This chapter talked a lot about unconditional acceptance and how having that with your spouse is so important. Adam & Eve accepted each other unconditionally and without shame. But today we are bombarded with images of ‘sex’ all over the media in advertisements and magazines and billboards and the news, etc. We see these bone thin women selling products with their sexuality and we compare ourselves to them and always seem to come up short. I’ve been guilty of this myself, thinking things like “What if i just lost 10 more pounds…maybe he would find me more appealing/sexy and maybe the frequency of our sex would rise!?” Mr. Gardner says (pg. 72): “If we believe that our mate sees us as flawed, we’ll enter into sexual encounters with each other fearing that we’re displeasing to the one whose acceptance of us matters most. We’ll feel like we’re simply not enough. And if we believe that we could never be enough, we can’t give ourselves to one another in a completely genuine way in holy sex.” Yeah, that has been me at times…thinking that my dh must see me as flawed because *I* see me as flawed! Maybe i need to recite that catchphrase of Stuart Smalley: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it,
people my husband likes me!”
I agree with him when he says that many sexual dysfunctions originate in the mind. I know that not everything does, as there are exceptions to every rule, but the mind is so much more powerful that many people realize.
I underlined or highlighted so many things on all the pages dealing with shame that I don’t even know where to begin. So much good and interesting information. I loved his definition of shame vs. guilt.
Guilt says: I did something bad/wrong.
Shame says: I am bad and something is wrong with me.
Shame is that feeling that makes us want to run away and hide somewhere (much like Adam & Eve did in the garden). And when we have shame like that, how can we possibly have honest freedom in our marriage beds? How can we enjoy holy intimacy with our spouse with no inhibitions? The answer is that we can’t. So ladies, when we secretly compare ourselves to supermodels and think that our thighs are way too big or that our bellies must be disgusting to our husbands, that shame carries over into our marriage beds even if we try and pretend that everything is fine. We may ask for the lights out or low lighting. We may want to wear lingerie or clothing or complain about being cold so we can hide under the covers. We may say that we want a certain position because we think that it hides a certain part of ourselves well. Oh how shame can manifest itself in us, making us feel inadequate, and preventing us from connecting fully with our husbands in godly sex, as God wishes for us. Are you carrying around some type of shame?
There is SO MUCH MORE I could say about this chapter. (And I thought chapter 3 was good..but this one is even better!) I can’t possibly type out everything I underlined, and I’m hoping that maybe some of you could bring out some other points in the comment section, but I do want to end this with one last quote that I thought was pretty profound, on page 82. How many of us are able right now to do this:
“To be naked and completely unashamed means to stand before your mate and say, “Here is my body. Here are my emotions. Here are my thoughts about God. Here is my history with all of my hopes, my fears, my dreams, my failures. I stand here naked–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are all the things that I’ve tried to keep hidden. But standing before you, I feel loved, accepted, and cherished.”“
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