Ashley Willis is one of America’s most widely-read relationship bloggers. She writes primarily on issues related to faith, marriage and motherhood in her books and blogs. Ashley and her husband, Dave, have been doing marriage ministry together for the last 7 years, and they founded the Facebook Marriage Page. Dave and Ashley speak together at marriage conferences all over the U.S., and they recently joined the team at MarriageToday. They have four young sons and live in Keller, TX. For additional resources, please visit DaveAndAshleyWillis.com and follow Ashley on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
What is a naked marriage?
Many people hold themselves back from having a truly naked marriage because so many times sex, intimacy, and vulnerability have been used in the wrong way or people just have bad feeling about.
However in Genesis, God uses the Hebrew word Parah which means to be fruitful. He called people to be flourish, grow, and fruitful together before He even mentioned to multiply (aka the kiddos!). God’s design from the beginning was for man and woman to flourish together first.
God has called people to fruitful before multiply…flourish together
But if you know the story, you know the serpent begins to make them doubt God. Their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness as shameful. They then tried to cover up and run from God.
The epidemic within marriage
There is an epidemic of people getting married without going all in with the marriage. They are holding things back from their partners. They aren’t sharing all of the intimate thoughts or burdens they may be carrying.
These things continue to grow and become huge dividers and chasms between a couple with the marriage.
Honesty is essential within marriage
We were created to be known and fully known. In order to have a naked marriage and the most intimate relationship with your spouse, you have to to be honest with our spouse. But
God wants us to bring our secrets to not only Him but to our spouse. He wants us to lay them down at his feet. You have to be real and honest with ALL your secrets, struggles, and fears. No worry is insignificant.
The battle with anxiety and depression
Ashley navigated a long and difficult battle with anxiety and depression. It brought her to her knees and she often found herself awake curled in on the bathroom floor. When she finally opened up to her husband about her struggles, she’d reached a point so low, she didn’t see herself ever coming back out of it. In those moments, she believed that it was completely reasonable that by exposing her struggles, she would understand if her husband deemed her no longer loveable.
Exposing her worries and battles wasn’t easy. It was something she carried for a long time on her own. But it wasn’t getting better. She wasn’t meant to carry it on her own.
You are not meant to carry your battles on your own.
It’s not his or hers, it’s ours
Whatever fear or struggle that keeps you up at night, tell your spouse about it. Invite them into that space. Allow them to walk with you, to support you, encourage you, and go through it together.
If you know your spouse is struggling, be willing to ask the hard questions. You have to do it in the most loving way, but all your secrets need to be exposed in order for you to truly experience a naked marriage.
Pornography & broken trust
Very few marriages are without their struggles. So what do you do when the trust has been broken or the idea of being exposed emotionally to your spouse feels unsafe?
When Ashley found out about her husband’s pornography addiction, her trust and heart were shattered.
Forgiveness versus trust
There is a big difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is something we can give freely. It cannot be earned. When Dave broke Ashley’s trust, it was her who willingly had to choose to forgive him.
Trust is earned. It is not something that is given. He had to work to repair and rebuild the trust he had lost in their relationship.
Continue to ask the hard questions
Maybe you feel you can never be intimate again.
Get really honest with your spouse. Ask them the hard questions. Continue to ask them the hard questions.
Walk with your spouse along the journey of getting help and support.
There is hope for those who’s trust has been broken. It takes lots of prayer, hope, forgiveness, and healing but it is possible.
If there’s a lack of communication
Communication is key but if a marriage has lacked intimacy for awhile or communication has gone dormant, it will take intention to restore it.
Take the initiative. Start reaching out and tell your spouse something about them that you are thankful for. When you start to recognize the amazing things about your spouse, maybe the things that made you fall in love in the first place, not only does it help shift your mindset but helps to soften his heart as well.
They’re then more likely to be vulnerable with you. If he feels like nothing he does is ever right, he may think “well why do I even try.” Starting with gratitude helps both of you begin to notice the amazing things about each other. It might not feel natural at first. But affirming your spouse sometimes starts in the head and
Why did I marry him in the first place?
When your relationship gets rocky, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the lie that “maybe he wasn’t really the one.” You begin to question whether or not you were meant to marry in the first place.
As life goes on, we do grow and we do change. It’s essential that over time, we continue to focus on each other and build that connection. Getting time away together, going on a date night, or even just putting the kids to bed early one night can be essential tools to increase intimacy.
Laughing together is an amazing way to disarm harsh feelings, rebuild friendship, increase connection, and create an environment for communication. Your spouse is your friend and it’s important that you spend time enjoying each other and having fun together.
It’s so vital that you feel like your spouse is your best friend again. It can take awhile to get that connection, but it is absolutely possible.
The love seat versus the me seat
In marriage, you can have 2 types of relationships. The love seat or
In the Love
In the Me seat, you’re doing life together in the house as business partners but in separate seats. A couple may come together for things like raising kids, financial decisions, but it lacks the friendship. They forgot to be intentional for time with each other and being thankful for each other.
Friendship takes fostering. It takes being intentional and spending time together.
Praying together. Pray out loud together. Praying together can be one of the most pivotal practices you can implement within your marriage to create a truly intimate marriage. It’s really hard to pray with someone and be mad at them at the same time. When you pray together, you draw not only closer to each other but bring God in the middle of your union.
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Naked Marriage by Dave & Ashley Willis