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About the Author
Lacey Wallace, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Marriage Counseling, Family Therapy, and Anxiety & Depression in Women. You can schedule an appointment with Lacey for online counseling or in-person at our Springfield, Missouri counseling center.
Breaking the Silence: Opening the Dialogue
I feel like Esther, like an ordinary person preparing for a moment where tremendous courage is required to speak truth in a very risky way. I stand vulnerable in front of the church like Esther stood in the presence of the king praying to be accepted and heard. Esther’s silence could have caused the death of an entire population of people. My voice might not be the salvation of an entire population, but I believe opening a truthful dialogue within the church can be the beginning of healing for countless individuals and marriages.
I wish my last few years of preparation would have looked more like Esther’s! She had years of pampering and relaxation preparing for her big day. I have had years of education and hundreds of hours sitting with wounded hearts. Every Sunday people all over the world gather to worship. In the crowd there are married couples, singles, and teens desperate for truth and healing from their sexual struggles.
Breaking the Silence: Sex is God’s Design
Sex is God’s design. He created man and woman with intricate detail to make sex possible, enjoyable, and intimate. His design was for husbands and wives to be naked and unashamed in each other’s presence, however in the garden after Adam and Eve sinned for the first time they responded with shame. They covered the parts of their bodies that made them uniquely sexual and hid from God. The enemy of our souls has been ruthlessly attacking our sexuality ever since.
I can only guess that fear has kept the church silent on sexual issues. Fear of being misunderstood, or not knowing all the answers, but the price of the silence has been fierce. Couples, singles, and teens faithfully in the church and struggling alone afraid to speak up or ask for help. I sit with couples and individuals every day that report carrying the weight of their burden all alone because of the fear and aloneness the silence has created.
Breaking the Silence of Sexual Struggles
Sexual struggles come in many forms. Some couples are grieving physical difficulties such as female sexual pain, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, or severe side effects from necessary medications. Other couples struggle through the pain of childhood/adolescent sexual trauma. This is a brutal reality that impacts millions. Some couples struggle sexually due to betrayals that have occurred in the marriage through a physical or emotional affair or addiction to pornography. Other couples have grown up in the church and have received little to no direction regarding sex prior to getting married other than “Do not do it!”. These couples often struggle shifting from sex being wrong and dirty to something they should enjoy and/or crave.
Another significant struggle for couples is a discrepancy in desire for sex. This can be the wife who desires sex less than her husband and views it more as a duty than a desire or it can be the husband who notices less of a desire for sex than his wife. Both situations can leave couples silently struggling feeling alone and insecure. Couples are not the only ones impacted by the silence around sexuality. Teens and singles are desperate for direction and help. They are experiencing normal and natural feelings of sexual desire and have no idea what to do with them. They need a place to bring these questions and concerns safely. They need someone to come alongside them, teaching them to honor and steward these feelings and desires until marriage.
Breaking the Silence: What to Do?
I believe the number of people struggling sexually far outweigh the number of sexually healthy people within the church, and if the church remains silent people will seek help from sources that are not founded in Christ or they will continue to carry the burden of the struggle all alone! This knowledge needs not be ignored any longer. So, what should you do with this information?
First and foremost, please begin to educate yourselves. There are many Christian professionals who have written about these issues or that could make themselves available to speak to you, the leadership within your church, or to your church as a whole.
Second, find resources for couples or individuals who come to you with concerns. Know your limits and where to refer them for help. Lastly, be willing to break the silence on these topics. If God impresses on you to deliver a message on the sexual health of the church, please be bold. Begin to foster a culture within your churches that decreases the aloneness and encourages communication. Provide a lifeline for people to begin to the process of reaching out for help.
The church and it’s silence have been a source of pain for those struggling with sexual issues. Let’s now begin to work together transforming the church into a place of hope and healing for those battling sexual struggles and trauma all alone.
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