Monday, February 18

Dark Places

Do you ever have little places of discouragement that entangle around your heart? You know in the bigger picture of life things are good. But there’s this little dark place. A little black hole. That sometimes doesn’t feel little.

It hangs like a cloud. Blocking the sun. Casting shadows.

Maybe it’s an argument you and your husband have had one too many times. Your relationship is good but this one topic feels like a black hole.

Or an issue with one of your kids. You have an amazing child. But there is this one behavioral tendency that baffles you. Embarrasses you. Causes you to fear. It feels like a black hole.

Or a reoccurring frustration with a friend. She’s amazing. But there’s this one part of your friendship that darkens the collective good. And you can’t figure out how to address it. Now it’s happening with more frequency and it feels like a black hole.

I know. It’s hard.

But here’s what God keeps showing me… a black hole isn’t a black WHOLE.

The whole isn’t all bad. Yes, there are some issues to address and some tensions to manage but don’t let Satan use this frustration to darken your outlook.
In a relationship funk, remember that there are issues to address and conflict to manage but don't let it darken your outlook! www.lysaterkeurst.com

Jesus reminds us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Ask Jesus to shed His light on your situation today. Look at this from Jesus’ perspective. Use truth to do something positive in this area today. Invest the time to make a little imperfect progress right there.

In the dark place.

That won’t be so dark with a little light cast upon it.

Wednesday, October 31

Answering Your Questions About Pornography, Part 2

While it hasn’t been an easy discussion, bringing pornography out from the shadows is an important thing to do. I get a ton of letters from women in devastating situations due to pornography. Both because their husband is addicted, or they are.

Either way, it’s important to talk about.

But first, I want to let those of you who get this blog emailed to you know that I was just as caught off guard as anyone that political ads were attached to my post. The service I use did this without my knowledge. So, I have upgraded my service to the level where there should be no ads attached at all.

If you ever have any more problems with this, please let me know.

And thank you for your graciousness. That’s one of the many reasons why I love you so!

Today’s post will help answer an understandable concern some of you expressed from Monday’s post. If you missed part 1 of this discussion click here.

Here’s your question and Jake Larson, from XXX church, with an answer:

Is it really my husband’s issue, and not about my shortcomings, or lack of adventure in the bedroom?
 
I think what you are asking is, “If the wife was more creative and adventurous in the bedroom would it solve his problem?” Here’s my straightforward answer, not a chance! 

So many women have said to me in counseling sessions, following the discovery of their husband’s addiction, that they have a good sex life with their husband. 

I look at the husband and he agrees. By the way, this response by the husband almost sends the wife into an all out rage! It makes no sense to her. 

Hear me, your husband’s pornography addiction is NOT about you. 

You couldn’t be pretty enough, adventurous enough, or curvy enough to make it go away. Although a healthy sexual relationship will help a husband through recovery, he did not turn to pornography because of you. 

The reason why a man turns to pornography is often connected to his own insecurities and childhood. At some point in his life he learned that pornography would give him a reward in the midst of his fears, doubts, pain, and dysfunction.

Pornography became the one thing he could run to for relief when confused and hurting. The key to recovery is learning how to run to relationships of unconditional love.
___________________________________________________________________________________
 
From Lysa:  

For other men it’s a temptation of senses.  We live in a world saturated with opportunity to connect with inappropriate images.  

And this isn’t just a male issue. I’ve received letters from women addicted as well.

That’s why I wanted to provide a step toward getting help. A place to get some more answers. Visit the XXX Church website here.

In the comments below, let’s each pray for men and women caught in this addiction. Pray for their relationships, for healing, and for hope.

Monday, October 29

What Women Want To Know About Pornography

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Jake Larson, with XXX church. He asked me if I’d like to guest post on his site. As my team and I read through Jake’s blog and checked out his website, we all felt certain he needed to post on my site. He is having a huge impact helping free people from the devastation of pornography.

I’ll be honest; there was a part of me that thought maybe this is too risky of an issue to tackle in our little blog space on the Internet.

But then I posted about the topic on facebook and realized women were begging to see this addressed. Really addressed.  

So, we’re going there today. What women want to know about pornography.

Your questions.  

Jake’s answers.

I just found out that my husband has an addiction to pornography, where do I go from here? What are my first steps as his wife? What am I supposed to do to help him?
 
This is a great question and I’ll tell you why. You are asking questions that are going to put you in a helper role verses a hinder role.

Although you are angry, hurt, and burdened by this discovery, it is imperative that you do not become another disperser of shame. Most men who are wrapped up in an addiction to pornography feel a level of shame that is paralyzing. They are well aware their behavior is detrimental to their marriage, to their relationship with God, and to their role as a father.

The shame pornography produces is literally killing men from the inside out. More than a lecture on the top ten reasons why he is scum, he needs to know that you are hurt, but you will help. Here are a few necessary steps:
 
Share with a friend
In order to help, you must immediately find a healthy outlet to be heard. Many women are so embarrassed by this discovery that they hide the pain and the secret from those who love them the most.

Immediately after finding out about your husband’s addiction to pornography you must seek out a friend and share your disappointment, pain, and insecurity. You will need the support.
 
“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” [ECCLESIASTES 4:12]
 
Require Tangible Steps
If your husband doesn’t take steps that require him to sacrifice time, money, pride, or freedom he will not succeed. It is absolutely imperative that you demand he gets help.

I have never met anyone who has overcome an addiction to pornography alone. It will not happen and it does not happen. Real tangible steps and sacrifices are the key to recovery.

He must meet with another man who will help him develop a plan for success.

He must be accountable for his actions online through filters and accountability software (www.x3watch.com).

He must give you access to his devices that enable him to view pornography.

He must dig deep into his soul and discover why he runs to pornography.
 
Many times men will tell their spouse that they are so sorry and will never do it again. At the time, he really does mean what he is saying. He sees the pain and hates the sin – he doesn’t want to go back to it. However, his statement of abstinence is far short from what is required to overcome the temptation.
 
Stay Engaged in The Relationship
Do not choose this as a time to check out and pull back your love. Your husband needs to know that he can count on your support and encouragement.

There is a big difference between staying engaged and enabling his behavior. This is not supposed to be an easy process with minimal discomfort for your husband.

However, isolation and shame often cause a man to spiral back into his unwanted sexual behavior. He needs your presence, encouragement, and love. This love demands actions, repentance, and responsibility.
 
The Bible says that you are your husband’s helpmate. Where he is weak you will be strong. As you stay engaged you will turn his weaknesses into strengths! He is going to be stronger and better with you in his corner than without you. Walking through this process together can be the beginning of a stronger, healthier, and Godlier marriage.
 
 
What can I do as a wife to help my husband preventatively?
 
In no way is this exhaustive, but here are a few suggestions.

The deepest need for a man is to be respected. Yes, even above sex (barely). He needs to know that you appreciate him and admire all he does for you and the family. This is key to any healthy marriage!

Second, meet his sexual needs. If you don’t make his sexual needs a priority his eyes will wander and he will struggle. Most every man will have a greater struggle with lust leading to pornography usage without a healthy sexual relationship with his wife.

Third, protect him. We can’t handle movies with strong sexual content and we’ll struggle in stimulating environments. However, we’ll experience them with you if you’ll let us and it won’t help our purity. Be an additional set of eyes protecting our purity. 
 
Is pornography wrong if it is something a couple enjoys together?
 
Yes. Many couples seem to fall into this temptation. They want some additional spice in their sex lives and pornography becomes the solution.

Only one problem, pornography is not reality. Pornography gives us unrealistic expectations of our spouse and turns sex into a purely physical act.

Women are damaged from pornography on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Watching pornography to spice up your sex life is like going to a marriage enrichment seminar taught by someone who has been divorced 4 times. If you want to learn how to connect with your spouse sexually from a dysfunctional and harmful role model, then pornography may be your method of choice.
 
Second, God created sex to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife. We are not to defile our marriage bed by inviting others to join us (Hebrews 13:4, Matthew 5:28).
 
“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19
 
One woman asked, “What’s the big deal if my husband is thinking about a porn star while having sex with me?” I don’t know, only that he is fantasizing and lusting after a woman who is not his wife.

The third person in bed with you is purely fantasy today to become reality tomorrow. Pornography is not satisfied with a casual user. It will take you further down pornography blvd. than you ever expected to go.
 
Jake Larson is a Pastor at XXX church. You can follow him at www.jakelarson.com, www.twitter.com/larsonjake, and www.facebook.com/larson.jake