Healing a Marriage Plagued by
New Life Ministries
When a man is ensnared by sexual sin--soft-core or hard-core pornography,
Internet liaisons, or adultery--his wife's love and trust are
shattered. However, if he chooses purity--and if his wife chooses
mercy--trust can blossom again amidst the ruins.
The book Every Heart Restored is
coauthored by a husband and wife team who faced his sexual sin
and successfully rebuilt their marriage. Healing can begin, the
authors say, when both people face the truth and confront the
problem head on. The husband must understand that he needs to
return to living by God's boundaries rather than his own. Below
is an excerpt from their book.
* * *
Men are slower at understanding relationships,
and we can't forget that our husbands have blind spots that result
from their hardwiring. Your goal is to speed up his learning curve
by grinding with the iron and pointing out clearly what God means
by being trustworthy.
1. Confront him. Be excruciatingly honest about
your pain. Remove the wiggle room with the precision of a surgeon,
talking straight about how he is failing you and how you are losing
respect for him.
Your not here to hurt him but to help him. You’re not fighting
for your way but to have things God’s way.
Never withdraw from him verbally – the silent treatment
must never happen in your home, because that’s just another
form of anger out of control. Your silence can inflict more cruel
damage on a relationship than an open storm.
You do it by defending God’s boundaries and not your own.
Be transparent, persistent, and resolute.
You aren’t there to attack the man – you are there
to boost the man. It’s not your ministry to bring him back
to you sexually. It’s your ministry to bring him back to
God spiritually. It may be hard to keep this as your focus, but
it’s the right focus.
2. Insist that your husband stop drawing his own lines
for sin. He needs to accept God’s definitions of
sin, not those of the guys he plays pickup basketball with during
lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Your husband must accept
God’s terms, or else He can’t trust your husband.
Just like Justine wrote:
One night during our engagement, Caleb showed me a calendar
he’d gotten from a tool dealer. Since he was an auto mechanic,
I’m sure he was excited about the cars, but all I could
see were the blatantly sexual scantily clad women in serpentine
poses suggestively draped all over the cars.
I objected to the calendar and asked him to throw it out, but
he huffed, “They’re not pornographic… These
women aren’t even nude!”
We argued some more, but a little piece of me died when he
icily chided, “You are so insecure and immature! Patronizingly,
he then added, “I chose you, not some model. Can’t
you even see that?”
Clearly, I’d lost the argument. But a small voice inside
me inquired persistently, Isn’t he really choosing those
models over you by not honoring your request? I’ve heard
that voice grow louder throughout the years.
Those pictures are pornographic, and this voice should get louder,
because it’s telling the truth. You mustn’t muzzle
the Spirit’s voice in your helper role, because if your
husband is stuck in sexual sin, his eardrums have been cauterized
to the whispers of the Holy Spirit, and his conscience has been
seared. You must speak for God and call sin “sin”
so your husband can hear and learn what it is.
3. Insist on the truth. Perhaps your husband
can’t deliver on sexual purity by the weekend, but he can
be man enough to start telling the truth today. Normal Christian
men tell the truth, and if he expects God to trust him, his lying
has got to go. Call him out every time you know he’s lying
Obviously lies undermine relationships. Your husband must stop
lying immediately. You need open communication regarding his sin,
and he must truthfully answer any question you might pop his way.
4. Insist he stop posing as a strong Christian man.
Remember, your husband has been hiding behind a good Christian
image, but that must change. Since image is everything these days,
“Showtime Christianity” is pandemic. Brody’s
part of the show went like this, according to his wife:
After arguing about his porn again, I left the room and went
to God in prayer, sobbing. I really didn’t see how Brody’s
pride, shame, or defensiveness would budge, but I asked God
to jar them anyway. I proposed to Brody that we go see the youth
pastor at our church, since he is also a licensed marriage and
If Brody refused to go, I’d know he’d rather save
his pride and be comfortable than work things out with me. Brody
finally agreed to go, but protesting loudly, “That pastor’s
never going to look at me the same way again.”
Who cares if the youth pastor won’t look at you the same
way, buddy? Get real! Your wife already can’t look at you
the same way, and God’s eyebrows are arched askew too. Being
Christian should have total priority over looking Christian any
day of the week, and if God is to ever trust your husband, you
must encourage your husband in that direction.
Insist that he quit posing at church. If he’s a deacon
or elder, he ought to step down until he’s free of sexual
sin. If he’s a lay worship leader, he ought to step down.
If he’s on a mission board, he ought to step down. His image
may mean something in the visible realm, but only substance counts
in the spiritual realm.
If he won’t do it, consult the pastor. Your husband needs
to face the truth that he isn’t who he says he is. Those
bushes must burn, and this charade must end.
* * *
New Life Ministries offers the Every Heart Restored Workshop
for married women whose husbands are involved in or are in recovery
from pornography or infidelity. For more information, visit their
"Four Ways to Defend God's Boundaries with Your Husband,"
taken from the book Every
Heart Restored by Steve Arterburn and Brenda & Fred
Stoeker. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries
has a variety of resources on men, women and relationships. Call
1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit www.newlife.com.
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