For the first three and a half years of our marriage, my husband and I could not experience intercourse. Pain radiated throughout my body every time we initiated or attempted sexual intimacy.
I knew sex might be difficult to get use to in the beginning, so although I was mortified on the wedding night that things did not work out as I had hoped for, I overcame my thoughts of inadequacies quickly. However, when weeks turned into years, my insecurities grew wildly out of control.
I anticipated the pain of sex, which tempted me to withhold myself from my husband often. One night of excuses led to weeks of trying to get out of having sex. I was giving up. And due to our lack of intimate connection other marital stressors intensified.
Those three and a half years were devastating.
But then, something changed!
One day my husband began putting a few pieces together from conversations we had with another couple and God led him to the discovery that radically altered our sex-life. There was a specific product I had been using for years to manage my acne and my husband wondered if there was an ingredient in it that could be affecting my body.
I thought he was crazy for thinking such a thing! Yet, being in a desperate place in our marriage, I stopped using the product and any other product containing parabens…and you know what…I was healed! A week after avoiding parabens my husband and I finally had great sex!
We had received the miracle we had been praying for and we were beyond thrilled to enter into a season of dramatic change.
We quickly realized embracing change in marriage is not as easy as we desired it to be.
I still anticipated pain when my husband pursued me for sex, a mental hurdle that took almost another year to overcome. Fear constricted me and tempted me to withhold myself. Every good encounter we experienced help diminish those fears, but it took time.
We also built up a bad habit over the first three years of making ourselves extremely busy. We found that being busy helped us forget about our issues and left no time to try and fix anything. But now that we could enjoy sex, we battled the way we tended to fill up our schedules and exhaust our energy.
These are just two of the many obstacles we faced that hindered us from fully embracing change. We often wondered,
Why can’t we just move on?
Embracing the season of change we had prayed for was very challenging. Looking back in hindsight, it required quite a bit for us to be able to do. Yet, what we learned in the process has stuck with us and has helped us embrace other seasons of change that have come to different aspects of our marriage.
– Identify: Being able to identify that obstacles that hinder us from embracing change is crucial. We had to acknowledge what was holding us back from moving on and address those issues individually.
– Intentionality: We had to be intentional in our approach to changing the identified hindrances. For example, in our situation mentioned above we needed to intentionally make time for sex amidst our busy schedules until our minds understood that it was vital to be available for this part of our marriage.
– Investment: Investments take time to gain benefits…meaning we had to invest into this area of change if we wanted to reap any benefit. It was important that we invest our time, energy, and efforts to diligently make sex a priority in our marriage. And be patient knowing that it takes time to do that.
– Intimacy: Not just sexual intimacy, but more so intimate conversations with my husband was a vital component to embracing change. We need to be on the same page and we need a clear understanding of where each other are at emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Talking our way through issues bring us very close together and remind us of our goals.
– Initiate: This was one of my biggest hurdles holding us back from moving on. I was horrible at initiating intentional intimacy in our relationship. I relied on my husband to do everything and to do it well without me giving even a hint of help. Marriage needs a 100% willingness from both a husband and a wife to flourish. Assuming my role and refusing to withhold was necessary. If we were going to embrace this change I needed to step up and be willing to initiate in our relationship.
I pray you can be encouraged to accept the process it takes to embrace change in your marriage and allow God to help you learn and grow through it. And if you are praying for something in your marriage, do not cease praying!
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. – Psalm 40:1
~ Prayer ~
I pray for the woman reading this right now. I pray she would continue to pray for her marriage. Turn to her and hear her Lord! I pray she also is able to embrace different seasons of change when they come. Help her and her husband clearly communicate in an intimate way all that they are experiencing so they know how each other are doing. Draw them close together and close to You in Jesus’ name AMEN!
~ Challenge: Embracing Change ~
Consider some of the ways that your marriage has changed over time. Start counting the blessings that these changes have brought. Write them down and talk about them with your husband.
~ Virtual Marriage Retreat ~
Don’t miss my team members’ posts on embracing grace in marriage. You can find them here:
Darlene Schacht TimeWarpWife.com
Courtney Joseph WomenLivingWell.org
Sheila Gregoire ToLoveHonorAndVacuum.com
Lisa Jacobson Club31Women.com
Ashleigh Slater AshleighSlater.com