Real Marriage: Grace or disgrace?

Moving on into chapter 7 in the Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” book, I thought Grace was describing my 2nd boyfriend…. seriously.  Each of these things she mentioned about her first boyfriend…. I mentally put a check mark next to in my head.

*Lost my virginity to him…check

*He became controlling … check

* He controlled my friendships…. check.  (basically I had none.)

* He controlled my free time … pretty much… check

* He followed me around checking on me and what I was doing… check

The only real difference was that he was never physically abusive to me, which could have happened if I stuck around longer than I did.  He tried to alienate me from my family and nearly did it.  I was almost so isolated from everything but him…it’s scary to think back on this now. I even thought like Grace did, that if I married him, it would cover my sin and shame with him….thankful that I never did.  Thankful that somehow I got the strength to leave this relationship and never come back.   Thankful that my family intervened and got me out of that situation by allowing me to move back home.

Like Grace, I lived with that shame of unforgiveness for a long time.  I didn’t know that I needed to run to God for love and grace, instead I tried to hide it from him, like Adam and Eve hid in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit.  Funny how the human nature thinks we can hide things from God.   It wasn’t until I finally gave it over to God and forgave myself, that healing came.

I don’t remember if I wore any of the “masks” she talked about.  I probably did, just didn’t realize it.  But the pain of what I experienced was hidden very well.   That experience had changed my outlook on sex…. when I was single, it was an idol.  When I got married, it became a necessity to do for a period of time….. All I can tell you is that I am thankful for God’s healing.   I have never really discussed it much before except with my husband.   It’s a part of my past that I am glad that God has taken from my mind.   I think the only reason he has brought this back is to possibly help someone who may be going through what I went through.  It’s okay to talk it through with someone who has been there before.  There is no shame in it, only forgiveness.

So that is my story.  What did you think about this chapter?

Real Marriage: Sex – God, Gross or Gift?

Now, we’re entering chapter 6 in the Driscolls book.   We all know that the bible defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman wed in holy matrimony.   He intended it to be for good, and He called man and woman both VERY GOOD.    So how in the world did we get to the point where sex is misused and misinterpreted like it is today?

It’s spelled S-I-N.

Okay, let’s talk about the three topics of this chapter…. first Sex as god.  Mark gives an example of a man he counseled.   It is so important as we raise our children that we help them to realize there is NOTHING that they should treasure more than God.  The first commandment tells us that there is to worship God alone.  Wealth, prestige and even sex can be put on such a high pedestal, that we forget all about God.   Idolatry.  It’s when a good thing becomes a god thing.  In today’s world, pornography is a $90 billion idol per year worldwide, and $13 billion is in the US.  Porn is addictive.   Prostitution…. it’s hard for me to fathom selling my body for sex, but it happens to a lot of women daily.  If you view sex as a god, then you and your marriage are in grave danger.  There is no freedom, comfort , joy or pleasure on this path, it only leads to destruction.

Sex as gross…. really?  This is kind of the antitheses of sex as a god….it’s like a necessary evil.   Procreation…that’s the sin I fell into in the early years of my marriage.   Unfortunately, a lot of this train of thought comes through misteaching by the church.  Speaking of how evil sex is, but never fully explaining that once in a marriage covenant, sex is a beautiful gift from God.   Also, unfortunately, people who have been sexually abused or molested have the wrong view of sex since they were violated.    I think part of my problem in early marriage revolved around that.  I had a relative that took great pleasure in finding “alone times” with me to fondle my breasts when I was a teenager.   While I was never raped or molested by him, I found what he did repulsive, and I carried that into my marriage.     Thanks be to God for the healing he gave me on this issue.

Sex is a gift.  The bible tells us that married sex is approved by God.  I think of it like God’s wedding gift to you.   One of the most precious gifts that will last a lifetime…unlike that banana holder you got!   Sex is a powerful gift and has 6 benefits…. pleasure, creating children, oneness with your spouse, knowledge of your spouse, protection against sexual sin, and comfort.    I can attest to all 6 of those, and those are gifts I cherish and treasure.

So what are your thoughts?  When you went into your marriage, was sex a god?  was it gross?  or was it a gift?



Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together

The next topic I want to cover is what the Driscolls called “The Four Horsemen” of conflict in marriage.   (From Dr. John Gottman’s observations)

Horsemen #1 = criticism – meaning not just having a complaint about something your spouse did that you find annoying or frustrating.  It goes deeper – attacking his character or personality.    Complaints attack the problem.  Criticism attacks the person.

Horseman #2 = contempt – this is showing disgust for your spouse.  Name calling, condescending humor, belittling, body language…. it grows over time with unresolved conflicts.  We just stack it all in one big heap of disgust.

Horseman #3 = defensiveness – refusal to apologize or back down when you are guilty in a conflict.  I remember some of these when DH and I were going through my refusing years.  I deflected (or tried to) the blame on him… it was all his fault, when in all actuality, I didn’t want to admit I was wrong.

Horseman #4 = stonewalling – we stop working toward reconciliation, and start living separate lives.  This includes ignoring your husband, turning your back on him when  he tries to converse with you, and disengage emotionally and verbally with him…. essentially, you check out.

In this chapter, it states that when these 4 horsemen take up residence in your home “statistically it will end in divorce”.   I am so grateful that DH and I are not one of those statistics.  Thankfully for me, my husband was stubborn and not going to give up on me.  But I tell you what, we sure did live for a while like friends with benefits during my refusing years…that’s something that I know DH cringes hearing about…. but that was my fault.   My sin got in the way.

What is needed if we are seeing these Horsemen in our household?  First recognize your sin.  You can do nothing about his… sins by omission (where you do not do what you should do) and commission (where we do what we ought not do)   Repent of those sins.  Remember, that repentance means that you are sorry and you will not do it ever again.  Repentance includes three parts to it… confession, contrition, and change.   You need to be prepared to do all three…. Second, forgive if your spouse does confess his own sin.   Forgive quickly.  Remember that no one has been sinned against more than God.  Yet, he still forgives us daily.   The chapter goes through what forgiveness IS NOT, but remember forgiveness IS loving despite sin.   Third, let go of all bitterness.  Bitterness has roots, and usually we don’t feel bitter toward strangers, but people who we have deeper ties with and bigger expectations.  Fourth, if you have a fight, make it a good fight, meaning on that reconciles instead of creates enemies and bitterness.

What are your thoughts?