… If you struggle sexually because of abuse you have experienced in your past, tell your husband what happened to you. When Greg and I were first married, I didn’t really want to talk about how my uncles had attempted to molest me as a young teenager. I was afraid he would view me as “damaged goods” and not be as drawn to me sexually. However, my counselor encouraged me to discuss these fears with Greg, and although it was uncomfortable, we made a huge breakthrough as a result of the conversation. I told him how one of my uncles would wake me up in the middle of the night to come into the living room so he could kiss me while his wife was sleeping. I mentioned how sometimes I could still smell the smoke on his breath and feel his bushy mustache tickling my lip, a feeling that made my insides flip-flop with disgust. I felt very ashamed even saying the words, somehow feeling as if this was my fault instead of my uncle’s.
But Greg was busy making connections and discerning how he could help me heal from these wounds. He compassionately responded, “Could that be why you don’t like it when I wake you up in the middle of the night to hug and kiss you?” Although I had never made that connection before, I had to confess that I didn’t like to be startled with physical affection, especially in the middle of the night. This was a great relief to Greg, as he had always taken my lack of response as disinterest in him. Greg also asked, “Is this why you don’t kiss me near as often since I’ve grown a mustache?” Once again, I felt as if he hit the nail on the head. The very next morning, Greg shaved his face completely clean, and we spent half an hour catching up on all the kisses that mustache had unknowingly robbed us of.
When we allow the person who is most committed to loving us unconditionally to see what is truly on the inside of us, regardless of how ashamed or broken we feel over it, the rewards are endless. We can gain confidence and courage, experience healing of painful memories, and enjoy genuine intimacy with the person we love and trust the most.
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.