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April 2012 – The Forgotten Half – Wives of Christian Porn / Sex Addicts

Statistics show that at least 50% of Christian men are viewing porn.

They need help, but is getting a bunch of guys (many who are married) to quit looking at porn and having sex with themselves all we need to worry about?

A few years ago I called a lady who was a potential vendor for the ministry. After I explained to her what Blazing Grace was about, she broke down crying, and shared that she’d lost her marriage due to her husband’s sexual sin.

Not long after, I contacted another company for information on their services. As the topic of conversation turned to the ministry, the woman I was speaking with divulged how her husband struggled with porn and how painful it was.

What often gets lost in the porn epidemic of the church is how profoundly porn impacts a wife’s heart.
The following are from two wives:

Back in August I was in contact with you when my husband Jim confessed his addiction with pornography to me. I told him I would support him in getting help but he refused, saying he has self-control and doesn’t want or need help. I told him it was the only way our marriage could survive; we had separated numerous times because of his addiction in the past. I have filed for divorce. I am ready to be more vocal and speak out against this thing that is tearing families apart.

Sometimes when I’m hurting the worst and am crying, I ask God for a verse, something, anything to let me know that He’s there; that He sees my pain and cares for my wounded heart, even though my husband doesn’t. God has always given me immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine… usually on the floor of the bathroom, with a locked door, lots of Kleenex, my Bible and my journal. I remember spending lots of time in the Psalms then, as well… and sometimes reading a book I’d found at the Christian bookstore. Playing worship music is also helpful in lifting me out of despair and helping my heart to feel the love of God.

Hurting, crying, and divorce; adultery, whether with porn and masturbation or an affair, shreds a wife’s heart. The sad thing is that emails like the first one where this wife’s Christian husband wasn’t willing to get help aren’t rare.

I know first hand how damaging porn-adultery is, because I watched what it did to my wife. Like many Christian men, I snuck the baggage of my sexual addition into our marriage. Michelle had no idea who she married or what she signed up for. When the cat jumped out of the bag, it took years for her to heal from the wounds I’d inflicted.

There are an increasing number of support groups for men who struggle with porn, but few to help the wives. Why is this? Here are 3 reasons:

1. Shame. Just as the husband feels shame from his secret sin, so does the wife. When the husband is soiled so is she. It’s embarrassing and humiliating for a woman to admit her husband would rather look at porn than have sex with her. If she attends a church that can barely say “sex” without running for the hills, the isolation and fear of being judged and/or the feeling of being an outcast are compounded.

2. Christians who give bone-headed advice. I’ve heard of pastors who told the hurting wife that “her husband’s porn problems would go away if she just gave him more sex.” So she should reward his porn-adultery with physical intimacy, whether he wants to stop or not, and whether her heart is in a healed enough place to offer it? This is like telling her to stuff her feelings and “get over it.” Counsel like this is why many seek help outside of the church.

3. The church doesn’t realize the severity of the problem and offer the same healing and hope to hurting wives as it does to the men. When’s the last time you heard a sermon when sexual sin or porn was discussed and the wife was brought into the picture? Many sermons are “here’s what God’s word says, now do it,” which is a start, but we need to offer help and answers for the struggling husband and the hurting wife. How does she deal with her pain and anger? What does the forgiveness process look like? How does she rebuild trust and set boundaries? (There are a number of articles at Blazing Grace that address these issues).

If 50% of Christian men are viewing porn, then half of the women in the church are in serious need of help. More than half of the emails we receive at Blazing Grace (and posts at the forums) are from hurting wives. Many of these women are at the end of their rope and don’t know where to turn for help.

If the man breaks free from porn but his wife doesn’t heal, the marriage and family may still be lost. Any ministry or church who is serious about helping the sexually broken must offer help to the spouse as well.

For another resource, see Marsha Means’ website at www.journeytohealingandjoy.com/.

Marsha is the author of Living with Your Husband’s Secret Wars, a great book for hurting wives.

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Ladies Prayer Group

We have a group of ladies who share and pray for each other by conference call once a week. The women who’ve participated in the past have found this a blessing as they have others who they can share their struggles with and find encourage from, in addition to praying for each other and the ministry. Most participants are wives whose husbands have issues with sex and/or porn addiction. If you’re interested in getting involved, please email me.

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Somebody’s Daughter

I had the privilege of watching the DVD that the ministry Somebody’s Daughter made recently, and highly recommend it. Three men who struggled with porn, (one of whom is a pastor) and a husband and wife were interviewed on how porn affected them. It was great to finally see a pastor open up, and watching the husband and wife share side by side brought tears to my eyes. Just the husband and wife interview alone should be shown in every church.

For more information, go to http://www.somebodysdaughter.org/.

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The Road to Grace

The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sexual Addiction is Mike Genung’s book on breaking free from sexual addiction.

Topics covered include:

* Biblical tools for overcoming sexual temptation.
* Healing from shame.
* How to stop a masturbation habit.
* Dealing with the core issues that drive sexual sin.
* Understanding and receiving the love of God in the heart.
* Healing for Wives
* How to restore a marriage that’s been broken by sexual sin and/or adultery.

The Road to Grace is used in support groups, and provides plenty of material for discussion.

For more information and to purchase, visit www.roadtograce.net

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More Reading

Healing a Broken Marriage

How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?

It’s Just a Little Porn; I’m no Sex Addict

Masturbation

Sexual Sobriety isn’t Enough

The Answer

The Destructive Force of Adultery
Winning the War in the Mind

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Quick Links

www.blazinggrace.org – Blazing Grace home page

www.blazinggrace.org/forums/ – a community for those who struggle with sexual sin and their spouses.

www.roadtograce.net – Site for Mike Genung’s book The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sex Addiction.

www.2chronicles714.net – Site that focuses on putting 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into action for individuals and churches.
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Final Words

To hide the truth is to keep people in bondage.

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Blazing Grace’s purpose is to minister to the sexually broken and equip the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter.

Content from the Blazing Grace Newsletter may be posted on websites or otherwise reprinted for ministry purposes. (Please show the correct byline, and add a link to www.blazinggrace.org when posting any material electronically.) Publication for commercial use is prohibited without written permission.

I enjoy reading your feedback.

May God’s grace abound to you.

Mike Genung

All material copyright 2012 Mike Genung