“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”—James 5:16 (AMP)
Recently, I was in a counseling session with a wife whose marriage is in trouble. Two points really intrigued me as I listened. One, although divorce is on the table, she is adamant that God told her to marry her husband. I mean, *adamant*. My reply? If, no *since*, God told her that, *her filing for divorce* doesn’t seem like an option. I’m not sure why or how God could tell someone to marry a person and then recommend that same person to break covenant. Especially since divorce is not something he’s very fond of (although more and more it seems like that is something that *even believers* are not too happy about-Malachi 2:16). She did admit that she didn’t seek God (Matthew 7:7-8) on the timing and as my Mama says, “The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.” Words to live by.
However, it’s the second point that is the motivation for this week’s blog. As she was sharing (and venting) about all of the things that her husband does wrong, I was listening to her *tone of voice*. Even as a woman who shares in what it’s like to be emotional at times, *I was worn out*. It didn’t feel like she was talking about a *grown man* or that she was being a wife. It was more like he was a young boy and she was his *mother*.
I shared with her an exercise that I have done in times past with the teen mothers that I work with. If you have, say, a six-month-old child on your lap and you’re whispering or saying in a mellow voice, while smiling, “You know, I just hate you. You get on my nerves”, around 9 times out of 10, the baby will still smile, laugh…coo. Oh, but at full voice or with anger in your tone state, “I love you. Don’t you know that?”, there’s a great chance that, at best, you will startle the child. At worst, you will bring him to tears. No wonder the Word says to *speak truth in love* (Ephesians 4:15). It’s not just about the message. *But the delivery*.
I thought about that, even more, when I read an article entitled, “Sex Rehab Doesn’t Heal All Wounds“. It was talking about how, in spite of the apparent effort that married actors, David Duchovny and Tea Leoni put into trying to make their marriage work, even in the midst of addressing Mr. Duchovny’s sex addiction, they are splitting up. Rob Weiss, the founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute, was interviewed on ABC about what potentially went wrong (although we all know that no one knows like the two people involved). Here is an excerpt of what he had to say:
“Either the person who has the addiction hasn’t stopped or hasn’t fully embraced recovery, or the spouse hasn’t been able to get past their own anger and hurt even though the person in treatment is working very hard.” He adds, “The greatest stressor that comes up with these couples is not when they first find out. It’s if the spouse doesn’t join him or her in treatment and they get into these stuck places where the spouse’s role is to blame and shame.”
I found it interesting that the author of this article this insight up with, “Weiss also notes that Duchovny basically playing himself in a show with ‘fornication’ in the title probably didn’t help matters. But what stands out about this divorce news is the fact that sex rehab — often a last-ditch effort to save a reputation — may not salvage a marriage.”
Yeah. I’ve never seen the show, but I’m aware of it. Honestly, I was kinda wondering that as well. I know for me to stay clean *drastic measures* had (and in some ways, still do have) to be taken. I know I couldn’t do it.
Anyway, the part that I really want to hone in on is the part that is underlined. Now, I work with several married couples, yet I’m not married and so a part of this is more like a question. When a spouse finds out that their covenant partner is dealing with some form of a sexual addiction, especially within the Church, *how many do go into treatment as well*? There’s Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics and I am aware that there are support groups for wives (for instance) whose husbands are battling with certain forms of sexual brokenness (such as “Partners for Purity“). Yet, I’m curious to know, upon, say, hearing a confession of a spouse who watches porn or has had an affair, how many husbands and wives who are the “victims” (cause honestly, sexual addiction victimizes *all parties involved*) make it a point to get help…themselves? Not just a place to *vent* but wise counsel to *heal*. Indeed, “plans are established by counsel” (Proverbs 20:18).
Which caused me to revisit James 5:16. The two sentences work hand-in-hand. When someone who hurts us confesses, how quickly are we to take *the power of prayer* seriously? Being that the Word, which is God (John 1:1), tells us that some things *only come by prayer and fasting* (Matthew 17:20-22), in addressing *demonic activity*, how often do we resort, rather than to incessant venting, to fasting? For insight. For discernment. For clarity. For a *godly resolve*?
This is what I encouraged the wife to ponder (Proverbs 4:26) in our last meeting. If you are a wife reading this, please believe that the Liar (John 8:44) is *fully aware* of the power that God gave you in *appointing you* to be a helpmate (Genesis 2:18), which, as I have shared before, in the Hebrew, loosely translates into “LIFESAVER”. *Helpmates in many ways assist in saving lives*. That can be *messy work*. I Peter 3:1-2 (NCV) says:
“In the same way, you wives should yield to your husbands. Then, if some husbands do not obey God’s teaching, they will be persuaded to believe without anyone’s saying a word to them. They will be persuaded by the way their wives live. Your husbands will see the pure lives you live with your respect for God.”
Honestly, I think I’m just now *really* noticing that last line. Counteract *impurity* with *purity*. Wow. Just wow.
No, I’m not justifying. No, I’m not defending. I’m just giving something for us to think about. Or think about some more. The Liar is a sheisty. Sometimes we’re so focused on the problem that we don’t empower the solutions. A righteous prayer has *a lot of power*. There is wisdom in seeking out counsel. And a pure life lived, out of respect for God, even in the midst of someone disrespecting us, is honorable. The Lord rewards such diligence. The Bible tells us so (Hebrews 11:6).
I’m open to hearing other perspectives. Feel free.
In the meantime, know that we’re over here. Praying.
For the addict. And the one(s) that love them.
Cause prayer? It has power.