17 Feb How can you deal with past sexual trauma in your current marriage?
How can you deal with past sexual trauma in your current marriage? It makes it hard to be intimate and puts a strain on the relationship sometimes.
Tragically, this question is very common for women today. About 1 in 4 women report having been sexually abused, and there’s probably more that don’t say anything or even realize it happened. I shared my story of abuse in high school in our marriage book Real Marriage over 10 years ago. and have listened to many similar stories over the years. I dated an abusive guy (who had also been abused) in high school for over 2 years, but I didn’t realize it was abuse because I thought it was what I deserved. My identity was so flawed and broken that I believed the enemy’s lies and took on shame, which trapped me further in my sin and the sin against me. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female He created them. And God blessed them.” God clearly gave us our identity and blessed us when He created us in His image, but the enemy has also tried to steal that from us since the beginning of time. I had believed the enemy over God and it caused a lot of damage in my life.
Thankfully God rescued me, gave me Mark as my husband, and worked on my identity in Him. It wasn’t until after being married several years with 5 kids, I was folding laundry explaining something from my past to Mark and realized in that moment, “I was sexually abused and treated in a way that doesn’t honor God and I didn’t deserve that.” I started to see how I had hid, lied, and protected that pain in my life up to that point. Shame wanted to overtake me, but Mark found a way to get help for me to heal and process that trauma. I wish I could say that it was an easy road to a renewed me, but it wasn’t. However, I can say it was worth the pain of digging up and bringing to light what happened to me and the sinful habits I created to protect that pain rather than deal with it and heal. I saw that it negatively affected my marriage and intimacy for many years, until I got help. I didn’t want that for my marriage, so I dug in and asked God continuously to heal me from the inside out. I realized I had a father wound underneath it all that lead to me feeling inadequate and broken. I had to start with that wound first to get to the layers on top. I attended a week-long program for trauma that was one of the worst experiences of my life, but God still used it to help me in my journey. I only mention that so you that you choose prayerfully and wisely where to get help. I have found that most women who have experienced sexual trauma need to go to a Christian counselor that specializes in trauma. A non-Christian can’t help you work through the demonic or identity aspects, so it’s only temporary change. Trauma counselors know how to understand the root issues and the triggers that come with it. Our husbands can feel helpless, but also frustrated when they can’t “fix” us or emotionally connect. The enemy would love to take your marriage, but I’ve seen God heal women and bless marriages over and over. When you are married (one flesh) your problems are an opportunity to help each other, so this isn’t just your issue it’s for both of you to grow and walk through.
When we love and walk with Jesus we don’t have to fear the healing process because He brings true freedom through it! One of the verses that ministered to me was Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The sin against me and the sin I commit is fully washed clean, so I don’t have to live condemned or shamed by the enemy. My identity is in Him and I pray for the Lord to always remind me of that. I encourage you to seek the help and healing God has for you. You are not alone and your healing can help others heal! I’ll be praying for you.