Thoughts, Questions and Answers
Unfortunately, it’s typical, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for a man or his marriage. Men by nature are God-designed to be sexually stimulated by visual cues, however, every man and woman is supposed to guard against temptation. Pornography taints a man’s own values and adversely affects his attitude toward his most important relationships. Pornography is not a benign activity; the porn voyeur becomes less satisfied with their mate, learns fiction – rather than fact – about female sexuality, and ends up placing decreased value in fidelity.
Am I ridiculous to get jealous over the ‘normal’ things my husband stares at?
In a word, no; the sad fact is, our culture continually chisels away at godly standards, and labels coarse things normal. The definition of pornography is simply “the depiction of an image intended to arouse sexual desire”. A man does not need to see a nude woman in order to be aroused sexually. Alluring dialogue, provocative clothing, seductive gestures, and suggestive behavior all have the power to illicit sexual desire. With that definition in mind, a lot of television content falls into these categories. Victoria’s real ‘Secret’ is they have put in-your-face pornography in mall windows, unsolicited catalogues and commercials. The average woman has been made to feel silly and insecure when voicing discomfort if her husband gawks at this erotica.
My husband says his behavior is my fault.
Every spouse is called to meet the other’s physical needs for intimacy, and to help diminish temptation. Because a husband and wife sometimes have different levels of need, there should be a process to finding a fair balance. It’s important to ask yourself if you’ve been inattentive to your husband sexually. That said, your husband’s actions are still his own responsibility. Sometimes a husband lays blame on the woman for how she looks or dresses. While taking care of one’s appearance is one outward expression of respect to our partner, lack of attention to one’s looks can never be an excuse for a betrayal of intimacy. This holds true whether his betrayal is in relation to pornography or physical infidelity.
I’m not certain, but I am suspicious about my husband’s behavior. What are Red Flags of sexual betrayal?
Most sexual betrayal is practiced in secret and is easily hidden, even more so than other destructive behaviors. This is why it’s paramount to be aware of what you do see, and learn what’s really going on.
The following list of ‘red flags’ include the most common outward symptoms of sexual compromise.
If you find your mate’s behavior in at least a few of these, there is cause for concern. While these actions or attitudes don’t create a verdict about a man’s behavior, they all indicate distress for the relationship:
• He is unaccountable for time away from home, works late, travels often, will not commit to a set time to be home and is
defensive about his schedule.
• He becomes private and secretive about his cell phone, computer, and finances.
• He spends a lot of time on the Internet, refuses to use a filtering service, watches TV and/or uses the computer during
normal sleep hours.
• You’ve found unusual receipts, phone numbers, mysterious phone bills and/or credit charges.
• He has unpredictable moods, anger and/or depression, and he blames you for his unhappiness, anger and/or
• His sexual interest in you has waned or increased dramatically; he seems distant and mentally preoccupied; you feel
used and empty, during or after sex
• He demands certain sexual performances and gets upset when refused; he wants you to dress a specific way.
• He has changed his looks, style, hair, cologne and/or exercise habits over a short time period.
• You have a lot of debt that he is either unconcerned about or he is in total denial about the financial situation.
• When questioned, he says you’re crazy, jealous, or have a vivid imagination; you’ve regularly considered whether or not
he is lying to you.
Is my husband a sex addict?
Sexual addiction is a real phenomenon. A person can become hooked on sexual stimuli, sexual encounters and sexual release. There are pleasurable chemical releases in the brain that occur during sex. God intended those good feelings to create an intimate bond between a husband and wife. However, as it is for all things that are abused and used in ways never intended, those chemicals can bond a person to destructive behavior. For a person to be considered to have an addiction to sex, the following four components of behavior – just as in drug or alcohol addiction – must be present:
1. Compulsivity – is out of control in the behavior despite repeated attempts to stop.
2. Continuation- despite negative consequences to relationships, work, finances and health.
3. Preoccupation or Obsession – distracting from relationships, shortchanging careers, stealing time from other pursuits.
4. Tolerance - escalation of a behavior or a progression to more destructive behavior is needed to get same feeling.
I can’t live like this anymore!
Good! Whether you’ve caught him again using pornography, or he didn’t break off the affair as he promised he would, God doesn’t want you to live this way. He doesn’t want you to tolerate ungodly behavior. He wants to bring you to a better place. He wants to heal your wounds. While it’s possible to restore a marriage, it involves two willing people. The Healing Choice Guidebook will help you make wise decisions for your future and find the avenue to healing.
What is the point of being in a group and talking to other women about your husband’s issues?
The benefits of walking with other women as you heal are many. Other women will become a mirror for you. As you listen to their stories, you will see your own situation with more objectivity. You will find a broader perspective on common issues. Just as women relate to each other having gone through childbirth, or having shared the sorrow of an inability to conceive, most women experience supportive relationships. One incredible discovery women always make in these groups, is the similarity of the lies they have come to believe about themselves and their situation. While some of the discussion is about their partners, each woman is encouraged to look at what her best life could be, and The Healing Choice Guidebook will provide a compass to direct her path.
I would die of shame in a group!
Isolation is the enemy of healing. It is our shame that keeps us silent. Our embarrassment over our situation keeps us locked up in secrets. We wear a mask to hide, often even with our best friends and family members. AVENUE groups are designed to protect your dignity and dispel your fears. Through reading this website and possibly the book, each woman has identified issues in her marriage that are on target with the problems we’ve described. Every woman in an AVENUE peer group is on the same, unintended journey. In this setting, you can end isolation while helping each other remove the cloak of shame you’re wearing.