By Lisa and Deearn
One of the most painful and confusing aspects of having a husband with a sexual addiction is the stinkin’ thinkin’ we’re constantly presented with. “Stinkin’ thinkin’” is a term used in addiction circles to describe the kinds of delusional “logic” addicts come up with in order to continue on in their addiction.
In Beyond Betrayal I devout a whole chapter to the minimizing, rationalizing, justifying and blaming that are all too often heard coming out of the mouths of sex addicts. For the next couple of weeks I’d like to dig a bit deeper into the issue of blaming.
Firstly, I want to be clear that this isn’t an addict bashing series. While my first aim is to arm traumatised women with the tools they need to survive stinkin’ thinkin’ – I’m also sharing what I’ve seen in the hopes that some of the addicts will get a clearer sense of why they sometimes take on stinkin’ thinkin’. Armed with that knowledge, they are also in a better place to heal.
It’s My Fault… for not Being His "Personal Prostitute?"
A few years back Ashley Madison ran an ad that began with a man lying in bed next to his wife. She is shown as heavy-set and snoring. The man sneaks away down the stairs, while the announcer states: “Most of us can recover from a one-night-stand with the wrong woman, but not when it’s every night for the rest of our lives.”
One of the lies of porn and sex addiction is that “I (the man) deserve a personal prostitute for a wife.” What do I mean by a personal prostitute? A woman who:
- Looks like a porn star every moment of every day
- Never does anything “un-sexy” (snoring, going to the bathroom, menstruating)
- Has no personal needs
- Exists to serve her husband
- Is free
In other words porn teaches men that they deserve a woman who is not human, is at his disposal and is completely disposable when he’s done with her.
When a man spends hours of his life looking at porn, etc., he will in time develop a belief track (more on this next week) that this is the best possible relationship to be in with a woman.
Lies Women Believe
And it’s not just men who can end up thinking this way. In one of the most comprehensive studies on porn use ever conducted, researchers found that after being exposed to softcore sexual material, both men and women were significantly less happy with their partner’s looks, willingness to try new sex acts, and sexual performance.
Moreover, who amongst us hasn’t bought into the lie that we need to “be his porn?” Who hasn’t believed (even just a little) that we need to be sexy in order to “keep him at home”?
Of course, when we buy that lie… we’re actually taking the blame when his addiction takes him elsewhere.
So what is God’s truth here?
I spent two years, just me and God, before I met my husband and in that time I worked through some hard stuff to repair the damage of past hurts from men who didn't know God. I truly believed that it was such a blessing to now be inside of God’s protection, never to be hurt by a "worldly" man ever again. But within a few moments of my new (“godly”) husband’s disclosure, this belief was stripped from me, like flesh from the bone: leaving me bare and bleeding.
In the next few weeks, I spent a lot of time on my face before God. Most questions only fell out as tears. But there was one question that really troubled me: “How do I match up? How will I ever be what my husband desires? After all, he desires everyone!”
And God, in all His beautiful kindness and mercy, gave me a revelation to help me lift my head after all of the painful blows.
He showed me that my own sexual behavior fed into my husband’s problem. I needed affection, I wanted to be loved and wanted. I wanted to be desired, and so I lured my husband. I would wear things and do things that I knew would get his attention because that's the only way I received love (however counterfeit) from my husband.
I felt God answer: “If you put on lace, lipstick, anything with the intention of drawing your husband in and then satisfying his flesh, so can another woman, another picture, another fantasy, another look. If you are all things lovely, kind and gentle, having sex "purely," so can another do this for him. It is "love" that can be replicated, it is not unique to your marriage.
But it is Christ's Spirit flowing into your life and into your husband’s life as you continue to grow in Me, that will become the drawing into an intimacy that will never be replicated by another. This will not change with age, appearance or any other thing in life.”
And if either of us desires to step out of that into the counterfeit, the difference will be clearly unsatisfying to every dimension of who we are.
Princess not Prostitute
My fear was always that my husband would find another to satisfy his needs, and the truth is, he did. The "love" I provided for my husband was easily replicated, even though this is what the world tells us about "satisfying your man." But we are not made for this world, and God wants fullness of worth and beauty for us, with every dimension of intimacy active inside of the relationship we are in. Not a replica, but 100% genuine intimacy, fit for the royalty we are.
What we are comparing ourselves to is a counterfeit, when we really are the jewel in our husband’s crown. Whether he is currently at the point where he is drawn by the Spirit or not doesn’t matter. That doesn’t dictate our worth.
I still find it difficult to remember this truth when I am being bashed by the lie my husband chooses to run to. But I just want to share with you what God said very clearly to me one day, "You are not a prostitute, you are a princess." We don't have to behave like an imposter when we are the real deal.