Sacred Sex: Chp. 4

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.”


  1. This book is hard. It’s getting harder and more challenging with each chapter. My favorite quotes (sorry Kindle = no page numbers!)
    “He [Adam] accepted his wife as God’s magnificent creation and THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS NEED, the end of aloneness. And Eve received that gift of total, enthusiastic acceptance from the most important man in her life.” (emphasis added).
    I long to *know* that I am the fulfillment of his need — to receive that gift of abandoned acceptance from him. I feel it occasionally, but not enough to *know* it.

    I liked his definition of shame as “false guilt that we feel over things in the past that we had absolutely no control over.” This is ME! Always re-hashing things in my mind, what would I do, what would I say, next time, it I’d had more time to thing it over, etc. I need to stop myself, and concentrate on letting go of things out of my control. He goes on to say that “Adam and Eve’s guilt separated them from God. Their shame separated them from each other.” YEAH! Stop and think on that one for a while, and how it can apply to you and your hubby. I feel this one from the other side, I think that his relationships prior to our dating/marriage keep him from being truly open with me. Honestly, that beat me down early in our marriage, but, I got to the point where I know he picked ME, married ME over everyone else, and I just wish we could clear the air, but he still hates to talk about it.
    My take home messages from this chapter…..
    — “We must first stand naked and unashamed before God.”
    — “And then we must extend the gift by letting our mates stand naked and unashamed before us.”
    There is no judgment, because of Jesus. I have to extend that love and acceptance to my spouse, how can I do anything less? How can I help him *know* that he is the “fulfillment of my need” and the end to my aloneless?

    Hard stuff.

  2. Sorry I am so late with this. I just read the chapter for the week and oh man, I am crying. I really am going to need to digest this chapter. I mean it is hitting home in a major way. Lately I have been asking my dh (nicely) to use his workd to tell me he loves me. I know that he does in my mind, but I am not feeling it. I am feeling like I dont have enough to offer him. When we first got married I can honestly say that I had told him everything ( I was 19 there wasnt too much to hide) and on our wedding night I was shocked to realize that I could stand before him naked and not be bothered. It felt right, like it wasnt something to feel shame about. Some where down the road, that has changed. I dont run and hide, and we still see each other naked, but after a couple of kids I really need to loose a few pounds. Now he doesnt say anything dirctly, but I feel like he says thing indirectly when he says how hot people on TV are or how he would love to got to a strip club (he is just joking and has never been, but it still hurts). So I try ot let it go and not be upset, but I cant. After reading this chapter, maybe i am right to say something. I know that guys have thoughts that just “pop” into their minds and my dh says he doesnt keep them, and I alway thought at least I know what he’s thinking. Now I’m thinking that I dont want to know. That all of those little things he says is making me feel shame.
    Then I started thinking that maybe its not just him. Maybe I’m a problem too. I do consantly ask him to talk to me, say he loves me, to do this or that, and maybe that makes him feel shame. We have our own business that is doing fine, but we arent making tons of money, so I know that weighs on him. So maybe he feels shame too. He says that he is stupid often enough, so do I make that better or worse? Ouch. It could be me. I think that we are both hurting each other in little ways, nothing that anyone would call abnormal, but still its the tiny things over time that hurt the most. So I am resolved to think about how I say things to my dh so that I am not causeing shame, and I am going to talk to him about the things he says to me, and maybe we will one step closer to the promised land, that much closer to breaking down the barriers I couldnt see! Thank you again for offering this discussion. It is really getting to the heart of some of my issues!

  3. I kwym about things “hitting home” and needing time to digest it. I just finished reading the next chapter (5) and it basically slapped me in the face. I feel like this book is opening my eyes to some of my own issues as well. I’m glad to hear that it is affecting others besides myself!

  4. I just ordered this book with the hopes that it will help me; us. I cannot help but feeling that I am just not looking good enough for my husband. I have had three children and have let my body go. I did have a breast reduction due to neck pain. It really was for that. But, now I am wanting to have a tummy tuck so I can look better for him. Pregnancy was not at all good to my body. Sex was never about love from what I have seen growing up. My mom hated my alcoholic dad. He was into porn, so that is what I knew sex to be. With the images of women today, I feel that I can never be what I feel my husband likes. We have a great time, but I have a hard time feeling the true love in love making. I do not want it to feel like sex. I also want to stop feeling like he is thinking all of these “skinnier” women he sees on tv are what he likes. He insists that it is not what he thinks, but I can’t help but thinking otherwise. The devil is so full of lies. It is hard not to believe.

  5. I have gained so much from this book! I’ve been reading from the start, yet unable to leave a comment (too long a story). I identiy so much with what I’ve read from others comments. But I have to say that once my husband and I started praying together, so many barriers between our having an even greater relationship in every way, just faded away. Once I became more respectful of hm in every way, recognizing him as head of the household, honoring his decisions – I becamed the most loved cherished wife imaginable!!! I always thought we had a good marriage, but it became more than I ever thought possible!!. God has an amazing way of working! Once I became more of the submissive wife God created me to be for him, he saw this and began transforming himself into a husband I didn’t think was possible in these human bodies. He is now perfection in every way!! God did the transforming of course, in both of us. I know I can stand before him and he truely thinks I am perfection. I know I’m not in my eyes but I do believe that he feels I am. I know all of the Godly husbands out there thnk each one of you is perfection also. Its within them to be everything you want and deserve – which is what they really want. This Holy Union is more than words can express. The ways of the world try to distort things and disconnect husbands and wives. I’m glad you brought this book to all our attentions. I have been blessed. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for sharing strawberryyumymum! There is real genuine substance in your words! I believe this has to be understood by BOTH parties, and that BOTH parties need to love eachother enough to fully submit. This line was very inspiring and any marraige worth having and growing will “click” once they finally “get it” Especially this…

    “Once I became more of the submissive wife God created me to be for him, he saw this and began transforming himself into a husband I didn’t think was possible in these human bodies. He is now perfection in every way!”

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