Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity

Posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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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.

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16 Responses to
“Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity”

  • Intimacy Before Intimacy | Reflections of a Ragamuffin says: October 27th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    [...] was honored to write a guest post for Julie Sibert’s Intimacy in Marriage blog this week. Julie asked me to write a post about restoring intimacy in marriage after [...]

  • Tweets that mention Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity | Intimacy in Marriage -- Topsy.com says: October 27th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by J & G Murphy, J & G Murphy, Traylor Lovvorn, Traylor Lovvorn, Julie Sibert and others. Julie Sibert said: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity http://bit.ly/akH4io [...]

  • Josh says: October 27th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Man, what an incredible story. I've been guilty of being too reserved in my relationship. My wife Sarah and I are also on an incredible marriage journey, and it's beautiful and encouraging to encounter other couples who are digging deep into their relationships!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Melody and Taylor!

    - Josh

  • Michael Wong says: October 28th, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Honesty in marriage. Such an easy thing to say, but such a hard thing to do.

    Roger Ebert recently wrote a great column about Hugh Hefner in which he agreed with feminists that Playboy objectifies women, but he also admitted that he had ALWAYS objectified women, with or without Playboy. It's just a part of the nature of male humans, and we're constantly pressured to pretend it's not.

    We're so good at telling lies like "I'm not hung up on physical appearance" or "I don't like porn because it objectifies women", and women are so good at believing these lies. When they catch us doing these things we say we don't like, then guess what: they get angry. Of course, this anger only confirms to us that we were right to lie in the first place, because they can't handle the truth.

    I was fortunate enough to marry a woman who wanted the truth from day one, and knew enough about men to disbelieve the idealistic spew. I told her the truth: that I'm not a saint, that I do ogle women (including her, mind you), but that I'm also as loyal as a golden retriever. That was good enough for her.

  • Traylor Lovvorn says: October 28th, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Thanks Josh! We are constantly awed by our Father's ability to bring such beauty out of such devastation.

  • Why we don’t like to pray with our brides says: October 31st, 2010 at 12:12 am

    [...] Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity: A great article (with links to much more) for anyone who has struggled with infidelity or porn. In particular, this jumped out at me: “Satisfying sex is the physical connection between a husband and wife who are already deeply connected emotionally. ” [...]

  • Why we don’t like to pray with our brides | Your Relationship Success Blog Welcomes You says: October 31st, 2010 at 1:30 am

    [...] Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity: A great article (with links to much more) for anyone who has struggled with infidelity or porn. In particular, this jumped out at me: “Satisfying sex is the physical connection between a husband and wife who are already deeply connected emotionally. ” [...]

  • Michael Wong says: November 3rd, 2010 at 12:31 am

    I find it ironic that I wrote a post about how close-minded women often make it difficult for men to be honest about feelings that we're not supposed to have ... and you chose to block the comment.

    This is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about: men are not allowed to be honest about their feelings because most women dislike the truth and react negatively to it. Your decision to block that comment pretty much proves my point for me.

  • JulieSibert says: November 3rd, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Michael... certainly it is good to be honest about feelings. I think it's not wise though to generalize and stereotype. Your comment comes across a bit judgmental and angry... "Men are not allowed to be honest about their feelings because most women dislike the truth and react negatively to it." Interesting point of view. Interesting too how judgmental you are of how I handle comments.

  • Miscellaneous Sexy Stuff | Intimacy in Marriage says: November 12th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    [...] have to give a shout out again to Traylor Lovvorn, who guest blogged on my site about how he and his wife restored their marriage after infidelity.  Powerful stuff.  He has a new site as well, so take a journey over there and see the incredible [...]

  • Jae says: November 14th, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Correction - most men don't want to deal with the fallout from what they say. You can't expect anyone (male or female) not to react or have emotions behind whatever is said. The end part of that communication is working through BOTH of your feelings. Not the man clamming up then blaming the wife because she has legitimate feelings. It's not necessarily close-minded, but a different perception.

  • Sexual Intimacy: My Love Letter to Pornographers | Intimacy in Marriage says: January 13th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    [...] There are so many resources out there — too many for me to list here (if you know of some, please throw them into the comment section).   I humbly recommend Route1520, because these are normal everyday people who have walked what they are talking about.  They know.  I appreciate Traylor and Melody Lovvorn, who have an amazing story of marriage lost… and marriage redeemed.  Traylor guest posted for me on restoring intimacy after betrayal. [...]

  • Rebuilding Marriage After Infidelity « TamilianPonnu's Blog says: May 7th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    [...] Intimacy Before Intimacy: How One Couple Restored Their Marriage After Infidelity  [...]

  • 3 Things We Can Learn From Anthony Weiner About Sex | Intimacy in Marriage says: June 9th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    [...] And when sexual indiscretion and betrayal has occurred, my prayer is that couples do what they can to restore trust and get on a healthy path of nurtured sexual intimacy.  It seems impossible, but for some couples, it is indeed possible. [...]

  • Intimacy Before Intimacy says: June 19th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    [...] by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginI was honored to write a guest post for Julie Sibert’s Intimacy in Marriage blog this week. Julie asked me to write a post about restoring intimacy in marriage after [...]

  • Infidelity? Can a Marriage Survive? | Intimacy in Marriage says: February 25th, 2012 at 6:33 am

    [...] (they actually divorced and then remarried after 6 years).  Traylor guest posted on my site here.  If you scroll down on this link, you can see the video testimony of their story.  So powerful. [...]

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