We both wanted normal, but normal got us into this marriage crisis.
My husband was addicted to pornography—my loving, funny, kind, Christian husband.
When the initial shock of my husband’s porn addiction revelation wore off, I held little hope that life would ever return to normal. Or that our marriage would survive. Our marriage crisis consumed every waking moment. The nights were hard. Sleep? Not much. And those fear-filled nights tried to bury me with additional painful thoughts.
Dealing with a marriage in crisis drains every ounce of emotional energy.
Is it worth the energy?
I dragged through my days, trying to keep up a good, strong front.
Who was I kidding? My life felt unraveled, knotted, and trashed. My husband and I gingerly navigated the same space. He desired confirmation that I forgave him and wouldn’t leave. Me? I wanted to run as far as I could and never look back. Every nerve ending felt frayed. Tempers flared at the slightest provocation.
There had to be a better way.
Progressing through our coaching and counseling, we learned:
- New ways to communicate
- Different methods to combat past lies
- Choices had to be made to pursue a healthy marriage
As we followed the opportunities in our recovery plan, hope-filled moments popped up at odd times.
A surprising shared laugh.
A relevant Bible passage.
A random quote of the day message.
Still, I struggled to move beyond the anger at my husband and the desire to walk away.
Finding hope with my life and marriage in crisis took a mind-shift.
I’ll never forget that moment. It was one phone call, one conversation when my choice solidified. The question? Do you love my dad? As I listened to my child’s broken and concerned plea, I knew I would stick it out. Not just for that child, but because that question challenged me to look for a different option than my fear, anger, and pain craved. What I didn’t know was that choice would challenge me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Once I opened my heart to this possibility, God gave me passages of Scripture like this one from Psalm 34 in The Message version:
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
Boy, did God get my attention. I felt kicked in the gut! I couldn’t breathe. My heart WAS broken. These verses in this psalm voiced my emotions exactly. Could it be that God understood my confused thoughts and feelings?
God understood that my marriage was in crisis. More than that, he knew I was in crisis.
Here are seven prayers I didn’t want to pray but saved my marriage:
I need help!
That was my first thought after the initial shock. I need help now. At that moment, though I didn’t pray this out loud, I knew I had to reach out to someone. And God answered that prayer by whispering a name to my wounded heart.
Father, I need help! My marriage is falling apart. Who do I call in this crisis? Please help me contact the right person. I’m frantic and can’t think. But, you promise to direct my steps. I need it now. Please, Father, help me. Can my marriage survive? Right now it feels like it can’t, but I need to know the next step. Help me, Father.
I need to be rescued.
When your mind feels paralyzed by fear or shock, you wonder if God listens. And it’s okay to ask Him if He is there and if He will rescue you. Reread the verses of this psalm. In the Bible, God says King David was a man after God’s heart. Yet, David wrote many psalms that question God. I hope that comforts you as it does me.
God, are you there? Do you hear me? I’m scared right now. I don’t know what to do. Help me think clearly. Just one thought. Would you do something tangible that lets me know You hear me and care about what’s happening right now? My heart thumps and I feel like I can’t breathe. Please, God, you promised to be near me. I need you to show up right now. Give me something that you know speaks only to me.
My heart is broken.
What a painful time! Nothing makes sense. The mental fog descends like an opaque gray curtain. The intense pain rips open old wounds while Satan heaps additional lies into our confusion. Satan is a bully who beats us when we’re down! The only remedy I’ve found for a broken heart is Jesus. As the only one who is fully God and fully man, He understands our debilitating pain. When I experienced this marriage crisis, I prayed so often about my broken heart. You can, too.
Jesus, this pain is too much. How could my husband do this to me? Why? What did I do wrong? What didn’t I do that he needed? His pornography addiction cuts me to the core of my being. I feel abandoned, rejected, ugly, disgusting, and worthless. Do you feel this pain? What do I do with it? I don’t think I’ll ever heal. This feels too hard. I don’t know if I can fight any longer. I don’t know if I want to stay in this marriage. Help me, Jesus. Wrap your arms around me so I feel your presence with me. You say in the Bible that you understand our pain, well, prove it to me now. Stop the hemorrhaging I feel in every pore of my body.
I can’t breathe.
The Message translates a verse from Psalm 34, “If you feel punched in the gut.” That’s exactly how I felt at my husband’s revelation. I literally couldn’t breathe. I knew I had to, but how? The visceral response to his addiction caused my eyesight to narrow. My guts to ball up in knots. I felt like I was spinning out of control and suspended in space at the same time. Yet, at that moment, the Holy Spirit intervened for me. In Romans 8, God reminds us that the Holy Spirit prays for us. I know He did that for me. But, later, I began to pray something like this.
Dear Father, I can’t deal with this. I don’t want to deal with this. I haven’t taken a deep breath since my husband told me about his addiction. The ugly thoughts and images this addiction conjures up sicken me. I’m angry, hurt, and I don’t know what else right now. Help me breathe. Guide my thoughts, which are all over the place. I can’t seem to quiet my mind. I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. Awful thoughts fill my head. Please remove them. Comfort me, my Father. I need to feel your loving arms wrapped around me. I need you to tell me life will go on. Right now it doesn’t feel like it. I’m not sure I want it to.
Help me forgive my husband.
You might not want to pray this prayer right away. It took me a while before I could pray it and mean it. Don’t beat yourself up if that’s where you are. God knows you and your pain. He doesn’t condemn you for your honest thoughts. But, if you will turn to him and ask for his help and direction, he answers that prayer. And who better to help you forgive, but someone who works miracles?
Oh Father, show me what is next. Heal my heart and emotions. Help me to look to you for what I need instead of my husband. Help me forgive him. You’ve forgiven me for every sin, bad thought, nasty word, and impatient action I’ve ever done. You said you remove my sin as far as the east is from the west. That’s pretty far! Give me the grace to forgive my husband for this betrayal of me and our marriage. I can’t do it alone. I need you, Jesus. Teach me how to forgive.
Heal my marriage.
When my husband showed he truly hated what he’d done to me and my marriage, I started to believe our marriage could be salvaged. But, trust was shattered. When I decided to stay, I knew that healing would only come over time. I also discovered the many ways I needed to change and heal personally. Healing a marriage means both parties desire the same outcome—an authentic marriage. It doesn’t mean you’ll take the same steps to get there. And in most cases, the healing will not happen quickly, but as a process—two steps forward, sometimes one back. But, my prayer became less about him and more about me.
God, my marriage is a mess. I’m a mess and so is my husband. Yet, you are a God of miracles. You redeemed us when we weren’t looking for salvation. You are able to bring something healthy and vibrant from the mess we’ve made of our marriage. Yes, my husband chose pornography over faithfulness to me. Help me today to choose to forgive him.
Help me know how to trust you to take care of me. Show me when he’s being trustworthy. Teach me to take one step toward trust today.
As you heal me, bring healing to my marriage. Heal my husband. Reveal the wounds in his heart and help him seek assistance to overcome the lies. Continue to work in me and bring healing. And as you heal my husband and me, heal our marriage. Show us how to live authentically with each other, instead of the toxic patterns of the past. We need a miracle in our marriage, Father.
Protect my marriage.
This is something I pray every day now. We are one choice away from disaster. One decision to relax the protection of our marriage can open the door to another crisis. And then you toss in the desires of this world and Satan to win each heart for selfishness and things not of God. Our marriages need moment-by-moment prayer and protection. Will you join me today and pray this over your marriage?
Father God, you miraculously remade my marriage. You answered every other prayer during in our marriage crisis. You proved trustworthy then, so I can trust you now. Set a hedge of protection around my husband and me today. Help us remember we are on the same team, desire the same outcomes, and want to honor you through our marriage. Show us today any places where we might compromise the integrity of our marriage.
Where am I not seeking his best? Where is he not seeking mine? Help me pour out grace on my husband because you’ve poured out grace upon me.
Thank you for my husband. Thank you for his love for me. Thank you for the decisions he makes today to honor our marriage and turn away from pornography. Help me find ways to express my love for him today.
Give me the courage to be truthful in my words, actions, and thoughts toward my husband. And I ask that my husband do the same thing. Don’t let fear or old patterns creep into our marriage today. Help us to use the tools and lessons to grow closer together. Thank you for the miracle of our marriage. You did more than I thought possible. I’m so grateful.
God answers every prayer.
We may not feel it at the time, but when we look back, we see exactly what he did. But God does things differently than you or me. Think Noah’s ark or the parting of the Red Sea. Jesus walking on water. God has amazing plans that we might never dream up. And He wants the very best for every person he’s made. I hope you see his hand in your life today.
If your husband revealed his pornography addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Don’t let darkness score another victory. Silence and shame are a win for darkness, not light. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to pray those first four prayers. Don’t keep this inside. The most courageous action involves asking for help. I’m thankful I did immediately. The pornography addiction won’t go away on its own. That’s not the nature of addiction. And, contrary to popular belief, pornography continues to destroy your marriage if you ignore it.
Will you take the first courageous step toward healing? Click the blue button on the top right of my website. I know how to move past the shock toward healing.
You can choose denial, or you can choose to overcome.