Sunday, July 20, 2014

Your Husband's Porn Addiction Likely Started Way Before You Met Him - Finding Compassion


Are you a parent? 
Any chance you have a son?

I want you to imagine with me for a minute that your son is exposed to pornography at the ripe age of 7. 
Perhaps 11.
Maybe he's lucky and doesn't see it until he's 14.

Would ANY of those ages be acceptable to you as a mom?

If you can answer yes to that question, there's no way you'll agree with the rest of this post, but I hope and pray you'll keep reading it anyway.

Every letter is written to a specific audience, and this post is written to Christian women, so please read it in that context.

Some research shows that 99% of men will have been exposed to pornography at some point in their lives. I find that hard to believe. I think it's more like 100%.

My son was first exposed in a thrift store/swap shop in the town in which I live. We were just strolling through looking for home furnishings and there on the wall was a photo of a woman from the 40s, laying completely naked at his eye level.

Some men see pornography a time or two in their lives and it never grabs control of them.

In my experience of counselling women, these men are in the minority.

So why am I writing about this? 

The past two weeks have been intense weeks of ministry for me. I've been confronted afresh on several levels by the ramifications of sexual sin and how it affects women and families.

I have wept with these ladies, prayed with them, pointed them to the Word of God, exhorted them to stand in the gap for their husbands, and hurt with them over their heartache and the betrayal that they feel.

Please hear my heart...I will never condone something that God says is sin. I simply want to help you hurting wives process through this heinous battle against sexual sin that your husband may be fighting.

I know one woman whose husband was first exposed when he was in the second his brother, who purposefully showed it to him and then said, "Now that you've seen it, you can't tell anyone."

I know another whose husband went to visit his grandparents on his mother's side shortly after his parents were divorced, and while there found two ARMOIRES full of pornographic magazines.

He was just entering puberty at the time, his father had previous issues with pornography which in part broke his mother to the point of leaving, and there he sat without a mother to care for him or a father to set a Godly example of following Christ in sexual purity.

And guess who welcomed him into her bosom for false comfort?

The woman on the glossy pages.

What I want you to KNOW, hurting wife, is that your husband's pornography issues most likely started way before you met him. 
(I know people call it addiction, and perhaps it is, but one can be addicted to any sin.)

If you step back from your pain for a minute and picture him as a little boy, or a teenager - and realize THAT was the moment when Satan barraged him with missles from Hell, does that help you find compassion for him and a willingness to stand in the gap for him and help him heal?

Let me give you a more personal expamle of finding compassion and walking in it when one didn't really have to.

Many years ago my husband came home from work and we were having our fifteen minute debrief together while he was changing out of his work clothes. When it came time to take his belt off, he unbuckled it and lifted his arm high in the air to pull it quickly out of his pant loops.

INSTANTANEOUSLY I broke down weeping.

Seeing that belt lifted high in the air when he was standing up and I was sitting down at a much lower level, brought back memories from my childhood that were deeply rooted in my soul. 

To this day, my precious husband only removes his belt in a sideways manner. It takes him much longer to get it off, but he found COMPASSION for me. Based upon things that happened to me in my childhood, there are other more intimate considerations that my sweetheart makes for me...and every one of them requires a sacrifice on his part.

What about you, wife?

Are you willing to sacrifice and put on a heart of compassion in order to be used of God to help your husband heal?

I have another question for you to consider...

Were you ever exposed to pornography prior to your marriage?

I know I was. Growing up in the piney woods of Texas, those woods were my place of refuge. I would spend HOURS playing by myself. The first exposure I remember was in a fort that I had built that some older boys had obviously found one night. The beer cans and the magazines were my evidence.

That didn't become a stronghold for me that stayed with me into adulthood, but young men are wired differently. As we know, they are generally visually stimulated more than women are.

This is one reason that we mothers of young girls need to be DISCERNING in what we allow them to wear.

Do you REALLY want some teenager, or some MAN, looking at your daughter like 68% of men in church look at the women on the pages of their pornographic magazines and websites?

Do you not realize that men have visual triggers? 

I know your daughter looks beautiful in her string bikini...but WHY, OH WHY are you teaching her that parading her body around at the swimming pool is the way to find her value?!

Do you not realize that's what you're telling her when you allow that?!

I've witnessed Christian young men at public swimming pools DESPERATELY looking for a safe place to let their eyes land. 

Christian Mommas, I implore you...WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

My son and I have an agreement. When we go to the community pool, if we get there and he feels that the visual struggle is too strong for him to be able to keep his thought life pure, all he has to say to me is "Mom, we need to go."

That's it, and we're gone. I don't care if it's taken me an hour to get out the door. 

I am willing to sacrifice all I need to in order to give my son the greatest opportunity for spiritual purity.

As moms and as wives, we need to be a harbor in the storm for our sons and husbands. We need to create an atmosphere of openness in our homes, so that they can be honest with us about how we can help to protect their hearts.

If you're aware that your husband is fighting a battle with pornography, I BEG you to be a safe place for him to be transparent. You may not want to know every single detail, so use wisdom in the questions that you ask him.

However, you cannot heal if you will not DEAL.

Your man can't heal if you refuse to DEAL.

Sweeping the sin of pornography under the rug and acting like it hasn't invaded your home would be as foolish as doing the same with alcoholism, crack addiction, or tax evasion.

Your marriage will have no hope of healing if you choose to ignore the sin.

There are some friends that stick closer than a brother when it comes to pornography, especially with the Christian man...they are:

Emascuation - Satan's lie is that looking at this garbage is going to make them more manly. It does JUST the opposite. 

Lying - This one needs no explanation. Just know this...getting to the root of sexual sin is like peeling an onion. There's almost ALWAYS more to the story than what you're told at first.
I have lost count of the number of women who have told me that their husbands confessed to them that they'd kissed another woman. I'm sure there are times when that's the truth...but sadly, they haven't been the majority in my experience of working with hurting wives. 
Why is a man going to step into the waters of adultery and once in, stop at kissing? 
If you want to see your husband healed, don't be naive, and be willing to ask the hard questions and give him a safe place to be honest.

Anger - Yep, it's almost always there. Sometimes it's passive aggressive, but it's there.

Manipulation - It comes in many forms.

Blaming - Your husband's choice for sexual sin is NOT YOUR FAULT!

Reason that out with me...

If he was exposed to pornography and sexual sin prior to meeting you, how is it your fault if he has chosen to continue in it? Don't accept the blame for his sin.

Again, I want to use a personal example. When my pastor uses personal stories to illustrate his messages, I always "get" them.

Before I was a Believer, I cursed like a sailor. I'm not kidding you when I tell you I could cuss in full paragraphs without taking a breath. Cursing wasn't considered a sin in my home growing up...I never heard an apology for the filth that was spewed at any given moment. Cursing was just how anger was to be handled.

I'd love to tell you (OH, how I'd love to tell you!) that the moment I was saved Jesus took away any desire to ever curse in anger again. He took SO much away the instant I was saved, but not cussing. 

I have to daily depend upon Christ, daily turn to Him when I'm angry and beg for His help not to fling out a doozie.

Let me be clear on this... I HATE THIS SIN!!! I HATE IT!

Yet I have to BATTLE it, and I don't always win...because sometimes I choose to walk in my flesh instead of by the Spirit.

Ugh. Just sharing that with you makes me want to PUKE!

So with that information, let's go back to your husband.

He's in a battle. 

What would you be doing for him if he had signed up to serve our country on the front lines?

Wouldn't you be PRAYING for him?
Wouldn't you STAND IN THE GAP while he was away serving?
Wouldn't you BEG GOD to give him victory, to protect him, to keep him safe?

Ladies, please do that for your husband if he is in the spiritual battle against sexual sin.

I promise you, a plan won't fix him. 
A 12 step program won't give him freedom. 
And, I hope you take great comfort in this truth....YOU CAN'T FIX HIM, either!

Sexual sin requires heart surgery for the Christian man, and a heart transplant for the man who isn't in Christ. (He needs a NEW heart...the one promised to us through the New Covenant.)

Please, I beg of you...

Don't punish him. Set boundaries that are healthy and God honoring, but don't become his judge.

Be wise in whom you seek counsel from. "Christian" counselors who never open the Bible are a dime a dozen, and you'll find someone at every turn who will tell you to pack up and leave him.

Realize that if 100% of men have been exposed to pornography at some point in their lives, leaving your current husband in hope of a better draw next time isn't always the answer.

That being said, there are many who will tell you that because he hasn't committed physical adultery, you have no Biblical right to divorce. I couldn't disagree more. (See Matthew 5) 

But, as Christians we don't live by our rights...we live by that which gives the most glory to God. Is God going to be more glorified if you stay and forgive, and fight, and beg The Lord to give you a testimony out of your heartache that will help other families heal and stay together, or is He going to be more glorified if you pack and leave?

STAND in the TRUTH that The Lord wants your husband, you, your marriage, and your family spiritually healed. 

My hope and prayer is that this will happen for you WHILE you're still married, but if your husband refuses to bow his knee before the King of Kings and he chooses his sin over Christ, you have to KNOW that God is sovereign even over that. He will comfort, protect, and guide you should you find yourself a widow to sexual sin. 

He will also give you a testimony out of your heartache that He will use to minister to other women.


Much love to you,