Just as the nation of Israel once slid slowly into sin and rebellion, so has our Western world. We have truly “made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place” (Isaiah 28:15 NIV). This is especially true when it comes to our view of sex.
The so-called sexual revolution promised freedom and happiness, but it has only produced spiritual and emotional bondage to addiction and pain. I’m afraid you and I are living in the aftermath.
And how’s that working for us?
“Happiness levels have been in decline since, interestingly, the ’60s.”
John Mark Comer, Live No Lies
We live in a society of sin slaves who do not even know what placed them in spiritual bondage. That’s because the pioneers of the sexual revolution educated our culture to view sin as good.
It’s quite possible that you feel the sadness of sexual sin in your marriage. I have some good news. God has already equipped you for this trial. In fact, He’s provided five powerful tools you can employ to participate in God’s redemption story for your marriage! (I’ll share them in just a moment.)
My husband Bob and I are a redemption story in progress. Our marriage story won’t look exactly like yours, and it shouldn’t. You are a unique couple, and your journey will be different from ours.
There’s something our stories may have in common, though: pornography. Because it’s become a sad norm in our culture, it is often the gateway to other marital problems and pain. A 2002 study revealed that among the general public, sixty-eight percent of divorce cases involve “one party meeting a new lover over the internet,” while fifty-six percent involve one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.” Even more tragically, Christian marriages are not exempt. Did you know that sixty-four percent of Christian men and fifteen percent of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month!1
Don’t let anyone tell you that pornography isn’t harmful. Prolonged exposure to this twisted version of God’s good gift dismantles intimacy in a marriage, erodes sanity, destroys trust, and often leads to unfaithfulness.
Because porn is seemingly ubiquitous, many women are becoming complacent about their husband’s struggle with it. Do not let that be you. Not all men are living in enslavement to a lustful mindset. And the fact that many are enslaved is no reason to simply accept it in your marriage. As long as you are walking with the Lord, the Holy Spirit is never going to let you be okay with anything less than complete sexual fidelity in your marriage.
You must do something. And you can.
Only God’s Spirit can bring your man to repentance, but you can influence your husband to seek the Lord and get the help he needs. Even when a man does not “obey the word” he can be “won . . . by the conduct” of his wife (1 Peter 3:1). You possess that power through Jesus Christ!
You can live in freedom. Your husband can too. Our Redeemer spoke these words to tell you how.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32 ESV)
I repeat: you can know the Truth. And it will set you free.
How can you know it? By abiding in God’s Word.
To “abide” means to stay. Jesus is inviting you not to be pulled away from truth by the world’s lies but instead to persistently remain in a mindset of truth.
And how do you do that?Get so full of the truth that there’s no room for the lies!
As I was walking through this journey with my husband, there was a need for clinically-informed professional care. The faith-filled Christians who studied behavioral science and the aftermath of sexual sin were able to help me see the facts—little t truth—a necessary element to understand the battle. But my experience is that these experts have little efficacy unless they are intimate with Jesus—capital T Truth! All the recovery tools in the world have little use without Truth.
Here’s another thing I learned. Before I even understood that the battle was raging in my husband’s heart, God had already equipped me for the work we were walking through.
What I’m about to share will seem so basic. But sometimes when things get difficult, it’s important to go back to the basics. I discovered that I already had five tools that were irreplaceable as Bob and I worked together to respond to God’s work in our life.
5 Tools for Your Fight
- Prayer. The prayers of a righteous person work! (James 5:16).
- The Bible. It’s the light for your path (Psalm 119:105).
- Community. Your sisters in Christ will provide guidance and keep you from isolation, one of Satan’s favorite weapons. As they carry your burden—and you theirs—you’ll fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1–2).
- The Lord. He is the only One capable of strengthening you for this epic battle with evil. And He promises to hold you up when you feel weak (Isaiah 41:10).
- Covenant Love. God’s unfailing love is the only remedy for sin. Knowing it will equip you with everything you need to do His will, including loving your husband (Hebrews 13:20–21).
Now, maybe you just deflated. You thought, Dannah, I’m in deep pain here. And you want me to practice spiritual disciplines?
I’ve been there. And you need this.
For example, here’s why you need to be in the Word.
“The Bible . . . makes sense of our world
and explains how we fit into God’s eternal plan.
It gives us context, a grid through which
to process hard things that come into our lives.”
—Robert and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
You need God’s truth to make sense of the lies that have invaded your covenant love. As you read your Bible and dig into the other tools of redemption, you’ll discover that even this hardship can fit into God’s eternal plan if you let it. You’ll mine an ability to process the hardest of days with hope and perspective.
I know. I’ve been there.
The day that Bob confessed his sin to me, I went for a walk in the woods. On the path, I pulled out the phone and called one of my oldest and dearest friends, Donna VanLiere.
I mumbled a bit as I tried to tell her what had just happened. The words didn’t come easily.
My dear friend pulled out a verse from Psalm 119 that she’d hidden in her heart and used it to form a prayer over me: “Lord, Dannah doesn’t know what to do. You’ve promised that your Word would be a lamp to her feet and a light to her path. Would you please use it for her to see her next step?”
“Dannah,” Donna asked, “How much light does a lamp give for your feet?”
I was silent.
She answered for me: “Just enough for the next few steps.”
I found that to be true. As I opened my Bible, God gave me the wisdom for the next few steps. Who to tell. Who not to tell. What to pull back on. What to press into. Where to get great biblical, clinically-informed counseling. What kind of help to avoid like the plague. When to hug my husband. When to confront Him.
If you’re on the same dark path I once walked, let me tell you something. There’s no better light to warm the way than the living, active Word of God.
This article is an excerpt from Happily Even After: Let God Redeem Your Marriage by Dannah Gresh. In it, Dannah unpacks each of the five tools of redemption at length and introduces some essential truths you need to fight for instead of with your husband.
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1Statistics from: Covenant Eyes, Porn Stats: 250+ Facts, Quotes, and Statistics about Pornography Use (2018 Edition), eBook (Owasso, MI: Covenant Eyes, 2022), 13.
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