I received a letter from a reader who was really broken about how her past had affected her marriage. I agonized with her because I felt every pain she expressed. Although she explained that she was technically a virgin when she married, she had far crossed the line of intimacy with previous boyfriends.
Harmless? That’s what our culture would have us believe. But those women willing to be honest admit that God never intended for us to be intimate with anyone other than our spouses. It was for our good that He designed this arrangement, and when we disregard it, we bring heaps of pain upon ourselves and our families.
I prayed a lot about that letter and felt that sharing a post on this subject might be helpful as I’m guessing there are thousands of women experiencing heartache because of past baggage.
Here are some random consequences I have found to be true of women who talk about this issue:
- Trouble with desiring intimacy with your husband, even though before you were married it wasn’t a problem.
- Resentment about his approaches.
- Feelings of guilt/sadness accompanying the issue of intimacy.
- Dreams of past relationships–usually emotional, not sexual, in nature.
- Dread of being intimate.
I believe this is one of the biggest problems with many marriages, and here’s why:
Men simply derive a large part of their bond to their wives through a loving, intimate relationship–particularly when the wife desires her husband.
When there is a breach in this area, there is a HUGE breach. It is so important for us to understand this! Men feel about intimacy (sex) as we feel about communication and relationship. It is crucial to their closeness to us and feeling loved by us.
Don’t listen to the stereotypical ideas about men in this area. Yes, they were made to desire sex, and there is nothing bad about that. It is their language. We must treat it as important to them as their loving us in our language.
I believe the recreational dating system (where most of us fell prey to these premature, intimate relationships) has single-handedly done the most harm to marriages. And for that reason, I believe it behooves us to stop at nothing to preserve the emotional and physical purity of our children–even the willingness to be persecuted by those who expect our children to participate in recreational dating.
If you did not enter into marriage whole and pure, it’s not the end of the world, but you have some work to do–we have some work to do. And I don’t believe it’s an easy fix. It most certainly starts with repentance, prayer and a deep desire for God to heal what is broken. And although He is a healer, often a scar must remain. Sin produces consequences.
Renewing our minds is a crucial next step for restoration. We must remind ourselves of the facts I mentioned above, and frankly, CHOOSE to love our husbands in this way, even if we don’t feel like it.
Our emotional state is closely tied to our physical state, which is why we’re having this problem to begin with…REPROGRAM.
Feeding the mind, renewing the mind with truth, choosing to think about our marital relationships as the most important one on earth, and being willing to lay aside our hang-ups may be the only route to take.
He doesn’t always feel like expressing romance, affection or attention to us, but he does it because he loves us. Let our response be the same if it has to be. Purpose to CHOOSE love…in his language.
P.S. I just feel like there are so many women reading this who are hurting, and desperately seeking to be freed in this area. If you have had victories over past hurts, we’d love to hear you share your insight or advice…it would be fine to post anonymously on this one.