jQuery(function($){ var logowidth=($("#logo").length)?($("#logo").get(0).width):0; $("").appendTo("head"); });

Sheila's Mailbag: 5 Quick Reader Questions (about hurting marriages)It’s Monday, Reader Question day! I try to answer a big question that’s come into the blog.

But I have such a backlog right now that I thought I’d do five all at once. I have to warn you, though: most of these are really sad (which is quite typical of what comes in). I do feel really badly for those in hurting marriages, and I hope I can point you to some helpful ways to break through some impasses.

Here we go:

1. My Husband Prefers Porn to Me

I have been married for 16 years. My husband has high blood pressure, and the medicine has messed up his sex drive. We only have sex every 4 to 6 months.

He had an affair in 2007. We tried to grow close again in 2009, but by that time we had both gained a lot of weight. Now we have no sex life. My husband hates his job and with that stress all he wants to do is sleep.  He says I should pleasure myself because that is what he does. He watches porn and masturbates.

I’ve lost 35 pounds, and I’m trying everything to get him to say “you look nice”, but he never compliments me. It KILLS me not to ever touch him. I have woken up in the middle the night and found him in the dark with porn so often. When we do have sex (which is almost never) he wants me to perform oral sex on him but he does nothing to pleasure me. It’s only about him. I’m so lonely.

Oh, how very, very sad.

And, unfortunately, how very, very common.

What she’s listing is several of the very common effects of porn that I talk about in my big post on it: he loses his sex drive; when he does have sex it’s about his pleasure, not hers; he prefers porn to actual intercourse; his view of beauty if warped by porn; he grows more isolated.

And because many guys turn to porn when they feel stress, the job stress and the porn likely feed each other.

A few thoughts:

This will not get better on its own. It will not get better until she says, “no more porn.” It will not get better until she stops tolerating it. The porn is killing her marriage. It is making him more and more distant, and causing them to live separate lives. It needs to be confronted.

Here are a few posts that can help:

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by Accident4 Things You Must Do if Your Husband Uses Porn

How to Tackle Really Big Problems in Your Marriage (for once you’ve confronted him on the porn and you’re trying to rebuild)

And then I talk a lot about this exact scenario in my book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change a Marriage. I think a lot of women are stuck in this situation, thinking, “he refuses to talk about it and refuses to get help, so what can I do?” But there is a lot that you can do. I lay out some steps in the book, and I hope that this can help!

2. How do we handle a porn addiction if my husband works on the road?

I’ve been searching the web INTENSELY for a week now trying to find ways to cope with the hurt and shame I feel from my husband’s porn addiction, while supporting him and helping him quit. I have installed a parental control app on his phone to block the sites. But he is a truck driver and is away from home 4-6 days at a time and only home 2-3 days at a time. His addiction lead to us discussing divorce terms last weekend until he realized just how badly this is affecting us. He says he wants us up fix the problem once and for all, bit I just don’t know where exactly we go from here.

Covenant EyesFirst of all, that’s great that he really wants to deal with it! She’s so much further ahead than many women. And second, that’s great that he’s willing to have a filter installed on his phone. I really recommend the Covenant Eyes one, which has the ability to also work with an accountability partner as well. If he tries to access a site he shouldn’t, his accountability partner will be notified. So it’s that extra layer of protection that helps prevent the temptation.

A few quick thoughts:

He needs an accountability partner. He needs a guy who will check in on him, at least twice a week, and ask him the hard questions. And he needs someone who will pray with him and help encourage him to be a good dad and husband.

Being away from home does pose special challenges. Make it a habit to connect every night, face to face, via FaceTime or Skype or something. If he physically sees you, then it’s much harder for him to turn to the porn. And have the kids (if you’ve got kids) come in the frame, too. Talk about your day and keep him grounded.

And then have him look for a Christian Truckers Association. There are TONS of Christian Truckers groups, and chances are he can find a truck stop to spend the night where there’s a meeting or a prayer group or a Bible study or something. Do some internet research yourself and map it out for him each week. Keep him with GOOD company, and he’ll find the temptation is far less!

3. How do I check up on my husband’s phone without him thinking I don’t trust him?

My husband and I have agreed that we don’t password our phones and we share passwords to email accounts and such, but I never check his accounts because I am afraid he will think I don’t trust him! How do I deal with this? There are times when I would really like to check-in, as we have had some difficulties in the past, but I’m afraid it seems distrustful rather than just a check-in. Any thoughts?

Yep. Just talk about it. Very openly, like this:

I know we’ve had troubles in the past, and I really want to have this great, intimate relationship, but I think that would be easier if we could be completely open. I don’t want you to think I don’t trust you, and that’s not it. I just want us both to feel like we’re totally transparent. So let me ask: do you have a problem with me looking at your phone?

Sometimes we’re trying to find a magical way of doing something, but really, the only way is to be completely honest. And the best time to do this is during a regular “marriage check in“, like I talked about in my New Year’s post on communication.

Also, if you have had issues in the past, then getting something like Covenant Eyes installed on your phones, tablets and computers can help you feel less insecure. And you get one month free when you sign up using my link!

How do I trust my husband with his phone? Answers to this and 4 other tough marriage questions!

4. My husband says he accidentally caught an STD. Am I an idiot for believing him?

Speaking of trust,  here’s a heartbreaking question:

The other day my husband broke some difficult news: he has a sexually transmitted infection. His explanation is as follows: he went to what he thought was a legitimate place to get a massage and to his shock the woman started performing oral sex on him. He says he immediately stopped her and left. This was several weeks ago and he didn’t say anything at the time. I’m not sure he would have told me if it weren’t for him getting sick. He said he didn’t say because he was scared I’d leave. I’m going to the doctor soon to see if I now have it too. He’s been a wreck about it and said he understands if I want to leave him. I want to believe him, but honestly if a friend told me this about their husband I wouldn’t! Before this I had no reason to suspect cheating except that we hadn’t been getting along. He’s a committed Christian but I know they can cheat too. So what do I do?

Oh, dear. What a mess!

My quick thoughts:

I go to a massage therapist. There is no way an actual massage therapist can be mistaken for a sexual “massage parlour”. My therapist is in a health centre. There are diplomas on the wall.

My guess (and this is only a guess) is that he was flirting with the idea of it, and went somewhere where he wasn’t sure what would happen entirely, but he was tempted. And that way he convinced himself he’d have plausible deniability.

Whatever the case, here’s what we do know: he’s contrite. He wants to work on the marriage.

This is one of those cases where I’d highly suggest a counsellor to talk through the grief of what has happened and the fact that they weren’t getting along before. A counselor can likely help figure out the truth of the situation.

I’d also recommend that a woman in this situation find a mentor for her husband who will meet or message him every week and ask those hard questions. My husband has 3 guys he meets with on a regular basis. It’s great for him and encourages him in his walk with God and his relationship with me and our girls. If he had a guy that he knew would be asking these questions, he’s be less likely to wander into something so seedy.

When your husband hurts you: Answers to five marriage problems

5. My husband assaulted me. How do I move on?

I was assaulted 9 years ago, and developed PTSD. My husband (who has PTSD from combat) knew this before we married. We took things slow, and he helped me heal. Through LOTS of time and effort and understanding and prayer, we had a great sex life. And then six months ago, when I was seven months pregnant with bio child #2 and we were about to fly home with our two adopted children… I said not tonight please, because of exhaustion and travel in a couple hours. He said, “I know you said you didn’t want to tonight, but…” and then he climbed on top and did it anyway. And I mentally checked out for self-preservation.

I don’t like to call it the R-word but it is, isn’t it?

After we’d been home a few weeks and talked through it over and over , we tried again and it was okay. The time after that, I asked him to stop and get lube and he wouldn’t. He hurt me. The midwife told us to stop until the baby came…and we never started again. I no longer flinch when my husband approaches me (took a LOT of effort), and sometimes I seek out snuggles, but that’s where it ends. It’s dead. I know I’m supposed to because Christian marriage blah blah. I’m so exhausted and hurt and most days can’t even acknowledge what happened because if I have a panic attack or other kind of meltdown, it’s all over. My husband has spent the past three months or so trying hard to win back my trust, but I’m just dead. How many times do I have to fight through hell to fix something I didn’t break?

Oh, how awful.

And let’s be clear: YES, that was rape. Marital rape is a real thing, and if you said no, and if he knew you said no, and he did anyway–that is rape.

What he did was a crime.

Likely a lot of the root of it was his own PTSD, and his own past hurts and bad coping patterns, especially with the stress of a new baby and an adoption coming. So you have a whole bunch of factors converging to create something really awful.

And here’s what I think is happening: When you married, you guys were each hurt. And you came together anyway and God was working great healing in you. He blessed you with two beautiful children and then He led you to adopt two special needs kids. That’s God doing an amazing thing!

But when God works, so often does our enemy. And you guys were ripe for Satan to attack. I don’t like to blame the devil for everything bad that happens, and this certainly doesn’t absolve your husband of responsibility, but I see this in so many cases: a couple is finding healing, which makes them all the more dangerous to the devil. He really doesn’t like it when people that were once in his domain because they were hurt move into God’s domain because of healing. So he attacked.

Now the question is: what do you do about it?

I’d suggest you fight–fight for truth and for healing. I don’t know what that will look like in your specific case, but ignoring it will do nothing. And you need a counselor to talk through these issues (and a counselor will also be better able to see if any other steps need to be taken regarding the assault, and if you’re in immediate danger. I can’t tell that from an email. But, in general, I do advise all women who have been physically or sexually assaulted to contact the authorities and remove themselves from the situation.)

  • You need to process this hurt and to get past it, if he’s truly repentant.
  • He needs to understand why it happened and he needs to figure out how to handle stressful life events.

What you can’t do is go on like you are, doing nothing but caring for the kids. Those kids need stability in their lives, and that will only come if you work this through–in whatever way that turns out to be. Otherwise it will fester and grow and will have horrible effects on everybody.

No, it’s not fair that you have to go through it again, but some of us just have to fight more than others. And I pray that you will find the strength to do just that.

Whew. Those were heavy questions.

I hope that this helped! And I’ll try this week to bring some lighter stuff out, too. I think we all need it!

CE Brain Ad 728x90 07 23 12 - Sheila's Mailbag: Porn, STDs, Romance, and More

 

Tags: , ,
37 Shares
Pin
Share36
Tweet
+1
Email
Buffer1