How Past Sexual Abuse Has Affected Intimacy In My Marriage

Chastity was always something my parents valued. They told me I could not date until I was 16. The youngest in my class and very book smart, it was easy for my immature self to avoid dating.

When I went to college, I was surprised at the attention I received from the opposite sex so quickly. In high school, I was easily overlooked. Naturally I was naïve and unprepared for the dating world. I thought the first boy that asked me out wanted a long-term, committed relationship. When he cheated on me and dumped me for his high school sweetheart back home, I was brokenhearted.

The next young man had just broken up with a long-time girlfriend. He told me he didn’t want to date, then kissed me when we were alone. I justified some dating behaviors with, “It’s okay. We’re going to get married.” One day, though, he pushed my comfort level. His idea of saving himself for marriage was only limited to intercourse. When I realized this, I broke it off and re-dedicated my life to pursuing Christ and what He wanted for my life.

While pursuing God, another young man tried pursuing me (whilst dating a girl on my floor). They broke up and he persisted. I brushed him off, but I was still infatuated and flattered by the attention. One night I stopped by his house before going to hang out with some girlfriends. He was on the phone drinking a beer, but waved me in. I wanted him to see my new outfit as I thought I looked cute. He got off the phone, walked over and kissed me. My elation quickly turned to dismay and then terror as he swept me off my feet and onto his couch. What was less than five minutes on the clock was an eternity in my heart, mind, and soul. I was crying out to God, “PLEASE! Save me!” He threatened to harm me if I screamed. I was forced into a situation I did not choose or desire. I thought I would be raped, and possibly worse. Suddenly he got up, grabbed his beer and went into another room. I put myself together and fled to my car, returning to my dorm room. I curled into a ball, sobbing, alone.

I could see multiple ways out, ways to have prevented this from happening. Two years later I met my husband. After he proposed, I then told him the story, but still didn’t see the lack of fault on my part. I feared he wouldn’t want to marry me after he found out, but he simply said he “wished he could be there to hold me.” (We were long-distance most of our dating/engaged relationship)

How Past Sexual Abuse Affected Intimacy In My Marriage

On our wedding night, I didn’t realize that part of me was still fearful and untrusting. We had both waited until marriage and had nothing to be ashamed of. Yet, when it came time to be intimate, I was terrified. Leading up to the wedding I had asked trusted women in my life what to do on the wedding night, if they were scared about their wedding night, and nobody seemed to understand my line of questioning.

Though my husband was a complete gentleman, I did not trust him. I felt tainted, used, damaged. Never did he pressure me, but the gift of my very self was too much for me to offer. I was a failure in my own mind. I was in tears, devastated that the one thing he’d waited his entire life for was the one thing I couldn’t seem to give him. I had not dealt with the hurt and betrayal inflicted upon me and it carried over to the one person who was completely deserving of my trust.

Throughout our week-long honeymoon we kept trying and it got better, but it wasn’t until later that I discussed my college experience with my mother, who was studying to be a licensed counselor. I was sure she would be ashamed of me and braced myself for a lecture. She was the first to tell me I was a victim and that I had been sexually assaulted. Those words gave me freedom I wasn’t sure I could embrace. You see, victims blame themselves.
I believe that God wants us to be free. Free to experience intimacy in our relationship with our husbands, and that our enemy desperately wants to prevent this from happening. Like Joseph, though, God can use evil for His good. He can redeem the vilest of acts.

I still struggle with fear of failure, of expectation. In my own mind, if I feel that I am supposed to deliver on demand or that a romantic dinner is going to automatically lead to an exciting night of intimacy, I psych myself out. Instantly I am not the one in control and my fears are triggered again. There is a lack of trust within me that affects not only my intimate relationship with my husband, but also with God.

I must remember that God sees me as His daughter, covered by Jesus’ blood. I am holy and blameless in His sight. If I did not choose for it to happen, then it was NOT my choice and is not a sin I am responsible for.

God bless my husband who has been and continues to work through this with me. As I learn that God’s grace is a gift that I already have to the fullest and my actions are separate from His love – there is no worthiness nor is there unworthiness – then I can live in freedom. I can still be the spotless bride of Christ I always dreamed I’d be.

– Tammy

Author biography:
Tammy has been married to her best friend for almost nine years and has three lovely daughters. She has been teaching piano and voice since 2004 and was recently hired to teach elementary music at her daughters’ private school after staying at home for six years. She loves God and loves music. She shares what God is teaching her from time to time at

My husband and I on our wedding day

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