You’ve got sexual baggage, and your sexual baggage is impacting your marriage. Your spouse has baggage too, but today we’re talking about your stuff. If you want better intimacy with your spouse, dealing with your own sexual story is a vital part of making that possible. As you stop hiding from yourself and God, you will be better able to stop hiding from your spouse as well.
Next time we’ll talk about how to help your spouse as they deal with their sexual baggage. But today, we’re focusing on the log in your own eye when it comes to intimacy. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Remember that God created you with the need, desire, and capacity for intimacy. In marriage, God planned for that to include sex. But taking the clothes off your body when there are still coverings over your soul does not lead to intimacy. True intimacy is no barriers between – physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Your role is to see your own hiding, and deal with it.
And yes, you are hiding!
Every single human being since Adam and Eve has been trying to cover themselves with fig leaves in some way. And it’s time you stopped.
How Are You Hiding?
What is your personal brand of fig leaves? You may well have gotten married hoping and expecting your spouse would make you OK, or fix your loneliness or porn addiction or shame about your past. God can and does use a godly marriage to bring much healing. But in even the best marriage that only happens to the degree you come out from your hiding.
One of the most common (though not the only) ways I see this happening is someone thinking that if their spouse were to give them sex that would mean intimacy. Sex does not equal intimacy! Getting sex from your spouse will not fix you. A desire for sex is God-given, but don’t fall into the trap of expecting sex to do what sex was never designed to do.
So, how you are hiding?
- Is your inner child embarrassed to come out and play? Does your spouse ever get to see that part of you?
- Are you working hard to impress your spouse – or yourself, trying to prove you’re worthy of love and care, instead of being the real you?
- What fears, dreams, longings, hopes are you keeping buried? Are you being honest with yourself about the state of your heart? And with your spouse?
- What walls do you tend to hide behind when conflict arises in your marriage? Do you isolate? Come out fighting? Stonewall? Project your issues onto them?
- Are you running to porn (or something else) to get sexual satisfaction instead of the hard work of vulnerably seeking intimacy with your spouse?
Those are only some of the possibilities of how you may be hiding. As long as you’re hiding, you can’t experience the seeing-and-being-seen kind of intimacy you desire with your spouse. And you’ll keep hiding until you deal with what’s under the surface of your own soul.
Coming Out From Hiding
You can’t stop hiding from your spouse until you stop hiding from yourself and from God. A loving spouse can sometimes make this somewhat easier, but it’s up to you. And you can stop hiding regardless of what your spouse does or doesn’t do.
So how do you stop hiding?
As far as intimacy goes, that starts with dealing with your sexual story. The good, the not so good, and perhaps the ugly. Things like, How did you learn about sex? What beliefs did you come to have about sex? What are your feelings about sex and intimacy now? How have you been harmed sexually? What parts of your sexual story have you been hiding from? Are there any ways in which you have harmed others sexually? What needs are under the surface that you have been trying to “fix” with sex?
This is not a matter of condemnation. Remember, it’s the enemy who condemns. Jesus comes to give life! Like when He addressed the woman He met at the well in Samaria; “You’ve had five husbands, and the one you’re with now is not your husband.” (see John 4:16-18) Jesus was saying, “I see you. I know your story, and I’m here to help you deal with it.”
Jesus looks at you and at your story with honesty and compassion. And that’s the way you can look at your own story also. In looking at your story with honesty and compassion, the bad stuff and the shame lose their power.
Dealing With Your Story
Dealing with your story means more than intellectually acknowledging your past. In order to move forward you will need to content with the beliefs, emotions, and wounds you’ve accumulated. You can choose to embrace healing where you need healing, to learn new beliefs and attitudes where needed, to develop new skills of being truly present with someone else such as your spouse.
The old pathways in your brain don’t go away in a moment. Your natural tendency to hide takes time to be retrained. You’ll naturally tend to return to the unhealthy ways you sought to fill up the empty places in your soul.
But once you’ve truly dealt with your sexual story you become able to choose differently. Inviting Jesus into your story changes its meaning. You are able to write a new chapter of your story with hope.
Imagine what it would feel like to truly be seen and known – and loved? That’s how God feels about you. And that’s God’s design for your marriage as well.
When you stop hiding from yourself, you can then choose how and when to be vulnerable with your spouse. That can feel scary! But there’s little that is more appealing than someone who is real. Vulnerability invites vulnerability. If your spouse is a person of good will, as you stop hiding you will be an invitation for them to stop hiding as well.
And that’s when real intimacy can begin.
Do It Now!
Dealing with your sexual story in this way, so you can come out of hiding, can feel scary and difficult. That’s why we’ve created the Sexpectations online course – to help you deal with your sexual story, find the transformation Jesus offers, and write the next chapter with hope.
Don’t wait any longer! I’m inviting you to join me in the Sexpectations online course, and take the next step in finding the wholeness Jesus offers.
It’s time to stop hiding, and experience true intimacy.
Your Turn: Where have you been hiding – from yourself, from your spouse, from God? Leave a comment below.
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- Only through dealing with your own sexual baggage can you stop hiding from your spouse. Painful though it is to do, that’s the only path to true intimacy. Tweet that.