We were both raised in middle-class homes by families that were far less dysfunctional than many and we were both raised to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. However, this does not mean we grew up without problems.
I was raised in a household marked by rage (from members of my immediate family) and my “introduction to sex” occurred at about the age of three when I was molested several times by more than one individual. I grew up fairly non-sexual in response. I don’t even remember puberty. One morning I woke up and realized I had boobs. I struggled with fear and depression which was made worse by an aquaintance rape my first year of college. Premarital sex, a difficult first marriage, and a painful divorce later, I was determined to be single the rest of my life.
My introduction to sex occurred at the age of seven when I found pornography. I was overly aware of all things sexual, began maturbating well before puberty, and developed a major pornography habit by junior high school. This gradually got better during high school as the Lord helped me escape pornography and begin to clean up my mind. I did have one girlfriend I was sexual with short of intercourse.
We both experienced a deep and personal encounter with the Lord as we reached adulthood and when we met as adults at church a few years later we were instant friends. I’m four years older than Paul, I was going through a divorce, and I was never going to get married again, so Paul was definitely not date material. When he got a little twinkle in his eye, I was very clear about it and turned down several marriage proposals (he is a persistent little booger). Eventually, Paul and the Lord wore me down and Paul and I swapped “I do’s.”
Despite the fact we both knew better, we became sexually active shortly before our wedding. Our sex life started to crumble during the honeymoon and had fallen apart almost completely by our first anniversary. During the second year of marriage sex occurred weekly at best and it was too often a begrudging and mutually-frustrating event. Outside the bedroom, our relationship was growing. We loved each other and we were committed to making the marriage work no matter what. We prayed and studied, but the weight of an unhealthy sex life was slowly infecting the rest of our relationship. We sought help at church, but most seemed to feel that since sex was our “only problem,” we didn’t really need help. We found very few resources and ultimately we turned to the Lord to show us the way.
It is a testimony to God’s power and grace that we now have a healthy marriage in all ways. As we were struggling in the darkest time of our marriage, we said “if we make it, we’re going to do everything we can to help others.” While marriage is a life-long journey of growth, by our tenth anniversary we had overcome a good deal of the damage of the past and had a growing, strong marriage both in and out of the bedroom.
We had had some excellent lay training at church, led home groups, and privately ministered to some couples, but we felt we were not really doing everything we could. When we began to post on the Christianity On-line Message Boards, we found many people looking for answers and almost no one offering answers. So we jumped in and we were amazed by the response. Someone, we don’t remember who, suggested we should have a homepage. From that to what we do now has been a wild, exciting, and faith-building ride!
We are in our late fifties/early sixties and have been married 34 years. We can honestly say we have an awesome marriage that blesses us both beyond what words can express. We share a deeply satisfying sex life that we both desire. We are best friends, confidants, encouragers, and unabashed fans of each other. Our marriage is proof that a couple can work out their problems and enjoy deep intimacy.
So, what qualifies us to offer help to others? First and foremost is the fact that we watched and learned as God healed and fixed our marriage. Secondly, we have each walked seriously with the Lord for over 40 years and we both continue to study the Bible in great detail. Thirdly, we are both fascinated with science in general and human biology in particular, resulting in an ongoing study of human sexuality. We have spent a great deal of time studying and have made connections with others who minister and teach about similar subjects.
What we offer here is based on our experience, biblical truth, and current scientific data. We pray that it will bless many and we give the Lord all the credit and glory.
© Paul & Lori Byerly