Well, tickle me happy! One of the marriage advocates I most admire is here today: Jolene Engle of Christian Wife University. And she’s talking about an important topic for many of you wives: physical pain in sex. Here’s her story and insight.
Not long after I became a Christian, I met and married my husband. We remained pure until our wedding night because we wanted to honor and obey the Lord with all aspects of our lives. Now, I’ve got to tell you, I. could. not. wait. to have sex with my new husband!
You should have seen me at my wedding reception. I ate my dinner fast and I ate my wedding cake fast. This new wife was looking to leave the party as soon as possible so I could head to our honeymoon!
But sex…it’s been a complicated thing for me. From dealing with the emotional baggage from a promiscuous past, to a low sex-drive (I entered into peri-menopause when I was 32), and then having physical pain when I had sex with my husband. This gal was not happy about the limitations and obstacles faced in the marriage bed!
It was just one month after our wedding day when the simplicity of our sexual intimacy died down. I received news from my doctor that I had precancerous cells of my cervix and surgery was now scheduled on my calendar. I eventually recovered from this, but what I didn’t know was that there was a storm up ahead that would sweep through our marriage bed.
It was less than two years later when we welcomed our firstborn son into the world, and that’s when the gale force winds of pain and infections swept through my body. After giving birth, I dealt with a gone wrong episiotomy and a prolapsed uterus which made sex extremely painful. When my next son entered the world, my body broke down even more. Each month I had rupturing ovarian cysts, and I dealt with depression due to my hormonal imbalances. My body was riddled with infections, and one infection invaded my private parts and stayed there for well over a year. The doctors had no answers. Vaginal Inflammation. Chronic Infections. Rupturing cysts. This was my way of life for so many years.
I was chronically ill, but I was also chronically seeking to connect with my husband. I didn’t want to deprive him because of what my body was going through. I believe this attitude helped my husband to be chronically understanding, gentle, and loving toward me. My health problems, the problems that the Lord allowed in our marriage, forced my husband to live out his biblical command to love me like Christ loved the church. He had to put that verse into action in the marriage bed!
If you’re dealing with physical pain, here are my tips:
- Be intentional to pursue intimacy even when there is pain. (This doesn’t mean you have to have intercourse.) You can be Sex Savvy, as J has taught, and you can be creative in spite of your issues. This shows your husband that you still desire him regardless of your limitations. And let’s face it, some intimacy is better than no intimacy. Of course go slow and relax! The goal is connecting with your husband.
- Work hard to find a solution to your problem. Become your own advocate in dealing with your health. Go to doctor after doctor after doctor until you find a solution. Read books. Eat special diets. (This helped with my inflammation.) Dig high and low to find answers and remedies to help you. The health of your marriage depends on your diligence! I found that when I did this, my man saw I meant serious business that our physical intimacy was important to me. And I believe my physical weaknesses helped him to live out 1 Peter 3:7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.“
- Don’t invite Satan into your marriage bed by turning to porn or reading erotica novels in the hopes that these things will fix your intimacy issues. These choices will just compound your problems by fracturing your emotional and spiritual intimacy. Keep in mind that God is allowing the physical limitations to take place in your body and He is the Great Physician. He can heal you at any time. Have faith. Have hope, and always choose a God-honoring path in your marriage bed. (If you’ve taken a wrong turn, just repent and get back on the narrow path.)
- Use coconut oil. The lubrication will help your sexual experience, and since coconut oil is natural it shouldn’t cause any burning or irritation to your skin. Just make sure you’re not allergic to it! Test it on another part of your body, first.
It’s been almost 17 years now since I said, ‘I do’ to my man. We’ve endured a lot, but we’ve worked hard to try to fix my issues because our physical intimacy is important to our marriage. As I look back over all these year, it felt like my marriage bed was ravaged by the locusts, but my God (and yours) says this…”So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
Fight for your physical intimacy rather than neglect it. You’ll be surprised by how much your determination will make a positive impact on your marital relationship. You’ll come out of this trial even stronger and closer as a couple.
Jolene was once an atheist who is now sold-out for Jesus Christ. Her heart beats fast for discipling women and you’ll find her doing just that at JoleneEngle.com. She is also the founder of Christian Wife University where she helps wives connect the dots from their reality to the Christ-centered marriage they long for and the one God intended.
Jolene and her husband, Eric, run a weekly podcast called, What’s a Girl to Do? where they provide biblical guidance for women and wives. She is also the author of the book and bible study, Wives of the Bible.