Why I Share About My Broken Marriage In My Book

She pulled me close and said the words in a hush, “ Your book for me is like the book Radical was for you.”

The words stun.

Because I know what that means. I’m looking in the eyes of a woman who is about to turn her life upside down in her yes to Jesus.

“We are about to start the book as a family,” she motions to her three teens sitting at the picnic table.

“Except for that one chapter. We may skip over that one for now.”

And I knew which chapter she was referring to without even naming it.

It’s not the chapter about being a rich mom or the one about how lonely this road has been or the messy one about family life.

It’s the one about my marriage.

The one that talks about the secret sin of pornography and how it ripped my marriage apart and how God helped me choose forgiveness. It’s the intimate and hard-to-read pages of how my husband wanted freedom more than he wanted anything else. It’s the soul-splitting journal of the long, hard road to healing and the story behind the very special words on our wedding bands we gave each other the day we decided to marry all over again.

God can do anything

Most people think Rhinestone Jesus is about Mercy House. And it is. This unlikely home in the heart of Africa, funded by a bunch of moms–that is our family’s yes, our God-sized dream. It’s as wild and crazy as it sounds.

But Mercy House is today. That’s not the whole story. I know how easy it is to see where someone is today and think, “Huh. Well, my yes is small. I could never do something significant for God.”

And that’s why I start and end the book with brokenness. That’s why I invite you in -because you need to know where we started, the ups and downs, the heartbreak and healing journey to our yes.

Because it’s raw. It’s real. It’s as standing on the edge of destruction as you can get.

Not only does it make where we ended up more powerful: It’s a reminder of what God can do. He can do it for your marriage, too.

I used to hate that pornography was a part of my story. You may hate part of your story, too. I used to think I was alone in my marriage troubles. You may feel that, also. I used to think I was too broken to say yes. I was wrong. You may be, too.

Now? Today, I’m thankful for the brokenness in my marriage. I would have never known its strength if I wasn’t aware of its weakness. I would never have tasted intimacy if I hadn’t experienced void. I would never love my husband like I do today, if I didn’t nearly lose him.

I don’t know the secrets your marriage holds.

But I know who holds your marriage.

I can promise you–whatever brokenness that your story contain–don’t let it define you. Don’t let it imprison you. And please, don’t let it make you feel alone. Something miraculous happens when we release the brokenness: it sets us free.



  1. 1


    This is what I’m holding on to tonight, “Something miraculous happens when we release the brokenness: it sets us free.” That is what I’m stepping out in brave fearful faith to do later this week on my own blog. Letting out a little more of my story, hoping someone else will read it and realize they can to. Thank you for your words and I can’t wait to read your book. Blessings to you and your family, Meredith

    • 1.1


      Love this – brave, fearful faith. That’s what it is. Faith in spite of the fear leads to freedom and it definitely requires bravery! Can’t wait to read your story, friend.

  2. 4


    It’s in our brokenness that the door to freedom is opened. I was thankful you shared your marriage story in the book because pornography is a part of our marriage story too and we’ve lived to tell about it. Brokenness, healing, and now freedom. It’s a beautiful thing when God works.

  3. 6


    First, I don’t know how I missed the connection of this book and your blog {shakes head}.

    Second, I am thankful for you and for your willingness to share your story and the message of hope it offers and as soon as I finish this comment I will be heading off to buy your book. It seems to be too big of a moment of truth and need for me to ignore. My marriage needs this. I need this.

    Thank you for your vulnerability, your humility, your honesty, your obedience to God in creating this book and writing about it here on your blog and in your book. Thank you. Just, thank you.

    And my God continue to use you in such amazing ways!

  4. 7


    Kristen – So excited to read your book (hopefully soon – darn all of you lovely ladies that are releasing books after I put together my pile of books for the year. Between you and Nester and Lisa…sigh).

    Thanks so much for sharing openly on both your site and in your book, being vulnerable to all of us, and most importantly for sharing the depth of what God can do. :)

  5. 8


    I appreciate you being real — because sometimes we see so many wonderful people doing BIG things online and we feel really really small. Unimportant. Unnecessary. And I’m SO painfully aware of MY hurdles and MY past … why would God want to use me? Dirty, broken, always getting it wrong, hurting – me.

    You put it out there so wonderfully – and the story of forgiveness – is like hope for all marriages. That we can beat Satan at his game of trying to wreck us at our foundation.

    I’m thankful you didn’t leave that part out. God’s grace shines in that chapter!!

    • 8.1

      Janan says

      Beautifully said Stef! This is exactly how I feel. Thank you Kristen for bravely opening up and letting Jesus give us hope through your testimony!

  6. 9


    I appreciate you sharing your story to give hope to others. My marriage is broken and I feel hopeless. I pray my test will somehow become a testimony and this mess will somehow become a message. I pray to God daily to take my pieces and give me peace. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future. Kristen, you are a blessing to so many. Thank you!

    • 9.1

      Kristen says

      I pray for you often, Tammy. There has to be two willing people in a marriage. Praying that God restores, however that may look.

      • 9.1.1


        Thank you, Kristen! And, yes, restoration, whatever that may look like. I downloaded your book today and look forward to reading it.

  7. 10

    Mary says

    Such a beautiful testimony! Key words:

    “It’s the intimate and hard-to-read pages of how my husband wanted freedom more than he wanted anything else. It’s the soul-splitting journal of the long, hard road to healing and the story behind the very special words on our wedding bands we gave each other the day we decided to marry all over again.”

    Sadly, this is not the case with all families rocked by pornography. Some husbands do not want freedom, but insist on putting their addiction above God and family, until everything is around them is destroyed.

    Does that mean there is no miraculous happening? No, it just looks different. God is still holding my family and beautiful blessings have come. A healed marriage was NOT one of those blessings, though, and I think it’s really important to also encourage those women who do not have the “happy ending”. I thank God for each and every husband that DID fight his way out, and I pray daily for those women and children whose lives are forever touched by porn, no matter how the story ends.

    THANK YOU for sharing. It is vitally important that we begin to be transparent about this issue that has touched so many families.

    • 10.1

      Kristen says

      I completely agree!!! The only reason my marriage survived is because my husband fought for freedom. It would be a completely different story and it is for so many. Thank you for sharing your story. There is hope in Jesus, no matter what the outcome.

  8. 11

    Julie Pili says

    The heart of your book, for me, was the chapter about your marriage. You and your husband come from a place I’ve never experienced- you were raised in a Christian home, you went to bible college…we are different from one another. We were different until you crawled in the back of your car with your sleeping children reeling from the pain of confession. Your honesty about what you felt in that moment was paralysing for me. I am so convicted and on fire after reading your book, after hearing your testimony.
    You had me at pornography;)

  9. 12



    I’ve been painfully absent from much of this conversation while juggling two jobs and stepping out into our yes, but I can’t tell you how much your book is impacting me and how much I know God put it in my hands at this moment for a reason. We have had such different lives, but oh my word do I relate to everything you write. Thank you times a billion for sharing your story so openly! I’m loving every single page and God is changing me like crazy in it.

  10. 13


    “I’m thankful for the brokenness in my marriage. I would have never known its strength if I wasn’t aware of its weakness. I would never have tasted intimacy if I hadn’t experienced void. I would never love my husband like I do today, if I didn’t nearly lose him.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been following along as others shared about your book, but THIS has tugged at my heart and has me wanting to read even more.

  11. 14

    Cheryl says

    Pornography, infidelity, drug addiction….those are all part of our marriage as well. The first 22 years were and E-ticket rollercoaster ride. But God would not allow me to leave. He reminded me over and over that He alone was trustworthy. He reminded me over and over of all the things He’d forvgiven me. He called me to be Jesus every day to a man who had little interest in God or me. And I was FAR from perfect in that walk, but God was beyond faithful.
    In 2005 God got my husband’s attention in a list of ways that reads like the book of Job. But He got his attention. And me husband was radically changed in 2006. And our marriage transformed beyond what I could have ever dreamed or imagined. We will celebrate 30 years of marriage in December. And it’s a great marriage. But better than that we have a great ministry – together.
    Kristen, thank you for your transparency. Thank you for the hard work of restoring marriage – not just yours but those where women and men have lost hope of healing. God is Big Enough. But the ability to humble yourself before the Lord and your spouse is a requirement. And you model that.
    May God continue to bless you, you marriage, your family and your ministries.

  12. 15

    Cari says

    I am in the middle of this same broken story – staring at the possible end of my marriage, yet standing on the Rock, knowing He can work miracles, and holding on tight to see what He has in store.

  13. 16

    Betsey says

    Thanks for the encouragemet. I too am living with a husband (married over 17 years) who would rather be somewhere else if it weren’t for our son. Thankful that he listened to me when I told him that he made me promises. I am a believer of only 4 years and he is an atheist, but I believe that God let my marriage be torn down to be built up the right way…with Him at the center.

  14. 18

    Lori Wegman says

    I wish my story had come out like yours. In the end, my husband chose the porn and promiscuous lifestyle over me and our two beautiful boys and left us when they were 5 and 2. Every plan I felt God had laid out for my life was turned upside down and snatched in that instant. My plan to homeschool…gone. Leading worship…gone. Speaking in churches, especially about marriage…gone. I had to move from the state I had called home for 13 years and all my friends, my church family, and my career network and start all over as a single teacher in my hometown so I could have family support. I have since remarried a wonderful man, but have struggled with the “blended family” concept as I have been rejected by his children, and his issues with them have kept him from connecting with mine. It breaks my heart to send my kids to public school every day, and to have to go myself and put in hours and hours that should have belonged to my children. I am finally singing more at church my new church, but not like before. I struggle with bitterness every day, because my ex, after 6 years do living a lifestyle of drinking, womanizing, and God only knows what else, has “come back to The Lord” and is now trying to be part of my children’s lives…after I have done most of the hard work for the last 6 years. And he’s doing it all from another state -so I’m really still doing most of the work and he gets to give the appearance he’s involved by being the “fun dad” during the summer when there is no homework, or practice, or schedule. I keep asking whatever happened to reaping what you sow? He got to do what he selfishly wanted, and I get to pay for it. Now he wants something different, of course, because the kids are getting older, easier, and to a point of understanding how rotten he was…and he doesn’t want them to think that. So apparently, the only person who suffers is me. Where is the justice? I loved him, forgave him, was faithful and loyal and supportive to him throughout his stuggle for 17 years…and none of that mattered. He chose it over me.

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