If the two of you had sex with each other prior to marriage, you can certainly begin the healing process by initiating two small steps that can have a huge impact on your relational dynamic:
- Take responsibility for your part in the dance of sexual dysfunction.
- Start with a clean slate by forgiving both yourself and your spouse completely.
I once coached a woman who was mourning the loss of her virginity to her persistent husband while they were still dating. While I was trying to show as much compassion as I could, I felt compelled to ask the simple question, “Did he hold a gun to your head?”
She was shocked, but she sat with the question just long enough for something to obviously click in her brain. The hard lines on her face melted as she looked me in the eye and courageously declared, “No. No, he didn’t.”
I could tell it was a much-needed “Aha!” moment for her, as I thought she might stand up afterward and shout, “Hooray! I don’t have to play the victim anymore!” In truth, the responsibility was on both their shoulders, not just his. She could have said no just as easily as he could have. We all need to own up to the fact that unless we are truly physically overpowered and forcefully raped, we always have a say in the matter. Perhaps we said no with our words, but our reciprocal and responsive actions probably spoke a lot louder in the heat of the moment. We each must own up to the power that we willingly surrendered at the time, and give up the victim mentality. It serves no good purpose. When we recognize that we weren’t victims, but rather, initially-reluctant-yet-ultimately-willing partners, then forgiveness is no longer just a one-way street. It becomes a two-lane highway. It’s amazing how much easier it is to forgive another person when we realize how much we ourselves are in need of forgiveness for the exact same infraction. Throwing a stone isn’t something we’re as eager to do when we realize just how much we belong in the middle of the stone-throwing circle ourselves.
If this section has struck a chord in you and/or your spouse, how about praying this prayer together:
Lord Jesus, you taught us by example that throwing a stone isn’t the way to remedy sin. The blood you shed is the only thing that cleanses us from our past sexual sins, and we thank you for the all-sufficiency of that sacrifice you made on our behalf. Help us to take responsibility for our own actions, forgive ourselves, and extend that same forgiveness to our spouse. Help us to completely let go of the past, so that our arms are wide open to embrace the awesome future you have for our marriage bed. Amen.
by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.