A few months ago, I wrote a post here entitled, The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be. There, I shared how I struggled with being all that for my husband, particularly when the Christian culture around me encouraged me to explore and embrace my sexuality. As a sexual abuse victim, this entire journey has been excruciating.
I received a lot of comments, both public and private–many of you sharing your own stories of struggle, how you long to be “normal” (whatever that is) in terms of your sexual health. There is so much pain around this issue, and far too much secrecy and shame. I want to be a part of the revolution that changes all that.
I wrote that I was entertaining the idea of writing a book about it. It was so painful (and yet so healing) that I had to scrunch the time I wrote it so I wouldn’t live too much under a dark cloud. I finished the book, then I pitched it to my publisher who turned it down. My gut-hunch is that it’s a risk for a publisher, even though the audience is large.
I believe in the message of this book. I believe it will set folks free. So now I’m on the trail of self publishing it. Here’s the cover:
The cool part is that my husband contributed to the book. He gives the perspective of a spouse who hasn’t experienced sexual violation, and how the journey alongside me has been like for him (it’s been hard).
Here is an excerpt of Patrick’s words about our journey together:
I knew about my wife’s history of being sexually abused when I married her. When we were dating it didn’t really come up that often and it is not something I asked her about. She shared in tidbits mostly, but it was so horrifying I don’t think I really wanted to deal with it as a naïve twenty two year old. Even if I knew what to say or to ask, I don’t think I had the right tools to understand all that it meant and would mean in our relationship. We met in church, and our Christian faith was a central factor in our friendship and in our lives as we looked toward the future and what God wanted to do with us as a married couple. For all I knew, she had been “healed” of the effects of it, because you wouldn’t know to talk to her or get to know her that abuse was in her past.
For me, being a believer in Christ is the foundation for how I approach our relationship. It means that I have to take His Word seriously, even when it means that it costs me my expectations of what my wife would be like after we were married. I was thankfully never abused so it has been difficult for me to relate to her at times. If I have a problem I just compartmentalize it, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that a problem as serious as abuse cannot be crammed into a file in the back of your mind. At least not in a healthy way. I found myself giving her advice like, “Just don’t think that way,” which as it turns out, is not very helpful.
My journey with being married to an abuse victim is really a story about Jesus changing me to be more like Him. To hear her with His ears, to respond to her as He would respond, to love her as He would love her. He continues to change my heart in ways that are less selfish and demanding, to more empathetic and generous. Not an easy journey, but one I committed to Mary, to those who attended our wedding, and ultimately to God who brought us together.
Here’s the thing: This book TERRIFIES me. It’s raw. It’s really, really open (and I’m accustomed to being open like this, so my fear surprises me). It’s a risk. But I’m willing to take that risk for you. Not that I’m anything special. I just feel like Jesus is asking me to be one of the first, to step out for your sake, to share my journey of healing to bring you hope.
You are not alone. And you don’t have to live with the mark of sexual abuse.