In “Foolish Builders,” I wrote about some of the things I learned about my then-future husband when we were engaged in premarital sex. These lessons, as it were, were the same things that would run through my head when I was refusing and gate-keeping.
The lessons I learned were things that became unexamined assumptions about my husband. I wasn’t even aware that I thought these things until a recent reading posed questions that led me to a) think about what I’d learned about my husband in that pre-marriage behavior, and b) become more aware of some of my thoughts and feelings during refusal. I spent some time prayerfully considering the fruits of our premarital sexual activity; the phrases that came into my mind sounded suddenly familiar. I recognized them as part of the script that would run through my mind during the years I denied my husband sex. Fortunately, by the time I knew I had thought these things at one time, I no longer believed them.
I’d like to address some of the comments and questions I’ve received in response to that blog post. Readers have made several observations which I’d like to explore a bit.
I have an extreme, harsh, unfair, and unwarranted view of my husband. Yes. And no. I was not even aware that I thought these things about him until very recently. Extreme, harsh, fair, unwarranted, or ridiculous? If they were the only ways I defined my husband, then I would agree—but they aren’t. There are many other good lessons I learned about my husband before we married. In fact, many of these qualities are the same things that kept me married to him during very difficult times in our marriage.
I no longer hold these negative views. As our marriage has grown, I’ve come to see my husband’s good qualities more clearly and as a more substantial part of who he is than these lessons I learned years ago. I have a richer view of all of who he is now.
I’m just as much to blame for our premarital sex as my husband is. Of course I am! As I looked back at the fruits of our premarital sex, I also realized I had developed some beliefs about myself that affected our marriage in negative ways. I am still trying to sort through some of these things and simply haven’t written about them yet.
As I reflect on my refusal and gate-keeping, I see that I felt justified in my actions, and I remember that many times, the words in my mind were along the lines of “he doesn’t deserve it.” This puzzled me for a long time. I had absolutely no idea where that belief came from, yet that belief was central in what was going on inside me as I was refusing and gatekeeping. Identifying a connection between that and our premarital activity was a big step in being able to understand my refusal and move forward in healing our marriage.
I believe that premarital sex causes sexual refusal. Well, no, not exactly. I think premarital sex is one of the things that provides a shaky foundation for a marriage and can cause a lot of different problems. In my case, the foundation included thoughts about my husband that later became part of my refusal. In other marriages, premarital sex might lead to other kinds of problems—or maybe problems are rooted in other issues than premarital sex.
In writing that blog post, my prayer was that readers would think back to the foundations on which they built their own marriages. I don’t like what I discovered I’d thought about my husband any more than anyone who’s commented on that post. I was tempted to not post it at all. However, when I responded to God’s pull on me to begin this blog, I knew that it would involve sharing things that I don’t particularly like about myself.
I’ve been touched by some emails I’ve received today from readers who shared their own experiences with shaky foundations and marriages that are now battling the rain, the streams, and the winds and are about to crash. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and trusting me to pray for healing and restoration.
Foundations can be repaired and shored up, but in order to do that, we have to know where the weaknesses are in the foundation. Do you know where yours are?
Image credit gracey | morgueFile.com