Take a step toward confession and repentance.

Note: If your husband is in unrepentant and on-going sin against you, if you are in an intentional season of healing that requires you to be able to say no to sex, or if you are experiencing medical issues that interfere with sexual intimacy, this post is not for you.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:3

I’ve said before that when it comes to sexual intimacy, it isn’t always wrong to say no—but it IS wrong to always say no.

Sex is an important part of God’s design for marriage. Sex provides us a unique—and totally awesome—pleasure. It helps us develop intimacy and oneness with each other. It provides a means of connection unlike any other. When sexual intimacy is lacking in our marriages, we miss out on one of God’s most amazing gifts to us.

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Sex is such an important part of marriage that we are told not to deprive each other of sexual intimacy:

Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5

God’s Word tells us not to deprive each other. When we do, we are in sin.

This was a hard, hard thing for me to come to terms with.

When I began this journey, I didn’t think of my refusal as sin. I didn’t see my actions as wrong. I saw everything through the lenses of my own hurt and heartache. I could barely recognize how deeply my husband was hurting. And that was all I could handle at the time.

Over the next few years, I worked on my approach to sex. I trained myself out of an automatic “no” response. I practiced relaxing and enjoying sex, and I saw that practice pay off. My husband grew more content. My marriage lost much of the tension that had defined it for so long.

As I let go of my old patterns of interacting with my husband about sex, it became easier for me to understand that my husband’s hurt had been caused by my own actions. I still didn’t think I had been wrong exactly, but I was able to connect what I did with how he felt.

Eventually, I began to see that not only was my husband more content, so was I. The work I’d done on sex was making a positive difference for me, too—not just for Big Guy or for our marriage. As I saw how our emotional connection was strengthened by sexual intimacy, it finally dawned on me that I had been . . . (gulp) wrong.

My refusal to pursue a healthy sexual relationship with my husband had been wrong.

It had been a sin.

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As Christians, we are to confess our sins to each other. We are to reconcile our relationships. Since I was clearly walking the walk of repentance, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need to go to the formality of talking the talk.

After walking this journey for 2 ½ year, I realized that as much as I didn’t want to do it, I needed to. My sin had put a division in my relationship with God as well as in my relationship with Big Guy. To truly repent and walk in obedience to Him, I needed to do what God’s Word says to do:

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 

Confess. Be reconciled. Be forgiven.

Sigh.

I had to confess my sin to Big Guy, repent of what I had done, and ask for his forgiveness.

My relationship with God required my confession and repentance. My heart needed me to say the words, just as my husband’s heart needed to hear them.

I went to him humbly. Tears streamed down my face. I knelt in front of him and wept for the way my actions had hurt him. When I asked for his forgiveness, I knew that the words I had just said were part of my own healing as well as his. Even before my husband spoke his words of forgiveness, I knew I’d received God’s.

My sigh of resignation turned into a great sigh of relief as I exhaled my grief, my guilt, and the last of the wall I’d built between my husband and me.

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Wherever you are on your own journey to reclaim sexual intimacy in your marriage, I want to encourage you today to take a step toward confession and repentance.

Maybe today you are struggling to see past your own hurt. You can barely recognize your husband’s. You aren’t sure you believe that sex is a means of emotional connection for men. Take a first step. Acknowledge in your own mind that he is hurting. Decide to conquer your challenges with sex. Even though it is all in your own head, it is still a step.

Perhaps you’re far enough along in your journey that you’ve glimpsed a connection between your resistance to sex and your husband’s pain. Take the step of saying, “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you.”

If you’re making good progress and are seeing improvement in your marriage, take another step. Tell your husband, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” (Yes, I do know how hard it is to say these words.) “I know I’ve hurt you, and here’s what I’m doing to work on it and put my refusal in the past.”

At some point, you will likely be able to recognize that in depriving your husband of a healthy sexual relationship, you have sinned against him. Oh, my friends, this can be a difficult thing to realize. When you reach this point, it is time to take the final step of confession and repentance. They are hard words to say, but they are words that heal.

Confess your sin to your husband. Repent. Ask for his forgiveness. Pray for him so that you may be healed.

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Begin where you are—and keep moving forward.

Keep moving until you are able to repent of your sin and ask your husband for his forgiveness.

If you’ve been walking your repentance for years and have not confessed your sin to your husband, it is time. Give him the words. You may both be surprised at the balm of healing these words are to your husband’s heart—and to yours.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:3

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Image credit|tagul.com

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7 Thoughts on “Walk Toward Repentance

  1. trespasser on November 21, 2016 at 9:04 am said:

    This is absolutely brilliant! You have been blessed with an insight and heart to care that a mere ” thank you” simply falls way short.
    Since my wife has never had to say “I’m Sorry”, or is it the ability to, just reading this brings tears to my eyes as I know how desperately I need to hear this from her.
    God Bless You!

    • Having our experiences and feelings acknowledged can be very reassuring.

    • Trespasser,

      My wife I similar to yours in that regard. I’m sorry just is not in her vocabulary, and that was heartbreaking to me for a long time. I finally realized that it is just a sign of her brokenness, and it has nothing to do with me. We all come with our own baggage, and that is just part of hers.

      I don’t say that to dismiss your desire to be acknowledged. I know what that feels like and to put it bluntly, it hurts. Ultimately tho, I know that it is just another thing that requires forgiveness, and try not to hang onto it. Sometimes I do ok, sometimes not so well. It is better to make the effort than to hang onto the hurt, and my marriage is better because of it.

      Hope you get the acknowledgement you crave, but if not, I hope you can just let it go.

  2. FrazzledSadHusband on November 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm said:

    Heard a very good sermon on how Satan uses un-forgiveness as a stumbling block for believers. Search youtube for Joyce Meyer “Do yourself a favor and forgive” Part 4,

    Not to mention all the good articles on this site regarding forgiveness.

  3. trespasser on November 25, 2016 at 7:58 am said:

    I genuinely believe I have forgiven her! I know it a result of her neglectful childhood and am sad for her pain.
    It would just feel so loving for her to simply acknowledge the pain I have suffered. But I know that requires her accept some sort of blame which she cannot do at all. More forgiveness I know, not a problem, just a dream I have to see her accept some responsibility for my suffering and internal torment.
    I’ve been caught daydreaming!

  4. What if you are the husband and although she has repented, she still avoids by coming to bet late ie, I am half asleep or asleep, she begrudgingly says yes and lays there.

    What if the above has gone on so long you no longer desire her? Truly would need help here.

    • I’m sorry you’re hurting. What you describe does not sound like repentance to me, but I simply don’t know enough to say that for certain. For a woman who has a years-long pattern of refusing to have a sexual relationship, being an active participant in sex can be incredibly difficult. Even just lying there for sex (as opposed to outright refusing to have sex) can take a lot of courage and effort. Although I know it feels like it’s about you, it’s really more about her–and it could be that this is part of the process of her growing toward a place of healthy sexuality. Without hearing from her, I just don’t know. Her actions suggest that her heart hasn’t truly repented, but it is possible that her heart is where it should be and she is still training her mind and body to follow along.

      I really don’t know what to say to a husband in this situation, because I don’t know what it is like. However, I often hear from women who have reached a point of not desiring their husbands anymore after years of emotional disconnection. What I say to them is this: 1) Pray for your spouse’s walk with God, and 2) Pray for both of your hearts to heal. Most marriage problems are not one-sided, and most of the time both spouses are hurting.

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