Fences provide needed protection and privacy. They act as a deterrent to would-be burglars, and provide privacy to our property.
After Hurricane Irma last fall, our 15 year old wooden fence was in serious need of replacement. We are grateful our insurance company covered the cost allowing us to have a new one installed last month, and we love it! We hadn’t realized how much privacy we had lost by our dilapidated fence. We have a gate that works well now too. It stays shut when it’s supposed to and opens easily when unlocked.
Gates are meant to work. When they don’t it’s not only a deterrent to the bad, but also the good.
There is a similar application to a gate found in all marriages–the gate to sexual intimacy. This gate leads to the private backyard of the marital union where only the husband and wife can see and enjoy. It is good when it works well, but sadly many marriages suffer from over-zealous gatekeepers.
You may have heard the term “gatekeeping” in regard to sexual intimacy in marriage. It is when one spouse chooses when the gate of sexual intimacy is opened for the other. It can be earned as a reward for proper behavior or closed and locked as a punishment. In either case, gatekeeping is wrong. We do not have the right to dictate to our spouse when they are or are not given access to sexual intimacy.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says,
3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
We have found gatekeeping is often the result of a deeper problem.
We want to introduce you to Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife blog. She honestly shares her journey from being a gatekeeper to being an available and loving wife to her husband. She shares how bringing shame and secrets into the marriage kept her from being open and vulnerable with her husband to the detriment of their relationship.
I was wrong to dismiss the importance of sexual intimacy in our marriage. Once I realized that we were having problems and that sex had become a source of tension, I should have pursued healing. Instead, I let the hurt fester for far too long.
Although my journey began as an effort to do something for my husband, it became a transformation for me. I have grown in my relationship with God as well as my relationship with my husband. I’ve learned to embrace my sexuality, too–and not just for my husband’s sake.
We encourage you to visit her blog and hear more of her story. It will inspire you as it has countless others. (If you are in an abusive marriage, this scripture in no way implies you are to endure such suffering. Seek counsel for the health of your marriage and your safety!)
Then, there are wives who find themselves as sexual gatekeepers when they said they would never do that. This brings added guilt and shame to the issue. J, with Hot, Holy and Humorous blog shares a very helpful post from a reader’s question.
If you are in this place, it can feel like you’ll never change, or you may not want to change. I appeal to both; God is in the business of making possible what is impossible in our own strength. Seek Him, and ask Him to lead you.
If you would like further help, please comment or email us. There is a way out, and sometimes all it takes is admitting there is a problem and asking God to help you change.
“The mandrakes give off a fragrance, And at our gates are pleasant fruits, All manner, new and old, Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.” – Song of Songs 7:13 NKJV