Skip to main content
siloutte couple

The Respect Dare, Day 29 – Extending Grace, Finding a Renewed Connection

siloutte couple

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

My husband and I have seen a really horrible and devastatingly destructive cycle in many marriages:

  • The husband has an addiction to porn or uses porn sporadically
  • The wife finds out and is devastated and feels extremely betrayed – understandably!
  • She doesn’t understand how he could give in to this temptation that isn’t a temptation for her, and begins look down on him and to hold him in contempt and disrespect
  • Sometimes she may withhold sex from her husband for months or years after finding out about his failure, even if he repents
  • He feels even further alienated and hopeless and turns to porn again because she rejects him sexually

There are many variations of this, but I hope the general idea is understandable in this example.

This is the primary topic in The Respect Dare on Day 29.  Nina Roesner talks about a couple where the husband chose porn over his wife for 30 years, but then God began to change him.  They had not been physically intimate in that 30 years.  Now the wife was learning to open herself up sexually to him again because he was repentant and changing.

Unfortunately, pornography addiction coupled with resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness is a lethal blow to many marriages.

Sin always hurts people. Any sin.  And sin often leads to more sin. One person’s sin can make it much easier for another person to sin against them in response – and the downward spiral begins to destroy the relationship.  The longer the sin goes on, the greater the damage.

How I pray that we might see that our spouse is not the enemy – sin is the enemy and Satan is the enemy.  We can stand against the enemies  together and be united as a team to conquer sin when we have God’s power in us.

There are absolutely times wives do need to respectfully confront their husbands about their sin. And there are times when a husband is unrepentant, that I can understand that a wife may need to wait to re-establish sexual relations until she sees that he has repented. If the addiction is more serious, he may also need a godly man to be an accountability partner, along with software like Covenant Eyes and I would like to see him being transparent and not erasing his search history on the computer and allowing his wife access to his phone, etc.  There are also times to extend forgiveness, grace, mercy and another chance on both sides of the marriage.  It will take a wife being very sensitive to God’s Spirit and His voice to know what approach to use, what to say and when.

Thankfully – none of these sins are unforgivable for disciples of Christ.

PORN HAS BECOME AN EPIDEMIC ISSUE

The vast majority of men now use porn or have used it at some time. Now, women are also beginning to be addicted to porn, too. Many men and women are first exposed to pornography as young children – around 11 years old is often the age of first exposure now. 🙁 This is why it is so important to try to protect our sons’ and daughters’ minds from this awful stuff!

Unfortunately, pornography works very much like an addictive drug. It permanently alters neuronal pathways in the brain and changes the way that users look at members of the opposite sex and changes their ability to function sexually the longer it is used. Over time, it takes a greater and greater “dose” to create the same rush of dopamine. Yes, porn use gives a neurochemical high EXACTLY like illegal drugs do.

The problem is, porn is free, extremely accessible, there can be almost no accountability in the privacy of a person’s home or cell-phone. And pornography is effectively destroying hundreds of thousands of marriages. The enemy is most pleased with his plan on this one.

Now, many husbands (and wives) are completely spiritually paralyzed by this addiction – and don’t know how to stop. Porn is extremely addictive – and relapse is very easy and common. This sin can destroy a marriage. And the wives who are impacted by their husbands’ lust and visual struggles and addictions often can’t let go of their own pain, feelings of betrayal, unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. These sins can also destroy a marriage.

PRAISE GOD THERE IS HELP AND HOPE!

There are many godly Christian resources to help with pornography addictions. I am going to link you to a free resource by Brent Riggs. But there are other wonderful resources as well.

Our God is more powerful than any sin. There is no sin that is too vile for Jesus – that He cannot forgive it when we repent and turn to Him. He can change us. He can heal our hearts and our marriages. We all need Him desperately every moment.  All of us are wretched sinners completely unable to pay our massive sin debt.  Jesus’ blood alone can adequately cover our offenses before God.

Here is the link:

Help for porn addictions

LOOKING AT YOUR HUSBAND THROUGH NEW EYES:

Maybe your husband did repent of his porn use in the past or another sin – but you have continued to withhold sex, affection and forgiveness. Look at the man your husband is today. Is he showing trustworthiness now, accountability, responsibility and spiritual growth?

DARE 29 of THE RESPECT DARE:

How can you acknowledge the spiritual growth and character development your husband has made in the last month or in the last year or last 5 years?

Are there ways that You believe God may want you to extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to your husband?

If your husband has repented of his sin, would you consider opening your heart to being sexually available to your husband again and enjoying him in this beautiful, holy way that God has given to you as a gift and glue to create unity in your marriage?

If you realize that you are still harboring unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness and maybe even hatred in your heart about a sin your husband repented of – will you consider repenting to God and to your husband?

If there is a sin your husband has NOT repented of, Jesus still calls us to forgive others’ sins so that God will forgive us.  Are you harboring any resentment, unforgiveness or bitterness about anything?  Repent and give that all to Jesus and let Him heal your heart.  That toxic, poisonous stuff will destroy you, cripple your fellowship with God, ruin your witness for Christ and it can destroy your marriage if you let it keep festering.

That does NOT mean you must trust him.  Trust must be carefully rebuilt.  You may need a godly counselor if there are serious issues in your marriage.

If there is still sin going on with your husband or resentment and bitterness in your heart – please pray about and commit to finding help and praying for God to give you and your husband the resources you both need to heal. This is not beyond the arm of God. He is very able!

SHARE

You are welcome to share your struggles or concerns and also your victories in Christ!

RELATED

To learn more about how men think and how very differently they see the world – check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” It will help you understand and appreciate your husband and other men in ways you have never experienced before.

I John 3:14-15

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him

I John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Matthew 7:1-5

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 1 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 4:31

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Hebrews 12:15

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Are Women Morally and Spiritually Superior to Men?

Bitterness

Forgiveness

Respect and Sexual Attraction

Is Respect Optional for a Godly Wife?

15 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 29 – Extending Grace, Finding a Renewed Connection

  1. Before my husband and I were together. I was in a relationship that was covered in sin. We were having sex outside of marriage, and he was heavily involved in porn. I was sucked into his sin and participated in very sinful sexual relationships with him. So when my husband and I married, I did away with that sinful nature. We had a few porn movies when we were first married, but evenually we got rid of all of them, I threw away all my toys, and we just focused on our own sexual relationship. Which honestly still needs a lot of work. We both work full time and have two little ones that take a lot of our attention. So, we don’t get a lot of time to ourselves, but trust me when we do it is very sacred!

    1. Sarah,
      I am so thankful that God is able to heal. I am so glad that you are both seeking Him. I’m also grateful for the beauty He is forming in you, your marriage and your family. THANK YOU, GOD! You are SO very good!

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. This was my marriage. In our 19th year, my wife was already filled with disrespect and mistrust regarding disagreements about financial, parenting, and spiritual leadership issues, resulting in — among other things — sexual refusal. And then my porn use was exposed. You are right that the porn use was sin, without excuse, and that her feelings of devastation and betrayal were understandable. But despite repentance and all of the accountability measures you describe, she never really forgave and her contempt and refusal only grew worse. Two years later there was one relapse. I’m glossing over a more complicated history, but the bottom line is that she ultimately divorced me 7 years after that last porn use, citing “mental adultery” (the previous porn use) as her “biblical” ground for the divorce.

    To the extent wives can extend the grace you describe here, God bless them. I hope they can avoid the trap of spiritual superiority because they don’t experience the same temptation. I hope they can see the sin as the enemy and not their husband. My ex-wife and I had that conversation more than once. I would try to tell her that I wasn’t her enemy and she would essentially insist that yes, I was.

    Regarding trust and sex, I think wives have to be very careful not to abuse this. I can’t count the number of times my wife justified her refusal on the basis of a lack of trust, either because of porn or finances. I had no answer for her belief that trust precedes intimacy; who could argue with her position that she couldn’t be expected to have sex with a man she didn’t trust? But I also knew, innately, that not having sex for as much as two years at a time wasn’t good for the marriage. My only recourse was to try to convince her that she could trust me, but for a myriad of reasons she was not subject to persuasion on that point. (I’m convinced that was partly, if not primarily, because she did not *want* to be convinced that she could trust me.)

    Just yesterday, I saw a post at The Forgiven Wife that was a revelation (http://forgivenwife.com/2013/04/02/first-comes-trust/). I wish I’d seen this years ago. She said: “I was convinced that trust precedes intimacy. In my mind, trust is necessary for intimacy which is necessary for me to say ‘yes’ to sex, not to mention to ask for it myself. Much to my surprise, this was not at all what happened for me. For what were pretty selfish reasons, my un-refusing began with saying yes, which led to emotional intimacy, which led to trust. . . . I always thought that trust was a necessary condition of saying yes and being a sexually generous wife, but it turned out that the intimacy that developed from generosity created the condition in which trust could grow. Realizing this made me feel like my world got tipped upside down. . . . Now I say, wife, act as though you trust him already. Exhibit the behavior of a woman who trusts her husband. Do this for an entire month, and see what happens. When you allow yourself to be more fully intimate with the man God has placed in your life, your trust will be able to flourish.”

    How I wish that had been my marriage after the exposure of my sin.

    1. This has brought me to my knees before my LORD. Thank you. I thank God for your willingness. My heart hurts thinking about the emotional pain your ex-wife was choosing, the hardening of her heart when she had a husband confessing, repenting. I think it might be pride, I say that because I think that’s what’s rearing up in me.
      Her pain was real, your struggle was real but there is a good answer- the divorce only added more pain.
      I have to learn to extend that Grace!! As I have been forgiven so often. Go down the path God is leading not the one Satan is. I don’t want to wake up hurting go through the day hurting and go to sleep hurting for any length of time and I know the answer is to get with God.
      Just, Thank You

  3. There is an online resource it’s called tripleXchurchdotcom – Personally, I’ve never checked out the site, but we know of people who have.

  4. April-I know this is the wrong place, but I couldn’t find your email. Your blog has given me so much strength and peace and INSPIRATION. I was diagnosed with Lupus yesterday, and your blog really just helps me, it inspires me. Whenever I have a bad day or a bad moment I read your blog, and it just gets me through. I treasure it so much, and I can never thank you enough! I have learned SO MUCH, my marriage is better for it.

    1. TiffanyP,
      Thank you for letting me know how you are doing! I am so sorry to hear about your Lupus diagnosis. I have some of the early symptoms of that disease myself – so I can picture getting that diagnosis very clearly and all that it would mean.

      How I pray God will use it to draw you closer to Himself and to allow you to shine even brighter than ever before for His glory.

      Much love and a BIG HUG to you!

  5. I just read this even though its an old post. Thankyou April, very well written. I will say, that unless a wife has been through the devastation of this sin first hand, it is perhaps hard to empathise with the unbearable pain this addiction causes. Unfortunately, I am one of those wives that has had to endure this. I have also had to endure a chronic illness that I had in remission before my husband confessed, and has now been relapsed for the past four years from the stress. I feel that one aspect of this that is just as damaging as the porn, is the lying that usually accompanies this addiction. It’s the lying that’s destroyed my marriage the most. I did find something on our computer 10 years before my husband confessed. Over the next 10 years, he lied to me that it was only once…straight to my face. Not only did he lie, he became abusive and extremely volatile because I was having trouble believing his lies. I was told I was unforgiving, had no redemption, that I could simply not move on from a ‘one time silly little thing’ and was made to feel crazy in the head for imagining my husband would do such a thing. His lies were so convincing that I did not put blocks on the computer. The addiction stopped a long time ago, but the devastation of that sin remains….perhaps more so the devastation of me falling victim to so many lies. We are still together….for financial reasons only.

    1. Anonymous,

      I’m so very sorry about the pain you have had in your marriage. It’s so sad that today – many, many wives have experienced this kind of pain. Breaks my heart!

      Are you safe now?

      How is your walk with Christ going today?

      What are you doing with the bitterness and pain from that time long ago?

      What do you desire to see in your relationship with Christ?

      What do you want in your marriage?

      What does your husband say he needs?

      I am praying for healing for you both!!!!!! Sending you the biggest hug, my precious sister!

      1. Thankyou very much for your kind, caring reply, It means a lot. I do feel close to God although confused that he would allow me to go through a chronic illness, then be very well, and then be relapsed because of my husband. My husband unfortunately has built up an idealistic view that women were not even a temptation to him because of all the pain and suffering it has brought into our lives, and his. Kind of like an ‘adamancy campaign’. After four years he has now admitted he was lying again and in fact has been looking at random strangers in public lustfully, and that temptation is worse in the summer. I personally am not able to cope with this whole issue anymore. He’s kept asking me to move on but I am completely done…it’s been 17 years of lust and lying. My main focus is my health, to try and get it back to what it was. We co-exist in the same house for the sake of children and he still wants the marriage to work. I however, am completely done. Blessings to you.

        1. Anonymous,

          Sin causes so much pain and suffering. Every sin does.

          My prayer for you is that you might grow in Christ and find healing in Him – and that God might heal your marriage. Thankfully, even what your husband has done – as painful as it has been – is not beyond the power of Christ to redeem. And He can give you His grace to extend.

          Before deciding you are done – how I pray you might read Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel. There is an entire chapter on this issue that I believe may bring much healing from God to your hurting heart.

          Another book that was really helpful for me to better understand how men think in general and the temptations they face and how we can support our husbands in that is the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.

          As a pharmacist and a believer in Christ, I also know the power that forgiveness can have on your own health.

          I’m right here if you want to talk. Much love to you!

          I don’t know if any of these posts may apply, but just in case, here are some links:

          Bitterness is Toxic
          Finding God’s Victory over Bitterness
          Fear
          Are Women Spiritually/Morally Superior to Men?
          When Your Husband Battles Pornography
          Prayer for Those Hurt by and Involved in Pornography
          God Equips and Empowers a Wife to Stand Firm in the Face of Her Husband’s Sin

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

%d bloggers like this: