One of the biggest mistakes I (Trisha) made in our marriage was in the area of physical intimacy. I went to sex education class in 7th grade. Unfortunately, I made poor choices in high school that made sex education more than just a textbook. By the time I met and married Justin I brought enough baggage of sexual brokenness with me that I forgot what life was like without it.
We got married young. We had kids young. Most of our adult life Justin and I experienced numerous “first time” experiences together. The poor guy had to experience what it was like to purchase feminine products for the first time after being married less than 24 hours!
Learning how to have a healthy sex life was no exception. We both came into our marriage broken but because we waited to have sex with each other until we got married, we honestly convinced ourselves that staying pure with each other would cover all sins. We were wrong.
I made the mistake of viewing physical intimacy as an afterthought rather than a foundational part of our relationship. Even worse, I eventually used it as a means to get back at Justin. It was my weapon.
When Justin came home late… again…
When Justin didn’t help around the house…
When Justin embarrassed me in front of our small group…
When Justin didn’t meet my expectations my response was to get back at him by refusing to be intimate with him.
When I think about it now, it’s a wonder that we didn’t self-destruct within the first couple years of marriage. It wasn’t until I almost lost my marriage that I finally realized how lost I was in understanding God’s purpose of sexually intimacy. I was on a mission to figure it out and what I found was a panoramic view of intimacy I had never seen before. The definition of intimacy is to be fully known. God calls us to be fully known by our spouse emotionally, spiritually and, yes, physically.
Read what 1 Corinthians 7:2-6 says:
“It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.”
I am often asked how was I able to be sexually intimate with Justin after the affair and his ten-year addiction to pornography when my view of sex was already so messed-up. What I love about this passage is that it answers the question for me. Anyone can have sex-but intimacy comes with a price. You have to give more of yourself emotionally, lean into each other more spiritually and the end result is an intimate relationship that surpasses any person’s fantasy. Why? Because its not fantasy at all. Fantasy feels good in the beginning but in the end it leaves you empty. Pure, God centered, intimacy is long lasting.
This type of intimacy grows over time and leaves you constantly longing for each other and no one else. Not pornography… not another man or woman… Nothing. It truly becomes an act of serving each other in a way that no other relationship was meant to fill.
I love that! I can honestly say over the past seven years God has redeemed every single choice from our past and given us not only a healthy view of sex but rather a continued desire to serve each other “whether in bed or out”. Sex is no longer a tool for us to get what we want but rather a cherished gift from God in which to serve one another.
Did you have a clear understanding of sexual intimacy going into marriage?