I've had more than one woman wonder how to handle the stories and statistics used on Sunday. I've been sarcastically "thanked" for making them super-paranoid. Their natural thinking is – If 60% of Christian men have been exposed to pornography in the last year – how can they know for sure that their husband is in the 40% who haven't been exposed to it? And they want to do know how to handle that stat and what to do with their fears. It can quickly turn into suspicion and lack of trust.
Here are some suggestions for wives:
- You must choose to take a position of support and encouragement rather than suspicion and discouragement. There is little that could be more discouraging to a husband than to be in a fight for his purity and feel like his wife is looking over his shoulder just waiting for him to blow it rather than rooting for him to succeed. Wives, you must change your position and convince your husband you are FOR him – not against him.
- Pray every day for your husband's purity. Every day. Are you spending more time worrying and being suspicious than your are talking to God about your fears and declaring your trust in Him?
- Make sure you are available sexually to your husband and don't be afraid to pursue him. You showing sexual interest in him is enticing to him. I would imagine very few women understand the impact that it has on her husband if she is sexually attracted to him. If he is being "starved" sexually at home, his temptations will likely increase. It never excuses his sinful choices, but feeling admired and desired by his wife is one more piece toward likely success in his purity.
- Occasionally, ask him questions, but ask in a way that doesn't make him feel judged and let's him know that you are on his team. He needs to be sure that he can answer your questions without you overreacting. If he is sure you are on his team and is comfortable with your past reactions, it will help him with his purity. For example, after Sunday I would tell him, "I would like to know how your battle has been recently in this area and how I can help you succeed. Can I ask you a few questions?" Then choose your questions and your responses very carefully. I don't think you need to know everything. You need to know where he is in this battle, where he is headed, and who is helping him.
- Encourage him to have accountability partners that speak frankly about their pursuit of purity. During the moments of biggest temptation – that accountability can be a great help!
- Finally and most importantly for those struggling after Sunday's sermon – you need to trust God – not your husband. This type of thing can make a woman very insecure and that likely says more about you than your husband. That is a trust issue for you. Ask your husband if he has appropriate guides in place and if he is being honest with you and/or his accountability partner, then you must trust God that if there is something you should know, God will bring it to your attention or his accountability partner's attention.
How you handle these questions and doubts will have an impact on your husband's purity. Obviously, if he has continual failure in this area and recent failure (in the last year), then more protective guards need to be set up, but I'm not sure you (as his wife) should be the one to set those guardrails. That should be done through an accountability partner, small group leader, or pastor. You can be aware of them but probably not the best person to hold him accountable on a weekly basis.
OK wives, so tell me – what do you think? What else am I missing? Do you think these six things are on target?
Husbands, what am I missing? How can we best help them and how can they best help us to succeed? (feel free to post comments on blog or reply and comments can be posted for you)