Something I have learned through my journey with painful sex is how important it is to share your struggles. Hiding your troubles or trying to handle them all on your own creates a burden that you are not able to carry. I know from personal experience because this is what I did throughout most of my journey. Even my closest friends and family didn’t realize the extent of my pelvic pain, the difficulties of my search for a diagnosis and healing, or how broken my marriage was.
I think a lot of why I didn’t share was rooted in pride, at least when it came to my marriage issues. I have always taken pride in my sound decision-making. I typically put a lot of thought into things and never make rash decisions. This prudence is a part of my identity—as is my independence and ability to handle things on my own. So admitting that my marriage was struggling so much was like admitting that I hadn’t made a good decision and I couldn’t handle it myself. Continue reading
If you are still searching for a correct diagnosis, or waiting for treatments to work their healing effects, I want to encourage you to keep searching and keep working. I know how discouraging it is to go from doctor to doctor trying to find out what is causing painful sex. I went three years, through six different doctors and multiple tests and treatments before finally getting a correct diagnosis of hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Then, after two years of physical therapy I went through a couple more doctors to address the pain issues stemming from unbalanced hormones. During that first searching process I actually did give up at one point. But, the pain kept coming so I had to keep going.
It takes courage to not give up when doctor after doctor tells you they don’t know what is wrong. Draw that courage from wherever you can. Maybe it is from the countless others who have dealt with and overcome similar pain issues.* Or perhaps by connecting with those who have overcome other types of obstacles. Maybe you can draw courage from your spouse and the hope of what can be on the other side of healing. For me, I was able to draw courage from my faith. Knowing that God was with me helped give me courage to keep trying. Continue reading
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)*
This is my favorite verse and has become somewhat of a theme verse for my life over this past year or so. God brought it to me during the most difficult time of my marriage, just as it was falling apart. I have recited it to myself more times than I can count, and shared it with many others. I remember having lunch with a close friend, filling her in on some of what had been going on in my life. As I told her about the hurt and hardships, unsure about the fate of my marriage, I also had to tell her about the amazing things God had been doing to remind me that I was in His care. When I shared the verse with her, she told me that while listening to me tell my story, she couldn’t find any better description—that I was overflowing with hope.
Overflowing with hope doesn’t necessarily mean you have all the answers. In fact, I would argue that having hope by definition requires that you don’t have all the answers—you can’t hope for something that you already have or already know to be true. Continue reading