#PreApproved Writer of the Week: Shirley
#PreApproved Sisterhood Series
Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.
Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.
We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.
Crushing the Idol, Once and For All
Our family has had a situation play out within the past few months that have been extremely painful for us all to process. There seemed to be an elephant in the room, although no one wanted to ever acknowledge it. We knew something wasn’t quite right, and yet every time we tried to address it, it was brushed aside once more. Nothing ever gets resolved when this happens.
The days of tiptoeing around this elephant in the room turned into weeks, then months, and ultimately years of denying there was an elephant at all. Yet, in the back of our minds, we knew. We saw, we felt, and we lived side by side with this elephant.
By now you may be wondering exactly where I am going with this and what, exactly, am I talking about here. You may even be scratching your head right now while asking, “What is the elephant in the room that she’s referring to?” It is my husband’s addiction to pornography. Before you gasp and shy away from this post, please hear me out and see how this has affected us all. It has been extremely painful, and yet, I feel the story needs to be told.
Men have been viewing this sort of thing for quite some time, although few will freely admit it. They lie to themselves that it’s “only this once” or that “no one will ever know” and ultimately “it’s not hurting anyone” when in reality it comes out in other ways in a relationship and can be quite damaging and hurtful to the one that they are supposed to love and cherish the most. The wife wonders exactly what is going on when her husband will not touch her, and she fears the worst; that he has had an affair.
What many don’t realize is that pornography desensitizes the viewer. They, then, develop an intimacy disorder where they are unable to express love and affection with their partners. It isn’t because they don’t love them. They do, but they are no longer able to express it to them after being exposed to pornography for so long. Their sense of reality becomes distorted, and they feel shameful and full of guilt, which keeps this cycle going where they shy away from any form of intimacy at all with their wives for fear of rejection or feeling as if they are repulsive for their addiction.
Perhaps you have seen the movie “Fireproof.” In this movie, Caleb struggles with pornography. He tries to be a good person, and he is in other areas of his life. However, his wife, Catherine, suffers at the hand of Caleb’s addiction. My family and I watched this movie years ago and took in all that happened and how things played out, never realizing at the time that my life would eventually unravel and things would be revealed much like what happened with the characters in that movie. Caleb and Catherine became estranged, rarely spending any time together, and what time they did spend together was peppered with arguments and harsh words. They drifted so far apart while both wondered what happened to their once-happy marriage. Then, the pornography addiction was discovered.
A lot of people think that the solution is simple: to stop viewing pornography. However, in the case of an addict, it is one of the hardest things for them to do.
My point with this post is that I have suffered at the hands of this addiction. My husband suffered in his own way as he became a slave to it. I suffered by being robbed of the intimacy and closeness with my husband for years. As a result, I had low self-esteem, felt inadequate, and as if I wasn’t good enough if my husband would turn to this stuff instead of to me. I wondered for years what was wrong with me.
I tried to fix myself up with the best makeup, clothes, and shoes that money could buy. I grew my hair out really long as I knew he liked it that way, and I always kept my nails well-groomed and freshly painted. Soon I realized, though, that I didn’t need all of those things. I sought my husband’s approval, hoping to catch his eye, and then one day I realized that it wasn’t in any makeup that I could put on my face. It wasn’t in any of the fancy clothes or high-heeled shoes that I’d wear. My strength wasn’t in my long blond hair, nor the shiny red nail polish I would wear for him. The only approval I truly needed was from God above, and He gave me His stamp of approval long ago!
Please know that our story will have a happy ending. It will. My husband has stared his addiction in the eyes and is crushing it once and for all. This will not be an easy road that we walk, yet it is part of our journey. We will walk it together now hand in hand as I will not desert him but will, instead, stand by my man on his road to recovery. We know that God has great plans for us, and we are clinging to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,“ says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
My name is Shirley, and I know without a shadow of a doubt now, that I am pre-approved by God above!
Shirley considers her greatest blessings to be her two beautiful daughters who are her heart and soul. She has a passion for her family, photography, music, and most importantly God. She writes to share her heart and God’s Light, Love, & Hope. You can find her at her blog, on Facebook, or through Twitter.
A Note For Anyone Struggling with Pornography
If you or someone you know has faced a struggle with pornography, may I suggest the following resource?
Jennifer and Craig Ferguson have recently released a book called Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. “In this candid account, Craig and Jen Ferguson share their personal story of the shame, anger, and hopelessness associated with Craig’s porn addiction. It threatened to destroy their marriage until they discovered how drawing close to Christ could lead them out of the pit of sinful habits, unhealthy responses, and personal despair toward true recovery. Marked by biblical and practical guidance for addressing the heart issues that lead to addiction, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart offers encouragement and hope to those who struggle—or whose loved ones struggle—with the lure of pornography. Includes Scripture-based prayers, discussion questions for couples, and other helpful resources.”
THE LOVE IDOL MOVEMENT
Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.
Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.
Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.
Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!
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- Crushing The Idol, Once and For All - Light, Love, Hope - […] Click here to continue reading over on Jennifer Dukes Lee’s site, author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your…
Shirley, you have communicated the dangers of pornography and their devastating effects so well. As one who has walked a journey similar to yours, I am so grateful for you and your husband, for to speak out in spite of the shame, brings light and hope. The more we talk about something shameful, the less that shame has hold of us. You are PreApproved and so is your husband. It is the lies that the enemy wants us our husbands to believe – that they are not enough, we are not enough, Jesus us not enough – that only porn can be enough. When we publicly and in our households call these things lies, we make so much room for the TRUTH. Praying for y’all on your journey to freedom. Feel free to reach out to me if you need a fellow sister and friend who has walked the road.
Thank you so much, Jen. I appreciate your willingness to help us through this as you have traveled this road in your own marriage. Yes, the shame will try to grab a hold of both, that is why I felt I needed to speak out about something so personal in our lives. I know that we can’t be the only ones struggling with this issue. It is just often kept quiet, and people suffer in silence. But no more! We are doing away with the lies, the shame, and the embarrassment in an effort to work through this and help others that are struggling with this same issue.
Thank you, Shirley, for being brave and vulnerable and telling a story I know so many will relate to, and for sharing the hope you have for the future. I know God wants so much to bless your courage and remind you that you are enough. So let me say it for Him. “You are brave. You are beautiful. You are loved.”
Colleen, your words brought me to tears. Thank you from my heart!
Shirley, thank you for spotlighting a very difficult and often shameful area. When pornography effected our family, there were very few resources on the subject and the church was ill-equipped to handle such a topic. Overcoming the addiction and strong-hold took years of counseling, deep, concentrated prayer and understanding where the addiction was first rooted.
God bless you both through freedom and preapproval in Christ.
Caryn, I appreciate what you said so much. I had a hard time finding help for partners affected by this addiction. There was plenty of help for my husband with counselors, groups, and even people in the difference churches ready to help him. Yet I did not find anything here in our community or state for the spouses who suffer tremendously! It seems so unfair as the pornography addiction affects both the one doing it and their spouse, so there needs to be resources to help BOTH of them through it. That is why I very much appreciate the book that Jennifer has highlighted where the Ferguson’s speak so openly on how this affected and impacted their lives … and how they made it through, together! Bless you, as you, too, know how devastating this is. ((hugs to you))
Shirley the best thing about baring your soul here is the light that is coming when darkness is exposed, and the freedom that gives to others. Thank you for your bravery here.
Jody, thank you so much for your kind words. It was very freeing sharing our story, and I believe that if we can overcome, as others have as well, that those that are struggling with this very thing right this minute can as well. It’s hard, but your marriage is worth fighting for!
This was so good on many levels. Grateful to hear your journey. I know women who have struggled with pornography as well. I’m so grateful to have the door opened to the subject and earnestly praying for healing in your marriage.