Intimacy in Marriage

Encouraging Christian Women toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy

Chronic Illness Ultimately Did Not Derail This Couple’s Sexual Intimacy

Today’s guest post is from a woman whose marriage faced incredible struggles, yet she and her husband persevered to reclaim their sexual connection as husband and wife.

I am humbled when someone is willing to share their own story in the hope that it will speak into someone else’s.

This post is so authentic…

When our eighteen-year marriage hit its lowest point intimacy-wise, it was because I was in the middle of treatment for a chronic illness that was hitting our bank account like a wrecking ball hits a condemned building.

We weren’t in that great of a place to begin with.

For many years, there had been a gradual building of issues: Lack of hormonal balance on my part (due to my illness), a long history of disappointed hopes, less-than optimum communication, and a poor theology of sex/marriage.

So when my health took a turn for the worse, it didn’t look like we would come out on the other side with any semblance of a good marriage.  

When it became clear that I was going to need intensive treatment that was extremely costly, it really drove a wedge between us. We did not know how to handle it in a way that was healthy or supportive to the other person. We just…reacted. And we both felt rejected and misunderstood.

My husband was terrified we were going broke and that I was putting my trust in the wrong doctors. I was hurt that he wouldn’t just pay for the treatments I needed without me having to prove to him that they would be effective.

We ended up doing the treatments I wanted to do, but it was only after a lot of arguing and crying. It usually left me feeling that he was doing it because he had to, not because he wanted to. I know he did want to take care of me, but he was just really really scared about big things — like losing our house.

I grew depressed and felt that my life wasn’t worth much, because my husband didn’t want to pay for my medical treatments.

I don’t know about all you other wives, but feeling like a burden made me less than eager in the bedroom.

On the flip side though, I actually wanted sex more than ever before because my hormones were finally getting balanced. So I was wallowing in this odd purgatory of I-want-sex-but-you’ve-hurt-me-so-much-I-don’t-know-what-to-do sorta thing. I didn’t know what to do with it.

On my husband’s side, he was stressed all the time about the money, so we basically just avoided each other.  The condemned building was cracking apart.

I knew this wasn’t boding well for the long run, and my husband was so wrapped up in his concerns to keep us from falling into staggering debt, that tackling our relationship issues was not on his radar.

I didn’t really know what to do, and honestly, I was too bitter to work on our marriage either.

I wanted him to work on it. I wanted him to change first, and give me a reason to love him again. I was not the sweetest person to be around at that point. And he was no Mr. Sunshine himself.  

Vaguely aware that this was not God’s design for marriage, I knew I had to do something. We were only having perfunctory, hormone-driven release sex once or twice a month. Not very satisfying and not intimate at all.

I also had body issues as well, because I had gained weight from my illness and it wasn’t my husband’s favorite look on me. This made me even more bitter against him.

So what to do? I prayed, of course, but it wasn’t something like, “Please Lord, help us restore our marriage to something that honors and glorifies You.”

No.

Because I tend to act more like a petulant adolescent when I feel myself wronged, I prayed, “I can’t believe this is what You had in mind for me. This sucks and I think he would rather I would just die than pay for my medical stuff. Why, oh why?”

In response to that shining example of Godly supplication, God placed some desires on my heart. He met me where I was, in the “this sucks” aspect of my prayer.

I felt led to take some baby steps to build trust and intimacy again.

The first thing that came to mind was taking regular baths together, while watching a show that we both liked. This probably sounds like it’s no-brainer, but it was important because I never liked being naked in front of him. So it really took some trust on my part, but I felt that God wanted me to do it.

I also had no expectations that sex would follow, and honestly at that point, I didn’t really care if it did follow, because I was still kinda mad at him. I was just there to watch TV and take a relaxing bath.

Sometimes, sex did follow, and to be honest, it wasn’t half bad. Because you know how being relaxed and having a good time with no pressure to perform feels? It feels awesome, and leads to being open to more than just getting clean.

Not only that, my husband, out of the blue came up to me and confessed how wrong he had been about his reaction to my weight gain. He repented and told me I was beautiful. I’d be lying if I said that made me a confident passionista in bed right away, because it didn’t, but it sure didn’t hurt.

We still had money issues as my health continued to be a thorn in our side. And I was up and down in the energy department.

But as we kept our weekly bath dates and I grew stronger and more healthy, I prayed more and more for our marriage. I thought about sex more. It was getting better and yet there was still a barrier. It wasn’t very intimate. We never kissed or looked into each other’s eyes, and I still had a lot of hangups about my body.

I knew it wasn’t the ideal situation, but I wasn’t aware that my theology of sex was totally off. I had been looking at it as a problem that *had* be solved, and kinda sighing over it and dragging my feet.

I had about as much enthusiasm over it as someone might have about getting up at 5 am in January go to the gym for a boring workout and drink some nasty smoothie to get healthy. The way I should have been looking at it was like an athlete who cannot wait to get up and get to their workout in because they freaking love it.

But God is amazing. And he led me to a few things I needed to turn the ship around. One was a Christian article about a study or something — I’m not sure what it was — but it claimed that married couples actually become addicted to each other when they invest in their sexual relationship.

I wanted that.

The thought really inspired me. Then a few weeks later I found a Christian sex blog written by women, where they detailed their “sexual awakenings.”

And just like that, it hit me. A torrent of love and desire for my husband just came out of nowhere. It floored me.

In one instant I went from being my old self, still hurt by his money issues, with hangups about my body, and distanced in the bedroom, to being totally passionate and committed to creating a fulfilling experience in the bedroom for me and him.

I knew this was a gift from God. It was his intention that we grow as a couple and that included an awesome sex life.

So I put that new found passion into pursuing my husband. And he responded. Boy, did he ever!! Needless to say, today we are doing better than ever.  

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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February 24th, 2018 by