Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Love You

Good Day to ya! If you are here by way of the Proverbs 31 Devotion, I Love You, welcome. I have more of that story to share with you, plus I'm going to give away a book today also. I'm really glad you stopped by and I hope you'll share your thoughts with me.

Before I talk about my marriage, I just want to THANK all of you who posted yesterday or sent me emails. I have been pouring through your stories. Many times I have been brought to tears. There was such a great response to yesterday's devotion, I think Proverbs 31 Ministries is even going to run it on our Teen Blog sometime in the future.

Many of you thanked me for sharing and celebrated that I had "overcome" the baggage I've carried through my life and said you wished you could do that too. That's sweet, but I want you to know that I don't feel I've truly "overcome" anything. The devotion I wrote and you read yesterday was about my distant past, but a lot of it could be written about my present. I still struggle. I know, I mean I KNOW that God loves me unconditionally and that none of my past should have a hold on me. I know, I mean I KNOW that I am 100% free in Christ. I know, I mean I KNOW that I don't need to look for love or praise from anyone because God is enough. But like I said, it is my struggle. I have to read my Bible and I even have a few friends who have been sweet enough to make sure I remember all that I KNOW, because when the going gets tough, too often, Melissa falls apart ... again. That's why we really do need to have our quiet time (or whatever you call your time with the Lord) each and every day. Sunday is not enough, we need Him every day and every moment.

Ok, so on to today. So many people want to know about my marriage. Well it ain't perfect I'll tell you that right upfront. I can honestly say that my husband and I have worked harder in this area than any other area of our lives. I think he'd agree with that. We met in junior high school. We were high school sweethearts. We both attended the same college (Appalachian State ... yes we beat Michigan in football last year and yes we have been the National Football Champions in our division 3 years in a row. Can you tell I'm a bit of a football fanatic?). We married 1 month after I graduated. We have 4 beautiful children and the cutest little doggie you ever did see. We have a nice home that we love. Sounds like a fairytale doesn't it? And that's what I wanted, a fairy tale.

Honestly, when I met Jeff, I was in need of a rescue. He swept me off my feet, loved me, took care of me, and put up with me:) And he's continued to play the role of rescuer or knight in shining armour throughout our marriage. You know what's wrong with that? It's not fair and it's not truly possible. You probably know that too. No person can fulfill that role and I was unfair in expecting him to do that.

Over the years, we've experience many trials. Some involving the children. Others involving finances and jobs. We've also had individual trials. Some of these trials we've handled well. But some of them we, or at least I, have not handled well.

During 2007, our marriage was on the rocks. And I don't mean soft river pebble rocks, but the real sharp big boulder kind. I am not going to go into details here because we do have 4 children and we are dedicated to protecting our family and really the details don't matter. We both share in the responsibility of the breakdown, but it was me who really lost it. I shut down as a wife. I was not there for my husband. I quit listening to him, communicating honestly with him, and supporting him the way he needed supporting. Shame, blame, and fear once again took over. I don't blame my past for these recurring feelings, but at the same time I had to wonder what hold the past had on me. Finally for the first time in my life, I entered counseling. Boy, do I wish I'd done that 20+ years ago! That was by far one of the smartest things I've ever done because I needed it. Jeff and I also entered marriage counseling.

Through marriage counseling we dealt with our issues honestly and openly. We also discovered that our love languages were different. Here are the top 5 ways I feel love, in order:

1. Words, written and spoken
2. Physical Touch- non sexual
3. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch- sexual

Here are the top 5 ways Jeff feels love, in order:

1. Physical Touch- sexual
2. Quality Time
3. Physical Touch- non sexual
4. Acts of Service
5. Words, written and spoken

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.....red flag appears....lights begin flashing....My #1 is his #5. His #5 is my #1. Go figure. We could have a problem here.

Now I knew about the love languages (and forgive me if I've left one out), but I never took the time to really examine the difference they could make in my marriage. When both of us began focusing on how the other felt loved, this changed our marriage drastically! Both of us were committed to change. Both of us were committed to make our marriage work. I know I will hear from some of you who are in a marriage where your husband isn't willing to work or he is not there for you. I know because I've heard from you before and it breaks my heart. I'm so sorry. All I can say is no matter who you are or what condition your marriage or any other relationship is in, your #1 relationship has to be with the Lord in order for you to feel whole and complete. I know there is still sadness and a void. I haven't been there, but I try to understand your feelings too. I hope I wrote that ok.

I am happy to report that my marriage is thriving right now. (note, thriving doesn't mean perfect and every problem solved...we are a work in progress, but we are happy right now.) I hope my husband would agree. We are being intentional about making sure we have time together, like date nights weekly (even if the date is in our bedroom because we are saving $) and moments sitting together in the early morning or after work. We are committed to each other and the legacy of our family. We began praying for each other 3 times a day too. He gives me his prayer requests and I give him mine. And we would not hesitate to enter counseling again if it were needed. In fact, we'd go a lot sooner. Personally, I think everyone needs a good Christian counseling session for themselves or as a couple every now and then. It's kind of like a tune up. That's just my personal opinion, I'm not telling anyone they need help:)

One thing we never lost was hope. That is one of my all time favorite words now. Last year I watched God take an ounce of hope and multiply it. Little by little I watched it increase in my life. Hope is a beautiful thing that God has an abundance of. Take it sweet friends and hang on to it.

I will probably continue to write about this and also base my upcoming posts on my blogs on your responses and questions. I read every single thing you write me and I treasure your words.

Oh, yea, I said I'd give something away didn't I? There is a book by Sheri Rose Shepherd titled, His Princess, Love Letters From Your King. It is a beautiful book filled with letters from God to the reader. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't pick this book up and read something from it. We sell it here at Proverbs 31, so if you don't win it, you may want to consider purchasing it. It really is amazing. Just by posting on this blog today, you are entered. Make sure you let me know how I can reach you or at least put a name and you can check back tomorrow to see if you've won and we can get in touch. If you aren't interested or don't want to win, let me know that too.

Before I sign off, repeat after me: "I am beautiful" "I am loved unconditionally" "I may not feel it, but I know it, because I am a daughter of the almighty King, I am royalty, I am a princess" "No one, no thing, no past, no present, no future can EVER take that away from me" "God's promises are true for me, He loves me always NO MATTER WHAT"!!!!!! Now go and be blessed because of that!!!!

Sorry I was so long winded. I also have the spiritual gift of gab:)

Love and Blessings,

Melissa

****I want to thank you Jeff for allowing me to share the pain and joy of our journey. I know it's not easy on either of us to look back and I'm so thankful for you. I love you with all of my heart. Maybe through sharing we are making a difference in another life or marriage. I look forward to each day with you and I can't wait until this Friday night! :) We may even have to get a little "Mud on the Tires"......... I thank God for blessing me with you as a friend, husband, and father of my children.

175 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is great. I love the idea of scheduling the intimate time, for now anyway. I have the same feelings when my husband makes sexual references. I actually find myself trying to be careful of what I say because he can turn so many things into sexual references, and then I am AFRAID he is going to make advances that I am not up to. I have been praying about this, and God is really helping. Thank you for your post. betterhalf@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

Melissa I thank you for sharing.I am going through almost the same, as far as intimacy goes. But God has used you to help me. I am reading about the love languages. I can't believe that you are talking about this. I know that God is calling me to complete wholeness in this thing and I am grateful. Thank you soooooo much.
Rev. Angel

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing so honestly. The Proverbs 31 devotional led me to your blog. Your life is an encouragement to me. Sincerely, Jaime

Lisa said...

Thank you Melissa for all that you and everyone at Proverbs 31 has done for me and everyone else who reads the devotionals. I am just finding my way and discovering the extent of my sin and bad choices that I have made in my life.....god helps to bear it. I can only hope that in time I will be able to be as honest as you have been and who knows....maybe I will be able to help someone else. the lords blessings to you and your family! Lisa

Anonymous said...

Thank you sweet friend. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for being so vulnerable! melanie

Anonymous said...

Thank you...

It is painful to think about but necessary...perhaps God is speaking to me about dealing with issues that I would rather ignore (bury)....

God bless you (and all who are allowing God to unwind their "weary past".....

C.J.

Brittany said...

I can identify with so many things you say. I come from a very hurtful past with my parents and sometime a hurtful present, so I understand the feelings of unworth. They are a constant battle in my relationship with my husband. I enjoy reading your blog so much. Iknow you have no idea who I am or my life but I would ask you to pray for me.
donyse@comcast.net

Joyful said...

Melissa, I don't know how to respond. You have been blessed my friend. Although I find some of this hard to read because of my own situation, I am so thrilled for you. My heart overflows for what God has done in, with, around and through you! You are so precious to me.
Hugs,
Joy

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, for your rich sharing!

Janet

poeteangel said...

Melissa- what a blessing your devotionals and blog have been. I attended She Speaks this year and it has truly changed my life. I've kept the love languages book on the table as the "next book" I'm going to read and yet I've never picked it up. Right now, I'm reading one of Lysa's books.... but I am going to start reading about the love languages tonite. I have a feeling my hubby and I are like you and your hubby... my first is probably his last!
Nette (poeteangel@yahoo.com)

ps-Brittany who left a message here- I am praying for you!

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how He works to show us that we are not alone in our daily struggles. God always links us to what we need to see and hear to further our walk with Him. You are a blessing to me sharing your struggles with intimacy...I have the same issues. It is crazy to see how differently we are wired but we have to put our husband before ourselves...I will try the schedule and see how that works!! Thanks for sharing!!

Sarah said...

Melissa, this was beautiful sharing once again. I can't even imagine how many you're helping by opening up this way.

Me and my husband also went to counseling and it was the best thing we could have ever done, and oh Lord, we needed it so much! I have felt your heart in so much of what you've written and I have felt sooooo many of the same things. I don't feel so "alone" anymore.

By the way, I can't remember if I wrote this yesterday or not, but me and my sweet husband (who are also thriving now, but not perfect, something I never thought could happen) have also been together since junior high and have four beautiful children. People always thought we were some sort of a "fairytale" couple and I just used to think, "Oh, if you only really knew".

Anyway, thanks again for all you've done for all of us by opening up this way. I am so thankful and praising God that things are going the way I'm sure He has always planned for them to go for you now!

In His precious love,

Sarah (kevsarah@fuse.net)

p.s. Praying for Brittany!!

Kristi said...

Thank You, Thank You! Your Proverbs 31 Devotional and message here on your blog really touched me. My husband and I are also struggling right now and I have my own struggles very similar to what you mention in your devotional. I went through Beth Moore's Breaking Free a few months back and that was very helpful too, but I still have a long way to go.

Kristi

Kristi said...

Sorry, forgot to leave my e-mail address: sonlightmom@verizon.net

Thanks so much!

Kristi

Stacy said...

Thank you for being so open and honest. I am where you are in that I know what I should know but don't seem able to apply it to my life, especially after I leave my quiet time to deal with the day. My kids are grown and I see the "ruin" I did in their lives by my baggage that I couldn't get rid of. But God is so good and I know that He will bring good out of all that He will. Thank you, Stacy staclain@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so open about your struggles. I was sexually abused by a music minister as a little girl, my father has rage issues and then my high school sweetheart - my hubs of nearly 20 yrs, is a porn addict!
The Lord has used so many avenues, including Proverbs31 to bring about such healing in my life. I am so thankful.
When my parents came to visit the beginning of June, I spent so much time in prayer about truly living the forgiveness I had given my Dad in prayer. However, after him being in our home just a few days, I began to realize I was believing the same old lies that I had fully grown up with...I'm no good, I'm ugly, I can't do anything right!
My dear hubs, who is working through his own issue, started having devotions with me in order to combat this latest assault.
That has been an awesome Godsend for me!
I would love the book, however my other half is not yet ready to share his story so I must post this fully anon. Thank you for your understanding.

a moment of time said...

Thanks so much for your inspiration~. It really helps me when I hear about others struggling also. it is freeing, and I am trying to be more intentional about sharing my/our struggles...

Blessings
Shannon
smarklow@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such intimate details of your marital journey. The one thing that I notice is that your husband cared enough about you to confront you with the issues. My husband chose instead to run to other women and get involved with them. At first it was with just talking and he became emotionally entangled. He refused to go to counseling. He would talk intimately with other women but never with me. He always said he couldn't talk to me. Then his emotional affairs became physical affairs. He was verbally abusive to our children and to me and then wondered why I was not in the mood to be intimate when we went to bed.
Oh how I wish he had talked to me even enough to just confront me about things. Now we are in the middle of a divorce. He is living with another woman and I am alone. This is the 5th woman that I know about and I just can't do it any more. I have prayed for things to change, read the scriptures daily (not perfect but try to get it done on a daily basis), talked to God about our problems, have read books on love languages and all kinds of other marriage help, have gone to counseling for myself and did get him to go to counseling one time but he never opened up about anything that he felt. Nothing has worked. I have so completely failed at this and I am wondering where God is. Yes, I know that God loves me unconditionally, I know that I am forgiven, I know that he hates divorce and that marriage is suppose to be for life, I know that God can work miracles but I also know that God choses to work through people one step at a time and doesn't just zap them with a fix. But where is God now. I don't know any more because I am alone and my husband is with another woman. I have since found out from others including his sisters that he was even going out with other women the whole time we were dating before marriage.
I don't know what is the right thing to do any more. I am extremely angry and hurt and I want a new life. I know I am not inocent in the failure of my marriage but I couldn't fix it alone. I keep wondering if I will ever experience the true intimacy and trust that makes a marriage work. Will I ever experience true love? Yes, God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble, but I need someone with a body on that will love me and only me. I need wisdom and strength.

Lara said...

Thank you for being so open about your marriage and life. My husband and I have struggled too, but we are committed. We've started praying for each other every day and have regular time alone together. I love the love languages! I think that was a reminder for me to focus more on his. Thank you!!

Lara
larafransen@gmail.com

Laurie said...

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your experiences. I came across Proverbs 31 today in search of guidance - I think He led me here to read your blog. My husband and I are trying to recover from his infidelity, his abusive childhood, and my past, which mirrors yours in so many ways. Thank you so much for your reminder that we are loved. Laurie

Anonymous said...

I have never even used a 'blog' before...so I hope I am doing this right :) I receive the "Encouragement for Today" email every day and I love it. One of my problems, though, is that I am always reading them and thinking "Oh, so and so could really use this!" and sending it on to them in hopes of blessing someone else. The devotion that you wrote 7/16, however, stopped me in my tracks and brought me to tears. There was no denying that God was speaking to me through your words. I can't tell you how similar my feelings are to what you wrote, as well as some of the elements of our pasts. I have been praying that God would help me in this very area of shame and how it affects my relationship with my husband...and He has answered me that He has heard this prayer by sending me your devotional. I really didn't even know where to begin in 'fixing' my thinking in this area. Thank you for being so candid...thank you for allowing God to use you. I am going to press on in prayer as well as search out additional resources to address these issues in my life. Again, thank you so much.

tinthei@sbcglobal.net

Jo said...

Thank God for the courage He has given you to share honestly with others that also struggle with this. I have struggled with it because of my past also for many years and I think my love language priorities are the same as yours... with 5 being last! God Bless,Jo

Raylene said...

Melissa, I had copied your devotion yesterday to give to my older daughter Jessica, 20 years old. We can both relate to your story and now today with the marriage part..it is so timely for where I'm at. My husband and I were having some trials last week on this very thing...he feeling rejected but me being reminded of my past during intimacy...and then the love language part you shared, our lists would probably match! I so desire to KNOW without a doubt how much God loves me and my family and that he is for us and not against us. Life is hard but God is good!!! I would love to win the book for my daughters and me! Thanks for sharing!! Raylene otool6@msn.com

Annisha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Thank you, Melissa for your honesty in these last two devotionals and for your blog today. The other love language I was thinking of is gifts...which is my number #1 love language...my husband's is physical touch.
Thanks for being so real, you have helped a lot of women just by your candor.
Blessings,
Kelly

Anonymous said...

Thank you, tears :....
too many women/people go through these same similar things and wonder why we think and feel the way we do. You are a healing messenger from and through Christ. His HOPE - He Offers Peace Eternally. Blessings for a gentle day.

Mendy said...

Thank you for your willingness to lay your life open for us to read. Many of us deal with similar issues and for me, sharing my past is a source of healing. It also brings a source of comfort to know that we're not alone, that there are other sisters in Christ who share similar stories. Thank you again for sharing your life.

kelbel said...

My husband and I struggle because I have always thought he should take care of me...be my knight in shining armour....and you are so right when you say no one can do all that, be all that or live up to that....we dont have a problem with intimacy but we do have a problem with communicating and in turn our intimate life would probably be so much more wonderful if we communicated better...I did come here from the newsletter..and I SO enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of you life...it has been so helpful to me. Me and my husband are going through a similar situation and just by sharing your experiance you have given me some things to put into partice.Thanks again and don't stop;-)
Pmlcopeland@yahoo.com

Annisha said...

Thank you so much Melissa for sharing on yesterday and today.

I am engaged to be married this year, 08-08-08 and my fiancĂ© and I are currently taking marriage counseling which is going really well and an absolute MUST for anyone thinking about or preparing to get married. However, I too struggle with my past, I share a lot of your pain regarding some similar past issues that have taken place during my childhood and that I now feel may create some future issues with my Husband to be, (on the level of intimacy that is). I love him very much and thank God for him daily and I know he loves me but He says sometimes I am not as affectionate as he would like for me to be and like you and your husband, His #1 is My #5 and I sometimes fear that this will later pose as a bigger problem for us. I plan to bring up the subject about love languages in our next counseling session b/c there are defiantly some creative differences between us in this area. I also love the idea of date nights; we have two children and both work full-time jobs so it’s hard sometimes trying to balance our together time and keeping the kids happy.

I love what you and the many other women are doing with this Ministry and since I have subscribed to the daily devotionals from Proverbs 31, I can honestly say that God is working mightily in my life, my finance will vouch for me on that also...(smile)

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's amazing how faithful God is...let me explain. My husband and I are living in separate states temporarily because we sold our home(in 6 weeks-praise God) and he is finishing up work before we can move into our new home, where he starts his new job in August. So our 4 kids and I are living with family until we can be reunited in a few weeks. This separation has been eye opening for me-I appreciate all that my husban d does to HELP me(Talk about knight in shining armor..)but I am surprised at myself for not emotionally feeling a void with him gone. I am realizing how much we are lacking in emotional intimacy, because I am not feeling any more disconnected to him than usual. Does this make any sense? Anyhow, I was praying that the Lord would open my eyes and give me some wisdom here to sort this out..and low and behold I stumble upon your blog! I feel so convicted of not meeting HIS love language needs and letting him rescue me all of the time. I think that what happens then is that he gives and gives, and then he does not respond back emotionally to me and it causes this unhealthy cycle of frustration for both of us. I can see our need for (my need) for prioritizing HIS needs so that he will open up more to me. I am guessing that he feels burned out and maybe doesn't trust me with his emotional needs--like I am sucking the life out of him. Oh, dear what have I done. Well thank God for his Grace and I will continue to pray ad ask the Holy spirit for help. Thank you for your wise words...sorry for rambling!

Shirleen said...

Melissa, I have just started receiving the daily inspirations, when I came upon this one. My husband and I have been married for almost 25 yrs. I had a back-sliding period prior to meeting him and although I know God has forgiven me for the damage done in my past, it also creeps up periodically. My situation is my husband has become impotent in the past 3 years, I can honestly count the # of lovemakings we have had in those past years(3)! I can actually handle that as I do love him and he is a terrific man, however, along with his impotency, he does not show any other intimate affections, i.e. hugging, kissing, holding, etc. I have tried talking to him, and maybe even pushing myself alittle on him. He is a modest person and very difficult to discuss these things with him (I'm embarrassed, I guess) and I don't want him to feel hurt because he can't perform sexually (which is not what I want, just itimacy without the sexual part). I have prayed and prayed about this, I know that the Lord will work this out, but I'm afraid that our relationship will fizzle out.
Thank you for listening.
shirwood03@msn.com

Tracy said...

Thank you for a great message and blog. I really enjoyed reading it and it gives me hope.

Thank you

Tracy said...

email at tdrew091507@gmail.com

Diane said...

Melissa,

Look at the love in the number of post dear sister. I am so glad the you and Jeff are comitted to each other, but more important the Lord and the marriage union.
I pray that others are blessed as much as I am for you honesty in your blog. Praying for you each day dear sisiter.
Big Hugs,
Diane

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Melissa, for sharing your life experiences with us these last two days. I commend you for opening up and helping so many others who are going through similiar circumstances. I too, am held captive by the things I have done in my past that I know in my heart were wrong. I have asked for forgiveness and I know in my heart the Lord has forgiven me, but I tend to listen to what Satan has replayed in my mind all these years instead of standing on the promises of God. When I don't spend time in His word I then spiral out of control into a season of anxiety and fear. My poor husband has put up with so much - he is truly a blessing! It is in those seasons though, that I remember how important it is for me to spend time in His word DAILY. If I don't it leaves room for all my fears to sneak in like a thief and destroy the life that God truly wants for me.
Thank you for sharing so I know that I am not alone in this!
With prayers and love,
Julie (jkeefer@feesers.com)or (dreamwalking123@aol.com)

dt said...

For me, your words have inspired because you overcame. I't not what you went through- but you overcame. May God always richly bless your life and the lives that are affected from your blog.

Anonymous said...

Today is the first time that I've read your blog. You are auch an encouragement. I will be putting a shortcut to your blog.
Thanks so much!
debbieforsythe2@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

wow, thanks so much for your honesty, and it helps to know that we are not alone in this journey, in our struggles. thanks for helping me and many other women that read these words. May God continue to work through you in the lives of women around the world.

jamie-in-n.j.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for you commitment to helping others, Melissa! I appreciate what you have written. You have a gift in helping with your heart and it shows with your writing how much you truly care.

You speak of the love languages, and those are important. "The Five Love Languages" book helped our marriage to some extent, but we needed to work on how to communicate with each other with words, not just love. I read a common theme about communication from some of the comments.
The bible says, "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33.
I wholeheartedly suggest reading the book "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It completely changed our marriage. (This book is recommended by Dr. Dobson, if anyone has any concerns from that regard.)

Once again, I feel so blessed to have read the messages from you yesterday and today, Melissa. Thank you for allowing me into you life!
Sara

Tameka said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Today's devotion spoke right to my heart as my husband and I had the same blow up this past Sunday! Everyone keeps telling me that I should still be in the "honeymoon" stage of our marriage since we've only been married 9 months, but not everyone knows my past or the issues that I still deal with today. I even confessed to my husband (who knows everything) that maybe it's time I enter counseling myself.
After reading your story, it helps to know that I'm not the only one. And that there is hope, not only for me, but for my marriage as well.

Thank you again,

Tameka

Suzanne said...

Melissa, I thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You are truly beautiful inside and out. You are being used of God to help so many of us with a similar struggle. My husband and I have been married 18 years and this past year has been a "doozy". We are struggling in our marriage and barely hanging on. I want to read and learn more about these love languages you speak of.My husband needs me to be more intimate with him and because of the lack of I believe he has maybe looked in another direction. I want to work on saving my marriage and I do not think all hope is lost. You have given me the tools to try to get back on track. Thank you so much for your sincerity and willingness to open up to all of us. God has given you a wonderful gift! Sincerely, Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Melissa-

Thank you for having the courage and heart to write about something so personal, but something that almost every woman can identify with. To read through everyone's comments, you can tell there are so manny - including mself - who have or still are struggling with physical intimacy. Thank you for putting your heart out there, and being truly honest. God has used you to touch and inspire so many!
-Andrea, amankins@gmail.com

Sherrie W said...

Thank you for your devotion and being honest. I don't feel so beautiful when I look at my pictures and I asked my husband last night why he loved me. I know that is a lie straight from satan and I need to get past it. My husband tells me that I'm beautiful inside and out. I just need to listen to him. Thanks.
Sherrie Watson
sherriew@bellsouth.net

MrsProverbs31 said...

Thanks so much for sharing with us your experiences. It touched my heart to know that some of my feelings may have nothing to do with the truth, but lies that the enemy tries to tell me. Thanks for your encouragements.

Anonymous said...

Coming back...I really feel the need to be open and honest somewhere...with someone.

I look with longing at so many marriages around me. I know they probably aren't "perfect", but that is how they appear. Date nights. Holding hands. Romantic get-aways. Laughing. Talking. Embracing.

On the outside, others looking at our marriage would think the same, but there is no intimacy in our marriage, and quite honestly, there hasn't been for years. This wasn't how our marriage began. We enjoyed intimacy. Although, like you I was hesitant for my husband to see me, we enjoyed physical intimacy.

Then, we had our first child. My labor and delivery were horrendous - 36 hours, my babies heartbeat almost stopped, finally I was rushed in for a c-section. Speaking with my Dr. afterwards I asked, should I get pregnant again, could I be scheduled for a c-section? He said that all deliveries are different, and no, he would want me to try and labor again for a natural delivery. At that moment, I decided never was I getting pregnant again. With birth control not being 100% secure, I began doing everything I could to ensure that I wouldn't get pregnant. Added to all my cautions, I began actually fearing intimacy with my husband. It couldn't be enjoyable because it might bring on pregnancy. For the last 16 years I would hate to have to confess how often we have been intimate with one another, and I have never been the initiator.

I know I am to blame for the distance that has developed in our marriage. My husband really is a saint to remain so faithful. It has been so long, I just don't know how or where to begin. As menopause is approaching, I keep thinking it could be the best thing to happen to our marriage.

Not only have I withheld myself from my husband, but I took into my hands something that only God should have held - and that was the size of our family. I think my actions have caused us to miss out on so much more that we could have enjoyed.

Thanks for listening, and for these devotionals and writings. God is using you greatly. I pray I will move forward now with what He is showing me. Praying God will show me how to begin.

hkudla said...

Melissa,
Thank you for your transparency. My husband and I experienced a tough year as well. Among other things, not communicating well, me dealing with past baggage, a lot of things.
I went into counseling, still there right now, but finally starting to move out and away from it some. My husband and I are doing better... but I think it is because I have learned that my worth doesn't come from him (that was too much pressure I put on him) but it comes from God. If my husband is mad at me, or crabby coming home from work, it doesn't change who I am in Christ. My worth and sense of security has to be based and grounded in God first and foremost.

it has been a hard road to even get to the point of saying that, much less believing it in my head and heart. But God is good and faithful and is slowly leading me to further freedom. Our marriage is slowly healing. When I forget to work on it, we coast along and lose touch with each other. I am learning I need to be really intentional with talking with him.
I liked your list of love languages. I need communication, he needs service first... where as service is probably my last. It is hard to try to do that, because cleaning the house, getting laundry done is big for him, and for me it is so low because I am busy with the kids all day and have little time to do all that. I am trying to get at least one thing done a day so that he can see some change when he comes home from work. Hard to keep my head in it, but thank you for listing the love languages, it helps me refocus, esp. today when I need it.

Thank you and God bless,
Heather
hkudla@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being bold to share your story.

My friend has shared parts of your book although I didn't know who the author was till yesterday.I would love to have a copy,I need to keep hearing truth.

Our marriage needs counseling but my husband won't go for it.I'm
going to get counseling for me.God used your words to reconfirm.

joeandkristin@sti.net

Amy Jo said...

I'm reading this at the right time in my life. Thanks for sharing, and giving me the opportunity to think about my own relationship instead of pushing it off to another day.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thanks for sharing about your marriage. My husband and I are very well aware of each others love language, but learning to speak that language fluently is a struggle! I can see how we've made progress over the years, but it still does not come naturally and we have to really work to put each other's needs first.
In the midst of all our struggles, one thing that Daniel Wallace told me (director of Gull Lake family camp - what an amazing man of God and a great place to take your family for vacation! www.gulllake.org), he said, "don't let anything come between you!". Almost every week I stop and check myself to make sure that nothing is coming between us. (and there usually is!)
When God is really GOD in my life (when I put him first), then I am able to love my husband and our children. When I get frustrated and discouraged that he is not meeting my needs, I know that I've taken my eyes off of my Saviour and I start to drown like Peter.
Let's keep looking up, girls!
Much love to each of you who posted and shared your heart...
-Annette

Monica said...

Thank you for sharing. I will have to try scheduling the intimate time. Since we have two small children and both work it is hard to find time for each other. Thanks again for sharing. jmkitchens@consolidated.net

Anonymous said...

Wow - thank you for sharing with us all. As we all seem to struggle in our marriages at some point, I pray that we keep ourselves open for the messages that God keeps sending to us through people like you and other Psalm 31 folks. This is a great devotional and I'm so happy that my friend sent it to me and I signed up.

Blessings upon you and yours!
Kim S
halkimetal@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Melissa
Thank you for your openness. The line in the devotional that your husband said to you, I have said to my husband many times in the past.
So much so, I not only quit asking I began pushing him away so I wouldn't be hurt.
You had a willing husband, and you got to the place where you wanted to change. How did your husband "keep the faith" in praying for a real/true partnership with his spouse?
I to listen to the doubting voice. I believe that "a healthy /strong /good marriage" is not what God has planned for me.
If God gives us the desires / dreams in our hearts, doesn't it HAVE to be a lie that it is not His will for our lives?

Jen said...

Melissa,

You are such an encouragement to me!!! I am single and have been all my life... yes I am only 23.. but I feel that no guy is going to like me or love me. I have never even had a "real" date. I had one date for the junior prom and he ended up not wanting to dance with me and then he dances with one of my friends and SHE sat on his lap while I am sitting right there.. I was so upset. As I wrote in my comment yesterday about my struggles one of the things that I have learned to cope is with food... in unhealthy ways just recently... I eat for comfort and whatever emotion I am feeling. It is really hard and I am trying to work on that as well... So yeah.... Thank you for taking the time to write about marriages it is important for the younger generations to read and talk about love and marriages either from our own parents or one of our friends who is a little older and more mature. Thanks again!!! ** I would like to be entered to win the book... Jen I can check back tomorrow also... but I have a blog too. its http://jc4ever40.blogspot.com

Kerri York said...

Thanks for sharing about counseling!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the devotional the las two days. They are an encouragement to my life.

EA

Anonymous said...

I can not tell you how much I enjoyed reading today's devotion. It hit home so strongly. I have myself experienced sexual molestation as a child. I have never told anyone other than my husband, and it has over flowed into our intimate times with one another. It has also affected my friendships. I have problems with trust and jealousy. I have a very best friend right now that I love dearly, but when she is with her other friends, I tell myself that she doesn't want to be friends with me anymore or I'm a nobody and no one loves me. I grew up in a Christian home, and I KNOW that God loves me, but sometimes I just feel so lonely and separated from the rest of the world.

Thanks for your words of encouragement.
cd

Lisa said...

Melissa,
Thank you so much for sharing your story! Parts of it could have been written by me. I was abused as a teen and came from a broken family. I found (FALSE) comfort with alcohol and drugs for a long time and finally found true healing 5 years ago by the grace of Jesus. Although my husband and I have been married 31 years, I still struggle with being intimate, it's something I pray about and thank God he's patient and understanding with me. He's my best friend!
Blessings,
Lisa

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thank you for sharing from your heart, you have encouraged me!!

DLM

Wendy said...

This is my very first time posting on a blog. I've recently started reading blogs, but never felt so compelled to comment. God certainly used you today in my life. The Proverbs 31 devotion, your blog, and the comments were exactly what I need today. Apparently, I'm not in this boat alone. Yet, the enemy had us all staring at our feet through shame so we are unable to look around and see that we are not alone. Thank you for looking up from the shame, stepping out of the boat and offering a hand back to those of us who are still in the boat. You have blessed my home today!

Lisa Roszler said...

What transparency and beauty you have shown us all!

My husband and I are about to celebrate a one-year anniversary: one year of being back together after a four year separation in our 13 year marriage! Amen and hallelujah!

You are so right about counseling. I cannot tell you how many times my husband "tripped" over a land mine from my past. I too was sexually abused, but have overcome, thanks to Christian counseling and our Lord!

Thank you for your courage to share such an intimate part of your life. From reading the other posts, I can see just how many women you are helping.

And, on a completely different note: Go, App! (My daughter is a sophomore there this fall- you met her at the P31 office last month!)

Anonymous said...

Melissa your story touched me deeply, and gives me hope that my marriage, although rocky, can also be saved. Anything is possible with Christ! Thank you for your transparency and honesty.
I continue to struggle with issues of being molested as a child, growing up in a broken home, and now on my second marriage (with a blended family) having marital and family issues has continued to keep me worn down. I agree with you marriage counseling is the perfect "tune up." Thanks again for sharing.

forhimilive@live.com

Diane said...

Melissa, I had not read the devotion today when I first left a comment. OMG, girl you nailed this one right to my heart. My story is so similar. I have tried to ask myself "who told me I was naked and ashamed". That one was Saten, he stole so much of my intimate life. My husband has had enough of paying for others sin. He doesn't want even try anymore. It is so hard not to pick those feelings up again. But I today I know I have a choice.
Big Hugs for you,
Diane

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. This is an issue that many women deal with, including myself. With God's help we can become the wife that our husband's deserve (in time.) :0)
wooten1120@aol.com

Not So Perfect Princess said...

Melissa, God Bless You for your honesty. My husband and I have only been married two years (second marriage for both) and we make a real effort to spend quality, loving time together. We are not perfect as I have similar "baggage" from my past that I am dealing with but the Lord is so good and faithful. My life is a true "beauty from ashes" story and I am so grateful that He heard and answered my prayers. Please continue to share, you are blessing so many with your openess.
In His Agape,
Teresa Lingard :)
A Not-So-Perfect Princess of the King!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to put your feelings and experiences out for others to share and learn with you.
Kristy S. kasiddel@bellsouth.net

Mari said...

Melissa:

Thank you for sharing. My marriage was on the rocks about 8 years ago (8 years and 2 kids into the marriage). I am proud to report that we are happy now - again, just like you said, not perfect but happy. It is so encouraging to see other Christian's who have worked hard to save their marriage instead of heading to divorce court. I pray other women take your story to heart and apply the lessons to their own marriages. God can truly bring beauty out of the ashes! Thank you for your transparency!

Mari
mtaylor918@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

I think that God has spoken to me through you. I'm in awe of how he does his work. My situation is pretty much the exact same as yours was. Reading your blog gives me hope that my marriage can be saved. This comes at at time for me where I'm feeling very beaten down and spent. Not knowing which direction to go and praying for answers which don't always come as qucikly as I'd like. I know you don't know who I am but please keep me in your prayers. Thank you for all you do.
Dawn

Deb said...

Hi Melissa,
Thank you so much for your story and your honesty. I can tell by reading all of the comments that you are reaching many woman as they struggle with their marriage and intimacy issues. I have a pretty good marriage but it hasn't always been that way. We really work at spending time together even though we both have busy schedules. I also pray for my husband daily. I think that makes a big difference. Anyway I just wanted to let you know that you are such a blessing to us all. Thank you.

Deb
dvolkman@bright.net

mother of 2 said...

Of all days today is my 47th birthday. I have never posted a comment, however, today's devotion "slapped" me in the face. I share lots of the same things that have happened in your past. My husband of 28 years was my first sexual encounter (on our first date) I was bummed out and still have issues. I have had counseling but still can't get past the fact at hand. Your devotion today has given me HOPE to truly seek God. I am going to try scheduling intimate time.
Thanks for the words of wisdom you have shared today.
sharonb342@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Melissa your openness is so refreshing. I know that we all try to present "the perfect life" for fear of what others might think. Your story has been such an encouragement to me. My past has numerous things that I have tried to hide, due to whatever reason, but I would love for God to show me how to use my hurts to help others, like he has you.
jlnicely@mc.utmck.edu

The Nordstrom Family said...

Understanding that my husband's needs are as strong as my needs was huge for me. We went through the Love and Respect conference dvd as well as reviewing our Love Languages. He needs his #1 as much as I need my #1. Sometimes I found myself withholding his #1 as I waited for mine to be fulfilled. Definately backwards thinking on love! Thank you for sharing your journey.

Barbie said...

Melissa I can't tell you how much I appreciate your openness about your past. I can only imagine how hard it is to be that vulnerable, but how many of us wish we could be. I think too many times Christians have to put on a mask hiding their true feelings for fear of what others might think. In fact, women do this in general. We want to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, daughter, employee, student and volunteer. Then behind the mask we are often lonely, scared and scarred. But to know others have experienced some of our struggles makes me want to be more open and take off that mask. God wants us to use our trials to help and encourage others to turn to Him. So I thank you for showing me the person you are behind the mask. So many things you touch on have touched me and I relate to your experiences in so many ways. I'm going to pray that God will help me heal and be more transparent in my life as well. Thanks again!
Barbie Chambers (barbie.chambers@gmail.com)

busymom said...

Thank you for sharing your story on Proverbs 31. Your story encourages me to fight for my marriage and make it stronger. I pray that I become the wife my husband deserves. I read your story through tears thinking, "yes, been there, living that." I pray that we can rebuild what we have broken down and find true intimacy with God and with each other.

Breath of Fresh Air said...

Thanks for your input. Even though I am older I see the need for refresher course.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing Melissa. I had abandonment issues from my childhood that I brought into my marriage. Like you, I know that Jesus loves me. It has been a long road, but I am healed. The question God asked in my heart was "Why won't you let Me love you?" I never would have thought was a problem. God answered in some mighty ways that I will not go into here. It is so refreshing to realize that I'm not the only one who brought extra baggage into my marriage.
carlson2398@roadrunner.com

Carolyn Anderson said...

thank you so much for that encouragement today!! I really appreciate your honesty and openness. Carolyn

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, I too hail from the appliation state and really have enjoyed your latest devotions. I have read today's and yesterdays and usually do daily but these last two have really hit home for me. However I guess its a day late and a dollar short. My husband and I have been separated for a year and a half now for alot of the same reasons. Your and your husbands love languages are very similar if not exactly the same as chris and I's however, his #1 has gotten him into one too many things during our marriage. Alot of the time I felt like maybe it was my fault due to the lack of my wanting to be intimate with him (for fear of my past hence feeling dirty, ect). I really do blame myself for alot of it. I don't know what if anything could be saved concering our marriage but, with your encouragement within the last few days I feel like I at least know what direction I need to be headed in. With Christ by my side i "hope" I can overcome this and move on to the next chapter in my life.

God Bless You!
tonyaedgell@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, I too hail from the appliation state and really have enjoyed your latest devotions. I have read today's and yesterdays and usually do daily but these last two have really hit home for me. However I guess its a day late and a dollar short. My husband and I have been separated for a year and a half now for alot of the same reasons. Your and your husbands love languages are very similar if not exactly the same as chris and I's however, his #1 has gotten him into one too many things during our marriage. Alot of the time I felt like maybe it was my fault due to the lack of my wanting to be intimate with him (for fear of my past hence feeling dirty, ect). I really do blame myself for alot of it. I don't know what if anything could be saved concering our marriage but, with your encouragement within the last few days I feel like I at least know what direction I need to be headed in. With Christ by my side i "hope" I can overcome this and move on to the next chapter in my life.

God Bless You!
tonyaedgell@yahoo.com

Christy said...

Thank you so much for your story. I know that it is hard to share what has happened to you because it is so close to your heart. I am sure that there are many, many women (including myself) that were touched by your story and by your realness. I too have a story, one that is not too different from yours. So I am right there with you. Psalm 147:3 is one that I hold onto closely. God Bless you, have a wonder-filled day.
sleepytoes@carolina.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! God is soooo good and loving. This morning while sipping on my coffee, I heard the Lord in my spirit say, "Leave the past behind." I was not even searching for God at that moment in time, and yet he spoke to me about MY past. So I open up my devotion today, "Encouragement Today" and find your story. Now tell me, Isn't God in love with me so much, that He used you to minister (being selfish) just to me. My intimacy with my husband is the only flaw that leads into some "intense Fellowship" with my husband. Thanks for the words of encouragement, because I know that God is a good God and will continue to heal MY issue in this situation in MY life. Your story gives my HOPE. Thanks again.

susandee77@aol.com said...

Thank you for being so transparent with your emotions. You have encouraged me greatly. I am a pastor's wife and worship leader at a small church. We've been married 9 years now and this past year seems to have taken a toll on me. Ministry has been quite difficult and trying to be all things to all people has worn me out. I haven't been as attentive to my husband as I should be and he PTL has the patience of a saint! Thank you for encouraging me that this time shall pass, that I need to get off my duff and try harder.

KimC said...

Good morning! To read your words about the feelings you had about yourself and the lights out and all made me feel normal in a sense in that someone else has said them. We have been married for 13 years and aare blessed with 6 wonderful children-blessing #6 due 08-01-08. I have gotten better at intimacy out of fear of losing such a wonderful man. I STILL have the feelings of "Lights out!", "DO NOT LOOK!", etc. After reading your post I feel there is hope for a future without these feelings. That would be a dream come true! God is amazing and can work through blogs and devotions such as yours to give women hope and freedom. Thank you for allowing God to use you and your story to bless others.

Kcrowe1@carolina.rr.com

Life on 7th Avenue said...

I greatly appreciated your post today at Proverbs 31, but I am writing in response to yesterday's post. I feel like you were telling my story. I was hurt deeply by a long-term boyfriend when I was 19. Instead of turning that unbearable pain over the Lord, I continued to hurt myself by trying to find solace in the arms of another man. The solace never came and I ended up more damaged than ever. For years, I lived with all consuming guilt over what I had done. I tried desperately to put on a good front, but it was exhausting. As a newly married woman I struggled daily with my husband's sexual desire. I loved him, but I had so much difficulty enjoying the sexual aspect of marriage. Finally, after full repentance of my past and intense counseling I free from the guilt of my past.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your openess-it is real.

Christine

Renee Hippensteel said...

Melissa,
Thank you for being willing to be used by God and for sharing your stories. My past is also littered with sexual, physical, emotional & verbal abuse - and it seems like I keep finding new messes that need to be cleaned up.

My husband & I have been married for 6 years (2nd marriage for both of us), and I have 2 precious teens from my previous marriage. We are in counseling now (our marriage too has been on those boulders), and our pastor has been very helpful to us. The Lord has been teaching us both so much about the layers of junk we've had built up, and about the lies the Deceiver wants us to believe.

Thank you for your encouragement to cling onto the HOPE that the Lord give us. His mercies truly are new every morning!

God bless!
Renee (joyfulspirit@ameritech.net)

becca dowling said...

Melissa, I'm so grateful that I hopped over from the Encouragement devotional to your blog and read on! I know that my husband and I have similar discrepancies in our love languates as you and Jeff, although I'm not as familiar with the concept.

Like you did, I carry baggage of shame and fear, doubt and insecurity from my past, and I do struggle to hear God's truth over satan's lies. Those feelings have been obstacles to my marriage, leading to breakdowns of communication and building up of resentments on both sides. I'm working on my part with Him and a support group. To reclaim my identity and worth as His child. To be available to my husband more and to be careful to clearly communicate in all things.

A further obstacle is the fact that we live in cities 4 hours apart, seeing each other only 2-3 times per month for a weekend. This is financially necessary and temporary, but it complicates the issues we are struggling with. However we are both dedicated to our marriage, thank God! I trust that God will help us through this time of our lives.

I'd love to win the book you offered. I'm going to do some reading on the love languages share that with my husband. Deeper understanding of our different needs can only help more.

Blessings,
Becca
rrdowling[at]yahoo[dot]com

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for your openess and willingness to share your struggles. I can totally relate even though our life circumstances are different. The feelings of shame and guilt and fears are the same. I had these insurmountable 18inches from my head where I knew God loved me to my heart where I didn't feel lovable that I just could not overcome. I tried to "fix" myself both before I became a christian and after in my walk as a wife, mother and friend. But my efforts didn't work because I still bought into the lies and fears of my past. It wasn't until I got "help" that I was able to see what my root belief system was and began to replace it with God's truth. This has impacted all my realtionships, especially with my husband and my children.I am still a work in progress with quite a ways to go but I am so grateful that Jesus still has His arms open wide for this daughter of the King. Thank you for sharing and encouraging others by the victory He is having in your life. May He continue to have the victory in all our lives. Thank you for your transparency before us and Him.
Loretta
lwood4Him@aol.com

lisasmith said...

Melissa,
Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I too have had a past experience that has left me to feel less than excited about intimately engaging with my husband even though there is a desire in me in some way. It has been a challenge at times to open myself up to enjoying my husband. When it happens though it is a blessing and such a shared closeness that I treasure. God bless you!
Nicole
nicculver@omnicityusa.com

Cassie said...

Wow. These devotions are for me. Why? My marriage is on the rocks; seems like a shift without anchor on a stormy day. By the grace of God your stories encourage me. I too have been sexually molested and have used temporary sexual relationships to make me feel special, like i belonged. Your words of affirmation are inspiring. May God continue to bless your marriage. God is real and he is GREAT. I know u have to win the book, but i will really like a copy.

Ingrid said...

Ms. Melissa,

I truly enjoyed your devotions both yesterday and today. Like many women, I too was raped. Twice actually. The first time I didn't do anything. I didn't go to the police. I didn't go to the doctor - at least not for some time. Prior to that first assault - my first sexual experience - I had made up my mind to save sex for marriage. Instead I sought to lessen the trauma of that experience by making sex common place. And for nearly a decade this more or less worked. And then it happened again. Almost two years ago I was raped by a friend, a doctor actually, who planned and executed the assault with great precision - believing that I would not remember it because I had taken Ambien (a medication I was prescribed after serving in Iraq). I couldn't stop him - and I have only a slight memory of the incident. But this time I fought back. I reported him and took him to court. He lost and is spending the next three years in jail. He also was dishonorably discharged from the military. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to help protect other women - to help them get the protection and assistance they deserve after being assaulted and I started lobbying to pass a law that addressed these very things. Now I have been asked to testify before Congress in two weeks time in order to raise awareness of the issue and to try and pass legislation that will provide victims with the help and protection they deserve. Women like you who share your stories help drive me to continue my quest - even if it is difficult....and testifying about the assault (again) will be difficult to say the least. Thank you for your words and for the strength to share your story. Please pray for me as I too share mine.

Anonymous said...

panday77@hotmail.com will really love a book

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing. I read your devotion and blog entry with tears in my eyes. I have walked where you have, but my marriage ended in divorce. I am now remarried, but my husband is not a believer. Too many Christians keep this part of their lives (trials) hidden and portray themselves as problem-free. I believe God allows those trials for not only our growth, but for the benefit of others. Thanks again for sharing, reminding us of who we are in Christ, and giving us HOPE!! Susan in New Mexico
jnskhosh@dishmail.net

Marie said...

Melissa,

Thanks for being so open and honest. Not many people could do that, even though it is part of the emotional healing process. Holding everything in only makes matters worse and does not promote healing. I have lived a blessed life only through God's grace, but have had anything but the fairy tale life I had always dreamed of. A verbally abusive father, a broken home, a husband who abandoned me and our newborn baby without warning after three years of marriage, only to learn he had been having an affair, leaving us with nothing, but leaving me with a wonderful baby boy, now 12 and a child of the Father, who was adopted my my second husband, my hero and love, at age 5. We now have four children. Going through the turmoil, tragedies and trials has increased my faith and has taught me that I have to share my story with others so they may have hope. Meanwhile, everyone thought when I married my second husband that I had the perfect life and from then on everything would be perfect. Well. No one has the perfect life. The enemy will always try to replay your past vividly through your mind regularly, but God is greater and the only way to healing. It helps to know that I am not the only one with a not-so-perfect-life. I am finding that as more people open up about their lives and share their stories, I feel more "normal". Thanks for making me feel normal today. May God continue to outragiously bless your marriage and your family.

In His love,
Marie

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say that I don't take the time every day to read my daily email from Prov 31 ministries. I am so glad I did today. I have been dealing with sexual intimacy issues for 17 years, which is the same number of years I have been married to my very patient, loving husband. I don't have the same issues from my past as you, in fact, I don't have a clue why I have no desire to be sexually intimate. I have prayed and prayed for healing, gone to counseling, and still...nothing. I do have hope, though. I know our loving God does not want me or my husband to be in an unfulfilled marriage and He wants us to both experience the joy of intimacy! Thank you for your post. I also have the Spiritual gift of "Gab"!
dkayb@austin.rr.com

vivie said...

Melissa, God sees our life the way it REALLY is, but sometimes as believers we don't want to be true to our selfs. That's why we can't be free, because THE TRUTH sets us free. So never be ashamed about what ever may have happened to you. There is nothing embarrassing for OUR FATHER! Not a single thing! THANK YOU for being so honest and true to us about your past and your marriage! And may more of us see our life the way it really is! Free from lies, in truth.Thank you and blessings for you! vivie@mail.bg

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Melissa. I think that a lot of women struggle in this area - as do their husbands.
I appreciate your honesty and openess!
ajtruex@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

wow....you have a lot of reading to do...so I'll keep this short. I just found your blog today...love how you write and are sooo honest. Thanks for sharing.
Kim Henson
rhenson5@tampabay.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks Melissa for sharing sooo much of your heart and experiences! My marriage is in trouble right now so I read everything u had to say, plus some of the other bloggers--all very encouraging. I'm going to hold on to hope and cling to Jesus for my security during this scary, unpredictable time. If I win the book can please call and leave a message on my cell? Thanks!

(770)310-4522

Anonymous said...

:)
You are my favourite Proverbs 31 Woman. I admire your courage/honesty.

Susan said...

Hi Melissa - thank you for sharing . I am going through alot of the same issues and struggle to understand the reasons why. However, reading your blog and others today has given me hope. It's not like we walk around with a sign on our forehead letting others know our sexual intimacy issues.
I can totally relate to betterhalf's post also. It's like you said the words for me!
I have 5 children to care for and by the time evening comes it seems I have nothing left to give to my husband. I know though that God is working in my life and I will somehow get through this. Thank you again for being open.

Susan

Anonymous said...

How true! We can not be a loving spouse, until we FIRST become a dearly loved child of the King! "We love, BECAUSE He FIRST loved US!" Thanks Melissa for being open hearted and for sharing honestly with us all! Your open heart touched and encouraged my heart! Drawing near to God in reality, BECAUSE HE FIRST loves us, seems to be the huge, important key, as you mentioned! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Melissa:

Thank you so much for sharing your story and I want you to know how much I admire your fight to stay in relationship. I am so impressed with your strength.
See I was in an abusive marriage and it was mostly sexual abusive. God finally blessed me (although did not feel like it at the time) see my husband meet another woman and left me. It has been 10 years since my divorce and yes I have tryed to fill the void with non-godly things I have a yearning for a marriage but I am so afraid of men of me and even God. What if he can't protect me again.
I just want you too know your strength to stay in relationship is very inspiring to me.
Thank you for letting me share part of me.
Sincerly,
Bridget

Lisa Ford said...

Painful pasts haunt me too. Alot of times they consume me. I too know the truths about who I really am according to God, but it's feeling the same way that's the trick. It's hard to feel loved and worthy of anything even when I'm surrounded by people that love me. This is something that is a personal struggle of mine, just like you, Melissa. It's been a battle since early on. I would say since about 8 or 9. But I thank you for your honesty and transparency. It makes me feel not so crazy for feeling the way I do :)

fordl@stfran.com

Anonymous said...

I need this book and may the Lord give it to someone who needs much more help. ;)
I sent you a message from my cell yesterday. 1 204 997 0548
Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thank you so much for being so open with the private details of your life. God uses that so many times for us to help others. Thank you for noting about the 5 love languages. I have the book, but have never read it. My husband and I have only just recently started having family prayer and devotion. That is something that, after 20 years of marriage, was a very hard thing for us to start doing. It just didn't come naturally. But, God has blessed us so much because of it. Since we are doing that, I think my husband would be more open to reading the book with me now, where he wouldn't have before. I am going to ask him if we can read it together and I think it will make even a "good" marriage much better. It always helps to know what the other person is trying to accomplish, along with what you are trying to do yourself. Thank you again so much for your bravery in speaking out.
Bless you, jcgf
philippians1910@yahoo.com

kn.4gvn@gmail.com said...

Melissa,
This is my first time that I have read any of your messages. My boyfriend's mother introduced me to the Proverbs 31 site and I'm so thankful! My past is very similar to what you have described. My father left us when I was about 9 and my life seemed to spiral downwards from there. I too tried to fill that void with people I thought were "safe" and fell into a very dark place. My outlet was to substitute sex for a love that I was searching for. Thankfully one day my gracious Heavenly Father was able to finally get my attention and opened my eyes to HIS unfailing love. Once I truly allowed myself to open up to that, I was able to finally move forward. However, I still struggle so much with my decisions. I am blessed to have a wonderful man in my life who loves me for who I am today and not who I was. It's still very difficult at times though. I also have a 4GVN ring that I wear (given to me by my mother), but mine is on my ring finger to remind me that one day I will marry a man of God who has already forgiven me for what I have done -because my God has forgiven me - and I have forgiven myself.
Thank you for being vulnerable in your sharing to us and an encouragement to me.

Lori Darlin said...

Thank you for your wonderful devotionals. I have been blessed by them.---Loretta- bluetxsky@yahoo.com

Tricia said...

Melissa, I too thank you for sharing. My husband and I are having a difficult time at intimacy which is partly my fault. He has helped to undersand though that through physcial intimacy that is how a husband shows his wife he loves her...just as a wife shows her husvand her love by touching - the non sexual way.

Tricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Melissa, I have been receiving the P31 devotions for over a year now and have never utilized any of the blogs, much less responded to one. But your message is something I've experienced firsthand in my life, the struggles and triumphs with these issues. I have recently found a knight in shining armour as well and can relate to the feelings you shared about this. I am fortunate that he is also a willing partner - Both of us are and your message was used as another tool from God to speak to both of us. Thank you for being open and transparent- God is surely using your trials for HIS good. Thank Jeff for us ladies as well, it's not always easy.
Diane in CR, IA

carol ~ i throw like a girl said...

Thank you for being so generous - both with your story and with the give away!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for opeing up you life's story. I read your devotion the other day and this one today hit home. I am going through the same struggles in my marriage and we are in counseling now. We're leaving it in God's hands, beacuse we know He is in control of everything. Thank you for reminding me I am not the only one experiencing what I am now.

sands said...

Melissa, I thank you for your wonderful devotions and your honesty about things that have happened in your life. I too, have dealt with some of the same types of issues and have not "shared" these with anyone, ever, as I know it would deeply hurt someone in my family if I did. Thanks be to GOD that HE knows my pain and that this was a very, very long time ago for me too.
My husband & I share some of the same issues as you and Jeff and especially now that he is disabled. He feels badly about himself and feels like he is letting me down in the sex department, altho it is hard for him to understand that altho these things are important in our marriage that it doesn't "take over" me like it does him, if that makes sense. I love my husband very much and I know he loves me too and marriage is about many, many things. I want him to not feel like he is "letting me down", so I try to make him feel as loved as I can.
Thanks again for your openest and honesty and knowing how we can feel GOD in the things you share with all of us. GOD Bless you and your family!
sands725@netzero.com

Anonymous said...

Melissa-Thank you for being so transparent-I pray that someday I too can be. I'm tired of hiding the real me and our real circumstances. Most people think I have it all together. If they only knew they would be so surprised. My main struggle is the relationship I have with my husband is so strained. My marriage is in shambles and has been for most of it (32 years). My prayer is that someday God will bless us to have a marriage as He intended it. We are finally in counseling and we hope and pray that it will make a difference. Even though we disagree on many, many things, one thing my husband and I agree on is that "marriage is until death do us part". Please pray for God to be glorified regardless of the outcome. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty! I've read the book on languages of love, and it's great! I want you, and all others out there, who struggle with intimacy at times, to really think about what a great gift it is and what a gift your husband is. I lost my husband recently, from a brain tumor...and I long for the closeness. Our relationship, in all areas, was gone long before he physically passed away and that was SO hard to see him not realize the changes going on with him. It is so hard, frustrating, disappointing, to see your husband have no desire for intimacy or even communication, and not even realize he was changing. The brain is an amazing thing, and we do not realize all we take for granted...until it's not there anymore. One of the hardest things for me is to hear women complain about their husbands. I know, they're not always perfect, but look for the things you have together in a relationship and cherish them..and cherish him! I pray the Lord has marriage again in my future, but for I pray for contentment. My husband and I had such a great, Christian relationship, so I think that's why I long again to have that--it was such a gift from our good Lord! Blessings to you all you out there...and cherish your husband...and his sexual desires!
Holly cchevelle69@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouragement, your wisdom, and your openness! My husband and I have experienced this in reverse - he was molested at a young age. We have struggled through our 23 years, but we are praising the Lord that we have experienced wonderful growth in the Lord and are at our most beautiful place. We, like you and your husband, are reversed in our love languages, we also have experienced many challenges - loss of 3 infants, premature birth and illness of our two precious children, health issues for him, financial...etc! The enemy capitalizes on these stresses of life and our hurts from the past. But you are so right, the Lord sees us as beautiful, He loves us unconditionally, and He desires a beautiful life for us, in Him. Thank you for your wonderful message, and blessings to you and all readers who struggle with listening to the enemy's lies!
--Sandy

Tammy said...

Hi Melissa. Thank you for being so open and honest. It's been about a year since the Lord spoke to me about preparing for my future husband. There have been many times that I said I didn't want to get married because of the lie that no man would want someone broken like me. I experienced sexual abuse as a child, abandonment and sexual assualt as a young adult. I'm believing that there is a man created by God to love me but at the same time I'm building my love relationship with the Lord so that I don't demand my future husband to fulfil me. I know that only God can do that. It confirms my hope that I will find someone to love me and stay with me, even with all my scars and wounds. Thank you and God bless.

kristyLoo16 said...

I feel like you just wrote out my story. I now know I am not alone in this and I am so thankful for your honesty. 2007 was very difficult for my husband and I, too. I can't go into details on here, but we both are undergoing MUCH healing. My husband was aware of my childhood "situation" before we were married, but I did not realize how difficult intimacy would be for me. I had not heard about Love Languages until now, and I see that it is something that he and I both need to read. Again, thank you for your honesty. You have really touched my heart today.
Blessings to you,
Kristy

kaamom3 said...

Thanks for sharing! God bless!

Colleen said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing. You touched a nerve in me, and I hope I can work things out with my husband the way you did with yours. Thanks for opening up.

Colleen J

Anonymous said...

Dear Melissa
The past two days reading has touched a cord in my heart. I had similar experiences, except i was told i would amount to nothing and hence i did terribly at school and was very rebellious & seeking attention. Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings for i too through councelling worked through my past and worked through the rough patches in my marriage which i brought into the relationship, (my baggage). I also learnt through councelling that I was not to blame alone. I thank Almighty God who has brought me through sooooo many trials to the other side of life. thank you so much for sharing.

Marsha said...

Thank you for being so honest, Melissa...I am enjoying reading your posts. Know you are such a blessing to so many!

Thompson crew said...

Wow! This is surely God speaking to me cuz I just finished reading "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman & gave it to my hubby. Our relationship is not great right now...it's been better & it's been worse throughout the past 13 years. I'm going to share this blog post w/ him & hopefully he'll see what God is trying to tell us as well. Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I've never really thought about whether I'm the only one who feels this way or one of a million women... I guess by reading these blogs I hope to hit on an answer because I've been trying to figure out why I speak or act cautiously so I don't "ignite" my husband. Or why I purposefully avoid his advances when he's quite an attentive and pleasing lover. Or why I used to regard sexual intercourse solely for the purpose of becoming pregnant - now that we are in the process of adopting 2 children, I don't even have "a need" for it. I love my husband and want to be an obedient wife ... but I'm not. A common denominator seems to be the issue of a "past." How do you get past the "past"?

Sarah said...

:) I love what you wrote!! I have felt similar feelings about my past, and it is wonderful to hear about how you are working through your struggles. :) Funny, but I described it the exact same way recently in giving my testimony. I know it, but I still struggle.
Similarly to you and your husband, me and my husband have not only the opposite love languages, but opposite personality types. It has caused issues between us, but once we realized that it was our personality and love language differences that were causing these issues, it helped us understand each other a lot more, and be more understanding when the other was upset about something.
Sarah
ducksrain@gmail.com

Becoming Me said...

I just now found your web site and obviously it is a popular one and I can see why. What a wonderfully honest post.Thank you for sharing God's love through your marriage. I really understand the Love Language differences. We are a #1 me and a #5 him as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your messages. My husband and I have just been threw a rough year. I am readying the book about Love Languages. I am trying to find it on CD for him (reading puts him to sleep) I to struggle with my past. I know I have asked for forgivness and I know in my head God forgives me because that is what I have been told all my life. I dont know how to forgive myself and move on or keep repeating the same mistakes.
I keep praying but I dont feel like my feet are getting out of the quick sand. Its not helping my marriage or my children. I just want to know how to be happy with myself and be able to move on from mistakes/sins I have made. Thank you for your blog it helps to know I am not alone in my struggles.

Donna Dewey said...

To the most beautiful and courageous woman I know and whom I'm so blessed to have as a BFF, I want you to know how much you inspire me each and every day. From the responses you've received regarding your last two devotions and blog posts, it's obvious that God had/has a purpose for you in sharing your struggles (toughies indeed) with others. God loves you "No Matter What" and so do I! Your friend always, Donna

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for your honesty. You and your husband will certainly reach so many through it. (er... the Holy Spirit will reach so many through it. :o)

Thanks for saying what we all know: that most men have sex as their number #1 love language. That's how God created 'em, and we have to trust it was for a purpose.

Thanks again for touching lives.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for me and my husband. He cheated on me, and now we are going through counceling. We are still married but separated, I dont want to be apart but he does. Please pray that he stops running from God and just listens to His truth in His word. I know that either way I will be ok. That I have God to carry me through it all, but i really believe that He can make our marriage amazing, as long as we both let Him. Please, please, please pray.

Scared said...

Melissa,I thank God for you and Provebs 31."For just a time as this". Your transparentancy and courage has helped many women . There is something about knowing the wounds from ones past can comfort others by knowing they are not alone.Jesus loves you. I KNOW He loves me.It has been 7 years and since my marriage is still one-sided, I feel as though I am hoping against hope. I begin counseling, again tomorrow.Praying one for another

Scared.

nothingcanseparateme said...

Wow Melissa--look at all theses comments!!!!!

Your devotional on P31 spoke to my heart and obviously to so many others. I could so relate to your intimacy issues with your husband. I am praying and working on it to give my husband what he needs from me his wife. I like how you scheduled it into your life so you could pray and plan for it--wonderful idea!!

You and your husband blessed me with your vulnerableness in sharing your story! Thank you!

JM said...

Thank you for your devotional and blog. It was so timely...I just cannot explain it! I have recently sought out Christian counseling for myself (and am currently on the waiting list with the counselor with whom my insurance will accept) for my intimacy issues. I am experiencing almost exactly what you described in my marriage. I feel shame for my past with wrong decisions, and also did not have a healthy father figure in my life. In my growing up, intimacy and sex was not talked about - just hinted at as "dirty." There was no intimacy or affection shown between my parents either. Now, I struggle in my marriage. I can relate to the times of telling myself it was okay as I was trying to get pregnant. And I can relate to the sinful feelings and shame that crop up. My husband has been very patient and understanding. But I have decided to take hold of this grip that Satan has on me and do something about it. So I thank you for your words that encourage me that I can get through this. Because I do not feel whole as a wife and partner. I want to experience that, and that will be my prayer. Thank you!

Tirzah said...

Melissa,
I thank you for sharing. The Prv 31 devotion yesterday lead me to your blog. I too was sexually abused as a child and teenager by my dad. I kept it a secert for years till it brought problems between my husband and I and intimacy than I told him of my past. But my past was not only about my dad but a boy I went out with who forced me to have sex and I got pregant and had an abortion.
I was young and scared and really did not know what I was doing at the time. I prayed God would forgive me and give me other children when I finally got married someday. We have been married 31 years. I reacted the same way as you with his sexual references. If we tried to talk about sex he or I would end up upset and silent it would be between us.
Than a year ago my sister-in-law ( my husband sister)told my husband maybe the way I acted was because of something she had went through as a teenager. She told him my dad also assulted her as a teenager when my husband and I first got married but never told anyone. When he confronted me with the new it was as if it was my fault. I felt if I had only told someone years pasts this would not have happen to another. I was devastated for now not just my husband and I knew but my sister-in-law was involved.
My relationship with my sister-in-law has changed and we were so close. I feel shame now.
My husband and I are not intimate now and it is as if we just live together and are just friends. He has told me in the past that he did not love me the way a husband and wife should love each other.
I don't know if he is afraid to touch me or what. I want to be touched and loved. I want to know from day to day my husband loves me.

In years pasted I had forgave my dad. The bible said we are to forgive if we want our Heavenly Father to forgive our sins.

I find it hard to have a intimate relationship with God. I know I'm a child of the King and I have been forgiven for my sins. I know God loves me and Christ is my Saviour. When I start getting close to God Satan alway brings up my past in my mind and now my sister-in-law.

How do I get over the shame and quilt?
I know I was lead to your blog for a reason to hear your story.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Some of my childhood traums have also left me feeling unworthy at times. I truly believe that when people have sharred experiences, our spirits sense that and a connection is made.
Even though Satan always attempts to make us dwell on our dubts and insecurities, I am especially reminded that I have the AUTHORITY to take every thought captive. Do I ALWAYS do this? I wish that I could say that I do.

Thank you for being so open about your life and your marriage. It is very encouraging to those of us who have similar circumstances.

I have had to get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say, "I am beautiful, I am loved, I am Needed!" I am so thankful that Jesus thinks I am cherished, needed, beautiful, loving... :)

Thank you again for being so open with your life and struggles. You are an encouragement and your life does minsiter to others.

One of your Speaker Eval girls :)
Angela Whitmire (You already have my email)

melody b said...

Thanks so much for the timely words!

Been there and done that with the "baggage" and still struggle daily when it comes to feeling loved and accepted-- but knowing that others are facing the same struggles makes it easier because it shows me that God DOES have a plan and he has given me others to talk to and share with! God Bless you!
Melody B.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. It is beautiful.
I'd love to have an opportunity to win that book.
Blessings,
Paula
You can contact me via my name to get to my blog. I may forget to check back here tomorrow.

Cindy said...

I just read the devotions for today and I know God led me to your blog. I just started counseling today and my husband, who although is not staying at home with me at the moment, is willing to try, and will start his counseling tomorrow, which will lead to sessions together. Thank you for sharing your story. God continues to give me reassurances each day that He is in control. I desire your prayers as my husband and I start this journey. cindyleemoore@gmail.com

Joy in The Truth said...

Melissa:

A simple "I love you" dear friend. Thank you for your honest and transparent heart again. You point us to Him!

Much warm love,
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I know it was hard for you to put yourself out like that but you have been an encouragement to me and I thank you. God bless you as you continue to put Him first, Stef K.

Anonymous said...

One word...wow! Your Jul 15 and Jul 16 Proverbs 31 devotion was so profound and powerful. I truly appreciate your transparency and truth. I too went through molestation as a child and hearing your story helps me to validate the victory and love that I have in Jesus. We overcome by the power of our testimony and it's all because of our Savior, redeemer, deliverer and restorer JESUS! God bless syou Melissa for your testimony and ministry!

Tanya said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You told my story...and my husband and I are on our journey of God's grace filled healing! Your story reminded me of the hope I too have for my marriage. (Only married 6 years.) That we can stop focusing on what we are not giving each other, and focus on glorifying our Father in Heaven. By knowing His Love is #1, by honoring, respecting and loving each other and then letting our light shine to the rest of the world! Melissa, you and your husband and your four precious children will be in my prayers this evening! Thank you for loving the Lord and sharing yourself! With Love and Blessings, Tanya Bowers, Chandler, AZ....P.S. The book sounds great!:) 480.209.9544

Anonymous said...

I want to say I am sorry for those of you who are still going through so much and feeling so much pain.

I want to leave the words of a song as encouragement to you with hopes that those of you who are battling deep pain, will come back and read others comments.

HE KNOWS

I see you standing there with your eyes cast down
I see you drowning in the pain
I see you wondering, looking so afraid
Trying to disguise the shame
But He sympathizes with all of our vices
He understands them all

No matter how deep and dark the trail goes
He knows
no matter how lonely, lost, and low
He knows

Now see He hanging there with His eyes cast down
see Him looking into you
now feel Him holding you as your walls come down
no matter what you're going through
He sympathizes with all of our vices
He understands them all

No matter how deep and dark the trail goes
He knows
No matter how lonely, lost, low
He knows

Let us draw near to the Throne of Grace
with confidence I run to embrace
O Holy God
I fall on my face for You know
You know
(Lindsey Kane)

Ladies, don't give up! Press on and seek the Lord like never before. He is always there with you, walking through every hurt and pain. Your deep hurts are His hurts to. He feels your pain and is weeping for you. You are His most prized possesion, beloved daughter and He is enchanted with you. I interceed for your wholeness in Christ and my prayer is that TRUST will be restored. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in your place where you are and He will direct your paths. I pray restoration over your brokenness, healing and redemption. Stand firm in the Liberty which Christ had made you FREE. Just close your eyes and feel the Love of the Lord wrap his arms around you, pull you up into His lap and sweetly whipser to you how prescious you are in His sight.
Just run into His arms and say "Daddy, take my pain." Just sit there and cry out to Him. He loves you and His plans are to prosper you and not to bring you harm. His promise is always to bring good out of all things. Trust Him. Just start with trusting the Lord and He will do the rest.

Manda said...

Thanks Melissa for sharing this! I am currently in the season of preparing for marriage in my life as God works through the baggage (and there is A LOT of it) I have before I am joined with my future husband (whomever he may be). I realized in the last year (as it has been the time in which God has kicked the healing in me into high gear) that as much as I wish I was married (and it's been quite hard to wait!) that I'm glad He has blessed me with this season. I'm sure that there may be times that my past may sneak into the marriage (as in this scenario you have shared); however, now I know more of what to gear my prayers for healing toward. I didn't realize the effects that such a past could have on a marriage. Thank you for being so open and honest. I've enjoyed your devotions and blogs this week! God bless!
womanofgodvision@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa,

I almost didn't respond to this post. To make a very long story short, my heart, my soul, my mind and body are shattered in a million pieces. Some, my own doing because of the choices I've made in the past, and the major part hurt from people that I loved and trusted while in my teenage years.

The one paying for it all my husband and even he can't seem to understand, so I've stopped trying to explain it to the point that there is almost no communication, just the going through the emotion for the children's sake.

So, I've decided if everything that I have tried hasn't worked then I am going to God for healing of my soul. Grow to love and trust God by surrendering this issue that I carry with me. Hoping that one day I will see my husband through God's eyes and fall in love (for the first time) with him.

God Bless,
gardenwoman42@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony. I can relate to some of it. I was never sexually molested but I grew up in a home where my dad was very abusive. Alot of nights when I was a child, I would lay in the bed and cry for Jesus as I listened to my mother being slapped around in the next room. Our family went to church and I knew who Jesus was. We were the family that looked perfect on the outside but on the inside it wasn't that way. Occasionally my father would loose his temper with me and my mother would have to take me outside to get my breath because he wouldn't stop and a lot of times she would get hit for just trying to defend me. My dad didn't do drugs or anything. He just had moments where his anger was very explosive anything could set him off, like if mom spent too much money at the store or didn't have supper ready on time he was very controlling and alot of times emotionally detached. Your testimony blessed me so much. Alot like you I looked for love in all the wrong places. My first time unlike the wedding night all us girls dream of, was in a beat up dirty trailor at the age of fifteen. And I continued to have sexual relationships with different men, and started drinking,and doing drugs. And at the age of 20 I married a man who kicked my son when he was three years old and broke his leg. I thought like so many women do that he would only hurt me, not our sons, but I was wrong. I am no longer married to Him. I have since married someone else we have been married 4 years and been together all of six, and he has been a terrific father. Too make a long story short I gave my life back to the Lord, and he has done a work in my heart and life. Things still get rough sometimes, as a child I was always in bondage to shame and fear, and your right sometimes we carry those things over into a good relationship. But I have to remember we are more than conquerers through Christ Jesus! Since I gave my heart to Him I have found what I was looking for all along. I don't know what my ministry will be yet, but I have felt Gods call on my life since I was a child, but for a long time I let the enemy tell me that I could never be good enough for God to love me. I feel the Lord leading me to pray for young women in our church. Maybe that will be my ministry only he knows, but wherever He leads me I will tell them the things He has told me. You are chosen, you are dearly loved, you are my daughter, you are forgiven, and I have engraved you on the palm of my hand. God is good. I just love him soooo much He has been a wonderful father to me he never misses a birthday, he never forgets to call, and he visits me everyday. He loves us with an everlasting love. Sorry this was so long but you are a blessing to me, thank you for giving me the chance to share! God bless! angellls1997@yahoo.com

Debbie said...

Melissa, Thank you for your post today. Until I read your words, I was not accepting my share of the responsibility for my first marriage ending. There were other issues involved, but if I would have had the healing from God take place at that point in my life, things definitely would have turned out differently. We went to a secular counselor who helped me to understand why I couldn't stand to be touched in an intimate way, but it didn't help the yucky feelings go away. Our marriage couldn't hold up under the strain. I take comfort knowing that God's timing is perfect, that He is over all things. I am blessed in my second marriage with a wonderful husband and two more kids. Sometimes certain things still trigger those shameful feelings, but it is few and far between. Thank you for being so candid with your ongoing struggle. Remember, strength for today is what He promises. Debbie Giese

Kristin said...

Thank you Melissa! Hope is my favorite word right now as my husband and I are going through a trial separation. I began this difficult, dark time so depressed and sad and hopeless. My self esteem was in the gutter and I didn't think I'd ever begin to heal and forgive. But through the grace and love of God that He has shown me through reading His word and the awesome devotions on Proverbs 31, I am seeing Him work in my heart and even my husband's! I rejoice in my hope for the future and Romans 12:12 has become my life verse as I constantly remind myself of it every day.
Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring hope in those of us who need it!
God bless you and your family.
Kristin DesJardin

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Thanks so much for sharing. I can sooooo relate. I only wish that my husband would agree to marriage counseling. I am praying and staying in CONSTANT contact with GOD. Praise the Lord.
Angie

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your personal stuff with us all. I too am married to my highschool sweetheart and best friend and we too have 4 precious children. I think some of the intimacy we shared before marriage hindered some of the intimacy after--thank God He restores it all! I am glad you guys are back on track.
Amanda K.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your life and your thoughts with us. I am a single mom, in a new relationship after the death of my spouse. I have 2 children, ages 13 and 10. I know that I have baggage from past relationships, and I know that my new partner does also. Before we can get married or even go deeper into a godly relationship, I feel we will need to go to counseling, both together and apart. We have both done this before, but we didn't stick with it. Healing is needed for both of us before we can go forward to find God's Plan for us.
Thank you again for your post.
ljmccrackin@charter.net

jillian4 said...

Funny how God will put certain people in my life at just the right time. Although I do not know you, I feel like I do. Although we do not share the same struggles, we still share many that are similar. You are coming out of yours and I am climbing up hill to get out of mine. My husband and I are highschool sweethearts, we got married 3 years later had four children, boom, boom, boom! Life took its toll, I lost myself in my kids and raising them and losing my sense of purpose as a person and a wife. I have put way to much dependency on my husband, he is my knight in shining armor, yes. But also too much pressure has broke him down after 14 years. We have come to a screeching halt. We are still together but he has lost hope. It took this(talk of divorce, being seperated for a month) to wake me up to the realization that I need God as my number one priority. But my husband sees no hope in this matter, but he is here, so I will run with that. I am trying to perservere and surrender my life, my husband and my marriage completely to God. But it is so hard. I love my husband and it is unreal at how empty he feels towards me emotionally. SO I am clinging on to the hope that God will restore our marriage. God will change me, He will give me a gentle and quiet spirit, and He will help me to endure. He will open my husband's eyes and turn his heart back to Him. So I so needed to here you speak those words today, I feel that they were for me, God was using you to speak to me. Thank you for being faithful and real in your posts. I have a hard time being real and open with others, God is breaking down that barrier as well. Hence the above book! So thank you for being so open to us bloggers out there.
Jill jillmeadors@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you melissa for those encouraging words and testimony. it just perked me up today. May God continue to use you touch the lives of so many women in distress and encourage women who are lost of words and things to do or say with regards to their marriage. I always look forward to reading your posts. It's so honest and it also encourages me to be honest and open to how i feel with everything. God bless you soo much!
Alice

Katrina said...

Melissa,
I would love to be able to add your blog link to my Walking with Y'shua and And now katrina writes blog. I know a lot of woman who have had a simular walk in your shoes. I believe if they had a link to go to it might just help them out in that moment of their life. Thank you!
Katrina

Anonymous said...

Those of us who were sexually abused as children cannot hear enough times that it was not our fault and the God still loves us. I was married for 23 years and always thought that my husband's affairs were my fault - if only I would make more money, be prettier, keep the house cleaner, cook better, have sex with him the way he wanted - He moved out a year and a half ago and the divorce was final last October. Marriage counseling didn't even work for us - both parties have to want to make a marriage work. My current prayer is to have a relationship with a Godly man, and if that doesn't happen, God will be my bridegroom.
collier@frontiernet.net

Babs said...

Thank you for your openness and transparent honesty. Your words were so encouraging and a great reminder to never give up in our marriages. God is a redeemer and restorer. I pray your words are used to speak into marriages in a mighty way! ~Babs

Jules said...

Today a friend sent me a devo that linked to your blog and it touched my heart. My husband and I have a difficult (to say the least) time effectively communicating, sharing, and expressing thoughts, so the first step I am trying to make is to make my relationship with God stronger and #1 so that I too can work on and strengthen and rejoice in my marriage. Thanks for your inspiring words.

christ1 said...

I have read your encouragement of today and it was such a blessing to me. The timing was only the timing of the Lord to allow me the morning of my first counseling session to check my email and there was your story of abuse. See, Im an adult surviving victim of incest and I finally found the courage at 37 years old to go and receive the next phase of healing for my life. I went through incest at the hands of my natural father. The things that I endured as a child were things that were unthinkable and unimaginable for a father to do to his little girl. I have lived with the Pain of what he did to me for 8 years of my childhood. I never thought any man would ever want me because I felt that I was damaged goods. i would cry at night and beg God to make me disappear. He would come into my room and I would cry and beg him not to do those things to me but he would just be silent. He would say sh.......... you will be a better wife oneday. Im now married for 12 years and I have 2 beautiful children and Im struggling in intimacy because of what he did to me. When my husband touches me I want to scream. When I desire to be intimate with him I feel ashamed and dirty for feeling that way. When we have moments of closeness, I sometimes see my fathers face and when it is over, I get in the shower and just cry. Melissa,I DO NOT WANT TO HURT ANYMORE!!!!!!!! I cry a lot about what my childhood was like. I feel so dead inside and I want to live again. I do not want to feel like Im damaged goods anymore. I tried to send you an email. I sent a prayer request to the proverbs 31 ministries. I really need those prayers at this time in my life. Thank you again. christ1

Kynda said...

I am convinced that God sent you to me today.

I am from IL and my husband is from Mexico. We met in Mexico 17 years ago when I was an exchange student there and have now been married for just under 12 years. God has been kind enough to loan us four amazing children, and gracious enough to take another one home to Heaven.

Above and beyond the "normal" problems that go along with married life, my husband and I have SURVIVED grave economic difficulties, three miscarriages, the loss of a son, and various geographic separations caused by Immigration hoops we've had to jump through.

Since we married, we have lived in Mexico, the USA, Mexico again, the USA again, and have now been living separately (he in Mexico and I in the USA with our children) for almost three years.

My dear husband initially returned to Mexico to pave the way for us to return yet again. Even when we realized that it wasn't economically feasible for us to go back, he ended up staying in Mexico without us because of life-threatening illnesses that his parents were suffering from. They have gotten no better since then, and our family crisis has grown steadily worse.

Throughout these past years, our family and our marriage have suffered dramatically. My children have repeatedly asked me if our family is broken, and I always respond that it's just bent. I tell them not to worry because we'll be back together again "soon".

My husband and I love each other dearly and are committed to our marriage. Although we have never lost hope of having a “normal” family situation again, we are now faced with the challenge of knowing that if we continue to bend our relationship any farther / longer, it really is in danger of breaking.

What do we do? How do we solve our living situation? We've asked that question so many times over the past few years, but now we must answer it quickly and effectively in order to SURVIVE again.

My husband is here visiting us right now. Last night we were discussing the situation and trying to plan our way out of it. All of our hurt, anger and fear from the past few years spilled out. My husband cried in front of me for the first time since we were married. My rock is being shaken harder than ever before.

I have been trying to solve our problems by working and analyzing and budgeting. I have prayed until I’m sure God has pressed the “Mute” button. And yet nothing has happened. No magical answer has appeared. No yellow brick road has materialized. My husband hasn’t swooped in with a cape and an “S” emblazoned on his chest to save the day.

And now I realize that the roadblock has been my inability to let go of past fears. I have allowed Satan to bend my ear for too long. It is (past) time to let my heart respond to the beautiful message of faith and love that God has been constantly trying to get me to listen to.

It really is so simple. If I just open myself to Him completely and absolutely, if I just accept the grace and peace that He offers, if I just act on my faith rather than thinking about it, Satan will no longer have a hold on me. I will be free to feel whole and complete. Does it get any better than that?

Granted, it won’t be easy. On the one hand, I will have to be very aware of old patterns creeping up on me and be relentless in my quest to push them away. And on the other hand, I will have to work harder at being the wife my husband deserves and so desperately needs. I will have to make a much more conscious effort to take his love language and needs into consideration. But I am certain that I will make it. WE will make it. Through God’s grace.

I’m not really sure why I have been so blind for so long. I do know, however, that I will be forever grateful to you for finally removing these hateful blinders. Thank you for allowing Him to touch me through you today. I am filled with a peace and joy that I haven’t felt for much too long.

Please pray for our swift return to Him and for the success of our family.

May God bless you abundantly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I too have gone through some really rocky times in my marriage in the past and have listened to the lies that satan threw my way. I also regret the decisions I made while listening to those lies, but am so thankful for a God who loves me anyway and brought me out of my "pit" and set my feet on solid ground again. Yes "hope" is a beautiful word!!!! Without hope during those times any many since my life would have crumbled! Praise God for your ministry!
lplinser@msn.com

Jennifer said...

Thank you for all you shared. My marriage has also been on those big sharp rocks in the past and is in a much better place now. I have such a broken heart for couples in my church who are obviously struggling. I want to help them and to tell them how much more wonderful their marriage can be if they can weather the storms, but I don't always know how to say it. (Plus, during the difficult times, they don't seem to believe it!) Thanks again for sharing. jennifer3731@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing and being open. I have started fasting and praying that God would restore my marriage. I so desparately needed to hear from Him yesterday as I started my day. I was praying on my way to work and telling God how I felt some of which I couldn't even put into words. As I sat at my desk and read your devotional, God began to minister to me. Sometimes we feel alone and think that we are the only ones dealing with these issues or we are ashamed to even begin to share that our marriages have hit a rocky place. I couldn't even begin to put it into words until I read your devotional. Thank you, my sister, for being real and transparent. God definitely used your sufferings to minister a powerful devotional, which has obviously touched women around the country. Just the comments alone from other women have blessed me, as well. Once again, thank you for your willingness to share.

Linda said...

I hope I'm not too late to enter for the book.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Blessings to you and your husband.

Anonymous said...

Mel, you really live what you write. Thank you for being real and offering your story as a tool of healing. You ARE beautiful!!

Love,
Sambo (from P31 office)

Anonymous said...

Your commentary has been an answered prayer...Daily I struggle with receiving my husband's passionate advances in a loving manner. All too often I put up a wall of defense and become angry as he becomes persistent for the smallest sign of affection from me, his wife. I am blessed to have a God-fearing husband, who is making a conscious effort to put Christ first in his life. However, we often result to reflecting on past occurrences encompassed by hurtful incidents filled with words that should never have been spoken. I find myself holding onto demeaning comments and actions that my husband and others have introduced me to...All too often I allow myself to be more concerned with what others "verbalize" about "who I am & what I am about." Rather, I should stay focused on how God feels about me... loving me unconditionally. I strongly desire a strong, passionate love life with my husband and I am guilt stricken by the thought that I am not being the heart of our home. I appreciate the insight you have provided, Melissa. Thank you for sharing you personal story, because it certainly has poured blessings upon this Christian Wife seeking truth. God bless you and your family. Sincerely, Melissa

Cheri Bunch said...

Dear Melissa,
Your story has really touched me. Thank you so much for sharing it. I can only imagine the impact you are having on so many! I appreciate you even more than I ever have! You are amazing! May the Lord continue to set many women free through your powerful story! You ae a blessing!
Love you,
Cheri
cheribunch.blogspot.com

Natasha said...

I must say that I was glad that I picked tonight to read Proverbs 31 for Women, that led me to your website and this blog. I trully understand what you have gone through because at an early age I was sexually abused by relatives. I always thought that it was my fault and that I did something wrong. Through many years of bad relationships and disappointments, I finally realized that it wasn't my fault and that I don't have anything to be ashamed of. It has taken a lot of years for me to realize this. I have been married now for over 12 years and it is still hard for me to be intimate with my husband because of my past and medical history. I have been praying and asking God to help me love myself so that I can love my husband the way he should be loved. I do know now that God is the only one that can make me whole and complete. I ask you to please continue to pray for me and Thank you so much for your post it has really helped me.

natasha said...

Melissa
I forgot to leave you my email.
I posted my comment under natasha.
My email address is tashrel96@yahoo.com.

Again thank you so much for sharing your story.

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GET YOU EX LOVER BACK TODAY!! said...



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GET YOU EX LOVER BACK TODAY!! said...



My boyfriend of 2 years just left me cause his parent hate me cause am an orphan, I was in pieces, I
contacted Prophet Osaze and within a few minutes of talking to him i felt much better, he is so calming, i listened to his advise and he began work for me and it worked within 48 hours and I can't thank him enough.I would just like to say that Prophet Osaze really does do miracles, my soul mate came to quicker than I thought he would and his parent love me now as their biological daughter.Am happy cause we are getting married in a months time. I would recommend him to any-one who needs help, and I will use Prophet Osaze again for further work in the future. You can contact him on spirituallove@hotmail.com