He Said/She Said (4):Prayer

My hubby and I are working on a giant post of resources, links and practical ways to STOP the use/addiction of lust and pornography with the help of Jesus Christ, as well as sharing ways you can help as a spouse.

In my hubby’s vlog next week, he will teach/equip men how to STOP lust in it’s tracks and give men a practical way to put away all the harmful images from yesterday or 15 years ago that their mind catalogs.

We never imagined the depth this series would reach. We are answering countless emails, even talking on the phone with some who are desperate. Please pray for us. We are not counselors and while it is good for us to testify, it is also hard.

Shelley of Hopefully Devoted, shared this incredible article Hijacking the Brain: How Pornography Works
It is a must read!

A comment from a reader:

“I think this topic is CRUCIAL for married couples, and for raising our children. Up to the point you shared, my husband’s story is very similar to yours, except that he was not raised in a Christian home and the magazines he discovered were actually porn.

For years now we have discussed his struggle and we actively fight against it. Yes, I said “we” because I have helped and continue to help him in a number of ways: I let him be honest and didn’t give him the church lady response the first time he shared his struggle. Though I didn’t understand it, I trusted him and believe him, and frankly I was impressed with his honesty and obvious desire to turn from his sin rather than hide it and let it fester into an even greater secret sin.

I continue to give him a listening ear whenever he’s had an eye-popping moment (which unfortunately occurs more often than it should because of the way women dress!), and on occasion, have even given myself to him after such times just so that I know he’ll go into the next day with my body on his mind and not another woman’s. I have cancelled all catalogs from stores such as Victoria’s Secret, which are down-right pornographic, and we have an internet filter on our computer and I am the only keeper of the password.

Though it is much less harmful a sin, I struggle with eating whatever sweet food will make me feel good at the moment (I really have to fight emotional eating!), and the biggest way that I fight it is to not let it in the house. If it comes in, I will not be able to resist. Likewise, my husband knows the temptation is great and is grateful that I am helping him by keeping it out of the house. His desire to avoid temptation rather than have to resist it does not make him a weaker man; it indicates his humility as he fights his flesh and his fervent desire to remain pure before God.

We need to help our husbands with this strugg
le instead of keeping our heads in the sand. It is such a shameful topic that men often don’t feel comfortable sharing it with anyone (especially in church!), which only makes it worse. We need to be a safe place to which they can turn for help.

I have learned so much thru this journey. I am even able to thank God for it.

I’ll leave you guess with the passage of scripture I’ve been chewing on all week: Psalm 51

“I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” Psalm 51:17 Message translation

There is hope.

While we pause this series this week, we’d like to ask you to pray for us and we will pray for you. Lust and pornography are some of the enemy’s best tools. He isn’t thrilled that you’re reading this. If you’d like your marriage lifted up, please just leave PRAY in the comments (even if you do it anonymously).

He Said/She Said (3): Confessions

Thank you so much for the love and support you offered on last week’s post to my husband and I. Your reception of our hard-to-tell-story was beautiful. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but you helped us handle it with grace.
Please understand, this is our story and we aren’t making assumptions about your marriage or your spouse or proclaiming that every marriage has or will face something like this. We are simply telling it to help others. Maybe even you.
She Said:
I will never forget the night my husband confessed his sin to me. We were on our way home from Disney World of all places. We had just spent a magical week on our first real vacation after nearly 11 years of marriage. I was still on a Disney high as we drove our van deep into the night, our two children asleep in the back.
Up until this point in our lives, we’d had a really great marriage. We’d been out of full time ministry for two years and were finally getting back on our feet. For the first time, we had a 401k, we owned a nice home (the one we still live in) and my husband had a promising new sales career. Everything seemed perfect.
So, in the dark, as my hubby and I talked, our conversation began to take an uncomfortable turn. And then he just said it: “I have a sin problem. I’m addicted to lust and pornography.”
My world stopped. I knew from that moment, I would never be the same again.
I’m not going to candy-coat this: I freaked out.
I was so disturbed and disgusted that while we sped down the freeway, I climbed into the backseat to separate myself from him for awhile. I wept, held onto my babies and wondered if this is what if felt like for your marriage to breakup.
I asked a lot of questions. I hated all the answers. I couldn’t understand, couldn’t wrap my head around this different person, my mind screamed. “Who are you?” This was before counseling, before I gobbled up every book I could find on the subject. This is the night I lost some of my innocence.
But even on this first night, as I cried bitter tears, I couldn’t stop loving this broken man. My broken, hurting man. I didn’t understand this new ugly place. I didn’t know how we were going to make it, but I knew that I wanted to help him find freedom.
(And he found freedom like he’s never tasted, and we both found intimacy on a level we didn’t know existed….)
Next week, we will talk about some warning signs and then practical tools that would help fight this battle.
But before that, I just wanted to share some reassurances that helped me during this time (from For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn)
Reassurance #1: His temptation is often not primarily sexual (physical, yes, but not always sexual).
Reassurance #2: Every man is different (some can experience an involuntary sexual image and dismiss it without being tempted, while another can see the same image and struggle deeply).
Reassurance #3: It’s not because of you (this was the main point hammered over and over to me by the counselor…”your hubby had this problem before he even met you.”
Reassurance #4: This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you (it was hard for me to understand how he could love me and still struggle with lusting after others…but this was a struggle with sin and even though it affected our relationship, these were separate in his heart).

He Said:

He Said/She Said (2): Lust and Your Marriage

Well. Brace yourself, because we’re not holding back today. [Please be conscious of children in the room when you read this post/listen to my husband’s vlog].
As most of you know, I shared that Forgiveness is a Part of My Story over at (in)Courage a few weeks ago. I was blown away by the mass volume of private emails and public comments from women that day and steadily since. Women sharing similar circumstances, asking for prayer, believing for a miracle, reaching out for help.
My hubby and I prayed about it; He Said/She Said was born. (post #1, in case you missed it).
She Said:
I grew up naively and married naively. I was a virgin (or SUPER-virgin, as we now jokingly say) and I wouldn’t change that in any way. I pray my children can offer their future spouses the same gift one day.
I didn’t know much about lust. I remember my Dad carefully guarding and protecting my sister and I from boys. He would always say “I know how boys think.” I knew what he was referring too, but I thought it was just some boys. I didn’t know that all boys struggled with lust.
I certainly didn’t know that men (98% of them according to studies of Christian and non), including the one I’d marry, battled the same enemy.
It was years into our marriage, before I made this discovery. I’d always heard men are “visual.” I knew provocatively dressed women enticed men. But that is just scratching the surface of a man’s world.
In my hubby’s video below, he shares when he was first exposed to an image of a nude woman and how that began a battle he wouldn’t have the tools to win until just four years ago. He was just a boy, weaponless, struggling with an omnipresent opponent.
I want to share with you what I’ve learned about men and lust. My education came from my own experience and from a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. I discovered it in the throes of my crumbling marriage. It was a lifesaver:For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn, opened my eyes to my husband’s mind, his battlefield.
[The rest of this post will contain information directly from this book]
In the chapter, Keeper of the Visual Rolodex, Shaunti explains (after years of research and interviewing 1,000 Christian men) even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women. Ninety-eight percent of the men responded that when an attractive woman enters the room, they can’t NOT want to look. (She goes on to explain that they have a choice right here. Remember, it’s not a sin to be tempted or when involuntary images pop into the mind. But if we devour that image, fantasize, so on and so on, then that’s giving into the temptation).
What “Men are Visual Means”: 1. An “eye magnet” or woman who is dressed to show off her beautiful body is extremely hard to avoid and even when he forces himself not to look, he is acutely aware of her presence. 2. Even when an eye magnet isn’t present, men have a “mental Rolodex” of stored images that can intrude into his thoughts without warning. (These can be snapshots of women they’ve seen before or sensual images from movies (bad), magazines (bad), even of you, his wife (good).
This was a lot for me to take in the first time I read it. Since then, I’ve discussed it with my hubby and he’s confirmed it. Our world is a dangerous minefield for our husbands.
Next week, I’ll share some more on this subject (I’ll offer some reassurances and things we can do to help them in the battle), meanwhile, please pray for your mate. His battle is real. The enemy is fierce. Stumbling blocks pepper his path. Pray he will be strong. Pray for him to resist temptation. Pray God will use you to minister to your spouse.
He Said:

Is any of this information new to you? Have you talked to your husband about it? Perhaps, the table is turned and as a woman, you struggle with lust. If you’re a visual person, this might not be news to you (25% of women are “visual”).
Or you may be in the percentage of men/women who aren’t affected by these issues.
Either way, we are praying for you and your marriage.

He Said/She Said #1

I’m so happy to introduce you to our first He Said/She Said post!

Three times a month, my hubby and I will tackle tough issues and perspectives…me from a woman’s point of view and my hubby from a man’s.

We’re going to go easy today and just introduce each other. [Next week, we’re starting a multi-part series on Lust and Your Marriage]

You guys already know me pretty well, but I thought the best way to tell you about my hubby was for you to read the letter he gave me for my special box on our fifteenth anniversary a couple of weeks ago:

Dear Kristen,

2 young adults

1 college

1 plan – HIS plan

6 months from first date to wedding day

2000 dollars to our name

17 jobs – bank teller/teacher, youth/children’s pastor, sandwich deliverer, nutrisystem, ABQ youth/children’s pastor, church janitor, aventis, youth pastor, tutor, lawn mower, pds flunkie, forest, pds editor, blogger

7 houses – athens, benton, albuquerque, rio rancho, sunrise, sterling ridge, where we live today

9 cars – toyota, isuzu, mazda, villager, rabbit, chevy truck, saturn, volkswagon, pontiac

11 pets – navy, bear, bailey, snoopy, katie, zorro, zoee, alice, marshmallow, ike, sasha

1 adoption attempted

1 child we prayed for

1 child we needed

1 child lost

1 child we wanted

1 family complete

5 kidney stones

10 nieces and nephews

3 trips to national fine arts

4 dinner theaters

6 games of broomball

50,000 rehearsals, lock-ins, plays, prayer meetings, youth rallies, camps, puppet skits

750000 miles logged

2 pastors and 1 jerk

3 million decisions

1000 fights

1000 make ups

10000 kisses

6 trips to Disney

700 garage sales

200 antique stores

30 school programs

1000 car lines

1 horrible confession

1 act of forgiveness

1 cross for my sins

1 wife to woo again

1 broken man

1 marriage transformed by HIM

10,000 prayers

66 books of the bible

19 children’s birthdays

20 + trips to the emergency room

1 iweb program that spawned 1 blogger blog

1500 wake ups in the middle of the night

14 lost teeth

218 sick days

10 million blissful memories

50 hours of video tape

8039 photos snapped

9 visits from santa

1 commitment

1 incredible woman that i fall in love with everyday, over and over. 1 girl to laugh with, to love, to hold to share. 1 God that binds us together and keeps us focused when our vision blurs. 1 amazing life relationship that many yearn to experience. 15 years past.
an class=”Apple-style-span” style=”color:#000066;”>God willing many years to seize and live to the fullest.

I love you,

Your husband.

Amazing, huh? I can still taste the tears I shed from this letter.
You guys are in for a treat! He vlogged his:

Oh, yeah, but I cut him off a little because he started to tell you how I wake him up when I can’t sleep–
Tell us something about your spouse that inspires you in the comments!
Stay tuned for next week: He Said/She Said: Lust and Your Marriage