How to protect your marriage in a sexualised world
I have been wanting to write this for a long time now. I'm not sure if I have just never had the courage or if I had a fear of what you would all think. My past seems to be one of another person, yes I remember every part of it but the pain of what I lived through seems so far away. I got through it, I learned from it. It helped shape the person I am today yet it is not my identity nor is it a crutch I lean on. I'm not a physiologist or a councillor. Everything I write is from my heart, it is what I know.
Sexualization (or sexualisation) is to make something sexual in character or quality, or to become aware of sexuality, especially in relation to men and women. Sexualization is linked to sexual objectification.
Yes we see it everywhere and no I'm not just saying that this is one sided objectification and for that matter sexualisation happens to both men and women. Yes a lot of the time it is innocent and just a bit of fun but then look around you. Billboards, TV adverts, movies the world we live in is a sexualised world. So how do we protect our marriages when this is all around us?
My husband is the Maori stereotype he is big and muscly and is just about to go back to his job as a security officer. What he does is not bad but we made a promise on the very first night he started this job that we would protect everything we have. It was the responsibility of us both to work for our marriage and make sure nothing ever came between us. There has never or will ever be a problem of trust in our marriage, we are both so open and honest with each other and have learnt this is the key to trust. But does my past and the hurts faced at the hand of sexualisation and objectification ever pop up as an issue? Of course it does! How could it not. But my husband knows every part of me, every part of my mind and with just one look he can see when something starts to get to me. We sit, we talk, we work through these things. He understands that being Sexually objectified is one thing that brings up those hurts and memories.
Our world seems to think that this is not dangerous or cause for concern, but would you like your daughter to be pinned all over the internet or on a billboard for the purpose of men looking at her in that nature? The thought of it makes me sick. We teach our children that their bodies are theirs and yet they see images around them sending them the very opposite message.
I was awoken to the sexual world at a very young and from that moment on I thought sex and my body belonged to men and was never mine to give yet theirs to take. My teenage years were spent thinking that men wanted one thing, I longed to feel love and I thought that that feeling of being left hurt and alone was what it meant to be loved. Sex and my body meant absolutely nothing to me. So when it came time for marriage, as you can imagine being actually loved was so foreign to me. It took years to slowly restore what was stolen at such a young age. He had to gain that trust with me and peel back the layers of a decade of hurt.
How do we ever match up?
How could we? Sex is built up in such a way that I have talked to so many women who are worried that they will never match up to what it is "supposed to be like" they have a fear that they will never be enough. With that comes self esteem issues, I don't look like them, my body will never look like that....let me tell you something, love is unconditional. I was at my heaviest a few years ago and I remember that worry coming over me, I wasn't the women he married so how could he still love me or find me attractive. He would hold my face and tell me how beautiful I was but for some reason I couldn't believe the words that were coming from his mouth.... He had to be lying to make me feel better right? Um wrong! I was still the women he married, I was still the women he loved! My issues were mine, never his and I had to find a way to remind myself I was beautiful, I was still me. Post baby and all, I was still me! Write it on your mirror to remind yourself every morning, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
I'm to busy to keep the love Alive.
I'm sorry but never say that again! How can we be to "busy" to keep one of the very things we live for Alive?
4 kids, work.....a life. I will never ever let that part of us "die" it is far to important. Sex is one of the building blocks to a good marriage and yes I know how exhausted we all are but we must never put this in the background. This is all apart of being open and completely honest. On both sides! You have to let them be honest with you and listen to how they are feeling. Then be open with him about what is going on in your mind. Also, Remind your husband that women need romance in order to be sexual, that is the way we are wired, we need to feel loved in order to love.
Have "the talk"
Talk to each other! One of the biggest reasons marriages break down is because the lines of communication have shut down. After our third child I got PND quite bad. So bad in fact that leaving the house would cause me to have a panic attack. I shut down. Talking was so hard for me and I just wanted it all to stop. My husband knew the signs and slowly and gently helped me to start taking again. I cried a lot and started to tell him everything that was on my mind. The trust I have for that man, well I can't describe it. When someone is there at your lowest point and when they are the ones to pull you from it. He knew communication was so important and put in so much time to help me talk again. We have to be that to each other. Caring and understanding, keep that "love" feeling alive and communicate.
Being open and honest also goes hand in hand with the fact that when we are open and honest we should also have the security of not being judged. We must listen and not rise or be angry. Work through the issue and not laugh or be defensive. If your husband comes to you feeling unwanted how would you feel? Would you be angry? Would you list of the responsibilities you have and how could they expect you to do that as well? This is the most dangerous trap! Not only do they now feel unwanted but also unheard and unimportant. This goes both ways. If we agree to be open and honest then we must have grace for the other in those moments.
Marriage is a beautiful beautiful thing. It is apart of us. They are apart of us. Marriage is where two become one.
I'm writing to myself in all of this and I constantly remind myself that no matter what I am going through I have the one I love to protect and think about. We must protect what we have made in a world where sex has been turned into a dirty word or a tool used for hurt. We have to get back to what it was intended for and never misuse it.
We must protect our children. Be present in what they are watching and speak up when shop windows or radio adverts are not appropriate for their innocent eyes.