Help for a wife with past sexual abuse

Unfortunately, there’s a high likelihood that many wives reading this devotional have experienced past sexual abuse, either in childhood or due to a forced sexual situation as an adult woman.  I can relate to this myself.  I was sexually abused by several men over many years of my childhood.  As you probably know, this can cause real problems for you in terms of desiring to be sexually active with your husband.  Yet, it’s so vitally important to build a vibrant sex life with your husband.  What’s a wife to do?

Here are 5 things that have helped me along my journey:

1) Determine in your heart and mind that you will not let evil steal from you yet again.  Evil stole your innocence once before, but decide that you will not cooperate with Satan’s plan to steal the sex life from your marriage.

2) Coach your soul.  The psalmist David often talked to his soul and reminded his soul of truth.  We can do the same thing.  Remind your soul that your husband cares for you….that he will not hurt you…that you are not being forced…that you will actually enjoy loving touch from your husband….that you can relax in your husband’s arms.

3) Ask your husband if he will allow you to be the one who initiates sex.  That way, you will not feel like someone is suddenly forcing himself on you.  (However, you do need to initiate then!)

4) Ask your husband to progress slowly, giving you plenty of time to truly warm to his touch.  In other words, you might need extra time before transitioning from kissing to fondling, etc.  Also, ask him to stop for a moment if you say stop.  You need to know that, unlike your childhood experience where you had no control, this time you have control over your body.

5) Decide not to dwell on the past, but choose to focus on what is good and right and pure in your husband and in your marriage.  This is what Philippians 4:8 tells us:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Creating richer intimacy with your spouse

Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures?  Most of us are in “hiding”.  We’re afraid that if anyone, including our husbands, were to discover our flaws, they wouldn’t love us anymore.  Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you.  Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.

Satan is a liar.  I know from experience that the opposite is true!  When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming.  It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me.  We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage!  How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband.  Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past.  Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care.  I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man.  Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!

This will soften his heart toward you

You want to know a sure-fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you?  Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him!  I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time!  Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful.

Let me give some examples.  You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something.  You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations.  You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking.  You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores.

When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection.  So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect.  Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize.  A powerful apology contains these words:  “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”.  Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart.  Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning.  Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Prayer can bring healing in the bedroom

Many of us come into marriage with broken sexuality. You may have been sexually abused as a child.  You may have slept with some prior boyfriends.  Your husband may have been sexually molested as a child or slept around before making a commitment to you.  All of that stuff from the past can cause us to be somewhat broken or scarred when it comes to our sexuality.

However, God is in the business of redeeming and restoring!    If you or your husband are haunted by the memories of former lovers or pornographic images, confess that to each other, and, prior to making love, pray together for Jesus to heal you.  Jesus can and will heal your broken sexuality.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

If you or your husband are sexually scarred due to past sexual abuse, pray together before making love and ask Jesus to heal you sexually.  Ask him to restore your innocence.  Ask him to allow you to totally delight in physical intimacy with your spouse.  Jesus is the great healer.  Claim Isaiah 53:5 “by his wounds, we are healed

And one additional benefit of praying together before making love is that it is one of the most intimate things you can do!  Beautiful spiritual and emotional intimacy occurs when you open your heart before your spouse and pray for God to enter into broken places.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Simple way to increase emotional intimacy

I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago!  I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in our marriage.  But I’ve discovered it’s true!  There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit.  Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices.  Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…”  Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.

We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes.  They cost less than $100.  We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs.  But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids!    As the sun goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be.  Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry.  Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them.  Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas.  Try building a fire pit.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE