Why Am I Not Enough For Him?

May 2, 2012

Why Am I Not Enough For Him

“Why am I not enough for him?” This is a question that I’ve heard from every wife I’ve counseled whose husband is involved with pornography. Some of these wives knew about the porn before marriage, but naively believed that they could change their husbands. It’s common for a struggling couple to believe that their love for one another will help the porn addict overcome his temptations as he is ravished in his wife’s love. But then it happens… she discovers the website he’s been viewing and she is devastated!

“What’s wrong with me that he wants someone else, a fantasy no less? Why isn’t he satisfied with our love?” And from those questions come a barrage of self-incriminations about being too fat, not pretty enough, too this or that, unable to “do it” like the girls on the screen. The wife of a porn addict quickly buys into the lie that it is somehow her fault! And many of those husbands are quite satisfied to lay the blame right at her feet!

Help for Wives When Pornography Invades

When a wife struggles after discovering that her husband is involved with pornography, it is helpful for her to know she is not alone in asking those awful, but common, questions. He is not really so different from every other man addicted to pornography in the way he treats her, and she is not so different in the way she responds to him and that knowledge. We as humans are more alike than we are different. Through the ages and across cultures, the human heart hasn’t changed  much… we are still created in the image of God, but marred by sin, which changed everything! Yet sin has a certain predictable pattern it follows once the “sin of choice” is established in an individual’s life. That’s what Scripture means when it says we become a slave to sin… we no longer control it, but it controls us and we follow its course in a downward spiral until we allow Christ to intervene by changing who our Master is (Romans 6-8).

How do we help the wife who struggles with believing she is somehow responsible for HIS choices? She must believe God’s Word; that each of us is individually responsible for the choices we make. No one, including the devil, can make a true follower of Christ sin. We may set a stage making it easier for another to choose to sin, but they are still individually responsible for their decision to act out on the temptation. They are still individually responsible to cry out to the Lord for His help (1 Corinthians 10:13-14) and to claim the victory promised to believers (Romans 8:37-39).

Our next goal is to help that wife find her true identity in Christ alone. She needs to be fortified in her own walk with the Lord, confident in who she is as an individual known and loved by God, forgiven and approved by her Heavenly Father. As she grows vertically in her relationship with the Lord and is satisfied in His love, she can better evaluate all of her horizontal relationships to see what, if  anything, needs to change to honor the Lord. She will then be less vulnerable to believe every lie she hears (either in her head or from her husband) about blaming herself for his sin because she isn’t good enough. Daily she grows stronger by walking with her Lord (Matthew 11:28-30) and believing His evaluation of her (Ephesians 1-3).

Hope for the Marriage

Sue’s husband was caught again… he viewed pornography and said it was her fault because she didn’t give him what he wanted. She had all the “normal” questions… what did she do wrong to make him struggle so in lust?

No, she hadn’t been a perfect wife, yet she tried to honor and serve him in all the proper ways, including being his sexual companion and lover. She regularly made love to him, but refused when he began to ask her to do “kinky things” he had learned from his pornography. He then lashed out in anger with a barrage of accusations she couldn’t imagine. She had always thought their relationship had been pretty good. Now he blamed her for his struggle since she wasn’t “with him” in his sexual desires, so he “had to look elsewhere to feel like a real man.”

He admitted to Sue and to his counselor that he had struggled since his teens and thought marriage would cure his problem. Now he was blaming her that he still struggled. Sue bought into his blame game until they looked at biblical truth. She began her road to healing, and encouraged him as he got help to renew his mind in God’s Word and began changing for God’s glory (Romans 12:1,2, Ephesians 4:17-24). Each worked individually with a biblical counselor, and also together as a couple.

It wasn’t an overnight change for either of them, but it was the beginning of a satisfying marriage with two vertically committed partners dependent on the Lord for strength and wisdom to walk in victory. When both saw the Lord as “Enough” for them as individuals, each then was free to love the other as God intended in marriage.

Join the Conversation

What principles from this post about responsibility in marital relationships can you apply to your life and ministry?

Note: This article was originally posted at the Biblical Counseling Center’s site. It is reproduced here with permission. You can read the original at Why Am I Not Enough for Him?

8 thoughts on “Why Am I Not Enough For Him?

  1. Thank you so much for  this posting.  I am convinced that pronography is an addiction of epidemic proportions in the church, one which most of us ignore intentionally.  While I agree with everything that has been written here I feel compelled to underscore the addictive nature of pornography.  I am told that it has the same addictive qualities as cocaine.  It is not unusual for a young boy to innocently come in contact with pornography and get hooked.  In many  cases pornography only escalates one’s sexual desires such that they seek more and more explicit adventures.  Recognizing the power of the Lord, He will  often use support groups, qualified counselors, accountablity partners and electronic safeguards to ensure victory.

  2. Porn often has nothing to do with the wife.  It is often connected to shame based tension and strife that comes apon a young son from a dysfunctional home.   The chemically based pleasure response provides the same temporary rush as drugs or alcohol.   It will feel good, and then dump you into guilt.  Done long enough, the heart becomes hardened and the guilt appears to fade away.    The key is to realise that the problem lies in the heart of the man [or woman], not in the outward manifestation.   Identifying the root problem in the heart, and giving it to God [via the Cross] is the only way of escape.  This is how your husband [or wife] can renew their mind.   For more info, contact Craig Hill’s Family Foundations.   They have this nailed [to the [email protected]:disqus ]   http://www.familyfoundations.com/index.php/news

  3. Good to see a post covering this issue. Its such a huge issue inside as well as outside the church – and across the globe ( I am a missionary in Africa where cell phones are now common and in the cities internet access is fairly easy) and many couples are longing for help. In counselling I have found it helpful to also recommend the Setting Captives Free website which has specific help for wives in this situation. Their Men’s Bible Study “Men of Honour” is a terrific tool to raise the issue among men in the church in a supportive non-confrontational way and begin to help families deal with an issue that most are too ashamed to raise or gain help on.  These folks desperately need their brothers and sisters in Christ to incarnate Christ’s love to them, coming alongside and helping them get free of this addiction and its subtle destruction and begin to know true victory in Christ.

  4. While common, its unbiblical, unhelpful and (often) untruthful to guarantee to every spouse that nothing they could have done, nor could do, plays even the slightest role in pornography use. Such an assertion flies in the face of 1 Cor. 7 where the Lord (through Paul) makes it clear that spouses *do* have a responsibility to help one another avoid temptation through regular marital relations. One of the things good premarital counseling will make clear is that in getting married the husband is taking on the responsibility of his wife’s sexual fulfillment, and likewise the wife taking on that of her husband.

    Causes and excuses are to different things. So I am by NO means “excusing” pornography use. What I’m merely saying — echoing 1 Cor 7, for those willing to listen — is that sexual unfaithfulness *rarely* happens in a vacuum.  Yes, some spouses to turn to porn with a perfectly loving, willing, available spouse abandoned on the next room.  But this is by far the exception. And yes, some turn to such material for extreme things that cannot/should not take place in the marriage.  But for the rest (i.e., the vast majority) of the men I’ve counseled on this issue, marital relations are regularly withheld, de-prioritzed, controlled, and subject to a litany of “good behavior” requirements before sex (which has been reduced to a privilege or reward) is granted. This is abject sin requiring just as deep and sincere repentance as does the use of pornography.

    Jesus said, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come” (Luke 17:1 ESV) so it’s clear that the Lord holds the tempter responsible as well as the one who falls to it. Our Lord makes no excuses for either, and goes so far at to pronounce “woe” unto the the one who brings temptation upon another. Now, go re-read 1 Cor 7:5 and it’s clear that the sin of sexual denial is the vehicle of temptation which the Devil uses to further destroy the marriage. What the article about calls “setting the stage” for pornography use is, Biblically, in fact serious sin against the one-flesh relationship. (Historical note: Martin Luther deemed this so serious that he allowed for divorce in some cases of denial of conjugal rights, deeming the denier guilty of marital unfaithfulness.)

    Again — and too many of you will read over this — I’m not excusing pornography use. I’m merely pointing out the Scripture, reality, and common sense stand in opposition to the idea that the offended spouse *never* ever has even the slightest role or responsibility.

  5. Phil,
    I appreciate your use of 1 Corinthians 7 as well as your understanding that clearly the person who is suffering from the addiction at some point made a conscious decision.  However pornography is an addiction, not unlike cocaine.  A wife’s willingness to satisfy her husband sexually is rarely the answer to  his gaining victory over the addiction.  It is not unusual for the husband to have less desire for his wife, which ironically can be a warning sign for the wife.

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