In a Family Life article called “If You Were Sexually Involved Before Marriage“, Robyn McKelvy addresses the long term effects that can have on the sexual relationship within the marriage. She rightly gives sexual intimacy its due as a vital component of marriage:
A healthy sexual relationship is a vital component of a healthy marriage. But I believe a negative attitude about sex wages war against Christian marriages. It is a means of dividing couples in the most intimate way possible and is a quiet but deadly attack on Christian marriages. Any woman who has intimacy issues with her husband must know that it is an attack on her most precious earthly relationship. And Satan attacks this private area because he knows it is such a delicate subject matter—we won’t openly talk about it.
As I read that and imagined all the guys I’ve known, as well as those I’ve come across online who have sexless Christian marriages, I though to myself, how nice that a woman is writing an article that will emphasize the importance of sex and put some accountability on the spouses (which of course would include the wife directly) to see that the sexual aspect of marriage is not ignored.
I could not have been more wrong in my expectations. She starts down a different path:
A woman who was sexually active with her husband before marriage told me, “He was the leader in the relationship before we got married, and he knew sex was wrong. Yet he continued to have sex with me.” Now that they were married, she could not overcome the switch—that sex was wrong before, but now it was right in the context of marriage—and she was surprised at how her husband made the change so quickly. She still lives with the sin of that premature, inappropriate relationship every time he touches her. (my emphasis)
Stop here for a second. I do not believe this as stated. Realize exactly what she claims. A woman was having sex because she placed herself under the leadership of her boyfriend, not husband. And she knew it was wrong….but he lead her. Now, she is married, and she cannot get her head around the fact that it is sanctified in marriage. This is nonsense.
Here is the reality. She wanted sex in those early days and now she doesn’t. Period. That’s it. This entire narrative has been created as an artificial reality so that she can justify both of her bad decisions. There is an indirect confirmation that I am on the right track in what the author says later:
I talk about sexual intimacy with a lot of women and they are still wondering, Did my husband marry me because we were sexually involved? [ ] My husband has continued on like this does not affect him. But it surely does affect me.
Alternatively, did he ONLY marry me for sex? This idea that men marry for sex is unacceptable to most women. They seem unable to process the true meaning of that, which is that, if there was not going to be sex in the marriage, the man would seek a different bride. Sex is the only thing that is relegated to marriage. For a Christian man have his compelling sexual needs met and be sanctified, he must marry. Hence, yes, a man marries for sex. This expressly does not state that he marries a particular women ONLY for sex. There is also everything else about her. But prior to the marriage, knowing she would refuse sex in the marriage would kill the deal.
So the author decides on how to fix these problems born of premarital sex. Men, listen to what the women are saying!
[ ]this is what wives are saying. And I’ve discovered that they are hanging on to this issue because there has been no repentance or resolution. If you have not apologized for being a self-centered leader in the relationship prior to marriage, and as a result you were involved sexually, it is time to get it resolved.[ ]
Your wife needs to know that you understand that your physical involvement with her, prior to marriage was a breach of trust. She needs to understand that you are sorry for putting her in that position and that, with God’s help, she can trust that you will be the spiritual leader God has called you to be in your life and hers.
Taken whole this is amazing.
Before marriage the women didn’t want sex because they were not married, but he made her. Now, during marriage she doesn’t want sex…..because he made her before marriage. Also, she was so submissive then that she was willing to have premarital sex to follow him, but she feels so guilty and angry now that she is unwilling to submit to him in this (nor likely in any other area)
The truth is, she was hot for him in the early days, now she is not. And she has never been under his leadership, then, now, and likely never will be. If she was so devoted to submitting to her husband before marriage then she would not be denying sex within the marriage years later. She would still be submitting in that.
But she has this narrative to wrap herself in to make things look better for her, looking from the outside. Layer upon layer of deception. Its like these ministries sit around conference tables and brainstorm how to explain away women’s behavior and make it seem like contrition or guilt, never sin with agency.