Karen grew up in an abusive, alcoholic home. Life wasn’t easy for her. By the age of sixteen, she wanted to escape from the abuse so badly that she ran off and married a boy her own age. Karen immediately got pregnant, and the all-too-young marriage soon ended. She spent the next thirteen years as a single mom, raising her son and struggling to make it alone.
After a second very difficult failed marriage, the betrayal she experienced from her ex’s pornography addiction and adultery left Karen with a lot of emotional heartache. There were issues that she needed to work through and find healing for in order to move forward in a healthy way.
The betrayal of pornography on top of the affair was just too much to deal with,” Karen says. “My ex-husband called himself a Christian, so I had a lot of confusion to overcome regarding faith and Christianity and a lot of healing to do.”
Paul didn’t have it easy either. His ex was a meth user, so he had to protect his five-year-old daughter from her mother’s addiction. But doing that on his own was more difficult than he could ever imagine. Between all the legal issues and emotional challenges, Paul finally turned to God for help, and shortly after that, he became a Christian. Then he and Karen met and fell in love.
I firmly believe that God was right in the middle of our relationship,” Paul says. “Karen’s the best thing ever—for me and for my daughter, Sarah.”
The truth is, previous relationships leave indelible marks on each one of us. Some are good, but as with Karen and Paul, many are negative. And when those marks are as powerful, deep, and personal as sexual intimacy, those experiences can also bring good and bad memories, emotions, and sometimes hurts.
Most second-marriage couples have experienced the reality of this. Unless there was some physical or emotional limitation, more than likely, sex has been a part of the individuals’ lives before they enter a second marriage. So that makes sexual intimacy both a challenge and a place where God can bring healing, hope, and redemption like few other areas of life can.
God made us to be in relationship, and because marriage is the most intimate and intense of all relationships, it can be redemptive beyond words when it is done right. When we love, serve, and enjoy one another as God planned, and when covenant commitment undergirds all that, sexual intimacy can be an amazing and wonderful part of your life.
God provided us with a fresh start, and He can do that for you, too,” Karen says. “If you give your past to God and choose to have a new beginning, the area of sexual intimacy can be one of most beautiful and redemptive areas of your marriage and your life.”
“We’ve been married for almost five years,” Paul says, “and we’ve experienced God’s grace on this area of our marriage. We feel like it is a reward for making Him the foundation of our marriage.”
“The redeeming power of remarriage is so evident to us,” Karen says. “God makes all things new. We don’t concentrate on looking back on the former things, instead, we experience God’s love and grace in our marriage.”
For anyone going into a second marriage, it’s wise to view this area of your relationship as a place where God can give you a new start. Whether you’ve lost your first marriage to death or divorce, the fear of being intimately close again can be overwhelming.
Guilt, mistrust, isolation, or even shame can threaten to hinder intimacy. So first, make sure you resolve whatever issues you might have, whether through prayer, discussion, or counseling, and then make a covenant with your future mate to give this area of your marriage to God. In the power of redemption, even the broken places of life can be made new.
Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness, by Susan and Dale Mathis. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more on this book.