To the Woman Whose Husband is Addicted to Pornography

Woman AloneI hear from you regularly, you whose husband’s eyes are filled with many other women and not with you. You don’t even want to think the words, but he’s addicted to pornography. And every one of you carries a sadness I would love to be able to heal.

I think about you and carry you in my heart:

  • The 60-year-old patient sitting on the exam table fighting back the tears, who shared, “My husband hasn’t touched me in years. He spends every evening in the basement looking at other women on his computer.”
  • The friend riding in the back seat of my car as we were returning from a Christian event, almost choking on the words as she told how her “good Christian husband” kept promising to stop looking but never followed through.
  • The young mother writing to me about how she was trying to protect her two children from her husband’s internet porn while he seemingly refused to even admit he has a problem.

Sometimes you get angry. At him. At life. At marriage. At God for not fixing him even though you pray – and pray and pray and pray. You feel used and abused by the man who promised to love you even if he hasn’t done anything to hurt you physically. You wonder why you’re not enough. What if you hadn’t gained that extra weight? What if you kept yourself looking more sexy? What if you never said NO even if what he wanted seems disgusting?

And you’ve probably tried doing all those things, and more. But nothing makes any difference, at least not for very long. Some of you may worry about his soul,

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5 Ways to Spend Time With God When You’re Busy

Bible and Coffee in the MorningYour mind gets distracted. Life gets busy. Your thoughts become occupied with figuring out what to do next or solving a problem. Your heart becomes filled with frustration or anxiety or fear or bitterness or pressure. The urgency of life seems to overtake your decision to spend time with God.

Perhaps somewhere there’s someone who’s super spiritual and for whom spending long periods of time with God happens without effort. For me and most of the rest of us, finding ways to spend time with God only happens by being intentional.

As with any human relationship, our relationship with God has many dimensions. Different seasons of life and our unique personalities color how we experience our relationship with God at various times. But there are some common threads we can take advantage of at any time to improve how we spend time with God.

God built us to be part of a community of believers, and I hope you’re involved with others in growing your Christian faith. Worshiping together with others is a powerful way to connect with God. But here I want to focus on 5 ways you can spend time with God individually even when you’re busy.

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What’s Better Than an Entitlement Mentality or Punishment Mindset?

Parent and ChildContemporary Western Christianity, and society in general, struggles to remain free from two insidious evils. And when moving away from either one, it’s possible to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

On one hand is the idea that everyone’s out to get you. Your parents, teachers, the government, and even God are just looking for you to mess up. As long as you toe the line perfectly you’re OK. But if you fail to live up to someone’s expectations you’re in trouble. Bad things that happen, such as sickness, poverty, or anything else undesirable, are your fault because you did something wrong. It’s the punishment mindset, and it is certain to wear you out.

The other extreme is no better. Nobody’s out to get you, but everyone owes you something. The rest of the world is primarily there for your benefit. If your life is uncomfortable or lacking in any way THEY are responsible. Your parents owe you an easy happy childhood. Your teachers owe you a good grade. The government owes you education, a job, and benefits. God owes you health and prosperity. The entitlement mentality is alive and well in our society and in the church, and it will end up seriously disappointing you.

In the Bible, Job’s friends displayed a combination of the punishment mindset and the entitlement mentality. When Job lost his livelihood, his children, and his health his friends were sure it was because Job had sinned:

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7 Ways to Help Your Marriage Thrive When One Spouse is Sick

Holding Hands, Family caregivingRemember your vows? “In sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part.” Your marriage vows probably said something similar. It’s sad when you or your spouse experience a major surgery, accident, or illness. You pull yourself together, tell yourself “this too shall pass,” and look forward to getting back to normal in a few weeks or even months. But when the “sickness” part settles in for the long haul it gives you opportunity to show how committed you really are to those vows. You may have entered the world of family caregiving.

A few years ago I interviewed Jared Dunten and his wife for our radio program. Jared suffered a broken neck and injured spinal cord in a diving accident, and has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since. While in his wheelchair he met and married Kimberly, and they now have two wonderful boys. While everyone hopes Jared will one day be able to walk again, that’s not likely. Watching Jared and Kimberly together demonstrates both the challenge and the beauty of long-term love in the face of sickness.

I’ve had several conversations with one of the support staff at one of the hospitals where I work. Her husband has been on dialysis for over ten years, and just got out of the hospital again for the “thousandth” time. “This has been my life,” she said. Both her fluctuating emotions and her resilience in the face of his chronic illness speak to the weight she carries and her inner strength through it all.

My husband Al is also fighting chronic illness. Some days he feels great and does much of what any healthy person would do. Other days it’s a struggle just to get up, eat, breathe, and sit down again. The doctor’s visits, medications, and never knowing whether he’ll be “OK” on any given day, do get old. While we continue to pray for God’s strength and healing, humanly speaking we know there may be difficult days in the months and years ahead.

Yes, there are times I cry. Not often. And most of the time I try to not let him see my tears. I don’t want to add any more weight to what he’s already carrying.

But I’m also happy. I wouldn’t trade a moment with my husband for anything in the world. Through this I’ve learned a lot about what the foundations of marriage are all about. Every marriage has challenges, and these keys are important whether your challenge is sickness or something else.

Help Your Marriage Thrive

Here are some things I’ve learned about making marriage thrive in the face of sickness:

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What’s In Your Hand: Using Your God-given Talents

Hands Holding PlantPerhaps you’ve said “I want God to use me!” I know many believers who feel that way. Perhaps your daily life now seems quite monotonous and unimportant, and you wish that light-bulb moment would happen when you know you’re making a significant and lasting difference for His kingdom. You see others in the spotlight who God seems to be using in a big way, and you try hard to not allow envy to grow in your heart. Will you ever be able to use your God-given talents to their full potential?

Whenever a lasting desire shows up in the human heart I believe it’s evidence of the way in which God made us. Those desires often become distorted or are directed in unhealthy directions, but the desire is from God. Your desire to make a difference is proof that God made you for a reason, both for this life and for eternity. You and I will never feel completely satisfied until we fulfill the purpose for which He created us.

But we’re not born with everything we need to fill the role for which God made us. The seeds are there, but in order to fill a role that’s big enough to qualify as God-sized, you and I need to grow up in all kinds of ways. And the way to get there is to begin using what’s in our hands right now.

In the Bible, Moses had spent forty years being educated in Pharaoh’s court, and another forty years on the back-side of the desert herding sheep. When God appeared to Him in the burning bush Moses felt ignored, beaten down, old, and anything but ready for some significant role in God’s plan.

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