Spouse's Past Sexual Relationships
"I was a virgin when my wife and I married last year. My wife was not. She had several lovers before coming to Christ, and one after. She was honest and shared that with me. She's tried repeatedly to tell me she's broken all soul ties with them. So why can't I 'get over it'? I can't even put into words what I feel: anger, sadness, betrayal, which all seems strange, right, since it was before me? Please tell me what I can do to deal with this."
In answering your question, we are assuming that your wife's sexual history is not hindering her, and that her past sexual relationships have been dealt with and she is experiencing freedom. If it is still an issue with her, we suggest she reads, The Invisible Bond, by Barbara Wilson.
There are 2 things we think you need:
1. You need to have a change of perspective--all of us are broken to some degree: some, like your wife, have obvious outward areas. Others of us have them in our hearts. When we understand this concept, it's easier to forgive, and be forgiving!
You may have been a virgin, but that doesn't mean that your life has been free from sexual sin...
Think about it: what man has not lusted when looking at women--actual or virtual! You are in your mid-30's. Do you realize how many thousands of images of girls may have played through your mind--even if it was only for a fleeting moment?
Jesus said that lusting after a woman is equivalent to adultery in our hearts. Is it reasonable to imagine that all of the women you have "lusted after", even momentarily, might weigh heavily on your wife's mind?
As well, rather than focusing on what you're struggling with, consider what your wife may be struggling with! Is she wondering how much you love and accept her because of her past sexual relationships and your inability to forget? Your wife may not feel sexually confident with you because of her past.
2. You need to adopt a strategy to deal with your thoughts. Fighting them is like playing "tug-of-war" with the devil: you can never win. You must drop the rope! You do that by using the troubling thought (of your wife's previous sexual partners) as a springboard to new thoughts based on Scriptural truth!
When we are dealing with thoughts that seem to torment us, we have to see they are thoughts originating from the devil--the enemy of our soul. He wants to rob, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) the great things God has done by bringing you together with your wife in marriage. These thoughts are the flaming darts the Bible warns against in Ephesians 6:16.
Our response is to lift up the shield of faith! This means you must engage your faith by proclaiming what God says, regardless of how you feel. He says in 1 John 1:9 that when someone confesses their sin, He forgives and washes them clean--and so that is what happened to your wife! She is clean from the past and you have to learn to adopt a strategy that helps you exercise your faith and confess the truth--what God says. This process will result in you being free from all of the thoughts that torment you.
When a thought about your wife's past sexual relationships comes to you, there are 3 steps to follow:
Step #1. Quote a Scripture related to the thought of your wife's past sin and sexual partners, out loud.
Step #2. Personalize the verse, and say it out loud in the "first person".
Step #3. Then pray for an unsaved loved one, again out loud.
OK, let's put the steps into practice now: the thought comes to you...
Step #1: Quote: 1 John 1:9 "If anyone confesses his sin, He is faithful and just to forgive him, and cleanse him from all unrighteousness."
Step #2: Personalize the verse: "Lord, thank you that Mary (put in your wife's name) confessed her sin, and I have confessed my sin, and that you have totally forgiven us and you have cleansed us from all wrong! Thank You, Jesus!"
Step #3: Pray for an unsaved loved one: "And now I pray for our neighbors, Bob and Alice (put in names of unsaved friends or loved ones, but always pray for the same people), and I pray that they may experience the same forgiveness we have experienced. Amen!"
It takes 3 weeks to form a habit. Be diligent to take these 3 steps, and get into the habit of thinking this new way. We guarantee you will be free,and your marriage will take on a new joy!