Written by Dr. Wayde Goodall
Here are some ways to bring sexual healing within marriage.
1. The husband and wife must seek to have the attitude of Christ.
It is common to want a quick solution to problems. But it may take time and great care to solve difficult sexual problems. There may be times of sorrow, discouragement, and anger. These problems may test the marriage. But God calls couples to love and serve each other.
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:1-5).
Philippians 2:1-5 can help couples with sexual problems.
First, it reminds us that God is our source of help. His love gives us encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness, and compassion. We are not the source of these things in a marriage. All good things come from God. In days of discouragement, sorrow, hurt, and need, we can turn to God to help us.
Second, these verses teach that our fellowship with God affects our relationship with others. For example, in marriage, the husband and wife are one in spirit and purpose. A sexual problem in a marriage no longer belongs to just one of the spouses because they share everything. One is not to seek a solution while the other brings blame or shame. They must unite to solve the problem that now belongs to both of them.
Third, neither spouse should be concerned only about self. Each should consider what is best for the other. It is all right to consider your own interests. But you must also consider the interests of your spouse. For example, if a spouse is hurt, the husband and wife must seek to heal that wound. But the one who is wounded must not ignore the needs of the other spouse. And the one who is well must be patient with the wounded spouse. Both must think of each other's needs. This was the attitude of Jesus. He left heaven to bring spiritual life and healing to us. Having the attitude of Christ will help the husband and wife solve their problem with unity and love. They should daily seek to have this attitude.
2. Physical problems do not mean the end of physical affection.
Physical problems that cause sexual trouble may last for a brief time or a lifetime. But, some love is better than no love. Romance, which means being tender and kind, and love play can help meet emotional needs even without climax. Kissing and hugging each other gives assurance of attraction and love. Either the husband or the wife may still be able to climax. Each spouse should find ways to meet the other's sexual needs. Oneness needs to be enjoyed in physical ways. A couple that cannot climb the highest mountain of sexual pleasure should still climb the hills that lead to it. One day, they may reach the top.
3. Emotional wounds can be healed.
Many people try to ignore their emotional wounds. Children who have been sexually abused may ignore, hide, and cover their memories. But our emotions affect our bodies, even if the emotions or memories are hidden. The only way to solve sexual problems caused by emotional wounds is through inner healing. Let us consider some steps to healing painful memories:
- Invite Jesus and a trusted friend or counselor to walk through your past memories with you.
- Visit the old, painful memories. You must have the courage to remember what happened and how you reacted. Ask Jesus to help you see things in the right way. Strong feelings will probably come as you remember. Tell Jesus exactly what you feel.
- Identify the person who did wrong. Many people with painful memories feel ashamed. For example, a young woman felt shame because her uncle abused her sexually when she was a small child. She remembered that her uncle gave her gifts to remain silent. She felt guilty because she took the gifts and did not tell. But when she went back to those memories as a grown woman, she realized how small and innocent a girl is at the age of 3. She could see that it was her uncle who did wrong as well as her parents who did not protect her. Sometimes, a person has shared in the sin and guilt of a painful experience. If that is true, face the truth. Ask for forgiveness, and receive it (1 John 1:9).
- Examine what you told yourself about the experience. The experience has power. But what a person tells self about the experience has equal power. For example, a young man was deeply in love for the first time. He honored the young woman. Even though his desire was strong, he waited for marriage to have sexual relations with her. While he was away for a summer, the young woman became pregnant by another man. Her unfaithfulness hurt the young man deeply. He told himself, "I cannot trust any women. They will give their bodies to someone. It might as well be me." Then, for many years, this young man used women for sex. He told them anything they wanted to hear in order to convince them to surrender their bodies. What he told himself about his hurtful first love twisted his life.
A woman who has been raped must reject her thoughts that sex is ugly. At the same time, she must embrace the truth that sex is a gift from God. Money is not bad because thieves steal it. Likewise, sex is not bad because people abuse it. God created man and woman for each other in the Garden of Eden. Sex is a part of God's good plan. A woman who thinks her value is only in giving sex must reject that thought. She must tell herself the truth that she is so valuable that Jesus died for her. The value of something is always seen by the price someone pays. The price Jesus paid for us shows each of us that we have great value!
- Deal with the person who hurt you. You must seek good counsel and wisdom from God to know the best way to deal with this person. Sometimes, you and your husband must face the person who wounded you. This is especially true if the person may be abusing other children. Other times, you may need to break contact with that person. Always, you must forgive even though your offender may not ask for forgiveness. And remember, God will still judge those who do not repent, even if we forgive them.
- Seek sexual pleasure and fulfillment with your marriage partner. Do not punish your spouse for what someone else has done to you. Love your spouse with the love God gives you. These steps may take time. The depth and number of wounds will determine how long of a journey this will be. A couple with the attitude of Christ will take the journey together. But how can the mate best help while this process is happening?
4. Ways spouses can help their wounded mate.
- Pray for healing.
- Help your spouse, but do not try to fix him/her. Your spouse must take responsibility for self.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Accept your spouse completely. Sexual problems and solutions may be difficult to identify. But part of becoming "one" means that the husband and wife will work faithfully together to seek healing.
- Always speak the truth in love.
- Help your spouse face self and God. God is the primary source for his/her healing.
- Do not react in violent ways when you discover who has wounded your spouse.
- Be patient. Do not rush your mate. You may need to let the spouse choose the direction and the pace.
The content of this article is used by permission of "Faith & Action Series" and Dr. Wayde Goodall. Please learn more about them at www.faithandactionseries.org and www.worldwidefamily.org.