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Happily Even After | Dannah Gresh

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2023 1:00 am

Happily Even After | Dannah Gresh

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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April 8, 2023 1:00 am

When he told her the truth, he broke her heart. On this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author and speaker, Dannah Gresh reveals the darkest days of her marriage. What she hoped would be “happily-ever-after” became an intense storm. If you are dealing with some kind of addiction in your marriage, hear the hope in this story. Don’t miss Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: Happily Ever After: Let God Redeem Your Marriage

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Dr. Gary Chapman
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My husband didn't just have a sin problem. He didn't just have a moral problem. He had a physiological brain problem, and I made a vow in sickness and in health.

And so something about understanding that dopamine really gave me compassion to be able to enter into the problem, stop fighting with Bob and start fighting for him. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Is happily ever after a myth for your marriage? If you didn't ride off into the sunset after your honeymoon, join us today because the truth is marriage is hard.

Maybe you're in the place where you're feeling like this is the end. Bestselling author and speaker, Dana Gresh, gives help and hope for your marriage. A featured resource at is a book titled Happily Even After Let God Redeem Your Marriage.

Just go to the website Gary, you've counseled so many couples through the years. Is it true for just about every couple you've talked with that marriage is different from what they thought it was going to be? Well, I don't know about everyone. I know it was different for me, that's for sure.

No, I think, Chris, it's rather common. We all have these ideas that, you know, going to get married, it's going to be happy forever, it's going to be heaven. And because we're human and we have different ideas and we have different backgrounds, and yeah, I think for most people there's a struggle in those early years. And, you know, I've worked with so many couples through the years who've gone through that sort of thing. So I really do like this title, you know, Happy Even After the Bad Things Come.

So yeah, this is going to be a good discussion. Well, I guess today is Dana Gresh. She's a best-selling author, sought-after speaker. Her titles include In the Bride Wore White, Lies Young Women Believe, she wrote that along with Nancy DeMoss Wogamuth, Lies Girls Believe. She's the co-host of Revive Our Hearts, daily podcast for women and the founder of True Girl, which provides mom-daughter connection tools including the True Girl podcast. Our featured resource today is her new book, Happily Even After, Let God Redeem Your Marriage.

You can find out more at the website, Well, Dana, welcome back to Building Relationships. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me. I just love you.

We're delighted that you're with us today. Let me ask you what Chris was asking me, you know, did you have unrealistic expectations about marriage and what it was supposed to be like when you got married? Oh, yeah. In fact, if I'm honest, I think that still creeps in from time to time. I'm thinking of a time when recently when, well, not that recently, several years ago when Bob and I were still, I think, working through some of our stuff and we were on vacation. To be honest, it was so disappointing when a sunset dinner on a fancy rooftop restaurant just didn't work out. It started to sprinkle and the food was really terrible. We'd already had our appetizers, but we ended up leaving. God taught me something really big that night. First of all, I had put too much pressure on that dinner. I felt like I needed a win and I felt like that dinner was going to be the win, but it wasn't meant to be. But on our way back to the hotel room, we drove by this little vintage marquee sign that read Truck Stop, and it was a roadside pullover with a collection of food trucks parked in the dirt and dust. We ate under this wooden pavilion and then we wandered in the rain through the trees and we found these two worn out Adirondack chairs on the edge of the bay. We sat there, we watched the lightning, we listened to the thunder and who knew that we could find romance in the rain?

Well, God did. It wasn't the superficial kind built on happily ever after and sunset rooftop dinners, but the real and raw kind, the kind that you find in the dust and dirt of life. That night has become such a visual picture of what our marriage has been. We have found the romance and we have found the intimacy and we have found the healing, but it's hardly ever been the way we expected.

Yeah, I think that's true for most. Unfortunately, as you well know, there are some who never find the other side of the story, and that's why I think this book is going to be really helpful to them. There's a note to the reader at the beginning of your book that I'd like for you to comment on, and I'm quoting here. This book is for the woman who believes she is safe and hopes to rebuild trust and intimacy in her marriage after her husband has sinned.

Talk about why you put that at the beginning of the book. Well, that note really is, it was prayerfully thought through. It was vetted by lots of wise advisors who recognize that not every woman is safe. Now, I believe through Christ and the church holding the marriage accountable, that can be achieved.

But I wrote that there because if she doesn't feel safe, and if you don't feel safe as you're listening to this broadcast right now, you need to find someone in your church community that will help you and your husband work through that. I think submission is often a terribly misunderstood word. I love the word submission. The Bible loves the word submission, but I never want to contribute to some of the misuse of it. A marriage demonstrates biblical submission when both the husband and wife are dedicated to a cross-bearing submissive life. For the husband to be told by the apostle Paul, love your wife, this was like a confrontation of what was understood in that culture as automatic authority. The woman didn't have a lot of rights and privileges.

Children didn't have a lot of rights and privileges. But Paul was saying, love your wife. He was saying, lay your life down the way that Jesus laid his life down. That kind of love. In the context of that kind of love, a marriage can work through anything. My book and even this program might not be a lot of use if there's not a husband who's laying his life down. A lot of times when a husband is walking through sin, he's not laying his life down and you do need help. Well, you wrote this after a really difficult time in your own marriage with your husband, you and Bob. Tell us a little bit about what happened in your marriage.

Well, I should go back to my husband. He is such an amazing godly man. I was just in a discipleship group with some 20-something girls I disciple last night and we were talking about, are you Abraham? Are you Isaac? Or are you Jacob? And we were talking about, are we a person that walks with God in faith? Are we Isaac? You don't know a whole lot about him. He's this neutral character. Or are you Jacob?

You're a rebel. You fight with God. You wrestle with God a little bit, but you still love him.

These three girls just out of the blue said, Bob is an Abraham. We've never seen a man walk in faith like Bob. This is the man I'm talking about.

I'm talking about a man who the 20-something-year-old woman in his life looks at him and sees a faithful leader. But I say that to honor him because what I'm about to say is hard for me to say. There came a time when he came home. I was waiting to go to the county fair with him. And he came home and I was sitting in my red leather chair.

And he sat down in the red leather chair next to it. And he said, Dana, I have been trying to find my way back to God without breaking your heart. And I can't seem to do it without breaking your heart.

And then he did. He broke my heart into a million pieces as he shared that he had lost ground against what really for him has been a lifelong battle with lust and pornography, most of that time winning. But he had had a major relapse and couldn't figure it out without my heart being crushed in the process. Well, I think any woman who's ever heard that reality expressed from her husband can feel the pain and hurt even as you share that these years later. How prevalent do you think this problem of pornography or acting out some other sexual sin, how prevalent is that in Christian marriages? It's so sadly common.

Our marriage isn't very unusual in this respect. Josh McDowell just did a really bold undertaking in compiling a lot of data, thousands of pages of data on the problem of pornography in the church. And at the end of it, he came forward and said, you know, I really believe that the prevalence is mind boggling. And probably 67 percent of the men in the church could be considered, and this is his language, sex addicts. We're not talking about men who are casually using pornography. We're talking about men who can't stop. Now, maybe it's a monthly cycle. You know, it's not day in and day out. Or maybe it's every quarter they're just having a relapse and they just can't get out of the cycle. Or maybe it's a man who there are women listening right now whose husbands have escalated. Pornography was the gateway to meeting people online, to meeting people in person, to chat rooms and maybe even prostitution and, you know, sex clubs. Their hearts are deeply devastated because they're married to men who cannot stop.

They have lost control and they need help. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to hear a past program, take an assessment of your love language or see our featured resource today. Go to It's written by Dana Gresh and it's titled Happily Even After Let God Redeem Your Marriage.

Find out more at Dana, we were talking about pornography and the involvement, of course, that Bob had in that and your heart being broken when he shared that news. So I want to go back to that whole battle that so many men have with pornography. Why is it so hard for men to win the battle over that?

Is it that they don't want to win the battle or is there more at play in this? Well, I want to delve into a little bit of understanding of the clinical thing happening in a man's heart, mind, body, brain, because this helped me to develop compassion for my husband, which was lacking at the beginning of this journey. I was just mad.

I was so infuriated. How could you sin like this? So dopamine is a feel good chemical that all of us experience every single day. If I take a cup of coffee, a sip of coffee, I'm going to get this little hit of dopamine. If I eat a healthy breakfast, I'm going to get a bigger hit of dopamine. And that dopamine is a feel good chemical that sends a signal to our body that says, do that again.

That felt good. When I eat food, I might have like a 50 point peak in my dopamine levels, but within maybe 45 minutes, that dopamine peak drops and it disappears. It goes back to normal baseline. And then there are obviously horrible things like cocaine where you're going to get like a two or three hundred point rise and it might take two or three hours for that to go away.

And it might take five hours to go back and completely to baseline. Nothing sustains that dopamine hit like pornography. Nothing. Pornography, you're going to get about a two hundred, two hundred and fifty point rise in your dopamine with pornography. And five hours later, it hasn't dropped a bit. Not a bit.

None. So what I'm saying is we're dealing with a truly powerful chemical reaction in a man's brain when he experiences pornography. I think most of us would know if my husband was addicted to cocaine or heroin. He needs help, right?

Yes. Well, what I'm trying to tell you is he needs help. If you look at a brain scan, this would be a functional image scan of a man who is using heroin. It's almost like his brain looks like Swiss cheese, like there's holes in the function. That's how impaired his brain is.

Well, the only other brain that looks that way when you scan it, the Swiss cheese look is a porn brain. So understanding that and a lot of other factors. But that was one of the things that got me onto the into a place where I understood my husband didn't just have a sin problem. He didn't just have a moral problem. He had a physiological brain problem and I made a vow in sickness and in health.

And so something about understanding that dopamine really gave me compassion to be able to enter into the problem, stop fighting with Bob and start fighting for him. That's a powerful insight that I think most wives whose husbands are involved in porn don't understand. And that's why it's things like this that I think is going to help ladies process their own pain if they realize these factors.

But let me ask you this. Is there a difference for a wife now? Is there a difference if she finds her husband's involved in pornography or her husband is actually having an affair? Well, you know, my husband did not escalate to an affair, so it's hard for me to know for sure. I'm only answering from my own perspective here. But I do know that for a wife who's heard her husband's using pornography for the first time, you kind of think, oh, he's confessing or we're going to deal with this.

He got caught, but he's repentant. And there's not that severe trauma. I mean, not that it's not traumatizing.

It is. It's just deeply painful. But for a woman who's heard that over and over again, for a woman who this has been a 10, 20, 30 year battle, and that's what I'm hearing from women. The symptoms of her life look very much like PTSD, that she's experiencing inflammation in her body, brain fog, confusion, insecurity, a loss of appetite, excessive appetite, all the symptoms that we see in PTSD. Now, I'm not saying she's diagnosable, that she has a diagnosis of a syndrome of post-traumatic stress, but roughly 70% of wives of pornography addicts have some level of the symptoms of PTSD. But because it's not an affair, they're kind of thinking, I'm just making a big deal out of it, right? No, you're not.

This is as long as you're walking with the Lord, the Holy Spirit is never going to allow you to be content with anything other than complete sexual fidelity. And your body is trying to help your spirit and your mind verbalize that. Yeah, you say in the book that before Bob revealed this to you, you knew that something was off. You use that word, something was off. What was it you sensed?

And did you just push it down? Or how did you respond to that sense that something was off? Well, I was experiencing some of those symptoms. My brain was fogged up. I couldn't think straight. I wasn't even reading my Bible with clarity.

Of course, this was slowly gradual over that 18-month period of time. I was experiencing pain in my body to the point where I was seeing doctor after doctor. They were looking at things like lupus, really serious things that they just couldn't find anything. But I was unwell.

Now I understand now that I was experiencing the impact of my body reading cues that I was in denial of. For example, a woman might not want to confess, oh, my husband's not making eye contact with me. He's not as intimate with me. He's not communicating with me, or he's not coming home at night, or he's not around as much, or he's not having sex with me.

Why is that? What's happening there? And all of those symptoms are read by your spirit. And your spirit is saying, why aren't you doing anything about this?

Your body starts to manifest the ignoring of those symptoms, the ignoring of those cues. I was experiencing that very acutely. I didn't know what it was. I have a good understanding of it now, and I'm really able to help women through that. My husband saw it, and he noticed that, and I don't know, maybe there's a spiritual component to it as well.

I don't pretend to understand everything about God's laws and the spiritual world. But he was feeling like every time he acted out, I was sicker. Well, I think probably what was happening is every time he acted out, he wasn't making eye contact with me or was withdrawing from me physically, and my body was ramping up those symptoms. And so that became an important part of Bob's guilt and conviction. And it was ultimately a piece of what led him to say, I can't do this to my wife.

Even if I try to fix this on my own, I am obviously hurting her. And it brought him to a place of repentance. What was the low point for you in all of this, Dana?

It's funny. You'd think it was that day we were sitting in our red chairs and he confessed to me. That was definitely a low point. But I feel like any woman who's had that moment knows there's also shock. So you don't really feel at all right there and right then because I didn't even cry, I just kind of stood up and said, I think I need to go for a walk.

But weeks later, Bob was away at a clinic getting some clinical support and understanding of how he needed to heal and get better. And I was at a friend's house in Nashville. And on the way to the airport, I was listening to a Stephen Curtis Chapman song. I've never told this story.

This is very private. It's not even in the book. I was listening to a Stephen Curtis Chapman song on the radio, and it's a song called Glorious Unfolding. And in it, it says, you know, I know this isn't what the story of your life was supposed to look like, but you can still hold on to the promises of God. Every single one of the promises are true. And I snapped the radio off because I was angry. I thought, Lord, I've lived by your promises. And this is where I am. I've lived by your promises and this is where I am. And so I just said, God, if that is true, that song he just sang is true, will you prove it? Well, I cannot tell you what happened next.

You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you. But I parked my rental car, returned my rental car. I walked into the airport. I was a hot mess of a woman. I was crying because I was having this. This wasn't about me and Bob. This was about me and God.

Are your promises true? And so I fly all the time, but I couldn't push the buttons through the blur of my tears. I couldn't see them on the screen.

I couldn't see what I needed to do. And the woman at the checkout counter in front of me, she was checking a man in. She could see that I was upset and said, I'm going to be with you in just a minute.

Let me finish with him. Well, that man turned around. And it was Steven Curtis Chapman.

And he walked over to the kiosk and checked me into my flight, which happened to be the same flight he and his wife were on. I'm telling you, I walked to my gate that day and I was like, well, I guess the answer is yes, Lord. Your promises are true and I'm going to trust them. Even though I can't see, even though I'm blinded by tears and pain, I'm going to trust what's in your word.

Now that's an amazing story that God's answer would be so graphic as to put Steven Curtis Chapman there, having just heard that song. Wow. Was there ever a point in all of this that you felt like just giving up on your marriage?

Nope. I just had the coolest revelation as we've been working on sharing our story. Bob and I got back in those red chairs.

We interviewed all of our marriage coaches and counselors through the years and there have been a handful of them. And we asked one of them, Mike Bivens, what did we do right? Because I know he saw us do a lot of things wrong and he said, you guys had buckets of want to. Buckets of want to. And as Bob and I talked about that, that buckets of want to really was a core belief in the deepest part of our spirit that marriage is a sacred picture of Christ in the church. That was what our buckets of want to was. And so because of that core belief that marriage portrays something to the lost world about God and his love, we wanted to fight and we did fight together hard for our marriage. Was it that that really changed things? It started the change for you all. Well, you know what?

I tell you what really started the change because we believe that every day on the good days, on the bad days, what really started the change was Bob moving from, he would tell you this, weekly accountability, because this has been a lifelong battle, remember, to daily accountability. He cannot do it without checking in with godly men every day. And I think a lot of men, if they're really humble and honest about it, they can't either. Not in a sex-saturated world. It's seeking men out. Years ago, men had to go find it. They had to find a magazine or they had to find something in a dark place.

Now, every screen that they pick up, pornography is chasing them down. And they need to be in community with men. They need community. And I needed Christian community from sisters.

I needed close friends and I needed commiserating friends, friends who knew this battle and knew the pain. And we could talk about it openly and honestly. And that's something that I find a lot of couples aren't willing to get, that open, honest community. They think they're the exception.

I assure you, you're not. God created the faith. Our Christian faith is a social faith. God is a social being. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. He created us because He's social.

And everything about our walk with Him is social. Somebody led you to Jesus. Somebody discipled you in the faith. And somebody, a person, a godly man or woman, depending on if you are male or female, is going to be the one that walks you through this mess.

We were created and designed to function that way. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . We're talking with Dana Gresh about her book, Happily Even After Let God Redeem Your Marriage.

Go to to find out more. Well, Dana, before the break, you were making the point that we can't make it alone. If it's the guy who's struggling with pornography or the wife who is involved in pornography, we need people. Build on that a bit for us.

Yeah. You know, as I was launching this book, I started a three week private Facebook group with a real small group of women, a few hundred women, just to coach them through where they are in their journey. And I am so shocked that I can get on there and do a Facebook live and say, listen, the most important tool other than the presence of God in your life is godly Christian men and women who know you and who walk you through this. And the comments below will say, well, I talked to God about this and I feel like that's the only person I need to talk to. Or, well, my husband's a pastor, so I really can't talk to anybody. Or, well, my husband is telling me he doesn't give me permission to talk to someone. I'm telling you that when you give in to those thoughts, you are believing and cooperating with the lies of the enemy.

He wants you in isolation. Have you ever seen a lion hunt? The Bible says that Satan is like a roaring lion. He walks about and he is devouring those who he can. Who is he devouring? Well, a lion hunts the lone prey. He doesn't go after the herd.

He looks for the one that's isolated. And when you comply, whether your husband's a business leader or a pastor or an author, I mean, listen, do you think this is easy for Bob and I to talk about this? We've just seen too many couples suffer and in isolation and get devoured by the enemy. And if you allow that to continue to be the story in your life, the enemy will continue to devour your husband's mind, soul and spirit.

I'm inviting you. I'm encouraging you to say no to the isolation and yes to the community that God created you for, because that's where the victory is found. James 5 16 says, confess your sins one to another, and then you will be healed. You only have to confess your sins to God for forgiveness. But for healing, we have to confess our sins to one another. And that's what I'm inviting you to experience healing.

Tell someone. Yeah. So, Bob committed himself to be daily accountable to some men in his life every day. You were involved with other ladies in sharing this journey together. What was the most painful thing as you navigated through this whole recovery world or what other steps maybe did you take as well? Well, I'll tell you what was painful. Bob and I, because his journey had been one where, you know, he had really fought this for a long time, which is the story of most men and most marriages. And there were incredible seasons of victory, more victory than failure. But because it had been so long, we decided, you know, maybe we need to use the recovery world. So we got Bob to what was a managed health care clinic.

They promised that there was a faith-based track, but that never really did unfold. So we made a mistake of thinking we're strong enough Christians to integrate the faith part into this secular recovery program. And I find that a lot of women make that same mistake. It might be because they're using the therapist in their town who's free based on their insurance or something like that. But the secular recovery world was really painful for me because they want to use the word codependent. Now, this is changing a little bit, but there's still most of those in the secular recovery world want to use the word codependent automatically for a woman. Well, after a lot of years of working with a Christian counselor, I didn't operate largely as a codependent. Now, I think all of us have some codependent features about us.

It's kind of human nature. But there's a difference between having some codependent features and living codependently. And I wasn't, but I was being told that I was.

So I was very confused by this label. And what the psychological world has to do without God is use their labels and their diagnosis. The psychological world is really great at diagnosing things. They're not great at healing things. What the secular recovery world doesn't account for is the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

We have something they don't understand. Only God's Spirit can bring a man to repentance. Not a recovery program, not a managed health care setting, not your free counselor through the insurance program that you're on. Only God's Spirit can bring a man to repentance. But a woman can influence her husband to seek the Lord and get the help he needs. Even when a man does not obey the word, he can be won by the conduct of his wife.

That's what First Peter 3.1 tells us. A woman possesses that power through Jesus Christ. And the recovery world was sort of telling me I didn't have power because I was sick because they were giving me this automatic label.

Now listen, I want to say this. Some women are codependent and that label might apply and it might be something where you need healing. In the early years of my marriage, it was something that I needed help with. But when there's an automatic label, it doesn't allow you to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. So I would say the recovery world labeling me and even just the fact that Bob and I made the mistake of thinking, oh, we're strong enough Christians that we can use the secular recovery world without Jesus. You need Christians who understand the clinical complexities, but are going to allow the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to be the backbone of your treatment. How does a person find a Christian counselor? That's hard. That's hard.

You network, you pray, you ask. I would really recommend that in the case of if there's been long term ongoing pornography use, you are dealing with someone who has more of, you can call it an addiction or a stronghold, whatever word is comfortable for you, but they've demonstrated they need extra help. Make sure that your Christian therapist has clinical understanding. Your free counselor that understands God's word or your free marriage mentor that understands God's word is going to be great at helping you and her husband not fight about how you put the toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom.

But they may be in over their heads if they don't understand the complexities of how impaired his brain is and how traumatized your heart is. For example, forgiveness is a really important part of this journey. But for forgiveness to be holy and complete, you have to have disclosure. You have to know, well, what am I forgiving you for? What have you done?

There are some secrets here, it sounds like. I don't think a woman needs to forgive the moment she hears. I think she needs to walk in an attitude of forgiveness.

The other thing is, if she is traumatized, because this has been going on a long time, her brain isn't working super well. I'm talking about myself here. I had some weeks and months where my brain wasn't working very well. I did things that weren't characteristic of the self-control the Holy Spirit has developed in me through the years.

I threw things at Bob once. That was not a good moment. I was traumatized. I was not myself.

A clinically informed person will say, okay, let's both go to our own corners right now. Today's not the day we're going to do the work of forgiveness. Bob, your brain's not working because XYZ. Dana, your brain's not working because you just threw something at your husband. Let's work on Dana right now.

Let's work on Bob right now. It's okay to do that sometimes if the goal is to continue to work for the betterment of your marriage. I would say look for a provider who has clinical understanding and who also is going to put the Holy Spirit in the driver's seat and the Word of God is the authority of that clinical understanding. That's excellent advice. The subtitle of your book is, Let God Redeem Your Marriage. Why is this route of redemption a better option than just giving up? Well, it's a better option than giving up.

It's a better option than recovery. Redemption is the act of being saved from sin and error, of being saved from evil and restored to healthy functioning. It's sin that's gotten you where you are.

If you're listening, and this is your story, you know how deep the hurt is. You know where you are of your husband's sin right now. The truth is that no program plan or psychological treatment will be sufficient to redeem your husband, to redeem your marriage. There may be some instruments of the world's toolboxes that God can use to help, but without him, there's no redemption. I want to say that redemption isn't just restoring. Redemption isn't just recovering. Redemption makes something broken better than it was before. There are some things that only God can do, and one of them is redemption. No program to heal your marriage will work unless God is at the center of it because he alone can redeem an individual from sin. Isn't it wonderful that we have outside help from God? Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and thanks for telling a friend about the program.

Maybe you know someone who would benefit from the conversation. You'll find a link to the podcast at Plus, you'll see the resource Happily Even After Let God Redeem Your Marriage.

Just go to Hannah, what do you think is the first thing a woman should do when she feels her husband slipping into habitual or addictive pornography use? Well, I'm going to sound like a broken record.

Tell someone. I can't emphasize enough that you are not alone. You are not the minority. You are the majority of marriages. The majority of marriages have been impacted by pornography. When you tell someone, not only are you getting the help you need, but you're making the church a healthier place.

Because when we come to Christ with our brokenness, he heals us. What would happen if the church would get healed of its pornography problem? I mean, even the secular world today is saying, enough is enough. Pornography has done a lot of damage. You'll see articles in the New Yorker magazine, in Self magazine, in some of the leading online news sources that say pornography is destroying people's appetite for sex.

And if you want to have a relationship with a real person, you better push pause on porn. That's what the secular media is saying. And yet, people are continuing to see the devastation of it, the moral, emotional destruction, the isolation and the loneliness and the shame in and out of the church. What would happen if the church finally said we found the victory and it was Jesus and it was redemption? I'll tell you what would happen. This would be the greatest mission field in the United States of America.

And we would see revival sweep across this country. Tell someone, I beg you, for your own heart, but you're also going to be helping someone else in your community. Promise.

It's powerful. What if the lady has discovered this? Her husband's been open about it now. She's struggling. She's maybe talking to someone else and trying to reach out for help, but the husband is not responsive. Maybe he's saying things like, well, this is just who I am. I mean, take me or leave me.

What would you say to her? Oh, this is a really complicated question. And I want you to just ask the Holy Spirit to help you process the answer, because I don't want you to have distorted thinking. The answer isn't leave him, but the answer isn't take him as he is.

Because as I said, as long as you're walking with God's Spirit, he's never going to allow you to be content with anything less than sexual fidelity. So you need to employ boundaries. And some people, I say that and they bristle and some people, I say that and they abuse boundaries and they use them as weapons. But let me explain that years ago, there was a social experiment with two groups of children. One group was directed to a playground with no fence. The other one, a group of children were directed to a playground with a fence. And the researchers discovered that those in the group without the fence explored less territory of the playground.

While those who had the safety of the fence, they played freely in every single part of the playground. That's because boundaries are good things and they protect us and they free us to truly enjoy life. That's why God put boundaries on your marriage bed. They're in the Word of God.

He's written them down. Sex is for a married man and woman in the confines of a marriage covenant. From the beginning, God has established these beautiful boundaries for us, and He intended this boundary and others for the health and holiness of His beloved creation.

That includes you. You are His beloved creation and your husband has been playing outside the fence. You can lovingly invite Him back inside by establishing and protecting and reminding Him of the boundaries that God has and maybe creating some special boundaries.

For example, call us bluff. If He says, �Take me or leave me,� maybe you say, �I want you. I made a covenant vow to be with you forever.� But until you are willing to get the help you need to overcome this sick perversion in your life, I will be living in the guest bedroom or if it's really severe enough, it's been going on for a long time or maybe is becoming abusive, I will be living with my parents for a while. I am here. I love you. But there does come a point where the goal of a boundary is not to punish Him, but to let Him feel the separation that God's Word says His sin causes with Him and God and with Him and you.

And I wouldn't ever do a boundary like that without counsel and advice, without godly counsel that can hold your feet to the fire that you are committed to this covenant. Yeah. Dana, in your journey, you discovered seven essential beliefs every marriage needs to survive broken places.

We don't have time for all seven, but can you give us at least one of those? Yeah. Truth number one, and that's where I really had to start, was emotions are essential ingredients. I know you're listening right now and you feel pain and we don't like pain.

We want to turn it off. But Bob and I discovered that we both needed to feel the pain. And our marriage counselor told us pain is not the problem. It's a gift. It's a gift from God telling us that there's a really severe, lethal situation that needs the attention of our spirit. And here's why emotions are essential. Emotions are part of intimacy. And almost all men struggling with pornography, the real problem in their heart is intimacy anorexia.

The medicine for their pain has been pornography and pornography divorces intimacy from sex and from life. It bleeds into every area of his life. He begins to have problems with intimacy with his coworkers, intimacy with men in his church, intimacy with his children. And unless you keep your emotions turned on, both of you, your husband needs that gift. It's the medicine that will cure his problem. And you need it from him too. You need that gift of intimacy from him.

And you both need that intimacy with other men and women to heal from this problem. Now, you and Bob spoke at a conference about this topic and your journey. What was the response of those who attended that conference? Yeah, in 2017, my friend Nancy Damas-Walgamuth, who walked through some of this with me in real time when we were walking through it, asked if we would share our story. And we were terrified.

I honestly still am a little terrified to tell my story, but I'm doing it because I believe it's so important. Well, at the end of that, Bob and I sat down and a woman came over and began to talk with us. She wanted prayer. She wanted hope. And when she was gone, there was another woman behind her. And when she was gone, there was a line of women behind her. For three hours that day, we stood in line with women and prayed with them. That's how prevalent this problem is.

In a room of 2000 women, there were three hours worth of women who needed prayer and hope concerning this. I want to say this again. You are not alone. The enemy is telling you you are, but you're not. Wow. That's pretty amazing. I think sometimes when people are going through this, they do think that they're the only one.

But in reality, it is so prevalent in our culture. Let's end on a positive note here. How are you and Bob doing now?

Okay. What's the current state of your marriage? It's so good, Gary. It's not perfect. He wouldn't want me to tell you it is. I don't want you to think it is. We still fight over the fact that Bob leaves his socks on the living room floor every night before he goes to bed. But I'm not throwing things, and he's not living under the authority of lust and pornography.

We're happy. And I want to tell you something. God doesn't just redeem some stuff. He redeems all the stuff. You know, those red chairs that we confessed in, that Bob confessed his sin to me in, that place where the disclosure just brought me to ground zero. Well, I took them away. They were too expensive for me to sell or get away. It was one of those lifetime expensive chairs. But I couldn't stand to see them, so I got rid of them.

I stored them. And one day, God's Spirit said, Danna, you need to let me restore the chairs. So I brought the chairs out reluctantly. And those have been the chairs where we've nurtured our grandbabies. They've been the chairs where we've prayed with other couples.

They're the chairs where Bob and I dream about the future. God didn't just redeem the problem in our marriage related to pornography. He's redeemed so much more than that.

And he can and he will do that for you if you let him redeem your marriage. You can live happily even after. Well, you know, Dana, obviously, your sharing with us today is an emotional experience for you.

It's also an emotional experience for me. Chris, you probably feel the same way. And I know that women and hopefully men who may be listening to this program are going to be helped by this. You've been so open, so honest, so real, and so positive that there is an answer. There can be redemption. And as Christians, that's what we want, you know, and non-Christians need Christ.

And if they have Christ and the Holy Spirit, they too can find redemption. So thank you for not only writing this book, but for being open and sharing with us today about the content. And I just want to encourage our listeners, get this book.

Maybe your marriage is not going through this problem, but I can tell you there are people all around you where their marriage is going through this problem. And you may be God's instrument in placing this into their hands and getting them the kind of help that's in this book. So Dana, again, thank you for being with us today. My pleasure. Thank you, Gary. We pray before the program today that this conversation will give you hope for your marriage.

Dana Gresh has been with us. You can see our featured resource at Happily, even after, let God redeem your marriage. Just go to And next week, every little thing you do can go a long way in God's hands. Don't miss encouragement from Rachel Adams in one week. Before we go, let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 03:56:39 / 2023-04-08 04:13:57 / 17

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