An excellent letter on a real issue and an excellent reply. I appreciate "CharlieBrown2292"'s comments the most; thank you. This is an issue that can effect husband or wife. When my wife got therapy for her childhood, and the full extent of her childhood was recalled, all intimacy in marriage was lost as she wanted nothing to do with it ever again. It's been 20 years, and I still have a strong libido. It has become a terrible wedge dividing us. I live with the feeling of betrayal and a complete loss of self-esteem, but she doesn't see a problem. I just hope God appreciates my faithfulness to His covenants.
If two married people want to have physical intimacy with each other, why are they being encouraged to violate the first commandment given to the first man and woman?
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,. .Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. . ” (Genesis 1:28, 2:24-25)
This is reinforced in the New Testament:
“2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)
The proposed solution to withhold sex contradicts scripture. It contradicts science. And it’s not what either partner wants.
So where did it come from?
When someone has an addiction to pornography long before they ever met their spouse it is extremely unfair and wrong to blame their spouse for their addiction.
I have several friends whose husbands have struggled with their porn and sex addictions throughout their marriages and now they are in their 40's and the men are not interested in sex with their spouses. They are staying in their marriages. And my friends are starving for sex. So glad you addressed this topic. It is real.
Add this woman's predicament to the long list of faithful LDS members who are expected to be celibate because of their certain circumstance/challenges in life.
And yet the only ones who we hear about ALL the time (that we are apparently supposed to be so sorry for are for having to have a standard of celibacy) are LGBT members....
While LGBT deserve our pity, SO DO a host of other members. Lets talk about them more often and stop making the issue facing LGBT not so focused on constantly. Or held out as being so distressing.
I could name you 5 situations in our extended family that require celibacy and none of them are LGBT.
We need to lessen the focus on that ONE segment of our LDS population--- they are no more important or challenged than MANY members who are faced with the same.
I will maintain that there is a serious error in paradigm putting betrayal related to porn to that of adultery in the same basket Many of our good men are nowadays finding themselves vulnerable to an incessant assault of porn through modern media, but still remain committed to their spouse and family. There was indeed a significant difference between King David committing the serious sin of adultery and that of murder. At any rate, it was a good thing that this good sister reminded us men that women do also care about sex, because we so easily fall under the wrong impression concerning this aspect of our relationship with them. I also liked Geoffrey Steurer's wise reminder that Daniel Jones, “did not pray that his circumstances would be changed. He prayed that he would be strengthened to deal with his circumstances.” because “the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens us to do things we could never do on our own.”
This, not unlike most destruction of marriages, is tragic. It is of considerable concern to me that there is no ownership on the part of the sister and that the responder does not place any ownerous on the sister. The real issue here is intimacy. What, if anything, did this sister contribute to the dysfunctionality of the marriage? What was the root of the addiction? Did the couple attend counseling together to ferret out the problems or was it just directed to the porn addiction? Perhaps reading, "And They Were Not Ashamed," by Brotherson would have, might still have, some light to shed on the issues.
The "bedroom" becomes the "battleground" for many of the unfulfilled desires inherent to marriage. Women can be as complicit as men in the destruction of relationships. Sex and Intimacy can be withheld by a woman to function as an "incentive" for the man to comply with her expectations. I am not stating that this is the case here because I do not know but I just had to get that "off of my chest."
Until the offended spouse, be it male or female, takes ownership of their personal "contributions" to the demise of the relationship and then works to eridicate those dysfunctionalities, the marriage will continue to erode (if it has not already been destroyed).
This is time for something so straightforward , honest and much needed. Thanks for such such understanding on this subject!
So glad you addressed this important topic!!
It's been 13 years since she discovered her husband's pornography "addiction". He spent a year in therapy, being treated as an addict. She has continued with therapy, continuing to treat him as an addict. And she laments that her marriage is near its end, a foregone conclusion.
Why has nobody in this tragic story just stopped, stepped back from what is going on, reassessed the situation, recognized that addiction therapy is not producing the desired outcome, and decided to take another approach? If the goal is to save the marriage, and the wife is acknowledging that it is "at its end", then why continue to do what isn't working? Why not try something else?
And why are we so insistent upon treating most pornography use as an addiction? The evidence is mounting that the addiction model is not a good fit for most pornography use. On the contrary, treating it as an addiction seems to be producing more harm than good.
The original question did not say whether the loss of sexual intimacy was the result of a self-imposed boundary, or the consequence of her husband's addiction that she has no control over. I almost get the impression that the difficulty she is having is because she is trying to follow a set of instructions about how she is "supposed" to respond.
I would be interested to hear whether Geoff believes it can be possible to heal a marriage where both partners want to recover from betrayal by moving toward each other sexually, rather than putting that part of the relationship on the back burner until other issues are fully resolved.
I realize that the question came from a woman, but this situation works both ways. There seems to be a general assumption that women are never unfaithful, which also goes along with the idea that women are naturally more spiritual than men, so any problem in a marriage has to be the fault of the man. It would be nice to see such articles from the point-of-view of the betrayed husband fo a change.
Thank you for addressing this issue!
Many people go through life in circumstances that preclude them from experiencing marital intimacy. Single people, widowed people, people whose spouses are lll. Why does it matter whether or not other people acknowledge this problem? What if they do acknowledge it? Does acknowledging it make it better? No. Does acknowledging it makes it easier to live with? Not really. This just sounds like a bunch of whining to me. I've been widowed. I've also been divorced from an unfaithful second husband. Do I want people to say to me, "I'm so sorry you can't have sex anymore. It must be rough"? Of course not. That would be weird and inappropriate. The takeaway is that many people silently struggle with burdens in their life. We can and should turn to the Lord for help, and do it in an adult, mature, spiritually powerful way. But we shouldn't expect everyone around us to acknowledge our private pains and struggles. The list of these is limitless. Better we should all just exercise compassion with everyone we encounter. Assume they have private struggles and treat them gently and kindly.
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