Believing in Your Spouse

Wedding ringsphoto © 2010 Marlon Cureg | more info (via: Wylio)
Most of us who are married to people with SGA who fight against that unwanted inclination are deep believers. We believe in our spouses and we often believe in the power of God to make changes.

If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here – we’d have listened to the message of the world a long time ago and bolted. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect that many other spouses of SGA strugglers are the same: I saw the beautiful side of my husband and fell in love. The side that is gentle, protects me, cherishes me, and has a heart that God adores. And he loves God as well – that part was a non-negotiable for me.

I saw my husband’s potential when we were courting and engaged, as well.  I didn’t know about his struggle back then, but if I had, I honestly don’t think it would’ve changed my mind about him.  I thought about that this weekend – I met many women who were aware of their fiancés’ SGA and chose to marry them anyhow.  It really got me thinking about our lives – I was incredibly insecure in my femininity back then and came from a family background that contributed to my insecurity.  But I loved who my then-fiancé was. I think I would have prayed about it and moved ahead anyhow – because I was attracted to him as a person and I knew that he loved me.  As it turned out, my husband wasn’t in a place to acknowledge his struggle back then – he was living a double-life and lying to himself as well as to me (albeit tacitly back then).

Over the past 16 years, though, I’ve come to a place where I believe in my husband’s potential more than ever.  He wants to be a strong man, a man after God’s own heart, a man who tenderly cares for his wife and family.  He strives for it, and yet, for the first 13 years, struggled with his demons that kept him from being all he wanted and desired to be.  Seeing it with hindsight’s clarity at this point, I can say a few things for other spouses who are seeking hope when hope seems to have vacated the premises:

  • Believe in the spouse you have – the one you fell in love with.  If you need help remembering why you fell in love in the first place, go back to photos of your courtship, any cards or letters you exchanged and kept, and peruse them.  Allow yourself to remember what drew you to him/her in the first place.  Whenever I do this, I get weepy – my husband knew me so well back then and our bond and intimacy has deepened since then.  It’s fun to remember how we only had eyes for each other and everyone else would get shut out of our vision when we talked to each other.
  • Pray.  Ask God to give you eyes to see your spouse with His eyes.  I know this sounds like an old Amy Grant song, but do it anyhow.  God will replace your vision of the hurts and pain with His vision of the person He created your spouse to be.  This renewed vision will make it easier to be compassionate, empathic, and loving in hard times.
  • Pray some more and ask God to show you your spouse’s potential.  God’s Spirit will put His dreams in your heart for your spouse and help you see His future for your family.  Communicate this positive potential to your spouse and pray together (more on that later, when I talk about developing intimacy after dealing with hard, secretive stuff).
  • Tell your spouse.  Write notes, give cards, or send texts/emails to your spouse to communicate how much you believe in him/her.  My husband has said (in retrospect) how much my belief in him and my faithfulness to him meant to him, even at his lowest points.  I stayed because God specifically told me to stay, but the communication of my love, faith in God and faith in him, and hope for the future was used by God in his heart.

Most of all, I want to express how important it is to not believe the lies the world will tell you.  You are not a chump, not a fool, and not lacking in healthy boundaries (well, you might have boundary issues, but it’s not from believing in your struggling spouse).  If you are a Christ-follower, you know somewhere deep down that God called you two together and made you soulmates.  Pull from that knowledge and belief and don’t believe that you “need to take another lover,” or “open your marriage” or “let him/her go to live The Lifestyle.”  If your spouse is struggling, it’s a sign that he/she wants to remain in a heterosexual marriage, working out God’s plan for his/her life.  That deserves encouragement and cheering.

Be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 051606H Apr 2011 and is filed under Forgiveness, Marriage Building, Path to Healing, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Jsl

    I am a husband who struggles w SSA. My wife just found out my secret porn addiction and is crushed. I never once cheated on her, but I have told her about my 12-13 year struggle, and she now believes our whole marriage to be a lie. We are separated ad she is considering divorce. We are both Christian people, who now attend church separately. I have began counseling, but have no idea to convince her to stand by me in this battle. I find your posts inspiring, I only wish I knew a way to convince her to read this without being pushy.

    • Anonymous

      J –

      I applaud your honesty – and your willingness to face your struggle head-on. Your wife needs time to assimilate the information she now knows; her sense of betrayal is deep. Not because you cheated on her (you said you haven’t), but because as women, we feel as though we know our husbands well and it’s our *job* to know them well. So this information is a blow to her – she never saw it coming and feels a sense of failure because she had no idea & this is a Big Deal.

      If you do not want a divorce, then (with your therapist’s encouragement), begin wooing and dating your wife. Show her that you’re still the same man she fell in love with. Show her that you want to rebuild your marriage and earn her trust by being transparent and honest. It’s a tall order and a lot of work, but I’m living the proof that it CAN be done – my husband has done exactly this.

      One of the ways you might find it helpful to encourage her is to share your journey of learning about SSA in terms of your research. You’ve been reading here and other places that (presumably) give you hope – ask your wife to go on a date (make it a beautiful picnic lunch, for example) and tell her what you’ve been learning. Offer to share the URLs where you’ve been reading and express that although this is a part of your life, you’re not pursuing your SSA – you’re struggling against it. I found that reminder to be very helpful – to remember that although my husband had a porn problem, it wasn’t something that he desired to have instead of me.

      I’ll be praying for you and your wife – if she’d like to contact me, please let her know that I’m happy to communicate with her.

      • JSL

        Thanks for you reply. I want to do all of that you mentioned, but I pray for timing. Our pastor, in which I have confided, says that there are steps that she must take to heal, and right now I believe, although she is trying to hold it all in, it’s an angry period of the process. I would love for her to read your posts, as I have, and try to understand the problem, and that it is beatable. Even in my darkest hours with my SSA and porn addiction, my love for her never once wavered. Even though my issues affected my expressing it, I truly love my best friend. I find it had to keep focussed on myself and renewed walk with Him when I have all these contingencies. It’s hard to accept that she can forgive me when I have a hard time of forgiving myself. I will consider timing for her to read the blog, and possibly contacting you. I sincerely appreciate it.

      • JsL

        Is there an e-mail address in which she could contact you? I come to your blog daily and have learned so much. Thank you!

        • Anonymous

          absolutely, J. she may contact me at myheart(dot)hisheart(at)gmail(dot)com, anytime. :)