Trying to Reconcile Marriage

Discussion in 'Parenting & Marriage' started by BelieverWifeMom, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, and would greatly appreciate prayers and advice. My husband and I became believers while dating and were engaged right after my baptism. My husband grew up in very difficult circumstances: abusive step-father, treated like an outcast by his dad who remarried and showed favoritism to his stepchildren. He came into our relationship with a lot of baggage, but so did I.

    He was a smoker when we first started dating, and I told him at the time that I couldn't bear to marry a smoker because of the heartache that would come from losing a husband to lung disease, etc. He said it was a good idea to quit anyway, and led me to believe that he did. I found out on our honeymoon that he had been lying to me and hiding his habit. It really put a damper on things. Over the 9 1/2 years since then, he has pretended to quit several other times, after which I would find evidence that he was lying to me. It has made it very difficult to trust him. I know that smoking itself is not a sin, but lying to someone repeatedly is a sin, one that as recently as yesterday he has consistently committed.

    This is not even the biggest problem though. Since our courtship, I have caught him in the habit of viewing porn on four separate occasions. These are only the times he's been caught, so I really have no idea how often he's been doing this. He knows it's wrong and has admitted it. He will pretend he needs to use the restroom and shut himself in there with his phone for half an hour. We were just beginning to reconcile from this breach of trust when I found more cigarettes hidden in our closet.

    How can I ever trust him again? I'm not perfect and I have made my own mistakes, but I repented and haven't looked back. He makes an apology and acts ashamed and sheepish, then the next time my back is turned he hops right back into deception. I can't bear to be intimate with him anymore because it reminds me of the images I found on his phone, and because it's extremely hard to be that close to someone who is not trustworthy.

    I feel like our marriage is dying. We have two children and I try to hold it together for them. I really want things to work, but if he won't be honest with me then I don't know how we can have a healthy relationship. I've forgiven him for these things over the years and he has acted appreciative, but without true repentance how can we reconcile?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Not_Now.Soon

    Not_Now.Soon Member

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    I think there's better thoughts from those who have been married longer then I have, so I hope you wait for their answers too. But here's what I can offer.

    It sounds like the smoking is a secondary issue compaired to broken trust and porn. If that's the case, would you be willing to have a conversation to tell him you're willing to be there with your husband while he smokes, and he tries to quit, even if he doesn't make it, or even through periods that he stops trying to quit for a period. If you can do that hopefully he can not fall into the trap of hiding what he's doing.

    About the porn though. The only few things I can think of to help is to pray to God about it, and strengthen his relationship with God to strengthen him against sinning in general. This has helped me with several of my sins that I'd rather not name, porn among them. But it also is something that is dependent on a person's dedication to focus on God. It's real easy to get distracted with old habits and backslide, but it seems like there's more strength to dismiss those temptations when you ask for God's forgiveness and His help. At least that's my experience.

    One other possibility is to try and remove as much of the temptation as possible. If the temptation is largely due to having access to porn through the phone, then maybe changing to a simple phone that can't connect to the Internet. But that's a conversation you'd need to have with him. There could be other things he notices that make porn a temptation at certain times. If he can get away from or lessen the amount of those issues then that might bolster his resolve. Either way though his porn is on him, not on you. If he can't feel responsible enough to quit, then you might need outside counseling.

    Wishing you guys the best and hope you pull through.
     
  3. Eugene

    Eugene Staff Member Moderator

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    Dear sister in Christ, welcome to these Christian forums where we can fellowship with one another in Jesus’ name.

    I reckon the first thing I would ask is if you believe your husband is really a believer in Christ, and if he is, is it possible he is weak in faith and might need you encouragement and help? Do you realize that as a child of God we can do near anything in the flesh an unbeliever does? In other words we read in 1John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    You said “I have made my own mistakes, but I repented and haven't looked back.” I must say that is wonderful, and can truthfully say I wish I could say the same. I smoked for many years, asked God for help, almost promised that I would never do it again, and yet fail time after time. That is one of the hardest things I ever did. I often wondered if the stress in my life at the time was one of its causes; I felt comfort smoking.

    You mention porn, and with the individual I have no clue, but then you also mention your lack of intimacy due to trust issues. This is not the way I read that we should be in:

    1Co 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    1Co 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    As a family, you have every reason to make sure your marriage works. What can you do additionally to help your husband? More forgiveness? Understanding? Love above all, and being thankful to our Savior together for what He is doing in your lives. Our marriages that He has put together is certainly a ministry, takes our utmost diligence of care and repair, and again Love above all things.

    You can make this work, and with the faith you profess don’t tell me you can’t. Regardless his failures he belongs to God as you do. Jesus will not fail him or you, and would have you know that He will never leave or forsake you in the trials of your faith. Rom 8:28 tells us that all things work together for our good that love God; find the source of that in your experience. How would I know that for sure? I’ve been married now for over fifty-nine years, and believe me that if it were not for God’s constant leading it would not have lasted. I’ve rambled a lot here, but I hope you get the idea.

    God bless you sister in Jesus’ name.
     
  4. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    Hello and thank you for your welcoming response.

    I believe that my husband really is a believer, but he does lack maturity in the faith. He doesn't like to read, so he doesn't read scripture very often. Sometimes he'll read a verse here and there, but it's usually an individual verse out of context. I have made efforts to read scripture aloud to him, but he would usually rather watch TV. For a long time our roles were upside-down. He didn't want to lead our family so I stepped in to fill the void. It was disastrous and he's stepped up in this area, which is a big relief because I was obviously not made for that role. I believe he has good intentions, but allows the flesh to take charge.

    About the intimacy, it's not that I refuse. I do know that would be wrong based on the verses you mentioned. It's just really emotionally painful and unenjoyable for me. The physical act isn't the problem, it's the broken spiritual and emotional connection that is highlighted during those times.

    I do have a tendency to worry, which I know is wrong. I think that adds to the chasm between us because I'm always waiting for the next breach of trust. I'm sure that can't be good for his attempts to change, because he's not seeing faith on my side that he can change.

    I pray that God will help me respect my husband and give me faith that He will carry us through this and strengthen my husband.

    Congratulations on 59 years of marriage - that is wonderful!

    God bless.
     
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  5. Eugene

    Eugene Staff Member Moderator

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    Thank you dear sister for your kind reply. I would advise that you remember that we're all in a stage of spiritual growth as God works in us to will, and to do of His good pleasure (Php 2:13). It is God conforming us into the very image of Christ, and that will include your trust issues. Like God leading us, you as the seemingly stronger in faith at this point in your marriage must step up to the plate and make all things conducive to healing. God made you the helpmeet; that is one to actually help him in his problems. Make you get over you in everything affecting your pleasure of being with your husband and love him for where God has him at this moment.

    I read where we can entertain angels unawares, and an angel is simply another word for messenger as pertaining to human messengers; a term oft used in the book of Revelation pertaining to angels, but we are light unto the world, and you can exhibit that very light in all things of your marriage to endear your husband's growth in Christ. You read the word of God even if he is watching TV, you lead your children as best as you can in the things of God, and I can near ensure he'll begin taking notice, although some of us men are sure hardheaded and are really in need of a good woman to illustrate the path we're to take at times. Pray without ceasing for his salvation of overcoming the world, or what is known as the habit and dominion of sin in his life. In Christ He is saved eternally, and you're earning eternal rewards in the way as you help him.
     
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  6. Knotical

    Knotical Staff Member Moderator

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    To build on what brother Eugene has said I have to ask, are you praying for him? If so, have you also considered being counseled by either your pastor and/or an elder in your church.

    The thing about sin when it comes to men is that when they are admonished by their wife, unless they really take ownership and seek God's help to change they will not, and just look at the comments from their wife as nagging. To really generate more of a desire or motivation to change involvement from church leadership could be extremely helpful, especially if you approach someone who your husband admires/respects.

    As you probably know the biggest part of the problem is admitting he has one, or two, or three. So far, from what you have mentioned it appears he goes through the motions of repentance to, for back of a better phrase, get you off his back (at least for a brief period of time). Of course everybody stumbles, but unless it is important to him he may never change.
     
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  7. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    When I stop and think about it, my prayer life hasn't been as abundant lately. I've been pretty discouraged for the last couple of months since the most recent discovery of pornographic content on his phone. I definitely have room for improvement here.

    I had considered speaking to our pastor about this, but due to the nature of the offense I don't know if I should. I don't want to shame him and make him less likely to want to go to church. We could possibly go to an independent Christian counselor.

    As far as the "repentance" to get me off of his back, I expect you are right. Repentance means to turn from your sin though, which he has not really done. I guess it's more of an attempt at appeasement.

    Thanks to all of you for your responses. It is greatly appreciated.
     
  8. Knotical

    Knotical Staff Member Moderator

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    While it is true that not every pastor has a gift for guidance in every area, including marriage, you could talk to him without actually going into specifics about the issues and see if he is willing/able to help, or possibly refer you to a good Christian counselor that either one or both of you could see.

    If you are able to talk to your pastor about the issues you have expressed here I would hope he would be able to handle counseling you in a professional and discrete manner, without bringing any kind of shaming aspect into it.

    But, first and foremost start praying fervently for God to work in you and your husband, especially in the sin areas. If God isn't at the center of your marriage then things will be much harder to deal with, and your pastor/elders should be able to help you steer your marriage back in the right direction.
     
  9. Christ_empowered

    Christ_empowered Member

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    Hi. I'd try talking to the pastor before going for outside counselling. I mean, not all counselors are terrible, but...you'll save time and $$$ and get (hopefully) godly advice from a pastor. Counselors tend to be a mixed bag.
     
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  10. reba

    reba Staff Member Administrator

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    A suggestion of not speaking to your pastor behind DH back..
     
  11. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    I agree. I would definitely tell my husband first, but I feel like going to a third party might be best. I feel that if anyone talked to our pastor or elders about it, it should be my husband.

    I know of a good Christian counselor who brings all conversations back to scripture. No new age/eastern influences. I may make an appt to talk to him soon.
     
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  12. reba

    reba Staff Member Administrator

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    While i dont have the porn problem (which i view as major ) i have been marred to a non believer for 52 years. There are other problems..
    I do my best to be as Sarah was Abraham... when in my opinion, he lied and cast her off to save his own hide.. ... I fail , i fail a lot.. Could i go that far i dont know.. ..

    1Pe 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
    1Pe 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
    I did not post the full passage because we cannot 'fix' him .. we can only by His grace take care of what we need to about ourselves
     
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  13. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Wow, sister, my heart broke a little for you on reading this, mostly because of the way you've concluded some things and projected his love for you on what you've caught him doing. I've never smoked but clearly, very clearly, cigarettes are addictive and extremely difficult to go without for those who have smoked a while. Why else would millions of people pay what they pay and increase their long term health risks.

    IMHO, you cannot associate his difficulty quitting with his love for you. Don't do that to him or yourself! I'll bet he's wished 1000 times he could be done for good. And I'll bet he dies a little inside after he's been dishonest with you. He's cursed these things, because he knows his addiction to them has caused you pain. You can look at him as a lot of things, but try to look at him as a man of God who's trapped in a mess he struggles to get out of. He's remorseful when caught, and that's an indication that he loves you. I'll bet it's honest remorse, but their lure becomes too much after a while.

    I'm no addiction counselor, but I've recently completed a long training series to be a marriage mentor along with my wife of 25 years at our church to couples in crisis. Smokers smoke at certain times of the day or when they do certain things. To some, starting their car means lighting up. If they commute to work at the same time every day, they will have their cigarette 1000 times out of 1000 times. They can't imagine driving to work without one. It must be stressful to think about never doing that again.

    So here's my advice which isn't even worth 2 cents, so take it or leave it. Don't tell him he has to quit. That must be too much to consider. Instead, make them short term goals. Just get to tomorrow with no cigarettes. Then tomorrow, help him get to the next day. Every day is a victory he's achieved together with the woman he loves. Day to day to day to day to a week. A week without cigarettes! Next day, next week. Two weeks without cigarettes! You look great, dear, and you smell even better! Encourage him, and never speak of this as a permanent thing. If he stumbles, his stumble isn't about you. It's about him. Remember, he loves you. He stumbled and bumbled. He's a Bumble, and we know from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Bumbles bounce! He'll bounce back and it's just starting that day over again.

    Also, try changing things up and doing new things as much as possible. Try to curve out of activities he is doing when his urge for cigarettes is the greatest. Let him be honest about when he feel the urge, and try doing something like taking a walk together during the weak times.

    Porn. It's the worst of all poisons to a man's self worth. I went to a Christian conference once when the speaker told a story about an event where the Christian Men's conference sold out all the rooms in a certain hotel. The manager was disheartened the next day when he found out how much porn was ordered in the rooms over night.

    Do not - do NOT think his use of porn is proof he doesn't love you. Weak willed, yes. Screwed up priorities, definitely. Immature, maybe, but that's the sin of choice for a wide range of ages. I don't want to understate the seriousness of porn. He is disconnecting himself from you and God when he watches it.

    Here again, change things up. This is a habit he can more easily snap out of. There are apps for cell phones and laptops that prevent and block these sites. Ask if he'd be willing to use one on his phone that only you know the password to. But do this with love and encouragement. You are his biggest fan, and you want him to win! Sit on the right side of the stadium and cheer him on. When he wins, you both win, your marriage wins, and the Glory of God shines!

    I believe God will rock your marriage and it will get better than ever when he respects himself more. With more respect for himself, he will be a better spiritual leader of the house, and you will be more attracted to that restored man. Restoration of him. Restoration of your marriage. Restoration made possible by the love of Christ in you.

    Ask God to encrouage both of you and ignite his soul with a new thing in life. Sorry so long. I believe in both of you. Keep being that woman of God that you are. I do hope you'll stick around here, or at least come back when you're on the road to recovery, so we can celebrate with you. :dancing
     
  14. JohnDB

    JohnDB Staff Member Moderator

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    What those above have said is true.

    This coming from a guy who has done it wrong more than right.

    But where the issues in your marriage you see are probably not the issues that he sees. (And I'm sure that he likely has valid complaints about you)

    Now then,. How do I advise you when at core you both are having the same problems? You both obviously are perfect for each other.

    Porn and smoking are symptoms and not really the problems in and of themselves.
    Where they are readily finger pointing material. It's not going to help anything to brow beat him about it. It's only going to push him farther away when what he really wants is to love you more.

    So...

    I can only tell you what I am fairly certain that his complaints are...
    Stop objectifying him. Stop trying to make him the husband you think he should be. I'm not saying be a doormat.
    Thank him and praise him for the things that he does that you enjoy. Be sincere!
    Accept and love him for who he is instead of nagging him for who he isn't.

    Let him understand how much you really do love him and not just the idea of having a husband. But at the same time let him know that his viewing of porn really hurts you and that you have to not be physically intimate with him until you heal...
    And that long term porn viewing will kill his libido and that you are wanting to be physically intimate with him even when he gets 50+ and his butt disappears and his belly is big and hairy... because you love him.

    You can't change him...but you can stop adding to the issues that affect your marriage. And I believe that a good husband (which is why you married him) will not be outdone by any good wife. He will compete with you to love you more.

    Making love a competitive sport in your home won't create a loser.
    It will create two winners.
     
  15. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    Thank you, Mike. I appreciate your encouragement!

    I wish that I could understand things from a man's point of view. As a woman (or maybe this is just me), viewing porn would be an indication of loving your spouse less because you don't mind hurting them in such a deep way (adultery). I guess it's not that simple though, and justification of the sin is easier during temptation than objective reasoning so I shouldn't take it as an indication that he loves me less.

    I try to cheer him on in other areas. I think being discouraged and being burned so many times before has made me wary of getting my hopes up enough to cheer for him in these areas. My hope shouldn't be in him though but in the One who made him and can heal him. I'll work on changing my outlook.

    I so want for things to get better. He and I are polar opposites in all of the trivial ways, but we share the same important beliefs. Our differences balance us out which is nice. We make each other laugh and enjoy spending time together whenever we can. I just want to be able to trust him.


    Thanks, everyone, for listening, praying, and advising. I'll keep praying and putting my faith in Jesus to do what only He can do.
     
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  16. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Spot on! Terrific insight! Consider it a temporary lapse of sanity and a distance from reason. Men will never understand women, an women will never understand men, but you've trudged deep here into a man's psyche.

    I have immense respect for you in how you are dealing with this and expressing yourself. I've seen men and women get on here and fully rip their spouses apart. Your message comes through loud and clear that you love him and respect him but that your respect has been lessened by his weaknesses. That's completely understandable.

    I don't think serious marriage counseling is necessary, but I do think it would be beneficial for you two to get in a mentor program or have someone you can both work through this together with. He loves you. For whatever reason, I feel that from what you've said. Please don't make this a mountain you convince yourself you can't get through together with God. He is the Maker of all things new.

    Think of the victory story you can share with your children when they are older and in marriages one day. Without getting into specifics, you will be able to share with them how you overcame these trials to your covenant. Be blessed to be a blessing.
     
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  17. Steve K. Orsini

    Steve K. Orsini Member

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    The first thing that you should do is go and consult an attorney as soon as possible! This kind of behavior is not at all acceptable! He might do it again!My friend too faced similar problems, so she consulted one Mr.Bechara Tarabay, renwoned for such cases and he helped her out really well.
     
  18. th1b.taylor

    th1b.taylor Member

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    Wow! That is a tough one! It sounds as if it is time to take him to your Pastor and embarrass the snot out of him. The secret viewing of pornography is cheating on you. It is also, along with the cigarettes a symptom of the lack of control of himself. I can say this because, as a small time Country Singer I was into these and much other corrupt stuff but did not drag it into my marriage. And not being without those same sins I tell you, you need help and he need an Accountability Group composed of members of the Church and may God bless you efforts.
     
  19. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    No thanks. We are still experiencing the same problems, but I refuse to act in fear. God will get me through this.
     
  20. BelieverWifeMom

    BelieverWifeMom Member

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    Thank you for your response. We have been seeing our pastor for counseling for a few months now and I agree that discipleship/accountability is necessary. I'm glad that I came back to view this thread today. I found out this week that my husband has been engaging in an online friendship with a woman who calls him baby. He has been talking to her for two hours a day for three months now after I go to sleep. If I had just done better at trying to get past my trust issues, maybe this wouldn't have happened. He says that I pushed him away. I can honestly say that I tried, but I definitely wasn't perfect. Please pray for us and our children.
     

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