In this Issue:
** 30 Tips for Recovery and Healing for Men and Their Wives
** My Take on Porn Filtering Software
** Newsletter Archives
** Mike Genung’s Books ** Quick Links
** Final Words
30 Tips for Recovery and Healing for Men and Their Wives
By Mike Genung
Today we’ll look at the fundamentals in your journey to recovery and healing… and help you avoid some pitfalls. We’ll start with those who are working to break free from sex or porn addiction; wives are next.
- For those who are married, your first priorities as defined in Scripture are your relationships with God and your spouse. Nothing supersedes this. If you succeed with your relationships with God and your wife spouse, everything else will eventually fall into place. If you save the world yet blow it with one of these primary relationships, you’ve failed. Ultimately, for lasting recovery and healing from lust, restoration with God and your wife must take place.
- Every act of porn and masturbation, affairs, or other types of sexual immorality is sin against God and the spouse. Why bring up what is so obvious? Some support groups and counselors try to soothe the conscience by reframing sin as “the addiction” or something less serious. When I am worshipping an idol such as porn, or making sex the source of my life, I’m taking my worship from God and giving it to another. If I’m lusting, fantasizing, masturbating to porn, or engaging in an affair, I’m shattering my marriage vows.
We need to hear words like adultery and sin to define sexual sin so that it stings. The sooner we’re forced to the conclusion that lust must never be compromised or tolerated with, the better.
- You will never break free in isolation; meeting with an accountability group or partner on a consistent basis is a must.
- “If something causes you to stumble, cut it off” (Matthew 5). Lust is toxic and those who act out repeatedly using the same method (ie smartphone, computer, etc) have proven they’re not strong enough to say no. As the alcoholic must remove all alcohol from his home, so those who are in bondage to lust must eliminate the things that take them down repeatedly. Many men don’t experience lasting freedom because they falter when it comes to going all out.
- Breaking free from sexual sin is about the heart. You must delve into the core issues and distorted beliefs that are driving lust, expose them, and replace them with God’s truth. Bible knowledge, support groups, and programs alone will not get it done. Neither will ministry or doing good works. The Holy Spirit must expose the truth of the lies you’ve bought into and do a work replacing them with the truth. He does this through Scripture, prayer, speaking to our spirit, wise counselors, friends who show us grace and speak truth into our lives, and putting circumstances together He uses to shape us.
- Your greatest need is to know God and receive His love in your heart. Freedom from sin is secondary and not the main goal.
- Fighting lust thoughts or temptation by will power doesn’t work. Instead, focus on God, bring Him into the battle, and ask for His power to do what you can’t. This is faith in action.
- Lying and hiding always accompany sexual sin. To break free, you must be accountable with your spouse and your group on an ongoing basis. If your wife asks you a question, do not lie.
- Shame and rejection are powerful forces that are not easily overcome. The more you can be transparent with others who are safe (i.e. who won’t condemn or gossip), the more you will break the power of these evil twins. The process takes time and hard work. If we’ve spent years conditioning ourselves to believe the lies that we’re scum or rejected, it will take time to recondition the heart with the truth of who we are in Christ and receive the grace of all that He’s done for us.
- Every man I’ve ever talked to who struggles with porn or sexual sin has been a head Christian. They’re cut off from their heart and emotions and often assume that because they possess Bible knowledge that they believe what they know. Lust layers the heart with sin and shame, making it difficult for the truth to reach the heart.
- Many of those who are in ministry use it to cover up their inner emptiness and misery. Doing good works isn’t going to resolve the truth of what you are within. Consider getting out of ministry for awhile if this is you.
- Self-absorption and pride are by-products of lust. The only way to overcome this is through prayer, the willingness to be convicted of sin, awareness, serving others, the help of others, true humility (which is not beating yourself up, but seeing others as more important as shown in Philippians 2), and receiving God’s grace and love.
- For those who are addicted to sexual sin, receiving the grace and love of God in the heart may be the most difficult part of their journey. Without the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10 coursing through the veins of our heart, the best we can hope for is temporary relief.
- You will never make amends to your wife until you stop all forms of acting out. Apologies without change is of little value; it’s like striking someone in the face for years, saying you’re sorry, and then continuing to hurt them.
- It takes years to completely heal a marriage from the devastation caused by porn and/or adultery. Be patient with your wife. Never say “when are you going to get over this?” Practicing 1st Corinthians 13 love with her is your best course of action.
- If the counselor you’re working with or “program” you’re working through runs counter to God’s word, use wisdom and discernment. Sadly, there are many in the church who have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to helping people break free with sexual sin. You will know a tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:16).
- Exposure to your husband’s sexual sin can be one of the most traumatic experiences you will ever experience. Never beat yourself up for needing more time to heal. You’re not crazy; you’ve been injured by the most important person in your life.
- Never allow your husband to blame you for his sin. 100% of the responsibility for your husbands choices to turn to sexual sin are his. Remember that you are God’s daughter, the wife of your husband, and the person in this world who least wants him to engage in lust.
- If you know of your husband’s sexual sin, but he doesn’t know that you know, confront him. This will be difficult, but your marriage needs it to survive. The longer he’s allowed to go without being confronted, the more time he will have to fall deeper into the whirlpool of sin and lies. Some men share that it was a relief when the truth came out; they could finally stop hiding and get help.
- How your husband responds will show you how deep in bondage he is and how serious he is about getting help. Men who respond in anger, blaming, or manipulation reveal that they’re neither willing nor ready to give up sexual sin. If he responds this way, stand your ground and insist that he gets help. He must choose between you and lust; he cannot have both.
- If your husband says that he doesn’t need help and can “recover on his own,” he’s lying or in complete denial. No man who’s been indulging in sexual sin for years or decades can break free on his own. If he will not get help he’s not willing to give up the sin, and you may need to consider separation. Do not allow him to treat you like a prostitute by enabling him to continue in sexual sin unabated.
- You can demand that your husband gets help, but don’t try to control him or work his recovery process. If he doesn’t make the choice to make the journey to freedom of his own free will, he’ll bail out when the road gets tough.
- Do not walk this journey alone. Find another safe woman who you can confide in so you can process your emotions with someone who can be a clean sounding board for you. Don’t bottle up your pain and anger; stuffed emotions compound with bitterness over time and can inflict great damage on your heart.
- Be careful who you work with when it comes to counselors or “friends.” For the most part, turning to afamily member for advice is a bad move because they’re emotionally invested and have a hard time being impartial. Stay away from Aunt Betty the Battleaxe who has it in for your husband. Some counselors cause more harm than good by saying stupid things like blaming the wife for the husband’s sin because “she didn’t give him enough sex.” If you’re going to a counselor who is counterproductive, stop. Many Christians are quick to dole out “DIVORCE HIM!” advice due to their own blind spots, lack of understanding of grace, or God’s heart for marriage. Find someone whose goal is to help the two of you heal and reconcile.
- The wounds your husband inflicts with his adultery can expose and exacerbate unresolved issues in your heart that have been there long before you met him. For complete healing to occur, you will need to work at resolving the original wound, as well as the current one.
- Work towards forgiveness. You need to grant forgiveness more than he needs to receive it; withholding forgiveness risks imprisoning your heart in bitterness. This doesn’t mean that you have to forgive him the moment he confesses, or before you’re ready, but that it’s a goal to work toward. While forgiveness is necessary for healing, trust is a separate matter…
- Your husband must earn your trust; you don’t owe it to him just because you’ve forgiven him. He must earn it back one day at a time, by consistent actions such as getting help, rigorous honesty, and staying away from sexual sin. It may take him months if not years to completely restore the foundation of trust that was broken. If he’s blaming, manipulating, lying, raging, and/or continuing in the sin, you have no reason or obligation to trust him.
- Your husband needs your grace, desperately. For the men who are serious about healing their marriage, your forgiveness, patience and understanding will mean the world to them. Your words have the power to heal and the power to shred him. Use wisdom and discernment for the best way to respond to him.
- Your husband needs to know how you feel. Express your feelings to him. Help him understand how deeply you’re wounded. Don’t hold back or stuff your feelings. It’s important that you keep the channel of communication open as much as possible. If you’re having a hard time and need some space, tell him, and then come back to him later and let him know how you’re doing.
- I hate to bring this one up, but the reality is that many marriages don’t make it. If you lose your marriage because your husband refused to give up his sin, it does not mean you’re a failure. Separate his sinful choices and the resulting consequences from who you are.
- Your greatest need is to know God and experience His love. Your husband could be free from lust, yet if your heart is still wounded, empty, and/or trapped in bitterness, your marriage might still be lost and your faith could eventually be at risk of shipwreck (there are women who never recover). Your ultimate healing comes from the Lord.
For both of you, if God has done a healing work in your marriage, don’t hide it. Share your story with others, and get involved with ministries like this one. If your pastor has never addressed porn or sexual sin from the pulpit, encourage him to do so.
My Take on Porn Filtering Software
I’ve never heard of a guy who couldn’t get around a porn filter when he wanted to.
Once the pull to seek out lust hits and they give in, the challenge to see if they can get around the porn filter has a way of intensifying the hunger for lust and the excitement of the chase. When a man is committed to going after a lust hit, the best a porn filter can do is slow him down.
My take on porn filtering software is as follows:
- Porn filtering software is at its best for those who aren’t looking for porn, especially children. In today’s environment it’s not wise to have unfiltered internet access in your home with young, curious minds around.
- Porn filtering software buys the average man or woman addicted to porn a few minutes to think. As they begin the game of getting around the porn filter, the Holy Spirit can start working on them… “Do you really want this? Remember how you felt the last time you masturbated to pornography? Think about how it will feel when you have to look your wife and children in the eyes, knowing that you’ve fallen again. What will it do to your relationship with Me?”
Sometimes this weight of conviction can persuade the user to shut the computer down and walk away. If not, they will have to harden their heart, ignore the promptings of the Lord, and throw themselves deeper into the well of depravity.
Read the rest at the blog
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?