of sex is that there has been no vision for what it is that we’re striving for
- Addressing the issue of personal development and knowing oneself in order to recognize what it is you should and shouldn’t be doing
- Remember that God’s love is infinite––you can bathe in God’s love
- Never give up on yourself. And in difficult situations, have people around you that are your anchors to help you and give you advice
Andrew Love: Welcome back to Love, Life and Legacy, a podcast dedicated to helping you overcome the limitations that you have in your heart, in mind and body, in the areas of sexuality. So that you can be free to live a life filled with love, and God and all the good stuff. And in today’s episode, we have a fella by the name of Maarten Meijer, who has written a bunch of books, apparently. I just heard about the one and when I saw the title, I was like, Yo, I gotta get this guy on the podcast. He’s very cool. He’s very smart. But I wanted to mention a few things. First of all, I am clearly still in the jungle. Because if you listen to this podcast, you’ll hear many crickets. It was late at night, my time. And there were all sorts of bugs in the background, which I can’t mute. I can’t tell the whole litany of crickets and all sorts of other creepy crawlies to just be quiet because I’m making a podcast. So there’s that in the background. So I just advise you to take it like a meditation track, because they always seem to have crickets and night sounds anyway, so let it soothe you. And secondly, there’s a point in the podcast where he talks about something, but it gets cut off. The Wi-Fi cut out that exact same time and what he’s talking about is the 1960s, the hippie movement, the free love movement. And he gets into kind of a bit of a discussion about that. And so it’s a really key point that you don’t hear in the podcast. I wanted to just, when he’s talking about the free love movement, the hippie movement, just know that, that’s what he’s talking about. And it’s a really great discussion. He’s a super smart guy. So I hope you love the podcast as much as I loved interviewing Maarten Meijer. Welcome back, everybody, to Love Life and Legacy. And today, we have an interview. And the reason why we’re having this is because of fate because of God. God brought us together. Because I can say with certainty, that I have absolutely no idea how I ended up on this email list. But I ended up on an email list and it was promoting a book. And the title caught my name, and I immediately, upon seeing this book’s title, I reached out to this man. And I said, can you please get on our podcast? Because it is exactly everything that we are all about. Just by the title, and then I started reading and I was like, Yes, this guy’s one of us. He’s absolutely, he gets it. His name is Maarten Meijer. And basically, I want to tell you the title of the book, and then you’ll understand exactly my motivation. The title is The Marriage Blessing, and the Principle for Lasting Love, Good Sex, and True Parenthood. So I mean, if you know anybody who has High Noon blood running through their veins, I fell out of my chair, I was like, Oh, my God, how do I not know about this book? And so I invited Maarten onto the podcast so that we can pick his brains, because he’s passionate about this topic. And he’s done a lot of research. And it’s such a fast track way to get a very deep and wonderful perspective. So welcome, Maarten to the podcast.
Maarten Meijer: Thank you, Andrew. I’m very glad to be here.
Andrew Love: Where are you presently, in the world?
Maarten Meijer: I’m in South Korea. Right. In the Gapyeong area. I only for 20 years, and have been teaching at the high school at the Cheongshim International Academy for the last 15 years of those 20 years.
Andrew Love: Wow. And how’s your Korean doing? Are you fluent yet?
Maarten Meijer: Not too good, is still the language to learn. My kids are old fluently but my wife and I, we’re not. We haven’t been so successful yet.
Andrew Love: Yes. It’s the curse of the English language. Wherever we go, people speak english.
Maarten Meijer: It’s very, very convenient, especially at the school. So I’m required to teach in english and speak in english with my students. So that doesn’t really help either. So there you go.
Andrew Love: And where were you born?
Maarten Meijer: I was born in the Netherlands. Tiny little country there for people who don’t know where that is. That’s in between Germany, France and England. And I’ve lived in many other places since in the United States and Russia, both for about a decade and then for the last 20 years here in South Korea.
Andrew Love: And so if my instinct serves me correctly, you are very tall because every Dutch person I’ve ever met is extremely tall and dwarfs me.
Maarten Meijer: That is more or less correct theory, type here is that the Dutch apparently I’ve been told that there are the average the tallest people in the world. More than that, our country so I don’t really know why that is. How it is.
Andrew Love: It’s in, I mean, yeah. For somebody like me I’m particularly short. And so the the sun is eclipsed every time there’s a Dutchman close, but closer. I lose my son. And so you are, you are blessed in marriage? Yes?
Maarten Meijer: Yes, yes. My wife and I, Myra, we were blessed in the 1982 as a party. The’re 2,075 couple blessing and Madison Square Garden in New York. And we were going close to 40 years now already.
Andrew Love: Very close.
Maarten Meijer: We’re very getting old. And we have four children, one daughter and three sons, who are, you know, pretty much all adults. Except for the youngest one, he’s still just in the teenage years, but they’re all pretty grown up. And they’re all over the place, all over the world.
Andrew Love: They take after you, I’m sure.
Maarten Meijer: Yeah, yeah. I guess yeah, that’s true.
Andrew Love: And so I guess we’ll, we’ll get into the book. But I’m also interested in the evolution because I know that our movement, people like us, who believe in parents. We, sex is very interesting. Anybody who’s religious sex is a very interesting and loaded topic. And here you are, a man living in Korea, a man of the world who now lives in Korea, who wrote a book about love and sexuality. So why, I guess we’ll start in the present. And then we can work our way back and forth between past and present, and future. But presently, like what compelled you to write such a book? Why now? When did this book come out? And then why did you feel that the world really needed to hear this perspective?
Maarten Meijer: Well, it’s interesting because I think you mentioned that, I don’t know I’m not sure, if you mentioned but I’ve written a number of books. Before this one actually, this. This particular book is actually my seventh book that I have published. And the one before that was a book on Korean education. And I published that through a commercial Korean publisher. And so a woman who has a smaller size publishing company really good, and basically an educational publishing company. And she really liked my style. The book was relatively successful, Myra sold several thousand copies, which is for you, book, you know, she sells three, four or 5000 copies that’s considered success and a very modest success, but success. And she liked my style very much. And that was right around the time that it was already happened early. She was aware that father’s autobiography had been published. And maybe she thought, wow, this is interesting. These everybody’s reading this Autobiography of Reverend Moon, maybe she was thinking she could make some money or so, or maybe she was after reading the autobiography herself. She became interested, then she said, Well, can you write a book? And I was very surprised, because usually people are not that interested, especially when it comes from a commercial perspective to get involved in our church, because we are generally criticized and critiqued a lot. But I said, sure, you know, I would love to do that. That’s one of my favorite topics to talk about my church, my faith, and our practice in our community. So that’s how it got started. So originally, I didn’t put writing on this topic of sexuality, we know that the book has a whole variety of topics, and the human sexuality is one of them. But I started basically writing a book to make the unification is faithful, understandable for people who have no idea or are not very familiar with what we think and what we believe. And that is, how did you get started? And it was, so it was actually first published in the Korean language. Before it was published, I wrote, of course, I wrote it in English, where it was translated by someone else into Korean and it was published first in Korean before now, more recently was published in the English language. And it was published under the title of People Who Choose the Unification Church, and which is actually a bit of a misnomer. And I think the reason why she did it because I have in this book, I have a lot of short stories, testimonies from members from all over the world from America, Germany, Ghana, Russia, Japan everywhere. And she somehow thought that was fascinating, because all these little stories are in there. And she said, well, that’s really interesting because these people all sound very intelligent and well educated. And that’s kind of contrary to the stereotype that many people have a Unification Church people they are somehow duped into them to believing this particular religion. And she wants to do apparently really highlight that particular component that people, these are educated people, smart people, intelligent people, and they make the voluntary decision to be involved in this religion. But that was not the main focus. These testimonies were just illustrations of what I was talking about. But the book itself has two huge parts, two large parts. The first part is called the Principle of Love and outlines how in general, the love functions is more centered on the principle and centered on belief in God. And in the second half deals concretely with the blessing. That’s called the Marriage Blessing. The book, as a whole nowadays, called The Marriage Blessing, and the Principle for Lasting Love, Good Sex, and True Parenthood. So the second half is also called that The Marriage Blessing. And there I speak very concretely about love, relationship, family life, human sexuality, and all those kinds of things. But so the first impulse for the book is, was to make the Unification Church, the belief system, the ideas accessible to people who have very little, but the style of the writing is I realized that if I just write it really just the very elementary ABC, then the members in our community are not going to be interested in it. So make this really interesting for both Unification Church people that are not familiar with the Unification Church, so it can be read equally by both groups of people. And I’ve had very good responses to them people. So far, I’ve said they love the book. They really enjoyed it. And so far, so good.
Andrew Love: Yeah. Well, that’s, I mean, it’s interesting, because it’s when you write a book such as that very easy to get lost in. I guess, preaching or evangelizing, or trying to prove yourself right. And typically, I would say that sex would be something to be avoided, because it’s almost like a distraction, but you’ve even put it in the title. And so why did you feel like that was a necessary component about, you know, the unification faith? Why is it so mentionable, so prevalent in your viewpoint about our faith that it was worth putting in the title and including in the book so much?
Maarten Meijer: Well, for two reasons. First, everybody thinks about sex in one way or another, either in a positive way, a negative way, or mixed up way or a neutral way. It’s something that everybody that is in some way, or form, is thinking about in the occupied with, unfortunately, oftentimes in a, in a very long way. So I wanted to make clear that certainly, in this book, I’m going to speak on this topic, because this is a very, very important aspect of human life is something that everybody thinks about, and everybody needs, and I wanted to draw attention to that. Secondly, also, if you read the book as a whole, who was referred to in our condition, absolute sex, I emphasize in that, unfortunately, so far, the people realize this discussion of human sexuality are people that you know, to put it somewhat crudely or briefly. Oftentimes have no idea what they’re talking about. So you have people because people have a certain celebrity status, because they are whatever, Lady Gaga or Brad Pitt, and they make a lot of money, and they’ve made movies that people enjoy watching. Therefore, they are making all kinds of pronouncements about this particular topic. But if you listen to them, you realize who are these people really? And do they really know what they’re speaking about. And the reality is that they don’t. So and that’s very unfortunate. So I felt that it’s important that this openly, proactively, proudly, with head held high. Not somehow as a footnote, or as an afterthought, but is in portrait of a discussion of love, of marriage, and family life because it’s a central component in all of that. And if people cannot deal successfully with sexual realities, then they somehow get into trouble in the other areas as well in their love relationship, husband and wife relationship or with other whatever affairs outside of the marriage, or sex before marriage in a variety of ways or breakdown of the family. So this is something that absolutely needs to be addressed. So that’s why, I felt it’s important to really highlight that and emphasize that in the book as a whole and even in the title.
Andrew Love: Yeah. I mean, it’s very much in line with everything we talked about, and so what are these people getting wrong? Like if you could spell it out because we, for anybody who’s listening who’s steeped in pop culture, which it’s almost impossible to avoid, but especially for younger people, right? Where that’s the lion’s share of their understanding about sex is they’re hearing about it from the celebrities. What exactly are they, what’s so off about what they’re saying? Because to be honest, you know, if one, the one side that represents religion is usually very quiet, and if they do bring it up, there’s a lot of fear and shame involved. You know, if it’s coming from the pulpit or for whatever, from whichever religion, doesn’t matter. But yet on the other side of pop culture and celebrity you have people boldly speaking unabashedly and proudly saying this is, this is what makes me happy. And who are you to say anything? Right? So what, in your feeling and your impression? What is off about what they’re saying, what is, what doesn’t quite add up?
Maarten Meijer: The problem is that the people who dominate this discussion don’t have a clear or coherent philosophy for life or human relationship, they sort of buy things through trial and error, and then see what the outcome is going to be. But they don’t really have a clear system of thought or philosophy, or on which basis they can make positive prescriptions. And you know, the proof is in the, in the pudding, because if you look at many of the names, you can see they are three, four or five times divorcees, so clearly what they are suggestion or suggesting or practicing, doesn’t really work. So the problem is that, to some extent, of course, this whole development of the last few decades is understandable, because until this whole case, in the 1970s, was in a certain kind of a taboo atmosphere. You know, it’s something that you didn’t discuss, something that you don’t talk about, you know, decent people don’t discuss sex. Nice girls don’t enjoy sex, good boys behave themselves and so forth. So we don’t deal with that in public. As a result of that it was suppressed it was hidden from view and people are kind of figuring things out for themselves and oftentimes a great cost, great expensive himself. So the sexual revolution that can really make a small little part that addresses this actually, in the book right here on the, in this chapter nine that deals with absolute sex since the sexual revolution gradually affected people all over the world, presumably freeing them by taking sex out of its former taboo atmosphere. In the West, it became fashionable, and a sign of sophistication to talk about sex publicly in ways that formerly were limited to the bedroom. This new openness indeed led to more honest discussion and education about sex. There were numerous other negative consequences, some of which have already been mentioned. Most strikingly, the new conversation about sex at home and at work, at schools and in restaurants did not lead to the expected liberation of men and women, and the new morality did not bring people the anticipated fulfillment and happiness. Instead, the double entendre, and the crudeness of the new discourse created an atmosphere of superficiality and insecurity. Nevertheless, the vocal progressive in favor of these changes were and still are unwilling to admit that sex is a problematic subject, they so persistently ignored their own moral intuition, which urges some restraint concerning sex and respect for the human body, that they became expert and repressing their own natural inclination towards modesty. Any sense of shame about sex they reasons must be the result of their own bourgeois upbringing.
Andrew Love: I really love that, I gotta say, I love hearing that it’s very, it’s very clear. Because the idea of progressives you know, and you know, to be honest, our movement is very progressive, in many ways. Yeah, I think that term gets muddy, but a lot of times that these kind of social progressives push a certain agenda. And when things go sour, when things don’t pan out, as they promised, they somehow aren’t responsible for cleaning up the mess, right? It’s just like, hey, let’s try this. Oh, it failed. Well, let’s try something else. And but who’s on the tab for cleaning up this mess? We’ve never figured that out. Because I mean, I know many people who still don’t see any problems with the hippies. And I’m like, are you kidding me? Like, all the figureheads of the hippie movement are bad or multiply times divorce? Or definitely don’t have any proof to show that love, that they were preaching had any value at all. So very wonderfully put, very wonderfully put. Thank you.
Maarten Meijer: Let me add one little piece there because what is so insidious about this also that these people, not just these people, not just the celebrities, but people in education and so forth. Also, they have not just changed what is like socially accepted or appropriate, but they’ve changed the language in the process. No, so this is just one little, little paragraph over here it says, of vocal minority long dominated the discussions on sex and health trouble, namely the young hostage to their own irresponsible philosophy, ease and a moral prescriptions. Anyone who dares to disagree with their fashionable conclusions is labeled an intolerant reactionary, or a brainless fundamentalist, the language is being rewritten. No longer is a man or woman promiscuous, they are sexually active. The expression presex like some other jazzy jargon used by this presumably, such as sexual rights, lifestyle, diversity and reproductive freedom sounds sophisticated and appealing, but it masks a hedonistic worldview that has fanned the flames of epidemics such as pornography, teenage parenthood, child prostitution, trafficking of women, and AIDS. By contrast, salute sex means the sexual act between husband and wife, or absolute, unique, unchanging and eternal centering on God.
Andrew Love: Yeah, I mean, I’ve got to say this is one of the biggest problems is the fact that absolute sex or morality based sex, or a heavenly sexuality or anything, has terrible marketing, and it always has, and it’s always associated with prudishness. Because in contrast to the jazzy people that you’re talking about, it just seems rigid and stiff, whereas the marketing just like for nearly a century. Cigarettes had wonderful marketing even after it was proven that cigarettes kill you, still people buy them, so clearly they’ve done a good job with marketing and yet, the more kind of religious morality based side has always done a very poor job at that. But your book I’ve got to say is really helpful because it really speaks to the intellectual understanding of what’s happening. I really like it a lot. I see you sifting through your book there, what else you got? That’s good stuff.
Maarten Meijer: It’s hard to make a choice. Yeah. No, if you don’t mind me it this because this thing that you mentioned about the prudishness, you know and you know, the Reverend Moon, Father, you know, it’s I have some wonderful quotes from in here. And father is a hit in our whole teaching is so wonderfully liberating. You know, if you hear for instance, it says, you know, let me just read this little piece from you here: We must make best use of this most precious gift from God. That means we should transform our sexual life into a work of art by transforming our conjugal life into an artwork that we should bring our spouse joy. We want to make our spouse feel joy. You must learn how to make love by observing nature, but we must learn how tiger snake love, how rabbits make love, how sparrows make love. You should live by learning how all these animals make love and by applying their styles to your own conjugal sexual life, a husband and wife should study the next program of their lovemaking together. They have to live their life with joy and excitement during their whole lives. They should learn how to love nature, and practice it in their lives. Thunder and lightning caused by negative and positive electricity on a cloudy day symbolize the marriage of the universe, a loud noises audible at such times, right? Aren’t pigeons noisy when they make love? Do you cry out when you make love? Be spontaneous. There’s no need to hide such things. It is no longer a sin to shout until the window panes shatter all at once. Just as lightning flashes with the feel of thunder. So should you blaze. Wow. There you go with all the prudishness and everything. No, that’s that’s it.
Andrew Love: Yeah, I’ve got to say that that’s the journey of High Noon has been the realization that what has been lacking in humanity, and why we have fallen for so many traps along the way. Especially in the area of sex is because there has been no vision for what it is that we’re striving for. And so, if there’s an absence in conversation from the side of religion, or people who have a more long term view of life, and you know, eternity on the on the topic of sex, then other people are gonna fill in the blanks. They’re just gonna say, well, this is what it is. And that’s what porn is, hey, this is what sex is, even though it’s the furthest thing from the truth. It’s the best that most kids have. Because nobody else is giving them a vision that is as exciting as, say, porn. So yeah, hearing those words, it’s very vivid. It’s very exciting. And it’s something you would want to strive for. So that’s, that’s one very huge point that we need to remind ourselves of, everybody is that we need to have a vision otherwise will end up settling for some alternative because of our lack of vision. We just think, oh, this is as good as it gets because this is what’s right in front of me. So yeah, thank you for reminding us. Yeah, father was a, he was a poet. Especially about sex, he had a lot of stuff to say. And so about, I mean, I’d love to hear your own journey. Because when you, when you joined a religious movement, I’m guessing it was, if you got blessed in marriage in ’82, then you probably joined in the 70s when a lot of I mean, the disco revolution was happening. That’s Saturday Night Fever, that’s cocaine and a lot of sex and yet here you are, living a very, you know, prudish life. And so what about your own journey of like, your the evolution of your understanding of sex? How has that evolved? Since I guess before you joined a religious movement too, did you become hyper prudish? Did you swing way far in the other direction? And then it’s been slowly coming to a healthier understanding? I’d love to hear that.
Maarten Meijer: Yeah, of course, why come You know, I come from the Netherlands which is in itself kind of a country that is notorious for its very, very liberal culture. You know, we have whatever you name it, we have it. We have legalized prostitution, you can buy marijuana and soft drugs legally over the counter. Euthanasia, we you name it, we got it. So it has become more liberal in this day and age. But even when I grew up in that time, it was already like that, or certainly becoming like that. So you can imagine that during my, my school, in my college days, I was not exactly an example of moral rectitude. And I had several girlfriends and my experiences, which no looking back, you know. You think, well, you know, maybe that was not really the best decision or the wisest choice but what did we know, we didn’t know anything, right? Because that’s the environment you grew up in and that’s the example you see. So when I came in contact with the principal, and I realized, what’s what the ideal is, for family life with less family life, there was like four or other people who joined our movement, our organization, a dramatic turnaround. So I, I did not feel compelled somehow to really clamp down on myself, was kind of a natural response by connecting to God. So for a long period of time, this is simply that didn’t really occupy much of my attention and time. But I was blessed that I joined in 1980 and I was blessed very, at a very, quote unquote, young time in the church, I was only a year and a half in the church before I received the blessing. So I had to not a whole lot of prayer for that. And once my wife and I got together, we in those days, and we were blessed in 1982, we didn’t have nearly as much guidance and certainly not in the field of self help marriage counseling and support systems. And so as to how it is available today, so we sort of had to figure things out by ourselves. And that was also a somewhat difficult process, both in terms of deals in a broader way and also in the sexual area. Fortunately, my wife and I are both really on the same page. We both do a lot of reading, in husband wife relationship, communication skills, safe conversations, Mars and Venus, all these things that have come around, and also in the area of sexuality. So it’s still, I think it’s something that you continue learning alive. I can say that on the whole, my wife and I have a good relationship and a satisfying relationship. It’s that does not mean that there is no room for improvement, but I know that for some other people has been very problematic. Fortunately, in our case has not to openly talk about things and address issues and oftentimes because she’s a woman. I’m a man, we see things very differently. We experience things differently. And we don’t always agree on things, but it can always be discussed. We have still more growing to do, but we are we have come a long way already, fortunately.
Andrew Love: So your students, your eternal students, which is, I’m sure helped quite a bit.
Maarten Meijer: Yes, you can say that. Yeah. There’s a little bit here, let me read you one little quote is actually one of my favorite ones, actually, from Scott Peck. You may be familiar with him. He wrote this wonderful book called The Road Less Traveled. And yeah, this is actually from the sequel to that book was called Further Along the Road Less Traveled and he has a great quote in there it says: Sex is a problem for everyone. Sex is a problem for children, sex is a problem for adolescents. Sex is a problem for young adults. Sex is a problem for middle aged adults. Sex is a problem for elderly adults. Sex is a problem for celibates, sex is a problem for married people. Sex is a problem for single people, sex is a problem for straight people. Sex is a problem for gay people. Sex is a problem for bricklayers and plumbers. Sex is a problem for dentists and lawyers. Sex is a problem for surgeons, and therapists, and psychiatrists, and sex is a problem for Scott Peck. No, so I think he’s really rubbing it in. So I think that it’s important to, this is another thing where Hollywood and the celebrity cult has done so much damage, that if you have a problem with sex, or you have some difficulty or challenge that mean, then you are there’s something wrong with your head or something wrong with your body, or your failure as a human being and that is so untrue. It is really important to acknowledge that, because of our whole history, the fallen history, the problem with love, sex is a huge challenge. It’s something that we really continuously need to learn about, and discuss and relate to each other about, of course, primarily in the couple, but also, it’s as you do in your podcasts and in other ways, that High Noon by educating people by informing people because oftentimes, it’s a matter of simply people not knowing, people being unaware of ignorance about biological issues, emotional issues, and other things. So it’s nice to hear that we are never being educated or educating each other and that we can, can discuss these things openly. And this is I think, why your your forum, your platform is also so valuable, because it takes you out of the shadows, you know, into the sunlight, and people can respectfully and thoughtfully talk about these things.
Andrew Love: Yeah. And in a way that satisfies all all parts of us. So Sammy, and I definitely work on more practical ways of helping people understand. But we need emotional ways of understanding intellectual, that’s why books like yours are very right for satisfying the mind, right? Because it’s, you have a lot of great research in there, a lot of great testimonies, but also just the way that you write is very, it just stimulates that the mind in a way where you feel like you’re on the right side, you know. You now, when you say hey, I’m with this guy, cause because they like the guy you want to be around during a fight. In terms of like an intellectual debate, it’s a fantastic book. And yeah, it’s just necessary, right? Our minds need to be satisfied in this day and age, especially we cannot cut corners intellectually and expect that power like that. That’s what happens with the celebrities is they just kind of say these very, you know, platitudes, they speak in platitudes, in many cases, and but they haven’t really thought things through. Is this really something that everybody could live like? Or just like a certain percentage, you know, it’s so yeah, thank you for that. I’d love to hear what your definition of you know, forward thinking sexuality is, because definitely, when we’re with righteous people, when we anybody, when you hang out with a righteous person, it’s very easy to pick out all the many problems in the world. Right? There are quite a few but we love talking about what we’re going to do to build something new, something that works, finally. And in the area of sexuality, I’d love to hear what your thoughts about heavenly sexuality, and how you how do you think we can move forward productively in the area of sexuality, as a society?
Maarten Meijer: That’s a big question, first of all, start with God, you know. The principle of course, outlines that God is, has the dual characteristics of a young Indian, you know, masculinity or femininity. So, if God doesn’t have any problem with the man-woman relationship, obviously, so if we want to resolve our relationship issues, then the first place to go to is God. And I, speaking for myself, in my own experience, if I really am on, if I really feel connected to God had a really good prayer, I go for a long walk in nature, I really feel at one with my environment, with nature, I can talk to God. I feel at peace, I’m not stressed out about all kinds of stuff. If I have considerable degree of unity within myself, between my mind and body, my conscience is at ease, then it is infinitely much easier to relate to my wife. So I realized that it really starts with me, it starts with the individual, with my own personal self development. So this is something that also my wife, and I always do, we’re always reading to educate ourselves. We educate ourselves as a couple, but we also educate ourselves individually. She as a woman, I myself as a man, how can I grow? Where are my blind spots? How can I overcome certain characteristics? I think that is essential, if we don’t deal with these kind of things that we are hoodwinking ourselves. I mentioned it in the book, like in every man woman relationship that is not centered on God, at some point is going to hit a ceiling. And one of the chapters in the book is actually called Breaking Loves, Glass Ceiling, you know. And we cannot break love glass ceiling, without a relationship with God. So that’s really, really important. People sometimes think, you know, well, you’re getting old religious. So I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about a real experience of God’s love and God’s presence.
Andrew Love: Can I just, I’d love for you to elaborate on that. Because on both sides of the spectrum, one is somebody who doesn’t have a deep relationship with God and that just sounds very abstract. And on the other side, somebody who’s heard that their whole life that just put God at the center of relationship, what does that actually? How does that look? If a couple doesn’t have God at the center, they hit a glass ceiling, then how do you put God at the center? What’s a practical way that a couple could start to infuse more God into their relationship?
Maarten Meijer: Okay, so we’ve got another hour? So how do you relate to God, you learn, you educate yourself. So this is why reading things, you know, if you talk about self development, you can always distinguish are certain kinds of components. I teach a lot of workshops to second generation. And when I talk about the first blessing, I was distinguished, you know, you’re as a human being, you have several components. Yes, you have a spiritual component, an intellectual, and emotional, a physical to develop the sometimes we kind of poopoo the idea of intellectual development, it’s very important to read. Now I’m always reading. So it’s important that you read things, either from, based on principle literature in our movement, or something that really addresses the question of personal development, like in the book that I mentioned, who was Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled is a wonderful book. So to really inform yourself, so that you can recognize, wait a minute, this is something that I’m not really doing. Or maybe I can do that, I can practice this kind of thing, or that kind of thing. So that you can recognize your blind spots and learn to overcome them.
Andrew Love: That’s extremely helpful. I mean, to be honest, a lot of people can get lost in that. They can feel that they need to do certain rituals, or that they have to do certain things in order to get a certain result, based off of their concept of what God is or their sense of obligation to a religion, but rather, what you’re suggesting is very practical. And it’s kind of like making space in your mind for God to speak to you and also making space in your heart through growth, to accept a little bit more of that person in your heart. It’s all very practical. So I just want to acknowledge that because people need practical these days because to get by, you know, so I really appreciate that. And then you had something else you want to add.
Maarten Meijer: Yeah, sort of the the, the nurse, the emotional aspect, you know, if you’re emotionally really unhappy or frustrated or you have the issue of course, this is a huge area because some people come from difficult backgrounds, you know, in their relationship with their parents, oftentimes or other significant relationships. And it’s really important to, for me, for example, I grew up in a family that was very kind of intellectual, critical, rational, meaning the Dutch, you know, North European people. So I grew up in that kind of atmosphere. So for me to learn to express me to share my feelings, and my thoughts with my wife was not easy at all. And I had to learn to do that. And to also learn to sometimes, to ask for what I needed, say, look, you know, sweetheart, I need to really talk to you. And you know, there was something happening the other day that really frustrated me. And so we’ve had to learn to do this, I’ve had to learn to express my feelings in a reasonable manner, and to ask for what I need, so that I can feel emotionally connected to my wife also, speak with a good friend, so that you can be emotional connected to your friend or a small community, to small groups, and that also has, because these areas are not addressed. Sexuality does not happen in isolation, it is connected to a whole network of the human being. And all these points are a part of that, you know, the emotional, the intellectual, the spiritual, when it comes to God, you know, I actually I was before I joined a church I was an atheist for so for me, I had to really, I had a lot of learning to do what I wanted to say, speaking from that perspective, I know it’s possible even from that kind of background, to develop a relationship with God. And now when I come to the difficulty relating to God, because I feel just judgment, I addressed this in this book in the first half, there’s a whole section on God’s heart and the suffering. And the drumbeat in that chapter is that God is not a judge. God is a loving parent. And, you know, I cannot say that enough. Like that, it’s so important that people, you know, really find ways to open their own hearts, through music, through nature, through talking with other people. And once their heart is open, to connect in a moment like that to God and say, thank you God to really softly, in a soft way through soft power starts to develop their own relationship with God. Not the hard way, not standing under the cold shower for 12 minutes or fasting for three days. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s all fine. But that is not really going to cultivate a deep, intimate relationship with God. It is when your heart is touched, when you hear a beautiful piece of music, or you’re touched by the sunset, and you can say thank you feel some warmth, you hold the hand of the person whom you love, or you embrace somebody, you hug somebody. If you can connect those moments to God, then a circle can happen, that cycle starts to develop, between your momentary experience and your relationship with God. So no, personally speaking, I’m in love with God, I love him. For me, you know, to pray to God is a joy. And I believe with all of my heart, that that’s possible for every person in the world, because we weren’t designed to operate that way. We were made that way to relate in love with God. So it always grieves me when I hear people say, oh, no, God, I cannot, you know, it’s so hard to say. I mean, I sympathize with it. But at the same time, I feel it’s not necessary. It’s really not necessary, beautiful, wonderful relationship with God.
Andrew Love: I think it’s a really important note, and like a sticky note for everybody to put in their mind right now that, we have a lot of people who listen, who are heavily habituated to say the least. Some people very addicted to pornography, or they just have these self destructive habits. And we know that the road back to self and to health includes God, right? But what you’re describing is a very necessary element to finding yourself, which is taking the time to allow your heart to be vulnerable and open to receive through music, through nature, through whatever. And it’s something that I’m absolutely positive, pretty much everybody listening to this podcast says, I don’t have time for that. And yet, it’s probably the most important thing that you can do, because it will add color to the rest of your day, to the rest of your life. And I just, I really want to emphasize that point that you made, because I can see it even in myself that I’m forcing myself lately to stop in the middle of the day, sometimes several times to meditate and slow my breath and to connect with all the many things around me that I have to be joyful for, and how that it just brings value to the things that I’m doing. And so I just want everybody to hear that, whether you’re you’re single and you’re frustrated, or you just want more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff. That’s where it is. It’s not in the doing. It’s not in the action. It’s in the absence of all the doing when you can just breathe in God, and that that only happens when you allow that to happen. And so like, I like that the idea of hard love versus soft love, and that soft love is something that our world does not value in its present state because it’s a go go go kind of world, we’re supposed to be productive. We’re supposed to be doing all these things. And it’s very outward focus. And in so doing, we are sacrificing that softness. That only happens when you sit down and value, just sitting and tilting your head up to the sky and just saying thank you for no reason. Just being happy for no reason, not because you deserve it, just because you are human and you and you can bask in that love. So I love that point. Everybody, please. You know, as soon as you stop, put put down this podcast, go and find some way of slowing down to maybe even stopping for a little bit and just allowing yourself to feel that soft love of God because it will transform you, for sure.
Maarten Meijer: Right. You know, when I usually, when I again, when I talk on this topic, first blessing, the subtitle of my talk on that is, the first blessing is responsibility and self care. That’s the subtitle. So in again, in our tradition, we always talk about responsibility, human responsibility. So every month you walk into somebody’s house and say, have you felt fulfilled your responsibility? You know, it’s like, it’s all over the place, right? So sometimes people said, you know, like, I’m exhausted and wiped out. So we have to counterbalance that with a real way of self care. And finding out what works for yourself, you know, to in order to balance the responsibility and self care, you can you have to inhale and you have to exhale back and forth, you cannot constantly exhale, otherwise, you’re going to be dead. You know, there’s this beautiful, saying that Father says about the system and Jesus in the Bible, he says that even Peter asks you, well, how often should I forgive my enemy, and he’s just seven times. And apparently, in the Old Testament, there’s some reference there that says that you should forgive your enemy three times. So Peter thought, hey, I’ll be generous. I’ll double that, you know, what, seven, seven times. But Jesus answers 70 times seven times, which is a lot of times father says that if Jesus forgives people, 70 times seven times, then God has to forgive people, 7000 times 70 times. And I think that’s really, really important for people to remember that God’s love is infinite. You know, you can bathe in God’s love. So especially those people that are in a situation like this, where they judging themselves, condemning themselves to say, you know, I’m watching pornography. And that’s just not true. That’s just not true. God will always respond, of course, we have to bring our own minds closer in a direction where we can feel that also, but God is not going to condemn us. Absolutely. The door’s always wide open. And that’s something that I think is very important for people to hear time and again, because it’s just simply not said enough.
Andrew Love: Absolutely. Yeah and I mean, that’s a good note, to segue into your high school teacher, you obviously have a heart for the next generation. And we have a mix of different ages who listen to this podcast. But in writing this book, obviously, there’s a sense of urgency and being a teacher, I’m sure you really can see that this next generation has all the potential in the world to, I don’t know just advance the human civilization, leaps and bounds or destroy it, depending on how they use their time and energy. So if you could convey something to the listeners, something that you really are passionate about, and wish that everybody could understand, is there anything that stands out as you know, if you could have like a placard that the world would read and say, hey, guys, this is really important, read this. What what would it say? What would the message be, that you wish everybody could really understand.
Maarten Meijer: A hard one to summarize in a sentence. You know, first of all, I think that we have to be aware of how complex human relationship is, you know, and this is something that in a broader context, I returned to time and again, in this book, you know, we oftentimes assume that a beat when we talk about love, love and sexuality, that thing somehow should fall in its place naturally, because it’s love again, because this is the image that has been advertised and promoted. So people when you study the art, everybody accepts that you go through the scales and you struggle and you have difficulties with it. When you learn how to ride a bicycle, you fall over 25 times a year, scrape your knees and so forth. But when it comes to love, and sex and marriage, and somehow everything has to fall into place naturally. Loving human relationship is more complex than any other skill, or any other profession or any other field in human life. So I think we need a tremendous amount of patience and tolerance with ourselves and with other people in this area. I find it difficult to summarize it into one phrase.
Andrew Love: You don’t have to do it in one phrase, it’s more of like an the essence of, let’s start, let’s just say with young people, if when you look out into a sea of young people, and you see all the potential that they have within them, is there anything that you just wish that that they could really understand? It doesn’t have to be a catchy phrase or anything, but just the sentiment or an idea or something that love to convey to this next generation?
Maarten Meijer: Yeah, there’s always the do’s and the don’ts. Right? You know, I think the don’ts is, first of all, never give up on yourself. That is the bottom line. And if you get into a difficult situation, try to have some people that can help you, seek advice, that good friend of mine gave me law to make sure that you have a few anchors. Know two or three people that you can talk to that you can communicate you in time of crisis. The other point is that oftentimes when we make mistakes, we act on impulse. You know, I’m sure you’ve studied a lot of about neuroplasticity, and brain chemistry and so forth. But you know, when you deal with the dopamine surges in the brain, and so forth, when there’s a spike in that, then you feel discouraged to do this and that. The best thing you could do in a moment like this is just sit in a chair, re sit still, you know, count sheep, watch a little bit of TV until that urge passes. And then this way, if you can establish a certain kind of movement for yourself, and that is, I think, a very good place to start. On the other hand, when it comes to the positives, I with all my heart, believe that the sky is the limit. You know, we were created, we were designed to be beautiful, perfect human beings. Beautiful perfect men who and I’m absolutely absolutely believe in that, personally, I’m not saying that, because that’s what principle says so but I really believe that every person is capable of maybe not reaching perfection within his lifetime, but growing significantly, in this lifetime to be a much more fulfilled and well rounded human being who is capable of building a meaningful relationship with another person, everybody can do that. That is what God is designed for all of us. Even today, I talk to young men are not so young anymore in Moldova, next, a small country next to Russia, because I worked as a missionary in Russia for many, many years. Beautiful wife, beautiful children and his wife wants to divorce him and I say why on earth is going on. And basically, they seem to have some problems and difficulties and please sit down because if your page string, if you can learn to talk to each other, all these problems can be solved. There is no problem that cannot be overcome with patience, and with love, and with forgiveness. So we need to inform ourselves, but also we need to really be patient and have give it time, if time to grow. So the ideal is all there for each person, for each minute, for each woman to have a beautiful loving relationship, or fulfilling human relationship in love and sexual relationship. For everyone, it’s possible. The tools are there, the support system can be found, it’s possible for everyone. So don’t make rush decisions in a moment’s notice. Don’t right off the principal because it’s, it seems very difficult at time or because somebody is misrepresenting it to you. Unfortunately, that happens a lot. Or because you have a difficult experience with a particular person or particular time, try again, and reread, review, connect to a person emotionally, they can understand you. And then you can go on to the next level. That’s been my own life experience. You know, this is how I’ve been able to find continued growth in my own life. And in my marriage with my wife, and also in relationships with my children. They don’t agree with everything. But we always love them. We always embrace them, we always welcome them at home, and problems can be solved that way. And growth can really happen that way.
Andrew Love: That’s lovely advice. I love the don’ts and the do’s, and even the don’ts were kind of positive. So yeah, that’s very sound advice from a sound person, who knows his stuff. And that’s what I do love about our faith. And, you know, the people that we have around the world is that we have this philosophy that is not complete, it’s alive. And it’s something to build around and create on top of, right. It’s the canvas. It’s not the painting, it’s the canvas. And you’ve created a really wonderful life with with that, with the principal. And also what’s really cool is you’ve created a beautiful marriage that’s still growing and still very much alive. And so your philosophy informs your life, but your life is a reflection of your philosophy, and you have this very wonderful symbiosis. And I thank you so much for taking the time to first of all, write the book. And well, the seven books, but obviously, as it pertains to us this last book about sex, too, for including sex, because it’s the oft forgotten topic. It’s like most people talk about anything except for sex. So we, on behalf od High Noon, would like to thank you for pioneering that and putting it on the cover of your book. And also, thank you so much for making time for us today. And enlightening us. I know many people that are going to be really, really inspired by what you said, get a lot of great tidbits here for us to think about, and to kind of inform our journey. So thank you for that.
Maarten Meijer: Yeah, I also want to, I want to mention that in case people are interested in the book that it is available on Amazon, amazon.com, and all the other other Amazon branches, so for Lasting Love, Good Sex and Parenthood. So if you or you can type my name in it spells rather strangely with two A’s, Maarten Meijer. Better type in: The Marriage Blessing, you probably might have more luck with that. But you can find it on Amazon. And so if you’re interested either as a paperback or as an E-book, so.
Andrew Love: We will have all that in the show notes, we’ll make sure that people have access to you and to your big old brain, because I think it will help a lot of people. And yeah, thank you so much again, for coming on today and for giving us so much value. So if you have any last words, this is the time you want to say goodbye.
Maarten Meijer: I think I said what I needed to say, thank you for graciousness, and your questions and they have the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with all the people that are listening to the podcast. Thank you.
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