Newsletter Archive Home
Blazing Grace Newsletter, March 2006
* One Wife’s Story: I Still Fight for Him.
* Blazing Grace Seminary?
* Your Comments on the Last Newsletter
* The Blazing Grace Radio Show
* The Coming Tidal Wave
* You are invited to contribute to a New Page on the Website
* Prayer Requests
* Final Words
All too often, the focus in the battle against porn addiction is solely on the men, and the private hell our wives go through is forgotten. For this month’s newsletter, I asked Robin to tell her story.
I Still Fight for Him
By Robin W.
This month, I should have celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary, but, my marriage was destroyed by my husband’s love affair with porn. Not physical adultery, “just porn.” I am now single and dealing with the healing process.
My husband and I met in the singles group at church, and we had an extended friendship before dating and considering marriage. We’d both been married before, and it was very important to me to do what was right in God’s eyes, so we decided to abstain from sex before marriage. Looking back, I remember there were signs that pointed to problems in the area of sexuality even in our engagement period. I often wondered why my future husband did not seem to be aroused when were alone together. Having experienced infidelity in my other marriages, I wanted so much to believe it was his respect for me and his promises not to violate my boundaries. I ignored these early signs because of my high expectations.
A more romantic, idyllic setting could not have been chosen for our honeymoon. We were the only occupants of a beautiful Victorian Bed and Breakfast in the heart of a historical city. Each morning my husband would go down to the dining area and bring me breakfast in bed. We spent days meandering in and out of the downtown shops and seeing all the historical sites. I experienced my first horse-drawn carriage ride sitting by the man who promised he would never hurt me. I wanted our marriage to be everything God intended it to be; perhaps that is why I ignored the nagging thoughts as the struggle began on our wedding night.
On our first night together, my husband had difficulty consummating our union as husband and wife. I attributed this to “nerves;” not having been sexually active before marriage. After all, didn’t I save myself for this man and have his respect? But as the problem persisted throughout the week-long honeymoon, I began to question my desirability. Even the lingerie I brought to spice up the honeymoon seemed to have no significant effect. I remember thinking that it might have something to do with our being older. I didn’t want to believe my husband didn’t find me physically attractive, and was feeling a sense of failure to please him.
Other problems began to surface in the first six months of our marriage. My husband began to have anxiety attacks, and would go for drives or long walks alone. I knew something was wrong, but was confused as to why this hadn’t shown up during our engagement. Our times of intimacy were now becoming limited, and “strained;” it seemed my husband wasn’t attracted to me physically. Instead of bonding with him, I began to feel disconnected during sex, but he assured me it had nothing to do with me.
Six months into our marriage my husband lost his job, which left him with a lot of time alone at home. I began to see changes in his personality; there were outbursts of anger, and he started showing signs of depression. Unemployment was at an all time high in our area due to the closing of a nearby textile mill, and it took him 11 months to find employment.
As I left for work each day, my husband was often on the computer, and would be at the same place when I came home. It became the pattern of our lives. Whenever I’d approach the computer room, if he was online, he’d suddenly click back to the desktop. He’d stay on the computer into the hours of the early morning; if I woke up and went to see what he was doing at 2 am, he would become extremely defensive and angry.
I started complaining about it. “How long do you plan to be on the computer tonight?” I’d ask. His standard reply was, “You want to control everything I do, and I’m not going to live under your yoke of control. I’m searching for jobs online and you aren’t going to tell me how to spend my time.”
As his depression became more obvious, his church attendance dropped off. Frequently, when I’d return from an evening meeting at church or school, I would find my husband alone, sitting in the dark. If I turned on the lights it would send him into an angry tirade. His relationships with others began to be strained; he seemed to prefer being alone. He began having problems sleeping, and his remedy was to play games online until he became tired. There were many nights where I would lay alone in bed, crying from loneliness for him. I didn’t understand that the man I’d married had disappeared.
I began to be suspicious, and learned from a friend how to search the history files on the computer. As I looked at the history on our computer, I had the impression that I was about to be faced with something horrible. My pulse quickened; there were sites with names like “obsessions” and “lotsa ___”; I opened the first site, but when I saw there were no pictures almost closed it, thinking I was just being paranoid. (My husband had often accused me of being suspicious without reason.) But when I read the content, I was shocked to see it was stories of sexual encounters. My stomach churned as I skimmed the first few sentences; I couldn’t believe my husband would read this. I began to weep uncontrollably.
After I regained my composure, I felt an urgency to seek help before my husband arrived home. How would he react when I confronted him with my new knowledge of his problem? I had heard of New Life ministries and decided to call their help line. The online counselor spent some time talking with me about my discovery and urged me to confront him as soon as possible.
By the time my husband arrived home, my fear had been replaced with strong resolve. “I found something on the computer today and it frightened me. I wasn’t sure what to do so I called a help line. This is a serious breach of my trust in you; I want to know why you’re saying I’m the one with the problem?”
He was strangely quiet at first, almost as if he was unaffected by my discovery. I remember hoping that perhaps I was mistaken... “That was just an email I opened by accident” he said. The subject line looked as if it was about something I had ordered. I opened the email and when I saw what it was, I immediately deleted it.”
“I know the difference between an email and a web site that has been opened,” I replied. Then the volcano went off.
“If you tell anyone about what you’re accusing me of and they come to me about it, I’ll kill them with my bare hands. I don’t need this; I‘m leaving. I’m sick and tired of your snooping around and checking up on me. You think you can tell me when to breathe… this is all about you controlling me, and I won’t put up with it. I’m leaving and I won’t be back.” As he packed all of his things, yelling and screaming about how I wanted to play the victim in life, I went to the other end of our house and prayed that he would leave quickly.
After he left, the initial shock wore off and I started crying. I tried to reach him, but he turned off his cell phone. Days later, he finally called, repentant; he said he would never be that angry again. He arrived home soon after this, convincing me he was innocent. This was to be our way of life for the next 3 years.
When he finally found work a year and a half into our marriage, things seemed to be going in the right direction; he was working long hours, and his computer use diminished.
A few months later, I sat down at the computer after work one day. What I found brought that sick, disgusted feeling back; the entire monitor was filled with a full length picture of a scantily clad young woman.
“How can I ever measure up to this?” I thought, angry at the woman who posed for this picture. It was humiliating, that, once again, I had believed my husband, in spite of the signs that something was wrong in our marriage. At that moment, my husband called to let me know he was on his way home.
“Why am I sitting here at our computer, looking at an almost naked woman on the screen?!”
“You look under every rock to find something to pin on me… I’m tired of it. You’re so self- righteous, and think you know it all; you think I’m like all the men you hear about on Oprah. I’m sick of trying to measure up to your standards; I won’t be coming home tonight.” Click.
My husband had found the way to control me.
As we approached our two year anniversary, his anger got worse. He would storm through the house, gathering his belongings, slamming doors and shouting why I wasn’t a good wife, and I’d ask him to leave, knowing it would bring relief. My self esteem was being whittled away one day at a time.
I had always been a responsible person, having successfully raised my two children alone while holding a career as a teacher for almost 25 years, but the choices I was making at this point weren’t rational. My family tried to convince me to give up the marriage, seeing how it was affecting me; by our third year of our marriage I began to having chest pains and other symptoms of stress.
But I believed God would work a miracle in our lives. I told my children that I was doing what God expected of me: loving and forgiving my husband. They saw the abuse, and encouraged me to get help.
I first sought help from a pastor during one of our separations. He encouraged me to “just keep praying.” I called a second pastor, who said, “most of the time these issues are related to problems from a man’s lack of relationship with his father.” He promised to call me back to make an appointment, but never returned my calls. I tried a third pastor, who said, “Men need a lot of boosts to their ego, a lot of strokes; that’s just the way we’re made.” I went away with the feeling that he agreed with my husband; that I couldn’t measure up to the task of satisfy my husband’s needs. I did find some help for myself in personal counseling. My husband wasn’t ready to confront the real issues, and he only attended a few times.
I was crying out to God daily with all of my heart for my husband to be delivered from bondage, and for His help for the part I was playing in creating the problems in my marriage.
As an almost last ditch effort, we spoke with a new pastor at our church. Three days later, my husband left again, and I found myself back in this pastor’s office where I finally confessed that I believed my husband was struggling with pornography. He told me that my husband never once looked him in the eye during the appointment earlier that week, and said, “You can probably expect to see your husband’s life go downhill now. He might even move someone else in with him. He will most likely give in to the sinful life style in which he has become involved.”
There were no offers of help or suggestions for seeking help for the restoration of my marriage; this is one of the most hurtful things I experienced in my years of seeking a solution. When I was a young girl, I saw my father get saved and walk the aisle of the church, after many years of living a life in the world and addicted to gambling. I believed someone would recognize my husband’s need for help and come alongside us in the church and provide the support we needed, but was very disappointed to find the church was neither prepared nor ready to meet this challenge.
I left this church and attended another for the next year, while separated from my husband. I asked for prayer for my marriage the first Sunday I visited, but didn’t reach out for help again because I feared I’d get the same reactions I’d experienced before. I felt alone, and was resigned to the reality that there is a lack of knowledge and/or courage for the church to face this issue that is destroying marriages every day. It saddened and angered me that no one was talking about this problem. I wasn’t aware that there might be other women dealing with the same issue sitting on either side of me within the church.
When time for our divorce drew near, my husband sent me an email, saying he still loved me, and we agreed to meet for coffee. He expressed how he didn’t have good feelings about himself and never had. I convinced him to go to church with me and we attended yet another new church together. The pastor and his wife were the first to agree to help us restore our marriage. I was excited, but afraid of living with my husband again. I had managed to heal from some of the damaged emotions of the last 3 years and wasn’t sure I wanted to be involved in an abusive marriage again. I met with the pastor’s wife alone and expressed my concerns about his struggles with pornography. Amazingly, they were still willing to work with us. I felt encouraged for the first time. I told her I had never heard a confession from my husband, only denials.
Six weeks later, while visiting my husband’s apartment, I found evidence of his porn addiction again. This time, I confronted my husband with a boldness I can only say came from the Lord, and told him I would not accept the lies anymore. He confessed to me that he had been struggling with the problem since he was 12, for about 40 years. He wept like a child as I knelt beside him and prayed, and I told him I would walk with him through his recovery because I loved him.
That night we were to participate in the kids’ camp at the new church as volunteers. I took the opportunity to talk alone with the pastor’s wife before camp began to tell her of his confession. She again was not deterred from her commitment to helping us with the repair of our marriage. My husband did not discuss the confession with me over the next week and I had no idea of how to continue the process of confronting this problem. The secret had been brought out into the light but I felt as if my husband wanted to send it back into darkness and I needed help with what to do next.
My husband ultimately made the choice to continue in his sinful pattern. After repeated requests from me and appeals from the pastors to come in for counsel, he refused. His last words to me were “I told you if you let anyone know about my sin (the pastors), there would be serious consequences. Well the gloves are off. I want a divorce. I never want to see you or hear from you again.”
I waited for things to cool down, and sent him some heartfelt messages about how his use of pornography had affected me. There were repeated efforts on the part of the pastors to help. He never answered except to say that he was deleting all my emails.
The Lord spoke clearly to me one day in prayer; He told me that I must let my husband go so He could have control of him. I said “Yes, Lord.”
For almost three years, I believed my prayers and my faith in God’s word would be enough to bring about a miracle in my marriage. I prayed for my husband daily and confessed God’s word over his life. I forgot one piece of the puzzle; God does not override man’s will. He has given us a choice which separates us from all His creation.
One morning as I was praying, I lay across the bed and began to weep. I heard the Lord speak into my heart. He spoke ever so gently knowing how much I wanted my marriage to work. I realized I had my hands clinched tightly in fists. I heard Him say “Just open your hands and let it go. You have done everything you possibly can do; now I must be allowed to work in his life.”
It was a very sad day for me, but I knew I must be obedient. There are those who criticize my decision to file for divorce. They did not live with the turmoil in my home or know of the many efforts I made to reconcile with my husband. I surrendered. Obedience to God’s word is often misunderstood. Our human reasoning can never explain what God intends when He asks us to relinquish something very precious to us. Like Abraham when he laid his son Isaac on the altar, I believe God has a purpose in asking me to lay my husband down at his feet. Sometimes we must die to ourselves that someone else might live.
I am now leading two support groups using Marsha Means’ book, Living With Your Husband’s Secret Wars. I also do some online counseling for Blazing Grace. The women I am helping are so grateful to find a place where they feel safe to discuss the hurt and pain that pornography and sexual addiction has brought into their lives. They find a listening ear in me and others like themselves and a place to unload some of their anger and shame.
I believe in the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping. As I sow into this ministry my prayers and tears for other couples’ marriages to be restored, I believe I will reap a harvest. Not only will marriages be healed but I believe I will reap my husband’s deliverance from the bondage of sexual addiction. You see, I still love my husband and I want to see him walk in freedom. That is the reason I still fight for him. The word of God says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Recently, the Lord spoke to my heart again. He said “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, there will be no life, no resurrection.” God has by His grace given me a compassion for the soul of my husband and that of others caught in the trap of sexual addiction. I still fight for him and all the other wives whose husbands need to be free to become the men God created them to be. I know God will honor my obedience to His voice with a harvest of souls including that of my husband.
Robin’s new website is www.loveyoursister.com, and she can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blazing Grace Seminary?
In last month’s newsletter we looked at the “Blazing Grace Seminary,” and a number of you have emailed and said you would come if this ever became reality.
I’m asking the Lord to show me if, how and when He might want this to happen. I appreciate your prayers for understanding of His will. As He leads, I’ll keep you updated in this newsletter.
Your Comments on the Last Newsletter
“Your newsletter was the 2 by 4 of truth upside my head. The call to relationship over knowledge is the most important call to change the clergy. I know some churches that are no longer hiring pastors from seminaries because they want men of action that are in love with Christ and seminaries are killing passion. Thanks-so well written!”
“I really appreciate the information you provide - it's such a relief to know there are other women going through & feeling the way I am right now.”
“Wow! I am blown away at the prayer requests. Something MUST be done to combat this evil thing that has invaded our lives. I am going to be much in prayer for you and your ministry. Are you really going to have a seminary? It sounded so right on the money for what is needed. One other question, how much is it to get a billboard in your area? I was just thinking that I would ask God to give me some creative ideas of ways to purchase one. The newsletter again pumped me up to go to war against the enemy. Thanks Mike.”
“Thank you, Mike, for your redemptive work. I love what you are doing. I love what God is doing in me (though it is very painful to peel away the layers of my protective shell).”
The Blazing Grace Radio Show
The broadcasts are now available as a podcast through Itunes. If you have the Itunes software, the shows are listed under “Religion and Spirituality / Christianity.”
We just taped 2 shows with Shelley Lubben and Annie Lobert, where we challenged the church to make porn actors and actresses, prostitutes, and strip club workers a mission field. The church spends hundreds of millions of dollars to send missionaries thousands of miles away; if we were to take a tiny fraction of these resources and invade the sex industry with the truth and grace of God, it would make a huge impact. Shelley needs help and will train those interested in reaching the lost in the sex industry, so I encourage you to listen to the shows (which will be uploaded with the next week) and contact her if you’re interested in getting involved.
You can download the shows without cost at the radio page, or listen to them in streaming audio at Oneplace.com.
We have Steven Arterburn, and Clay and Renee Cross booked for shows later this month.
The Coming Tidal Wave
On February 16, 2006, Reuters reported the following:
“Of more than 2,500 university and college students polled across Canada, 87 percent of them are having sex over instant messenger, Webcams or the telephone, according to results of a national survey released on Monday.”
"We were very surprised," Noah Gurza, a founder of Toronto-based CampusKiss.com, an online dating community for students, which commissioned the first annual Canadian CampusKiss & Tell Survey.
"We did realize that new technologies are always embraced by younger individuals, but we didn't think it would've reached such a high number."
Gurza said most post-secondary school students grew up using computer technology, and their lives currently revolve around technology, so it makes sense that it would extend to their sex lives.
"It's now extended within their sexual world, whether it be as a social lubricant as a means to then engage in something that's more real, in more real time, or if it's just a means in itself of pleasuring here and there," he said.
Some 2,684 students from more than 150 university and college campuses across Canada took part in the survey. Fifty-one percent of the participants were female and 49 percent were male.
Of those surveyed 53 percent of students enjoyed sex over instant messenger, while 44 percent did the deed using a Webcam and over the phone.”
Porn is being pushed into every corner of our society, and we’re just beginning to see the fallout.
Japan now has video cell phone service, and an Australian news site reported that “Adult Products are headed for Mobile (phones);” it won’t be long before “phone porn” is available in North America. It’s already available on our personal media players; recently, MSNBC reported that a man was arrested for having child porn on his Ipod.
Our TV’s and computers have been porn portals for years; if you have any incoming TV channels, your home is a potential X-rated movie theatre. The local stations show commercials for porn movies and phone sex late at night, which means you’re rolling the dice if you let your kids stay up late alone. A little while ago, my 11 year old son spent the night at a (Christian) friend’s house with several other boys. They were left alone after midnight, and, while channel surfing, stumbled onto a porn commercial, which, needless to say, held their attention for several minutes.
No longer hiding in the fringes, Porn is now an accepted part of the mainstream of society. The porn industry often drives the demand for and even helps develop new technology, and many of our big corporations are making a killing from milking what has now become a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone.
Sexual depravity is flooding into every corner of our society, building up a massive tidal wave of darkness that will overwhelm and destroy many more men, women, children and families. The wreckage we’re seeing today (like Robin’s story) is just the beginning.
Think about the implications of that Reuters article: 87% of our youth are having cybersex. Many of the next generation will take sexual sin and all the wreckage that goes with it into their marriages and families. Think of what will happen to a society whose youth is corrupted on such a massive scale; many will end up in divorce court, creating more single parent families, and more fatherless homes, which means more crime. (70% of the young men in prison report they came from fatherless homes.) Sexual crimes will abound even more than they do today.
Child porn is already a huge, unspoken epidemic. On any day of the week, a search on Google News of the term “pornography” will provide many stories of broken child porn rings, abuse and arrests.
It is said that when a frog is placed in lukewarm water and the heat is then slowly turned up, the frog will allow itself to be boiled to death. The gradual rise in temperature coupled with what was originally lukewarm water had lulled the frog to complacency.
Although our transformation to Sodom has taken years, the water’s getting hotter. Many Christian marriages have been and are being destroyed. A large number of our men, women and pastors are ensnared with porn or sex addiction, and huge segments of our youth are being corrupted. The church can’t afford to stay in Nero Mode; singing and preaching eloquent Sunday Sermons while Rome burns. One of the most depressing parts of Robin’s story to me was the number of pastors she talked to, and their responses. If the church doesn’t face the sexual depravity that’s rotting it out from the inside out, today, she will be capsized when the building tidal wave of sexual depravity hits full force.
Let’s pretend that God was going to take 200 of you who love the Lord, take you back in time to the days of Abraham and Lot, and drop you into Sodom and Gomorrah, several years before it was destroyed. Your group of 200 would be the church in that city, and you are the pastor. What would you do? Would there be a sense of urgency to your prayer, methods and action?
This is where we are today.
We still have some time before the tidal wave hits. The good news is that if we make a bold stand and take action, now, the church will be a lighthouse for many in a time of great darkness and sorrow.
Articles on what “taking action” looks like:
How Your Church Can Take on the Porn Epidemic
What Our Churches Must Do
A letter Chuck Swindoll posted on his Insight for Living website about the need for churches to take action about porn addiction is here.
You are invited to contribute to a New Page on the Website
I’m going to put a new page up on the Blazing Grace website called “Open Letters to the Church.” This page will be your letters to the church, asking it to take a stand against the porn epidemic. I’m inviting all of you to submit a 250 word (2 or 3 paragraph) letter, stating why the church should confront sexual sin head-on. Feel free to share how porn/sex addiction has affected you, and, if you want, how the church’s silence has affected you.
Please provide your first name, city and country (this isn’t just for those of us in North America.) I will not post last names. Optionally, you can also provide your age; I want to hear from teenagers as well.
Please email your submissions to me; I should have the new page up by the time next month’s newsletter goes out.
New Prayer Requests:
The following are a few of the prayer requests received this past month; all prayer requests can be found at: http://www.blazinggrace.org/prayer.htm. When you have a moment, I encourage you to browse the page and pray for a few of those who are there. These are real people with real marriages and families on the line.
“I would like to request prayer for me, my husband & our 3 children. We've been married 15 years & he committed adultery 4 months ago. They were together 3 times but talked on the cell phone almost every day for about a month until I listened to some messages she'd left on his cell phone. He watched me get his phone & he knew he was caught. He swears it won't happen again. It's hard for me to forgive him or to trust him now. I trusted him and never thought he'd betray me. My niece was killed in a tragic accident 6 months earlier, his mom had died 3 weeks before the affair. I was already grieving a lot. I feel like if he really loved me he wouldn't have turned to someone else. We've been going to church and trying to work things out, but could a use more prayer.”
“Please pray for my friend Su Young Lee. She is running from God and His will. She was abused in her childhood and Jesus saved her from that pain. Now she has forgotten Jesus and has chosen the world. Please pray for her return and inner healing in Jesus name.”
Serving Jesus in Korea
“Please pray intensely for my husband Wolfgang who is a sex addict – into prostitution and staring at women. He also had an affair with a prostitute last year and we came very close to breaking up. Please pray for my family, who has been affected by his addiction, myself, and our two wonderful sons.”
“I believe my husband has an internet porn problem. I found out in August. I thought things were getting better but I think he is just hiding it better. I am going out of my mind with worry and distrust. I have prayed about this a lot over the last months but I don’t think I can take it any more. Please pray for my husbands healing and for honesty. Pray for me to have peace and forgiveness. Thank you.”
I (Mike) ask that you please pray for my wife, Michelle; please ask that the Lord would reveal Himself to her in a powerful way, and surround her with other godly women.
“The church was silent when it should have cried out.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1943, from a prison cell in Nazi Germany
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead… .
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
Past newsletters are archived here.
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May God’s grace abound to you.
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All material copyright 2006 Mike Genung