Leave the Undead out of Your Marriage Bed
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.
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.