When a Sexual Past is Creating Problems in the Marriage
Every marriage is filled with mistakes; either mistakes on the husband’s part or on the wife’s. This is just the straight up truth since marriage is comprised of sinners. Plainly put, we fall short of perfection just like the scripture says in Romans 3:23. So, when a wife makes a mistake, what’s a girl to do when her husband wants to hold it against her?
Here’s one woman’s story…
My husband and I have been married for a month. He has been aware of my sexual past (I’ve never had full sex until my wedding night), but the memories sometimes haunt me and cause twinges of pain. I did the awful mistake of over sharing with him and not being discreet about it. I didn’t realize it would cause such a divide between us. I’m not sure what else to say or how to encourage him. I have been impatient and harsh with him, as well as unsympathetic to how my past makes him feel. I feel that this has been a wedge between us and this is all my fault. I could really use some counsel.
JOLENE ENGLE: Anytime you bring a past lover into the conversation with you and your husband, there’s going to be divide there. Obviously, we don’t want that and you’ve learned you’ve overshared, so I guess my question would be, “Has he let go of this? Has he forgiven you of what has been shared?” Because if he hasn’t, if he keeps condemning you, then that is not of Christ – that’s of the enemy.
ERIC ENGLE: Well, here’s the deal, she brought up something of the past into the present, which now makes it present.
ERIC: And the past has been forgiven.
JOLENE: Absolutely. And as a woman, I do have that sexual past, and you don’t want to bring that into marriage. It is a part of you, but Eric and I won’t have that conservation on a regular basis. What’s done is done. And this reader, she shared that he didn’t know everything and she kind of kept some information from him.
ERIC: Well, she shared too much; she was not discreet about it.
JOLENE: Right, so you know, obviously what’s done is done there; you can’t go back to that. But you can ask him to forgive you; you certainly can if he’s a believer. Then the both of you can pray for the Lord to restore your minds, because the enemy will do everything to keep tearing down your marriage. But it sounds like, because of what she has over shared, that it’s really more of the wife’s issue and maybe not so much the husband’s, because she’s writing more of her emotions – that she’s lashing out.
ERIC: Right. And I would recommend that they go back together and do a study on forgiveness and some of those concepts that the Bible teaches that Jesus taught about forgiveness. Because, obviously, he wasn’t sinless before he came into the marriage. He may have been sexually pure, but sinless? No.
JOLENE: No one is.
ERIC: And I know we place a higher ‘sin level’ on some things than others, which God doesn’t – sin is sin. So, I guess if she approaches him that way and just asks him some questions about if he’s sinned in the past, maybe coming down to the point of, are we going to build our relationship or tear it down?
JOLENE: Right. What I don’t know from this question is whether or not there is forgiveness in the marriage. I do know that you can have forgiveness, but you can certainly have thoughts of your past, because that’s what the enemy does! He tries to get you to have sex before marriage; he tries to get you to not have sex when you’re married. And if he could destroy your marriage bed, then guess who’s winning there, in the marriage? It’s the enemy. So, first thing I would do is to make sure that you’re having a conversation with your husband saying ‘please forgive me and forgive me for how I handled it. Forgive me for the fact that I didn’t fully remain pure and forgive me for oversharing’. And of course he needs to embrace that and say ‘yes, I do forgive you’. If he doesn’t forgive you, then he’s just as in sin as you were before you came into the marriage! And him harboring that is really going to hinder his relationship with the Lord, most importantly, because the Bible talks about how you are to forgive others as Christ forgave him. And I don’t know if he’s a believer, that wasn’t written here, but if he is, then that’s what he has to do. Through marriage – and I know that they’re ‘young-married’, for a month – you’re going to keep having problems! There will be sin for the rest of your life in your marriage. So you’ve got to learn early today to be a forgiving wife and he’s got to learn to be a forgiving husband. If he’s putting an expectation on you that you’re going to be this perfect wife, then boy, does he have a world of hurt coming! That’s just not possible! It’s not possible for us to be perfect, and vice-versa. I’m not sure why she lashed out; I know she had a lot of emotions going on. I could imagine that part of it is shame, but when you’re in sin and do wrong, the best path to take is ‘I’m sorry, will you forgive me?’ Our pride certainly wants to rear its ugly head in the midst of all that, but that just makes it worse. Go back to doing a study on forgiveness – which could be something as simple as opening up your Bible and looking up in the commentary every single passage there that says something about ‘forgive’, ‘forgiving’, ‘forgives’, etc… and doing that together! Because your hearts have to – on a regular, daily basis – want to be a forgiving spouse.
ERIC: Right. And this may not just be a one-time thing, because if there is unforgiveness in the marriage, on either side, you’re going to have issues – it’s going to destroy your marriage. There’s going to be bitterness that comes out of that, and that’s what the enemy wants.
JOLENE: Right, right. The enemy would just love to tear it down and one of the easiest ways he could start is to get you to feel like you’re this horrible wife. And I feel like sometimes husbands are more resilient to this than we are as wives. We are much more emotional and we react a lot more. I would just have a heart-to-heart with him, and if he has forgiven it, then don’t keep bringing it up. You’re going to have a twinge of emotional pain every time you have sex with your husband. Because you haven’t really gone to the cross and realized that Christ died on the cross for your sins. He poured out His blood for you. And what keeps happening is you keep nailing Him back up on that cross when you keep going back to your sin. You’ve got to learn and realize that Christ already paid the price for your sin and you’re forgiven.
ERIC: The Bible said He died once and for all.
JOLENE: Right, right. The verses that really helped me with my sexual past was in Philippians when Paul talked about forgetting the past. It was an ongoing thing – and here was the apostle Paul, who killed Christians! You know that the guy had to have issues going on in his mind and his emotions, because of the things he had done. But he had to keep letting go of his past on a regular basis; he had to keep forgetting what was there and moving forward. And for me, how do I move forward? How do I let go of the emotions that hold me in a sense of condemnation? Well, that’s the enemy. So what do I do? I go to the Word of God.
ERIC: Hey, you made a great point the other night while at a speaking engagement when you said that the bride wore white.
JOLENE: Oh yes, she did.
ERIC: Tell me about that.
JOLENE: Well, with my past, I wasn’t pure. When Eric came along, I remained pure and I did walk down the aisle in a white dress because I was redeemed by the blood of The Lamb and so are you. If you’re in Christ, you are a new creation – the old things have passed away and all things have been made new. My encouragement is to hold tight to those scriptures, because it seems like you’re holding more closely to your past and the lies that the enemy is telling you. So that would be my encouragement – to stand on the Word of God.
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It would be so appreciated if instead of just podcasts you would publish the transcripts of your podcasts. For the sake of the privacy of your reader/listeners. I, for one, am not in a position where I can play them. I’m sure that I am not alone in that. Please consider posting the transcripts. I want to be able to enjoy what you have to say, but not have to enjoy it publically. Otherwise why have a subscription?
I understand what you’re saying, Kim. But in order to provide transcripts for the show, I’d either have to create them myself, which I don’t have the time to do. 🙁 Or I’d have to pay for someone to transcribe them, which won’t happen at this point because the ministry does not bring in enough financial resources to cover the additional expense. One solution that might help is wearing headphones when you listen??
That makes sense. I can try headphones. It’s hard to listen and not have to tell my husband what I’m listening to. Tough situation here. I’ll have to pick some up next payday. Thanks for taking the time to reply, much appreciated.
I didn’t even know you had a podcast! I look forward to listening to your new one!
Great to hear this, Eliza! May you be blessed.
Fouge amazing! You’re doing God’s work!
My sexual past was actually a string offairs, early in our (now 23 year) marriage. That season lasted 5 years, and I fought with myself every day. I was so far away from God, and lying to everyone in my life.
One day, God showed up in my life in such a big way. I was walking down the street, and felt so far away from him. I wanted HIm, but didn’t know how to find him. Then I remembered that I could just turn around and He’d be there. That’s exactly what happened. I turned around in the middle of the street and walked into the biggest warmest hug of my life. My life has never been the same. I stopped the behaviors THAT MINUTE, and never went back.
Then I spent the next 8 years trying to find a way to come clean with my husband. Five years after the infidelity ended, God blessed us with a family (something he had promised in the middle of the affair). I fought with myself several times a day as to whether or not I was going to tell him.
He is a strong believer, and when I told him, I did not give details. I prayed and prayed, I jumped in with both feet, and do you know what he said? He asked was it current and I said no. He asked if I wanted to leave, I said no. He asked when the last time was it happened, and I responded 8 years previously. He said look at the woman of God you are now. If that’s what it took to get you to the kingdom, then I can live with it. I love you. Let’s get past this.
And then I remembered something: when I had stopped the behavior, I tried to tell him then. He practically knew already. HE had been hoping it would stop. And he ignored it, because he did not want me to leave. Maybe it was not healthy response, but we kept at it and worked and prayed together and are now celebrating 23 years of marriage.
God is the only way we could have possibly gotten through this. It can’t be done on our own. Obviously nobody in our lives knows the story. And it haunts me sometimes. But it is a lie from the enemy. I know that with my husband, and with my God, life goes on. My hubby is an amazing example of how we should always be forgiving toward one another. I know that I don’t deserve him, and so I try my hardest everyday to be a good wife.
Now we’re going through a different struggle, where my husband is dealing with some autoimmune disease. He experiences a tremendous amount of pain on a daily basis. Instead of lashing out at me in his frustration of not feeling well, he just there’s bearing up under it, every single day. Please pray for him if you could. And thank you for your ministry! This is absolutely an ongoing struggle for me, getting beyond my past.
All glory to God, Sue. Thanks for sharing your redemptive story. Our God is able to transform any life that is fully surrendered to Him!
I am engaged to a very lovely Christian woman. She’s a published author of Christian women’s books. We’ve dated for two years and have had some major trials. About two months into our courtship I learned quite by accident while installing software on her laptop that she had not just a past, but a secret present. There were pictures on her desktop of a mostly nude women, her, but by a different name. I did some searches online and found a dozen ads for her services as an elite adult escort, $500/hr kind of escort. I confronted her and she lied to me three times. Finally things came to a head and she confessed and vowed to leave the “life” permanently and devote herself to only me. She had been doing this work for a decade. I calculated based on her own story that she had seen 300 to 400 clients per year. I had a big decision to make. I decided that her commitment was genuine and Christ forgave me so I ought to forgive her. She has for the past 20 months now been steadfast in her devotion to me and our relationship. She is loving and attentive to my every need. Her heart for God and his Word is enormous. So you see she is a real unique contradiction. Early in our courtship I told her I would not be having sex with her until and if God brought us together in marriage. We remain celibate. However, every time we embrace or are physically intimate these images of hundreds of men and the unspeakable things that they have done with her come flooding into my mind. I cannot seem to get free of this and it blocks the fullness of what I want our relationship to be. I know this is the enemy, and have prayed about it a lot. She really has turned her life around and I have no fear of her ever cheating on me or going back into the escort trade. But these images keep haunting me. What can I possibly do to be free of this and simply enjoy what we have?
I know you may be thinking that I am a fool, run from this. But I am reminded of the prostitute that came to Jesus and wept at his feet and washed his feet with her tears. He did not reject her, and her heart for Him was genuine. Such is the heart of my fiance for God.
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