Suffering in silence

They try to force themselves to appear cheerful as they struggle to survive. But, under the surface, life feels anything but happy as they suffer in silence, shame and confusion.

This was the story for a bright university student who attended our Church. She appeared to be happy and was eager to participate in Church activities. But inwardly she was fighting a losing battle with turmoil, fear, confusion and depression.

As she slowly weakened in her efforts to maintain control, she hesitantly agreed to the recommendation of a friend that she should meet with me to talk about her struggles. In this meeting, she finally gained the necessary courage to tell me a story that she had kept to herself until that point. She had been sexually molested by a family member when she was a little girl and, to my surprise, I was the first person to hear her painful story.

This began a challenging yet essential path to healing and rebuilding. Today she is doing well and able to help others facing similar circumstances.

A time to learn

Several years before this encounter, I was taking a graduate course in pastoral psychology and I impatiently asked myself, “Why do we have to spend a whole section on sexual abuse?” We even had to read a book about it and listen to a guest lecturer. Although I knew little about the subject, I didn’t expect to encounter very often. I was very wrong — and very humbled by God’s grace in equipping an impatient pastor.

Over the next couple of decades, I counseled more people dealing with a history of sexual abuse than I ever imagined. I’ve also repeatedly recommended the book I was assigned in the class. I remain humbled by the kindness of God to equip me to help those struggling to overcome the life-debilitating effects of sexual abuse.

During my graduate class, my eyes were opened to a world of darkness that holds many victims in silent pain. The more we learned about the issue, the more my heart grew heavy for the victims of such evil. 

Most of my counseling has focused on those who were sexually abused as children by family members. They come to me as adults who are struggling to live normal lives. They battle feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

Since their abuse included manipulation and force, they long to feel a sense of security and control. They often substitute excessive and controllable behaviors to feel a sense of normalcy. Extreme exercise and dieting are two examples. Yet they easily spiral out of a sense of control. Inability to function and overall lack of motivation can inexplicably grip them.

It’s not unusual for survivors to experience significant loneliness, loss of appetite and need for unusual amounts of sleep. Mood swings plague those battling the grip of sexual abuse. Unusual gregariousness can give way to unexplainable depression and crying. Other waves of emotion include self-hatred, panic attacks, irrational phobias, guilt, shame, overall sense of humiliation, unexplainable anger and rage, lack of normality and a feeling of being trapped.

Survivors of sexual abuse sometimes turn to other forms of abuse to escape their pain. Obsessive behaviors rang from alcohol and drug abuse to sexual addictions and promiscuity. Sometimes victims engage in self-mutilation and battle suicidal thoughts.

Without help from a caring friend, most victims don’t recognize how badly they’ve been affected. They tend to suppress the past to survive in the present. Victims often conceal their pain and keep others at a distance. Relationships don’t come easily to these adults. Trust, one of main chords of healthy relating, feels out of reach because of their experience of betrayal. Yet they long for close relationships as much as they fear them. They fear that allowing someone to become a caring friend will cause suppressed feelings to emerge. Vulnerability is risky but necessary for gaining freedom.

Marriage and sexual abuse

Those who enter marriage relationships without first addressing their history of sexual abuse rarely do well. To flourish in marriage requires vulnerability, transparency and trust — painfully difficult qualities for victims of sexual abuse. Marriage can also provide a helpful context for recovery and renewal through the love and devotion of a spouse. But it typically requires assistance from a wise counselor.

The person who marries a victim of sexual abuse is often surprised by the effects of the abuse. It’s not uncommon for the mate of a victim to feel frustrated, confused and helpless. Making matters worse, they typically interpret the behavior of the victim as a personal affront when they don’t know the source. When victims put up walls or shut down their emotions, their mates often interpret it as rejection or personal failure.

The intimacy and closeness of marriage requires a level of vulnerability survivors feel unable to give. Adults who are victims of child sexual abuse must seek wise counsel if they want to enjoy healthy relationships.

Overcoming the past

The only thing we can change about the past is how we allow it to effect us in the future. One victim of abuse expressed her pursuit of freedom as a refusal to tie her soul to her abuser. As hard as it will be, victims must courageously acknowledge their pain and confront their past.

The path to freedom requires dealing with the past but the most formidable obstacle is often fear. Those who have been abused should remember that they have been victimized by the evil actions of others. They must reject self-blame and all blame that others try to project on to them. Although difficult, they must reject the powerful emotions of shame, guilt and fear that hold them in bondage.

The book I was assigned to read, “A Door of Hope: Recognizing and Resolving the pains of Your Past” by Jan Frank, emphasizes the importance of confronting your past. As Jan Frank explains, this must also involve some form of confrontation of the abuser. After counseling others through this painfully necessary process, I know with certainty that the freedom awaiting the victim is worth the challenge of confronting the past.

Relating to God

Relating to God is another difficultly for victims of sexual abuse. “How can I trust God if He didn’t protect me when I was vulnerable?” they ask. It is hard to fully understand how God’s control relates to the evil actions of people. And these kinds of questions mixed with feelings of worthlessness and anger combine to obstruct faith in God. Such hesitations and struggles must not be treated lightly. Scripture reminds us to “be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 22).

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse need merciful and wise guidance to help them in their struggle to trust God. They especially need help to understand the difference between forgiveness of their offender and reconciliation. See here. 

Many others (like the student who entered my office) have walked this path. It is possible to know the joy of freedom from bondage to a painful past.

Steve Cornell

7 links worth seeing

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Full-Time Job

As the school year comes to a close, 2014 graduates enter an uncertain time. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before my first full-time job that your campus career center won’t tell you.

Singled Out in Church

I love the church. I love that I grew up in the church. Because I love the people who cared for, prayed with, loved, and taught me during this time, I grew up considering church as family. That is, until my place in the church—or in the family—became less defined.

Why We Should Say “Yes” to a Culture of Marriage

While promoting pro-growth economic policy (as the authors propose) is important, retreating from marriage is not the answer. Restoring a marriage culture is essential for the welfare of men, women, and children.

7 dangerous Apps that parents need to know about

A look into the some of the scariest Apps for your kids.

Spite Is Good. Spite Works.

Psychologists are exploring spitefulness in its customary role as a negative trait, a lapse that should be embarrassing but is often sublimated as righteousness, as when you take your own sour time pulling out of a parking space because you notice another car is waiting for it and you’ll show that vulture who’s boss here, even though you’re wasting your own time, too.

Reality check on sexual temptation

The sight of a beautiful woman has special power to hold men captive. The atmosphere changes when a good-looking lady enters a room full of men. This will always be the case and it’s not entirely wrong. God designed a natural attraction between the sexes. It’s a universal reality and arguably essential to our survival. But what is natural is easily perverted in the hearts and hands of fallen people. Attraction degenerates into lust and leads to sexual immorality. People get hurt.

Sex After Christianity

Gay marriage is not just a social revolution but a cosmological one.

 

Sexual preference or Sexual orientation?

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Watch closely when the words change. Controlling the vocabulary is essential to controlling people.

Homosexuals once used “sexual preference” to talk about their sexual lifestyle. Now they reject the term “preference” and replace it with “orientation” in an effort to remove homosexuality from a category of choice. 

Homosexuals also use to say, “All we want is to be left alone to live the way we desire.” This was partly due to ways that gays were wrongly treated for choosing different sexual lifestyles. All decent citizens should oppose mistreatment and violence against others. Since same sex behavior between consenting adults is legal in every state, those who target gays for abuse or violence should expect to be punished for criminal behavior. 

But somewhere along the way, the effort moved from seeking protection to demanding normalization. A strategic change of terms from preference to orientation came as part of that move.  And the change has been largely based on an effort to promote the misleading and manipulative argument that equates race and gender with the kind of sex people want.

The change had noting to do with the emergence of any new scientific evidence but was solely based on a strategy to lead society to embrace the necessity and normalization of same-sex lifestyles. 

The entire agenda of gay marriage depends upon the comparison of same-sex behavior as an unalterable and necessary condition of a person’s nature equal with race and gender. The comparison, however, is false and manipulative. Ironically, this agenda has turned into a weapon to bully, intimidate and abuse anyone who dares to think or speak differently. Are homosexuals using the same behaviors toward others that were wrongly brought against them? 

As a matter of clarification, it should be understood that while a person can be born with many inclinations or desires — even a variety of sexual ones, it is foolish to elevate each person’s sexual desires to something intrinsically necessary to their nature.

While we can clearly argue that heterosexual behavior is necessary to the survival of humanity, this does not mean that we should validate all heterosexual choices as necessary and acceptable by claiming it to be part of one’s nature. Sexuality is inseparable from behavior — not a condition of birth like race or gender.

As with all sexuality, we should speak of homosexuality in a context of human choosing — not as a civil right. Two men could be caring friends with a deep affection for each other without being homosexual. Homosexuality is not part of their relationship unless they choose to engage in same-sex acts with one another.  

What do we say to the many people who have left a homosexual lifestyle on moral grounds? What do we say to people who willingly try to resist homosexual lust out of obedience to God? 

Even if I could prove that I was born genetically conditioned to be sexually attracted to women, it wouldn’t mean that acting on the attraction would always be the ethically right decision.

Sexuality is necessarily connected with volition. As long as we make laws that regulate sexual behaviors, we are implying that sexuality is not the same as race or gender (no matter how much one claims that the laws step on his rights by refusing him equality). 

Consider, as an example, an adulterous woman who complains that her act of adultery (i.e. her wrongful heterosexual behavior) was because of her distant and uncaring husband. Sympathy toward her for being in a troubled marriage is understandable but it doesn’t mean that her act of adultery was the morally right choice.

All law making involves impositions of morality to varying degrees — especially if someone can claim that the law excludes him or discriminates against him. Most laws also have religious connections. What do we mean when we talk about equality for all? The very nature of lawmaking easily conflicts with absolute options of equality.

Deceitful word games are not new. They’ve been used in similar ways when “fetus” was substituted for “baby” to push a pro-abortion agenda. The plan has been to use the terms often enough to change the way people think. Yet neither change (for same-sex preference or for abortion) was based on scientific evidence that required different terms. The changes are based on specific agendas to re-engineer culture around the morality of those using the new terms.

I realize that America is a free society where people are free to do this. But it doesn’t mean that everyone else must accept the deception and the agenda. This is where it gets ugly because a militant wave of hate has been directed from radical homosexuals toward anyone who dares to see things differently about same-sex behavior.

The more widely the false comparison is accepted, the more people fear being accused of racial or gender discrimination. Who wants to be label a bigot or a racist or a homophobe? 

Radical homosexuals are free to sell their agenda but when they get ugly, Americans need to stand up and say, “Enough is enough!” “We don’t buy the false comparison and we won’t let you use it to bully others with your sexual lifestyles any more than we would let Phil Robertson move from his beliefs to hateful treatment of homosexuals.”

So what’s the difference between Phil Robertson (from Duck Dynasty) and gay activists? True tolerance. 

Phil stated his beliefs but didn’t demand nationwide conformity to them. Gay activists state their beliefs and demand nationwide conformity. And then they quickly demonize anyone who disagrees — repeatedly accusing good people of being racists bigots for holding a different viewpoint. 

If homosexuals want a radical revision of historic marriage laws from the standard used for most of human history, American history and the only one validated by Jesus (Matthew 19), they should expect to have to make a very strong case and to hear why others disagree or do not accept their case. This is just the way it works. It’s not about discrimination, bias or intolerance. These accusations must be firmly rejected as tools of manipulation to coerce and silence others. 

Steve Cornell

See also:

Big difference between Phil Robertson and Gay Activists

simple-300x388-1What’s the difference between Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) and gay activists? Tolerance.

Phil stated his beliefs but didn’t demand nationwide conformity to them. Gay activists state their beliefs and demand nationwide conformity. And then they quickly demonize anyone who disagrees — repeatedly accusing good people of being racists bigots for holding a different viewpoint.

How did we fall for this? Why do we allow it?

Answer?

A seven point strategy has been used - 7 tactics for promoting gay marriage

Steve Cornell

7 links worth seeing

1. A Nation of Wimps 

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they’re breaking down in record numbers.

2Gay marriage: a case study in conformism

In truth, the extraordinary rise of gay marriage speaks, not to a new spirit of liberty or equality on a par with the civil-rights movements of the 1960s, but rather to the political and moral conformism of our age; to the weirdly judgmental non-judgmentalism of our PC times; to the way in which, in an uncritical era such as ours, ideas can become dogma with alarming ease and speed; to the difficulty of speaking one’s mind or sticking with one’s beliefs at a time when doubt and disagreement are pathologised. 

3. Tolerance as a strategy, not a virtue

This strategy of social coercion to approve the sexual preferences of a small number of people who want to engage in same-sex behavior has gotten out of control. We’re not being asked to tolerate, but forced to approve and celebrate homosexual preferences. Is this the kind of tolerance we want for our country? What happened to freedom for all? Can’t there be respect without coercion and control? 

4. If only gay marriage was all they wanted

It certainly might be more politically and legally amendable and create less social unrest if the gay community said, “All we want is marriage and the benefits that come with it, but we are not asking for civil rights status as a minority group along the lines of racial identity.  We are not asking for businesses and Churches to be forced to affirm gay marriage. We are not asking for curriculum changes at the public schools to include gay marriage and families.”

5. What a week of groceries looks like

Photographer Peter Menzel started this intriguing series of one weeks of groceries from around the world, taking traditional food photography to a much larger scale.

6. Every Every Every Generation Has Been the Me Me Me Generation

Millennials are the “ME ME ME GENERATION,” writes Joel Stein for the cover of Time magazine, which is apparently a marked departure from the Baby Boomers, who were the plain old “Me Generation” (one me, no caps) and who created the “Me Decade” in the 1970s, and who coined the phrase, “But enough about me… what do you think about me?” in the 1980s when they were raising the next narcissists, Generation X.

7. Petraeus Concerned Over Edited Benghazi Talking Points, According to Email

As the Benghazi story heats up, reporters grilled Press Secretary Jay Carney at the White House on Friday after ABC reported that the CIA’s talking points on the Benghazi attack were revised 12 times.

Extra: A Picture of Earth through time

Pursuing Wisdom (p. 3)

This is part three of a four-part study in the early chapters of Proverbs. Each post has study and discussion questions for personal or group use. Since the early chapters of proverbs are words from a father to a son, these lessons are especially helpful for parents who desire to lead their children in the way of wisdom. The study will be based on four main points.

3. Abstain from Sexual temptation

In Proverbs 2:16-19, Solomon introduced his son to another voice of temptation — the voice of the adulteress or wayward wife. Her words are not overtly perverse like those of the wicked men.  Instead, she uses “seductive words” and “flatters with her words.” Three chapters are devoted to this warning (Proverbs 5,6,7).

In Proverbs 2:16, the primary concern is the “adulteress” (NIV); or “strange woman” (NASB).  Some translations refer to her as a “foreigner” or “loose woman” (loose meaning outside the family).  In Proverbs 5:3, again concerns the “adulteress”.  Proverbs 6:24-32 uses a variety of identifications:

      • “the immoral woman”
      • “the wayward wife”
      • “seductress”
      • “the prostitute”
      • “the adulteress”

Proverbs 6:29 and 32 refer to the man who “sleeps with another man’s wife” and who “commits adultery.” 

Summarizing the various terms, the woman is “strange” or “foreign” — not necessarily in the sense that she is from a strange land and different ethnic group than Israel.  Instead, she appears to be an Israelite woman: “who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God” (Proverbs 2:17).

Reference to the “covenant she made before God” implies an Israelite woman.  Therefore, her “strangeness” or “foreignness” which the terms clearly imply has more to do with her deliberate act of violating the covenant and standards of her people. She has cut herself off and distanced herself through her immorality. 

Along these same lines, one commentator suggested that, “By betraying her covenant of marriage, this woman looses herself from the covenant community and turn her back on the covenant of God.” 

We should assume that Solomon is very concerned about the danger she presents since he devotes a significant amount of space to the warning about her to the warning about her. Next to wisdom, no other theme is given more attention than warnings about sexual temptation (See: 2:6-19; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 9:8-18). 

There is a tone of urgency and deep concern in Solomon’s warnings.  “Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.  Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel” (Proverbs 5:7-9). 

Think about it

The intent of these passages is to communicate that, “nothing in life so clouds our judgment and makes stupid fools out of the wisest of us as succumbing to illicit passion. All our useful energies are drained off to defend or conceal that behavior.  The colossal compromise of adultery colors all our other value judgments and causes us to stagger along life’s road half tipsy.  To the teachers it was worth every possible effort to prevent their young people from falling into this bottle-dungeon of perverted sexuality whose walls sloped inward to the top and make escape only a fantasy “ (David A. Hubbard, p. 88, C. C. Proverbs). 

 The larger area of concern here is the reality of sexual temptation— which is not limited to any one culture or period of history. Therefore, as we consider the context of this text, we need to be careful to relate the larger concern of sexual temptation to other scriptures and to our lives.

We face an even greater challenge when addressing this subject — the challenge of living in a culture that has lost its connection with any clear sense of standards for sexual conduct.  More than that, as Tim Stafford has written,

“The old consensus about how we should live sexually has shattered, and we have not yet arrived at whatever will replace it.  We have only arrived at chaos, and with it great pain and confusion.  Families shatter. Children grow up with a series of unfamiliar men.  They move from home to home, experiencing dizzyingly different level of poverty and affluence.  The old ways of courtship, marriage and family are shaky.  We didn’t go looking for chaos.  On the contrary, chaos is the end result of an unprecedented push for pleasure.  Americans have never known so much about their sexuality, talked so much about their sexuality or tried so hard for happiness in the sexual realm.  Magazines and books and TV shows endlessly discuss how to find sexual delight.  But the results have been disastrous on every level . . . we have come perilously close to embracing lust as a fundamental human characteristic — if not a right.” 

A word from God

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality: that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.  The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit” (I Thess. 4:3-8). 

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How would you describe your handling of with sexual temptation?

Victorious, struggling, defeated, overwhelmed, good days and bad days, ____________________.

2. Identify your primary sources of struggle with sexual temptation: TV, internet, movies, magazines, books, relationships, etc…

3.  How does the following teaching of Jesus relate?

Matthew 5:27-30 - “You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

John Stott explains: “If your eye causes you to sin because temptation comes to you through your eyes (objects you see), then pluck out your eyes. That is, don’t look!  Behave as if you had actually plucked out your eyes and flung them away, and were now blind and so could not see the objects which previously caused you to sin. Again, if your hand or foot causes you to sin, because temptation comes to you through your hands (things you do) or your feet (places you visit), then cut them off. That is: don’t do it! Don’t go! Behave as if you had actually cut off your hands and feet and flung them away, and were now crippled and so could not do the things or visit the places which previously caused you to sin” (Sermon on the Mount, p. 89).

  4.   What do I find most helpful for overcoming sexual temptation? (Recommendation: Memorize all the serves on the previous page)

  5.   Read and discuss the following

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18).  What level of pride is required to believe that sexual sin could overtake Lot, Samson, David (“a man after God’s own heart”), Solomon, the Corinthians and a host of modern Christian leaders, but not me?  Paul’s warnings deserve a prominent place on our dashboards, desks and computers: “But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Gal 6:1); “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  (1 Corinthians 10:12).

 God does not want us to be presumptuous, but nor does He want us to be paranoid.  We do not have to live each day teetering on the edge of immorality or paralyzed by the fear of sudden fall. In the specific context of seeking to be sexually pure and resisting sexual temptation, the wise man says this to his son:

“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.  Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared” (Pr. 3:21-26).

If we walk daily with Christ, being alert to what’s happening in our minds and implementing steps of  righteousness and wisdom, then we can go our way “in safety” and “not be afraid.” (From: Sexual Temptation: How Christian Workers Can Win the Battle,  Randy C. Alcorn )

6. Relate I Corinthians 7:2-5 to the concern of sexual temptation.

“But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (I Corinthians 7:2-5, NLT)

Scripture dealing with sexual temptation: 

    • Ephesians 5:3-5 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
    • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body n in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; …”
    • Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
    • Proverbs 6:32 “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.”
    • Proverbs 28:13,14 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”
    • Psalm 32:1-2,5  “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’– and you forgave the guilt of my sin”
    • 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
    • Romans 13:14 “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
    • 1 Peter 2:11-12  “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Steve Cornell

Sex and Marriage

One of the main sources of marital conflict is sex.

This often seems strange to engaged couples. Why would sex be a problem? I tell them that the reason for conflict over sex is the very thing that makes it possible. It involves male and female.

Men and women tend to approach sex very differently and couples need to understanding this in order to minimize the conflict.

Analogies are usually inadequate but when it comes to sex, I suggest that men are like the microwave and women are like the crock pot. Let me explain.

The act of sex itself registers more with men than the relationship leading up to it. The relationship leading up to it tends to be more important for women when it comes to sex.

If couples want to have a better love life, husbands must be more intentional about cultivating the relationship and wives must try to be more intentional and take initiative in sexual matters.

It’s also important for Wives to know that they can be a source of protection for their husbands in the area of sexual temptation (I Corinthians 7:5). I don’t say this to lay blame on a wife when a man refuses to resist temptation but, far too often, wives do not take the sexual part of marriage as seriously as they should.

When I teach on this subject, I remind wives that when a man goes to bed with a woman, there is a good chance he thinks about sex most nights. But when he feels like he always has to be the one to initiate or even has to “ask for sex” with his wife, a man’s self-respect will be damaged in ways that lead to other problems.

This is particularly problematic when a woman used sexual advances to win a man before marriage and then shuts down sexually in marriage. In these cases, deeper changes in thinking need to happen to protect the marriage.  

Open and humble communication are essential in this area. Couples must view sexual frustration as a threat to their marriages.

Prolonged sexual abstinence in marriage is forbidden in Scripture. In fact, Scripture specifically identifies this as an opportunity for the evil one to tempt married people because of lack of self-control (see: I Corinthians 7:3-5).

If interested in further consideration of this aspect, consider, “Do you wish you had more sex in your marriage?

Steve Cornell