wedded wednesdays guest post: when getting intimate is hard to do.

{We need to get talking about what marriage really looks like. In that spirit, we chat about it here once a week, on Wedded Wednesdays.}

Marriage has a way of revealing where we’re raw, where we’re vulnerable, where we’re fragile. Our past, our unmet expectations, our unvoiced worries or fears can and often collide in marriage and our sex life can sometimes be the darkest corner. And even in this darkness, we are not alone. We are never alone. I’m so humbled today to welcome the marvelous Jennifer Camp, who shares her story.

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Song of Solomon is one of those books of the Bible that I used to be reluctant to read. Before marriage, when I read it, it seemed so intense–this passionate, adoring love between a king and his lover, between Solomon and the Shulammite woman. I remember feeling overwhelmed by it all: I could hardly imagine a love like that. After marrying my husband–hero of my heart–16 years ago, I spent years still having trouble surrendering myself to him intimately, with freedom. It may have partly to do with my never having witnessed much physical intimacy or trust between a husband and a wife growing up. But, more significantly, the pain of my past choices in relationships before marriage had woven a fabric of lies into my heart about intimacy with my husband.

Even without past mistakes with physical intimacy, we live in a world where it can be difficult to imagine, and believe, in a love where lovers abandon themselves completely and trust the heart of another. And when I learned that the songs in Song of Solomon can also be read through the lens of God’s love for His people, that can seem too amazing to believe, too.

But I want to.

In the Songs I am awakened to a husband and a wife surrendering themselves to each other, completely lost in passionate adoration of their lover. I can still read the pages and be filled with surprise, cheeks aflame, heart beating fast. What is this book–these poems declaring that yes, you are the one I want, the only one I want to pursue, the only one with whom I am meant to be? The beauty and wild openness between two people in these pages stun me still.

But I can believe it now.

I choose to believe, and I devour the pages with hope and faith: By my God I am pursued with intensity like this. I am loved with fierce beauty like this. And in this loving me He has made physical intimacy with my husband to be a glorious, joyful surrendering where I forget myself and let myself be present for what beauty, in this marriage, He brings.

I know more about this Father’s love for me now. And, finally, after years of pain and not believing physical intimacy was something that brought God joy–a celebration of the love that He created between my husband and me, an act of glory that He made — I believe He smiles now, when I trust Him and, in this act of loving my husband, surrender.

I choose to believe and surrender. And I believe this act of abandonment and belief in His love for me brings Him glory. I want to glorify Him. And I know He made each of us to trust Him and give love.

And when I turn toward Him and ask Him to help me forget myself and see His face–trust Him more–He shows me how the lovers in the Songs forget themselves in one another. A lover’s love for herself is not more than it is for her lover. They practice sacrificial love.

Songs

Is there any other kind of love between a husband and a wife? Do I demonstrate this kind of love?

“You have made my heart beat fast, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat fast with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all kinds of spices!” (4:9-10)

Am I open with my speech in declaring my love to my husband? Do I trust that the Father will give me words to show my love?

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (6:3).

Am I loving my husband fully if I think of myself more than I think of him?

“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me” (7:10).

Am I loving my husband if I am conditional in how my love is given — if I love based on his words of affirmation or service for me?

“I was asleep but my heart was awake” (5:2).

Am I loving my husband with a full heart if I withhold this heart the Father has given me to pour out what He pours in?

“Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” (8:6).

A man and woman united in marriage are joined flesh, and something is severed–for even something slightly amiss can be a significant tear–when the self is not forgotten for the sake of loving. Let us love with a heart willing to trust itself–knowing it is in the care of the Father–with the heart of the other part to which it clings.

Is this act of forgetting yourself and trusting the Father regarding intimacy with your husband ever been difficult for you, too? Do you have trouble surrendering and feeling freedom and joy here?

Jennifer Camp

Jennifer, voice finder and wife of a heart-warrior, in N. California, mothers three children and leads My Girls, a group where women gather to remember the truth of their identity, in God’s eyes. You can find Jennifer writing at youaremygirls.com and connecting on both Facebook at You are My Girls Community and Twitter at JenniferCamp1. She would love to have you join her there.

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13 thoughts on “wedded wednesdays guest post: when getting intimate is hard to do.

  1. Dear, dear Jennifer
    Oh, how I relate to your struggles! I had to ask our Pappa to open my heart towards my husband and to experience intimacy for what it truly is. My views were also a bit skewed due to horrible things of my past, but true to Himself, after 28 years of marriage, I am overjoyed to say that we truly have a relationship of love! Thank you for being so honest. I truly appreciate your tenacity.
    Much love
    Mia

  2. At first I thought, “I’m not married. No need to read this post today.” But I kept going anyway, and I’m glad I did. Thanks for sharing your heart. Past relationships of whatever kind – friendships that turn sour, family members who disappoint, etc. – can really affect our ability to be open and honest in any type of future relationships. Great thoughts here on trusting God and loving others and He loves us. Thanks!

    • Erin, it is so true that the enemy can use all past wounds to try and distort God’s truth and make us distrust His heart for us. I am so grateful for your reading and for your encouraging words! 🙂 Thank you.

  3. such freedom to be found in the act of surrender! it took me years and years to learn…but now I can say with abondon: Thank You for the gift of Song of Solomon!

    What a beautiful post, Jennifer….thank you for sharing your heart!

  4. Jennifer, I just love this thought today! Sex is an intimacy designed by God, made better by understanding him, and a tool to teach us the joy of surrender :). It’s so sad that the only thing I grew up knowing about sex was “don’t do it till you’re married.” As my children get to the right age I hope I can explain it to them as a sacred intimacy the way you have here. It can be a vulnerable thing to voice on the internet, I’m sure!!! Thank you for your courage and wisdom 🙂

    • Liz, it is so vulnerable…and maybe that is why my parents, too, had a difficult time talking about the joy of it with me, in marriage. So it just floors me, of course, that God does–without holding back! I also hope to lean on Him, with an open, trusting heart, in conversations with my kids. Thank you so much for your sweet words here!

  5. Pingback: this post isn't just about sex:: a giveaway - You Are My Girls

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