I love having the intimate relationship with my husband. BUT…it hasn’t always been easy. We’ve had our rough patches. I have struggled with several issues when it comes to this area of marriage (Ok, there have been many issues that bled into various areas of marriage!). Thankfully, those battles aren’t the end of the story. The book hasn’t closed yet. The epic romance continues – and it continues because of one little secret. And I want to share that secret with you…The Unashamed Wife’s Secret to Healthy Intimacy.
Intimacy in marriage isn’t something I often talk about on my blog. But, today, I’d like to chat about it a bit. Hopefully, that’s ok with you.
Women who know me a bit more know that I enjoy my husband. So, when I confessed a while ago that I was struggling a bit in that area, it was met with surprise…maybe shock. And I felt a bit disappointed about that. Because that was an indication that what I have been through has been misunderstood. Or there was a misconception that the level of intimacy I’ve enjoyed with my husband came easily to us…to me.
Well, it hasn’t.
It’s been hard.
It’s been a fight.
And, really, anything worth having is something you have to fight for.
The Fruit From the Fight
What we tend to see in others is the ‘good stuff’. Or the fruit of what has been fought for.
Think about the strongest marriage you know of. What you see is the fruit of hard-won battles. You probably didn’t see the action on the battlefield. You didn’t see a wife draw her sword and fight with all of her might for her marriage. And that husband? Did you see him hold his shield of faith over his wife as she laid on that battlefield, wounded and unable to fight for herself? You probably did not see this couple limp back to safety, all bloodied and torn.
All you see is the couple now standing strong together.
And that’s ok. You don’t need to see the battlefield of their marriage. But you should understand that there is one.
I know because Marcus and I are that “perfect” couple. People look at us and see a content couple who are STILL madly in love after over 20 years of being together. However, what they actually seeing is the product of many battles. They never saw us on that battlefield…none of them have. No one saw me fight with all I had. They never saw him with his shield over me, protecting me, fighting for me. These people don’t see the scars, the pain, the hurt.
But I remember. And he remembers.
We have the scars to prove it.
But those scars are precious and not something we readily show to others.
It is part of the intimacy in our marriage.
The Battle of Childhood Trauma
We’ve fought the battle of my childhood sexual abuse. Now if anything can destroy intimacy in marriage, it is that kind of trauma. Not only did I have an incredibly warped idea of sexuality in general, I had no idea what a healthy sexual relationship between husband and wife entailed. I was so messed up.
But I fought anyway. And won.
The Battle of My Past
And because of my childhood trauma, I also had the baggage of sex outside of marriage. When you come to believe you are good for only one thing, well…that’s what you begin to offer. I needed so much healing in that area, too. Forgiveness and healing. Boy, I was a mess.
But I fought anyway. And I won again.
The Battle of Physical Pain
I had a difficult birth experience with my son, my second born. My daughter was c-section birth, so I still had no idea what to expect in labor. With my third child, I knew that there was something not quite right with my son’s birth. But either way, he is healthy. But my recovery after his birth was long and difficult. I won’t go into all the details…but let’s just say my gynecologist had to be called in to repair the significant damage. Even that is hard for me to say. It makes me emotional to remember that.
My ‘lady parts’ were ruined…the nurse’s ‘chopped liver’ comment certainly wasn’t helpful either. Thanks a lot, lady! A little more tact would have been appropriate! Anyway, it would be 4 1/2 months before I was able to be intimate again. And even then it hurt like crazy! There were attempts within those 4 1/2 months, but because of the intense pain, it was ‘called off’ each time. I felt like a failure as a woman. My body was broken. And so was my heart. Marcus was so patient and so encouraging. And I think it broke his heart to see me in pain like that – both physically and emotionally.
But I fought the battle again. Yes, I won.
The Battle of Body Image
Then, of course, there is the whole weight gain and body changing battle. Yeah, I went through that, too…more than once. I wanted to feel sexy for my husband (and, no, that is not a bad thing for a wife to want for her marriage).
I have hypothyroidism – which is a battle all on its own – and one of the symptoms is weight gain. Not only is it easy for me to gain weight, it is even harder for me to lose it. Even with working out, regular exercise and good eating habits, it was so hard to get rid of those extra pounds. I share a bit more about this in my health series. I felt like a mess.
But I picked up my sword and fought once more. And won.
And, now, I am fighting again.
The Battle of Lack of Desire
Last fall, my husband expressed his concern to me that I hadn’t been ‘in the mood’ as usual and he was worried about me. Yes, it was true (and I am so thankful that he felt safe enough to bring it up). I haven’t been. Not sure if it is my age, maybe it is my hormones changing or if I am just tired. But that’s not what I want for my marriage. I don’t want that area of my life to be mediocre. So, I started to fight again. I prayed that God would ignite that desire again.
Prayer is amazing. I don’t believe much can be accomplished without prayer. However, many times, action needs to be taken as well. And that’s what I did. For Christmas, I ‘bought’ a special monthly subscription for my hubby from The Dating Divas. I have been finding that it helps me ‘get in the mood’ because I am planning…and anticipating…our time together. And I know how it makes him feel loved and appreciated. If you are struggling in this area, check out the Dating Divas site – they have tons of ideas for marriage – and they are Christians.
I am fighting again…and I am winning.
My friends, don’t fall for the lie that intimacy in marriage is always ‘peachy’ just because that’s what you think the perfect couple’s marriage is like. If you are struggling in this area, start praying about it. God cares about this aspect of our marriage just as He does any other area. Talk with your husband about it. And begin taking some steps to rebuild. Yeah, it might take time, and that’s ok. You will have God on your side…and your husband – because he wants you to desire him, too! If you need to seek Godly counsel, do it. Do whatever it takes to have healthy intimacy in your marriage. Because it matters.
This is the secret, friends.
Behind every healthy, intimate marriage is a battlefield where blood has been spilled.
So, the next time you see that amazing couple, ask them about the battles they have seen.
Ask them how they held fast to their King of Kings.
Ask them how they have fought for each other.
Get to know their story – their epic romance – the one no one else knows.
If you have struggled with intimacy, too, how did you overcome it? If you are struggling with it now, what steps will you take to have victory?
Next week, I want to talk about a piece of ‘wisdom’ us wives usually hear when it comes to intimacy and not being in the mood…is it really our “duty” to be intimate with our husbands? Or have we been missing something? To make sure you don’t miss that post, sign up for my newsletter.
Please note – this post was written for the Christian marriage that is stable with “hiccups” along the way. This was not intended for the marriage with abuse of any kind. If you are in an abusive marriage, please seek professional help right away.
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