Sacred Sex: Chp. 9

Wow… what a difficult chapter all about the lies and broken promises of “just sex.”  After last week’s easier read, I was glad to see these topics addressed.  The example he used of “Jenna” was a sad one, but one that resonates with many of us.  I know a couple of “Jenna’s” myself.  Not with the exact same past & circumstances, but close.  People can make some bad decisions based on feeling lonely and needing to feel loved.

I agree that sex is never “just sex.”  In most of these chapters, Mr. Gardner has talked about the wondrous intimacy and oneness that sexual intimacy can bring between a husband and wife.  This chapter, however, is different.  He tackles serious subjects and discusses the things that cause sex to destroy rather than build up. Among these topics are what he calls:

The Four Horsemen of Sexual Degradation (pgs. 177-182)

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Pornography
  • “Casual” Sex
  • Broken Promises

I’m not going into lots of detail here about each one (because you have already read that) but each one of these things causes pain and destruction.  Gardner continuously points out to us that the cross  is the answer.  People who are hurting and making bad choices need to be led to the cross.  For many people, sex is tied to horrid memories of the past, and they cannot comprehend how sex can be holy.  The cross used to be looked at like that.  Thousands of years ago it reminded people of humiliation, pain, suffering, and death.  Today the cross has been transformed and renewed.  We wear it around our necks proudly as a sign of hope and God’s grace.  Just like the cross, sex can be renewed.  Gardner quoted Colossians 2:13-14 and then said:  “Jesus Christ has conquered the death of the cross and brought us life; and He can bring to life what is dead in your life as well.  And that means that He is able to redeem and heal your view and experience of sex.” He then goes on to elaborate on how grace can destroy the four horsemen mentioned above.  I bet we all can relate to one of them, or know someone close to us who does.

For some reason I’m sitting here singing an old hymn in my head now.  I know this is a simple song, but it so applies here.  Marvelous Grace

In the end Gardner does say that some cases do need professional help or accountability helpers.  There is no shame in needing a Marriage or Sex Counselor to help you work through your issues.  “Through the hope of the cross, Eden has been redeemed.”


  1. Hi, back in comment-land here.
    Can a marriage truly be healed of pre-marital sexual sin if the involved spouse will not discuss it? Struggle, struggle, toil and trouble.
    My DH told me of his previous relationships ON OUR WEDDING NIGHT. I vowed to myself to never ask him about it again, because it was obviously such a painful subject for him. It took me YEARS to get over the “I wonder if he ever wishes he married her” thoughts, because we had much sexual difficultly in our first 3 years of marriage. Things are better now, I’m pretty much over it — more comfortable both in my marriage and in my sexuality. He still won’t talk about it, even through a sideways starter question. For example, we were watching a gameshow where the question was “what was the name of the person your spouse dated before you?” And I couldn’t remember her name, and he wouldn’t even tell me. Won’t even say her name.
    I don’t know that this will ever be put to rest in my marriage, because as long as he won’t talk about it again, it’s still hanging, unspoken, in the air. But when I’ve tried to bring it up he clams up and becomes angry. I think it’s probably that he’s still having a hard time forgiving himself, but other than just strapping him into a chair so he can’t walk away and telling him, “I will be over this as soon as YOU let it go” what can I do?

    In comparing this with other situations, I think:
    Confession, he did that part.
    Maybe the last thing I need is for him to ask me to forgive him? I really think that I already have, inside myself, (forgiven him) but without that verbal exchange between us, I feel like this girl I’ve never met is a shadow of his past, in my marriage.

    Anyone out there been through this? Wisdom, ideas? Other than the strapping him to a chair idea? Even then, I can’t force any words out of his mouth.

  2. Well, I’ll offer my two cents worth as a total outsider. First, my heart goes out to you, because to find out this information on your wedding night as you did is horrid. Clearly, at that point it was too late to have any meaningful discussion with a pastor or counsellor to get this handled before you were married.

    Second, as I read this, I sense some unresolved anger (understandable) on your part. However, you have been married for at least 3 years, and at some point it seems that you need to make a decision to let this go completely, regardless of what your husband does or does not say. It is not fair to put words in his mouth or thoughts in his head to fill in the blanks in what he isn’t saying or doing. I would challenge you to search your own heart about why even in jest, tying him to a chair seeking a confession/repentance seems fulfilling. You cannot make your husband do anything he doesn’t want to do, period. All you have control over is your thoughts and actions.

    This seems like a situation that would really benefit from the wise advice of a trusted pastor or Christian counsellor. If your husband isn’t open to the idea, I would still consider going alone to learn how to manage your own feelings in this. Best of luck and God Bless!

  3. I’m with Frau in thinking that it was an awful way to find out. Guess the guilt got to him.:( My husband and I both had sex with other people before marriage (each of us more than one) I was not walking with Christ and neither was he. I am thinking by your comments that you came to the marriage a virgin? If so you are blessed. I wish I was a virgin when I married my husband, as does he, as does your husband probably. My husband and I NEVER talk about our past sexual partners. I do not ever compare him to anyone else I slept with. He is my husband, with him sex is what God intended, with the others it was what I needed to ask forgiveness from God for. I have never apologized to my husband for having sex with other men. I have never felt the need, maybe because he has been there himself he knows I feel sorry for what I have done. That I don’t want to think of it, that I just want to move on with him and him alone. Our past is dead, it is our future together with God that matters. I don’t know your marriage but if you have a loving husband who treats you well then get over it. Just let it go. Don’t bring it up and make him feel guilty, he married YOU, he loves YOU. The only one who is letting this woman from the past drive a wedge in your marriage is you. How he brought it up was nasty but that was a conversation that should have been done three years ago. Just love him and ask God to help you let it go.

  4. I tortured myself for years about having sexual relationships with men other than my DH before I got married. He forgave me, God forgave me, but I never forgave myself. He will have to come to a point where God convicts him that the sin is no more. Once I allowed myself to see that even God didn’t remember the sin once I confessed it to him and repented, I was free of my past. And for me, I can’t remember anything about my past sexual relationships. God took care of all of that. I can’t remember most of my past before my DH because God tossed it all away. Pray that God would comfort your husband’s mind and soul of this burden, and pray that he will give it to God.

    Have you forgiven him for his past? If so, have you ever told him you forgave him for (1) the way he told you and (2) for the fact that he didn’t save himself for you?

  5. I agree with this post. It is time to move on – I can’t think of anything that can be accomplished by continuing to dwell on it. My husband and I never discussed our sexual pasts and they have not affected our marriage (although I know that all past sin affects us in some way). If you can’t get past it, think about talking with a Christian counselor or wise older woman. And definitely pray – God can heal all things and He wants our marriages to be joyous.

  6. Ladies, thanks for all the input. As I’ve thought about it more, maybe I didn’t phrase my question correctly. I’m a slow thinker.
    Really, I am over it. I spent the first 3 years of my marriage getting over it, and 2 of those years we didn’t have sex because I had vaginisimus. I have beat myself up, asked every question of myself that I can ask. I’m over it. I’m okay — that woman has no bearing on my life as it is today. I couldn’t say that two years ago (married 5 years this summer). I don’t ever think about it, at all, except when something comes up in random conversation, like going to a Valentine’s day party where one of the questions is if you remember the name of your spouses last boy/girlfriend before you. I have no ill will towards her — if she had not been a part of his life, his path would have been different, and therefore our path would have been different.
    My problem is that *he* seems to still be bothered by it. So, when it does come up, and such things do occasionally, at parties, mutual friends, etc, *he* is extremely defensive about it still. To the point where he can’t even say her name.
    I can not fix this problem for him. I can not force him to rip open this internal wound, however, it affects my marriage.
    Will my marriage ever be healed of this?
    Thank you, spicynutmeg, for your wonderful suggestion of bringing it up simply to re-enforce to him that I am over it, I love him, am grateful that he chose me, and am grateful for all of his experiences before me, since that made him my very DH. That may be just the suggestion that I was looking for.

  7. I struggle with a very similar situation. What about your marriage is affected? What “healing” really needs to occur? Is that all dramatic hollywood saying a part of him will never be yours, even if he’s changed and is no longer dead in sin? He doesn’t go back to that woman daily and cheat on you. Try to come to the realization that absolutely nothing is impacted in your marriage because of his failures… nothing has been “taken” from him that he can’t give to you. He is married to you and has no fond memories of that woman. The only area it should affect in your marriage is how often you encourage him and tell him that you love him, hinting that he’s good enough and more for you despite his sins. If you’re not reassuring him often then you’re not pushing this past you two. Reassure him often from his perspective, not yours. That could mean once a month, once a week, or everyday, even if you think you may only need to say it once in a blue moon. Do it for him, and forget about what you think is necessary.

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