I’ll never forget the physical impact when my husband revealed his secret porn addiction. My knees buckled, and I collapsed on the side of the bed.
I felt as weak as a minutes-old newborn.
So many women tell me they experience the same impact upon discovering their husband’s porn addiction.
We physically sense what our minds try to grasp—betrayal by the one you thought you could trust most.
This week, while studying the Bible, I read this passage in Judges 6
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel from Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
During the time when Midian oppressed Israel, a man named Gideon received the shock of his life. The angel of God showed up and announced, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” As you can imagine, Gideon was surprised to see an angel of the Lord and at being called a mighty warrior. And since he was threshing grain in the winepress so the oppressors wouldn’t steal his food, he found it strange to be told God was with them.
Gideon questioned the angel about this proclamation in a way that feels a bit sarcastic. However, what I found so interesting in this passage was the phrase “go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not with you?”
I don’t feel strong a lot of the time.
And that’s not just physical strength, but there are days when I feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually weak. As I read this passage in the Book of Judges, I was stunned by the Lord’s command, “Go in the strength you have.” Too often, I think I need to do everything by myself. However, discovering my husband’s porn addiction, I felt clueless. Lost. Unable to think or process. How could I tap into my strength?
The biblical story tells about Gideon’s army of three hundred men against Midian. Their army covered the plains before him. Three hundred against thousands doesn’t sound like good odds when your life is on the line. And yet, God promised Gideon he would go with Gideon and win the battle.
Your battle odds look similar when pornography addiction afflicts your marriage and home.
You are in a battle.
Don’t dismiss it or think that it will go away on its own. It won’t. It’s time to enter the fight. You may not believe you have the strength to do this. I know I didn’t, and the truth was I didn’t. My strength came when I reached out for help from others, who then pointed me to the source of my power—God. While God calls us, as he did Gideon, to move forward in our strength, he doesn’t leave us alone. God promises to be with us every step of the way. Our job is to look to him for his strength and direction. A favorite passage in Psalm 123 reminds me to stay focused on God like a servant watches her master, listens for his voice, and follows his prompting.
So as we look at this passage in Judges chapter 6, let’s see what we can learn from Gideon.
1. Ask God the tough questions. So often, we think that being honest with God will cause a lightning bolt to shoot out of the sky and kill us. That’s not true. When we come to God with honest questions, he will answer them.
For evidence, look at the book of Job. Job asks all sorts of questions of God. He poured out his pain, and God heard him. Now, like Gideon, Job didn’t receive the step-by-step instructions on how to recover. Instead, Job discovered that the Lord’s ways weren’t his, but God would be with him.
When you discover your husband’s betrayal, run to God. Pour out your heart to him. I cried and screamed at God at times when the pain was the worst. During those initial recovery days, the Psalms brought words I couldn’t find. Psalms like Psalm 69, 5, 6, and many others. I spoke these verses out loud, letting them express the pain in my heart and the confusion in my soul. The cool thing? God allows and invites us to wrestle with him over the most challenging issues we face.
2. Understand and believe God is with you. Throughout the Bible, we read many verses that tell us that the Lord is with us. He says he will never leave us nor abandon us. There is no place we can go where he is not there. Jesus told his disciples that even though he was physically leaving them that he would send the Holy Spirit, who would be their comforter and their companion. We are never outside of God’s presence.
In those initial moments after my husband revealed his pornography addiction, I needed the reminder that I was not alone. I first received that assurance from the friend I called, who quickly pointed me back to God to remind me that I was not and that we were not outside of his presence.
So often, at the first revelation of betrayal, you feel alone. You feel invisible. Your world has been torn apart. But hear me, you are not alone. Ever. The best thing you can do is reach out for help. You need a safe place and person to process what’s happened. More importantly, you need Godly counsel to move forward.
3. Trust the power God gives you. You don’t have all the answers, and you may not know what the next day will bring. But God has told you to use the strength that you have. Remember what he said to Gideon? “Go in the strength that you have. And I will be with you.” I remember having no idea how to recover or even help my husband recover. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to help him recover. And when my suicidal depression diagnosis came during our counseling, I realized I didn’t have much strength left.
My only hope came from clinging to God.
God tells us we can do all things through Christ. The Bible doesn’t say that we will live an easy life. But, God promises to give us the words we need, and we can depend on his strength when we feel our weakest.
God provided coaches and counselors who walked the recovery road with us. When dealing with recovery from porn addiction, you need others to pray for you, support you, and encourage you to become all that God has created you to be.
Where are you in the battle?
What do you need to go in the strength you have and believe God will give you victory?
The first few years after Dave and I dealt with porn addiction and suicidal depression, I wondered what purpose it served. Learning to share my recovery story honestly brings purpose to the wounds and pain. If you need someone to hear your heart, encourage your soul, and point you forward, please reach out. I offer honest, safe, and confidential hope with concrete steps. You can recover and live the future for which you were created. Let’s talk.