by Amy Allen
from "A Redeemed Marriage" http://www.aredeemedmarriage.com
(Ninth in Amy's series on sexual addiction)
“I like being on your team.” My friend's husband beamed as he spoke to her. They had just spent the day tag-teaming as care takers for their ill child while they each finished work they needed to do from home. Yet just a few years ago they had been separated for 18 months after discovering his deep-rooted sexual addiction. “I had prayed for a better marriage, but had no idea that God could make it this good after it was nearly destroyed,” my friend confided in me.
A marriage is about being a team not individuals with their own agendas. God says a husband and wife have been made into one flesh. If we take God seriously then we must approach our marriage in this way: as a team.
I have come to understand that my husband's sexual addiction is not just his problem, it's our problem. Since I am on the same team as my husband, I need to do my part to help him overcome this sin not by controlling him, but by serving by his side. I realize we have the same enemy: satan, who is hell-bent on destroying our marriage and will do anything it takes to accomplish his evil plan. But God tells us we are more than conquerors over everything that seeks to destroy us and our relationship with Christ. Here are four practical ways God has shown me how this works in our marriage.
- Overcome problems together. Pretend to put your problem on a table. You and your husband sit on opposite sides. You each see the problem from your perspective. You may start arguing because you can't see the other's point of view. OK, now stop. Move to the other side of the table, put your arm around your spouse (or hold hands), and face the problem together. Now that you are on the same side you can deal with your problem as a team.
- Pray together. God tells us where two or more are gathered in His name, He is right there with them. Pray together over the situation. Humbly ask God for His wisdom to help you get through this as a team. If your spouse won't pray with you, then you can still pray for them constantly. You can put your hands on them and pray for them while they sleep. Pray they will be delivered from the sins keeping them in bondage. Also, pray God will show you what your role is and changes you may need to make in your own life.
- Discuss and help minimize temptations. After my husband and I had reconciled, there were still things we needed to do to help him avoid temptations. I did not make demands, however, he asked me to put a password on our computer so that I had to be the one to log him on. It was a measure of protection so he didn't have access to the internet 24 hours a day. Plus, I had to be in the house when he was on it. My husband, Tim, told me he was tempted by scantily dressed women at a friend's birthday party. Now we take more care as to what parties we attend. If there will be temptation for Tim, we don't go. When I am trying to lose weight I wouldn't appreciate Tim eating ice cream right in front of me. In the same way, I try to think about how he may be tempted.
- Confess your weaknesses to each other. The beauty of being part of a team is each member has unique strengths and weaknesses. You've heard that opposites attract? I believe this was all part of God's divine plan. Where one is weak, the other is strong and vice-versa. Since you are on the same team, learn how to help strengthen the other person's weak area without feeling superior to them. Be humble enough to let them help you as well.
If you think about it, even God Himself is in a team relationship: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. If we look at our own marriages as a team effort, with God at the center, there is no way we can lose!
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” - Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
Father, I pray for marriages that are struggling, especially in the area of sexual addiction. Help them see themselves as a team. Help them realize that you put them together for a reason and You want them to fight for their marriage together. With You at the head, they can succeed. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Links in this Series by Amy Allen:
First: When You First Discover Infidelity
Second: How to Find Strength When Your Husband is Weak
Third: Your Cheating Spouse: You Can't Fix Them, Spy On Them, Or Force Them to Stop
Fourth: How to Find Trust After the Affair
Fifth: No Quick Fixes for a Crumbling Marriage
Sixth: Finding Your True Worth When You've Been Betrayed
Seventh: Are You Enabling Your Spouse's Sin?
Eighth: The Best Tool for Restoring Relationships
Ninth: How to Build Teamwork in a Restored Marriage
Tenth: Restoring the Sexual Relationship in a Marriage
About Author, Amy Allen: When my husband's internet pornography addiction led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes, I filed for divorce. But God used what seemed hopeless to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. You can watch our testimony on The 700 Club (www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx) or visit our website at http://www.aredeemedmarriage.com/. There truly is hope and healing for your marriage when you allow Jesus to redeem it! Tim and Amy Allen