by Amy Allen
from "A Redeemed Marriage"
(Tenth in Amy's series on sexual addiction)
Recently a woman asked if my husband and I had been tested for HIV and STDs, and how I dealt with being intimate with him again after we reconciled. I can only share what I have learned in my own journey to healing based on my personal experience. Although it's of a sensitive nature, I can share this experience by trusting God will use it to bring encouragement to hurting women and wounded marriages.
Although my husband, Tim, swore to himself he never would, he did have unprotected sexual encounters with prostitutes. His rational thinking and faithfulness went right out the window. As a result, I was tested for sexually transmitted diseases and so was Tim. By the grace of God we are both disease free!
Once God made it clear to both of us He wanted to restore our marriage, sexual intimacy was incredibly hard for me. How could I not picture the other women he'd been with? How did I know he wasn't picturing them as well? I prayed through the first time we were intimate again. Afterward, when Tim asked me how I was feeling, I didn't want to hurt him, but I felt I should be honest if we had any hope of moving forward. I confessed, “I feel like throwing up and then running as far away, as fast as I can, away from here!” Thankfully he was supportive. He held me in his arms and promised to work through this slowly. We did work through it. Many times I prayed my way through our intimate moments.
A few years after we'd reconciled I caught Tim pleasing himself. I was crushed. He may as well have been with another woman! God gave me the strength to ask him to come to me when he felt urges instead of pleasuring himself. I felt he was being selfish by not involving me. Ultimately, we both made a pact not to have solo sex, and instead find release in each other.
Through the years of reconciliation and renewal of our marriage, I've gained these important insights into our sexual relationship:
- Sex means a lot to my husband. It helps him feel loved and accepted. He wants me to want him.
- I often don't feel like having sex. It's literally an act of my will and obedience to God. I initiate when I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to do so. I've learned to die to my own selfish desires and cater to my husband's needs.
- I can pray through it if necessary. God says we can ask Him for anything we need!
- The best way to keep Satan at bay and defeat him is before he gets a stronghold in our lives. When my husband and I have a healthy sex life, it also helps keep temptation at a minimum.
- Sex has become more enjoyable for both of us as I am able to trust my husband more.
God created both men and women with the ability to have an orgasm and enjoy sexual pleasures. I strongly believe if a woman is not enjoying sex with her husband, then she needs to talk to him about it. Tell him what is satisfying to her, and what she enjoys. Don't be shy about it. One of the best ways to re-establish intimacy is to talk about it.
My husband had been so entrenched in extra-marital affairs, it was nearly impossible for him to enjoy our sexual relationship when we first reconciled. He had indulged in sin involving not only his physical body, but also his soul. He was afraid he would never find the level of excitement inside the marriage as he had outside. Did that hurt me to hear? Of course! But he confessed he'd been asking God to enable him to find satisfaction in the marriage. Over time we have both found satisfaction in our marriage bed. He does continue to struggle with the desire for illicit sex, but it's waned through the years. Often he tells me how much he appreciates the effort I put into our sexual relationship.
It saddens me to hear of couples who haven't had sex for months or even years! What a waste of the beautiful plan God has for marriages. God says the only time we should abstain from sexual intimacy is for an agreed upon time because we are praying about something. The key is, “agreed upon.” If one partner doesn't want sex, but the other does, then God says our bodies belong not to ourselves but to our spouse. When I obey the Lord in this area, the benefits always outweigh any excuse I try to come up with!
“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control”. - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NLT
Father, I pray for couples who are embarking on this journey of renewing sexual intimacy after infidelity. Help them see each other through Your eyes. Help them to be honest and open with each other about how they are really feeling. Help them seek ways to pleasure their spouse without neglecting their own. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Links in this Series by Amy Allen:
First: When You First Discover Infidelity
Second: How to Find Strength When Your Husband is Weak
Third: Your Cheating Spouse: You Can't Fix Them, Spy On Them, Or Force Them to Stop
Fourth: How to Find Trust After the Affair
Fifth: No Quick Fixes for a Crumbling Marriage
Sixth: Finding Your True Worth When You've Been Betrayed
Seventh: Are You Enabling Your Spouse's Sin?
Eighth: The Best Tool for Restoring Relationships
Ninth: How to Build Teamwork in a Restored Marriage
Tenth: Restoring the Sexual Relationship in a Marriage
About Author, Amy Allen: When my husband's internet pornography addiction led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes, I filed for divorce. But God used what seemed hopeless to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. You can watch our testimony on The 700 Club (www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx) or visit our website at http://www.aredeemedmarriage.com/. There truly is hope and healing for your marriage when you allow Jesus to redeem it! Tim and Amy Allen