Why I’m here
I lurked on the old TMB for a few months before the switchover and recently decided I needed to be more involved. Here’s my story:
Wifey and I are high school sweethearts. We’ve been married for almost 12 years and have been together for 17 years. We both grew up in the church and were committed to purity in our dating and courtship. We slipped up a few times with manual stimulation when we were dating, but were virgins on our wedding night.
Growing up my family didn’t express many emotions. I wasn’t abused or neglected, and I know now that there was a lot my parents were dealing with. Looking back I realize I learned to hide my emotions and became emotionally self-sufficient. Through the wounds of my lonely heart Satan fed me the lie that I would have to find love on my own. When I was 9 a friend introduced me to porn. I used porn and masturbation to soothe my lonely soul that craved to be cherished and desired.
I fought against my desires through my teenage years and naively thought things would be so much easier when I was married and could have sex. Wifey knew about my past porn use and I promised her I wasn’t looking at anything, which was only sometimes true.
Problems in our sex life started on day 4 of our honeymoon. I knew my Wifey was generally insecure about her body, but what I didn’t know is that she had suffered from depression and anxiety symptoms since middle school. Her family has a history of depression and she didn’t want to acknowledge her symptoms, determined not to be a part of the family legacy. Add to that toxic “friendships” growing up, relocating several states away from our families right after our honeymoon, and negative comments about sex from the matriarchs of her family. She was in a tough spot and I didn’t see it. I didn’t understand why she didn’t respond like the women I had seen online, so I figured she just needed to be awakened. Unfortunately I took my job very seriously and added even more pressure on her to be more than she was capable of. Those first few years were tough. To her credit, she really has and is trying to make the sexual side of our relationship work. More on that in a moment.
Our life together has been a constant cycle of waiting and working towards a goal, and having God push us into a situation we weren’t expecting. I say God because each time we can look back on how it ended up as a blessing, even if the circumstances were terribly painful. After the birth of our second child, postpartum depression hit hard. I was completely unfamiliar with depression and felt utterly helpless to bring back the woman I loved. Medication took the edge off, but affected her already low libido and didn’t take away the darkness completely. I went back to my self-sufficient ways to deal with my loneliness.
Fast forward to the Spring of last year. We’d had a tough 6 months of the chaos that seemed to be a hallmark of our life. I neglected to mention above that Wifey does not do change well. I finally hit my breaking point. I cried out to God in my pain and brokenness. I asked him why I felt so alone. I heard an audible answer, “You long to be desired”. I felt like God reached down, grabbed my heart, and pulled me up out of a pit. That started my journey of trying to understand my sexual desire within God’s framework. I devoured every resource I could find. Blogs, articles, sermons, podcasts, you name it, I looked for it and consumed it voraciously. I read entire books of the Bible in one sitting, and devoured Psalms in just a few weeks. So many of the Psalms provided comfort and resonated so deeply with me.
I was finally able to put words to how I felt. I was made aware of my woundedness and immediately looked to the closest source of those wounds: Wifey’s rejection of my sexual advances. I was back on a mission! I had to explain that I wasn’t some sex crazed brute that just wanted to use her body for my lecherous desires. I was trying to connect with her emotionally and spiritually! I wrote her a long letter explaining all of this and was eager to share with her all of the blog posts and articles that would change her mind about me and sex.
She responded with her own letter. It was about her own brokenness and struggles and how she really did love and desire me, she just couldn’t show it the way I needed.
Over the past year we’ve grown a ton and are working on our respective issues. Wifey has started/changed medicines and HRT along with counseling for depression and anxiety. I’ve been focusing on my relationship with God and loving Wifey well. God is working to heal my heart and bring us together. I still struggle with conflating Wifey’s “can’t” with “won’t”. It’s much harder to think that the woman I love is sometimes incapable of providing the emotional connection that can only come from her, and much easier to accept the lie that she chooses not to love me. Satan still tries to pull me back with lies and feelings of loneliness when we hit a bump in the road. I don’t always respond well, but God is in control and I trust in His perfect plan for us!
I realize this is long, probably TMI, and will likely result in someone who knows us recognizing who I am. But I don’t care. It was the stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness, the examples of others that brought me to where I am today. If in some way my story can be helpful to someone else and more importantly bring glory to God, then I don’t care what anyone thinks.
So why did I write this now? Through my journey with Christ in becoming a beloved son of the King of Glory, I’ve realized the value of a redemptive community. I have my men’s groups at church that I can share my struggles with, but this area is better shared through anonymity. A few times I’ve almost given up coming here and reading the very same blogs that started my journey because when I stumble into Satan’s traps, he pushes the lie that sexual fulfillment is for those other people, not for me. My heart pangs with jealousy for the husbands who’s wives fiercely and intentionally pursue them. But a couple of recent posts made me realize that this is where I’m supposed to be. That God intends to use this for His good, and that I don’t have to be afraid.
So that’s me. I look forward to being a part of this community, celebrating the victories, mourning the hurting, and providing any insights God chooses for me to share.
And Wifey, if by some odd happenstance you find this, I’m sorry I told parts of your story. I hope the fact that you’re here means God’s provision of freedom is coming through. I love you deeply! Now come tell me to get naked!
I’m sure that your wife would be wholly understanding in sharing her part of the story, as it is a story woven together in your union. God can create a stirring into the hearts, and over time even the loins, of those we love over time. Continue to pray for her, encourage her, and walk together through this journey God has put you on. She may surprise you with a heart that parallels your own but just needs God to help bridge between them.