Working Through Your Spouse’s Sexual Past


Every person who steps into a marriage is bringing past mistakes, failures, and humanity. Both spouses are always going to need grace and forgiveness.

Q. My spouse was not a virgin when we married, but I was. How can I work through the difficulties that are sure to come up?

A. If you are in a marriage with a person who has been sexually active with others before your marriage and was not married at the time, and if that person has confessed and sought forgiveness from God, then both grace and forgiveness will extend into your relationship. We don’t believe it was unbiblical to marry such a person.

However, you need to realize that there will be consequences for that person’s choices. Your spouse may carry guilt into your marriage, even when it comes to your sexual relationship. Even forgiven sins can creep back into our minds and control our thoughts if we’re not careful to continue combatting the guilt we place on ourselves with the reminder of God’s gift of grace.

Sometimes, individuals will have trouble separating the guilt from sexual sin in their past from sex within the context of their marriage. This is something you will have to work through as a couple. It can be done, but it takes biblical truth, prayer, and patience. In addition, your spouse may compare you with previous sexual partners. You need to find a way to work through this together, and to forgive and forget as much as possible. The issue will not go away unless you deal directly with it with God’s help.

There are some tough issues that need to be worked out. You need to be realistic about what this means for your future. You need to talk to someone older and wiser—a pastor, mentor, or biblical counselor. Keep in mind that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Every person who steps into a marriage relationship is bringing past mistakes, failures, humanity…yes, sin—maybe not sexual sin, but still sin before a holy God. Both of you are always going to need grace and forgiveness.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

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