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God Equips and Empowers a Wife to Stand Firm in the Face of Her Husband’s Sin

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A HUGE thank you to the JoyfilledWife for sharing her story. What her counselor suggested for her may apply to some other wives in similar situations – or some of it may not. If you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, please seek godly counsel with someone you trust, who will hold you to biblical standards and who can walk beside you on this journey. Please note, the things this wife did may not be the right approach for other sins (a husband’s unrepentant infidelity or drug/alcohol addiction or physical abuse). My greatest prayer is that you will seek God, His Truth, His Word and His Spirit’s power to help you walk in obedience to Him no matter what your circumstances may be right now.

There are times when we must respectfully, but firmly, confront sin in our husband’s lives. Here is a post about that.

Perhaps this wife’s story might bless you – she faced some very toughΒ situations, but I hope you will read all the way to the end:

CHILDHOOD

When I was a little girl, a family member with severe anger issues tried to strangle me to death. I was not the cause of their anger…I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was an easy target. By the grace of God, He gave me the strength to break free and run away from my aggressor.

From early childhood all the way to my pre-teen years, I was the target of very hateful bullying by other girls. Not one specific group of girls, just girls in general. When you’re an adult, being slim is considered desirable, but it’s not such a popular thing when you are in your adolescent years. The bullying got so bad that I attempted suicide at age 11. The Lord stilled my hand seconds away from taking my own life and whispered to my heart, “It’s not your time. I’m not finished with you yet.” That was a turning point in my walk with God and I made the decision to dedicate my life to accomplishing His will.

I could go on and on with stories of horrible things that happened to me throughout my life, but I’m not sharing these things to give you a sad story. The point I want to hit home is that,

because of all of the terrible things I experienced throughout my life, one of the characteristics God sowed in me all those years was “longsuffering”.

I know what it is to live most of my life loving others, in spite of their sin against me, and continue to love them regardless. Looking back on my life up until this point, I think I must have spent at least half of my nights crying myself to sleep as I prayed for God to just wrap me in His arms and mend the places of my heart that have been wounded by others.

I learned early on that God was the only one who could heal the hurt and give me the strength to keep loving others when my flesh told me to hate them for how much they hurt me. I never understood why God allowed me to go through so much suffering at the hand of others, but I can’t help but be reminded of what a friend said to me once: “God knows He can trust you with trouble.”

MARRIAGE

After I gently confronted my husband about his addiction and he opened up about it, we immediately sought out a godly counselor. Our counselor challenged us in all areas of our mind and heart. He didn’t minimize any sin or take sides. The process of reconciliation and recovery was challenging for my husband, but truly painstaking for me.

The counselor told me that if I wanted to help point my husband back to Christ, I had to be willing to do things that I didn’t want to do. Things that wouldn’t always seem fair.

Since I had no part in provoking my husband’s addiction, the advice was not easy to hear, but it worked. I remember crying once after reading an email regarding how I should respond to my husband’s anger, lies, and control issues he had developed through his addiction. He was an almost unbearable man to live with during that time and the constant barrage of temptation I was facing as a result of his harshness toward me and depriving of any kind of intimacy for sometimes 3-4 weeks at a time, I felt like I lived my life in constant inward mourning. Although I never considered divorcing my husband over his addiction, I remember one night, when his outpouring of anger was at an all-time high and he seemed to not even see me as a person of value anymore,

I sobbed quietly in my pillow and told Jesus that I wished I had never married in the first place. The pain of constant loneliness in marriage was far more painful than singleness had been for me.

I asked God that night why He didn’t bring my husband’s sin to the surface before we got married. We took all the precautions before marriage, including lengthy pre-marital counseling, in which all topics were covered thoroughly, including pornography. I had even asked God to reveal to me if there were any red flags in my potential husband…but His voice was silent at that time.

That night, when I asked God why my husband’s addiction hadn’t been revealed to me before marriage, He showed me something that I think is seldom understood in marriage. You see, we have often heard the saying, “Marriage is not meant to make you happy, but to make you holy.” What that looks like in action is to sometimes forsake your own desires or “rights” in order to help your spouse turn back to the Lord.

I am not advocating putting up with physical violence or the like, but I think we make the mistake of thinking that, if our “rights” are infringed upon, we have an automatic “out” in marriage. The problem with this is not only that it isn’t Biblical, but that it doesn’t achieve the outcome of refining each other and helping our spouse become more like Christ. What the Lord revealed to me that night is that the reason my husband’s addiction wasn’t shown to me before I married him was because I wouldn’t have married him if I had known about it. God had chosen me to be my husband’s wife because He cultivated within me specific character traits of Christ that were to serve as an example to my husband and help Him come to a place of deliverance.

God fully intended, from the beginning, to use the longsuffering He developed in me over the years to win my husband without a word as he gradually overcame his addiction. I only wish I had realized that when I began this brutal, but worthwhile, journey over a year ago. When God choses our spouse for us, he puts two people together who are best designed to help refine each other and become more like Christ. I think we often get so caught up in the fact that our spouse is not meeting all our desires that we lose sight of the fact that our spouse’s shortcomings, and even sins, are often what God plans to use to help us overcome our own sins and struggles.

Some of the practical, day-to-day ways I won my husband without a word were very difficult to put into action. I did all of them based on the guidance of our counselor and pastoral approval. Here are some of the actions I lived out daily, while in constant prayer for my husband’s recovery:

CONTROL:

Pornography brings about a desire to control and dominate. To see people as objects to conquer or devour, instead of people to love and value. To say that my husband became micromanaging over every area of my life would be a true understatement. I remember a specific incident when my husband become angry with me for eating a slice of bread. I had eaten lunch 4 hours prior and he didn’t think I should be eating again so soon.

My counselor explained to me that my husband felt like his life was out of control and that rebelling against his unreasonable micromanaging would serve no purpose but to feed the desire to control more. They emphasized the importance of me always checking my heart and that I needed to remain as “behind the scenes” in my habits that angered him as possible. If I insisted on putting up a fight, even though he was unreasonable, it would only serve to drive him further away out of feeling like he also was losing his authority in his marriage. I decided to keep snacks in my bathroom drawer and my purse so I could take a few bites while I went out to get the mail or was in the other room. Was he unreasonable to become upset about me eating a slice of bread 4 hours after my last meal? Yes. But my counselor helped me see that I needed to avoid being a distraction as God worked on my husband’s heart. My husband apologized to me later that night for being controlling about the bread.

BELITTLING:

Because my husband’s addiction caused him to become a man he wasn’t proud of, he would often take his inner frustrations with himself and project them verbally onto me. He would blame me for things I had no part in, would become angry that I didn’t meet an expectation he had failed to communicate to me, and, on one occasion, belittled me in front of our guests for not having dinner completely ready when he walked through the door with them, even though he had failed to call me and let me know they were heading over, as agreed upon.

My counselor explained to me that my husband was projecting his feelings of failure and inadequacy onto me because he was not happy with himself and the choices he was making. Pornography addictions are built upon a foundation of selfishness and it was easier for my husband to shift blame than to own up to his own failures, when he already was overwhelmed by the shame of his failure to resist his sinful addiction for so long.

The counselor guided me to not respond to my husband in front of others or to fight with him when he lashed out at me. Instead, I was to calmly and firmly explain to him, privately, that I was not responsible for the failure he was angry about and how it made me feel when he belittled me in front of others. After that, I was not to carry on or get into an argument, no matter how much he wanted to fight. The counselor warned me to keep my heart and spirit in the right place in these situations, so the devil would not gain a foothold with me and perpetuate the situation further. I was to be an instrument of peace. Not a doormat to walk all over, but a wife with inner strength that uses her tongue to impart peace amidst the war within my husband’s heart.

HELPING w/ CHILDREN:

My husband was very unhelpful with our children during the time of beginning to overcome his addiction and would gripe if I asked him for even a small favor. I did not ask him often, but there were times when I was incapable of accomplishing two things at once and he would refuse to help out.

My counselor showed me that taking care of the children was my God-given responsibility and that I could show my husband respect and build him up as a husband by taking on all of the responsibilities in this area and thanking him for how hard he works to provide for us.

I’ll never the counselor’s first words to me when I asked what I should do when my husband refuses to help: “Don’t fight a battle that’s not worth dying for!”

Those words rang over and over again in my head. God had bigger things to work on in my husband’s heart than unhelpfulness. I did not need to dwell on the smaller things and make them as big a priority as the serious stuff. The small stuff would be ironed out over time after the Lord refined my husband and helped him break the chains of his addiction.

We are currently at the place where God is working on the medium to small things now and it has been such a blessing to come home now from running errands to children that have been bathed and put to bed!

INTIMACY:

During the progression and height of my husband’s addiction, I was denied sexually almost every single time I asked. There was always an excuse made why he couldn’t do it. Usually he would say that he was too tired or in a bad mood, even though he would stay up for hours afterward doing other things. I tried not to nag him about this, but did come to him several different times and let him know that I was struggling greatly with temptation from lack of intimacy in our marriage. He would simply respond, “Maybe in the morning.”

My counselor explained to me that, while my husband was clearly sinning by defrauding me, the selfishness that comes from porn addictions, as well as the fact that he was already meeting his sexual needs through that outlet, was responsible for his sin in refusing me. He had trained his mind to mentally “dispose” of images that no longer excited him in search of a more exciting image. When you train your brain to become aroused by two dimensional images, it’s a lot harder to be interested in your real life relationship with your wife. It had nothing to do with my value as a person or my physical attractiveness, but he literally trained his brain to seek arousal and fulfillment from things that will never satisfy.

When he had just met his own sexual desires in sinful ways, he no longer felt a need for intimacy with me. As hard as it was to do, my counselor told me that when I felt temptation coming on, to go into the other room after my husband falls asleep and work out as hard as I can to release excess energy. Once I finished that, I should spend time in the Word and in prayer for myself and my husband. I needed to memorize Scripture and inundate my mind with the Truth. That was the only way to resist the enemy.

CONCLUSION:

It’s hard to explain just how trying the battle has been for me, but I’ve seen so much growth come about in my walk with God as a result. There were some strongholds of insecurity that I had struggled with throughout my whole life as a result of some of the traumatic things that occurred in my adolescent years.

God used this trial to bring me to a place where I have been freed from that stronghold and now see myself through His eyes. God used my husband’s sin to help me overcome the struggles in my own life. There was a time when I almost lost all hope that I would ever be delivered from my strongholds, but I found that I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He is so faithful.

My husband is a drastically different man today than he was even a year ago. Although there are still sinful habits that he is working to cast aside after all those years of addiction, they are on a much smaller scale than the big things he was facing every day. I see my husband viewing me as a woman of great value and showing me a vulnerability and tenderness that I had never known before. He is doing more to serve me, initiating sex daily, and even asking me if I am in need of intimacy, even when I can clearly see that he is tired.

  • Recovery truly takes time, but I couldn’t be prouder of how incredibly far he’s come and the steps he’s taken to be completely honest with me and seek my accountability in his struggles. I feel like I’m getting to know who my husband is for the first time and I cherished the moment when he said to me, “I feel like I’m falling in love with you all over again.”

When my husband got to a place where he was right with God again, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to ask my husband to disciple me in some areas. This was very difficult for me to do because I had been the spiritual influence in our household when my husband was living in sin and it was very hard to ask him to teach me. The Lord revealed to me that if there was one thing that would heal my husband more than anything else, it was time in the Word. If my husband were to agree to disciple me, he would inevitably be spending more time in the Scriptures as he prepares to teach me.

This was one of the best decisions I ever made for our marriage. He has stepped back up to the plate as the spiritual leader of our family and teaching me the Word has spurred on the habit of reading his Bible even more every day. He has been teaching me so many things lately and I am so blessed by the wisdom he has been imparting.

God is so faithful to be with us through the storms of life. He truly does work all things out for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. My husband told me the other day that he looks forward to the day when his sin is far behind him and God uses his testimony to reach other men who desire to be delivered from their bondage as well. In the mean time, he has given me permission to stand in the gap and to minister to wives who are experiencing the same devastation that I went through. Although no two stories are identical, I hope that my story will bring hope to hurting hearts in desperate need of healing.

RESOURCES:

www.brentriggs.com (he has an e-book for couples facing porn addiction issues from a biblical perspective)

www.desiringgod.org (pastor John Piper’s site – search “porn” or “pornography”)

www.xxxchurch.org (a Christian site with biblical help for those addicted to porn and their spouses)

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse? – By Peacefulwife

92 thoughts on “God Equips and Empowers a Wife to Stand Firm in the Face of Her Husband’s Sin

  1. Wow I’m just amazed with this testimony!!!

    You’ve been such a Godly wife πŸ™‚

    I too struggle with my husband, he’s not addicted but he’s a man full of ego coming from a dysfunctional home. I see a lot of similar traits but on a much milder note.. But I’ve not been a great example for the last 4 years and only in the last 6 months I’ve been better but I still have a long way to go to influence. To influence a man full of pride is not easy.

    Many of your counselors suggestions will work for me, I need to be really sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, humble and selfless :0

    Lots of Love to you Joyfilledwife:)

    Thanks April for posting, comes at a time when Im wondering how long before I see a changed man:) Sometimes I do feel a little demotivated but I remember you told me it will take some time for him too.

    1. Vinodhini, I am right there with you. My husband is an AMAZING, incredible, godly husband but he also admits he has some pride issues. Yes, it is hard to influence a man full of pride, and yes, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

      Being humble and selfless can be very difficult for me too, because sometimes I just want him to know how much I hurt when he acts certain ways, and sometimes I need to let go of what I want and stop to think about what God wants me to do instead…which is usually just be quiet. πŸ™‚

      Praying for you, and so grateful to Joyfilledwife for sharing and being willing to be so open!

    2. Vinodhini & M,

      Stay strong, sisters! Pride is surely a difficult struggle to deal with, but may we remember that we nearly all struggle with it, in one way or another. When we focus on growing our own walk with God and becoming the wife the Lord created us to be to our husbands, we will be amazed at the things He begins to reveal to us that we never realized before.

      Because women tend to be much more communicative by nature, sometimes the hardest thing for us to learn is when to speak and when not to. My counselor passed incredible wisdom on to me when they explained that the Lord will have a harder time getting through to my husband if I am constantly getting in the way. There are times to speak up in a conflict, for sure, but I think the times where it’s wise to keep quiet should be the majority. My husband is very verbal for a man, but even he will start to “check out” if I use too many words to explain a concern. He will usually interject with, “Can you just bottom line it for me?” It’s not that he doesn’t care, but it’s that men are more simple. If we are constantly jabbering at them, they will be so bogged down by our plethora of words that they will almost surely miss the point we’re trying to make. This is why, I believe, the Bible wisely tells a wife to win her husband without a word. Men are visual, so non-verbal cues come across much stronger to them than words do.

      I pray the Lord continues to develop patience in you as you grow and change into the wife He wants you to be and pray for your husband’s growth as well. When we spend our time focusing on changing ourselves, we will see our husbands likely grow so much quicker. For example, I have been focusing for a while now on letting God deal with my husband on the troublesome areas. He has done a far better job with him than I ever would have, even with my best and most pure efforts! When my husband saw that I loved him and respected him, regardless of his actions and sins, he felt safe to come to me and ask for accountability. If I had been constantly nagging him, that intimacy would never have taken place. He would have wanted to run far away from me…and perhaps even deeper into his addiction. I made sure my husband knew that I was there to respect him and serve him, regardless of his imperfections. I had to trust him to Christ.

      How has me letting go of my husband changed things in my husband’s heart? Well, for one thing…my husband probably asks me for my opinion on things at least a handful of times a day. Before, he would have forced his will and wouldn’t have cared if I had disagreed. When he asks me what my opinion is on a matter, I always start off by thanking him for asking, telling him my thoughts (but I never say, “No, that’s a bad idea….I wouldn’t do that.” because that could put him on the defensive if he liked the idea), and then I finish my thoughts by saying, “Those are just some of my personal thoughts, but please know that I will respect whatever decision you choose to make.” That attitude has resulted in him asking me for my opinion on things he never would have before. Now he asks me all the time, even on things that are more his area of expertise. He and I have different areas of strength, but now we often work together and run a thought by the other. I ask my husband his opinion on things, even when I already have my own. That’s a way I can show him honor as the leader.

      Last night, my was talking about something and made a comment that was pretty prideful. Since we are at a place in our marriage where he desires my input and has asked for accountability, I gently reminded him that he was seeking to avoid making prideful statements. He made a joke in response, but acknowledged that he probably shouldn’t have said that. About 30 minutes ago, my husband and I had a text exchange:

      HIM: “Thanks for looking out for me last night. I will stop joking around and sounding prideful. Glory to God!: A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them – Proverbs 14:3”

      ME: “XOXO”

      HIM: “I love that we’re embracing peaceful living more and more: A heart at peace gives life to the body. – Proverbs 14:30”

      ME: “I love that!”

      HIM: “Amen. Me too.”

      ^ My husband was out and about waiting for an appointment and was getting some extra Bible reading in. Pray for your husband, sisters, and encourage him through respecting him with your words and actions. Give him grace as he struggles through the process of refining. And remember, most of all, to focus on what changes the Lord is trying to make in you. The example you will set for your husband by doing so will impact him far more than your words ever could. Love you dearly!

      1. Thank you, thejoyfilledwife, for pouring your heart into this ministry right alongside April! God has given you much wisdom and I appreciate you taking the time to share that with us!

          1. Could you possibly offer some guidance in how we can work through our husband’s anger? I know I still have things to work on, but I feel like when I mess up (even something as little as a text message that apparently didn’t contain enough exclamation points, so my husband felt that the tone of my text was unappreciative when all I said was, “Okay baby.”), he gets SO angry. Yelling, slamming doors, sometimes leaving the house, ANGRY. Saying that he is doing all that he can, he can’t do any more, I expect too much from him, I’m never happy about what he does for me…

            My husband is an AMAZING husband. Kind, generous, godly, strong, protective, and so many more good things. I know he is going through a period of stress right now (there are many stressful things happening in our lives), so any one thing can trigger that type of response. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells much of the time. I’m afraid I won’t use the right words, or my texts won’t come across correctly, or I will forget something important, and it will cause an angry reaction.

            And then I end up feeling like the worst wife in the world.

            How do I combat that? How do I resist the temptation to defend myself? How do I keep from feeling like such a failure who can’t even make her husband feel appreciated?

            It would be one thing if he came back later and said he realized he was wrong in those situations, but when he doesn’t, it makes me feel like he really, truly does look at me that way. Like I said, I know I have things to work on, but it’s so much more difficult to work on them knowing that there is no grace at all when I fail.

            Walking on eggshells is exhausting. I adore my husband. I just feel worn out, making him angry every single day, and being told that I need to fix things because our marriage is suffering.

          2. M,

            Your husband sounds a lot like my husband was while he was working to overcome his addiction. He would even get upset if I would sneeze more than once in a row. Now, I am an extremely polite and discreet sneezer, so it wasn’t a matter of me being rude. He just had a lot of anger and controlling tendencies inside of him that would get set off by even non-issues. From what I understand, men with strong personalities respond differently to addictions or strongholds than men with more passive personalities do. Most men with passive personalities, when they have major issues in their life, fall into depression or become withdrawn and non-communicative. Men with strong personalities, when facing strongholds, usually display it through anger and control. By how you are describing your husband, I am assuming he has a stronger personality. Is that correct? His personality could make a big difference in how the situation is handled. I know that my husband, personally, does not handle me being overly quiet very well, even if I was holding my tongue so I didn’t sin. I had to make sure that, even in “the quiet phase” of trying to win him without a word and treat him with respect, I had to say just enough to not provoke his anger but not too much to engage in an argument or say too much and risk ushering sin into my response.

            One thing I want to emphasize to you is that it is important for you to be spiritually and emotionally strong, while at the same time being gentle and respectful toward your husband in mannerisms and in your heart. I will never encourage a wife to be a doormat or to put up with a husband who is physically violent. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t have to endure a lot of emotional pain while you are praying for your husband and winning him without a word. My husband was very good about apologizing later on when he did something wrong, but he was very slow to changing his wrongful behaviors. I do understand why you desire an apology from your husband when he lashes out in anger, but keep in mind that apologizing doesn’t equal a change in behavior until the apology is matched with TRUE repentance and an overwhelming desire to change. When a person is truly repentant, they will change their sinful behavior. Until that point, an apology will be empty and useless. Speaking from the other side, I can tell you that my husband’s 10+ apologies a day didn’t help to heal our marriage…it was his eventual behavior change that did. If I had to choose between my husband apologizing a dozen times a day but never changing or him not apologizing but actually changing his behavior, it would be no contest.

            Yes, you are exactly right that it feels like you’re walking on eggshells whenever you’re around him. Even he would describe to me that he felt like a ticking timebomb. It was as if I wasn’t sure which time I entered a room or what number of breath I took would set him off. Remember that misery loves company. When someone has overwhelming anger on the inside, the tendency is to project that on to others. My husband would have something happen that wouldn’t be a big deal to anyone else, but would make him feel so angry that he would say, “I feel like I want to break something right now.” Thankfully, he never did, but to hear him describe that kind of inward rage showed me just how serious the sin inside of his heart was. Could it be that your husband has an unrepentant sin in his life too?

            Regardless of the details, there are two sides to every story. You said that he has made comments about him not feeling appreciated, etc. I wouldn’t take those comments lightly. My counselor told me to listen closely to my husband’s words when he lashes out in anger. Luke 6:45 tells us that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”. For instance, even though my husband would lash out about unimportant things, his anger was usually triggered in the first place if he was running late or something happened that could make him look bad to others. His reputation was very important to him and anything that would cast him in a bad light would make him angry and anxious. I also know that, when the Lord was getting his attention by stripping away nearly all we had, he was very sensitive about the loss of income and state of our lives. He felt inadequate and would easily become angry if he felt like he couldn’t provide the things he wanted to for me or our family. These are just examples of some of the things my husband struggled with during his recovery, but your husband’s “triggers” may be different. Listen to him and don’t take what he says lightly. When you respond to him, sympathize with him and how he is feeling. Validate what he is saying, but be VERY careful not to sound condescending or he will feel extremely disrespected.

            My husband and I just discussed your scenario and my husband’s advice is so wise. He said that if your husband is telling you he needs your affirmation, thankfulness, cheerful heart, and respect, give it to him! Write him a note and leave it on the seat of his car letting him know how much you admire and appreciate how hard he words to provide for the family. How you’ll miss him all day and can’t wait to be in his strong arms again when he gets back! Give him something to look forward to when he gets back. Tell him you have a special surprise and make his favorite meal or dessert and slip into something pretty at night for him. Get dolled up and compliment his appearance. Act cheerful as much as possible. Men consider their ability to make their wife happy to be a direct indicator of their worth as a husband.

            Last but not least, my husband said to edify your husband in public at every single opportunity. This is HUGE to a man! Use every opportunity to tell others all the amazing things about your husband. Do it even when he’s not around to hear it. I promise you that others will tell him what you’ve been saying about him and it will bless him tremendously as a result. That will make him proud to be your husband. Most wives complain to other women or people in general about their husband. NEVER do that. Even during my husband’s addiction, I never once told anyone we knew about my husband’s struggle. To this day, the only people who know about it in person is the counselor. I knew that embarrassing my husband by sharing his sin with others would have driven him deeper into his addiction out of shame and humiliation.

            I believe in you, sister. Treat your husband with the utmost respect and you will begin to win him without a word. Then he will be much more likely to open up to you about anything in his life he may be struggling with. Just remember that you are striving to be a wife that he desires to come home to. A man that he can’t stand the thought of sleeping without. We don’t want to drive our husbands to the rooftop by our constant dripping. Love you, sister!

          3. Great advice here…
            Now those of us who need it need to put it into practice and have the patience and strength to hold on!

            Praying for you M.

          4. Godlywifetobe, thank you for your prayers. I am guessing this is something that many wives struggle with, and struggle to understand. I am grateful for thejoyfilledwife’s heart to use her experiences to minister to us. I am praying for you as well!

          5. thejoyfilledwife,

            Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and please thank your husband for me as well! I so appreciate your time and advice!

            To answer a few of your questions…

            I don’t believe my husband has any “major” unrepentant sin in his life, such as an addiction of any sort. He has a past that haunts him, and I know he is still reeling from the effects of that and feels like he will never get out from under it. Plus there are a ton of other stressors in our life, financial obligations popping up out of no where, legal issues from all sorts of different places, relational issues with extended family…there’s a LOT of stress in our lives.

            He has told me that I’ve never been disrespectful to him. He’s commended me for the way I build him up and compliment him in front of people. I do tend to leave him notes, at least a few a week. (As a side note – I started a journal on January 1 that I fill out EVERY single day to thank him for things, whether it’s making the bed, cooking dinner, working so hard every day, supporting me through a tough situation, or anything else. He doesn’t know about it. I will do it for a year and give it to him on New Year’s Eve!) He says he likes that I do submit to his final authority, while he also appreciates the fact that I am willing to give my thoughts and opinions any time he asks for them.

            He is, like you said, a VERY strong personality. Command man is definitely my husband, and I love that about him! I love how strong he is, how decisive he is, and how incredibly protective he is.

            Your sentence about listening closely when he lashes out in anger struck me. This is part of my problem. I do listen closely, because I feel that when he is angry, that is when he is likely the most honest because his filter is gone. So when he says hurtful things, I can’t help but react by feeling like the worst wife ever. Because that’s when he’s being the most honest, right? It’s so hard for me to take what he says as constructive criticism and work on those things. I feel like he’s assuming evil motives in me, rather than thinking about what he knows to be true, that I do aim to please him in everything I do. When I forget that he doesn’t like ketchup and I offer to put some on his plate with his hot dogs, he takes that as me not caring enough that he worked hard all day for his family and not taking care of my husband. And I feel awful! When in reality, I just forgot! I don’t know how to work on my memory, it’s a brain flaw and I really can’t help that I forget so many things. If it’s a task he wants me to complete, I can set a reminder on my phone or write myself a note, but details like the ketchup aren’t things I can write notes about.

            I do want to take everything he says in anger and make sure I validate it. It’s just so hard when I feel like he really thinks that poorly of me. In his calm moments, he praises me. I’m not sure which is the truth sometimes. If the truth comes out more in anger, then does he really think that poorly of me? Maybe that’s a question your husband can answer from a husband’s point of view. He does sound a lot like my husband. My husband has told me that he just feels like he’s going to snap at any second sometimes, because there is so much pressure from work, family, finances, and other commitments.

            He has the book Crazy Love; I found it on our bookshelf a month or so ago. I’m going to start reading it, and when I’m done, I’m going to read The Normal Christian Life on my Kindle. I do read my Bible and pray every morning, but I have to get stronger spiritually. My tendency is to think first of myself and how I am being sinned against; I need to change that and think first of how my husband might be feeling and what I could have done or could do differently. I can only be selfless like that through the strength of God’s spirit. I need this, because my husband needs me, and God needs me to get out of His way. I’m so selfishly in His way right now.

          6. M,

            I’m sorry to hear that your husband is going through such a stressful time right now. I know it can be very tough on husbands when they are working so hard, yet things remain difficult. Your husband needs your grace, encouragement, and a whole lot of prayer right now. Continue strengthening your walk with God, sister, and bless your husband by being understanding during this time.

            Perhaps you could sit down with your husband when he is calm and ask him what would be most helpful to him when he is very angry. He knows himself well, so he should be able to give insight into the best response from you. Speaking as a woman married to a strong man who has passed along so much wisdom to me about that personality type, I can tell you that being defensive will provoke their anger further. Being defensive makes them feel like you are not validating how they feel and are subtly saying that they are lying. When we are defensive, they essentially feel that we are questioning their character. Now, he may very well be wrong, but I find it’s best to let the Lord deal with husbands on that. You also want to be careful not to respond by being too silent. That will make them feel judged. Strong men don’t like to be competed with, but they also tend to interpret silence or quietness as disrespectful.

            When my husband was calm, I asked him what he needed most from me when he’s angry and he said “Validation. Empathize with me when I’m really frustrated or angry about something. Tell me, ‘Wow, yes. That is very frustrating.’ and ask me if there’s anything you can do to make things less stressful for me. Let me know you’re on my team and there to support me. Sometimes I might tell you that I need some time and space. Respond with, ‘Sure, no problem.’ Other times, I may just need to vent. That may be wrong, but just be there to listen and to chime in every now and then with, ‘Wow, that’s incredibly frustrating. What do you think is the best thing to do about that?’ I want to know that you care about my frustrations and understand that there’s a battle going on inside me that I wish I wasn’t fighting. Also, pray silently for me on the spot. I can feel your prayers more than you know.”

            You may be doing a great job at being a respectful and peaceful wife, but try and find the areas that he wants you most to change. Although I have always had my own sins God is working with me on, I did not struggle with being disrespectful to my husband very much. Still, there were things I was doing with good intentions and even out of respect towards him that he interpreted as disrespectful while he had the stronghold in his life. There were a lot of things I was doing right, but because my husband was living in sin, those things were not right for the occasion and things he was dealing with. We must be flexible and good listeners.

            You asked about whether the words your husband says when he’s calm or angry are actually the truth. I am going to tell you, from my own experience and from many other couples I’ve seen, it’s usually somewhere in the middle. When people are in a good mood, they are often more forgiving and positive about things, even if they are often troublesome. On the other hand, when a person is angry, they tend to exaggerate and make small issues into something bigger than they actually are. I believe the true answer is found somewhere in the middle of the two. I believe that your husband probably does view you as a great wife, but he may not feel like you respond the way he needs you to when he is struggling or feeling angry. There may be things that you are doing that he wants you to change, but they don’t come to the forefront until he’s angry. I would encourage you to take what he says to heart, even when he’s angry. Now, when I say to “take it to heart” I don’t mean to allow it to make you miserable or feel terrible. Just make a note of it, tell your husband that you will work hard to change that, and ask the Lord for his help in putting it into action. A lot of your husband’s frustrations stem from the fact that he feels like his life is spinning out of control and there’s nothing he can do about some of it. Men do not like to feel like their world is chaotic and a constant struggle.

            As hard as it is to actually do, I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you not take your husband’s sin personally. That’s exactly what I had to do and I was extremely sensitive by nature. It took me 6 months to realize that my husband’s addiction was not a reflection on my lack of desirability. Once the Lord opened my eyes to that, I asked him to help me become emotionally stronger, so that I did not take my husband’s outbursts so personally. You are dealing with a very similar situation with your husband, sister, and I think you would be wise and find it so very beneficial to do the same.

            Praying, praying, praying!

          7. thejoyfilledwife,

            Thank you, thank you, thank you – SO MUCH for your time, prayers, and wisdom.

            Many things you wrote resonated with me: being defensive makes him feel I’m accusing him of lying; being quiet comes across as judgmental (and I do tend to get quiet, so this I need to work on); things I try to do to show respect might come across as disrespectful to him and might not be right for the occasion; and especially, his words said in anger may have some merit to them but are likely an exaggerated expression of his true emotions, and I need to not take his sin personally while still looking for where I can improve.

            WOW.

            Last night was another rough one, where he came up with a fabulous idea that we talked through, and I – in my contemplative mind – went through all the scenarios of things we would have to change to accommodate this idea. Though I validated his idea many times, told him I appreciated his time thinking of it and working through the problem with me and coming up with that solution, he still became extremely angry and told me that he will just stop giving any input at all. We ended up spending the evening apart.

            He approached me this morning without a word at first, just sat down and put his head to my chest, and with a big sigh, said he feels like he just can’t do it anymore. He doesn’t know how to handle life. He said he was sorry that I had to leave the bedroom. We held on to each other and talked for a few minutes, and he said that was exactly what he needed.

            I am beginning to realize that this problem is so much bigger than me. These struggles are beyond my ability to help him with. I can do everything in my power to be respectful, but because I am a safe place where he knows he will always be loved and forgiven, it is easy for him to take his frustration out on me. I understand that.

            He is so special. He does not deserve all of the flaming arrows being thrown at him. I have prayed so much today, rebuking satan in Jesus’ name, claiming God’s victory and refusing to allow satan to have my husband. He will not. And I won’t allow satan to have me either, to infiltrate my mind and my heart, and ruin my marriage. Our marriage is washed in Jesus’ blood and because of that, we will win.

            This is so hard sometimes. When he leaves the house and doesn’t tell me where he is, when he gets angry and things get thrown around the house, when he says very hurtful things, and this happens almost daily, or every other day right now – it is so hard! But that is NOT my husband. My strong, loving husband is struggling for breath right now, and I will not cease praying for him. Please keep praying for us.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story.
    I can relate to it and I definitely think differently about my sufferings throughout childhood as “long suffering” now because of what you wrote. And not in a negative way I used to think of that phrase being…

    I can see how God has brought me to my husband because of my long suffering…after all many friends and family we know say they can’t believe I am still with hubby after all he does to me and the kids…that’s definitely something God has developed in me…

    Thank you for helping me see the positives out of my suffering.

    Praying your marriage continues to heal and flourish!

    1. Godlywifetobe,

      Thanks for your words, sweet sister. One of the things I love most about God is the way He works everything out for the good of those who love Him. May we remember to praise God in our storms and to dwell continuously at the foot of the cross. God is able to soften even the hardest of hearts.

  3. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Check out how God is using one woman’s incredibly painful trial – her husband’s secret severe pornography addiction – to draw her and her husband to Himself. Marriage to a sinner can be painful. And yet, God is able to use even the most painful trials for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. Marriage is a covenant. The only thing that is supposed to separate a husband and wife is death. That is God’s design. I pray this post might inspire you to seek to honor Christ above all, to trust God completely and to walk in obedience to Him no matter what the cost, anticipating how He will bring beauty from even the most painful ad difficult circumstances in our lives – whether we are single or married.

  4. WOW! WOW!WOW! What an awesome story!! That stepped on my toes quite a bit. My husband doesn’t have an addiction but I don’t think he is close with God right now and I know from what he has been through, he does not feel like the man he should be at times.
    And I have not been helping that. I can see so many little areas that I needed to just be long suffering about and cry to God and not my husband. What a hard thing that is to not always say Your actions are hurting me. There are times that it needs to be said and times when I just need to let it go and cry out to God.
    God gave her an awesome task. Do this for Me so I can help your husband. Maybe God is saying the same thing to me and I am just didn’t understand it fully.

    1. daisymae,

      I was so grateful for the wisdom of my counselor and their ability to open my eyes to how counterproductive even my selfless, well-intentioned attempts at helping my husband were. When my husband was living in sin, not only did he live in shame, but he also felt inferior because of the strength of my walk with God. My counselor told me to be very careful to live out my walk with God through my respectful behavior and to not be outspoken about it. They said not to throw out Scripture or to rebuke my husband Biblically, lest he fall deeper into the pit. He was well aware of his sin and God was working on his heart. I just needed to let go, let God, and get out of the way.

      When my husband would get very controlling and angry toward me for no reason, I would quietly tell him I was going to the other room to pray and read the Word. This made him even more mad. I didn’t understand why, since I thought he would have appreciated the fact that I was going to spend time with God to help me control my response to his anger. My counselor explained to me that, when I said that, my husband became more angry because it came across to him like I was saying, “Look, I’m so much more righteous and Godly than you! Here you are yelling at me for no reason, and I’m so holy that I’m going to go read my Bible instead of sinning like you.” None of those thoughts crossed my mind when I was doing them, but that made so much sense to me! To a man, that was a disrespectful response, especially since his role is the spiritual leader of our home. I was, unintentionally, rubbing it in his face that he wasn’t stepping up to the plate and leading by example in that area. Instead, my counselor said to treat that situation like I did with the bread incident. I should let him know I need to spend some time by myself and then quietly pray and read the Bible in my room without saying anything about it. I am forever grateful to God for the incredibly wise counselor He gave us!

      You can do it, dear sister. Lean on the Lord and let the Holy Spirit guide you to respecting your husband always, even when he doesn’t act respectable. You are storing up treasures in heaven. <3

      1. Thank you for your kind words, thejoyfilledwife. I know my husband is a good man and has a good heart. I try to tell myself often that his struggle is not with me but flesh tells me different. I see everything much different now because of your story. πŸ™‚

  5. Oh Joyfilled wife!
    This is such a beautiful and important story!! So many important places Yahweh took you and so many things He showed you! Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. Just wanted to thank everyone for your prayers. My surgery was approved. I will be having surgery on Aug 25. God is so Good!!

  7. Joyfilledwife,
    This is a beautiful picture of selflessness and an example of how you lived for something BIGGER than your own temporary happiness.
    Sometimes people don’t understand why someone would put up with a miserable marriage when they could just leave! But as Christians we must understand that it’s about the covenant we made before God, first and foremost!! We ought not to look like the World, putting up with someone as long as it pleases us!!

    We are called to be like Christ, and Christ does NOT give up on us when we are a “hopeless” case! I am touched by how you are able to ACT as Christ for your husband, to show him that he was/is worth redeeming.

    Thank you for sharing your story, being vulnerable and putting yourself out there! Please know that it means a lot to us!!

    1. KD,

      Your second to last paragraph touched me deeply. Thank you. I so much believed that my husband was worth redeeming. I also knew the man he was before his addiction resurfaced and I longed to see him reconciled with Christ. I married my husband because he and I had nearly identical convictions and he was able to spiritually lead me. My husband blessed me greatly with the Biblical truths he taught me before he fell into sin. I knew that same man was deep inside there, buried under the shame and guilt of his addiction, and I recognized that God was using the Biblical things my husband once sowed in my heart to turn around and sow back into him. One of the most precious opportunities I had through this time was when my husband thanked me for exemplifying and teaching him Christ’s love in action and I could turn around and say, “I’m only teaching you what you first taught me.”

    2. KD,
      AMEN! AMEN! πŸ™‚ If only we could see how much is riding on our marriages, how our obedience can impact thousands of people – not to mention the great cloud of witnesses watching us from heaven, the angels, and God Himself. If only we could see with faith that God has GOOD things in store and that if we are willing to walk in obedience, even when it HURTS and COSTS us a lot, God is able to do miracles and He is able to make something beautiful from the most awful situations.

      I also have to praise God for the biblical counsel that TheJoyFilledWife received. The things that they counseled her to do would NEVER come naturally to any of us. But what a beautiful harvest she is beginning to reap now after sowing in tears in the beginning.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this. To get a glimpse of the strength and courage God has grown in you dear JoyfilledWife utterly amazes me and brings me to my knees. THIS is what I want!! To finally stop reacting sinfully to my husband’s struggles, as big or small as they are. Right now I feel like he is the stronger one spiritually, I am being counseled and (by God’s grace) am slowly overcoming my own deep addiction. But because of my weakness it is very tempting to react poorly to any and every sin that I see in my husband’s life. Oh Father, this is what I long for, the cry of my heart. Give me such grace. Lead me to find this kind of strength and steadfastness in you, that does not depend on my husband’s behaviour, words or attitude. In Jesus’ powerful name.
    Blessings to you and your family JoyfilledWife. May God continue to use your testimony and your husband’s in a powerful way! Thank you again.

    1. You can do it, dear sister. Remember that the journey won’t be perfect. I did not do everything perfectly and there were a handful of times when my sadness got the best of me. But I always went back to my husband and told him, “I am so sorry, my love. I don’t want to drive you away from me, especially now. I believe in you and I want you to know that you can trust me to be here to support you through this. Sometimes I mess up and my human heart doesn’t respond in Christ’s strength, but please know that God is working just as hard on me as He is on you. I love you so much. Please forgive me for not always being the Proverbs 31 wife that you need.”

      The Lord is able to give you everything you need, dear sister, to be the wife He called you to be to your husband. Your journey isn’t going to be perfect, but the important thing is to get back up when you fall and to repent when you have given into fear. I have faith in you, dear sister, because I have faith in our Savior’s ability to change hearts. I’m so proud of you for seeking to honor the Lord in your role as a wife. Keep seeking the Lord’s will and never let that Bible of yours collect dust. It’s Jesus’ love letter to you, sweet sister.

      1. thejoyfilledwife, Thank you for the reminder that my journey won’t be perfect. I want it to be so I beat myself up when I mess up. I need to realize that is just the enemy trying to make me believe that I can’t do and it will never bring fruit.

    2. Joy Seeker,
      Praying for you to be fully submitted to Christ and to be filled with His power and His Spirit to become the woman He calls you to be. Praying for His greatest glory in your marriage and for His victory over sin and bondage.

      I love your heart’s cry and I know God does, too and He hears! I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you!

  9. Wow, this is a needful thing for me to hear right now. Thank you Joyfilledwife for sharing your testimony. I am not aware of specific secret sin my husband is keeping from me but I am aware that he is less than honest with me or himself and can play some very cruel and vindictive games with me that amount to extremely selfish behaviour. He is playing the ” I will not do what I ought until I see you doing as you ought” game with me and feels that this exonerates him from the need to be obedient himself. However your post has highlighted for me something I am already becoming aware of and that is that it is ultimately about whether we are going to follow Christ…..or not. It’s a choose ye this day whom you will serve choice. By making the counsel you rec’d available to others who may not have access to such counsel that is biblically solid and not the usually psychotherapy stuff, you’ve given us a practical roadmap to what it looks like to walk this out in real life. For those of us who have experienced extreme trauma and cruelty in life and have learned to close down our hearts and wall others out, it can be very difficult to overcome our flesh’s arguments about why this is the justifiable thing to do. Thank you.

    1. Patricia,

      You are so right, sister. What it all comes down to is whether we are going to choose obedience to Christ or not. It can be a struggle to want to obey in our roles as wives, especially when our husbands aren’t loving us like Christ. We must remember, though, that our obedience should never be conditional. We shouldn’t be obeying God’s command because our husbands are, but because we want to glorify God. My counselor warned me at the beginning of counseling to be prepared for the enemy to hit me in vulnerable places while I seek to win my husband without a word. And they were right on. I was tempted by things I didn’t even know could be an issue for me! Wisely, they reminded me that being sinned against does not give us license to sin in response.

      There is hope and healing through Christ, dear friend. Those of us who have faced tremendous difficulty and trauma in our lives have a hard time letting people in, but we must not allow the sins others have committed against us control the joy and hope of our future. Keep reaching out for freedom, sister. Christ’s love is able to penetrate even the thickest of walls.

  10. Thank you, JoyfilledWife, for sharing your powerful testimony. And thanks, April, for allowing her to share it on your blog. It truly is an encouragement to keeping the faith no matter the circumstances. I love what you said about how “God puts two people together who are best designed to help refine each other and become more like Christ.” This truth resonated with me because my husband and I have grown a lot from learning to see our shortcomings as ways to grow in Christ, and we have come to understand how our differences can help each other grow. At the same time, it is not always an easy process to go through because being refined to be more like Christ is painful on the flesh. Sometimes our own pain blinds us from seeing the pain in our spouse and we miss opportunities to show Christ to them. I know I have missed plenty of opportunities… Your story will remind me to be more observant of the ways in which I can bless my husband. Thank you for sharing it. It is a testament of commitment to being a follower of Christ and being of service in marriage. What an inspiration and encouragement!

    1. Aixa,

      You are learning and pondering so many truly valuable things that most Christians don’t learn in a lifetime. Although refining is crucial, it can be an excruciating process. When we must endure pain because of that process, may we remember that Christ endured far more pain than we ever will…and He didn’t even do anything to deserve it! His sacrifice brings me to my knees and the painful experiences in life are what keep me there.

      There are three things I have prayed for in my life far more than anything else. Those three things, in order of how much I’ve prayed for them, are: wisdom, humility, and the ability to see others through God’s eyes. I desire those things so greatly that they bring me to tears each time I pray for them! Marriage gives us the perfect opportunity to practice those three things and many many more virtues than that. Stay strong in the Lord, sister. Lean on Him and ask Him to reveal in you the character of Christ more and more every day.

      1. Thank you for your encouragement and the wisdom of your words. It is clear the Lord has granted you what you’ve been praying for! May God continue blessing you, sister, and using you for His glory.

  11. Wow, what a powerful testimony. You also have my deepest admiration, joyfilledwife. We have a glorious God who works in mysterious ways. I like what you said about God putting two people together for the purposes of sanctifying each other through trials like these.

    God is bringing me through a period in my life where he is teaching me to die to myself and serve my husband. While he is a very good man, he is an extreme workaholic and is also far from God (he was saved at one time and still readily goes to church, but that’s all).

    God has helped me stop seeing myself and my kids as victims of my husband’s choices, and made it clear that I should submit to him and wholeheartedly support his career choices. It’s not about me anymore, about what’s fair to me and my needs. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.

    That being said, I still often feel twinges of contempt and martyrdom. These are some of the thoughts that go through my head:
    “Even though you don’t meet most of my needs, I am still trying to meet all of yours because God told me to”.
    “I am ok with a one-way relationship because my job is to serve you”.
    “I don’t really need you for anything because I have God who meets all my needs”.
    “When you are harsh to me, I will try to love my enemies (you)”.
    “I am here for you only because God wants me to be”.
    “If God were to take you home right now, there isn’t that much that I would miss. In fact, I would be free to remarry”.

    Horrible, right? Especially the last one. How do I stop these thoughts and attitudes?

    1. Oh, Keishya…I can see that your heart is so tender, yet so desiring of strength. Christ will grant you the strength you desire, dear sister, if you are diligent to petition Him for it. Keep in mind, though, that God doesn’t wave a magic wand, sprinkle some fairy dust on us, and give it us on the spot. God’s ways usually involve testing us, refining us, and giving us LOTS and LOTS of opportunities to practice that virtue we are longing for. A perfect example of this can be found in my comment to Aixa above. I told her that the three virtues I have prayed most for in my life are wisdom, humility, and the ability to see others through God’s eyes. You can clearly see from my testimony that God has given me a lifetime of opportunities to grow into the woman of God I am today.

      The situation with my co-workers was a perfect example of God giving me the opportunity to develop wisdom in how I answer and respond to others who hate me. Because I had been praying for wisdom a long time before that incident, the Lord helped me to win people over by responding wisely to those who were trying to slander me.

      My husband’s addiction, and posting about this humiliating time in my life, has given me the perfect opportunity to continue developing the virtue of humility. Trust me, it is a huge blow to a woman’s pride when her husband has an addiction to looking at other women. It took every once of self-discipline I had when my husband began his recovery to not judge every inappropriately dressed woman who walked by…and especially knowing full well that she was dressing that way to cause single and married men alike to want her. But that’s where the opportunity to cultivate the third virtue comes in…

      Reading real life stories about women trapped in the porn industry and the heartbreaking life they lived that brought them to that place in life was enough to soften even the most judgmental heart. As the Lord cultivated in me the ability to see others through His eyes, I realized that I had been judging the women that I should have been praying for instead. Now, whenever I see a woman dressed immodestly, I immediately pray for her. As you can imagine, with the way most women dress nowadays, I am truly “praying without ceasing,” as the Bible calls it.

      I would encourage you, Keishya, to look for the good in your husband. Focus on that and pay no attention to the non-sinful things he does that you wish he would change. If your husband is a workaholic, clearly his life is out of balance, but I can promise you that nagging him about it will only cause him to spend more time at the office away from you. What you want to do, dear sister, is become the kind of wife that he can’t stand to be away from. The kind of woman he rushes home in traffic to embrace as soon as he possibly can. That outcome is likely possible, sweet sister, but it will require you to win your husband without a word through your respectful and attractive behavior. Thank him every single day for how hard he works to provide for your family. Put a note in his lunch, or on the driver’s seat of his car, and tell him that you’re going to miss him when he’s away, but that you’re so proud of him for being such an excellent provider, and that you can’t wait to see him when he gets home! Make yourself more attractive to him than the work he’s overindulging in. And keep in mind, dear sister, that one of the ways men show love to their wife and family is by working hard to provide. This may not be the way you want your husband to express his love for you, but it’s the best way he knows how. Learn to appreciate that about him and you will likely have a husband who is eager to show you love in ways that you desire.

      In closing, I want to encourage you to stop repeating the lies the enemy has convinced you of. Saying those phrases over and over in your mind is only feeding the resentment you feel toward your husband. Instead, replace them with the truth of God’s Word. Lookup a dozen verses that tell you what a follower of Christ should be meditating on and say them over and over out loud everyday until you have them memorized. Then, whenever you are tempted to repeat one of the lies or think a negative thought toward your husband, say those verses out loud until the temptation subsides. After that, tell yourself five things you love about your man. Give him a big kiss when he comes home to top it all off! I’ve found that when we foil the enemy’s plans and rub the truth of God’s Word in his face, he eventually flees. He can’t stand being reminded that he’s on the losing team.

      Sending a big hug your way, Keishya!

      1. Thank you so much for your helpful response, Joyfilled wife. I will stop repeating the lies and work on thinking only of his good qualities (he does have many good qualities; I am just a pessimist who always focuses on the negative) and meditating on scripture without twisting it in my heart. I see my current struggles as a special assignment from God to refine me and cultivate Godly character. You are so right that he doesn’t wave a magic wand.
        Thanks also for the suggestions on being the wife he rushes to come home to. I have recently started being more “available” to him, and that has begun to make a difference in our marriage.
        I appreciate your wisdom and your ministry, and thank you so much for sharing your testimony.

        1. Proud of you, girl! God is capable of moving mountains in our life if we are faithful to pray and obey.

          Here’s an example of just how much God can change a husband’s heart:

          During my husband’s addiction and even up until more recently, my husband wasn’t very romantic or showing me any emotional intimacy. We were very high in emotional intimacy, sharing our thoughts and desires, and just wanting to be together, up until about 3 years ago when his addiction resurfaced. A lot of damage can be done to a man’s character in 2 years of having an active, secret addiction and it’s impossible for a marriage not to suffer because of it. I lost my husband’s affections during that time and it was very devastating because of how connected we once were. I used to sit in his lap with my arms around his neck and we would talk for hours about Scripture and other important topics on our heart. Losing that aspect of our relationship has been very heartbreaking for me. I miss the intimate companionship my husband and I used to share.

          God is truly a God who answers prayer. In the past month or two, my husband has been telling me how much he misses me when he’s out, even just running errands. He texts me every day to tell me this, but his behavior when he’s been around me has not been congruent with that. The enemy is trying to do whatever he can to keep my husband and I from displaying the Godly intimacy we once did. We are a very dynamic couple and our ability to impact others increases tenfold when we are unified spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The enemy has been provoking my husband to be in a bad mood the second he is with me. It happens like clockwork. My husband could be in the best mood and the second he walks through the door, no matter how lovingly I greet him, how delicious the dinner smells, and how clean the house is, he’s immediately tempted to be in a bad mood towards me. It’s been very frustrating for him to combat that. He recognizes that the temptation to be like that around me specifically is because the enemy knows that we are unstoppable in Christ when we are unified.

          Flash forward to this week. My husband has been pulling me close a lot lately and edifying me to a lot of people. Yesterday, my husband said something very hurtful to me and, 5 minutes later, he sat me down with tears in his eyes and apologized for hurting me. (My husband is NOT a crier at all.) He kept saying how much he has been missing me when he’s away and that he didn’t want my last memory of him when he walks out the door to be the hurtful thing he said. This morning, my husband texted me that he loves and misses me so much. When I asked him how his day is going, he responded, “I’m having a hard time staying focused because I want to be with you.”

          ^ That is the man I once knew years ago. The man I prayed would return. He counted down the minutes until we’d be together again and let me know it often throughout the day. He always wanted me as close as possible and was happy to have me near, even if no words were exchanged. That is the man I am beginning to see again. Oh, how I missed him!

          Last night, I told my husband how meaningful his affections have been to me lately. When I asked him what has brought about such a remarkable change, he gave me a big smile and told me that he’s been praying every day for God to change his heart and to cause the intimacy in our marriage to flourish in every area. My husband’s sin stole the most precious part of our marriage from us and he wanted it back more than anything. Nothing makes my heart leap like seeing my husband smiling again.

          Take heart, my sister and friend! Healing takes time, but there is no wound our Savior can’t heal if we are willing to let Him. <3

          1. thejoyfilledwife,

            Im wondering if your husband shared how did his pornography addiction resurfaced? I would like to understand more. My husband is struggllng in this area too. When you mentioned how emotionally intimate you and your husband was and yet the sin managed to sneak in. Im feeling discouraged how we can make it.

          2. WHY,

            My husband’s pornography addiction was a lifelong struggle. It never went dormant, there were just times that it was worse than others. I gently confronted him a couple of times throughout our marriage when I would notice things, but he was not truthful. I knew that he was not telling me the truth, but I also knew that I would not convince him to open up to me by calling him a liar or getting mad at him. I prayed for a long time that the Lord would convict my husband to confess, but it took several years before he eventually did. When I talk about his addiction resurfacing, I only mean to suggest that it was a time when he was indulging in more of it than what was common for him during the rest of our marriage. Sometimes I’m not able to include all of the back story or details in a post. His addiction never really went away, but his activity had been much less prior to the time he confessed.

            My husband and I have discussed this many times…how the intimacy in our marriage went away when his addiction was the worst. You see, there is a chemical “high” that a human being gets when they do something sinful. If they are a Believer, that high is followed by shame. When the high is going on, however, there is this over the top rush of excitement. A person addicted to porn continues looking at porn, regardless of how attractive their wife may be and how available she is to him, because they are addicted to the rush they get by doing something sinful. As my husband said yesterday, that same kind of sudden rush does not occur in marriage because there is no sin involved in having sex with your wife. However, the benefits and feelings of a Godly marriage lead to much MUCH greater satisfaction over the long term that even that rush of excitement over sin cannot compete with.

            Have faith, dear sister! If Christ could turn our marriage around, he can turn yours around. I have seen Him turn around marriages that were in the worst situations possible. He is a God of miracles. Don’t let the enemy gain a foothold by giving into fear. Fear is not of God. Cling tightly to our Savior, be in the Word constantly, never cease praying for your husband, and work on the changes you need to make in your own heart and life. Allow God to deal with your husband. He does a much better job at that than we do.

  12. Joyfilledwife, I also want to add that God’s glory and grace is so evident in your story. I can clearly see how much God loves your husband, to foresee and prepare and raise up a wife that will help him with this addiction even before he became addicted. He has blessed your husband immeasurably through you. What an honor for you, and what a beautiful tapestry God is weaving for his glory, though the individual stiches are incredibly painful.

  13. Firstly let me say, my heart and prayer goes out the wife who found her husband addicted to porn and the very hurtful behaviour towards her. I praise God with her that she is standing firm through the empowering of God.

    I was greatly troubled by the saying quoted, That the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy but to make us holy.

    While can I see how God can use difficulties to make to us grow, it is never is will for us to be misused and abused in marriage.

    I read the input and went to look if any scriptures supported this and immediately came to Ecclesiates 9v9.

    It describes a husband being instructed to live joyfully with his wife. Then Colossians 3v 19 ” Husbands love your wives and be not bitter against them.

    Many others as well as ones directed at wives.

    I am afraid that the saying is not scripturally sound and could be taken to by a some to feel that it part of God will that they bear the unhappiness caused by mistreatement in their marriage. Everything God gives is always for our good and therefore joy and happiness.

    I am generally concerned this statement could be misleading.

    1. Prayerfulwife,
      Thanks for sharing your concerns! I am sure thejoyfilledwife will also want to respond, but I wanted to make a quick comment.

      I believe that God’s primary purposes in every area of our lives is to bring Him glory as well as to refine us and to regenerate and transform and conform us into the image of Christ.

      I can’t count how many times God describes His purposes in the Old and New Testament that His decisions relating to His people being to bring glory to His Name and to bring Him glory.

      Isaiah 43:7
      Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

      God HATES sin. All sin. Always. God never tempts anyone to sin or wants anyone to sin. God is absolutely holy and cannot tolerate being in the presence of sin.

      Isaiah 61:8
      For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and sin. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.

      Yes, God designed marriage in part to bring happiness. Of course, when we obey God, we will always have His joy which is even greater than any happiness, and we can have that no matter what our husbands do or do not do because it is a part of the fruit of the Spirit – totally independent of our circumstances.

      Some of God’s primary purposes for us as believers:

      1. The two greatest commandments – we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:38-39)
      2. We are to fully yield to Christ as LORD of our lives. He is in charge. We trust and follow Him. To do this, we must be willing to love Jesus way above everything else in this world and we are to take up our cross daily and die to self and follow Him. That is painful. But He is worthy. (Matthew 16:24)
      3. In marriage, God’s design is to bring glory to Himself, to display the intimacy between Christ and His church and to proclaim the gospel of Christ through our marriages. Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5.

      God does talk about husbands bringing happiness to their wives. He gives husbands many commands. But we don’t have control over our husbands or what they do. I don’t write for husbands. I only write for wives. So I only talk about us obeying the things that God gives us to obey on this blog. That doesn’t negate all of the things God has commanded husbands to do in marriage. But our focus has to be our own obedience to God’s Word and how we can bless our husbands and show the love, mercy and grace of Christ to them. That doesn’t mean wives should never leave and always take anything a husband does. But those times should be more the exception than the rule. I Peter 3:1-6 contains God’s instructions for wives whose husbands are disobedient to the Word. I believe that is what thejoyfilledwife has been living out by God’s power.

      God promises to use our struggles, trials, suffering and temptations to accomplish His purposes in our lives, to refine and mature us and to bring glory to Himself. The whole book of I Peter, the first chapter of James and the book of job are about this.

      Jesus certainly bore MUCH pain, suffering and unhappiness as He loved His bride, the church. Loving sinners with the unconditional love of Christ involves sacrifice of self, suffering, great cost and pain. There are times that are happy, but there are times that are not. Happiness is never the ultimate goal of a believer in Christ. In fact, many of us in the West today make happiness an idol which we put above Christ in our hearts. “I must have X to be happy. I will do whatever it takes to get X so that I can be happy, even if I have to sin to get it.” I did that! For me, I believed I needed to be in control in order to be happy. And I totally justified my own sin of disrespect to my husband, pride, self-righteousness, lack of faith in God, lack of trust in my wonderful husband, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness in the name of “I have to be in control, I have to have my way and I have to be happy. God and Greg, you both better do what I say so I can be happy and have things the way I want them!” I did not find all of my contentment in Christ alone for a long time, and I nearly destroyed my marriage by seeking my own happiness above things that were actually more important in God’s sight.

      I believe that thejoyfilledwife’s assertion IS scripturally sound. I don’t want to see our sisters in Christ pursuing happiness above Jesus or above the covenant of marriage or above their obedience to God’s Word. As we walk in obedience, we will have abundant spiritual live, peace, joy, love, etc… (Galatians 5:22-33). But I never want to promote the idea that happiness is the primary goal of God in our lives in general or in our marriages. Happiness is great. I would love for us all to be happy as much as possible and if it is God’s will. But I believe we will destroy our marriages if our current feelings of happiness are our first goal in marriage.

      Thanks for sharing your concerns! I appreciate it very much! I welcome respectful discussion here. These are important topics and I love how we can sharpen one another in our faith in Christ. πŸ™‚

      Much love,
      April

    2. Prayerful wife,

      Thanks for sharing your concern with the statement. April and I are very much in agreement about this topic and she did an excellent job of answering your questions similarly to how I would have (thanks, April!), so I will just add a few things that, as a prayerful wife, I like you to ponder.

      Happiness in marriage is blessing, but it is not the main purpose of marriage. Happiness and joy are also different things. Happiness is based on favorable circumstances, but joy is based on a Godly perspective IN SPITE of circumstances. I believe that God desires us to have joyful marriages (where we see even our sufferings through His eyes and are hopeful because of that), but I don’t believe that happiness (our circumstances always being favorable) is his goal. In reality, we are sinners. Sin will always be in the picture and present in our marriages. Because of that, happiness will come and go, but joy is a choice that can remain.

      God uses marriages to exemplify Christ’s relationship with the church. It’s meant to be a display of that relationship with the husband being like Christ and the wife being like the church. Let’s not forget the pain, suffering, and sacrifice Christ endured on behalf of the church. He was WILLINGLY beaten to the point of being unrecognizable so that He could redeem us and reconcile us with God. He was innocent. He did nothing wrong, and yet He was willing to endure the unthinkable for our benefit. God was not concerned with Christ’s happiness at that point (remember how Jesus was sweating blood?). He was more concerned with saving us from eternal torment in hell.

      The wife’s role in marriage represents the church. She is to submit to her husband’s authority (such as the church to Christ) and to serve alongside him in her role. If you look at the history of the church, and even what is going on with believers in other countries right now being beheaded and tortured for their faith in Christ, you will see that the role of the church is not separated from pain and suffering. In fact, Matthew 5:10 says that those who are persecuted for Christ are blessed! That very verse shows us that, in spite of suffering, we can choose to be joyful because we are looking at our suffering through God’s eyes and see that it serves an eternal purpose.

      I am going to say something bold, dear sister. My prayer is that you will see how much love is in my heart as I say this: God was not as concerned about my happiness as He was about my husband’s repentance. It would have been impossible to have been happy without my husband being reconciled. My husband breaking his addiction and overcoming his strongholds was far more important than me feeling happy about my marriage. We live in a society that believes that marriages should be thrown away once a couple is no longer happy. Happiness is produced by feelings and feelings are produced by the heart. The Bible is very clear in Jeremiah 17:9 that “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” We should choose joy in spite of our suffering, sweet sister, but happiness should never be our goal. Holiness will always be more important than happiness. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

      I am living out a very joyful marriage right now. That would not be the case if I wouldn’t have been willing to set aside my happiness in order to help my husband become more holy. If happiness was my main objective, I would have left my husband and many would have applauded me for it. But I didn’t care about my personal happiness anywhere near as much as I cared about my husband’s repentance and reconciliation. While I desperately hoped that my marriage would one day be happy again, I was committed to enduring suffering, our whole marriage if needed, to win my husband without a word and point him back to Christ in the end. That is my Biblical duty as his wife and I consider myself to have no higher calling as a wife than that.

      I hope that clears things up, sister. Blessings to you!

  14. Until today, I never seriously considered a porn addiction as the reason for my husband’s neglect and harshness. But when you describe your life with your husband, I see many similarities. My husband is very passive, and doesn’t lash out at me, but his anger comes out in subtle, and covert ways. He has recently told me that he does not love me, and even more recently said he has a problem with everything about me. (Yes, he actually said that). Up until now, my approach has been to ask a lot of questions and try to convince him that his behavior is hurtful. After reading your story, I realize that it really is going to take the “without a word” approach in order to get through this with any success. I have, however, given him an ultimatum, as I feel the need to protect myself. He has refuse counseling, and has not made any efforts to change- so I told him until there is change, I need to sleep in a separate bed. It has been the most painful, and presented the most temptation, to lay night after night next to the man who not only refuses to be with me, but has also shown so much hatred of me. I hope that we can still work through our issues while sleeping separately, but I know that I need to give myself a time to be alone in my sorrow, so as not to show those emotions when I’m around him. That’s hard to do when I’m trying not to cry while I lay in bed wide awake, not wanting to offend him or reveal my utter sorrow.

    I have recommitted my life to Christ- I got re-baptized last Sunday (my first baptism was as an infant). My husband seemed a bit offended that I took this step in my faith journey, and has stated that he felt left out of my decision. Is baptism something I need to “discuss”? I did go to him to make sure he was ok with it and let him know I wasn’t choosing one church over the other (he has stopped going to church, and is angry over past church experiences). When I read this article, it made me see that it may have been a desperate attempt to control the situation.

    I too struggle with his unhelpfulness- especially with the kids. I have also struggled with his complaints over my housekeeping and my weight. I am trying to keep the house in better order, including keeping our bedroom free of clutter, but still getting comments from him. And my weight has been a non-issue for me as I have tried to get other aspects of my health on track. When I was going to counseling, she advised me to make sure I was taking my medication every day, drinking water, getting exercise, and getting enough sleep. Those are the things I’ve been trying to focus on. At this point, even if losing weight would bring a slight improvement to his feelings for me, I feel focusing on the wrong thing would put the other aspects of my health out of balance. I am not motivated to do self care, so I have to put a lot of effort to stay committed to keeping these things on track. I just always assumed that if I was doing the other things right, then the weight would start to come off (which I actually think it is, just really slowly).

    I just am thankful that this article came when it did. I see where I need to focus on keeping peace. Whether or not it motivates him should not be my focus. Rather, if I’m doing things God’s way, then God will motivate him.

    Thank you for your willingness to help other wives through this painful experience. After all these years of marriage I never thought I would feel this rejected, unloved, and unwanted. It really blows the “happily ever after” idea out of the picture. I’d settle with peacefully ever after.

    1. MHMC,

      Sweet sister, do you know for sure that your husband is addicted to pornography or are you guessing about that because your husband may have similar behavior to mine? I just want to make sure that there are no assumptions being made about your husband that haven’t been proven. It will cause greater problems in your marriage if you make serious assumptions without obvious evidence. Perhaps you can share with me what is going on in your marriage. I can see by some of the things you are saying that there may be more to it than your husband saying hurtful things to you. Is something else happening? If not, I am going to urge you to please reconsider your course of action. Sleeping in another room is only going to hurt your marriage further, unless your husband is sleeping with other women and you need to protect yourself physically from the possibility of STDs being transmitted to you.

      I want to give you a heaping helping of womanly encouragement in the area of keeping your home clean and in getting yourself into shape. You have NO idea how meaningful those two things are to a husband. Do them to honor him as your husband and to show respect for his desires. Men are extremely visual and when we neglect the visual upkeep of our homes, it can make men feel chaotic and lack peace and orderliness in their minds. It also can make a husband feel like he’s working hard to do his part as the provider and his wife is not working equally as hard. Please know that there is no condemnation coming from my heart on this, sister. We are all a work in progress. I only strive to show you that these two visual aspects of your husband’s world (his home and your body) are of the utmost importance to your husband and your taking them extremely seriously will make a huge impact in your relationship. Win him without a word, dear sister, by your respectful behavior (your edifying and obedient words, your physical upkeep, and your maintaining orderliness and provisions in the home) and let the Lord take care of reaching your husband’s heart. Be in the Word every day and pray for your husband continually. Ultimatums are not healthy in a marriage, unless they are done with pastoral support and only over issues like unrepentant infidelity. One of a husband’s greatest needs is intimacy with his wife. Please be careful not to deprive him of your physical presence, dear sister, so you will not be sinning against the commands of Scripture.

      Praying for you tonight, dear sister.

      1. No, it has been like this for years. Married almost 15 years, and in our whole marriage, sex has been infrequent. I tend to want it, he doesn’t. When he told me he didn’t love me, I asked how long he felt this way- he said our whole marriage. His behavior lately has led me to question whether or not there was an affair. I kept it to myself for a year, but then finally asked him about these behaviors. He said there was no affair. I had questioned him on each behavior separately when they first appeared, with no legitimate responses. I had lost my job (because of something he did at my work) and then held it against me when I couldn’t get another job. I studied and tested for a licensure and failed, and he accused me of not trying hard enough. I keep the house as good as I can considering the circumstances. He’s never happy, and actually questioned my intentions when I cleaned the house a few weeks ago. I have worked over the years to lose weight, the last time I tried we were working out together at the fitness center. Without a job, I can’t afford the membership, and he won’t pay for me to go. (But he does pay for himself to go). Our finances are separate, and without a job, I’ve had to use up our savings to live off of. He is reminding me that my first line of duty when I get a job is to start paying back our savings of all the money I “took”. There really is a lack of care, concern, and even compassion. He works as a nurse in a big hospital, I read emails and “kudos” of how kind and compassionate he is at work- but it is never like that at home. I had to take my teen daughter to counseling last year because of “cutting” and was failing school. Found out dad was bullying her and following her around the house teasing her, not leaving her alone while I was at work. I had no idea.

        All of this has accumulated. I’m only assuming porn because of his behavior and attitude. I don’t know what else it could be (I’ve found porn before- he said it was to “help” him get turned on).

        Whatever the problem is, I’ve committed to stay. I left the bed because it is painful to have constant rejection. I stay in the house because I’m committed to finding a way through all this. I spoke to a friend yesterday, and she helped me realize that staying is going to glorify God- I’m willing to “suffer long”, simply because I made a promise and I’m going to make good on it.

        All he has to do is show an effort to change and I’ll be back in the bed with him. He refuses counseling. I bought marriage videos, and he doesn’t want to watch them with me. I’ve asked him to take me out on dates so we can reconnect, he says he doesn’t have any money. I’ve told him I need more affection, he gives me less. And the big one, I’ve told him I need his support when the kids are disrespectful to me, and he stays silent. He has no interest in trying to fix our broken marriage. I’ve been making effort by cleaning the house more and trying to keep it clean (we have a preschooler and a teenager, so I am constantly picking up after them), and I am continuing to eat healthier and keep my health a priority. I am trying to be pleasant around him, not provoking him or causing arguments. But his demeanor toward me is cold. He has neglected me for so long, he doesn’t see anything wrong with what he has done. I’ve come to see that I might be living this way for a long time.

  15. I’ve been through this with my husband, we are working with our marriage but I have really struggled with forgiveness and trust and we aren’t where we would like to be. I don’t have anyone I trust enough to talk about it and I’m just trying to implement some of the things you mentioned. We have two young children and I would never leave the marriage, but some days it seems like too much effort for uncertain results. Im lonely and most days I don’t feel loved by my husband at all. Reading your story is a big encouragement to me and shows me areas I can keep working on.

  16. Very good article. As one who has walked through this in my marriage, I want to recommend two things…The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, and Setting Caaptives Free. I pray any wife who is dealing with this as God says to will find comfort in Christ, encouragement in her walk with Him and in her marriage…Christ has come to set the captives free, but it only truly happens when we act according to His word. Praying for all who are in this battle with Him. <3
    http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/

  17. April,
    please help me… how can I pray for my husband who is addicted to porn? What would be the right prayer? I am totally lost and feel hopeless on this one.
    thanks
    me

      1. We are both very close to Christ.. We have a good marriage and pray together. We’ve talked about it before, I’ve told him I’m there for him and to come to me for prayers and help and he cries and agrees to it but it doesn’t stop.
        I might note- it’s not hard core porn or even from a porn website most of the time. Its from YouTube with girls dancing, or looking up a celebrity naked or something… It still hurts me very much. I know all I can offer is prayer but I don’t know what to say to God about it

        1. me,
          There is no “magic prayer” for getting our husbands to overcome pornography.

          But, here is a post that may be a helpful place to start:

          Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

          You can also search “prayer” on my home page and find many posts about praying for our husbands.

          How often is this happening? Does he have a godly mentoring male friend he talks to?

          Do you have any godly mentoring wife you are able to pray with and talk to about this?

          Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister!

          1. He just would not like me to share this with a fellow wife I don’t think.. He would probably be embarrassed and he has a mentor but I highly doubt he would ever tell him! He just wants to seem he’s perfect. It has happened about 12 times This past year so like once a month.. πŸ™
            Thank u april

          2. me,

            http://www.xxxchurch.org has resources for wives to heal and to deal with their husbands’ pornography addictions.

            I am encouraged that it is usually just once a month. That is going to be a lot easier to deal with than someone who is using porn multiple times per day. But it is still sin and it is still destructive.

            What is his relationship with Christ, as far as you know?

            I believe Matthew 7:1-5 and then Matthew 18:15-17 could be appropriate here.

            This is, sadly, an extremely common sin today. So y’all are certainly not alone in this battle.

            Do you know what his triggers tend to be?

            Is he experiencing a lot of stress at work or home?

            When did he begin looking at porn?

            Much love to you!

          3. hi april thank you for getting back with me,
            he began looking at porn at a very young age, and told me that before me he would use porn twice to 2 times per week. His triggers are women in general, sometimes I see him look when a pretty girl goes by and then he will quickly look away to something else, and then I have to just pretend I don’t see because I don’t want to be that woman whose everytime like “I saw you look at her (insert pout)” that is childish, but it does upset me. He is also triggered by the TV, or facebook or media. He has no stress as far as I know. He has a great relationship with Christ. He is overall a godly man, but this is really starting to destroy our intimacy, our trust, and our marriage but I don’t think he sees it yet, but I do, maybe because it’s mostly how I feel. our last talk about it I told him I knew he wanted to be a good man, I knew he did not want to do that and that he could tell me when he has a temptation or failure and we can pray and walk through it, he cried on my shoulder and agreed. TWO days later I found it on his phone. two days? Usually when we have that talk it isn’t for WEEKS that I find something, I don’t get it? πŸ™

            Well now I have been very quiet. usually just falling asleep without talking at night, or being very under the radar, not talking to him about my day, leaving without a kiss… but I still made him breakfast and said I love you back when he said it. and haven’t brought it up since he saw me look at it, and then stormed out of the house. I have not brought it up. I am giving him time to think about it and I don’t think im going to bring it up this time. HE needs to come to me and repent and apologize. Then I will tell him I am sure he has more of a problem than I thought and that he needs to be faithful to me. and tell him all the damage hes caused. how I don’t feel intimately attracted to him right now because I am sort of disgusted, and I have absolutely no trust considering it was only two days later. i have so much hurt. but i am going to continue in this way until he misses us enough to finally repent and apologize and talk about it.

            well today when i got home from work he had made our bed, cleaned our room, done the dishes and the laundry. he NEVER EVER EVER does housework. i thanked him very much and then he went to his meeting but why did he do this?! He still needs to talk about the problem not just make up for it.

            i am a ball of hurt emotions right now πŸ™ i keep crying out to god telling him i know he is all knowing and all powerful and can fix this marriage but right now i am hurt and need him, thank you for listening..

            Me

          4. me,

            If his porn addiction began that young – I hope you realize – this has nothing to do with you at all – and everything to do with what porn has done to his brain and the way his mind has been altered by it. This is an addiction just like a drug addiction.

            I am really proud of him that he quickly looks away – that is a GREAT THING! He is recognizing that there is a temptation, and he is choosing to honor you and God by not focusing on her and by quickly averting his eyes. He is attempting to keep himself from falling into temptation. PLEASE THANK HIM for that! Unless he is actually blind – he WILL see women in the world. He cannot prevent that from happening when y’all are walking somewhere in public – but he can do his part to keep himself from falling into lust. I’m really proud of him. Seeing the girl for a second is not sin – continuing to stare and ogle or lust is a sin.

            I’m sure that TV, FB and the media are triggers for lustful thoughts for almost all men who are breathing and who have remotely healthy levels of testosterone. How I wish that women were always dressed modestly and that there wasn’t a constant barrage of temptation thrown in our men’s faces. My son is almost 13. I don’t like that he has to see and deal with these things either. It’s awful!

            BUT – God can empower us to be on our husbands’ team and to encourage them and allow them to talk about their weakness and how we might help them in this battle. “Every Man’s Battle” is a great resource for a lot of men.

            He was trying to apologize to you. Your way of handling this brought him a lot of conviction, it sounds like. That is a good thing! Many men don’t value words much at all – they value gestures much more. Many men feel that “talk is cheap.” He is trying to offer you an olive branch, I believe. I hope you will thank him for that!

            If you do tell him anything, please be sure to spend a lot of time in prayer first, and address any sinful thoughts in your own mind first – self-righteousness, pride, bitterness, etc…

            He knows what he is doing is wrong. He knows it hurts you. He doesn’t know how to stop, is my guess.

            If he knows that you are on his team, he may open up more to you and you may be able to help him some. He may need outside help, too.

            I love the idea of you saying something like:

            Honey,
            I noticed that you did so much cleaning in the house this week. That was very sweet of you – and thoughtful. I accept the olive branch you are extending to me. And I want you to know that I know you love me and in so many ways you are an amazing husband. I’m GLAD I get to be your wife.
            I do have to be honest, the porn thing hurts me more than I could ever say. It would mean so much to me if we could get some help with this together. I will do anything you need me to do to help you fight this battle. How can I lighten the burden for you?”

            Be cautious about shutting him out sexually. I totally understand the pain you are experiencing. But you shutting him out sexually may add gasoline to the fire of temptation for him. I hope you might read “Grace Filled Marriage” by Dr. Tim Keller. There is an excellent chapter on this exact topic.

            God CAN heal you. God CAN heal your husband. And, even more amazingly, God can even use your husband’s sin and this very pain you are feeling right now to create something very beautiful in your life and in your marriage in the future. I have seen it happen many, many times.

            He has programed and wired his brain to respond to 2 dimensional images instead of his real life wife. Yes, that is selfish. Porn is completely selfish. Everything about it is all about pleasing the monster of SELF. The neuron pathways in his brain began to be changed when he started looking at porn. I hope that you might read up more about this issue so you can better understand him and how to support him. I am praying for God to give you wisdom! And I believe God can even heal the damage in your husband’s brain as he turns to Him and is empowered by His Spirit!

            It could be better for him to be looking at you rather than other women. But I do understand why you wouldn’t like having those videos in existence. I will pray for God’s wisdom about this issue for you, my precious sister!

            Sending you the biggest hug!

          5. april, I forgot to mention something very important… I don’t understand it. it is very personal, I understand if you don’t want to post on your blog, but when me and my husband are being intimate he always wants to film it… at first I didn’t care, but now I start having this feeling of why doesn’t he just enjoy it now in the moment. why must he have it on film. he hides them in a locked app on his phone. well when I found out what he was looking at I took his phone and deleted them, he said this.. “I have those for a reason…” i said obviously its not working and they need to go. then he stormed out. well obviously he is trying to look at me instead of those other woman right? but why does he have to look at all?
            i just don’t know about this because it takes away from me during the actual act. with the video i don’t like it or enjoy my husband as much and it definatly doesn’t feel like hes enjoying his wife, just feels i am being used for the next time he needs a video to watch. πŸ™ it feels hes being selfish. i haven’t ever told him that, because i do hope if he has to look at all it will be at me, but he has them and still looks, so its not working. i think i will tell him how this makes me feel as well when he comes to me, eventually.

  18. WOW. Praise God for your obedience and His Truth at work in the life of your family. I am hopeful, inspired and so deeply moved by the grace that God has given you in your marriage.

    There have been times that I have cried alone to the Lord saying that I wished I had never married, though the guilt that came with those words was so overwhelming.

    The truth is, there are even times that I feel like I have disappointed the Lord by marrying my husband who I struggle to serve in the way I know He wants me to. It has helped me greatly to read your words, what the Lord has shown you about being refined through the marriage. Thank you dear sister.

  19. Hi April & Joyfilled wife,

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and I want to thank you for the many things that I have learned from this site. Praise God!

    I am a young wife, my husband and I have been married for 3 years. We have one toddler daughter. We are both Christians and are serving the Lord through our local church. My relationship with God has been up and down brought by my negative feelings caused by hurts in our marriage. I have become resentful at some points as well. Through this site, I have realized that many times in our relationship I have been disrespecting my husband unknowingly. Growing up where my parents did not show respect to each other, I didn’t have idea on how to joyfully respect my husband. I am trying to overcome all this negativity and bitterness in my heart as I desire to submit to God and His ways. Not my ways now, but His. I believe that we are brought together to refine each other. Sometimes this refining is so painful to bear.

    My husband is a good man, a good husband in general. But he can be a different person when he is angry. Like a totally different monster that I have not seen him before. This anger outburst started early on our marriage, he can be very mean and shouts and yells at me for sometimes on little mistakes like not closing the door properly or no reason at all. It’s like he has been recalling my past mistakes and bring it up again to drag me down. Calls me a whore, stupid, idiot, selfish etc. He belittles me in every way possible when he is angry. Even if I say something or nothing at all. When I say something it is mostly to clarify something he misunderstood. But it will be used against me. He messages me with the worst name calling you could read. Sometimes I block him so as to receive all these messages. I am gentle and quiet to him during these times. Sometimes I cry to myself. When he has cooled down I tell him that I am hurt with the things he said. But he doesn’t care and says that I am the one who belittles him and that I deserve all this. I am also thinking that these might the result of him feeling disregarded at his workplace. His relationship with some of our friends has also been in trouble due to him not being able to control his mouth. Thankfully our friends never retaliated to him.

    Sometimes I want to fight him back and tell him that his unforgiveness, his anger is causing his relationships to suffer including our marriage, for him to wake up from his blindness. He is serving the Lord but with a heavy heart, he carries unforgiving and a critical spirit. Yet a part of me also tells that I will let him realize his mistakes by himself. That I will still be here respecting, submitting and serving him even he is in his monster self. By the way, he doesn’t apologize at all. I don’t mind him not saying sorry as long as he will change his ways.

    Please include me in your prayers, that I maybe able to endure all these. That I may always seek God in difficult times. That I may love like Jesus. To die to myself. That I may be truly humble and graceful. Thank you.

    1. Maria,

      My precious sister!

      This is not ok!

      What ways have you been disrespecting your husband at this point, that you know of?

      He never apologizes to you for these awful words?

      Do you have a godly counselor you could speak to? I think it is time to involve some godly, outside help, my dear sister! Have you read “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin”?

      Yes, you can focus on God changing you and on becoming the wife God desires you to be – but I think you will need some reinforcements. You are not required to respect being screamed at or to respect his unforgiveness or to submit to his sin. Does that make sense? You can respect that he is your husband.

      What do you believe submission means in this situation? That you just have to take his verbal abuse and say and do nothing?

      I pray that God might give you wisdom if your husband continues to be unrepentant. I don’t want any wife to be called these kinds of names or screamed at. And I am concerned that you say he never takes any responsibility for his behavior toward you.

      1. Hi April,

        Thank you for your quick response. I truly appreciate that.

        To answer your questions, at this point I know nothing of disrespecting him. I realized my mistakes before of not trusting his abilities and his headship in our family. But all happened unknowingly. Right now, I am aware of it and always tries my best to respect his ideas and his opinions.

        Yes, he never apologizes for all these awful words. It could start from a simple irritation from him outside of our home and projects it to me. It boils down to attacking my character that I am no use to him, that I am a demon in his life and that he is regretful that he married me.

        I am thinking of meeting a godly woman, she is an elder of our community. They are god parents during our wedding. But at the same time, I am concerned that if my husband knows that I will tell her everything he is going to be very angry. One time, out of desperation I cried for help to her. I asked for her prayers because that time my husband was in a misunderstanding with a brother regarding a project, he felt that he was disregarded and the brother did not trust his abilities. He lashed out to the brother. During that time too, he projected his irritation to me likened me to that brother. Two trusted elders talked to him about it but he does not seem to listen. When he read the message I sent to our godparent, he was mad at me for interfering. I told him that out of desperation I ask for her prayers. That is why I am now doubtful of meeting her for godly counsel in fear that this may provoke my husband. He is thinking that he is being gossiped and demeaned.

        He is also upset that I am not on his team. He wants me to also be mad at the brother who he thinks hurt him. That when people are against him, I should be on his side. That when his reputation is bad, my name should be bad too. But I cant do that.

        We had a marriage retreat months ago and he wrote down on a piece of paper the things that he promised to me like changing his bad temper and not recalling the past. He is aware of his sins and weaknesses but still do it. He reads the Bible every day and forwards messages to his friends. But does not apply into his own. And he is projecting it to me that I read articles but does not apply it in my own life. It’s sad.

        At this difficult situation,part of me wants to confront him. Part of me feels mercy to him that he is hurting and releases that hurt thru anger. What he says to me I think are the projections of his frustrations to himself. That he is not able to control his temper and mouth. At this moment I am holding on to God and His word. Matthew 5: 43-48.

        I don’t know how long will this take. πŸ™

        1. Maria, he is sinning. Follow Matthew 18 for confronting this sin. If he does not listen to you, then go to another, bring it to the church, etc. He cannot force you to stay silent. That is his way of tryin to control you by making sure you dont tell anyone. He needs to figure out his anger and unforgiveness. I am very sorry you are going through this.

        2. Maria,

          I vote to pray much over this issue – and maybe even fast. Do you believe you are safe physically if you were to gently, humbly, respectfully confront him?

          God doesn’t want us to hate other people – so, you are certainly not required to hate people if he does. You can show him empathy and support. You can show him you are on his team without following into sin. Does that make sense?

          Here is a post about confronting our husbands.

          But you may need outside help. If he won’t repent and he continues on in this sin – you may need to get help for yourself even if he doesn’t like it. But please do so very prayerfully and with great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The goal is not to hurt him, but for him to be restored to fellowship with Christ and with you.

          Praying for wisdom for you!

          1. Hi April & MHMC,

            Thank you for all your inputs. I have gently and lovingly confronted his behaviour and that he is hurting our relationship deeply. He blamed me for his behaviour (I think he was really out of his mind). When his angry outbursts was really on its high level, I knew I had to ask for help. I was beginning to fear him and I was traumatized by his yelling.

            We are now seeing a couple counselor. Though his outbursts are not very evident now, I know we have a long way to go. We temporarily stopped being active on church activities as he decided to. And I also think that he needs time to recover and heal as well. He has not asked for forgiveness yet. But last night I sensed that there was a conviction in his heart when he asked if I could apply forgiveness to our situation. He didn’t ask directly maybe due to his pride but that is something I reflected on until this morning. That deep in his heart he wants to be forgiven for all the hurts he has caused.

            I am having different thoughts actually.

            * That if I will be back to being affectionate to him, he will think that all he had done was ok and if he can be forgiven he can do it again.

            * What would I do if he will have angry outbursts again?

            Please enlighten my still confused heart. Thank you.

          2. I can understand not wanting to be affectionate because of not trusting your husband emotionally. I felt that way for a long time. But I continued to show kindness, respect, and cheerfulness. If he was unkind, disrespectful, or uncheerful, I continued in my own cheerfulness. If he rejected my kindness, or refused to spend time with me, then I spent time with my friends, my kids, or my family. I invited him along, but didnt let his negativity affect my plans or mood. Eventually, he changed. I stopped arguing. I stopped saying no to everything (especially when it was a situation where he was actually showing leadership or initiative. I simply chose to trusthim). He was remarkably appreciative. They dont have to deserve our right bejavior- but eventually they will tey to match it. I read a statement- cant remember if I saw it on this site or somewhere else- but it said we should trwat our husbands how we WANT them to act, not how they really are. In time, they will want meet what we see as their potential. I never thought it would work, but it has certainly improved our life together. Theres still a lot more work to do, but for the time being he is showing me kindness, some affection, and even acting a bit flirtatious (which hasnt happened in at least two years!) Whatever im doing, it definitely makes him feel better. And when he feels better, he behaves better.

          3. MHMC,
            How I praise God for the wisdom He has given you and for the healing that is beginning to take place in your marriage!! Woohoo!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I pray that God might continue this good work in both of you and in your family.

            This is amazing!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

            You made my day. πŸ™‚

          4. Maria,

            I’m glad you are seeing a counselor. How are things going? I pray that God will give you wisdom about how to approach him and I pray for God’s supernatural healing for your marriage. πŸ™‚

            Have you seen him DO something to try to demonstrate his repentance? Sometimes men apologize with actions more than words.

            How long have you withheld affection already?

            Has the counselor helped you to develop a plan for if he has an angry outburst?

            Much love!
            April

          5. Hi MHMC and April,

            MHMC – Thank you for your kind words. You are right on. Praise God for the wisdom given to you.

            April – Thank you for your prayers. We are doing well. He hasn’t verbally apologized, but I can sense that he is sorry thru his actions. He is back to being affectionate. Helps me around the house. Lets me rest when I am tired from work.

            As for me being affectionate to him, I withheld it for those 1 or 2 painful days. After that I slowly get back to being affectionate as I was before.

            Our counselor told me not to fight back when he is angry as this will only get matters worse.

            Thank you for all the wisdom you shared on this sight, truly they are God-given to you. As I am walking thru this journey I also realized that I have a lot to change as well. I am thankful for every circumstances, including the difficult ones as I am learning a lot from them. God has been working hard on me as I believe he is working hard on my husband as well. If this has to include the pain we have to experience then it is worth it.

            Thank you and may God bless you more!

          6. Maria,

            It sounds like you are seeking God and that things are going much better right now between you and your husband, as well. I love your heart for your marriage and for God. Praying for His greatest glory in your lives individually, and for His healing – as well as His glory in your marriage. πŸ™‚

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.

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