It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! Today’s guest post is from Julie Sibert, a good friend who blogs at Intimacy in Marriage. I asked her to address a topic I felt I couldn’t speak on, since I’m not in that situation: how to get rid of baggage from a previous marriage when it comes to the bedroom.
I didn’t ask her to talk about this because I don’t take divorce seriously; I do, and I do not condone divorce at all, though I do believe that in some marriages you have no choice.
However, many of my readers are in second marriages. I see it in the comments and the emails that I receive, and many of them are struggling. I do believe that God gives grace to those who have chosen to now live for Him, even if they did not before. And He also gives grace to those who have remarried after heart breaking divorces that they did not want. So please, don’t turn the comments into “you shouldn’t publish this because you’re permitting divorce”, because I’m not. Read here and here to see that. But marriages are in turmoil, and I want to offer all the practical help I can where people ARE AT NOW.
I remember it all clearly.
The struggle I had with sex in my previous marriage. It’s not that it was my struggle alone. It was our struggle. But we never really handled it that way. In fact, we never really handled it at all.
While sexual struggle wasn’t our only issue, I have no lingering doubt about the role it played in landing us in divorce court.
The hollow words that our relationship was “irretrievably broken” still echoed off the courtroom walls as the judge severed our marital bond. Doing so seemed as routine to him as drinking a cup of coffee. (Probably was, considering about half of all marriages don’t last).
Flash forward a few years and I found myself in love again…about to become a wife. Again.
So what about sex this time around? Would the struggles that plagued my first marriage find footing in my second marriage?
Not if I had anything to say about it (which of course I did). So do you, if you are remarried. If you are wondering if sexual intimacy can indeed look different – better – than it did in your previous marriage, I promise you it can.
Here are three steps to amazing sexual intimacy second time around:
1. Believe you are capable of change.
I know, it sounds like I’m about to ooze sappy “self-help” slogans all over you, doesn’t it? Not so much. I’m just going to speak simple God-ordained truth instead.
The Lord is all about making things new. Try as we may to edge Him out of this area of sex, He’s actually quite interested. He’s just generous that way.
In my first marriage, I was a big part of the problem sexually. Unavailable. Uninterested. Unwilling to understand my own body and my own pleasure. Resistant to even bring the matter up for discussion.
You get the picture. From day one of my first marriage until the day he walked out the door, sex was a painful bewildering journey for us.
Honestly, it would have been easy to slide into that path in my second marriage, because let’s face it – sexual mediocrity was all I knew. But I intentionally decided I wanted and deserved something healthier.
I was capable of change. You are too.
If you glance back on your previous marriage and see any sexual struggles that you created, contributed to or suffered from, decide right now to do the hard work to heal those areas of pain.
Face your own tangled mess. And stop letting it wreak havoc in your heart, head and bed.
2. Embrace that your current spouse is not your previous spouse.
I don’t know your story, but I’m going to err on the side of two optimistic assumptions: You and your spouse love each other, and you want this marriage to be stronger and happier than your last marriage.
When I remarried 10 years ago, I knew what would be crucial for our wellbeing is that I not let my view of my current husband be tarnished by the pain from my last one. They are two different guys.
If you find that the sexual difficulties that tripped you up last time are trying to set up camp this time, get brave. Call those things out and say to your husband, “Sex was a big struggle in my first marriage. I want things to look different for us. I love you. I need our sexual intimacy to be a priority for us.”
My educated guess is that your spouse wants that too. No matter where you are in your re-marriage, you and your husband have the opportunity to create something amazing sexually. Embrace the privilege to learn this man’s body. And allow him the privilege to learn yours.
3. Count the costs. Count the gains.
Want to have fabulous soul-drenching sexual intimacy this time around? Sit down with pen and paper and list all the benefits that would come from that.
Put it down on paper.
Get specific on what nurtured sexual intimacy would do for your marriage, your physical and emotional wellbeing, the stability of your home and family life, and your outlook on life.
I’d bet my last dollar that if you saw it all there on paper, you’d fight harder for it. You’d better appreciate what is at stake. Count the costs and count the gains. You’ll see what you and your husband can create together.
As for me, sex this time around has been better than I even imagined. (And I have a pretty vivid imagination, so that’s saying a lot.)
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog who refuses to stay in the fence.
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