I wish you were here right now, so I could look you in the eyes, take you by the hand, and assure you of a few things that I think you need to hear. I would begin by telling you how terribly sorry I am that you even need to read this blog post. I am sorry that your husband didn’t come to you and confess his struggle, but that you had to discover it on your own.
I bet I know what you’re thinking: Is he truly sorry because of what he did, or is he sorry he got caught? It’s normal for a wife to wonder how much longer he would have kept this little secret or if he would have ever come clean. This is a question you’ll never have an answer for, so it’s best to set it aside in lieu of the question that has answers: What do I do when I catch my husband looking at porn?
Rest assured that your husband’s use of pornography is not about you.
I hope he has already told you this, but I suspect you’re not so sure. Believe it. Pornography is a selfish act meant to meet his own perceived needs. That means you are not in competition with digitally enhanced images of other women. This is not about your appearance, your sexual availability, or your competence in the bedroom. You do not need to be a size 8, get a tummy tuck, or engage in sexual acts that make you uncomfortable.
Expect to be bombarded by a host of emotions.
It’s entirely possible that since you caught your husband you have experienced anger, fear, sadness, depression, and guilt –and the pain feels incomprehensible. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself saying and doing things you never thought imaginable. I was undone when I discovered my husband’s addiction, and I alternately cried until I made myself physically sick and raged like a crazy woman. (Not my proudest moment.) Above all, you need to know that there is hope and that God is big enough to meet all of your needs. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 reminds us that our endurance, patience, and perseverance are inspired by our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Believe me when I tell you that His long arm of mercy can and will reach you and pluck you out of this miry pit.
Your husband’s use of porn will not go away if you simply ignore it, chalking it up to “boys will be boys.”
God gives us a standard for marriage in the Bible. It’s that standard that causes you to think, “A faithful, loving husband doesn’t do this.” While the word confront doesn’t sound very loving, leaving your husband in this sin isn’t a loving response either. You need to tenderly confront your husband about his use of pornography. Some women need to confront the issue immediately while others require some time to process what they’ve discovered before they can discuss it. There is no right or wrong time, as long as you don’t avoid or deny the issue. Don’t be surprised if your emotions bubble to the surface and you find yourself crying or fighting mad. Exhale. Remember that you are in a battle, but this is a battle not between you and your husband, but a battle between the two of you against pornography.
Find safe support.
It is important that you find someone to talk to, and the first person should be God. Ask Him to direct your path in this situation. This is not the time to broadcast this to everyone you meet, but you do need support. Your best confidants will be those who are equipped to listen without judgment, and preferably someone who has experience with this. If your husband is committed to restoring your marriage and he is taking obvious steps in the right direction, I strongly encourage you to consult him about who and how much to tell.
Accept the fact that it is not in your power to fix this for your husband.
God has given the Holy Spirit the task of conviction of sin. You are not responsible for your husband’s daily choices. Your job is to walk in obedience to the Word of God. Turn to the Wonderful Counselor for healing your own heart. You’ve experienced a painful betrayal and you need to trust yourself into His care. When you arrive at a place of healing, you will be in a better position to create an environment that promotes healing in your marriage. Leave your husband in God’s hands. He’s got this one.
Deuteronomy 17:16-17 describes what a king is NOT supposed to do. Deuteronomy 17:18, however, describes exactly what he is to do: When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. Did you catch that? “He is to write FOR HIMSELF on a scroll a copy of this law.”
Stop the presses! Literally!
I hold degrees in elementary education, deaf education, and reading disabilities (not to mention ministry) and I know the research that says that copying information in your own hand help one learn and retain what they’ve learned. As a college student, I would often copy and recopy my class notes in preparation for a test. My mom sand in the Sweet Adelines for many years and part of her routine for learning the lyrics of songs was to copy them into a notebook up to 12 times. Writing something out (not with a computer) completes a connection in the brain.
I knew all of this, so when I was given the opportunity to
read write the book of Acts in the newest Journible book, I jumped at the chance. As the introduction to the book explains, “the book is organized so that the ‘scribe’ can slowly and thoughtfully engage the text while leaving plenty of room to write comments and questions about the text. (Did I mention this was brilliant?!) On right hand side of the book, you are given the chapter and verses you will write followed by a sufficient number of lines marked with the verse numbers behind which you will copy the verses. On the facing left page, are questions, often with cross references, that help you process what you’ve just written on the right.
I’ve taught through Acts a few times now and have a real affinity for this book, so I was delighted to jump into the 17:18 series for this book. As I wrote out chapter 1 in one sitting (1.5 hours), I already discovered new insights that helped with what I am working on in my ministry. Then I took on chapter 2 and found myself digging deeper into Pentecost just in time for this past Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost. (Trust me, I see this as a God-incidence!) It made for an even richer worship experience on Sunday.
Rob Wynalda, the author of this book (though the author of Acts was Luke), describes why the king needed to copy the law in his own hand. I believe we can take those same reasons and own them ourselves. When we copy God’s Word …
- We read it
- We learn to fear the Lord
- We obey the commands of God (because we know them)
- Our heart will not become proud (God willing)
- We will not turn to the right or the left from following the law (Proverbs 4:27)
- Our sons (and daughters) will serve in the kingdom after us
My favorite verse is Joshua 1:8 that says, “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
The 17:18 series equips those of us who will take up the challenge to live out Joshua 1:8. I give this 5 stars! (I’ve been inviting friends to join me on this challenge and already have 2 takers. Will you join us and who might you invite to do it with you?)
Robert Wynalda … well done, my friend! Hats off to you! Thanking God for your books as they will deepen the walks of many believers on this journey of faith.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (June 30, 2012)
Barnes and Noble (Don’t have Acts yet, but have other Journibles)
Christian Book Distributors (Don’t have Acts yet, but have other Journibles)
If you follow this blog much you might have figured out the Tiede’s are big movie buffs. We really love movies. We recently saw 42, the new Jackie Robinson biopic. If you haven’t seen it, we definitely recommend this movie. It begins in 1946 which got me thinking; this is around the same time that Nate Saint was a missionary in Ecuador. What a time in history. Jackie Robinson was risking it all to bring respect to black athletes and raising up our country from racism. Nate Saint and four other missionary friends were risking it all for the message of Christ to lost people in Central America. I love a good story and, not surprisingly. the best are often those that have really happened.
Author Nancy Drummond, has tackled the life story of perhaps one of the most well known missionaries of our time. In her biographical story for young readers, Nate Saint: Operation Auca, Drummond begins the story in Pennsylvania where young Nate and his older brother Sam are flying in a plane Sam’s Challenger bi-plane. Nate is hooked. He loves flying, and he is very gifted at fixing and making things. He also has a strong faith in Christ and wants to serve the Lord. He goes on as a young adult serving his country in World War II, and meets and marries his wife. Ultimately, Nate and his wife Marj become missionaries and he pursues his dream career that mixes his two loves: flying and Jesus. Through Mission Aviation Fellowship, the Saints begin their work to reach the tribes in the jungles who have never heard about Jesus.
However, these are not your friendly natives that are kind and gentle to all. These are a violent and killing people– headhunters and cannibals. As the story goes, Nate and four other missionaries were martyred for their faith and mission to reach the Auca people. You may have heard or seen End of the Spear which depicts the lives of these martyred missionaries and the rest of the story.
If your young reader has not read or heard about Nate Saint, this is a must read. Drummond does an excellent job of demonstrating Nate’s faith, his love and passion for his call in life, and compassion for people. Drummond does this all in easy to read and easy to follow story that clearly captures Nate’s passion. At my house, my 10 year has already made it his next read; as he says it, “You mean the story about the man and the yellow plane? I’m going to read that next!” I definitely recommend this book and hope that it captures the heart and spirit of a new generation who follows their dreams risking it all for their first love. I give this book five out of five stars.
Torchbearer Series- How far would you go for the Lord? These biographies tell the story of those who even sacrificed their everything – even their lives! Seven books for 8-12 year olds.
Mass Market Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: CF4K (November 14, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
Recently, Vicki talked me into watching the movie ”Les Miserables.” Okay, I’ve gotta be honest; it didn’t take much convincing. I like epic movies, and I like musicals too, so the two together intrigued me, especially since I haven’t seen the musical production. I would have seen it in the theater with the girls, but the boys decided to go see “The Hobbit” instead!
Just a few days before watching the movie, I started reading a new book, “Bound Together~ How we are Tied Together in Good and Bad Choices” by Chris Brauns. Like the title suggests, this is a book that looks at our relationships and how we are bound together by our choices. I must say, watching this movie that focuses on the relationships and their choices and reading ”Bound Together”, drove the point home! But really you don’t have to watch the movie to know this. The Bible is much like this too … David and Saul; Moses and Pharaoh; Paul and the early Christians. The list of people in the Bible who are bound together is endless. When you think of it, this is how it is in our lives too. I have to admit that sometimes it’s more easily identified in other people’s lives’ than in our own.
As you can tell by my introduction, “Bound Together” makes a clear and convincing argument for this premise. Brauns is able to clearly articulate this through excellent examples, quotes, and vignettes. The book is divided into two sections – understanding the principle and applying the principle. In part one, Brauns uses the doctrine of original sin and the Gospel to articulate the bond we have in being lost and being saved in Christ. As Christians we are bound to Christ and we are his people. Even though we are born sinners and may have been born into a family with a heritage of sin, such as alcoholism or other sin, we are not able to use this as an excuse. Instead, we need to turn from sin to follow Christ.
In part two, Brauns applies the principle of being bound together to joy, marriage, families who are hurting, those who fear death, and country and cultural influences on us. Through each of these areas, he supports his points biblically, and he is able to engage his reader with thought provoking premises of each topic. I believe his descriptions of these concepts are balanced: deep and rich in content without getting overly academic or making this a theology textbook. Each area he covers likely could be a spin off with further application in Christian living. However, Brauns offers enough information in each to whet his reader’s appetite.
I particularly liked Brauns’ chapter on country and culture. He contends (rightly so) that we are living in an individualistic culture in which loneliness and isolation are a by-product of this individualism. He provides an excellent solution – community. He cites the first century church and how they did “community” as the ultimate “bond.”
Brauns is a very articulate and readable author, and “Bound Together” is an excellent book. I think some may want more after reading this book. More answers. More discussion. But I think that is what makes this book work. It doesn’t try to answer all the questions. It leaves its readers thinking. For those wanting more, he also has a section for further reading. Since Brauns has such an engaging style, I personally would like him to consider writing additional books, which would dig deeper into the areas where his concept works. I give this book five stars out of five.
We are not just isolated individuals. Instead, our lives are woven together with others. We have solidarity with other people—the choices one person makes affects the lives of others, for good and for bad. Because much of the pain we endure in life is in the context of relationships, this truth often strikes us as unfair. Why should a child suffer because of the choices of his parents? And on a grander scale, why do we all suffer the curse of Adam’s sin? Why should anyone be judged for someone else’s sin? In Bound Together, Chris Brauns unpacks the truth that we are bound to one another and to the whole of creation. He calls this, ‘the principle of the rope.’ Grasping this foundational principle sheds new light on marriage, the dynamics of family relationships, and the reason why everyone lives with the consequences of the sins that others commit. Brauns shows how the principle of the rope is both bad news and good news, revealing a depth to the message of the gospel that many of us have never seen before.
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
CHRIS BRAUNS is the Senior Pastor at the Congregational Christian Church of Stillman Valley, IL. Chris left the corporate world in 1990 and graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1993 with a Master of Divinity degree. Since then he has served as a youth pastor, senior pastor, and church planting pastor. In 2006, Chris received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary having completed the preaching track under Haddon Robinson. Chris is the author of Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds (Crossway) and When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search (Moody).
Visit Chris Brauns at www.ChrisBrauns.com
(Don’t miss Part 1 of this post)
You’re pretty certain it’s too late … your child is looking at porn.
Before you overreact, you need to find out if this was your child’s first exposure. If it was, then have a frank discussion, move the computer, and get some filtering software on your computers, notebooks, Smartphones, etc. – STAT! (See my recommendations later in this article.)
If you’re pretty certain this is not a first time exposure, then it’s time to have a very frank conversation with your son/daughter. Be prepared; you will most likely face resistance. Whether or not you’ve had conversations about porn in the past, most kids won’t stand before a parent and say they think looking at porn is a good idea. In their gut, they know it’s wrong and depending on what they’ve watched … very wrong! So in all likelihood, they are going to deny their use and vehemently deny that they have a problem.
On the other hand, there are those who will readily confess that they’ve looked at porn and are terribly sorry. Trust me on this one, you’re going to wonder if they would be as sorry if they hadn’t gotten caught.
Don’t miss this … punishment and correction are not your goal here. Restoring your child and helping them recalibrate to God’s design for sexuality needs to be your priority.
No one (including you) is going to be comfortable with the direction these conversations may go, but if you have any reason to believe your child is looking at pornography, you absolutely cannot look the other way. This. Will. Not. Go. Away!
That said, do you remember how Jesus approached the adulterous woman in John 8? He was compassionate and kind, but He didn’t mince words. Now would be a good time to put to use your best Jesus impersonation. Teens and parents often struggle with communication anyway. You need to set the stage for healthy communication that promotes truth and candor throughout the restoration of your child to God designed sexuality. To be blunt … you need to position yourself as someone who is safe for your child to approach, even if you aren’t going to like what you hear. (No one said this was going to be easy.)
I’m working under the assumption that like most parents you might be tempted to point some fingers about now and many of them might be pointing at yourself. Beating yourself up for a host of perceived areas of negligence is not going to help the situation. If there really are good, better, and best families, then believe me … the very best families have had terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, non-God-honoring things happen. Don’t waste your time looking back. Everyone (parents, children, friends, porn producers, etc.) owns a piece of this pie. Own your piece and get to the more important business of restoration.
First, if you have not had the important conversations that I mentioned earlier, have them right now! (Read Parents, It’s Time to Speak Up & Take Action … and do it!)
Set some boundaries in your house that will protect the purity of the minds of those in your home. Let me suggest a few:
- Allow no coarse jokes or hints of immorality.
- Be extremely sensitive to sexually charged media or resources in your home. Ask yourself, “How will watching this program or movie, or having this magazine or advertisement in our home affect our walk with God?” (But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:3-4)
- Establish rules about media use. Length of use and hours of use. These rules should not only apply to technology at home, but also when your child is outside of your home. Make a contract and sign it. Layout the consequences of blowing it.
I told you I wouldn’t tap dance around the tough stuff, so what I’m about to say may make you uncomfortable. That’s too bad. The sad truth is that most people who struggle with a sex addiction (and that’s what frequent use of porn is) have suffered sexual or other abuse at some point. Do not overlook this possibility. Ask the hard questions.
As long as we are stomping on tender feelings, another often overlooked problem is relational issues between the child and one or both of the parents. In particular, boys who have dad issues. Do not misunderstand me! I’m NOT implying that this is evidence that you absolutely have a bad relationship with your child. Sometimes there are issues, sometimes there aren’t. I’m just sayin’ … If you’ve had this nagging feeling that something’s not right in that department, this just might be affirming a problem that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Mind you, your child isn’t without responsibility here. Let’s do a quick inventory: Has he/she been honest about this issue or other typical teen issues or are you discovering a pattern of lies? Who are they hanging out with – anyone who is a less than stellar influence? Have you seen evidence of any drug or alcohol use/abuse? Do you feel like he or she is coming clean now?
Here’s where it gets dicey. If your child has already had frequent exposures, then he/she has very likely become desensitized to some degree. As this happens, kids tend to seek porn more frequently and seek porn that leans toward or is hard-core. This is how addiction happens.
This is geared toward young college students, but I believe the truths herein are true for younger kids as well: “What can be considered established is that frequent exposure of young adults (i.e., mostly students in their first year of college) to readily available erotica, explicit and graphic, but devoid of coercion, fosters a rapid overcoming of adverse reactions such as feelings of guilt, repulsion, and disgust, and an equally rapid development of unhindered enjoyment reactions. Prolonged exposure leads to habituation of excitatory reactions, however. Enjoyment diminishes as a result, and the consumption of novel materials (i.e., erotica depicting less common sexual behaviors) becomes necessary to sustain enjoyment reactions of acceptable intensity. This excitatory habituation constitutes the first phase in habituation paradigms of sexual deviancy.” (Bryant D. Zillmann. “Pornography: Models of Effects on Sexual Deviancy.” Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior, New York, 2000, Taylor & Francis.)
Now here’s the deal: You are (and must continue to be) your child’s parent first and foremost. That is your most important role in this recovery process. Your son or daughter probably already feels an overabundance of shame and they can read the tiniest nuances of your facial expressions, so in order to protect the preciousness of your relationship with your child, I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a professional counselor. It will feel safer for your child to open up and share difficult information with someone who is not a parent. Many parents will fear that if they ask certain questions they may plant ideas in the child’s head that have nothing to do with what he/she has actually seen. A therapist is equipped to handle such delicate situations. (See my recommendations for finding therapists at the end of this article.)
Luke Gilkerson over at Covenant Eyes suggests that “Exploring the Bible, we can ‘reverse engineer’ the bad training pornography has given us and replace it with God’s thoughts.”
God is the creator of sexual satisfaction and has designed marriage, not pornographic fantasy, for its enjoyment (Song of Solomon. 4:9-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).
God has defined good sex as an expression of “oneness,” not emotional detachment (Genesis 2:24).
God has created women in His image. They are not sexual commodities but are worthy of great honor (Genesis 1:27; 1 Peter 3:7).
God has designed sex as an expression of affection, not aggression (Deuteronomy 22:25; Ephesians 5:28-30).
God redeems our fallen sex drive so sex is an act of love and giving, not selfishness (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23).
Finally, you cannot be porn cops for the rest of your child’s life. This really boils down to discipling your child in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help him/her steward their sexuality in a way that honors Him.
Unfortunately, instruction on heart orientation won’t steer your child away from pornography. Establishing boundaries and protection for your child will also be necessary. All kids (0-99) should have a combination of a filter and an accountability program on all of their technology. Remember, you don’t always need to be the one seeking the porn, it will seek you. Therefore, filters and accountability programs should be in place whether or not there has ever been evidence of a porn problem.
Recommended Resources: (Control and Click links in red)
- Free Ebook: Your Brain on Porn by Luke Gilkerson
- Curriculum: Father + Son Talk about Sex
- Website: Fight the Drug and Freedom Begins Here and xxxchurch.org
- EFCA Theology Conference: Sex Matters.
- Freedom Begins Here Accountability Pack
- Covenant Eyes blog, “Breaking Free” has excellent resources for parents which will link you to loads of other stuff: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/for-parents/
- Every Young Man’s Battle by Fred Stoker and Tactics: Securing the Victory in Every Young Man’s Battle by Fred Stoker
Support Groups and Workshops:
www.faithfulandtrueministries.com. Dr. Mark Laaser and Debra Laaser provide counseling, education, and support for sexual addicts and their spouses.
www.freedomeveryday.org. L.I.F.E. Ministries (Living in Freedom Everyday) provides a list of support groups in the United States who use their L.I.F.E. guides.
Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department. (800) 232-6459 Weekdays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time).
www.christiananswers.net/love/supportgroups.html. Christian website that lists several of the most notable organizations providing professional counseling.
www.safefamilies.org. Professional counseling resources for recovery and pornography addiction.
Accountability Software and Internet Filters:
Visible filtering software can be seen on the computer and it may be tempting to disable it.
*Covenant Eyes (This is available at a discounted price on my website) Accountability software
www.internetfilterreview.com. This is a great place to compare Internet filtering software.
www.safeeyes.com. Accountability and filter.
Stealth filtering software is not easily seen on the computer. It is accurate and difficult to disable.