I broke my toe last night. Hours after I told a little girl at Life Group the story of how when I was her age I fell down the stairs so often my dad used to sit in his chair and brace himself when I came running down the stairs because I fell that frequently. She had just fallen down the stairs and was embarrassed in physical pain. It sucks when pain is physical and emotional at the same time; as if humility has to come to our body and soul at the same time.
I have had a lot of that in my life time physical pain and emotional pain being concurrently experienced. My wedding night was one of those times. You see, I waited. I bought the promise of great married sex hook, line and sinker. I was not perfect in my previous dating relationships but I didn’t do it. And I was rewarded with a wedding night that was tantamount to rape, in the sense that I said no and he said yes. And well, I didn't quite acquiesce. He predictably fell asleep and I sobbed for hours and cried out to God.
“God, what in the Hell just happened? I thought you told me to wait? I thought you told all of us to wait? What happened to the wise counsel we received about taking things slowly and only proceeding as the gradually as the most cautious of us, which of course would be me? What happened to being blessed by all those ridiculously strict boundaries we maintained almost perfectly for nearly a year?”
My honey moon was a horror movie. I cried and sobbed and begged to not have to do it again. I begged him to stop. There was no stopping. And he was so “nice” about it. He was so loving and kind as he calmly told me to just fake it until the feelings follow. With his empty careless promises of doing what I was uncomfortable with and that by doing it I would eventually become at least comfortable. BULLSHIT.
But how was I to know? I had never had sex before. I was so confused; who was I supposed to talk to about this? He had been married and had plenty of partners before and after his last marriage. He was the “expert” and of course he knew better. Besides this was my wifely duty. I was responsible to meet his needs. If I didn’t, even I knew I could throw my own Bible in my face.
Eventually there was a sort of truce, I wasn’t doing it anymore. I just wasn’t for months at a time. And he would wear me down/force me into it and we would again. Then the truce would start again after sobbing and pain and more begging on my part. Unbeknownst to me his part of this truce predictably included lots of porn and strip clubs and sleeping on the couch. I would beg him to come to bed. Trying to explain that his not sleeping next to me directly correlated with my uncomfortableness in our sexual relationship. He would say he was going to come to bed and I would hear him crawl in about 5 in the morning or not at all. He’d sometimes say I’m sorry, I fell asleep on the couch. Sometimes he would say nothing at all.
On my birthday, 8 months into our marriage I woke up, made coffee and went to check email in the office. He followed me in and I turned on the computer to see hundreds of images of pornography. Happy birthday. Things I had never seen before and spent years trying to forget. Some of them are still stuck rattling around in my brain, cropping up at the most inconvenient of times.
I threw him out. Seriously, 8 months in? No desire to work on our sexual relationship, no desire to even have a relationship with me. I thought it was over. Perhaps it should have been. But I got the stellar advice of not abandoning my marriage because if I let him down in this time I would sink with him. Not great advice. Note to self, sometimes a marriage can be saved after vows are broken and sometimes your partner is hell bent on your and his own destruction.
So I stayed, we tried counseling. Our counselor tried to teach him to touch me with kindness and not demand his own way. Yeah, that didn’t happen. And frankly I was so wounded it would have taken a long time of kindness and lack of expectation to bring me back from that place of brokenness.
After several months he moved back in. We celebrated, he committed himself to sobriety, meaning no porn and no strip clubs and no sex with anyone but me. It didn’t work. I was back to being ignored, marginalized, angry, and demanded of. And the fruit of this was destruction, more and more destruction of me. I’m sure he was destroying himself as well but his mask was so much more well-crafted than mine that no one, myself included, saw his downward spiral. And because of my womanness and personality my disintegration was incredibly visible.
A lack of wisdom and overly fertile reproductive system led to babies and babies led to ignoring the problem and ignoring the problem led to depression and my feeling more and more abandoned. And eventually that led to me just knowing that God did not give a rat’s ass about me. There was no way I could reconcile the hell in which I was living with my image of my God who I knew loved the world and loved people.
So I decided, it was not even a great leap on my part to decide this, that something was more wrong with me than with the rest of the world. I mean sure God died for me and I may or may not be in Heaven one day but between then and now God just didn’t give a shit. Somehow I was more fundamentally flawed then most other people. I mean just look at me, my own husband wouldn’t even sleep in bed with me. And if you look at me of course you can understand why. I mean what man in his right mind would ever want to share a marriage bed with this. I certainly wouldn’t if I were him.
His mother did a lot to help me understand his position. She would regularly talk about how “obese” mothers made bad mothers even in the animal kingdom. And how it made sense that I didn’t have much of a milk supply with my first born because overweight goats don’t have a milk supply either and their young often have to be sustained by other goats.
Duh, I mean if I couldn’t even be a good mother because of what I weigh than how on earth would I be an acceptable wife? I mean really, what was I expecting letting myself go to this extent? Of course he would go elsewhere it totally made sense and was completely justified. I justified it for him, she did as well, and he did in his own head.
There is so much more here. So much to ponder and process. These were by far the early years of my marriage and there have been many more wounds and much, much more healing since all of this has taken place. But it is still painful to remember. What wounds my heart now is that there are so many women and men in the Christian community living in this hell. It is a specially crafted by Satan hell, because he knows that the Church will help to keep them in it. He knows just how to pervert the Truth of God enough to keep us there. And he knows if we remain; if we allow ourselves to believe these untruths about ourselves and one another, he will take the men, women and children all down in one fell swoop.
Sisters and Brothers don’t believe the lie. Men, if you’re buying into the lie of meeting your own needs through porn, you are going to school every time you do that. You are teaching yourself and the women around you that: a real body will never be enough for you, one body will never be enough for you and your wife’s body will never be enough for you. If you don’t think she knows, you’re lying to yourself and full of shit. She knows. We all know. She might not know exactly what you are doing but she knows in her heart that something about how you are treating her and women is off. You cannot love the women in your life and objectify other women at the same time. You will end up objectifying all of us. Our hearts are not made to work that way. Women are not like toilet paper don’t use them and throw them away.
And women, if this is happening in your life. Be brave. Be strong and courageous. This is not your fault. You are not responsible for someone else’s sin in their life, no matter how closely related to them you are. How you look, how often you have sex with your spouse, what you do or do not do in the bedroom does not excuse this behavior. Should you have sex, yes, of course. But it should be mutually enjoyable. Will it be awesome every time, probably not. Should it be great more often than not, definitely yes. Will you want to every single time, meh, I don’t think so. But your sex life should be about both of you. Not just one of you. And if you are not enjoying it, that’s a problem. If you feel like a prostitute, that’s a problem. If you shudder when your husband touches you, that’s a problem. Do both of you a favor, respect yourself enough to figure out what’s wrong. Respect yourself enough to figure out why you don’t “work.” Respect him enough to be polite and kind and talk about the problem if there is one. Real men don’t want to be suffered through and tolerated. They want you to enjoy yourself and they’re probably really insecure about why you aren’t.
Don’t use God as an excuse to numb yourself thereby enabling you to get through a part of life you hate. That’s not what He wants for you. He loves you all of you. You and your spouse should love each other the same way.
Blessings – S