(This is a modified version of the Introduction to Sexual Integrity for Women Class Content by Rachel Swanson)
I remember walking down the aisle that day I wore white, toward the man of my dreams (whom I successfully wrangled into wearing a pink boutonniere on that special day), my true love, my knight in shining armor.
I believed the happiness we shared would never fade or get dull, regardless of the stressors that inevitably come alive in marriage. Our love for each other would outlast all our faults and failures.
I had so many ideals of what my marriage was going to be like. On the opposite spectrum, I also knew we would never experience the problems those other unsuccessful relationships had.
I was wrong.
I vaguely remember slow annoyances starting to seep their way into my marriage, making my husband look less like the tall-standing knight in shining armor and more like the rusted old tin man from wizard of oz. Petty annoyances such as:
…fights on which way the toilet paper roll is supposed to roll out.
…frustrations when he always left the dishwasher door open for me to clobber into.
…brushing his teeth only once per day (I’m a dental hygienist…what can I say?)
Soon, a heavy wind rose upon our marriage clearing away the deceivingly soft clouds, revealing behind it the stark sun. Those petty annoyances began to take strength, beating down on me just like the sun, making me sweat and perspire with frustration. Soon, the sun’s rays began to burn and sting my skin before I could process what was happening.
Our marriage was strained.
All words and actions in our marriage started taking on a more personal feel. A cancer was brewing under my skin before any outside visibility of the disease itself. A cancer, slowly spreading, taking form, rooting into deeper areas of my breaking heart until I desperately needed help deciphering where the beginning and end of this tangle occurred.
Perhaps this is an exaggeration of the truth, as my husband and I were committed to a lifelong relationship together regardless of the stressors at hand, but with regards to these issues of the heart, the strains were there. I became content with a “good enough” marriage for the rest of our life, settling for less than I wanted and what I now know is possible.
I ignored these annoyances and storms in my marriage instead of taking the time to process and understand the deeper meaning behind them. They continued to build upon each other over time, until each one stung and burned with every strike. Little remarks that had no weight of annoyance before, were now barrels of hail pelting me with pain until I was either ready to retaliate with my own hail or retreat away under a canopy of sins.
…despair over financial battles began to feel more and more like personal attacks, so I would attack back!
…trust was lost when we both found lust or sexual integrity issues were pursued at times in inappropriate ways.
…hearts were shattered when we carelessly hurled cutting words toward one another striking into our deepest areas of insecurity.
A few years ago, God opened up our hearts to this issue of sexual integrity that we, and many others we’ve met, have experienced in marriage and relationships. Unwittingly we were on a path heading straight for the edge of a cliff, by the gradual break-down process of what seemed like insignificant issues at the time, slowly adding upon another, getting progressively worse until we obeyed Gods call to open our eyes and we saw the sin in ourselves and how they affected our marriage for what they were. Much of this was done in ignorance. We didn’t realize, at the time, the path we were on and how much it was affecting our relationship.
Once we both began to unveil and unravel the deeper issues behind every issue, every careless word said, every unspoken action that created louder sounds (just not audible by the human ear), we began to sift out the false realities from the truths and started to make a shift toward refining and restoring our lifeless state.
I believe we could have saved ourselves a lot of heartache if we had the right education and right tools to understanding the way God intends relationships to be. As I said, much of these struggles, both in our lives and with those we have met, primarily arose from ignorance not intentionality.
Our roles as male and female, husband and wife, are each specific and unique, but together we fit together like a puzzle piece to God’s creation.
We were made to experience love…
…yet not in the way that the world oftentimes portrays love to be, but in the way God IS love and meant love to be.
Yes we were meant to experience love, in families, friendships, and deeper intimacy from a husband and wife relationship, however the world is tainted and has a loose grasp on what love really is.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:18
Those who think it’s impossible to experience love in this life with your spouse, or between friendships, or amidst hard to love family, are wrong. We can…however we cannot do it alone.
We need God to be intricately woven into our relationships, to help direct us towards an intimate love; one that reflects Gods desires— which is to be in an intimate personal relationship together with each of us.
He is the answer for which you continually seek to find in this life. He is the relationship that never changes, never gets dull, and loves unconditionally above all others. He is what will fill all the chambers of your hearts, especially the ones that are left painfully vacant or unsatisfied from our current relationships. Nothing else will give you the life breath restoration you are seeking to find, the solace and peace to your warring life situations, the hope and love to your failed relationships—except for God.
We have a tendency of looking at relationships to fill us totally and completely with the love and desire for connection that we crave. Yes we can experience part of this desire through our relationships, however we have to be willing to put aside ourselves, lay down the hindrances before us, and focus on the Mighty Redeemer above to experience this.
Relationships can refine us; strip us of our impurities and help us become restored to a better self. I believe God intended relationships to help us experience connection to mimic the infallible relationship we already have or can experience through our Creator above. God also expects refinement in us and hopes we experience restoration through the difficulties we face in relationships to develop character growth in ways we likely wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise.
God can fill the crevices of your heart where you feel void.
I know this because I have experienced this. In the past few years, I’ve become even more aware of the broken areas of my soul, healing my past wounded experiences that have rooted false agreements in my heart. Through this revealing and healing process, its created a positive impact on: my marriage, my friendships, other relationships, and most importantly positively impacted my relationship I have with Jesus Christ.
He can do this for you too…if you allow Him into your heart. He will answer those deep innermost questions you have about yourself and fill it with beautiful, soul-revealing truths. He is the one who created you, therefore He completely understands you from the core. However you have to be willing to take the journey toward understanding how to decipher His truth filled words from the deceitful whispers of the Enemy’s lies into your thoughts, which affects vastly more than you are probably aware of…