Overcoming the Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Marriage

How can I prevent memories of childhood sexual trauma from having a negative impact on my relationship with my spouse? I was abused a long time ago and though it wasn't easy, I've forgiven the people who violated me. But after twelve years of marriage I still can't enjoy sex with my husband without feeling guilty. Is there any hope for me?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Yes. We can say this with certainty because we believe that Christ suffered, died and was raised from death in order that you might be healed of your wounds and released from the shackles of your painful past.

If you’re familiar with the words of Luke 4:18, you already know that Jesus came to proclaim good news to the afflicted, joy to the brokenhearted, liberty to the captives and comfort to those who are crushed and bruised. As your first step toward redemption and release you need to lay hold of this promise and make it your own. Memorize it. Hide it in your heart. Pray over it day and night. It is the Word of God, but its power won’t be fully unleashed in your life until you’ve drunk deeply from the well of its truth and allowed the Holy Spirit to weave it into the very fabric of your heart and mind.

The second step is to realize that the abuse you endured as a child was not your fault. It’s common for victims to blame themselves, whether consciously or subconsciously, but the guilt that afflicts you is false. You need to make a conscious attempt to shake it off and leave it behind. This sounds simple, but it can be difficult to accomplish. You can begin the process by reminding yourself daily that you are pure and spotless in the sight of God – regardless of what may have happened to you at the hands of others.

The third step is to get some outside input. Books can be helpful in this regard, and we’ve listed several below that we’d like to recommend for your consideration. All of these titles are available through our ministry and can be ordered by calling our offices or visiting our Online Store.

Finally, seek out the help of a trained Christian therapist. Accurate information is a good place to begin the healing process, but head knowledge by itself is not enough to bring it to completion. When children are violated, their sense of trust is damaged. As a result, thorough restoration can only take place within the context of healthy relationships. Your marriage can be an important part of this process, especially if your husband is loving and patient. But the task is too big for him to tackle alone. Even with the help of friends, however kind and understanding they may be, he won’t be able to supply you with the deep emotional and psychological guidance you need. This is a job for a skilled and gifted professional.

If you think it might be helpful, we’d like to invite you to call and speak with a member of Focus on the Family’s Counseling staff. Our counselors can provide you with a list of qualified marriage and family therapists practicing in your area. They would also be more than happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone.


Related Video
When Your Spouse Is Affected by Childhood Sexual Abuse: Debra Taylor looks at the effects of childhood sexual abuse and how it may impact the sexual relationship in marriage.

No Place to Cry: The Hurt and Healing of Sexual Abuse

Healing the Wounds of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex

On the Threshold of Hope: Opening the Door to Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Celebrate Recovery

Sex and Intimacy

Copyright © 2010, Focus on the Family.

Talk to a Counselor

Focus on the Family offers a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.