One of the first love lessons we learned in our marriage was the power of a “Naked Marriage.” You probably think we are just talking about sex right now, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The sexual aspect of your marriage should be a huge priority, but remember that true intimacy requires more than just what happens in the bedroom. In the Book of Genesis, we’re given the account of the first marriage. God created a couple that temporarily lived in an ideal setting with no debt, no crazy in-laws, no baggage, no stress, no fighting, and last but not least . . . no clothing!
“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)
When God painted this picture of a naked marriage, we believe he was revealing to us something more than just sexual intimacy; he was revealing the importance of having complete transparency, vulnerability, acceptance, and intimacy at every level of the relationship. I’m certainly not advocating that we all walk around nude all day (although I do think most marriages would benefit from more naked time!), but I am suggesting that we all need to become more intentional about reconnecting with that true intimacy that Adam and Eve got a taste of in the Garden of Eden.
Love, by its very nature, is honest, and this is especially important to the sacred bond of trust in marriage. When you’re not living in a naked marriage the way God intended, you’re opening yourself up to very dangerous temptations. Those temptations have led many down a dark path. Our friend Jesse is a dramatic example of this.
Jesse had finally hit rock bottom. He found himself sitting at a computer screen late one evening while his wife was out of town to solicit anonymous sex. His porn habit had evolved into a full-blown addiction and ultimately had created a devastating pattern of depravity and self-destructive behavior.
His life was out of control, and his marriage was in shambles. He was completely miserable, but he felt powerless to change the situation. As he sat in that dark room planning dark deeds, he caught a glimpse of his reflection from the computer screen and realized that he no longer recognized the man he had become.
That night some light broke through the darkness, and Jesse finally realized that he needed to take immediate action to set things right. He called out to God for help, and he made a commitment to do everything in his power to break free from sexual sin and to rebuild his wife’s trust. He set out on a long journey to reclaim his honor and his family.
Several years have passed, and I’m happy to say that Jesse and Tricia are happier than they have ever been in their marriage. Jesse has an amazing wife, two beautiful sons, a successful career in the United States military, and many great adventures ahead. Today, as I’m writing these words, Jesse and his family are on a plane to Germany where they will spend the next three years. I spoke with him on the phone two days ago, and his voice was filled with excitement and anticipation as he talked and dreamed about the great days ahead.
You might be reading all this and wondering how it’s possible for a marriage to be restored after that kind of behavior. It happened because of a tremendous amount of grace from God and from Jesse’s wife, Tricia. Grace alone was only part of the equation. This marriage was saved, because Jesse was willing to put some uncompromising boundaries in place. Those boundaries created a protected climate where trust could be rebuilt and healing could begin.
He recognized that he had become powerless to fight the battles by will power alone, so he surrounded himself with people who could encourage him and keep him accountable. He started a support group for men who were wrestling with similar struggles, and that group provided an outlet for continued growth and healing. Together, those men talked, prayed, laughed, cried, studied the Bible, and found practical solutions to the issues that haunted them.
Jesse’s newfound boundaries also included putting a filter on his computer that tracked and documented every website that he visited and giving his wife complete access to that information. He also gave his wife full access to his phone, texts, voicemails, emails, and all of his communication devices. He then cut off all contact with certain “friends” and committed to never return to places that could put him in tempting or compromising situations. Those boundaries created a framework where his marriage could be rebuilt.
If your marriage seems like it's stuck in a rut, one reason may be secrets that need to come out into the open. You'll be amazed at the power of honesty and grace. Let truth and forgiveness flow freely in your marriage, and you'll be able to get through any challenge that comes your way!