This week we continue exploring the theme of how an attack on our identity causes us immese feelings of pain and worthleness... and how that's particularly relevant to us as partners of sex addicts/betrayed wives. See last week's post for more on this.
Godly sexuality and identity
When we commit to using our sexuality God's way, we and our significant other get put in a very vulnerable “being known” state. Even the things we may like least about ourselves are revealed. In this state, we are meant to be affirmed and esteemed. Song of Solomon 4:7 says "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." That is God's joyful response to seeing us vulnerable.
When our sex life is a joyful, mutual honouring, even of the bits we like least about ourselves, this will confirm to us deeply, the truth of our identity. It does this in a way that words alone cannot. It builds us up at the soul-level.
Sinful sexuality and identity
Satan, on the other hand, wants people, to use their sexuality to deny their own/others' value and destroy a sense of godly identity. His call is “do sex without being vulnerable or known”. In other words, just use porn, have sex with people you don’t really know, have sex while on substances, don’t take it seriously, just use people for your own sexual gratification, etc.
The enemy also wants us to be known (and “know”) and then be belittled (or belittle). Porn, and even romantic/sexual fantasy teaches that our value is only in the parts of us which can be used for a sexual or romantic high. Sex with a porn/sex addicts almost guarantees we will be objectified, compared and eventually found wanting. The latter sometimes occurs through verbal and/or physical aubse... possibly even during the very act of sex itself.
When our spouse has a porn/sex addiction he is not being faithful to “the one” God brought him together with. This gives us the message “you weren’t enough” (or you were “too much” ... of something bad). The result is a powerful lie about our identity, which may be hard not to take on board.
Finally, Satan wants people's sexuality to control them so that they are addicted and can’t easily switch back to God’s way of doing sex. That way they keep hurting others and themselves. This creates confusion and shame which separates people from God and “the one” they are meant to be faithful to.
Working to stand in truth
God wants to see our sexuality used to build up our identity and powerfully reinforce truths about how incredibly valuable, unique and “without flaw” we are (and are becoming more so all the time through his transformative power).
If our partner has had their sexuality high-jacked by Satan we can receive immense damage in our most psychologically and spiritually vulnerable parts. Instead of being known, named, affirmed and receiving life, we are unknown (though lied to about this), misnamed (labeled), denigrated and the result feels like death.
So what do we do if that's us? If we're the one whose identity has been hammered on by Satan via our husband and sometimes others?
What we do is prepare to embark on an in-depth healing journey. And as unfair as it is that we should have to invest in such a journey, through no doing of our own, immense growth may await us.
As Christine Kaine writes in the foreword to Aubrey Sampson's book, Known:
Throughout Known, Aubrey poignantly shows the vital necessity of understanding that we are not what happened to us or what we have done. We are not what was said to us or what others have said about us. We are who God says we are, which is why one of the most important journeys we will ever take on this planet is the journey to discover who we really are in Christ.
If we know who we are and why we are here, we will live out of that truth and not the facts of our past history or present circumstances. It is only the truth we know that will set us free... If you live from the truth that you are fully seen, fully known, and fully loved by God, then you will thrive and flourish in life.
God has named us (Isaiah 49:1), and if we can persevere and conquer, he's waiting to give us a new special name (Revelation 2:17). He secures our identity now and will bring us into the fullness of it... despite betrayal.