July 16, 2008
“I Love You”
The Heart of a Married Woman Filled With Shame
“The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25 (NIV)
My husband, Jeff, is a treasure in my life. He has provided me with unconditional love and is my very best friend. We have 4 children and a healthy marriage, but that didn’t come without a price. For a long time I carried much of my childhood baggage, especially shame and fear.
If you read yesterday’s devotion, you know that I carried some heavy burdens. Being sexually molested at age 7, being there when my grandfather had his stroke, the brokenness of my family, and looking for love in all the wrong places still accompanied me through married life. I knew how much Jesus loved me, yet the shame of my past would not leave.
We have an enemy in this world named Satan. He knows our weaknesses and what brings us down. He used my past to keep me from totally experiencing the fullness of God, and I listened to him.
Intimacy was a struggle for me. Even though I was married, I still felt dirty and ashamed during our moments of close physical contact. The lights were off, “Please don’t look at me,” I would say. For a while, my motivation for making love with my husband was to get pregnant. Of course my husband needed more of me than that. I needed more of him too, but I didn’t know how to overcome my insecurity in this area.
Jeff would look at me with those bedroom eyes and I would roll my eyes at him. He would reach out to hold my hand or touch me and I would respond, “Oh please not now honey, I’m exhausted.”
Occasionally when he’d had all the rejection he could take, he would blow up shouting, “I love you! You are beautiful and I want us to share everything! I need you to love me. I need your touch. God made us to need that from each other. Don’t do this to us!”
Instead of taking these words to heart and hearing them as they were intended, I continued to listen to the thief in my life. The one who was stealing my joy and whispering lies of shame and guilt from my past so that they would still have a hold on me.
Lord, help me to be a normal wife, the wife my husband deserves, I prayed.
I began reading books by Christian women sharing their life experiences. My struggles were really no different than many others. That brought me a little peace. I gained confidence reading how they were able to overcome the lies of the enemy and restore their lives through accepting the grace and peace offered by Jesus Christ. I believed this, but I wasn’t taking hold of it for my life.
I decided that I would slowly introduce real intimacy into my marriage. I began scheduling time to be intimate with my husband each Monday night. By planning it, I had time to mentally and spiritually prepare. I would pray about it, make sure the kids were fed and bathed early, and even spruce myself up a bit. I began to look forward to Monday nights, in fact I enjoyed them so much, I eventually added Thursday nights to our schedule too. My husband thought he had died and gone to heaven!
Today, there is no need to schedule intimate moments, they naturally occur. God’s Word has been crucial in reminding me of who I am in Christ. When I go without it, I begin to slip. I have to be intentional on listening to His voice so I don’t believe that other voice that is waiting to replace God’s. Today, I can be naked and not ashamed, and with God’s help, my marriage will last until death us do part.
Dear Lord, You do not want me living in the past or believing lies about myself. Help me to live in the fullness of Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Confident Woman, Knowing Who You Are in Christ by Anabel Gilham
Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes
The story doesn’t end here. Melissa learned that she and Jeff had opposite love languages. Visit Melissa’s blog and read how marriage counseling and learning to show love differently helped to save their marriage.
What lies are you believing?
Does your past keep you from living fully now?
Have you discussed your feelings with your husband? With God?
John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)
Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (NIV)
© 2008 Melissa Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 16 July 2008.