I envy Adam and Eve. Pre-fall, of course.
They started their marriage with no shame, no barriers to love, no baggage from past relationships and families of origin.
The lack of wounding and absence of sin surely allowed them to experience a depth of intimacy that we cannot imagine. For each of us have been hurt, betrayed, and perhaps even scalded by the angry words of our beloveds.
With each prick, we become less willing to trust. We react by self-medicating. We transfer our hurt. We withdraw and hide. All of which further limits our ability to be truly naked and unashamed.
Is it futile for us to try and recreate what Adam and Eve had? Or a radical act of faith?
When my husband and I married twenty-six years ago, his shame attached to his body. Two incidents of molestation as a young teen led him to believe that his body—and all of the longings and desires that raged through it—were the problem. It’s taken years for him to be at peace in his skin.
My shame attached to my unique gifting. I am what is known as a highly sensitive person, or HSP. I cut tags off my shirts, have very little tolerance for bright lights and high decibel venues (even some church services!), and cannot watch or read anything that is the slightest bit violent. Since childhood, self-hatred has been a pernicious and unwelcome visitor in my soul.
Even in the dark, both of us could instinctively run our fingers over the scars we bore, but we failed to understand just how these scars affected our ability to be vulnerable. Yet God, in his great mercy and wisdom, led us to make two decisions that allowed us to move incrementally toward the kind of intimacy we believe Adam and Eve experienced.
First, we would only be sexually intimate when the desire was mutual. There would be no trump cards played. No power dynamics the bedroom.
Second, we would always be emotionally present to each other when we made love. That translated to lots of waiting as he cleared his head of images. And lots of affirmation from him that my extreme sensitivities were an asset rather than a liability.From @dorothygreco, author of MAKING MARRIAGE BEAUTIFUL, on finding real intimacy in the marital bedroom.… Click To Tweet
These decisions, coupled with our commitment to confess any and all sins to each other and forgive every grievance, have allowed us to experience profound intimacy. Not simply in the bedroom but in all facets of our marriage.
Because we confess, there’s no suspicion or doubt lingering in the background. Because we forgive, we drain the reservoir of anger and bitterness.
In our two and a half decades of failing, forgiving, serving, and sacrificing we have learned how to experience authentic sexual and emotional intimacy: By aiming our internal compass toward Christ—and then walking resolutely forward so that we might get back to the Garden.
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Dorothy Littell Greco is the author of Making Marriage Beautiful (David C Cook). She divides her time between writing and speaking about how relationship with Jesus changes everything, making photographs, and kayaking with her husband. They live outside Boston and have three amazing sons (and one equally amazing daughter-on-law). You can find more of Dorothy’s work on her website or by following her on Twitter (@dorothygreco) or Facebook.