Navigating Intimacy in Remarriage


Physical intimacy is an essential aspect of any marriage, but it can be particularly challenging for couples in blended families. When either spouse has been intimate with a previous partner or has experienced sexual trauma, those issues can create walls between husband and wife. If you are remarried and experiencing hardship in your physical intimacy, you are not alone. We have worked with many couples who have navigated those uncharted waters.  Here are some of the common issues surrounding physical intimacy, along with suggestions for working through those challenges with grace, understanding, and open communication.

  • Past experiences. When entering a second marriage, both partners can bring their past experiences into the relationship. This can include prior sexual intimacy, a previous marriage, children, trauma, or a combination of these. It’s important to recognize that past experiences can have a significant impact on physical intimacy in the new marriage. It may take time to process and heal from any past experiences. Together, remain prayerful, patient, and persistent in pursuing each other even as you or your spouse (or both!)  is healing from previous negative experiences.
  • Comparison and insecurity. One common issue that arises in second marriages is the tendency to compare the current relationship with past partners. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, particularly if one partner was not previously married while the other was. It’s crucial to remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Each relationship is unique. Comparison can cause resentment in your spouse and destruction to your marriage. Your spouse is not your ex-spouse, and the Lord brought you and your new spouse together on purpose for a purpose. Comparison serves no purpose in your new marriage.
  • Trauma and triggers. Past trauma, such as sexual abuse or a difficult previous marriage can also affect physical intimacy in a current relationship. Certain actions, sounds, and situations may trigger painful memories or unwanted responses. It’s essential for couples to talk openly and honestly about these triggers and to approach intimacy with patience, understanding, and sensitivity.

Despite the challenges, a second marriage is a new beginning. Couples have the opportunity to build a solid foundation for their relationship based on trust, communication, and mutual respect. This may involve working through problems from the past and seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Here are a few ways to embrace intimacy in your marriage:

  • Embrace pleasure. God designed physical intimacy to be pleasurable. In the Bible, the Garden of Eden is described as a place of pleasure. In fact, the word Eden in Genesis 2:8 literally means “pleasure.”[1] As couples navigate the challenges of physical intimacy in a blended family, focusing on the pleasure of being together can create a relationship that reflects God’s design. As you remain sensitive to each other’s past, explore ways to rediscover pleasure in being intimate.
  • Communicate openly. Honest, unhindered communication is essential for building a healthy and fulfilling physical relationship. Be willing to engage in ongoing conversations about each other’s likes, dislikes, and concerns you may have. This requires vulnerability, trust, and a willingness to listen without becoming defensive or argumentative. Even if you have been married for a while, ongoing conversations about physical intimacy can deepen your relationship.
  • Be patient. Building a strong physical relationship in a blended family takes time and effort. It’s important for you and your spouse to extend grace to one another and to be patient as you work through challenges together. This may involve seeking the help of a trained and seasoned counselor to work through past trauma or difficult experiences.
  • Recognize seasons of intimacy. It’s also important to recognize that physical intimacy may look different based on the current season you are in. Couples with young children may have less time and energy for intimacy than empty nesters. Health issues, grief, or other life circumstances can also impact physical intimacy. The key is to maintain open, ongoing communication and compromise. And remember, seasons don’t last forever.
  • Have fun!  Physical intimacy should be fun! Couples should feel free to explore new things and to find what works best for them. This may involve trying new positions, varying foreplay, or incorporating toys.

Navigating physical intimacy in a second marriage can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and deepen the relationship. By approaching intimacy with patience, understanding, and open communication, couples can build a strong and fulfilling physical relationship that honors God’s design for marriage. Remember, every relationship is unique, and comparison is the thief of joy. Focus on building a strong foundation based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding, and don’t be afraid to seek outside help if needed. With time, effort, and grace, physical intimacy in your remarriage can be a source of joy, pleasure, and deeper connection.



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