In Beyond Betrayal I quote counsellor, and recovered sex addict, Charles Finck as saying,
When you're dealing with sex addiction, you're always looking at a spiritual issue as well. Sex addiction opens up the person wide enough for Satan to drive a Mac truck in and start unloading.
Throughout the chapter, Our Battle, I detail some of mine and my husband's spiritual warfare experiences from our early years of recovery. If you've read this section, hopefully you'll have caught that a lot of what we were doing was guesswork... however, the end result was some very important healing in both of us. I also quote some of the respondents to the 2014/2015 Survey of Wives of Sex Addicts saying they felt convinced their husband was in some way demonized.
In the four and half years since writing and releasing Beyond Betrayal, I've continued to hear more stories from wives that there is something spiritually "fishy" about their SA or sex offender husband and it's affecting the entire family. Stories I have heard—some from women whose Christian denomination doesn't talk much about this issue—include:
- The wife feeling unaccountably (pre-discovery) suicidal and then "seeing" what appeared to be blood pouring off her
- The wife having psychotic episodes including unseen voices talking to her
- Women seeing something in their husbands' eyes that they described as "pure evil" or "pure hatred" and demonic
- The wife witnessing her husband demonstrate supernatural power (i.e., able to see through a wall of a house)
- Wives with husbands who fall asleep at inappropriate and unnatural times (especially church, bible study, intimate conversations)
- Wives of porn addicts (a large number in a particular church) who had early pregnancy miscarriages (this anecdote isn't meant to imply that this is the sole or even a major reason for miscarriage, read more on this particular, unusual story below)
Why is it necessarily spiritual?
Like Marcus Warner, author of Deeper Walk International's spiritual warfare course (including this free pdf), I believe there can be, and often are, answers in the natural for much of the above. However, in each of the cases I mentioned, doing spiritual warfare stopped or changed the situation (it didn't bring back the lost babies, but I was told the miscarriage epidemic in this church stopped after the mass confession and repentance of the men who were confronted by a travelling evangelist who knew nothing of their stories and for whom this was not a normal part of his preaching).
That said, Warner points out that we often expend huge time and effort exhausting every possible solution in the natural before we try the frequently less exhausting spiritual solutions. So why might we want to consider seeking a spiritual solution to some of the problems in our lives? As Warner explains sin (including our husband's) gives the Enemy a foothold and:
"A foothold gives Satan a legal right to a place in our lives that can serve as a beachhead for a more penetrating invasion. The word foothold comes from Ephesians 4:26-27. It refers to the legal ground we give to the devil through unresolved sin."
Warner goes on to list seven major categories of sin that can give the Enemy a foothold. He puts porn use in the category of idolatry (for more on this read Unmasked by Jim Anderson) stating, Pornography is a type of goddess worship. It is asking the goddess to give you the “good” thing that will satisfy your desires. Porn, along with other SA-related sin and sexual betrayal also qualify for inclusion in the "sexual sin" and possibly "habitual sin" categories.
A lot of spiritual warfare ministry is about discovering what has given demons permission to do what they are doing, and then removing that permission. It is the legal work of recognizing and removing the enemy’s rights.
The Holy Spirit's guidance is needed to determine what is giving the Enemy permission. Sometimes this is a divine revelation, sometimes more natural. For example, since all of us in this community are already aware of a pattern of sins in our husbands (sexual sin, lying, hiding, etc.), we know there's something we could do some spiritual warfare praying about... though I still prefer to ask God's permission (possibly with a "would you please give me a sign in the next couple of days if this is something that is not safe for me to be doing").
After that, it's good to involve our husband (the guy who can personally repent of this stuff) if he is in a place where he wants involvement (note: there is no point involving him if he is demonstrating unrepentance).
Warner (in this free pdf) lists a five-step process for breaking free from sin-related demonic issues. These are repentance, forgiveness, breaking pacts, breaking soul ties, and building community.
In his PDF he gives some general guidance on each of these areas and ideas for prayers one can pray around them. While it may take a few hours to go through all the material, if that time results in increased freedom and healing, it will certainly have been time well spent.
Next week I'll continue this series with a look at what we can do if our husband "isn't on board" and also a look at what some common spiritual issues are for the betrayed wife... that may also be resulting in problems in our lives.