339/444 Healing from Infidelity: Sexual Intimacy #28, Your Relationship
Larry Crabb used to tick me off! In our supervision meetings (which included me and my fellow graduate assistants, faculty and Larry) I'd open my mouth and offer an opinion. Larry would fumble about, peer at me sideways or not even look at me and say, "Ben, are you feeling brave today?" Gee Larry, I don't know, I haven't really thought about it, but as you ask it I'm wondering why I was foolish enough to open my mouth, so "NO!" I wouldn't say that but I sure felt it. I'd also want to say, "Just bring it Larry. I'm here to learn." Whatever I said, he eventually gently guided me to a deeper reality about the truth of my, our, souls.
One of the most significant exercises of my graduate school experience was writing out my sexual history. It ended up being much more. Once I started writing, memories long forgotten resurfaced and I transported them to the page. Larry didn't ask me then, but yes I was courageous as I wrote.
So, I offer this exercise to you. It's important to note that the details of the sex aren't what is most important, but more your emotions and the impact of the sex on your soul and development as a man or a woman. Most of us haven't ever really stopped to ponder this.
When I wrote my paper as a grad student I didn't want just anybody reading and grading it (kinda odd to think about getting a grade on my sexual history). I requested my graduate assistant, Monte, who I met with weekly, to read it. I remember he didn't write many comments on it. At the end he wrote to not take his lack of comments as a negative. He appreciated being invited into my story and was deeply moved by what I shared.
It may not be a good thing to share this with your spouse. Past sexual details can be difficult to remove from ones brain. Hold that in tension with not keeping secrets from your spouse. If you've concealed betrayal, or told total or partial lies to your spouse, make that right. Before you share this with your spouse, I highly recommend you review this with a counselor or someone you trust greatly who will hear your story with immense grace. Get guidance on if or how to share this with your spouse. Actually, I think you should talk it through with your counselor whether now is the time to begin this exercise or whether it would be best to wait. There has to be adequate space in your soul and life to do something like this.
Expect this to be an emotionally exhausting exercise. Write to the depth that you feel comfortable. Be sure you have a counselor or similar trusted person to help you process through your emotions around this. Don't do this alone. Be supported emotionally and by prayer.
This is a scary exercise. Know that courage and fear can walk lockstep in an exercise like this, but somehow after the process, courage stands tall and fear shrinks away. You are brave and there is nothing to fear in your past in light of the cross of Christ and his mercy and grace. Bringing truth to the light is always an important element of healing.
I pray for you as you ponder this powerful exercise. Know that God's grace covers, promiscuity, adultery, abortion, abuse you've committed and your false feelings of guilt for abuse you've endured, and whatever else in your story you may be afraid to write or speak. You are a son or daughter of the king and he longs for you to let him hold you with all of who you are.
~James 5:16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.