Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity
Today's post comes from Traylor Lovvorn. He and his wife Melody have an amazing story of marriage, divorce and re-marriage after the devastation of pornography addiction and infidelity.
Their story, including the video, brought me to raw tears. After you go to those links, come back and read Traylor's post below. I asked Traylor to talk about reconnecting with Melody sexually after such a painful journey, but his message is about so much more than that. It is a message tenderly needed in so many hearts and homes.
When Julie asked me to write about reconnecting sexually with Melody after our re-marriage, I knew there were five or six directions I could take with this post. While I’m sure that there are individuals who read this blog who are divorced and re-married and maybe even a few who share our story and re-married their ex, I want to share lessons we gleaned during our painful and miraculous journey that are applicable to all married couples, not just those who have experienced divorce.
First, let me unpack the title of this post.
During the first 11 years of our marriage, before our divorce in 2002, Melody and I defined intimacy the way most couples define intimacy -- as being synonymous with sex. But the true definition of intimacy is to be known completely. You might have heard the play on words that intimacy means "into me see."
At that time in our life, Melody and I lived in a performance-paradigm that told us we were supposed to have it all together. As a result, we performed for God, for everyone around us, and even for each other. While we desperately longed to be known and loved as we really were, we were also very scared to be that open and vulnerable.
We thought we were connecting each time we had sex. Granted, there were times during those years that we connected more than others during sex, but both of us lacked the skills to first connect emotionally. Sure, we had read all the right books that say all the right things about sex "being the physical expression of an emotional connection." But frankly, we had never been taught how to create and maintain that emotional connection.
As a result, each time we had conflict in our marriage, rather than resolving that conflict and reconnecting with one another emotionally, reconnecting sexually became our "proof" that we had successfully resolved our differences.
As a result, nothing ever was trulyresolved and we both continued to stuff our hurt and pain…pretending that everything was ok. Image was very important to both of us and we desperately hid behind Christian masks so that everyone around us would think we were the perfect couple with no problems. Hiding our true self from each other built impenetrable barriers that blocked "into-me-see" and deep emotional connection.
About this time, my secret struggle with pornography was discovered and Melody and I began seeing a counselor for the first time. This experience opened our eyes to the fact that what we had accepted as a normal marriage was actually a very unhealthy dance between the two of us.
We both had bought into the lie that Christian couples were supposed to have it all together and weren’t supposed to fight or disagree. While we did eventually divorce because of my continued acting out in my addiction, we both continued to see our counselors and continued to grow up emotionally.
The six years following our divorce were gut-wrenchingly painful and wonderfully exhilarating at the same time. God used this time in both of our lives to take us by the hand and to gently (and sometimes not so gently) introduce us to ourselves. This painful but necessary journey helped us both to see our deep brokenness and our desperate need for Christ.
We began to explore the possibilities of dating again after a serious parental conflict revealed to both of us that we handle conflict very differently than when we were married before. We began the process of getting to know the people we had become and by God’s grace were remarried in October of 2008.
Frankly, Melody and I had no idea that the level of intimacy that we now share was even possible during our first marriage. The painful process that God lovingly took us through and the emotional maturity that resulted have given us such a wonderfully new view of what "normal" looks like in a relationship.
The pain we have been through provides a deep understanding of ourselves and our own brokenness that we are now able to articulate to each other. Because God has introduced us to ourselves and His unconditional love for us, we now have the courage to bring our authentic self to each other and to share the exhilarating experience of being known warts and all.
Satisfying sex is much more than frequency, technique and position. Satisfying sex is the physical connection between a husband and wife who are already deeply connected emotionally.
What is preventing a deep emotional connection between you and your spouse? Are you harboring secrets that are standing in the way of true intimacy that leads to satisfying sex?
Learn more about the Lovvorns, as well as Christ-centered recovery, at the site www.Route1520.com. You can also find Route1520 on Facebook and Twitter. Praise God for Christians who are getting real about life's messiness.