When I was writing last week’s post about Giving Your (Sex) Life To God, I was thinking a lot about what it means to embrace your sexuality in a way that is godly, and uplifting to your spouse.
While sifting through these thoughts, I kept coming back to the question: what would I want to say to the Christian wife who is struggling to embrace her sexuality and the way God made her?
So Instead of trying to do that all in one post, I thought I would tackle that question in a follow-up post… So here it is! If you'd like to read that first post, you can click here.
Now, if this idea of “embracing” and encouraging you in your sexuality already has you on edge, then hang in there. Take a deep breath. And relax. Because I’m not trying to change you.
All I am doing is trying to give you a glimpse of the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ. Freedom that you can have, and that will set you free from whatever is holding you back.
Most of the time it feels safer to stay restrained; shut down. Safer not to “realize” that part of yourself to it’s fullest extent; safer not to allow that desire or those feelings to bubble up inside you.
Yes, I’ve been there before. As have many wives. For a hundred different reasons...
Maybe you’re feeling dissatisfied with your body and the way it does or doesn’t look
Maybe you’re feeling neglected and alone in your marriage
Maybe you’re feeling guilty, ashamed, or conflicted with your desire be intimate with your husband
Maybe you’re struggling with past sins or mistakes opening up new wounds in your marriage
Maybe you’re struggling with past trauma, and hyper-vigilance so that it won’t happen again
Maybe you don’t think you deserve to experience sexual fulfillment
Maybe you think it’s not important… or maybe you're not even sure that you can.
All of these ideas (and more) might be a reason why you are hesitant to unleash your sexuality in your marriage, but here’s the challenge:
When we give over this area of our lives to God, He actually encourages us to lean into our sexuality, and embrace it as part of who we are - not run from it.
In the previous post I discussed how a straightforward interpretation of God’s word reveals a few important things about our female sexuality. And if this is something you're struggling with, then these three things are where you want to start:
1. God designed us with a sexual nature (it’s part of being human!)
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it..."
2. God called his creation “good” (it pleases God!)
"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good"
3. Before sin there was no shame (God’s perfect world is one where you are not ashamed!)
"And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
So our femininity and sexuality, when being expressed as God intended, is a good thing that is pleasing to God, and is something we should not feel ashamed of.
It’s part of the way were made. So don't give up hope.
As I thought and prayed over this topic, a single phrase kept coming to mind…
Love never calls you to be less than who you are. Love calls you to be more of who you are.
Love calls out the best in you. It calls you to be more of the woman God created you to be.
And that's the truth whether we're talking about how your husband loves you, or how God loves you.
Both should encourage you to be more of who you were created to be, more of who you truly are in God's eyes.
Let’s play the “what if” game…
Let’s just take a moment and say that Adam and Eve never sinned. You are living in the garden, in perfect harmony with the Lord. "Naked and unashamed" as it says. How do you think you would feel about your body? How would you feel about your shape, your hair, your skin, your muscles? How do you think you would feel about your husband, and the way God made him? Wouldn’t you feel freer, lighter, or more liberated to enjoy the way God made you to be?
No shame. All joy.
That’s how God intended us to be with our sexuality, too! The original plan (before sin ruined everything) was for us to enjoy that part of us, as a wholesome, beautiful, and wonderful part of our marriage and ourselves. Unfortunately, the world usually tries to get us as far away from that ideal as possible - in a variety of ways. The enemy wants us to settle for less. The enemy is the thief of joy.
Your sexuality is a gift, given to you by God. It is a blessing to you, and a blessing to your husband, and it’s meant to be enjoyed by both of you! It's meant to build up your marriage, and bring you closer. And you have the pleasure, as a wife, of being able to fully awaken this part of you! As it says in Song of Songs:
"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." Song of Songs 8:4
So guess what? Now's the time! You've entered into the safe space of marriage where you are able (and encouraged, even!) to let this facet of your being shine!
The difficult part is overcoming the messages we have internalized about our sexuality that are not in line with the way God created it to be. That may mean dismantling a negative view of your body, your sexuality, or of sex in general, but don't worry. The freedom you find in Christ and in adopting his view of your sexuality is worth it.
Now, I don’t know if you noticed this, but almost all of those concerns outlined above (the reasons you might have for letting your sexuality stay dormant) are rooted in fear.
Fear that you’re not enough, fear that you won’t be accepted, fear that you will lose control, fear that you will be rejected. You are afraid that things will get worse for you and your marriage instead of better. You're afraid that being sexual means making yourself vulnerable.
And boy, do I understand that! Fear is real! And vulnerability is ... well, terrifying.
Allowing yourself to be really seen (literally and figuratively in this case!) takes courage, and faith. Faith that following God and trusting his design for you will lead to good things.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
And I'm willing to bet that if you're reading this, that you could use a little bit of that hope in your life and in your marriage.
So I'm here to say, that something better exists. It is real. That there is hope. You don't have to disown a piece of who you are. You don't have to hide.
But if you're not hiding anymore, that means that you will have to do the big, scary thing... you will need to allow yourself to be truly seen.
You will need to confront your fear by being courageously vulnerable.
And if you need a little inspiration, here's a quote from a vulnerability researcher I greatly admire:
So I encourage you today to let go of the fear, and the messages of shame, and to take hold of the promises of God, because you, my friend, are who I’d like to talk to today.
This is a letter to the wife who struggles with embracing her sexuality, and this is the message I believe God put on my heart to share with you.
Imagine this from God, to you.
To the wife who struggles with embracing her sexuality,
Love never calls you to be less of who you are. Love calls you to be more of who you are.
The same way I call you to be more of who you are.
More of my image bearer, more of my lover, more of my child, more of my wonderful creation.
More creative. More kind. More funny. More wild. More passionate. More curious. More fearless. More knowledgeable. More compassionate. More skilled. More selfless.
More of the way I have designed you. More good. More loving. More naked and unashamed.
The way things were before.
Before sin, before shame, and before uncertainty.
I call you to be you in your purest form.
Delight yourself in me.
This is a rule: Love delights in one another and the more “you” you become, the more delight you bring to the one who loves you.
Love calls one another higher, and would never ask you to suppress, suffocate, or bury part of who you are.
Love encourages you to be all that I have made you to be.
Love encourages you to be multi-faceted and complex – not simple.
Love encourages you to be feminine.
Love encourages you to be emotional; Love encourages you to be rational.
Love encourages you to be sexual.
Love encourages you to embrace all that I have created you to be.
Lean into your identity, don’t run from it.
Trust me with the rest.