All of us enter marriage with baggage that we need to deal with. Being married has this uncanny way of making you confront those issues. I believe that is why God brings us into such a deep relationship with someone else.
If one or both of the people in a marriage have suffered sexual abuse, it can create a divide between the two. Honestly, any unresolved issues from your past will make it hard to give of yourself freely.
For those that have suffered sexual abuse, here some things I want to encourage you to do.
Talk to a Counselor
Trained counselors know how to guide you through the healing process. They will ask you the right questions to help you work through your pain and suffering. It can be hugely beneficial to you to talk with a counselor.
If you aren’t able to go to a one on one counseling session, then look for support groups in your area. It can be immensely helpful to know you are not alone in what you have experienced.
Share Enough With Your Spouse
Don’t feel like you have to tell your spouse everything that has ever happened to you. It can be very painful to relive those experiences. However, you do need to share enough of what you experienced, so that your spouse has some ideas of what you are dealing with.
Your spouse needs enough of an understanding that they can be sensitive to you. If they are not aware of your experiences, then they will not handle it right.
Establish Boundaries in The Bed
Often times, sexual abuse victims can struggle with physical intimacy, because certain actions remind them of past abuses. Let your lover know what your known triggers are. This will help them to avoid those things.
Also, be aware that they may do something you didn’t realize would cause a negative reaction in you. If that happens, explain to them right away what’s going on. Take the time you need to recover and come back to them when you are ready.
It can be very hard to allow your spouse to perform sex acts that was part of your past abuses. As you work through those hurts, you can push yourself to try some of those things. The more you learn to trust your lover, the easier it will become. Go slow and stop when you get too uncomfortable.
Give Yourself Permission to Enjoy Intimacy
There is so much shame that comes along with abuse. It is particularly confusing to a victim when their body reacts positively to the abuse, even though they do not want it to happen. This can lead to more shame for them. You must realize that physical reactions to stimulation are not voluntary, and not your fault.
Often what happens, is a victim will train themselves to repress the sensations they are experiencing. This can carry over into your physical intimacy. That is why it is important to give yourself permission to enjoy sex with your spouse.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, I want you to know that I’m sorry. I hate that for you. I am praying that the Lord will give you freedom and peace in your life.