Sexual Integrity After “I Do”: Continuing the Fight
By: Allie Joy Hudson
4 min. read
What About After Marriage?
“Lord, why won’t my struggle with lust just go away? Please take it from me!”
This prayer is not just the prayer of a single man. Sexual struggles can be long-lasting and stubborn for both single and married men alike. And this usually isn’t the type of struggle that just vanishes overnight. Our fight to honor God, our spouses, other people, and ourselves with our thoughts and actions is one that can last a lifetime. This may feel heavy and discouraging, but let’s press on together and remind ourselves of what is true.
Though our struggle with lust eventually has less and less power over us, we must choose to continue to fight proactively. And we must choose to continue to fight for sexual integrity before and during marriage.
Often, when we grow up in the church, the only sexual instruction we get is “don’t have sex before or outside of marriage.” That’s it. While this is something good that the Lord put in place for our protection and something we should abide by, there is so much more to a healthy sexual ethic than not having premarital or extramarital sex.
So, what happens when we do get married and suddenly the “do not, do not, do not,” switch gets flipped and any boundaries we set in place are supposedly gone? How do we do this well? This is such an important and often missed topic, and I want to talk about it now.
What Sex is Not
There are so many lies surrounding this subject that couples believe about sex as they go into marriage. Here are a few:
Lie number one: Once I can have sex with my spouse, I won’t struggle with sexual temptation anymore.
Nope. Marriage does not make other sexual temptations disappear. Our society is saturated with sex, online and in everyday life; it’s everywhere. But now, we have sex as a new weapon to aid us in our fight for honoring God and our spouses. Notice that I called sex a weapon. It helps us fight well, but it does not fix our own issues as we’ll see in the next lie.
Lie number two: Marriage fixes your sexual problems and addictions.
Marriage does not fix our sexual issues. Instead, it acts as a magnifying glass and highlights any baggage we bring in. And though marital sex should and can be a healthy, intimate, and beautiful thing, your spouse cannot be the one to truly change you. Only Jesus can do that.
Related: Sex in Marriage Won’t Fix You
How to Keep Fighting Well
Lie number three: The fight for sexual integrity ends on your wedding night.
Though marriage includes the blessing of sex with your spouse, the fight for sexual integrity does not end here, it just changes. The way that we fight for sexual integrity in marriage looks different than it does for a single person. Rather than shutting out sex in general, including upholding boundaries with your significant other, we now have a good and healthy outlet for sex. But we need to continue to be proactive, wise, and dependent on Jesus.
We need to continue to fight with intentionality. We still need to strategize well, surround ourselves with people who build us up, and put ourselves in good situations. Boundaries and accountability are crucial.
So, continue to use Covenant Eyes. Continue to check in with your accountability partner regularly. Be mindful of the things you are placing before your eyes. Reach out to your spouse as an ally (though not your accountability partner) in your fight. And keep striving to honor God and operate in His strength, not your own.
We must keep choosing to fight well. This is an ongoing, daily (hourly, minute-by-minute) choice. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it should not be treated as an excuse to let your guard down. In fact, your marriage should motivate you to keep your guard up all the more.
A Gift to Protect
Our sexual struggles can take a long time to heal from. But, through Jesus, temptation’s power weakens as we give into it less. We need to learn to replace selfish impulses and thoughts with thoughts that are healthy and pleasing to God, to lean on Jesus for strength in our fight, and to utilize sex with our spouse as a helpful weapon in this fight.
Sex is a gift from God to honor Him and to foster intimacy and unity with your spouse. As we, time after time, go back to our spouse and unite with them in sexual intimacy, this will be the way that we fulfill our sexual cravings. This is a place of safety, love, and trust. It is something for us to protect and cherish. And when we are bombarded with temptation, we can and must choose to shut it down, knowing that we can instead enjoy the sacredness and pleasures of lifelong union with the person we have covenanted ourselves to.
Fighting the Battle
So, do not be passive, single and married men alike. This is a hard, exhausting battle, but it is well worth the struggle. And it is a battle that Jesus has already won the victory for.
Recognize what is true. Be aware of your struggles and be honest about them. If you are married, enjoy sex and use it as a battle weapon to cultivate an intimacy so much deeper and more meaningful than anything you can get from a screen.
And look to Jesus for your help, your strength to resist temptation, and the transformation that only He can provide – one in which He makes you more like Himself, more into the man or woman He created you to be.
Sign up to continue receiving Allie’s blog series on sexual integrity in marriage,
Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven for two and a half years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.