When I found out my husband had been going to prostitutes for over a year and half without me realizing it, I was both shocked and relieved. Shocked, because I could hardly believe I didn't know! Relieved, because I knew God had revealed it to me.
About three years prior to finding out about the prostitutes I had kicked my husband out of our house when I found out he had an affair. When he called me one day, broken and repentant, I slowly let him back into my life – letting him earn back and rebuild my trust in him. After finding out about the affair, my Mom mailed me a book called “An Affair of the Mind,” by Laurie Hall. In it, the author expressed her own struggle with her husband's pornography addiction and acting out with prostitutes. I remember reading about the prostitutes thinking, “At least my husband's not that bad.” Little did I know what was going on in his heart and soul.
In the book three main points have stuck with me over years.
1. I needed to be more concerned about my husband's soul than I was about saving our marriage. - Mark 8:34-38
2. I could not control my husband, but must relinquish any control I thought I had over him to God. - Romans 8:6 NLT
3. I shouldn't drive myself crazy trying to be a detective and figure out what my husband was doing. Instead I needed to trust that God would reveal anything He wanted me to see in His timing. - Job 12:22, Deuteronomy 29:29
I could see my husband's soul withering away right in front of my eyes. I didn't understand about spiritual battles then otherwise I would have put on the full armor of God. Instead I just had these freshly revealed principles to cling to. It was hard to think of our marriage dissolving, but I did recognize the wisdom that my husband's soul was more important than our “happily ever after.”
The issue of control was pretty new to me. For the first time in our marriage I was forced to realize that I had absolutely no control over my husband's actions. I could cry, scream, bargain, manipulate, but in the end my husband's choices were his alone. At one point I did symbolically give my husband to God while praying with his parents and my Mom. I asked God to take hold of his life because I knew I was helpless to change him. - James 5:16
Before I knew about these principles, I had found out about the affair by snooping through my husband's credit card bills. Granted, we didn't have the best arrangement in the first place – we each had separate bank accounts, credit cards, etc; not the greatest way to “become one” in marriage. But in the book I learned that God could be trusted to reveal anything I needed to know about my husband in His way and His timing. That freed me from excessive worry, trying to control the situation, or being accused by my husband of snooping in his stuff. So when God did reveal to me that my husband had been going to prostitutes, it was obvious: an escort service flyer was stuck in the memory of my printer and came out when I tried to print something else.
Ten years after God reconciled our marriage I still remind myself of these very important and Biblical principles. It keeps me from snooping or trying to control or even change my husband, and reminds me to pray for him instead.
Remember: …with God all things are possible! – Matthew 19:26
Father, I pray for the person reading this right now. Help them to stay calm, keep their focus on You, and realize that they are helpless to change their spouse. Only You can do the kind of heart surgery that is needed in this situation. In the meantime, give them the strength to trust You, relinquish control, and believe that You can do anything. We pray that You will bring these precious souls into a living, loving and saving relationship with You, through Your Son, Jesus. We pray for true repentance and that You will reveal what needs to be brought into the light in Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I found this really good article about the physiological and psychological effects of pornography on the brain. It is an interview with Laurie Hall. She is the author of the book, "An Affair of the Mind." I read that book when I first found out about my husband's affair. My Mom suggested I read it and I'm so glad I did!
Here is the link to the article: http://www.pornaddicthubby.com/An-Affair-Of-The-Mind.html
I really like her Biblical research on forgiveness as well. Plus, the difference in what happened with her marriage (which ended in divorce) and ours (which ended in reconciliation) is that her husband was never truly repentant. I am thankful that God restored our marriage, but I know we would have divorced if Tim had not truly repented and given his heart to the Lord. The same transformation took place in me as well!
These are just some of the things I wish I had known or done when I first found out my husband was being unfaithful.
1. You didn’t cause your husband to act out in this way. There may be some things lacking on your part, there’s no such thing as the perfect wife, but at the end of the day – he chose to sin against God. (James 1:13-15)
2. Don’t take it personally. He didn’t do this just to hurt you or make you suffer or punish you for something you’re not doing – he’s just being selfish and seeking to please himself. Depending on how ensnared he is in the addiction, he may think he needs the pornography or the other woman or the prostitutes, but he doesn’t. He may tell you it’s your fault or take the blame upon himself. But either way, you have to get beyond your feelings and try not to wallow in self-pity – it only makes it harder to get to the root issue. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
3. You must hold him responsible for his own actions. Denial is huge – it seems like the easier way out, but relief is only temporary. Do not allow the behavior to continue, but seek to find out why it started in the first place. If necessary, separate from him physically for while, until he takes ownership of his actions. (Ephesians 4:15)
4. Affirm your love for him. Make sure he knows you love him and that you want to work through this together. Don’t threaten to leave or divorce him – that only makes him want to hide the whole truth from you. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
5. Don’t shame him. We all have secret sins that need to be brought into the light. Thank God that He brought this into the light so you can work on it together. Let your husband confess his sins to you, take ownership of them and repent. (1 John 1:8-9)
6. Do not become bitter with unforgiveness. If your husband has asked for forgiveness, you must forgive him. This may not come immediately, but it must be dealt with quickly before bitterness, hatred or rage overtake you. Remember everything that God through Christ has forgiven you of. (Matthew 18:21-35)
7. Don’t try to retaliate or have an affair yourself to get him back. That will only make matters worse and give him a reason in his own mind to keep doing what he is doing. (Romans 12:17-21)
8. Get plugged into a women’s Bible study where you can study the truth of God’s word in-depth and apply it to your life. This is where you will gain your strength and the wisdom to move forward one step at a time. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
9. Pray for your husband. A great book to help you pray specifically for him is, “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie O’Martian. This is one of the greatest things you can do to promote healing in your marriage. (James 5:16)
10. Ask God if you have been disrespecting your husband in any way. Ask your husband as well. His greatest need is to feel respected by his wife and if he doesn’t, he may start to act in ways that make him feel respected or in control. A great book that explains the different needs of men and women is “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. (Ephesians 5:33)
Remember: you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! ~ Philippians 4:13
After attending numerous counseling sessions with a professional Psychologist, after attending 12-step group meetings with SA, and after reading numerous books and accounts that people have written regarding lust in their lives, I have decided to sit down and record events and feelings that have occurred throughout my life which may help me and others to understand how and why this one desire, one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”, was able to slowly seep into my thoughts, take over my mind, control my life, and ultimately grab onto my soul.
Lust; in all its evil ways has tempted me in countless ways ever since I can remember, and it will continue to tempt me all the days of my life. How am I personally controlling this desire in my life today? A simple answer…I’m not. I, a human being with an extremely sinful nature, don’t have the ability to control this desire in my life; I have lost all control. I alone am addicted to sexual lust and the inner feelings of pleasure that it provides to me. According to Webster to be “addicted” is to give oneself up to some strong habit. I gave myself up to this habit a long time ago in exchange for the feelings of power and the mental and physical release and relaxation that it offered to provide me. I have learned to accept the fact that lust and the evils associated with it are more powerful than I am and that I alone do not have the ability to control or stop what it continuously begs me to do.
So how am I able to live a life where lust does not control my actions? I have and continue to turn my life over to a “higher power”. I am giving up trying to be in control of my life and turning control over to Jesus Christ and following Him. He is the only way that I can live a life free of the control of this evil “disease” of the mind. I am learning daily how to put my life completely into His hands. Is lust still tempting? YES…YES, IT IS. For me it is sometimes more tempting and more desirable than anything else I can think of. I have wanted and at times still want what it promises to provide more than life itself. For yourself, imagine somebody or something in this world that you feel you absolutely cannot live without. Maybe you feel that you cannot live without alcohol, gambling, money, drugs, sports, friends, parties, chocolate, the thrill provided by a certain adventure, a very close relationship (including your spouse), cigarettes, absolute security, good health, and even a career. If it is anything other than Jesus Christ and the love He offers and promises, you are fooling yourself, because ultimately that is truly the only thing that you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT.
If you feel that you cannot or would prefer not to live life without that thing…you have given yourself up to it…you are addicted. You may laugh. I say try and quit - give it up completely forever and see what happens to you; especially your mind. Giving yourself up to some strong habit other than Jesus Christ will ultimately separate you from the love and salvation that Jesus promises…it will control how you think and act and ultimately it will kill your soul forever.
(written by Tim in 2000)