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:
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!
You are welcome to share your struggles or concerns and also your victories in Christ!
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.
“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.
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.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
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.