Blazing Grace began in 2000; at the time it was just me leading a Christ and grace centered support group for men in Colorado Springs. In 2004 I put the Blazing Grace website up. Most of the original content was for men, with some added for wives and marriages. In the early 2000s there were few Christian ministries for sexual issues.
I immediately started getting emails from hurting wives; there were many days when I got more emails from women than men. Not long after, I found myself praying with a group of wives by phone conference call. We quickly built a team of women who volunteered their time to respond to wives who needed someone to talk to who could relate to their situation.
In the 2010s we developed prayer and support groups for wives that were led by female volunteers. In 2016 the leader of our women’s ministry suggested that I write a book for wives; The Wife’s Heart; Healing from Your Husband’s Porn Addiction and Adultery was launched in February 2017. I heard comments such as “What does a man know about a wife’s heart?”… then would hear that the women would end up in tears while reading it.
2018 saw our first weekend wives retreat in the mountains of Colorado. The Sunday morning prayer time still burns in my memory; God filled the room with His presence. Prayer meetings with broken people who aren’t faking it are powerful.
Today we have a constant flow of wives contacting us for help from all over the globe. We hear stories of Christian husbands who shrug their shoulders and tell their wives to deal with their porn problem, or that it’s not a big deal. There is blame, justification, verbal, emotional, and even physical abuse. We hear of wives who are told by pastors and counselors that “Your husband has a porn problem because you aren’t giving him enough sex,” or, “You aren’t doing enough of (fill in the blank).” The underlying message is that a wife should fix her husband’s sin problem.
The spiritual abuse of women in the church is consistent, and suppressed… like the hidden epidemic of sexual abuse. The blowup when the coverup by the Southern Baptists was exposed and it came out that more than 700 people had been sexually abused while church leadership ignored it is one example. Having been on the receiving end of spiritual and sexual abuse myself, hearing these stories hits a nerve.
Listeners to Blazing Grace radio know that I have women on the show often to give them a voice; to expose the pain and the trauma they’ve gone through while offering hope to others who are in the same place and dying to know that there’s someone out there who can relate to their story.
The trauma a wife goes through in a marriage that’s devastated by sexual sin can be horrific. One wife walked in on her husband while he was having sex with a prostitute in their home and ended up in a psych ward. It’s not uncommon to hear of a wife walking in on her husband as he was masturbating to porn. Some women end up on depression and anxiety medication (which can do more damage than good) – or worse. Some doctors put women on heavy-duty psych meds that medicate them into oblivion.
The recovering wife must battle fear, anger, bitterness, shattered self-esteem, and off-the-charts spiritual warfare, all while trying to hold her marriage and family together. Some women are blessed with husbands who want to heal and go all out to recover. Others are married to men whose hearts have turned to stone and are consumed and twisted by what had become their precious. Suggest that these men give it up, and they lash out like Gollum.
The wife’s journey to healing and recovery takes years. Time doesn’t completely heal her wound. A decade or more into the recovery process the pain can suddenly surface from nowhere, even long after she and her husband have recovered.
When is the last time you heard what a wife goes through in a marriage that’s been racked with sexual sin discussed from the pulpit? I know, some of you just thought I’m a nut job for even writing this because we barely talk about sex in church let alone the wife’s struggle. A church filled with 70% of men who are viewing pornography translates into many hurting women.
Several years ago I was approached by a man to hold one of our From to Grace conferences at a church in another state. He wanted to make it a conference for men alone. I told him I wouldn’t hold it unless the wives were included. After explaining why, I suggested that he ask his wife what she thought.
He came back to me later after talking it over with his wife; he’d changed his mind and agreed that the conference should be for men and women.
The wife’s recovery and healing are just as critical as the husband’s. If she doesn’t heal, the marriage can still be lost… or… if they stay together, she and her husband will continue on a road of quiet desperation and pain.
Pornography destroys the lives of those who make it, corrupts youth and sets them on a path of a life of sin and sorrow, ensnares men in shame, sin, fear, and pain, and traumatizes the wife. We must not forget the wives, just as we must reach our youth and the men who are in bondage.
Wives are often quicker to take action on the porn epidemic in the church than many men. Many of the From Porn to Grace conferences we’ve done came about because a wife went to her church and said “we need this.”
Today we offer the following for wives:
The Wife’s Heart; Healing from Your Husband’s Porn and Adultery
Restoring the Wife’s Heart, Taking up the Mantle of Jael
The Wife’s Heart Journal
Ladies, reply to this email if you want to get plugged in.
Or, if you’d like us to pray for you.