Lying there in the dark, our faces so close we could feel each other’s breath, my tears soaked my pillow as I poured my heart out again to my husband. This pregnancy has stirred up insecurities and hurt within me that I thought I’d already overcome. But that night it became very apparent that I am still struggling with the pain I felt from an emotional affair my husband once had. And as I spoke, barely above a whisper, my husband just stroked my hair and looked into my eyes. There wasn’t much to say. He’s said it all before. He has been very repentant, very sorrowful. He’s done a great job working towards his recovery and sexual sobriety. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time, he tells me I’m the only one he wants. But sometimes that pain creeps back and still takes my breath away. And as I cried, my husband did the only thing that could have possibly comforted me at that moment. He caressed my face and kissed me. And not just a peck. A slow, passionate, I-want-to-kiss-only-you-for-the-rest-of-my-life-and-I-will-kiss-you-like-this-everyday-for-the-next-70-years-to-prove-my-love-and-desire-for-you kind of kiss. At that moment all my insecurities and fears melted away. And all I could feel was loved. The rest I won’t tell because that’s between me and my prince.<?
The point is, we are still at war. Not against each other (although in the beginning it felt that way), but “against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). And there’s nothing the enemy wants more than to destroy us. Destroy our marriage, our family. It’s his goal day and night to remind me of the pain of my husband’s betrayal, and to tempt him to fall into that same trap again. Beyond the spiritual armor the Lord has given us -- our belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, shoes of Good News, and sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-18) -- and beyond his purity safeguards – reading God’s Word and memorizing key scriptures, reciting his covenant, renewing his commitment to sexual sobriety, bouncing his eyes, prayer – there’s another defense God has given married couples that I think is often overlooked. Making love. God gave the husband and wife an amazing way to be completely united in a way that is not meant to be shared with anyone else. This unity creates a bond that is very hard to break. And as much as the enemy may try to infiltrate the marriage bed (and he does), a husband and wife who make love with a proper perspective can give a huge upset in the spiritual battle over their marriage. Making love between a husband and wife is not just about pleasure, it’s about unity, it’s about connecting, and it’s also a fantastic tool to ward off the works and effects of the enemy. If we can choose to make love know that a) I love my spouse, b) This is going to feel fantastic, c) All I want to do is serve my spouse, and d) This will unite us in a bond that the enemy has no idea how to break… well we’ve just made a colossal advancement in the war for our marriage and our husband’s purity.
Men and women take for granted this gift of sexual intimacy and misuse it, even in the marriage bed. And it’s even more difficult to keep a proper perspective in making love for a couple who has experienced the strain of sexual sin. There are so many other factors at play when sin enters the picture. And as we go through our healing process, we’ve got to realign our thoughts and desires regarding sexual intimacy with what God has intended for us. Ladies, this is not just a battle for the men. Yes, they have to cleanse their minds of all the images and memories associated with their sexual sin. Yes, they have to put up safeguards to keep themselves from falling into that trap again. But we, the wives, are not exempt from engaging in this battle. Especially when it comes to our marriage bed. So let’s go over some common issues that cause a riff in making love, and hopefully we will see that it is possible to have an amazing sex life with our spouse, even after the betrayal of sexual sin.
Most of the concerns that arise for sex after betrayal will come from the wife. The husband usually feels so free, the burden of sin lifted, that all their desire and sexual energy is focused on their wife. It’s a new and exciting time for them, even in the midst of overcoming addiction, to rediscover the wife of their youth. I asked my husband to help me with this blog because I felt it was something that needed both perspectives.
Gavin, how has your repentance changed your perspective on sexual intimacy and what issues or concerns have you had to deal with when it comes to our marriage bed?
“‘Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous’ (Hebrews 13:4). For as long as I was practicing sexual sin I was defiling my marriage bed. Matter of fact, I was defiling my marriage bed long before I was married because of the thoughts, pre-conceived ideas and images I was putting in my mind of what sex supposedly was. But after I was married and continued to sin sexually, my marriage bed was not a sanctuary of intimacy, but a pit of despair. I was so caught up in my sin that there were times that I did not want to make love to my wife because I was embarrassed of what I had done earlier in the day. I felt unclean, spiritually and physically, and did not want her to touch me. When we were intimate, I would sometimes try and mimic what I had seen while looking at porn and put her in awkward and sometimes humiliating situations because I thought they were normal. We had no intimacy; we were just going through the motions. I do remember, however, when I was clean for a few days or weeks and we would make love and we would be so connected emotionally and physically and I would think this would be a turning point in my struggle, yet only to fall again sometime later.
After I had repented, there were many areas that we had to work through together and one of these areas was our intimacy and sex. I was no longer sinning sexually, so all of my sexual energy was now being put into my wife. At first it was a good thing, but then she began thinking that I was now calling up images of the things I had viewed while we were being intimate. I had to be honest with myself and ask, “Was I?” After putting so much junk in my mind for so many years I now had to ask God to cleanse and renew my mind. I have not had any struggles with bringing up images while we are intimate, but it is still a point of concern with my wife. I was also concerned that she would be thinking that I saw something in a porn and now wanted to try it out on her. I felt embarrassed about trying anything or experimenting for fear that she thought I was calling up thoughts or images. She graciously helped me with this problem and gave me a bit of trust.
I also had to retrain my mindset. When I was looking at porn, I was medicating myself from the wounds that I have incurred in my life. Porn somehow made me feel better about myself, so it was a very selfish act. But sex between a man and his wife is not a selfish act. It should be something beautiful and something shared, not a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am. When I began putting her needs first, our sexual chemistry skyrocketed. 3….2…..1…. BLAST OFF! I have never felt more connected to a human being in my life. I did not know that kind of feeling was possible. And I don’t mean sexual pleasure; I mean the emotional connection that my wife and I share when we make love. There is a Greek word used in the New Testament that when translated in English it means “to know.” It means to understand completely. Interestingly enough, it is also used to mean a sexual relationship between man and his wife. Some make a joke of it and say “to know him or her in a Biblical way.” At least who ever thought of that joke had a good Bible dictionary. But the fact of the matter is this, when my wife and I are clicking emotionally, physically and spiritually, I completely know her. We literally become one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and our connection is so strong that my past does not matter for the moment. Yes, it will creep back into her mind, and sometimes mine, but I agree with my wife when she said that a very powerful weapon in our sexual healing arsenal is making love.”
For the wives, your concerns may be more of an internal struggle. There may be times when you feel insecure about your looks or your sexual performance. You may feel disconnected or a lack of desire because you’re still in emotional pain. You may be angry and choose to withhold from your husband. Or maybe you’re just tired and stressed from dealing with everything, and the last thing on your mind is making love. These are all common concerns that women struggle with post-betrayal. But they can be overcome. I experienced several of these issues myself. But my husband has been gracious and understanding with me, and with help from the Lord, we have a thriving and wonderful sex life. I would like to share with you how I deal with my own struggles and I hope you find these tips useful.
#1 Be Visually Lavish: Insecurity about my body often made me want to hide. I would change in the bathroom or the closet, close the door when I showered, always make love with the lights off. No matter how often my husband tried to reassure me of his attraction to me, I still hid. One day I was studying God’s Word and praying and God just revealed to me that I am beautiful. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. He revealed to me that I am a gift to my husband that I refuse to let him unwrap! So I prayed that God would give me courage. Courage to give my husband the visual stimulation that he was designed to enjoy… from ME, the wife of his youth. It took time; I didn’t just start strutting around the room unclothed! But I started allowing him more freedom in how much of my body he could see. And you know what happened? Those insecurities about the way I look began to weaken. The more he saw, the more he liked, the more vocal he became, the better I felt about myself. It was a win-win situation for both of us. I won’t say there aren’t times that those insecurities creep up; obviously it’s something I have to fight against. But they are significantly less. And our sexual intimacy is better for it.
#2 Take Back What is Yours: Insecurity about your sexual performance, or comparing yourself to porn stars and other women is a slippery slope. It leads to a great divide between a man and wife sexually and also allows the enemy to steal the sexual intimacy that God has given you as a gift to enjoy. This was a huge issue for me. I constantly felt as though I had to live up to some worldly standard my husband’s sin had established in his mind or else he would not be satisfied. In the beginning, there were even times when, in the midst of making love, I wondered “Did he see this in a porno?” It was an awful place to be. I hated it. I would lay in bed after we were done and cry because not only did I feel inadequate, but I felt guilty for thinking that at all. Late one night, several months after we began our healing process, Gavin and I had one of our best breakthroughs. And yes, it was about sex. He talked to me about his concerns that certain things we do in our bedroom might make me feel uncomfortable or like he just wanted to do them because he’d seen it done that way in pornography. It was a very raw, very honest conversation. In the end, the Holy Spirit prompted me to take back what was mine. To say it out loud. No longer would I allow the enemy to come to bed with us. No longer would I allow Gavin’s sin to stain what God had sanctified. That night we reclaimed our sexual intimacy. We took it back from the hands of the enemy and declared he no longer had any power here. God delivered us yet again from bondage. And since that night, we have enjoyed the freedom of making love without the burden or insecurities of the past lurking over our shoulders.
#3 Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More: Everything else comes down to prayer. If you’re feeling disconnected from your husband, pray and ask God to help you remember what you love about him. If you’re feeling angry over his sin, pray and ask God to help you forgive and to exercise mercy and grace with your husband. If you’re feeling tired or stressed, pray and ask God to give you a renewed mind and a burst of energy. It’s amazing how much prayer can impact your sex life. I know it may sound weird. Once I asked my husband to stop and pray while we were making love and he looked at me a little strangely. But I felt disconnected, I felt like something was amiss. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I felt like I was just going through the motions. And I knew my husband deserved better than that. I wanted to serve him. So we stopped and we prayed. We asked God to cleanse our minds, cleanse our hearts, grow our love, banish the enemy, and give us the proper perspective as we enjoyed each other physically and emotionally. Needless to say, things ended really well! God wants to give us our hearts desire and bless us abundantly. And that includes in our sexual relationship with our spouse. He wants it to be an area of great fulfillment for us. So let’s seek the Lord in all things, including making love.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the precious gift of intimacy in our marriage. The bond that is created between us is amazing and it’s only because You’ve blessed and sanctified the beautiful and powerful act of making love. We ask that You would continue to heal and restore our marriage bed and reveal to us anything that we are doing that may be hindering this process.
(From Kristina) I ask that You would give me courage to lavish my husband visually, to drive out the enemy from among us, and to trust in You to uphold him in his quest for sexual purity. Help me to have a renewed mind and to have the energy and desire to serve my husband sexually. Lord, forgive me where I have harbored unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, or resentment and replace them with transformed love and respect for my husband.
(From Gavin) I pray that You would continue to deliver me from sexual temptations and give me a way of escape when they arise. Father, allow me to be more like Jesus, Who gave His life for His bride. Lord, allow me to put her first, to reassure her, to comfort her and to make every single day about serving her. Thank you for your grace and mercy!
Lord, we seek You before we seek pleasure in each other and we ask that You would consecrate our sexual intimacy. Thank You for the transformations You have already made and we pray that You would continue to grow us closer to each other as we grow closer to You. It’s in Jesus holy and precious name we pray.
Walking in Freedom,
Gavin & Kristina
Tags: ""sexual intimacy"" ""making love"" ""sexual sin"" overcome
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