If pornography is destroying your relationship, this post is for you.
First of all, my heart goes out to you.
If you read my last post, you know that it was on pornography. My intent was to bring back a sensitivity to how destructive and unacceptable pornography is. It was a piece of conviction and hope for those struggling with the addiction. And with more views than any blog before, I think it accomplished it’s purpose.
But what I didn’t expect was the numerous women who reached out to me and told me of how her husband is addicted. As each woman shared her story with me, God allowed my heart to shatter into nearly nothing.. on your behalf.
I have spent the past 48 hours angry for you. And I have come to find that I am angry because God is angry.. and He intends to do something about it.
I have screamed and I have wept as my eyes have been more opened than ever before to how the enemy has attacked intimacy and marriages all over this nation. In these past two days, I have spent hours on my knees lifting you up in prayer.
You, my beautiful friend, are all over my prayer wall.
Along with my prayers for you, I write to you today in hopes that I may offer you some hope, comfort, and, if you will receive it, even some counsel.
1) I give you permission to be upset.
The cultural acceptance for pornography has stolen a womans right to be brokenhearted by it. This is complete garbage.
Just because cancer is so common, does NOT make it any less deadly. This same concept is true for pornography.
If you are in pain, it’s because you should be. I encourage you to let yourself dive fully into those scary, intense emotions. And to invite the Lord to be with you when you do.
Pornography from a biblical standpoint is cheating. It is a betrayal of your marriage which is no small thing to the God who calls marriage to be revered and to be protected as sacred. Betrayal in this sense is one of the most painful human experiences.
“When a woman has discovered her husband is entrenched in pornography, reactions can vary greatly, but for many women it is nothing short of traumatic. Whether she’s dealing with the initial blow of uncovering a 20-year long secret addiction, or she’s facing the daily blow of her husbands coldness, for these women their life feels like a living hell.” (Luke Gilkerson, Covenant Eyes)
“I do believe that the habitual, frequent use of porn that obliterates sexual intimacy in marriage can be considered an affair. A man has essentially replaced his wife and is denying her the fulfillment of being sexually desired, celebrated, and fulfilled. If that’s not an affair, I don’t know what is.” (Gary Thomas)
If this is your life right now, I want you to know how sorry that I am.
I pray that you lean into the One who knows all about the pain of betrayal and adultery and will be the perfect one to empathize with you.
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.”
2) Remember who the real enemy is.
In the rawness of your pain and anger, this is so important to remember: Your husband is not your enemy and never will be.
Evil is a very real being and his name is Satan. He is the creator of pornography and he is the one who has engulfed your husband in sin in attempts to attack your marriage. In fact, the enemy begun this attack long before you ever even knew your husband.
“I grieve for these men. Many have been targeted from an early age and lacked the spiritual sophistication to fight it when they were first confronted with it.” (Gary Thomas)
Satan would love to shift your blame to your husband as he continues to meddle in your marriage, unnoticed. And here is the thing.. you could let Satan do this. You could be angry at your husband all day long. But it will accomplish nothing, I promise.
All of that anger you have erupting inside of you is a good thing. In fact, it is a Godly thing. And your anger carries a lot of power if directed in the right place. I urge you to direct it at the evil one. You will be amazed at all you can accomplish and overcome when you’ve got the right focus.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
I also encourage you to ask yourself what lies the enemy is telling you through this that you are believing. In fact, let me speak to some of them right now.
You are altogether lovely. You are absolutely beautiful. Your beauty is enough to satisfy your husband. You are desirable. You are worthy of pursuit. No amount of hours at the gym would stop your husbands addiction. He could go marry a model and still wouldn’t be satisfied. The jist: this is not your fault. You are enough. And you cannot believe lies that say otherwise or they will eat you alive.
3) God has an assignment for you in this.
Although the enemy is to blame, this does not excuse your husbands actions. And there are a few things the Lord is asking for you to do in regards to your husbands actions.
Your call is to fight for your husband rather than with him. So what does this look like?
Your first step is forgiveness. You can do nothing else until you wrestle with the Lord in forgiving your husband. (One thing I want to tell you in this is that forgiveness does not equal trust. Forgiveness is granted, trust is earned.)
Next, your assignment from God is to love your husband out of his sin.
Your greatest calling in life in general is to love and support your husband into his potential. This means advocating for him in all areas and playing your part in helping him out of sin – even when the sin is against you.
A resource that may be beneficial to you is a book titled, “When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography” by Vicki Tiede. She advocates for women in your situation by laying out how to go through the Matthew 18:15-17 model of confrontation. Following Matthew 18 is going to be your secret weapon. (or let me buy you a cup of coffee and walk through it with you)
You have a high calling to honor (“to hold in high respect or esteem”) your husband regardless of whether his actions deem him worthy.
“The tortureds love for the torturer. This is God’s love – it conquers the world”. -Francis Chan
Another resource that may be helpful is a very simple article titled, “Three ways to love your imperfect husband” by Kim Tate. ( click here to view article )
Get with God and ask Him what He is asking you to do. You’re doing amazing and God will give you strength and wisdom to love your husband well. Not perfectly, but well.
4) God’s promise to you is complete restoration and redemption.
A few months ago I was fortunate enough to do a counseling internship at 12 Stones Counseling Center in Indianapolis. We counseled a couple who had come to this place as their last hope and had plans for divorce if we weren’t able to help them. He was recently caught by his wife in his 25 year-long addiction to pornography and confessed to having sex with over thirty other woman throughout their marriage. He came to counseling with a hard, unrepentant heart. She came to counseling with a hard, unforgiving heart.
Throughout the three days of intensive counseling, I watched both hearts soften as God began to do a miracle in their marriage.
On day three I witnessed him break down and sob in the middle of a counseling session because he finally got it. In that moment he stopped everything, wrapped his arms around his precious wife, and began to pray over her in front of all of us as they cried together.
This was absolutely the most beautiful moment I have ever seen in the entirety of my life this far.
That couple we counseled have been set free and are on a beautiful road of healing and restored intimacy together. My friends, this is always Gods will for everything broken. Healing and Restoration. It’s who He is and what He does. And this is His heart for your marriage too.
I think now is an important time to say that sometimes restoration and redemption does look different than this. Although nothing breaks Gods heart more, sometimes divorce is necessary. Biblically speaking, pornography use, when it is hard-hearted and unrepentant, can certainly qualify as grounds for divorce (read more here). I hate even typing those words because this is not Gods design for marriage and it is heartbreaking, but it’s important to know when this is a necessary step to take.
But my promise to you is that no matter what, Gods future for you is for healing, restoration and redemption, whatever that may look like.
5) God loves you so much.
I think we refrain from saying this sometimes because it feels redundant or cheesy. But no.. He loves you.
I told Him I would be His mouthpiece in this blog and asked Him what He wants to say to you. I heard Him Whisper “I want her to know how passionate I am for her.. I see her heart and I only think highly of her. I am so proud of her for holding onto the truth that I am good, even when there are areas of her life that seem to be falling a part”.
Keep running after Him. He longs for you. He longs to meet you in deeper ways. He desires to be your Beloved, your Romancer. He wants you to meet Him as your Provider, Defender, Redeemer, Daily Bread, Healer, Creator, Protector, Refuge, and so much more.
He is the God who breaths life into dry, dead bones. He is the God of miracles. He is the One who comes to save.
I encourage you to preach the gospel of Jesus to yourself and over your current circumstance. Do it everyday if you have to.. It will sustain you.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”
[if this post resonated with you, please do not hesitate to contact me – I have a heart for your marriage and would love to journey with you through prayer or counsel or in whatever way I can]