Intimacy without Barriers

In Rachel Scott’s post, Making Babies Together–Unlocking the Mystery of Christian Divorce Part 3, she describes how birth control creates emotional barriers between a married man and woman, which can prove detrimental to their overall relationship. Here’s a quote from her her post:

Even though sex if done right will feel good, when both lovers agree to use birth control, the couple has started the relationship on the premise of rejecting their seed. Subliminally this rejection will be very hard to overlook because rejection creates an emotional barrier or “wall.” How high a wall is built between them or how broad it could affect their intimacy will be up to the individuals. Once the idea of their need for birth control protection becomes part of their sexual experience, the need to alienate themselves in other areas will increase. How can it not? The unspoken communication has already said in this area, “I am against oneness,” and this will make the expression of naked, unashamed sex extremely difficult to achieve. Tensions outside the bedroom often originate from the need to protect oneself inside the bedroom.

It will be harder to be lovers outside of the bedroom because the unspoken need to protect will now be there. Naked and unashamed has been replaced by lack of trust, apprehension and anxiety. All communication will be filtered through this emotional wall. She will know that he is afraid of her eggs and womb and her ability to conceive a child he does not want. He will know she is afraid of his sperm and its power to impregnate her when she is feeling unsure.

Neither one will make the “connection” but the expression of protection during sex will speak louder than words because both agree with fear!

I agree with her.

Birth control–whether through hormonal, barrier, surgical, withdrawal, or “natural” methods–does indeed create walls between a man and wife. My own experience has proven this to be true. When the husband wants his wife to use birth control, even the natural method, he’s REALLY saying, “I’m afraid of your eggs and your womb. I don’t want your body to function the way God made it to function. I don’t think God made a good choice when he made you fertile. I wish you weren’t fertile. I wish your fertility was damaged. I would prefer it if you were less of a woman. I need to protect myself from you. You’re dangerous.” How painful! And even though the woman may externally agree with him, internally she feels rejected.

This could go for the man, as well, when it is the wife who is pushing for birth control. He may feel that she “is afraid of his sperm and its power to impregnate her,” leading to feelings of rejection. She doesn’t want him to be potent. She wishes that God hadn’t designed his body the way that He designed it. She wishes his potency was damaged. She would prefer it if he were less of a man. She feels the need to protect herself from him, and sees him as dangerous to her well-being and the well-being of their relationship. And, though the man may externally agree with her, internally he feels rejected.

God designed each part of our bodies with a purpose in mind. Our brain, our heart, our lungs, our digestive system, etc. all function according to His design, and we have no problem with it. But, when it comes to our reproductive system, we wish God hadn’t made us the way that He did. Basically, we say to our Maker, “Why have you made me this way? You must have made a mistake!” We block God’s purpose for our reproductive system because we are afraid.

And this fear controls us.

Fear is not God’s will for us.

Some people will say, “Well, we’re just using our God-given brains and being responsible. But where does God say in the Bible that He wants us to “be responsible” by cutting off, or limiting, our fertility? Is THAT in the Bible? I don’t see it. To the contrary, I see that God was responsible for the fertility of Abraham and Sarah, for Isaac and Rebecca, for Jacob and Rachel and Leah, for the entire Hebrew nation, for Elkanah and Hannah (who bore Samson and five more children afterwards), for Zacharias and Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptist), for Mary the mother of Jesus, etc… If God was wise enough on His own, without anybody’s help, regarding these people’s fertility, isn’t it logical to believe that He is also wise enough on His own, without our help, regarding our fertility? Why can’t we trust Him? Is it that we’re afraid we can’t? Are we afraid that God doesn’t know what He’s doing, and that our lives will spin out of control if we give control of procreation over to Him?

Creating physical barriers within our marriage (through birth control) can, and does, have ramifications. When we give in to fear, and basically say to our spouse, “I’m afraid of your fertility,” and “I don’t trust God to do what’s best for us,” we’re setting up a wall that will also prevent us from experiencing the openness and closeness that God intended for our marriage. We’re saying to our spouse, “I want you, but not ALL of you.” We’re saying to our lover, “I love your body, but just not THAT part of your body.” We’re communicating to our partner for life, “If your body were to function the way God made it to, I would NOT be okay with that; in fact I would be upset and disappointed. I want to experience sexual pleasure with you, but I refuse to accept the logical conclusion of that experience (a baby). I reject that ultimate expression of our oneness (a newly-conceived child).”

This can lead to feelings of being used. “He wants to use my body for his own sexual gratification, but he doesn’t want everything that comes with it (a new life). He wants my body, but not a baby with me. He is only willing to go so far in our relationship, but has put up a barrier that keeps us from going as far as we could. Is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with the way I feel about this? Should I be having these feelings? Maybe I’m just being unreasonable…” 

How can we do this to each other? We tear down our relationship, and damage the bond that God designed for sex and procreation to create in our marriage. He created marriage, in great part, FOR procreation! Just read the beginning chapters of Genesis for the account of how He made man and woman. He told them to be “fruitful and multiply.” I don’t see ANYWHERE where He says to us, “Now you don’t have to do that anymore. I take back what I said. It’s time to stop.” Do you?

Birth control was NEVER God’s plan for us. Fear has taken control of us, and we’ve given in to the lies of the enemy, who HATES to see new children conceived. Our enemy, Satan, does everything he can to prevent new image-bearers (bearing God’s image) from being born. He uses clinical, surgical abortion. And he uses contraception. Christian’s won’t usually accept abortion as a means of birth control. But they’ll use other methods. The birth control pill, the patch, the ring, the IUD, condoms, diaphragms, sponges soaked in spermicide, vasectomy, tubal ligation, withdrawal, even the natural method, all are means used to achieve the end of LIMITING CHILDREN.

If we were to allow God control of our fertility, we would have to walk by faith.

And if we were to allow God control of our fertility, we would also have a closer relationship with our spouse. When my husband and I gave God control of this area, we began to experience greater intimacy and trust in our relationship. No longer were we trying to protect ourselves from each other. No longer were we treating each other as “the enemy.”  No longer were we rejecting each other’s body (the reproductive part of it). We were unified and strengthened as a couple. We sought God together for solutions to outside problems. We grew together in character and faith. We rejoiced in the fact that our sexual union could result in a beautiful baby. We allowed ourselves to become fully cooperative with God in the creation of a new human being. So many good things have resulted from no longer using birth control! How I hope that others will see the beauty of life without birth control.

The lies of the enemy that have convinced us to use birth control have stolen from us our intimacy in marriage, have killed the possibility of newly-conceived life, and are destroying the power of our faith.

Let us rise up, and live by FAITH in our Creator, that He is worthy of our trust, that He knows what is best for us, and that the way He designed our bodies is still “very good.”

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12 thoughts on “Intimacy without Barriers

  1. I agree completely!

    I actually just finished reading Scott’s book! 🙂

    Have a great night!

    Off to do the chores I should be doing instead of internet-surfing… 🙂
    Diana

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    • Thanks, Diana! It’s so comforting to receive that validation from another person who agrees on this point.
      I actually haven’t read the whole of Rachel Scott’s book yet; I just read the free first chapter. However, I’ve read several of her online articles through her website, and have watched those TV interviews (during which she showed herself to be very gracious and wise in her responses to the questions posed to her). I REALLY want to read the whole book, though! Since it’s only $10, I don’t know why I haven’t done it before now…
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I know how it is to have all those chores building up… 🙂
      Jessica

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      • You’re welcome! I don’t always have time to reply, but I always enjoy reading your posts. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to talk openly about controversial topics.

        I actually borrowed Rachel Scott’s book from a friend, and I enjoyed it very much. If you ever read it, perhaps we can exchange thoughts! There is much that I agree with, and much that I disagree with. Some things I think she takes too far, and on the other hand, in some areas I am far more conservative than she is. Of course, this was a month or two back that I read it, so I’m already forgetting!! But I enjoyed the book. I regret that there are so few on the market on that particular subject.

        Have a great night, and enjoy the rain that we’re supposed to get!! 🙂
        Diana

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      • Thanks, Diana!
        I would love to exchange thoughts about her book once I get a chance to read it, too.
        And yes, I’m looking forward to more rain. I love it when it rains.
        I hope that everything is going well with you and your family, your new baby, homeschooling, etc. 🙂
        Jessica

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  2. Dear Jessica,
    I confess that this is the first time I have ever heard of Rachel Scott. I did go back and read as much as she had on this particular topic on her website. Some things were eye opening, others I didn’t agree with. What I could agree with her on was that through the push of birth control in the 20th century, it was standard that everyone assumed you were going to be having some sort of contraception by the time I got married in the 80’s. It was never treated as an evil, bad thing. The fact of the matter is that God allowed me to get pregnant while on birth control. This was not to say that I was happy to be on it. I also didn’t like the side effects that I experienced. But for us, we never had those feelings of his body was my enemy or vise versa. None of those divisive feelings that Rachel describes were ours through the use of contraception. After I did get pregnant, we never used anything after that point. All of our children came when the Lord wanted them to come. The closer we got to 40, the more we heard about the risks of having something go wrong with our child. So,we decided that it was time to stop. Doesn’t that sounds arrogant on our part? This I did regret. I yearned for another child about 3 years after my last was born. That being said, we have 6 wonderful children that God blessed us with. Could have we been blessed with more? Probably, but those are the consequences we have had to live with. I have also had to learn that whatever state I’m in, therewith to be content, because I can drive myself nuts thinking about the what if’s.
    We also made a covenant with each other right at the onset of our marriage that divorce was not an option, no matter how much we didn’t like each other at times. I know for a fact that God has blessed us in spite of ourselves. We have seen God’s hand leading and guiding us when looking back on our years together thus far.
    I am thankful that you bring the importance of God’s Word into every area of your life. This is a topic that isn’t addressed very well in our Christian families today. Even as recently as this week, I’ve had a Christian say, “They are strapped financially and they aren’t using any form of birth control.” Maybe they’ve chosen to live by faith! What a novel idea!
    Your friend, Ruthie
    P.S. Many thoughts and prayers are being sent your way as you draw closer to your due date 🙂

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    • Dear Ruthie,
      Thank you for your comment! I love to get others’ feedback!

      You mentioned that, “But for us, we never had those feelings of his body was my enemy or vise versa. None of those divisive feelings that Rachel describes were ours through the use of contraception.”

      I have had a few thoughts on this, that may be true, or may not be true for other people, but that reflect perhaps my own experiences best. First of all, you said that you only used contraception before you first child was born (though you did admit to having artificially ended your ability to have more children after your sixth). So, perhaps you did not use birth control over a long enough period of time to have developed those feelings. My husband and I used birth control for YEARS, in between the births of several of our children, and I believe that this long-term use gave, at least me (his experience may have been somewhat different), enough time to develop those feelings very strongly, eventually. I will admit that it wasn’t that strong AT FIRST, but that it came LATER, after using birth control for an extended time.

      Another thought that I’ve had, is that some couples never make that connection of “we’re treating each other like the enemy because we use birth control” because it goes against the grain of what society teaches is “right.” We won’t ALLOW ourselves to think this way, because, in a sense, it is FORBIDDEN to think this way by our society. IF we do find ourselves beginning to think this way, we quickly dismiss those thoughts and feelings as being illogical and invalid. If we have problems in our relationship with our spouse, we are quick to attribute them to something else, but never to birth control, since we aren’t PERMITTED to make that connection.

      On a final note, I think that whether we make that mental connection or not, in REALITY we ARE treating each other like the enemy. When we feel the need to shield ourselves from the other person, we are disconnecting ourselves both physically and emotionally from that person that God intended we be ONE with. And what does it mean to be “one”?

      Well, I’ve read much about how the physical union of male and female creates a very strong mental and emotional attachment. However, though that is VERY important and EXTREMELY special, I believe there’s more to it, since the Bible says that this oneness is a “mystery” (Eph. 5:31-32). I believe that the supreme, ultimate oneness that God intends for the couple to experience is that of creating a child together. Now THAT is a mystery and a miracle! And it is absolute oneness in a sense that “mental and emotional attachment” can’t even get close to! Through the conception of a child, the man and woman are LITERALLY made into ONE! Studies in biology have shown this to be true! So God’s word is verified by science.

      I very much agree with you (when talking about birth control use) that “those are the consequences we have had to live with. I have also had to learn that whatever state I’m in, therewith to be content, because I can drive myself nuts thinking about the what if’s.” I fully believe that even though we make mistakes and commit sins in our lives, that God doesn’t turn His back on those who are His. He already had a remedy and a plan in place even BEFORE we made those choices we shouldn’t have made. He is full of grace and kindness, and wants what is best for us. He leads us on through the barren land of what now IS, as opposed to what COULD have been and what SHOULD have been, guiding us by the hand of His LOVE, illuminating our path with His HOPE, and asking of us that we simply have FAITH. (And yet, after six children, your path hasn’t been that “barren,” has it! I can imagine all the happy memories that you must have!)

      And I’m so glad that you feel the same way that I do, that we needn’t use birth control when circumstances get tough, but that what we REALLY need is to live by faith in the God Who supplies ALL our needs!

      Thank you, Ruthie, for your loving and caring friendship! I cherish you as my friend, and I believe God brought you into my life because He knew that I need wise and kind mentors in my life, and that you would fill that need!
      Jessica

      P.S. I greatly appreciate all of your prayers for me during this pregnancy. You can imagine how seeing you say this brought tears to my eyes! Thank you!

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  3. Jessica,
    Thankyou so much for sharing your experience in this area. I can understand why you would have such strong feelings because I would have had them as well if I had been on again, off again birth control in between each pregnancy. I feel the Lord has brought you through these things to be a greater testimony to others.
    Let me share how I know that the Holy Spirit is working in our lives. There is absolutely no way that you could have known that we were going to have a message on LOVE, HOPE and FAITH last night at prayer mtg. Yet, when I came home and read your response to me, those three concepts popped right out at me! It was fantastic! The other concept that I think falls right into line with this conversation is the word FEAR. Here’s an acronym that I recently heard and it made alot of sense to me. F – false E – evidence A – appearing R – real. Fear can creep into every area of our lives, and it can gain a real stronghold so that it paralyzes us from doing what God intended for our lives. Living by faith in God and trusting that He knows best is something I struggle with at times.
    I love that you brought up becoming one flesh through the marriage bed. What a beautiful picture you painted about the one flesh being a precious little baby! I’ve never thought about it in that way before, but that is so special!

    Thankyou so much for your friendship as well. I’ve appreciated it more than you’ll ever know. I’ve never been a mentor before and quite honestly, don’t know how much wisdom I actually have to give, but I am honored that you would consider me in that role. I see myself as a Martha, not taking the time to study the Word as I should, but you are a Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus,
    soaking in every word He speaks. Sharing what you’ve learned with others, that is your gift.
    Have a great day and don’t forget to put those feet up 🙂
    Ruthie

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    • Thanks, Ruthie, for your sweet reply!
      How neat that you had a prayer meeting with the theme of faith, hope, and love! Wow–isn’t it awesome how God coordinates the details of our lives? And I think that the acronym you shared about fear is right on. I believe that it is fear that is the main motivator behind birth control use. Faith would lead us in another direction.
      Also, you don’t have to try to be a mentor to be one–you already are, as you share your thoughts and experiences. I feel that I’ve learned so much from you, especially from the humble way you share your struggles, and the way you gently express your thoughts. You know, I have trouble with knowing how to be appropriate and tactful, sometimes, and it helps me so much to be able to learn from others.
      I deeply appreciate your words of encouragement! I actually teared up when I read them. It is rare for me to hear things like that from certain people in my life, and it means so much to me to hear you say what you did.
      Thank you,
      Jessica

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  6. Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I have discussed this and agree that those who have surrendered this area have better marriages. I never really thought about why, but it makes sense that in holding back in the most intimate part of the relationship a wall on the whole marriage goes up.
    I can think of women who want more babies but there husband tells them no or vise versa. God created us to have godly offspring and there is nothing to be ashamed about I the context of a godly marriage when God brings forth a child as a result of coming together. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 says that the blessing of the Lord is LIFE and he blesses the basket and the store to provide for those Children. He’s the Creator and desires to bless his children with living things as we delight in giving a puppy or kitten to our child. Each child that is added to our home increases the joy and happiness there. We can’t imagine what it would be like without one of them! We are so blessed!

    –Celina

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