by Amy Meyer Allen
If I asked you, “What is most important to you?” What comes to mind first? For many it's family. We know the “right” answer is to put God as our first priority. But do we?
In my own life God wasn't first on my list. My security and sense of well being came from my husband. In my eyes, he could do no wrong, I made him my rock.
That's when everything came crashing down. My “rock” had a crack pornography. The crack grew to a chasm until a pile of rubble was all that remained. Now what could I rely on?
Thankfully, God got my attention through the demise of our marriage. While we were separated, I learned to put all my trust in my true “rock” - the Lord Jesus Christ. It wasn't an easy process. Because I had grown up going to church, was baptized as a baby, and basically a “good” person; I thought I had everything under control. But, God knew what it would take to get me to put Him first. Finally, when my marriage crumbled around me, I was able to see I needed a Savior, and a Lord. I couldn't control my husband's actions. In actuality I had no control over anything. One day when I was alone and separated from my husband, God's grace broke through my devastated heart. I finally surrendered my whole life to the Lord.
After God called my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself, He asked us to reconcile our marriage. The process was hard and took years of work (we're still working). The key to our restored marriage is now we each put our hope, dreams, and trust in God alone. We realize our spouse cannot meet all our needs, especially the deepest desires of our heart. Only God can do that. We found solid ground just as described in 2 Samuel 22: 47:
“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.”
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of coming alongside women who are hurting as a result of their husband's sexual addiction or infidelity. The advice I give is to concentrate on your own relationship with the Lord and let Him use this time which feels like crushing despair to deepen your faith. Sometimes despair is precisely what God will use to bring you into a real relationship with Him through Jesus. He did with me.
Are you struggling in your marriage? Do you want more than anything for your marriage to be healed? That is precisely the problem. To get your priorities straight, God wants you to desire Him more than anything even more than the restoration of your marriage.
Here are five steps I learned to make God my first priority:
1. I run to Him first when things go wrong. I cry out to Him not other people and not my husband. No earthly friend can help you the way He can.
2. I make time for Him. I can come up with so many excuses to not spend time with God. Too much work to do, the kids need me, I'd rather sleep in. Yet, He always blesses me when I make an effort to be with Him.
3. I study His Word. I used to say, “I wish God would just tell me what to do. Give me a list of instructions and I'd do it!” He has in His Word. As I study it, I realize He is leading and guiding me. For true transformation to take place,, I need to to apply His word to my life.
4. I stand on His promises. My feelings are fickle and change constantly. God's promises are true, trustworthy and never change. Whether I “feel” like it or not, I take God at His Word. For instance, although I may “feel” alone, when God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” I know the truth is He’s right here with me.
5. I ask Him what to do. People give plenty of advice, but only God has the exact right answer. I find it as I pray, study His Word and wait for Him to show me.
Do you have your priorities straight? Be honest with yourself. If you have put anything ahead of your relationship with God including the desire for your marriage to be healed then you need to make an effort to get your priorities back in line.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8 NLT
Father, I pray You are our first priority. Our relationship with You is more important than anything else even the restoration of a broken marriage. Help us to put You first in our lives so all Your goodness can flow from there. In Jesus name, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
I had every intention of never speaking to him again. After discovering my husband, Tim, had been going to prostitutes for over a year without me realizing it, I filed for divorce.
Unbeknownst to me, God had a much different plan in store. During a six month separation, God held back the divorce papers and brought both my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself through Jesus. Then He called me to reconcile with my husband.
In each of these situations, God directed my steps and showed me very clearly what to do. (Proverbs 20:24) The key was listening to Him. Every marriage situation is different. There are different circumstances, different people coming from different backgrounds, different journeys and relationships with the Lord. Perhaps one spouse is a believer in Jesus and the other isn't. Maybe they both think they are following the Lord but neither one of them has a close relationship with Him.
Many women in my situation ask me for advice. I can only share what God has done in my own marriage and encourage them to seek the Lord with all their heart. God is able to show each one of us what we should do. He desires that each of us trust Him and ask Him for advice and direction. I believe God uses these devastating situations to bring us closer to Him. Because He created each one of us uniquely, He can show us what to do in every unique situation.
Sometimes God will call us to stay. Sometimes He will call us to separate. Never will He ask us to condone or enable sin.
When God called me to move back home with my husband, I did so only out of love and obedience for Him. I was very afraid of being hurt again. During our time apart, God gave my husband a glimpse of hell, where he was headed if he continued with his life of sin. Thankfully he got the message, and, in tears of release and repentance, he gave his life to Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:10) One of the ways I knew it was God's will to reconcile was because of the true repentance I saw in my husband. It was amazing to see how excited he was about the Bible. He was convinced it was 100% true and he should live his life by it. I saw my husband as a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God wants each one of us to be with Him forever. This means truly turning from our sin, repenting, and giving our lives to Him. I believe a big part of our roles as wives is to love our husbands enough to leave them when they are sinning and not take personal responsibility for their sin. (1 Corinthians 7:2-6) If our husband is not a believer, separating for a time may be the only way God can get their attention. That old saying, “You don't know what you've got until it's gone” often comes true in this kind of situation.
I learned that if I truly love my husband, truly want what is best for him, then I cannot condone or enable his sin. I have to be the wife he needs, not necessarily the wife he wants. The wife he needs prays for him, encourages him to spend time with the Lord, cheers him on, forgives him when he stumbles, hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Sometimes love is tough. It does the very thing we may not “feel” like doing. It doesn't always line up with our emotions or feelings because love isn't a feeling but an action. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) It looks out for the best for the other person, even if that person may “feel” unloved at the time. Isn't God that way with us? He doesn't always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need. Because He loves us so much, He wants us to grow, persevere, and become more like Jesus in character. (Philippians 2:1-18)
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~ James 5:19-20 NIV
Father, I pray for people that are struggling with sexual sin. I pray You give their spouse the strength they need to separate when necessary and the obedience to reconcile when You call them to that. You are a God of redemption. Help each one of us to follow You and trust Your guidance in every situation. You alone have all the answers. I pray these things in Jesus' name, 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!
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)
I was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I went to church all my life, I didn't make Jesus Lord of my life until I was 29 years old. My real relationship with Him began when my marriage fell apart.