God revealed his laws regarding marriage in Genesis 2:24-25, and one of those foundational truths is the Law of Purity. "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed."
This took place before sin entered the Garden of Eden. Did you know the name Eden means "pleasure and delight"? God didn't just create marriage, but He put Adam and Eve in a place made for their pleasure.
When He created Adam and Eve, He created them naked. That's significant.
After The Fall, the first married couple decided they didn't want to be naked in front of each other. They were ashamed, and tried to hide. They used fig leaves to cover their genitals.
Think about the symbolism of this. The genitals are where men and women are most different. They are also the place where men and women are most sensitive. These are the areas that, originally, God thought should be exposed. But Adam and Eve covered them up.
When you're living your marriage in purity, you can expose your differences without fear or shame. You can open up about the most sensitive areas of your life and your marriage without concern.
But when you have sin in your life—and when you're sinning against each other—you lose the ability to trust. That's when you hide your differences and cover up your sensitive areas.
When Karen and I first married, I was verbally abusive and dominant. I hurt her so badly with the things I said that she covered her heart, figuratively speaking, with fig leaves. Because I was so insensitive, she refused to let me in to the most sensitive parts of her life.
As a result, she closed herself off from me. She didn't trust me. We didn't talk on a deep level, or have any real intimacy. We didn't know each other.
Eventually, the Lord brought me back to Him and I repented. From that point, I began living according to the Law of Purity. I realized that I had to be careful with my marriage and with Karen, that everything I did would impact her.
As soon as I asked for her forgiveness, those fig leaves began to come off her heart. It was a process. It didn't happen overnight. But before long she began to tell me things I didn't know about her.
One day, several months later, she shared with me something specific about the way she was feeling.
"How long has that been going on?" I asked. She told me she had felt that way for years. It was total news to me.
"Why didn't you tell me that before?"
"I couldn't trust you," she said.
All of us are more sensitive than we care to admit. We cannot trust our heart of hearts to someone who won't take responsibility for their behavior. Only then can we both be "naked and unashamed." When the fig leaves come off, we expose ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically—without shame.
That is when true intimacy happens in a marriage.
An Excerpt from How to Share and Trust Your Spouse | Marriage Today | Jimmy Evans, Karen Evans