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This is part 2 in a guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage and what we can do about it. You can find part 1 on body image struggles here).
Today I welcome Belah Rose of Delight Your Marriage to chime in on the ways inhibition takes a toll on sex in marriage.
My mission is to get you from a place of discomfort and fear to a place where you can deeply enjoy your husband and he can deeply enjoy you in sexual intimacy.
I work to help wies move through their fears into pleasure because I was so broken and hurt by these issues. I don’t want others to have such anxiety, pain, and loneliness when dealing with their issues in sex.
No Stranger To Bedroom Inhibitions
I grew up understanding zero about sex. Well, we had lots of animals. So, I did understand being “in heat” meant the girls and boys wanted to be in the same pen. And it was important we didn’t let that happen! It was a “part of life,” but I was never taught what it was for humans.
It was not talked about, but I saw clues of sex in movies and at school, which made me assume I was just not a member of that “sexy” female race.
My ignorance grew into a significant curiosity that was fed in unhealthy and sinful ways, including struggling with an eating disorder and very negative thoughts about my body. I got married to the first man who had the guts to clue me in that my body was desirable.
Insecurities Exacerbated In Marriage
But my insecurities weren’t alleviated in marriage. They were exacerbated.
I was a virgin, but my husband wanted me to know and understand way more than I did. He also wanted me to act like the women from sinful movies and online visuals. And that just made me feel worse.
I was having trouble understanding what was right and godly in marriage. My husband was telling me it was godly but was informing his judgments through the lense of porn. So, I thought that he just wanted me to do sinful things.
We eventually got divorced, which was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
Reflecting back, there were so many inappropriate dynamics that I can only see in retrospect. God was kind enough to bring me back to Himself after a season of sadness, promiscuousness, and rebellion following my divorce.
God did that through a man.
He sent me (my now husband) to teach me what my body was really worth. Now, I’m passionate about helping women avoid the pain and difficulty I had and move through their inhibitions to feel free and confident in the marriage bed!
If you’re anything like me, here are the inhibitions you may be dealing with:
1) I don’t have a good body (forget “perfect”);
2) I’m a Christian and it’s sinful to act like that;
3) My husband knows me, and I’m not a “sexy” kind of person;
4) I don’t feel comfortable and I don’t know what to really do;
5) I am scared of looking silly, sinful, inappropriate, crazy, "too much," too free, too...fill in the blank!
What Are Inhibitions Really?
In this context, inhibition is just another word for fear. Fear is a thief. Fear should not be ruling your life. Joyce Meyer says fear is putting your faith in the things Satan wants for your life. Wow.
But of course, the enemy does not want you to have a thriving, happy, free, enjoyable, unified, godly marriage. Absolutely not.
So, he wants you to fall prey to every fear (especially those that have had a track record of making you fall in the past). But, I think God wants you to be free, fulfilled, and generous in lovemaking.
Why Is It Important To Get Over This?
Aside from the great marriage (and sex) you’re missing out on, when you become faith-focused instead of fear-focused in the bedroom, God teaches you to do that in other areas of your life also.
Let me be clear: If you're afraid in your intimacy of looking silly or being imperfect [or whatever], you're afraid of those things outside bedroom too. How we are in intimacy is how we are in a lot of others areas of life (though only you, your husband, and God know that truth).
Getting A Biblical Grip On Fear (In The Bedroom)
While praying for this topic, I believe God showed me: sex is the safest place to exercise your faith this side of eternity. I’ll explain this more.
Think about this for a second. Adam was created and God describes it this way after Eve was created:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
“For this reason” directly follows Adam’s poetic response to meeting the newly created Eve. I think we skip over this so often. But, is it any wonder our society is sex-crazed and sex-obsessed? God made us (at least in part) “for this reason."
Let’s recap Genesis 2: God made Adam, He said it’s not good for him to be alone, God made Eve and said “for this reason” they should get married and have sex. Wow. Let’s talk about why.
God made Eve so Adam “would not be alone.”
That speaks of the relational and companionship piece women generally, strongly crave. And I think “for this reason...they shall become one flesh” speaks to sexual piece men generally, strongly crave. Both are God-given and God-ordained purposes for marriage.
Why Sex Matters To God
I’ll briefly go into some reasons here. God says intimacy between a husband and wife is an analogy for how He loves us (many verses, including Eph 5:32). God wants you to feel totally free, completely accepted, and utterly vulnerable with your Creator.
A relationship like that is out of this world, and yet will do so much for the Kingdom.
I received the below from a listener of my podcast not too long ago. She has been married over 25 years, has 8 children, and from our subsequent conversations, it is clear she is able to do so much for the Kingdom!
"For the early years of our marriage, I did not appreciate and was woefully unaware of the importance of sexual love, the gift that husband and wife were intended to be for each other. I came to appreciate that an enthusiastic and passionate expression of sexual love is the very best thing I can do in our marriage for my husband, for our children, and for myself. Passionately loving her husband in a sexual way is the best gift a mother can give to her children to ensure their future happiness on earth and in eternity. It is the key to a happy and fulfilled married life."
Not Where You Are?
Wow, powerful. If you feel far away from this, I want you to know: I hear you. I want you to know that you are not alone.
And I want you to know that there is hope for you and your marriage. I was where you are and more than likely much worse.
But God brought you to this article because I believe He’d like to further you on your journey to freedom in love with your husband and God. Both are worked out in a passionately-intimate marriage, focused on Jesus.
How To Get Past Your Fear (In Lovemaking)
Fear should not be present in love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
When we are totally in love and totally loved, we do not have fear.
When we are afraid, “we are locating our faith in something that is finite,” says scholar and pastor, Tim Keller. Whatever that finite thing is, it can be taken away.
If we’re putting our hope in a finite thing, fear would actually be an appropriate experience. But, when you locate your worth, value, and feelings of love in God’s love for you, you are at peace because it is not going away.
If you know you are loved and accepted by Jesus, you can face the world with confidence. Why? Because you truly have the God of the universe enraptured by you.
Why Sex Has Anything To Do With God’s Love
I get that this is hard to get your mind around. I feel that difficulty too. But I think that is why God gives us lived experience to better understand the depth of His love. And I believe intimacy in marriage is that lived experience.
Sex is with your best friend, life partner, generous server, faithful companion, helpful listener, kind supporter, gentle correcter, enamored protector, handsy-playful-fun-lover...your spouse! But, it is still finite. That is why our love must first and foremost be found in Jesus.
Jesus tells us the greatest commandments: to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is like it, “to love your neighbor as yourself” (found in Matthew 22:36-40). God has made a way for us to love Him with all and simultaneously love others the same way we love ourselves (which should be the way God loves us! 1 John 4:19)
You cannot find a safer person than your spouse. (If they are are not safe now, get help so they can become that. And do everything you can to help them get there---you’re off to a great start by reading articles on this site!).
You chose your husband for a reason. You vowed before God that this person was who you would spend your life loving (in the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of active love!).
Take The Next Step With God
So, now that you’ve found out that God is interested in your sex-life being a whole, full, and free experience together with your spouse, it’s time to get there. I believe you’ll need to understand these deep-seated insecurities better and work with God to discover truth in each area. Actually, I believe this simple article is not enough to really change your heart.
But if you submit to God’s guidance through godly men and women who have been there, I believe He will show you how to move from your insecurities to a place of freedom and passion in the marriage bed.
If your insecurities are like mine were (body image, wondering whether or not God approves, feeling too free/vulnerable, and not knowing what to do), I believe I can help you.
Together, we'll dive in to the Biblical principles to understand the joy of generosity and the enjoyable application (in the bedroom!)
Seek God On This
I look forward to chatting with you on the webinar and in the meantime, please ask God about His heart for sex in your marriage. Just open up the conversation with Him.
Check out some of the verses referenced and ask God to show you more. I’m so grateful that you have taken the time today to seek Him about this vital subject. It is SO important. You could have done a million other things with your time and attention. But I believe that you believe God wants you to be free in this area.
His heart is so incredibly in love with you and He wants to show you that more and more!
Belah Rose blogs regularly at her site Delight Your Marriage and offers a podcast, where she frequently interviews other writers and speakers on sexual intimacy in marriage.
Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.