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Q: My husband is the only man I have been with, and I am the only woman he has been with, but we were together before we got married. We have a normal sex life, but I can't help but feel we're doing something wrong when we have sex. I tell myself, "It's okay now, he's your husband; you're supposed to enjoy him," but it often still feels wrong to me. I just feel stuck. How can I forgive myself and move on?
A: You are asking two separate but connected questions. The first question is about truly walking in forgiveness. Moving past your sin does not require you to forgive yourself, but to absolutely believe God when he says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sin from you" (Psalm 103:12). And, "If you confess your sin, I will be faithful and just to forgive your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Do you really believe this is true, even if you don't feel forgiven? If you and your husband have confessed your sin, you are forgiven. Are you willing to walk by faith in that forgiveness?
The second question is about whether or not God really blesses passionate, erotic love between a husband and a wife. Many Christians give lip service to this idea, but in practical life, they still battle lies that sex is dirty, and that sexual pleasure is wrong. He created sex as holy, as extremely pleasurable, and as a wonderful gift for you and your husband. He gives you permission to pursue the deepest, most exciting passion. It brings glory to him when you do so. If you doubt this, study the Song of Solomon in which God clearly blesses and elevates the importance of sexual love.
So, open the gift! Kick the enemy, that Father of lies, out of your bedroom and enjoy what God said is good!
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Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?