Summertime used to be my favorite season...that is up until my heart and mind was tainted due to my husband's addiction to porn. As a young person and even into my young adult years, I loved all that summer represented including swimming pools, beaches, water parks, suntanning, boating, hiking, biking and the great outdoors. However, throughout the years of my heart being wounded, something changed in me. The season I used to look forward to and enjoy immensely, I began to dread. As each summer approached, my mind would fill with apprehensions and uneasiness. I knew that as the temperatures went up, many would be stripping down to the bare minimum. String bikinis, short shorts, crop tops, high hemlines, cleavage and simply put, bodies put on display just to catch the eye of MY husband...at least that is how it felt. Unfortunately, I began to resent everything to do with summer. I know I am not alone.
Many women who have walked through the aftermath of their husband's sexual addiction experience the same overwhelming, unwanted feelings. Though it is not talked about, there is a silent battle raging throughout the summer months for these precious and beautiful wives.
You see, if we are not careful, sexual betrayal can cause this hyper-sensitive response and insecurity in us towards anything and everything that we feel may cause our husbands to "lust". We worry. We fear. We wish we could just skip the season all together. For many, this kind of stronghold becomes the new "normal" and instead of facing the root of the problem, those roots only grow deeper as each summer comes and goes. Not good! SO does it have to be this way?
Let's step back and think about this. I don't know much but this I do know; Summer comes every year, and our enemy knows He can use it to steal our JOY and cause us to miss out on creating so many beautiful memories and moments with our families. Friends, hasn't he stolen ENOUGH from us already? He doesn't stop at trying to destroy our husbands with porn, he is out to destroy us as well! He will use our husband's past, our already struggling insecurities, and God's beautiful season of summer to strip us of the very strength and dignity that God has already picked out for us to wear!
SO, what's a girl to do? How can we overcome this and take back our summers? There is no easy answer but this is what I came up with.
What we CAN'T do....(kind of obvious, but good reminders)
We can't protect our husbands from seeing beautiful women with lots of skin showing. We can't change our culture and the trends of short shorts, low midriffs, string bikinis and cleavage galore. We can't make our husband's look the other way. We can't be hermits and live secluded from this sexualized culture. We can't be our husband's Holy Spirit...though we may try, it will only hurt us more than it will help them. (trust me on this one!)
What we CAN do....
*We can get on our faces before God and ask Him to heal us from the unhealthy consequences that our husband's porn addiction has had upon our hearts and minds.
*We can release our husbands to God and trust Him to convict and speak to their heart when necessary. We should be open and transparent with our husbands about our triggers and struggles. Once this is done, we must let it go. WE are responsible to be honest and to allow God to work in US. It is our husband's responsibility to allow God to work in Him.
*We can quit watching our husbands to see if they are bouncing their eyes OR taking that second and third look. This is a hard one. Let me stop here and say that in the initial days of recovery, I believe you should expect your husband to bounce his eyes and even look away as part of his steps towards deliverance. However, as time goes by and your husband continues to prove that he is serious about his recovery, it may be you that needs to check to see if you are now the one obsessed with looking. Not at others, of course but at your husband to "catch" him looking more than what you feel is appropriate. As wives, there is something in each of us that longs to be the ONE... the ONE our husband adores, the ONE he wants to look at, the ONE that catches his eye and keeps it. Sometimes your husband may pass your watchful test and sometimes he won't. Sisters, why do we let this control us and steal our peace? Why do we have to KNOW? Lord help us! Where does trusting God with ALL of our hearts play out in these kind of scenarios?
We need a strategic battle plan on how to respond to OUR triggers...(again, it is OUR triggers, not our husband's triggers that we are to work on. Every woman's battle plan will look a little different but here are some ideas to get you started.
1. STOP scanning the area for women that you THINK will catch your husband's attention.. I know you do it...just stop! Has doing this helped you any? Has it benefited your marriage? Does it encourage you to be more like Jesus? YOU can overcome this!
2. THINK GOD THOUGHTS. When you are feeling insecure and the need to watch your husband and what he looks at, stop. Get a scripture that you can remind yourself of during this moment, or something to think about that turns your focus AWAY from your husband. This will take hard work and discipline at first. Do it and keep doing it. It will get easier!
3. PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME. One sweet lady suggested that when you are going to be in an environment that you know is going to be hard for you and possibly your husband, be very intentional to start the day by getting into God's word and praying together and then end your day sharing about your day.
Consider this: Think about how you feel when you go to dinner or out for fun with your girlfriends. You are not at all worried or concerned or feel threatened by the other women around you...how they look or how they are dressed. Practice this same "freedom" with your husband. ENJOY your time with him instead of allowing the enemy to torment your mind with imaginations and insecurities. Life is way too short! Sister, Christ came to set you FREE and enable you to walk in divine freedom everyday!
Have you considered the root problem of what you are dealing with? Of course all wives want to be noticed, adored and the most beautiful woman in the eyes of their husband, but you and I both know that this goes beyond the normal feelings of a wife to a downright stronghold if we are not careful. I believe the hard truth is that within these insecurities is an ugly, stinkin' cesspool of jealousy, pride, and even fear. ALL of which the bible talks about as SIN. Is it worth it? Sin separates us from the very ONE who loves us unconditionally! Seriously, no man on this earth is worth separating us from our Lord and Saviour.
Over the years, I have battled this very same yuckiness. So I get it. I have won some and lost many. However, since my husband began his recovery over five years ago, I have been very intentional about where we go on vacation. I believe in the get-go of recovery for both husband and wife, there may be a season that you forgo placing yourselves in environments that could cause issues for either spouse. However, you can't stay stuck there, at least that is not what my heart desires. In the last five years, we have been to the beach one time and it was not easy. Do I remember the moments that upset me, NO. But what I do remember is allowing my insecurities to steal my peace, my joy and oneness with my husband. Just next week, we will return there. It has been several years now since our last visit. We have grown, we have matured some and we are further along on this journey of healing and restoration. Am I worried? I am not sure if worried is really the appropriate word. I am more concerned than anything. No so much about my husband but about me. I want to let go of my pride, my selfishness, my past and take back the JOY of summer! It is not up to my husband, it is up to me. I WILL be implementing some of the things listed above. I WILL choose ahead of time how I am going to respond to my insecurities and that choice is easy when I remember that my security is NOT in my husband, but in my God who is with me, for me and loves me extravagantly. You see, Jesus and I have been through a lot together and I know in my heart He is faithful as He has proven Himself time and time again. I believe you have experienced that, as well! It is Him who makes me brave and able to overcome the messiness this unintended journey has brought upon my heart. He has clothed me with strength and dignity and I will choose to act like it and think like it! I will not allow the enemy to strip me of the beauty that God sent His son to purchase for me!
What about you? Are you ready to experience freedom and actually have some summer fun for a change? The truth is, the only real security you and I have in this life comes from our relationship with Christ. Is that enough for you? Let. It. be. Sister, even if your husband was to never struggle with eyes that wonder, He will fail you in some other area. He is not God, nor should he be elevated to a place in your heart that gives him the power to steal your peace and joy. Lean into Jesus and pray for a deeper revelation of how very much you are loved. God created you unique and special. Remember who you are in Christ and do NOT throw away your confidence with the changing seasons! Now go, sweet friend and ENJOY the rest of your summer!
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