When His Life is Out of Control

When His Life is Out of Control

TheJoyFilledWife and her husband went through some difficult times in their marriage. Her husband was deeply addicted to pornography and it was devastating to her. Often, addictions, such as this, make those who are addicted mean and controlling. During this time, her husband agreed to see a counselor with her and this counselor turned out to be amazing. It’s almost impossible to find one who will teach the hard truths to the husband and the wife but the one they found did. Here are some things she wrote to me about her counselor and what she learned.

You couldn’t be more correct that counselors, like the one we had, are very rare indeed. In fact, my husband and I saw several counselors before we came to the one that the Lord used mightily. They are a gift from God and I never took that for granted for a second.

Truth be told, our counselors were introduced to us through an association that we keep. I would love to share more about them, but that would make it impossible for me to keep my identity anonymous. I may ask them if they recommend any resources for people who are in need of some truly Godly counsel.

One bit of material my husband and I went through individually is the workbook “The Mind of Christ” by T.W. Hunt. I warn you – it is not for the faint of heart! Much like “The Excellent Wife” book, it will challenge you to your core. It will turn you inside out and expose all the sins inside of your heart that you thought weren’t even that big of a deal. Even if your spouse refuses to seek counsel, I recommend that you do this workbook on your own if you want the Lord to do a mighty work in your heart.

The workbook is not easy to find. I had to search on Amazon in the used section to get it. Sometimes it’s available and sometimes it’s not. It will blow your mind and could even overwhelm you, if you don’t seek the Lord’s guidance as you go through it. Ask the Lord to work through each sin in your heart one by one. I couldn’t recommend this enough to the believer who desperately wants a heart and mind transformation to become more like Christ.

My counselor explained to me that my husband felt like his life was out of control and that my rebelling against his unreasonable micromanaging would serve no purpose but to feed the desire to control more. They emphasized the importance of me always checking my heart and that I needed to remain as “behind the scenes” in my habits that angered him as much as possible. If I insisted on putting up a fight, even though he was unreasonable, it would only serve to drive him further away out of feeling like he also was losing his authority in his marriage. I decided to keep snacks in my bathroom drawer and my purse so I could take a few bites while I went out to get the mail or was in the other room. Was he unreasonable to become upset about me eating a slice of bread four hours after my last meal? Yes. But my counselor helped me see that I needed to avoid being a distraction as God worked on my husband’s heart. My husband apologized to me later that night for being controlling about the bread.

Because my husband’s addiction caused him to become a man he wasn’t proud of, he would often take his inner frustrations with himself and project them verbally onto me. He would blame me for things I had no part in, would become angry that I didn’t meet an expectation he had failed to communicate to me, and, on one occasion, belittled me in front of our guests for not having dinner completely ready when he walked through the door with them, even though he had failed to call me and let me know they were heading over, as agreed upon.

My counselor explained to me that my husband was projecting his feelings of failure and inadequacy onto me because he was not happy with himself and the choices he was making. Pornography addictions are built upon a foundation of selfishness and it was easier for my husband to shift blame than to own up to his own failures, when he already was overwhelmed by the shame of his failure to resist his sinful addiction for so long. The counselor guided me to not respond to my husband in front of others or to fight with him when he lashed out at me. Instead, I was to calmly and firmly explain to him, privately, that I was not responsible for the failure he was angry about and how it made me feel when he belittled me in front of others. After that, I was not to carry on or get into an argument, no matter how much he wanted to fight. The counselor warned me to keep my heart and spirit in the right place in these situations, so the devil would not gain a foothold with me and perpetuate the situation further. I was to be an instrument of peace. Not a doormat to walk all over, but a wife with inner strength that uses her tongue to impart peace amidst the war within my husband’s heart.

My husband was very unhelpful with our children during the time of beginning to overcome his addiction and would gripe if I asked him for even a small favor. I did not ask him often, but there were times when I was incapable of accomplishing two things at once and he would refuse to help out. My counselor showed me that taking care of the children was my God-given responsibility and that I could show my husband respect and build him up as a husband by taking on all of the responsibilities in this area and thanking him for how hard he works to provide for us.

I’ll never forget the counselor’s first words to me when I asked what I should do when my husband refuses to help: “Don’t fight a battle that’s not worth dying for!” Those words rang over and over again in my head. God had bigger things to work on in my husband’s heart than unhelpfulness. I did not need to dwell on the smaller things and make them as big a priority as the serious stuff. The small stuff would be ironed out over time after the Lord refined my husband and helped him break the chains of his addiction. We are currently at the place where God is working on the medium to small things now and it has been such a blessing to come home now from running errands to children that have been bathed and put to bed!

During the progression and height of my husband’s addiction, I was denied sexually almost every single time I asked. There was always an excuse made why he couldn’t do it. Usually he would say that he was too tired or in a bad mood, even though he would stay up for hours afterward doing other things. I tried not to nag him about this, but did come to him several different times and let him know that I was struggling greatly with temptation from lack of intimacy in our marriage. He would simply respond, “Maybe in the morning.”

My counselor explained to me that, while my husband was clearly sinning by defrauding me, the selfishness that comes from porn addictions, as well as the fact that he was already meeting his sexual needs through that outlet, was responsible for his sin in refusing me. He had trained his mind to mentally “dispose” of images that no longer excited him in search of a more exciting image. When you train your brain to become aroused by two dimensional images, it’s a lot harder to be interested in your real life relationship with your wife. It had nothing to do with my value as a person or my physical attractiveness, but he literally trained his brain to seek arousal and fulfillment from things that will never satisfy.

When he had just met his own sexual desires in sinful ways, he no longer felt a need for intimacy with me. As hard as it was to do, my counselor told me that when I felt temptation coming on, to go into the other room after my husband falls asleep and work out as hard as I can to release excess energy. Once I finished that, I should spend time in the Word and in prayer for myself and my husband. I needed to memorize Scripture and inundate my mind with the Truth. That was the only way to resist the enemy.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

*You can read more of TheJoyFilledWife’s posts HERE.

21 thoughts on “When His Life is Out of Control

  1. I’m so sorry that happened to her! What a horrible situation but glad it’s becoming resolved. I agree with the therapist in that he is projecting his feelings of failure on her, and i hope she can take comfort in that it’s truly not about her being a bad wife, but about his own insecurities. I’m glad they could keep their marriage together as many with such a heavy strain would have divorced long ago! Being honest, I don’t know if I could tolerate that sort of dynamic for very long unless he knew he had to change. I agree too, she should not just be a doormat, but also not make him feel even more insecure to lash out even more! Talk with him honestly in private about it, as no one likes to see their flaws brought out in public, as she did not like being chastised and belittled in front of the guests. She handled it well, not letting him off the hook for embarrassing her, but not humiliating him either and starting a huge fight.

  2. I miss JoyFilledWife comments here. She was such a blessing. Pornography is a marriage destroyer and it is devastating when wives discover their husbands having been viewing it.

  3. She won him without a word by living in subjection to him with godly behavior. They have a wonderful marriage now! I always encourage women in these types of marriages to read and study 1 Peter 2. We must be eternity-minded and not earthly-minded. We must store our treasures in heaven and not upon this earth.

  4. I do, too, Regina, but she has a full and busy life now! I still keep in contact with her from time to time and love to get her wisdom on some things. She is definitely a wise woman!

  5. WOW! Great post the Joyfilled Wife! Thank you for sharing your struggles of life with us that may be used to grow us all up in how we respond to adversity in our lives. I hope that you and your husband are still doing great and marching along God’s ways. Most of us at some time or another in life with struggle with one or many significant addictions.

    It is the power of Christ who lives in us, and our focus on Him, that can save the addicted and the spouse married to one. This life is but a small blip on the radar of eternity. May we always live with eternity in our minds and hearts. “Christ in you the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27).

  6. Wow. I’m so glad they found a good counselor. That’s such a blessing and it’s not so easy. Before my husband and I got married, I had some things from my childhood that I needed to settle in me. I went thru’ insurance, got some names, & started making phone calls. My first question was, “Are you an active Christian?” You cannot believe (or maybe you can!) how many of them got near hostile with this question! Then they’d tell me that it didn’t matter, it wasn’t an issue. I’d thank them for their time and hang up. One of them wanted me to explain why that was an issue. I told him that I needed psychological and spiritual healing and a non-Christian probably wouldn’t help me. He actually told me that was the stupidest thing he ever heard. It took me near the entire list before I found Mr. Right Counselor and he was a peach. I knew within the first minute he was perfect, when he said, “Would you like to pray first?”

    As for the porn issue, my friend works in the medical field with teen psych patients. She said young men are so addicted to porn now that some are nearly unarousable with regular women. They need Viagra at 20. What a sad state of affairs. She’s read articles in medical journals that say the same thing.

  7. I’ve already said it once, but since this post is being reused I’ll say it again. First let me say I don’t want to discount the porn problem. It is very real, alive and well. I saw it first hand in bible college. The number of pastors in bondage to porn was astounding.

    That being said, I think there are a number of men who are angry for a very different reason. As a man currently married to an empowered, modern woman I am pissed off for being trapped by her. I married too young for the wrong reasons and am now stuck. I burried my feeling for many years and allowed her to run my life. I have finally reached my breaking point, but am stuck. Matthew 19 amongst other verses are very clear how God views divorce, and I now realize I shouldn’t have married at all. But what do you do? What can you do? She has no interest in yielding her power that i relinquished to her years ago. And I’m not alone. The number of eunuchs running around that have been castrated by their wives is frightening in church. I look in the mirror and hate my life. I look around and see fellow man servants who have to jump when told by their wives. I bust my tail at work to provide for my family and I have to answer to her for an expense that she feels is unnecessary, but she can go out with her friends for dinner cartblanche? I counsel anyone looking at marriage to run the other way, no questions asked. Nothing good can come from it. Things in my life are so backwards and upside down I don’t know how to get my dress off and find my pants.

    So please think twice before you think you know why a man is angry. He may be in a dead end job that he hates, providing for a family he can’t stand for a miserable wife that doesn’t respect him. After a while, eternal sleep begins to look very appealing.

  8. What if your husband treats you like this and it’s not from porn. At least I hope not. What should one do? Because he is a miserable person and hates his job .

  9. Hi Lori,

    What do mothers tell their children in times like these? Older children will know something is going on, even younger children pick up on a fathers harsh tones. Winning her husband without a word is admirable, but what about sons that are watching their father and don’t see the behind the scenes and think that behavior is okay? Or daughters that might think that is how Godly men should act? Or children that try to comfort their mama because they recognize the cruelty of their father? I would be interested to know a Christian counselors advice for what the mother should explain to her children who are observing everything.

  10. What an incredible testimony TheJoyfled Wife has! God bless her for how she responded. Satan wants to utterly destroy marriages and families and will do anything he is able to get in the home. I pray this marriage continues to heal and grow in love for each other and the Lord. Thanks for sharing?

  11. I am sorry what you are going through, Scott, and I know your situation is not uncommon. With all the verses in Proverbs about contentious wives and that a woman has the power to tear down her home with her own hands, I know it’s way too common but TheJoyFilledWife is not this way at all. She is a godly, submissive wife and won her husband according to 1 Peter 3:1-6. All women are NOT like your wife. There are godly, good wives who live to please their husbands but still have husbands who are disobedient to the Word of God. This is who this post is directed towards. It isn’t exploring all of the reasons husbands are angry. It’s a personal testimony to the powerful ways of God.

  12. They will be modeled an example of 1 Peter 3:1-6, Kate. They will be modeled a godly mother in spite of an ungodly father. As she lives with her husband, she is sanctifying her husband and children according to God’s Word. Jesus is living in their midst because he is living in her.

  13. Thank you Lori. But there should be no concrete conversation with the children about “why daddy is acting this way/ treating mommy this way”? Children are curious and teenagers might be alarmed or confused…. I am remembering my own fathers cruel ways. My mother was always submissive but it caused a lot of issues for me because I assumed that’s how all men acted and what my future marriage would be like, which saddened me to no end and made me fear marriage. Two of my brothers began talking back to my mother and repeating the untrue things my father said to her. It was so heartbreaking to see them tear her down while my father approved. Eventually I had to tell them what was going on, but if they had been that same age with no older sibling, they would have continued in their ways of mimicking my father and acting cruelly to my mother.

  14. I think it would be wise for the mother and children to be consistently praying for the father of the home. She would be setting a great example of not speaking poorly about him but giving it daily to the Lord so the children would in turn learn to bring their requests to the Lord concerning other people and watch how He works in their lives.

  15. Phil’s wife Kay from Duck Dunasty had to endure this. She told her children that the mean man was not who their father was. His real self was being obscured. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t remember exactly but if you’re curious you can look up how another Godly woman won her husband without a word.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story, The Joyfilled Wife. It has helped me far more than you will ever know.

    Although my husband’s addiction is not pornography, the battles you faced are very, very similar to battles I am facing, due to my husband’s addiction.

    My husband wins his battle for a while, then he loses it again, so the controlling and the anger and the unreasonableness come and go. I am not as good at dealing with it as you are, and for, me, I don’t have anyone who understands. People look on my life and my marriage and tell me to leave him, that I don’t deserve to be treated like that and I don’t have to put up with it. But because I love my husband, and don’t want to leave him (although we have been separated in the past), their comments are not very helpful.

    I am going to follow the link to more of your posts and see what other encouragement and help I can find.

    It is such a relief to find someone who understands and can offer help.

  17. Kate – Lori once posted a link to something Michael Pearl wrote that explained very well what a wife and mother can say to her children. It was in relation to a husband not providing for his family I think, but Michael Pearl’s advice there would work well for this situation too, I think.

    I’ve found it helpful in my situation, anyway.

  18. Thank you for sharing this wise and godly information. I needed to hear it to remind myself that I am not responsible for or in charge of changing my husband’s choices. My spouse is struggling with an addiction, not to porn or alcohol, but to food. It is hard to remain silent as I watch him overeat and continue to gain weight and damage his health. I have learned from years of experience that any attempt to encourage him to limit junk food, fast food, sweets, and soda only makes him more determined to continue on this path and show me that I cannot control his behavior. It is very hard to watch him struggle with extreme morbid obesity. He gets out of breath while walking for a short time, avoids taking the stairs (even a single flight), and spends most of his day sitting at work and at home. He has developed some serious health issues that are only growing worse as he gets older. Even his doctor’s warning that he needs to do something to help himself or face early death has not been enough to motivate change. And yes, I get a lot of blame for his condition. He goes out to eat several times per day because “I don’t cook right” (that is, I cook 3 meals per day but I make healthy meals that cannot compete with the highly flavored, high fat meals he gets at fast food restaurants). All I can do is keep praying that he will be able to find a better path and save himself from disability and disease.

  19. Kande, please check out the Keto diet. I was very much like your husband. 315+ pounds, miserable and unable to control myself around food. No diet ever worked and they all made me miserable until 3 years ago when I found Keto. It is pretty popular now but while on it I’ve lost 100 lbs and have maintained that weight for two years. Keto is a high fat low carb diet and the things you eat are great.

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