By Paul & Lori Byerly
One significant reason we created this ministry is what we've been through; so, it seems only fair that we share some of our history.
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 were raised without problems. Lori's "introduction to sex" occurred at about the age of three, when she was molested several times by more than one individual. Paul's "introduction to sex" occurred at the age of seven when he found pornography. These beginnings set into motion events for years to come - Lori was as non-sexual as possible growing up, barely aware of her transformation from girl to woman. Paul was overly aware of things sexual, began masturbating well before puberty, and developed a major pornography habit by junior high school. Lori's problems got worse when she went to college and lost her virginity to a "friend" who raped her. On the other hand, Paul’s problems gradually got better all through high school as the Lord helped him escape pornography and begin cleaning up his mind.
We both experienced a deep and personal encounter with the Lord as we reached adulthood, but this did not prevent us from getting into sexual relationships that should not have been. Paul was sexual short of intercourse with a girlfriend, and Lori became sexual with a man she subsequently married. Lori's marriage ended years later for a variety of reasons, including sexual sin committed against her.
Paul began to pursue Lori after she had filed for divorce; but she wanted no part of it, ("I'm never getting married again!"). However, he persisted, and eventually they began to spend time together. After several months, he convinced her to marry.
Despite the fact that we both knew better, we became sexually active shortly before our wedding in January of 1985. 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 did not really need help. We found very few resources, and ultimately we had to depend completely on the Lord to show us the way.
It is a testimony to the love and power of God 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 most of the damage of the past and had a strong, healthy 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 helping other couples as we had said we would. 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. 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 have now passed our fiftieth birthdays and our silver anniversary, and 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 any 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 30 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.
Image Credits: © Paul H. Byerly