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Bringing the Sexual Spark Back to a Porn-Scarred Marriage

Last Updated: October 22, 2015

Episode 164

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Bringing the Sexual Spark Back to a Porn Scarred Marriage

Often we hear from couples struggling in their marriages because of a husband’s use of porn. How do couples bring both trust and real sexual intimacy back to their marriages when they’re facing a deep feeling of betrayal and insecurity about their sex life?

To help us address these concerns, today we are talking with Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and the popular blog To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.

Show Notes:

0:38 – Why did you write The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex?

1:20 – What is the book about?

2:05 – What are the biggest obstacles women face when it comes to enjoying their sexuality?

4:08 – What do you say to women who feel like their husbands’ porn problem is their fault?

13:52 – What is the best way for a woman to bring sexual passion back to her marriage?

20:25 – What can women do when they don’t have a good Christian support system?

21:55 – What if your husband refuses help?

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  1. MJ

    I am not sure that porn is the cause of losing a spark. I am a realist. No matter what you do, if you do it over and over again, it gets boring. Sex included. That is why people who are having sex with amazingly beautiful women cheat. You ever hear those comments. “How could he or she ever cheat on him or her because they are gorgeous.” It is because of boredom. Hey listen, I am not a saint. Never have been. Never will be. I just know that marriage is a mindset. Porn use, just like all addictions and there are many them, is just a symptom. Not a cause. We dont talk enough about boredom and how to create excitement in one’s life.

    Anyhow, I like your ebooks. Is there someone there that could explain to me how you create them?

    • I don’t think its an either-or thing. Is porn a cause? Sure. Is boredom a cause? Sure. Marriage is most definitely a mindset. One of the wisest things an elderly man told me the week after my honeymoon was “Don’t let your love define your marriage. Let your marriage define your love.”

      We create our e-books in-house. Our graphic designer uses InDesign mostly.

  2. Jeremiah

    What about the guy who wants a good accountability partner, but everyone around him is too lazy or lacksadasical to actually confront a brother? I’ve found that many within the 12-step programs prefer to be more positive and ‘light’ in their care of a porn addict, and many men in the church seem to be too embarrassed to get in my face. I really want accountability to the max – though I’m not looking at porn and have been porn-free for 90+ days, I still struggle with “acting out” (I’m separated from my wife), and I want to stay away from anything half-way questionable. I’m glad to have the Covenant Eyes filter on this extra computer that I’m using, and the 40-day challenge has gotten me thinking down some great paths about the battle for my mind and heart, but I wish someone were asking me the tough questions and then listening to what I have to say. Do I have to pay someone to get tough on me???

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Jeremiah,

      One thing I’d just like to reflect to you here is a bit of blame that you might not be noticing in yourself, i.e., the guys in your group are too lazy, lackadasical, positive, “light” and embarrassed, and if they don’t get in your face, you’ll continue to act out.

      It’s really normal to have those kinds of defense mechanisms, but in order to move forward in recovery, you’ll need to grow in your capacity to take responsibility for yourself. Even if you never find somebody who’s hard enough on you, YOU are the person who has to press on in personal responsibility toward recovery.

      I would suggest that you can try taking responsibility by volunteering the information that your accountability partners need to know, rather than waiting for the perfect set of circumstances.

      Another way you could take responsibility for yourself is to add more group meetings, perhaps through SAA. Blessings, Kay

    • JeremiahP

      Though I have used rationalization as an excuse to shift blame and deflect responsibility in the past, I am not going to use lack of quality accountability as an excuse ever again. I was speaking out of frustration. As I told my wife Kerri, I sometimes feel like I want to move beyond the accountability group that I’m in. There is too much of this “just listen, and don’t try to fix anyone”, to the point that you can’t suggest boundaries, etc. As far as masturbation is concerned, and the battle over my mind, though I tried to compartmentalize viewing nudity/porn from sensuality and masturbation in the first couple of months of my recovery, I’m now trying to kill it all at the root. I am thankful for the articles out here and some of the other associate sites like Transformed Hearts and Gen3x. I must have read close to 100 articles in the last three months. I am viewing this as an ongoing to end-of-life war that I must engage in, and I’m learning my battle skills. I recognize that I could do better, and I want to keep improving at an accelerated rate. I’m glad for the recent article in the 40-day program about boredom. I’m trying to fill my lonely days with worship music and creating as many self-imposed boundaries as I can, in addition to as much reading as I can pack into each day. The worship and scripture reading is a bit on the weak side, and that’s something I want to get better at. Meditating on the Word, prayer, and worship. I am trying to get past my analytical mind traps to be more abandoned to the Lord and His ways. I appreciate the caution, and I’ll keep that in the back of my mind as I get frustrated with my walk. I think my greatest problem is the emotional addiction, and giving up when things don’t go my way, and the associated despair and bitterness. I’ve read an article out here about that, and I think that thankfulness and worshipfulness at all times is the greatest remedy.

      Please continue to speak life and blessings into my wife Kerri’s heart. We have many children (8), our household is very chaotic, and she is dealing with a lot of anger and depression that she is not able to get much help with, especially not while our kids are sick. I am trying to do my best to humble myself and be a good servant and be a better listener to help her with her pain, but I really pray that she can have someone that she’ll trust with her heart that can help her to heal. There is a mentor program at our church, but starting up with it has been difficult for her while the kids are sick. Our CR program has been somewhat helpful I’m sure, but they’re not very good at helping people with their more specific situations. I know that I should be focusing more on my own problems, but I wouldn’t be very Christ-like to not pray for and hope for the best for my wife’s healing. Please, all of you ladies, can I ask you to reach out to her with support and blessings?

    • I get that frustration about accountability. There’s a philosophy of counseling that teaches the answers to our deepest problem are “in us”—talking about it is how the answers come out. The counselor’s only job is to provide a forum of safety and good questions that allows the personal truth to emerge. Of course, there’s more than a grain of truth in there, but to suggest that we shouldn’t correct one another and point out possible solutions is foolhardy.

      Glad you liked the boredom article. It’s one of my favorites, too.

  3. Dawn

    Thank You for this. I need help finding an accountability partner for my Husband. I have been trying to be his only accountability partner for years. He has no close friends, he has pushed family away & we do not go to church or social events because of his lust issues. Completely isolated & if I try to talk about it he attacks me emotionally & has even publicly attacked my character to break me down. My Husband is a good guy but does not know how to heal from his addictions to lust. He just wants to ignore it & hope it goes away. We do not have computers or even radios in our home . I cannot have catalogs sent to our home and am always on red aler trying to keep things “clean” . We do not enjoy public activities because his lust seems to control his ability to be considerate toward me in the presence of other women. And men, he likes to belittle me in front of other men given the chance. Or he falls asleep in public to avoid contact with others. I’m busy protecting myself from my husband. My body is taking all this on & creating health concerns. I trust God 100%. I have bought my Husband dozens of books to help him feel supported. He says he wants free from it but also says he doesn’t believe any men are truly recovered. They just learn to fake it well. He belonged to a men’s group but said it made him worse because the stories shared in groups were fueling the addictions. He also said no one would be his accountability partner in this group. I’m tired. I need support. He has threatened me with abandonment if I tell anyone about his lust issues. He even quit working for 9 months saying there wasn’t a job out there he could be safe from the influence of sexual temptations. To the world my Husband is a great Christian guy. At home he is an angry bitter verbally abusive monster if things don’t go “his way”… I know this isn’t the man God intended him to be. I know the man underneath the addiction & he is wonderful. But I do not know how to reach him. And I suffer from codependency myself. But he demands I play the role to keep his life easier or there’s hell to pay. I have distanced myself & rely on God. I mourn over this daily. Please, we are in north central Ohio. Is there an accountability partner willing to come beside my Husband? You have to be able to see through his lies & manipulations, it has a stronghold on him. He is a Christian but not accountable anywhere to anyone. He goes to work 12-14 hours a day & says its non of my business while he’s there. He has become foul mouthed & even cursing God when asked to be accountable at home. We have a farm. I’m struggling with trying to heal from autoimmune problems. I push myself daily but need my partner. I have walls built up to survive. I know this is not what God intended in our marriage. My Husband is the first person to toss me under a bus. Like I’m the enemy. When I try to help I’m called horrible names & he threatens to abandon me financially or even quit his job again. He says he’d have an accountability partner if there was one out there willing. When I’ve told him to please go get help. He says he’s prayed about it. I’m worn out & need help. He will not pay for support in any way. He’s mad I bought books. He’s mad I study books for myself. He says you all are liers & just trying to make money off us. He blocks every resource I have found to help heal these wounds. And churches are hypercritical & no way he’ll turn to them. He even believes Jesus was a man full of lust. And during the times he’s gone clean it was him being controlled & told to be weak. Not a “real” man. How do I navigate all of this??? When I confront him about his behavior he either lies even when evidence is ver clear or starts attacking & belittling me. Or both. So besides being great at building walls of protection & being a stern Motherly figure ( I’m a nurturer , this is horrible for me). I cannot keep this up. We have been married 4 years in March. My body cannot take much more. My faith is stronger than ever because God is my faithful support. I need someone willing to be my Husbands accountability partner that’s equipped to handle his addictions. I never wanted to be his accountability partner, I want to be free to be a wife. I fell into this trying to “help” him. Now I’m fighting for my life too. My entire life has been hijacked by this .
    Many overwhelmed but trusting God blessings~ <3

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Dawn. I think it’s plain to anyone reading your story that the best-case scenario is that your husband would take responsibility for himself and stop being abusive. That would be wonderful. However, all of us have a problem: your husband’s free will. The best accountability partner in the world will NOT be able to override your husband’s free will. He has to take responsibility for himself.

      You’ve acknowledged here that you do suffer from codependency yourself, so I know you understand a bit about how this system is working right now. You may already realize this, but let me say it anyway:

      THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IS YOU.

      And the way you can be responsible for you in this is to seek support, help, and healing for yourself, regardless of what your husband chooses. From your description of your husband’s behavior, you’d probably do well to contact a women’s shelter in your area, and get into a support group for abused wives.

      Personal counseling would also be a good option for you. And there are groups like Celebrate Recovery, S Anon, Al Anon, and xxxChurch that can help support you as you go on from here.

      It is NOT God’s will for you to be abused.

      NOT.

      GOD’S.

      WILL.

      I hope you will hear that clearly from me now: it is not God’s will for you to be abused! You are God’s precious child, and you are an adult. You can remove yourself from that situation, into a place that reflects God’s love and care for you.

      Look at Matthew 18, where Jesus talks about what to do when somebody sins against you. You confront, you bring it to the church, and if the person refuses to repent, you treat him as a pagan. I personally can’t imagine anything more pagan than pretending to be a Christian while abusing your wife!

      Here’s an article from Ella that might help you think through these things.

      Blessings, Kay

    • Nick Pfister

      Dawn,

      I’m not certain how valuable my reply will be, but I trust in a sovereign, loving Father, and so know that his good will WILL be done. To be concise and straightforward, your husband doesn’t need an accountability partner – he needs a new heart. It is a new heart, and the subsequent life in Jesus Christ that will make him want to love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Your husband is commanded to love you in a way that esteems himself little – he must be willing to die for you. Without a new heart, accountability will never work.
      I am a redeemed son of God, and still struggle with the remaining sin in my dead, fallen flesh, yet there is victory in Jesus, and only in him.
      I would caution you against recovery groups, and point you to the church of Jesus Christ. Find solid elders who are willing to minister to you and your husband, because it is so hard to see clearly and objectively from within the situation. Until your husband is broken over his sin, and convinced of his need for salvation, the only efforts you can make are to pray for him, cling to Christ and his church, and by all means, don’t allow yourself to perpetually endure the abuse of a man who commits spiritual adultery daily (there is a great difference between the spiritual adultery of a man who struggles against it, and is trusting in Christ to do a work, and the man who is defensive, and habitually endeavoring to satisfy and gratify his lust).
      I will pray for you, and above all things, may you trust in the perfect saving work of Jesus Christ, and know that nothing you endure on the path of obedience is for nought – it is not meaningless! I encourage you to flee to Jesus, and cling to the One whose “yoke is easy” and whose “burden is light.”

      In Christ alone,
      Nick

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