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 (Freedominchrist.com).
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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Filed under: Sexual Issues