I had a bit of a revelation awhile several year ago and it has stuck with me. A medical doctor appearing on my talk show (Rita Hancock) said much pain and many addictions stem from lies we have believed since childhood. These lies can serve to cause such depression, stress, or heavy burdens that we end up carrying the weight of the lies in our body (physical pain) or we end up trying to escape the burden of the lies by numbing out through various addictions, such as overeating, alcohol, etc.
So I tried the simple exercise she suggested for those who have chronic pain, illness or addiction problems. She said to sum up your current emotions in just one word. For me, the word that popped into my mind was “worry”. Then she said to reflect back on when you recall feeling that same emotion for the very first time in childhood. Bam! I was taken right back to about 5 years of age when I recall feeling worried about the fighting and verbal abuse in my family. And, I suddenly realized that, at the tender age of 5, I felt like I needed to solve the problem. For some reason, I believed the lie that I was personally responsible for making peace between people and making everyone happy. What a lie! I guess we shouldn’t be shocked that Satan would enter a painful moment of our childhood and give us a wrong interpretation. After all, Jesus describes Satan in John 8:44 this way…”When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.“
Fast forward to current day, and I can see how I’m still subconsciously carrying this same wrong burden. And it’s too heavy! And it isn’t my responsibility! I am not responsible for the relationships between my children or between my relatives. I am not personally responsible for my kids’ “happiness”. The question for you is: Have you believed a lie that has caused you to carry some kind of burden that God never intended you to carry?
You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc. The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him. Hmm. That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!
The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction. You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him. What do I mean by “speaking words of life”? I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle. Your words are so very important. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.
Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife. Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him. He needs to hear words of hope for the future if he commits to doing the hard work to break free from the addiction.
I was asked recently how a woman can help her husband (or boyfriend) if he’s struggling with the temptation to view pornography. This is such a difficult question because, ultimately, he has to be the one who does what is necessary to overcome this temptation.
However, there are 2 things that you can do:
1) Sit down with him and let him know that you want to support him and help him in any way as he wrestles against this temptation. Then gently and lovingly ask him to share with you the things that seem to trigger the desire to view porn. As you show compassion and understanding, he will be more likely to feel safe sharing the things that trigger him. Then once he shares those “triggers”, you can ask what you can do to help him deal with the reasons he’s turning to porn. You may be able to come up with ideas on how he can avoid situations that trigger him.
2) Insist that he actively pursues assistance from a 12-step group, sexual addiction treatment program, or a godly mentor with experience in this area. He needs other people to help hold him accountable and to pray for him. He NEEDS to have other men speak into his life and help him deal with the common temptation to lust and view pornography. Accountability is Biblical. James 5:16 instructs, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”