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About Blazing Grace

       As of February 2008, Blazing Grace's ministry and website became part of TechMission's Safe Families program. Mike Genung took a leave of absence from Blazing Grace in order to concentrate on other responsibilities. For much of 2009, the pastoral oversight was handed over to Jayson Graves and his staff at Healing for the Soul. Jayson has long been a friend of Blazing Grace and Safe Families and has been co-hosting the ministry's radio shows for years.  

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Porn Awareness Campaign

 

Porn Awareness Campaign

     When it comes to sexual sin, silence and apathy destroys families. When we speak boldly of the problem and offer clear answers it encourages those who struggle with sex or porn addiction to reach out and get help.

       You can help us provide hope to the hurting by sponsoring a billboard, Radio ad campaign, newspaper ads, or the Blazing Grace radio show in your city. Please email us if you're interested in partnering up this way. Or you can support us financially.

 

 

Billboard artwork:

      
     Thank you for the billboard on Nevada; I have been given new life.
     
W. Colorado Springs

      "Your billboards are awesome ! They need to be in every city across America!"

      Bill, Colorado Springs

      "I found out about your site when I saw your billboard... I have a problem with 
       porn and masturbation and would like to attend your meetings... please help."
   
      A.J., Colorado Springs
 
You can download and listen to our Radio ad by right clicking the link and saving it to your hard drive. The file is in mp3 format and is approximately 1 megabyte.

       I was running on the treadmill and praying for strength to overcome my
       struggle with sex addiction... I was listening to the radio and heard your ad.
       Coincidence ?
       Ed, Colorado Springs

       I am so glad I heard about your ministry on the radio. I need to attend the
       weekly meetings.

       Tom, Colorado Springs
             

 

©Copyright 2005 Mike Genung
All material in this website may be reprinted for personal, church or ministry use.    
No reprints for commercial use without written permission.
Blazing Grace Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO 80920

 

The Destructive Force of Adultery

 

The Destructive Force of Adultery

by Mike Genung
 
July, 1991. I had been binging on porn daily, and had lost all control to stop. Prior to getting married in 1989, I’d assumed that having marital sex would resolve my problem with lust, but a year into our marriage I succumbed to the pull again. No one knew about my secret; least of all Michelle, my young wife of two years.
 
I’d started a new business in March of that year, and had decided to take a three week driving trip across the U.S. to visit customers and get sales jump started. My plan was to drive from our home in Los Angeles to Missouri over the weekend, and start making sales calls in St. Louis that Monday.
 
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00am, with nerves on edge. The idea of facing the temptations that come with the roaring silence of a hotel room for three weeks straight was like looking down over a precipice with a steep drop–off where I couldn’t see the bottom. The anxiety was so intense that I rushed to the bathroom to give up my breakfast. Michelle rushed to me in concern, but I couldn’t tell her what I was going through. “I’ll be okay; something I ate didn’t sit well,” I mumbled. 
 
I made it to Blue Springs, Missouri that night; a drive of some 1,400 miles. Exhausted, I went to sleep not long after checking in. “I made it through the first night without falling,” I thought. “Maybe this trip won’t be so bad.”
 
As I made the 240 mile drive into St. Louis the next morning, the ache of loneliness started its assault on my emotions. I thought about being alone in a hotel far away from home for most of the day with nothing to do… and then thoughts of sexual fantasy fluttered in my mind like a butterflyone I started chasing. By the time I checked in to the hotel I’d already decided to buy some porn.
 
Later that night I went to a convenience store and bought several adult magazines. As I flipped through the pages I was shocked to find that one of the “articles” had to do with Satan. Although I knew was playing with the demonic, it didn’t matter; I was determined to have what I wanted regardless of the consequences.
 
I spent that week in St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit, with the same pattern repeating itself: binge on porn and masturbation all night, wake up with a shame hangover, and then function in the business world on a few hours of sleep the next day. By the time I arrived in Dayton, Ohio on Friday, pictures weren’t enough. Lust always leaves a man or woman a little emptier and hungrier than they were before, and I had hollowed out my soul to the point where I craved a bigger fix.
 
After dinner, I called Michelle. She was sweet, caring and kind as usual; when she finished the conversation saying she loved me, a needle of conviction poked at my rock-hard heart… and I reached for the phone book.
 
I found an ad for a company that offered the “service” I was interested in, and made a phone call. A woman was dispatched to my room; it was promised she would be there in a few minutes. I looked at my wedding ring; I couldn’t have sex with another woman and think about my wife, so I took it off.
 
$150.00 and an hour later, I had committed adultery with a woman who sold her body for money. Something was wrong though—I didn’t enjoy it; I wanted to get it over with almost as soon as it started. I felt like crying inside, as if something had died.
 
I had been with prostitutes before I’d been married, and the look in their eyes was often a reflection of what I was doing to myself—and them. When a man or woman gives them self up to sexual sin, there is a death within that takes place that goes beyond the searing of conscience. When I looked into the vacant eyes of a woman who was a prostitute, the life behind the eyes was missing. 
 
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18
 
After she left I had a strong sense that I was filthy, inside and out; a quick shower didn’t relieve this feeling. I put my wedding ring back on and thought of Michelle back home, who was unaware of what her Christian sex addict husband had done. Her words at the end of our last phone conversation came back to me, and I broke down sobbing. How did it get this far? I never would have imagined that after just two years of marriage I, the one everyone thought was a “good Christian guy,” would have committed adultery with a prostitute. 
 
The next morning I checked out of the hotel as soon as I could; I couldn’t stand being there. The memories of what I’d done the night before haunted me like a demonic nightmare I hoped I would wake up from. There was no more hunger for lust, no thoughts of sexual fantasy; I was sick of it.  
 
I met with a customer later that day, and then drove to Kitchener, Canada the next morning. I knew I needed to tell Michelle that I’d broken our marriage covenant, but was terrified of what her response might be. Looking for some advice (and hoping it would be that I shouldn’t tell her), I called a friend of in mine. John was in his fifties, and he and his wife had recovered from the multiple affairs he’d committed. When I asked John if he thought I should tell Michelle, his words sank all hope: “You have to tell her, or there will never be true intimacy in your marriage again; the person you committed adultery with will always be between the two of you.”  
 
Then I asked him how long it took his marriage to heal: “Years,” he said. My mouth dropped. “Years???” I said in disbelief. “Years??? I thought surely you were going to say a few weeks or maybe even months, but years??!!” 

“Yes, years” John repeated firmly. “The old marriage you had is dead and you have to build a new one. This is going to take a lot of time and effort on your part; you’ve got to kill her with kindness and win her all over again.”    
   
There are some moments in life that are never forgotten, the impact is so intense that the memory burns into the mind. That phone call from Canada when I told my wife I’d betrayed her was one of them. As I unfolded the ugly account of my adultery, with porn, and then the prostitute, Michelle started crying. While I spoke, her sobs increased in intensity and sorrow: “Oh Mike, Mike, Mike…” she said… it was as if I was listening while she discovered that I had stabbed her in the back with a nine inch stiletto. 
 
The napkins from our wedding day had said “Today, I married my best friend.” For many women, the shock and horror from uncovering the impossible truth that their best friend has betrayed them is far more traumatic than what was done.  
 
When I heard Michelle’s reaction, I knew that the damage I’d inflicted on our marriage was far more severe than I’d anticipated. Most men are blind to what they’re doing to their wives until it’s too late. Even months later, some don’t get it; it’s not uncommon to hear a man say “when is she gonna get over this” when only a few months have passed.  
 
In the Richter Magnitude scale,1 earthquakes that measure an intensity from one to 5.9 are defined as “very minor” to “moderate.” A moderate earthquake “can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions… slight damage to well-designed buildings.” Very minor to moderate earthquakes are reported to occur more than 60,000 times each year.  
 
Earthquakes measuring 6.0-6.9 are labeled “strong,” and occur 120 times per year. At the top end of the scale is an earthquake measuring 9.0, known as a “rare great” quake, an event that takes place once every 20 years. A rare great earthquake is estimated at having 32 gigatons of explosive force; no building near the epicenter of a 32 gigaton blast will be left standing. Everything is obliterated and must be rebuilt from the ground up.  
 
All marriages have their “very minor” to “moderate” earthquakes which are easily withstood, but adultery is a 32 gigaton blast that decimates everything. The relationship is razed down to its foundation, wiping out all of the trust, love, and joy that had been so carefully constructed over the years.  
 
Before I confessed my adultery to Michelle, she was passionate about our relationship. She loved talking to me; we enjoyed a closeness that I’d never experienced with another person. We freely laughed together, and shared our hobbies, fears and dreams with each other.  
 
All of that changed overnight; what our marriage had been was irrevocably lost. Now, my mere presence would cause her to start crying. Laughter vanished, and our marriage became a desperate struggle for survival. In place of the open door of trust, barriers were constructed to protect against further damage.  
 
Progress was dreadfully slow; there were days when it felt like healing might be impossible; I couldn’t “fix her” because I was the source of Michelle’s pain. Even apologizing caused crying and explosions of anger.
 
Masturbation with porn, by the way, is adultery; worshipping, loving and lusting after another woman by using self-sex to enhance the experience. I’ve heard stories of men whose wives walked in on them as they were acting out with pornography; the recovery process for these marriages take as long as if their wife had caught them with another woman. (The reality with porn is that they were having sex with another woman emotionally and spiritually while having sex with themselves physically.) 
 
If the physical act of adultery is a rare great earthquake, porn with masturbation is a 7.0—a “major earthquake” with the destructive force of 50 megatons. While a 50 megaton blast isn’t as severe as the 32 gigaton version, major earthquakes occur 18 times a year. Since pornography is highly addictive and takes time to overcome, the continual trauma done to a marriage by successive 50 megaton blasts can be just as devastating as that caused by the rare great quake of physical adultery. 
 
Betrayal: To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance; To be false or disloyal to, to lead astray; deceive.
American Heritage Dictionary
 
Only a close friend has access to the deepest, most secret places of our heart, and it is only a close friend who can enter this place—and destroy it.
 
For the Christian sex addict, there is another who they betray:
While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
Luke 22:47-48
 
Like Judas, I kissed Jesus one moment and then betrayed Him the next. I would proclaim my love for Him during worship on Sunday mornings, and then fall down before the evil goddess of lust from Monday through Saturday. Every porn binge and act of adultery was a betrayal of my relationship with the Lord.   
 
How does our adultery affect Him?
 
Have you ever noticed how God often describes the nation of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him as adultery? At times, He sounds mad:
If you say in your heart, 'Why have these things happened to me?' Because of the magnitude of your iniquity your skirts have been removed and your heels have been exposed. Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Therefore I will scatter them like drifting straw to the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion measured to you from Me, declares the Lord, Because you have forgotten Me and trusted in falsehood. So I Myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, that your shame may be seen. As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, the lewdness of your prostitution on the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?

Jeremiah 13:22-27
 
God’s response isn’t far off from how Michelle reacted to my betrayal; she was angry and bitter for months on end, and deeply hurt. Seeing God as angry is easy, but could we also hurt Him?   
 
Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations.
Ezekiel 6:9
 
The Lord exposes His heart to us and offers us His best, which included all the grace, love and life available through Jesus’ death on the cross. If He didn’t care deeply for us, He wouldn’t be so angry—and hurt—when we betray Him. 
 
But He does love us, and He wants us back.
 
Fortunately, we serve a God who heals broken hearts. The rebuilding process begins the same way with Him as it does with our wives: by honest confession of our betrayal and adultery.
 
David wrote about the blessing that came from such an admission:
 
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
Psalms 32:1-6
 
In spite of how I hurt Him, God’s grace and forgiveness were extended to me when I confessed my sin. Such forgiveness and love still amazes me today; there is no sexual sin that the blood of the cross doesn’t cover. 
 
I have written about what healing in a marriage and a wife’s heart looks like in Healing for Wives and Healing a Broken Marriage from Adultery, so I won’t repeat this material here.
 
I will share that one of the most precious moments of my life was when Michelle forgave me for my betrayal of her. For a man who has committed what could have been the unpardonable sin in marriage, receiving such grace is priceless.
 
In 2006, fifteen years after that day in 1991 when I called Michelle and confessed my adultery, I asked her if she had ever forgiven me. We’d been through marital counseling and worked through the pain and anger in years past, but I couldn’t remember if she had ever said the words “I forgive you.” In response she wrote the following letter to me, which she read aloud one night:
 
Mike,
When you called me and told me what you had done, I felt this heavy weight on me that I couldn't get off; my stomach felt like lead. I felt like I had to vomit. I think I kept repeating your name because if I did, somehow it wouldn't be true. It was more of a feeling of bemoaning. Why? Why? Why?
 
You were my first real boyfriend. My first real lover. The only man I had ever given my heart to. The only man I allowed to see me vulnerable. To see my flaws. You were my knight. You told me you loved me. You accepted the things about me I didn't accept.
 
That phone call made me question all of it.
 
My low self-esteem became lower, almost non-existent. I was trying to measure up to something unattainable I thought would make you happy.
 
You took something that was ours and gave it away to a dirty whore.  You just gave it away—it wasn't even something that you could have asked me if I cared. It wasn't something meant to be shared or loaned. It was ours and only ours.
 
You made it cheap. Expendable. No longer special.
 
You took my knight away. You made me grow up in a way I didn't want - or I wasn't ready to see the harsh reality of life. I had an innocence still, and that was destroyed.
 
I know today you are not that same person, nor am I, but you really hurt me, Mike. It was a blow I was unprepared for.
 
I don't remember if I ever said I forgive you, or if I was ever ready because I probably hadn't expressed what you had done to me. I do forgive you, Mike.
 
Love,
Michelle
 
John was right; recovery from adultery takes years. The good news is that the Lord rebuilds and restores broken marriages.
 

 

Healing for Wives Who've Been Hurt

 

 Healing for Wives Who've Been Hurt
 From Adultery or Porn Addiction

 
 by Mike Genung

 
A few years back, I asked my wife to write me a letter describing how my struggle with sex addiction affected her. The following is her letter:

“You asked me to write a letter about how your addiction affected me.  At the time, things were a bit hazy and I was young and didn't know what to think of everything.

It really flared my insecurities up. I measured myself up to other women "in your eyes".  I was always trying to see what you'd find more attractive in others - where my flaws were.  In the beginning of our marriage it was the worst.  My insecurities plus your addiction equaled disaster.

I watched porn movies a few times out of curiosity to see where I was lacking in bed. In a way it was self-torture. "I wasn't good enough", "I didn't measure up".  What was it that you were looking at or drawn to that I couldn't fill?  I was constantly looking at women (probably more than you) to see if you'd notice her smaller waist, her bigger chest, her whatever. 

I've gotten better about not letting it be "my fault".  If you ever decide to go down that road again and self destruct, it isn't going to be my fault.  It'll affect me yes, but not like 12 years ago.

Your sex addiction ruined the little bit of self-esteem I had back then, and there wasn't much of it to begin with.  It put me on guard for everything - I was afraid that if I wasn't "perfect" (whatever that is) you'd leave or stray.  I made you my everything, which was wrong, and when you cheated on me with a prostitute in 1991 it devastated me.

Today I still struggle with insecurity; I'm paranoid about any pictures that might be in something we might get in the mail, or even a magazine I might want to read. It’s not that I think you're going to go back to where you were, but that you'll see in that picture what you don't have in me.”

The process of healing from adultery is hard and sometimes painful, and it takes time to heal from the wounds of betrayal. However, the Living God does heal and completely restore women and their marriages from the wreckage of infidelity (and yes, porn is adultery), so there is abundant hope.
I’ll use some of the points my wife brought up in her letter as a guide for some of the issues we need to examine.
 
1. It’s not your fault.
You could be a 20 year old with the perfect body who gave her husband all the sex he wanted, and it still wouldn’t resolve his struggle with sex addiction. Why? Because sex addiction is his way of dealing with the emptiness, pain and loneliness in his heart. Sex doesn’t resolve a wounded heart, which means anything you may do or not do sexually isn’t the cause for his problem no matter what he says. Some guys try to take advantage of their wife’s false guilt by using “if you were only giving me more sex I wouldn’t be this way” as a smoke screen. If your husband tries to use this line on you, call him on it; never allow him to pin his choice to serve the god of lust on you.
 
There may be friction in your marriage, but there is conflict in every marriage, and resorting to porn or an affair won’t “fix it.”  If your husband is in deep, chances are he’ll be immersed in self absorption and lust, which means he may try to do anything to avoid owning up to his responsibility. 100% of the blame for his decision to worship lust lies on his shoulders, so never allow your husband to put a guilt trip on you. You didn’t cause it, and you can’t fix it.
 
2. Don’t allow your husband to devalue you.
Women do this when they allow their husbands to continue in sex addiction unchallenged. Before you were married if your groom-to-be had said “I’m going to masturbate to porn once a week… or have sex with prostitutes while we’re married” you wouldn’t have walked down the aisle with him – you’d have forced him to choose between you and sexual sin. Why? Because he would be treating you like trash if he said such a thing! You’re a precious daughter of God, not a trophy for his bookshelf, so don’t allow your husband to treat you like one. This means he needs to choose between you and porn, or affairs, or whatever his chosen way of acting out sexually might be.
 
You have to draw a line in the sand with him: “it’s me or porn... or we need to talk about separation.”  He has to make a commitment to do whatever it takes, now, to break free from lust. His commitment must be shown by persistent, determined action; in this arena, words alone mean nothing. This means all porn must be removed from the house and he will no longer corrupt you or your family. If needed, a porn blocker is installed (and he gives you the password), the computer is removed, and/or all TV service is turned off. It means he goes to a group and/or meets with an accountability partner at least once every week.
 
Sex addiction is a hard problem to break free from, so if he isn’t going all out then he won’t get better… and if he’s isn’t going all out, chances are that he’s still playing games with lust. Lies, deception and cover up play a big part of sexual addiction, which means you can't trust that he's getting better from words alone. His actions are the clearest indicator of how serious he is about getting help, so look for proof in his deeds, not his words. 

Confronting your husband may not be easy. He will be floundering in shame, and will have built a wall of isolation around his heart. Talking about his sexual sin will be a terrifying prospect to him - especially in front of you. Some men will resort to outbursts of anger or accusations to deflect attention from the real issue. If he does this, don't take the bait, and stick with the core issue. It's best that you take a few days and pray before confronting him; even better if you have friends who can pray with you.

My experience has been that women sense when their husbands are messing with sex addiction long before they understand it mentally. You have a 6th sense that we men lack, and you know by instinct when something's wrong. If your heart's telling you that something's wrong with your husband (and it's coming from the right place, meaning it's not insecurity talking) then chances are you're right. Follow your instinct up with prayer and ask the Lord what to do next. 
 
You have every right to demand that your husband chooses between you and lust, and you should. Where women make a mistake and enable their husbands’ addiction is when they do nothing and allow their husband to continue corrupting them and their children unabated.
 
3. Get in his corner.
Once your husband starts down the road to recovery, don’t expect him to become completely free for all time from all sexual sin overnight, especially if he’s spent years saturating his mind with lust. (I refer to lust in general here, not affairs or sex outside of marriage, which must stop immediately.) Most men (95%+) get hooked on porn or sex addiction in their teen years, which means they're fighting something that's been a lifelong struggle. This is no easy task. Finding freedom is often a process, not a one time event.
 
If your husband is showing you by consistent action that he wants to break free from sex addiction, join him in the fight. Pray with and for him every day. Ask him once a week how he’s doing (it will add more accountability into his life.)  Remember that his sex addiction is about medicating a hurting heart, and he’s probably just as confused and scared as you are (in addition to being quite ashamed).
 
I’m convinced that a man’s wife is his greatest asset in the battle against lust; your involvement and support can make a huge difference, because you can minister to him like no other human being on earth. If he goes on a business trip, you can pray for him over the phone when he’s in the hotel room (and ask him the next morning what he watched.) You can (gently) help him see his blind spots.
 
Chances are that he’s never experienced grace before, and your grace can play a powerful part in his healing. As long as he’s working hard at it, stick with him; be grace in the flesh to him.
 
4. Get other women in your corner
Don’t try to make it through this on your own. You’ve been deeply hurt and need other women to express your pain to; women who can provide support and comfort, and pray with you. (It’s important that your supporters aren’t trying to pour more gasoline on the fire of your anger – this will only make it worse!) Women who keep everything bottled up inside are a volcano waiting to blow, and putting off asking for the support of others adds more pressure to coming explosion. As most men who struggle with sex addiction think "I'm the only one who struggles with this and can't tell others," so their wives think "I can't tell anyone about this; no other women talk about it so I must be alone." Think about this fact: in every survey taken, at least 50% of the men in the church have a problem with porn or sex addiction. This means that 50% of the wives in the church will at some point (when their husband's struggle comes to light) have to deal with the pain of their spouse's adultery. You're not alone, and there are many other women going through the same situation.

Some women avoid talking about their husband's problem because they're afraid that others will think "she didn't do enough (fill in the blank with your insecurity of choice here) for him." Their husband's sex addiction, they think, is condemning evidence that there was some area in their marriage where they were lacking, and if others, particularly other women, find out, that they'll be judged. Always remember the truth mentioned above, that, in spite of the lies of shame Satan tries to pound on you - your husband's sex addiction is not your fault. Satan's goal is to destroy your marriage, and he'll pour on the attack with thoughts of doubt, insecurity and the fear of judgment from others to keep you isolated and cut off from help and encouragement. (He uses this same method of attack on your husband to keep him from reaching out for help.)   Remember that there's a very real spiritual battle going on, and our enemy will do everything he can to keep both you and your husband isolated.
Don't let shame, fear or insecurity keep you from reaching out for help.
 
You want to avoid placing the full force of all your pain and anger only on your husband. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t express your feeling to him; you should, but you also need others who aren’t emotionally involved to talk to. Having other women to talk to will take some of the pressure off of your marriage, which may already be at the boiling point.

We have women available who can email you for support, if you don’t have someone there locally who you can talk to. Please email me if you’d like another woman to contact you.
 
5. Avoid looking for comfort in the wrong places.
You may be tempted to find comfort in another man’s arms, or get involved with other guys in chat rooms while your husband is floundering. Don’t go there. It will only add more pain and stress on a marriage that’s already pushed to the breaking point. Don’t start looking at porn movies (as my wife did) to “find out where you were lacking”… this will corrupt you and your family further. Keep your side of the street clean.
 
Some women might have a tendency to turn to food for comfort during this time. Overeating won’t solve the problem, and like lust, it can put an emotional wall of shame between you and God. Seek comfort through the support of other women, and in the presence of Jesus, Who is waiting to comfort you. If you don’t already, get a journal and write your feelings out. God can bless, comfort and speak to you through the outpouring of your heart in writing to Him.
 
6. Face your father wounds
It’s not an accident that you married a man who’s fallen into sex addiction. Most wives were neglected or abused by their fathers growing up, and they married a man who mirrored their father emotionally. Some women marry their husbands with a hidden motive of resolving their childhood hurts – meaning that “fixing” their husband and/or creating “the perfect marriage and home” might resolve their father wounds. You can’t fix him, and even if you could it wouldn’t resolve the hurt in your heart.
 
When a husband’s betrayal is revealed, it can exacerbate any unresolved father wounds in your heart, and you may find yourself slipping into deep depression – or having problems with uncontrollable anger over situations unrelated to the adultery.
 
Some of this, of course, would be a natural reaction to what your husband has done, but it may be that his betrayal has also tapped into old wounds that need to be resolved. If you don’t face your father wound issues it can keep you stuck in a cycle of bitterness and depression - and the marriage along with it. How to deal with father wounds is discussed in Healing Father Wounds. Although this article is written from a man’s point of view, the principles shown for how to deal with it apply to women too. 
 
7. Make God the true source of your life
In her letter, my wife wrote “I made you my everything,” which is another way of saying she made me an idol. Men are not knights in shining armor, nor are we romantic dream machines; we’re broken clay pots, just like women. As men tend to make work or ministry their god, or source of life, women can use the relationships in their life as the primary source of their self esteem. When a woman makes her husband or family her god (i.e. “I am complete if I have the perfect husband with the perfect children”), she places unreasonable burdens and expectations on the backs of her loved ones. Then, when something goes wrong, such as when her husband reveals his struggle with sex addiction, her world collapses when the defective foundation her sense of self worth was built on falls apart.
 
To rebuild your self esteem, your sense of self worth must come from God, and He must be your first source of life, love and value. Only God’s love can keep you going through the storms and trials of life. If you’ve accepted Christ as your savior, you are God’s daughter; holy precious and beloved in His sight (read Ephesians 1 & 2, and 1st John 4.) He will never betray you or let your down, as other broken people will. When you’ve accepted God’s love and He is first in your life, you can tell your husband to choose between you and porn, because your value comes from the Lord, not your husband. If God is first, when your husband struggles your self esteem won’t take a big hit because you’ll see your husband as a broken clay pot in need of grace, not the “everything” that your life depends on. If God is first, you’ll have an easier time coming along side your husband in the battle.
 
And, if God is your source of life and love, you can do what’s next, which is to:
 
8. Forgive your husband
If you want to be completely healed from all the bitterness and pain of your husband’s betrayal, and if want your marriage to survive, you will have to forgive him.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you try to short circuit the natural process of grieving, or deny that you’ve been hurt. It doesn’t mean that you stuff the problem. To come to the place of forgiveness you must first admit you’ve been hurt – deeply.
 
Forgiveness will cost you everything, and cost your husband nothing. It means you will never hold what he did against him again; his debt, which he can never repay, will be completely erased.
 
Forgiving your husband for his sin against you may be the most Christ-like thing you ever do, and it will identify you with Christ like nothing else can. Jesus was killed by the people He loved, so the people He loved could be close to Him. You’ve been betrayed by the man you love, and the only way you can ever remove every barrier between you and your husband is to forgive him as Christ forgives.
 
If you withhold forgiveness, you’ll keep yourself trapped in bitterness and pain, and it’ll eat you alive. Your bitterness will continue to be a wall between you and your husband that will keep your marriage stuck in resentment, misfired communication, and hurt feelings.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t give him the permission to abuse your grace and indulge in sexual sin. It doesn’t mean you stop holding him accountable for his actions, or that he no longer needs to go all out in the battle against lust.
 
Forgiveness is a choice, a powerful act of the will; it’s not something you will feel like doing. It’s giving up of all of your anger and releasing your husband from all expectation to grovel, or make it right. (Which, he can’t.)
 
When you forgive him, you allow God’s grace to flow freely through your heart, flush out all of your pain and anger, and fill you with His peace. You tear down a wall that was between you and God, and you and your husband. Your forgiveness allows God’s grace to flow to your husband and lift his shame and guilt. It is only after you forgive when you will find peace again. If you’re struggling with providing forgiveness, Jesus can give you the power to let it go, if you’re willing.   

More information on the topic of recovering from adultery is available at
Healing a Broken Marriage          

Marsha Means, author of Living with Your Husband's Secret Wars, has a website at:
http://www.awomanshealingjourney.com that you might find helpful.
 

©Copyright 2005 Mike Genung
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