Life brings us many challenges and each challenge begs the question, will we choose to become softened by our circumstances or hardened? Sexuality is one of those places where I see couples quickly moving from sexually soft and tender with each other, to hard and cold.
Last week I saw a client (I will call her Tiffany) who could attest to this truth. She experienced sexual abuse in childhood from a trusted relative. In high school, she dated a young man who she thought she loved and later married. Sadly, their sexual relationship included pain after her husband had an affair early in their marriage. Disappointment and loss scathed the landscape of her sexuality. We spent months grieving her losses, giving words to her pain, allowing her emotions and anger to be named and felt, addressing the shame, and recovering her soul.
Too many times, especially in the religious realm, many of us are told that if we give ourselves sexually to someone other than a spouse, we have lost something we can never get back … I don’t believe that. I believe that we can go back and reclaim the pieces of ourselves that were either stolen or given. We are powerful people by God’s design, and He never intended for us to live hopeless and dis-empowered.
Tiffany courageously jumped into the deep end of the healing process and found hope that indeed she could heal from her past. She invited Jesus, who proclaims in Isaiah 61, “I came to heal the brokenhearted,” to be her healer. I watched her heal, as she was real, honest, and raw with me and a few other trusted friends. At the beginning of our time together, she described herself as a broken cup—her life leaking out through the cracks. But last week, she described herself again, this time as a cup lined with love. She let the love of God fully into her soul—healing the fractures of her heart, and changing her sex life.
Tiffany felt so loved by God, and she allowed that love to flow through her to her husband. She began making love to her husband, as an expression of her love for him. She realized that she had never given herself to her husband but had always held back. We wondered if his affair was his way of searching for the missing piece in his own marriage. He said to the new Tiffany, “I feel so loved by you … who are you? You are loving me like I have never been loved—and sex—wow! It’s so erotic and fun! I didn’t know we could have this much passion together.” She smiled knowing she has more surprises for him.
Thought bomb: Has life time-hardened you? Do you hold back sexually because you don’t want to be hurt again? How is that keeping you from having a sexually passionate marriage?