Leave the Undead out of Your Marriage Bed

June 29, 2013

in Series, Sexuality

A couple days ago I said your wife’s past could be “affecting her, and you, and your marriage, and probably your sex life.” Unresolved past issues can hurt all areas of our lives, but they are particularly troublesome in the bedroom.

Sex Problems © Ambro | freedigitalphotos.net

Because sex affects our minds and bodies in powerful and unique ways, sexual injury is deeper and more difficult to resolve. Because sex is private, sexual injuries are better hidden, and easier to deny. This means some go into marriage with significant sexual problems they honesty did not think they had.

The past can affect sexuality in different ways. The exact same trauma will cause one woman to become sexually closed, while another becomes promiscuous. Sexual pleasure before marriage results in one woman looking forward to married sex, but another reacts by repressing her sexuality and thus being unable to enjoy sex in her marriage. It is common for a woman to initially react by becoming more sexual, and later (after marriage, or after a child is born) switching to being non-sexual.

Two important points:

  • God intended all married folks to desire and enjoy sex. If your wife doesn’t enjoy sex, it means something’s wrong. That is not “how God made her”!
  • While you may have added to her dislike of sex, the odds are high most of the causes are things that happened to her long before you met her.

If you’re not the primary reason she dislikes or has little interest in sex, then focusing on you and your behaviour isn’t going to fix things. The problem is she feels the pain of her past because of you, or at least because of your interest in sex. Her reasoning is if you didn’t want sex, or didn’t want it so much, or didn’t want to do it with the lights on, she wouldn’t feel the pain. While this is more or less true, you’re not the source of the pain, just the trigger.

Telling her this is all well and good, but if you do anything to add her pain, that becomes a natural and easy focal point for her. The best way to help her see her past is a factor is to work on removing anything you’re doing that distracts her from the past.

Please don’t be too hard on her for wanting to pin this on you. If she acknowledges her past is a factor she’ll have to think about being molested, being raped, or being touched by Uncle Jack. Alternately, she will have to admit she chose to have sex when she was 16, or flirted with a guy who she had a one night stand with, or agreed to sex acts she found disgusting in an effort to keep a boyfriend. Those aren’t the kind of things anyone wants to deal with, and making it about you protects her from her painful past.

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Thank you for this post. Your last paragraph captures exactly why it can take so much courage for a woman to make changes. Making real change can require looking at painful past experiences, and sometimes it just hurts too much.


My wife came with sexual “baggage” I knew our journey through life would be rough.I told her not to trust me but let me earn it. When I told her that I loved her, I was seeking her highest greatest good in everything.I would do everything I could make her feel secure as she worked through the issues.I told her that I would guard her heart as gently as I would hold and cradle a baby bird.I gave her room to cry, scream, ask why, sleep with the light on, pull away if she needed to, and even blame me without belittling her.Whatever made her feel secure I would do.Fast forward 10 years of marriage.My wife is a confident vibrant woman of God because, I believe, I gave her the secure surroundings to grieve what she lost, and learn to trust me to give her what she needed.Men…be gentle and patient.You will one day be able to look back and see your wife’s healing and know you played a huge part in it.


I wish I could say my journey has been blissful, but living in a delusional world is not for me.The climb has not been without problems.One point that I did not include is that my wife is bipolar.She is stable now, but in the beginning, it was chaotic.She broke off our engagement because she was not sure that I could handle her condition.When a man knows within his heart that he is better man with his bride than without her, the hurdles pale in comparison to the completion that he feels when he holds her as she agonizes over her past.Men need to learn how to let their wives cry and agonize IN A SAFE PLACE about the past without the need to break out the tools and fix what is wrong.I have to admit that I am a technician by trade, so learning how to resist the urge has been tough in the beginning.The best “fix” for what ails my wife is when I threaten her that I will go get a set of pom poms and lead a cheer.Really, the best thing for my wife is to know that I have her back in all things….that I am her best fan.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@HappilyMarried Your selflessness is an inspiration! I wish I had been as wise! Got to the same place, but probably with a lot more hurt for than you and your bride.

Usually guys who do this only do it after years of doing something else - something that adds significantly to the problems. 

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