SEXUAL OBSTACLES: Healing an Emotional Wound

Sexual obstacles One Together Dollar Photo relationship problems

There is a spiritual battle going on in a Christian married couple’s intimate relationship. It concerns sexual obstacles that come as a result of emotional wounds. But take heart, healing is possible.

Ephesians 5 clearly states that the love between a husband and wife is a picture of the love between Christ and His church. In other words, red-hot monogamy helps proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the devil is opposed to the gospel, he’s opposed to anything that helps people understand the gospel.

Combating Sexual Obstacles

This is one of the reasons sex is so abused in our world. There is a spiritual push to distort our understanding of human sexuality. Pornography, casual sex, and self-gratification are all glamorized in the fabric of our society. Our kids are inundated with it. Our computers are flooded with it, and our thoughts are challenged by it. To put it simply, your sexuality is under attack spiritually.

To combat the assault, every couple should institute some simple measures to safeguard the love gift they have been given. At a bare minimum, you ought to be praying together. We know that some of you are uncomfortable praying together. And we very respectfully recommend that you try to push past this discomfort. You’re willing to get naked and have sex together; surely you can pray together.

There really is no secret to a successful prayer life as a couple. Keep it short, be yourself, and pray daily. Don’t try to be over spiritual. And don’t imitate anyone else. God made you the way He wants you to be, so talk to Him the way you talk with the most important people in your life. Once you have practiced a few times, praying together will be natural to you.

Proclaim God’s Truth Aloud

In addition to prayer, reading the Bible together is extremely helpful in creating a safe zone in your marriage. Demons do not like the truth. When you proclaim the truth aloud in your home, you create an environment that is irritating to them. This is exactly what Jesus did in Matthew 4 when He was led out to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He quoted the Bible over and over again.

Your spiritual fortress will be further strengthened if you share with one another what God is teaching you. You can accomplish this by going through a devotional book together or doing your personal devotions separately and then taking the time to share with one another in a relaxed setting what God is currently doing in your life.

The spiritual battle can be more intense than this if your past has been marked by decisions based on some deception. Each of these decisions opens up footholds from which Satan can have an influence in your life. You may be more self-conscious than you know you ought to be. You may be unable to overcome a relatively simple habit. And you may be run by guilt and shame, even though you know intellectually you’re forgiven for everything. These can be signs of a lack of spiritual freedom. If you suspect this may be your story, we encourage you to talk to your pastor to see if he’s familiar with Steps to Freedom in Christ (

Tough Sexual Obstacles

The toughest obstacles you face are in the area of emotional programming. You were born with an innate ability to trust your parents. Early in life, you believed everything they said and trusted everything they did. As a result, your early life experiences create emotional programming in life. In other words, your definition of intimate love is attached to whatever you experienced as a child. That is unless you do the hard work to rebuild your emotional definition of love. If you grew up in a balanced, encouraging home, you are wondering what we are talking about. You have a healthy perspective on love, and you naturally choose to be with people you can trust.

If, on the other hand, you grew up in a chaotic home environment (anything that doesn’t fit with the way life is supposed to be), you’ll have a tendency to have low-quality relationships. And you will unwittingly sabotage your success at relationships. It is common for those who have experienced relational trauma to be unreasonable, abusive, and unpredictable with the ones they love most.

The Path Away from Sexual Obstacles

While you are tearing down the relationship, you are internally telling yourself to stop talking this way and stop acting this way. You may have tried self-discipline and self-help books. But you have found they make no difference. If this is your experience, you must take it seriously. The path out of this destructive living is simple to outline but hard to accomplish. The path consists of aggressive forgiveness of those who have hurt you and strategic decisions that will reprogram the way you emotionally attach to others. It is the rare person who can do this on his or her own.

We recommend you commit to a regimen of focused counseling followed by a deliberate routine of personal growth. If you don’t connect with the first counselor you see, check out another one. Every counselor has a unique personality and specialty. Don’t get frustrated. Just keep looking until you find one you connect with.

[The following prayers could be helpful for a married couple where infidelity was involved and they’re attempting to reconcile their marriage back together.]

When your relationship is reestablished to the place you are feeling love toward one another and want to take the step to reconnect emotionally and sexually, below is a meaningful ritual to do at the foot of the bed before engaging in intercourse as it marks the moment of a fresh start.

Pray this verse over the spouse who has caused the pain:

__________ (name of spouse) has been crucified with Christ and  _________ no longer lives, but Christ lives in ___________. The life_________ lives in the body, _________ lives by faith in the Son of God, who loved _________ and gave Himself for __________. (Galatians 6:10)

Have the spouse who caused the pain pray:

Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28:2) Forgive [me], who [has] sinned against You. Forgive all the offenses [I] have committed against You. (1 Kings 8:50)

Pray this verse over the victim of the pain:

[Lord, You heal] the brokenhearted and bind up (_________) wounds (Psalm 147:3). Then Your light will break forth like the dawn, and Your healing will quickly appear (Isaiah 58:8). Provide for those who grieve. Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:3)

Pray this over the spouse who caused the pain:

If my [__________], who [is] called by [Your] name, will humble [himself or herself] and pray and seek [Your] face and turn from [his or her] wicked ways, then will [You] hear from heaven and will forgive [his or her] sin and heal [our marriage]. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Then use your original wedding vows or the ones below, to renew your commitment:

Husband: I, _________, Take you __________, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to love you, comfort you, honor you, and forsaking all others, cling only to you as long as I live.

Wife: I, ________, take you _________, to be my lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to love you, comfort you, honor you, and forsaking all others, cling only to you as long as I live.

When reestablishing the sexual relationship, we encourage the spouse who caused the pain or breach to give the gift of making the first sex act all about the spouse and full of the things that first drew you together. By adding in the familiar territory, it is a reminder that it was worth it to spend all the time and energy to reestablish the relationship. At any time during the time of intimacy, if the spouse who was hurt is hesitant or has an emotional reaction, then the spouse who initially caused the trauma should be overly patient, overly sensitive, and understanding. Forgiveness is one thing. Reestablishing trust and a trusting sexual relationship is another. It takes time. Sometimes lots and lots of time.

(A note to the spouse who was hurt:

Our friends Bob and Audrey Meisner have a powerful book on restoring love after an affair, Marriage Undercover. While talking with them about their story, Bob shared the wisdom that helped them turn the corner. His mentor turned to Bob and said, “You’ve been hurt. But the person who forgives has the power in the relationship.” The forgiver has the power to restore the relationship and to save the children from the pain of divorce or an unhappy hostile environment. In giving love as a symbol of forgiveness, you give yourself, your children, and your marriage the opportunity to build something better and stronger than it was before the pain because God will add His power as you replicate His grace, mercy, and love.)

This article comes from the book, Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle, written by Bill and Pam Farrel, published by Harvest House Publishers. The main point of the book is that “sex is not to be an event. Sex is to be a relationship.” In this book, Bill and Pam Farrel give you practical, personal tips for creating the kind of sex life that really works. They have a lot of fun with the topic. But in actuality they believe that sex is a serious matter. This book offers hundreds of ideas to fan the flame of love. It gives an understanding of your spouse that will inspire romance and passion to fuel every aspect of your lives.

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6 responses to “SEXUAL OBSTACLES: Healing an Emotional Wound

  1. (ZAMBIA)  It’s so good to read articles in this website. Steve and Cindy Wright, please keep on with your good work as I can see a lot of marriages will be restored. To all those who contribute, you are also doing a good job.

    My husband had sex with my housekeeper of 4 years last month. I was so very hurt. The housekeeper told me he had just forced himself on her and that is the reason she had to stop work.

    My husband is not a believer, we got married when both of us were not believers, but I started going to church but he still does not want to come along.

    After this ordeal, he says he is sorry and that it won’t happen again. Now he wants us to reconnect, but I am having second thoughts about it. I have forgiven him but sometimes I get so angry when he brings up the issue on intimacy. It has been a month. We haven’t been intimate. I feel I am not ready as I am still hurting. Do you think I will drive him to look for someone again to have sex with? Do you think sex will bring us closer again?

    We have not been to therapy yet. I am also thinking of taking medical tests for STIs. I am so confused – one minute I feel like I can give in, the other I am so cross with him to the extent of packing my belongings and moving out. He insists he loves me and admits what he did was embarrassing and stupid. My father and mother came to pick me up so that we could just end the marriage of 7 years. But he refused and pleaded with them not to take me with them. Please advise me with your words of wisdom. I have followed some of the advice from this website and it worked well. Please pray for me. I still love him deep down.

  2. (USA)  Hi Mary, I’ve been reading your posts. I’m really sorry to hear what has been happening.

    I’m curious – did your housekeeper report this to the police? What your husband did is rape. Does your country enforce laws against that? I’m appalled at reading that he raped a housekeeper.

    I think you can look into counseling for yourself and even joint counseling, too. You will have to get close to God and let Him guide you. I cannot give any advice, unfortunately. I wish I knew what to say. I would say if you do seek counseling, make sure it is with Christian counselors (at least for you individually). You cannot make your husband a believer but your faith is what will see you through.

    I do not think there is anything wrong with you abstaining from sex to test for STD’s. That’s only fair since he chose to go with someone else.

    The one piece of advice I would give, from my own marriage experience, is to make sure all discussions are done with calmness. Once emotions become too tense, conversations have a tendency to degrade into fruitless conversation and everyone starts speaking from hurt, instead of a desire to build up and move forward to solutions. So make sure you pray first before all conversation and move forward in love while speaking. If it becomes impossible, you should take a break until the discussion can resume again when everyone has cooled off.

    I will keep your in my prayers. God bless.

  3. (ZAMBIA)  Lt, thank you for responding. Your words are full of wisdom and inspiring. I have been reading the way you respond to other posts. May God richly bless you and restore your marriage too.

    From the time the incident happened, I have not been going to Church. I thought God had forsaken me. I was deeply mistaken. I have now realised that I need him more than ever.

    In my country rape is a very serious crime. My housekeeper came to my house with her mother and as she was stopping work. She told my husband that she had forgiven him. I could not do anything about it because the victim herself forgave my husband. Her mother was very annoyed, but later forgave my husband as well. So now it is between him and myself. He keeps telling me how sorry he is and that we should try again. I will try to look for a Christian counselor. The one Pastor I used to be open with, left for another town. I will let God guide me in whatever decisions I will be making.

    1. (USA)  My Mary & I are about to quietly celebrate our 15th anniversary, on January 1 [2010]. We are about the most disquieted couple there is, as both our former spouses left us because of sexual and intense emotional discomfort. Both Mary & I wanted so much to be married again that before we met we prayed, “Lord, I just cannot trust my heart to find another spouse. How can I when the love of my life has so ruined every bit of my trust? Please, Lord, You tell me when, and who You want me to marry.”

      In just a week or so we connected for the first time, as we talked about how much we needed support and prayer for our children. However, through the years of our relationship there’s been a constant pain of missing our true loves, who still reject each of us. Both are living in a sham of pretend wedlock with other people, and in my case, she is still involved with the preacher who counseled her to divorce me, due to ‘overwhelming incompatibilities,’ as he told me, just prior to her filing for divorce. At the time she was his personal secretary.

      How to resolve this, now, in our own marriage, is our deepest desire. I was searching for a book on reconciliation within a broken trust marriage, “Marriage Under Cover – Bob and Audrey Meisner,” when this site showed up in the search. Reading about your own pain in the face of broken marital trust has prompted me to respond. If you can watch the Meisners during a brief interview, on YouTube, please go to The couple are just so real that you understand the deepest pain in your own life, and then the most wonderful healing that our Creator gives to those who trust Him above even “christian” counseling.

      There is nothing that compares to the unconditional Love of our Savior! Applying His Love to our own marriage is just the ultimate of human joy! I hope this helps.

  4. Hello, I came across this website looking for answers. I have been with my husband for 3 years and married for nearly
    3 months. I love my husband deeply and we have both came to salvation about a year now. We have a daughter and another one on the way. We are also strong believers and very young. He is 23 and I’m 21.

    While we were in sin we had difficulties in our relationship. We both hurt each other, not because of unfaithfulness, but our communication started to get bad. We loved each other but couldn’t understand each other. We had separated for 3 months and both came back to one another after we received our salvation.

    Things have gotten really bad and I don’t know how to fix it. When I was young I was molested by 3 men, one being my uncle and he knows this. Somewhere our sex started to change and I started straying away because of flash backs from my past would come up and I would feel violated. Although I know my husband loves me I don’t desire intimacy with him and it has caused me to restrain from his needs.

    I feel bad because I want to give him my love but it makes me feel like a slave sold into sex when I try. We have seeked counseling from Christian communities but I feel that I haven’t gotten an understanding of what to do. They refer me to scriptures and although that is good for me, it doesn’t help much because it’s not talking about someone who was molested. It says your body is not your own and belongs to your husband. I know this but I don’t know what steps to take. After I try and I still feel disgusting. I want to know what steps I can take to give myself back to him. I’m in desperate need of answers :(

    1. Shai, I came upon your question and saw nobody had answered. I don’t have answers for you as I, too am wrestling with past hurts and their impact on my current God blessed relationship. I pray for you and your family that God protect and restore you.