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Fight For Love after Porn: Rosie Makinney

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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January 26, 2023 4:15 am

Fight For Love after Porn: Rosie Makinney

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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January 26, 2023 4:15 am

From her own blistering story, author and podcaster Rosie Makinney offers biblically-based, proactive action to take back your marriage from porn.

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Hey, Shelby Abbott here. Just want to give a heads up before you listen to this next program. Today's conversation on Family Life Today covers some sensitive but important subjects that might not be suitable for younger ears. So please use discretion when listening to this next broadcast. Alright, now let's jump into it. If you're struggling compulsively with pornography, you don't even know who you are yourself.

Because most guys have started this really young, and it's become a coping mechanism, which has then had other consequences in how they view things, how they interact with people. So until you actually get rid of that stranglehold on your entire life, you don't even know the potential of who you are. And the most glorious thing is seeing who you can become when you're free of all this stuff. Welcome to Family Life Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Dave Wilson.

And I'm Ann Wilson and you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So we're going to tackle a topic today that's a little sensitive. I think it's incredibly relevant, scary to talk about, but we need to have this conversation.

For family life, it's not only a topic that should be talked about in the church, but families, husbands and wives, parents need to know how to discuss this topic. Don't you agree? I agree. We've got the perfect person in the studio to talk about this today. Rosie McKinney is with us all the way from England in your past.

And you'll know that when you hear her Idaho accent, because you live in Idaho now. Welcome to Family Life. Thank you for having me.

It's such a pleasure to be here with you. Yeah. And our listeners right now have no idea why we say you're the perfect person to talk about this. But your book and your podcast called Fight for Love is, I think, remarkable for a wife to tackle a husband's struggle with porn. So that's where we're going.

Yeah. The subtitle is How to Take Your Marriage Back from Porn. And you're not just talking husbands primarily. This could be a battle that a woman is struggling with too. But I'm so glad we're talking about it because I've talked to so many women that this is a battle and they don't know how to fight it. I'm sure men may feel like that, but it's like, where do we start?

So Rosie, thank you for being so gutsy to write this. Well, thank you for being willing to talk about this topic and just tell people that it's okay to start talking about this. It's okay to come forward and say, we struggle, we have this problem in our marriage because it's so prevalent. I mean, if you're not dealing with this, you're kind of in the minority. It's over 50% of marriages are dealing with this.

And we have to start talking about this because it's not just a guy's issue. This is having huge ramifications on the family and certainly on a wife. And I think as a parent, as a mom, I remember being petrified thinking, is this going to affect our family?

Is this going to affect our kids? And I think so many parents feel that. Yeah. Well, let's talk, how common is it? I know you put some stats in your book, but help us understand. You said it's over 50%. It's even higher than that, right?

It is. Josh McDowell in 2016 did a Barna study, and this was a massive study. He spent about $300,000 to find the data, which I'm really grateful for. And he discovered that 79% of guys who regularly attend evangelical church are struggling with this.

And by struggling, I mean using it at least once a month. So if you drill down... Wait, wait, wait. You just said eight out of 10 guys? Yeah. Church guys? Yes.

Yes. Is that a lot different than non-church people? I mean, I'm shocked. Are you shocked? I mean, in some ways, I'm not shocked.

In other ways, it's like, wow, that is a high percentage. I do remember, Rosie, you don't know this, but I passed here for 30 years. And early in our starting of our church, I shared in a sermon that I had struggled with this in our past and in our marriage. And I had all these guys.

My assistant, Debbie, said, all these guys are wanting to meet with you. They came in, and then that's where it always went. You know, they'd hem haul around a little bit, and then they'd say, I'm here because you said you struggle.

I'm struggling. And so that gave me an awareness. This is 35 years ago. It was a problem. I would have said, based on the number of guys that came in and went to talk to me, it was at least eight out of 10. And the other two were lying. Yeah. What year did you say that was?

It was 2016. So I would say it would be even higher now. The statistics that are really jaw-dropping is the fact that one out of three users is now female, and one out of every 10 is under the age of 10. And I think that's a really important one to just wake people up and say, we have to start talking about this. The only way to protect your children is to start tacking it in your marriage.

You can't try and shut the back door when you've got the front door wide open. You know, we have to talk about this. We have to equip ourselves. And the perspective I'm coming from is our guys need our help. They need our help.

They need us to come alongside them and understand what they're dealing with so that we know how to best help them. Well, tell us your story. I mean, obviously, you didn't wake up and say, I want to write a book about, you know, helping my husband with porn. What's your story? So this was a book that I felt needed to be written. I was kind of waiting for someone really famous to write it, so I wouldn't have to. But this was my story. And in fact, I've done it twice. Before I became a Christian, I was in a long-term relationship with someone, an unrepentant porn addict, and I tried everything. Everything that the media tells you, how to compete with it. I tried ignoring it.

I tried pleading, placating, all that stuff, and nothing worked. And it all got turned around. So it was my fault. And I was overreacting. And if only I was XYZ, then it wouldn't be a problem.

And it's just not true. So that all fell apart. And then I become a Christian. And then I meet my lovely husband and we get married. And then I discover that this is a problem again.

How did you discover it? Well, to be honest, I knew going in that he'd had struggled in the past, but he said, I dealt with that. It's been a struggle in the past. And so I was naively assuming it's not going to be a problem.

He says he's dealt with it, which if he had had good recovery before based on something solid, then it wouldn't have been a problem. But I found out on the honeymoon, something had triggered him, I think, before we got married. It was very clear from the way he was treating me. The criticism, the resentment, the anger, the not being satisfied with anything I could possibly do.

And I broached the subject and started to put the pieces together. And I'm like, I have seen this before and I cannot do this again. I have walked this path and it is so painful that I cannot do this again. And so I just said enough. Either you get help or that's it. And I meant it. But the only way that I was able to get to that point of saying enough was because I'd had all that prior experience.

It wasn't because I understood it's the only thing that actually works, that very firm boundary of this is not going to happen in our marriage. That's the only thing that works. Not competing, not ignoring, not being more understanding or more graceful.

All those things can help. But the only thing that will actually be effective is putting a hard line in. And so how did he respond? I know you write in your book that what you did as a wife has to happen. Like a lot of guys will not deal with this really until their wife says, I'm going to intervene and say I'm demanding you deal with this.

Well, I issued like a reactive boundary. It was like a desperate ultimatum. And my whole heart and my whole passion is to educate and encourage wives to do it early. So you don't have to do that desperate ultimatum where you're like, that's it or getting divorced. I don't want you to have to be at that place. I want you to understand what you're dealing with and understand what it is you need to do so you can do it calmly and proactively as soon as you understand that it's an issue.

And then you can come alongside your husband and say, Look, I know you're struggling with this issue, and it's nothing to do with me. However, it is affecting me. And if you continue to betray and deceive me, it's going to traumatize me.

And it's going to wreck our marriage. You know, this is progressive. It's serious. It's a brain condition. This is rewiring the neural pathways of your brain.

It's causing all this shrinkage of your prefrontal cortex. We cannot ignore this. We can't brush it under the rug. Prayer is very important, but you have to take proactive steps.

And that's getting help, getting the right help and getting among other people who have walked this path and been victorious. So do you say that on your honeymoon? No, I said, I said, I wish you could see Rosie right now with her hands on her hips. Because I didn't understand. I didn't know all that stuff. It was just like, he is a lunatic. I don't know whether he's got some mental personality disorder.

He is just utterly out of control. But I know that this is an issue. So it's like, you're going to get help. It was just an instinct. Like, I know this is all connected because you are not the man that I thought I'd married. It's like Jekyll and Hyde. It was literally like Jekyll and Hyde. And I was so confused.

But there was a part of me that's like, I think this is all connected. So let's deal with this problem and then we'll see if he's still a crazy person. Did he respond in a good way?

Like, okay, I'm going to... I think he threw his wedding ring in a field. Did he? He really did? Yeah. Yeah, he really did. So that's a good response. Yeah. You were out walking and you had this conversation.

I think he did it on his own. It was very symbolic. It was very dramatic.

It was a nice bit of drama there. But God had put me in a situation where, and I was reflecting on this. God is so kind in that if he's got healing for you, he is going to put you in that place where healing is the only way through this. And so he had just married me to a guy who was moving to America. So I went with him because he said, I will promise I will change. I will get help. So I went, but I'd given up my job, my family, my friends, my support, my name.

I mean, and put me in a treehouse in California, literally a treehouse, vacation rental. It was very bizarre. And it's like, you are going to heal from this and he is going to heal. You're away from everything and everyone you knew. Yeah, and also in front of all my friends and all my family, I just made this big... I think pride would stop me coming back to England and going, that was a disaster. It was like, no, we're going to try and sort this out because even if he doesn't heal, I need to look at why I married him when there were enough red flags for me to not deal with this before we got married.

Like there's obviously some healing that I could improve on as well. Well, it's interesting to me, Rosie, as you talked about him, you said, this isn't the man that I married. You could have thought, oh, this is really the man that I married. He's this porn addict, but you saw the greatness in him instead of the addiction in him.

Well, it was very confusing. And I know that a lot of the women I work with, they struggle with this. It's like, who is he? And I would say that if you're struggling compulsively with pornography, you don't even know who you are yourself because most guys have started this really young. And it's become a coping mechanism, which has then had other consequences in how they view things, how they interact with people. So until you actually get rid of that stranglehold on your entire life, you don't even know the potential of who you are. And the most glorious thing is seeing who you can become when you're free of all this stuff. And my husband is better than who I thought I was marrying.

He really is in every way. And he is so brave and courageous in his convictions that I feel very grateful. And I praise God for putting me in the treehouse with the lunatic where we had to work it out because otherwise I would have thrown all that away. And that's not to say if you're in a horrendously abusive relationship that the only answer is you must stay with him forever. And God will work it out because that isn't everybody's path. And we have many, many women in our community and it's not their path and they do end up getting divorced. However, there is healing for them and there's healing for their children. Not everyone is repentant.

Exactly. That's what I was going to ask. You know, I'm sitting here with two wives who have husbands who have struggled with it. Rosie, your husband, and Ann, I have. So either one of you, how do you help wives who think initially, I think he's struggling with this. Maybe they're listening right now and they're going, Rosie, I think my husband, we've never had a conversation about this.

What does that wife do? How do you begin this healing journey? We have like a three-step program on our website for that very question. And your website is? All right. And because what I'm saying about drawing that firm line in the sand, drawing that calm, proactive boundary, if you can. If you're doing an emotional, reactive boundary, it's okay.

It's just more traumatic for you and for everybody. By the way, that's sort of what we did. Oh, I was a wreck and a mess and so traumatized and I let him have it. And looking back, I wish I wouldn't have done that.

But we do our best. And I understood. I mean, she had every right to be mad and in some ways then I started to hide because I'm like, oh, I don't want that response again. I hurt her and then I hid, you know. And that's a really good point you've brought up because if we do leave this issue until it's causing so much damage, you're being triggered, which is triggering your triggers. And then your triggers are triggering her triggers and it just goes round and round and the whole thing becomes bigger.

So if we can somehow educate women and encourage them and equip them and edify them enough to be able to take this proactive stance earlier, it's going to be so much easier for everybody, you know, husbands included. Because I want wives to come alongside and it's almost like you just have to park that part of you that's like, he is a monster. He keeps deceiving me. He keeps betraying me. He's doing this horrendous thing that I can't even wrap my head around. Why is he possibly looking at that material?

Just park that and say, okay, we're going to deal with it for a bit and then we're going to pick up that decision. Because all those issues are valid. I'm not going to tell you that you need to look at your husband in a different way and you need to look at him, you know, with rose-tinted glasses because, you know, this is not the man that God created. Because your reaction, as you said, Anne, about being so hurt and so disgusted is valid. It's righteous anger. This is demonically inspired sexual habitual sin that we're dealing with. So to feel that passion and that revulsion is right and holy.

However, it's not always the most helpful step to help him come forward and ask for help. And honestly, so much of that was my fear. It just confirmed my own insecurities. Oh, it is me. It's what you said earlier. I'm not enough.

I'm not good enough. And it's my fault. Those were my inner fears, my triggers, as you said. And so I agree, it was not helpful to react that way because what happens is it puts us on different sides instead of coming at it as a team.

Good point. But I just want to just piggyback on what you said there, Anne, about, you know, yes, it's not helpful, but if anybody is listening and they're in that stage where, like, feeling like, oh, I have to suppress my anger. I have to just be authentic.

This is a journey into intimacy, which requires both of you, to be honest. So if somebody would have told me, like, just calm down, I couldn't at that point. And I didn't even know why. And this was four decades ago when I remember that I was glad she was honest and authentic. I knew it was hurtful. I knew she was angry and I was okay. I deserved it. I felt, you know, like, okay. But I also got afraid to be that honest.

Wouldn't you? I mean, you know, you're already feeling bad about the fact that you can't stop doing this. And now you're starting to get a glimpse of the damage that it's doing. Of course, it's going to make you just retreat.

Absolutely. So the two steps I recommend before you draw that firm line in the sand, before you even have that conversation are things that are going to help you cope with the level of emotion and fear. And one step is education.

So educate yourself on what it's doing to his brain, what it's done to your heart, what it's done to your own sexuality. Just start to objectively, without emotion, look at what you're dealing with. Let's have a look at the enemy that we're facing.

What is it that we're dealing with? And also look at some of the statistics and hear from other stories. And it just breaks the shame when you realise that you're not the only couple who are dealing with this.

You know, you're in the majority. But if you've got a husband who is willing to face this, you've got one of the good guys. Okay.

That's what I really want to hear when we get together for sort of recovery barbecues. I love these guys in the families. You know, these are the heroes in my eyes because they're brave enough to raise their white flag and say, you know, I can't do this anymore. I need help. I need Jesus. I need support. They're the good guys. They're the ones that you need to fight for and hang on to.

So that was education. Step number one. And the second step is get into community. You need other sisters to walk this road with you.

You really do. Finding them is kind of difficult. And that's where our ministry comes in because our whole ministry is talking to wives in that really uncomfortable hidden area between discovery, that this is an issue in your marriage, and recovery. Because it takes years for women to move to recovery because of all the lies that you've already mentioned. This is my fault. People will think he's a paedophile if I come forward and talk about porn. It's something to do with the fact that I'm not a good enough Christian if I was more sexually available.

Or if I was more graceful or loving or forgiving or clean the house better or all these things. Or if your husband's in ministry. Oh, yes. Does that wreck our whole lives? Yeah.

Yeah. And all of those are lies. They're all lies. But they're very common. I think the statistic was 76 percent of partners of porn addicts believe at some point that it's their fault. I mean, it's devastating, especially if you've got a guy who is on the more sexually avoidant side. How can you not think if he's looking at all those other women and yet he's not sexually interested in me, it's not a reflection of you. But it's really not.

It's really not. They've become conditioned to be aroused by this isolated voyeuristic experience of watching other people rather than interacting with a real person. Even if you look like the women in pornography, he would still be acting out with pornography. And people have come forward and said that, actually, the women in pornography. It's like, I can't stop my boyfriend from doing it. It's because it's a coping mechanism.

Because it's to do with sex, it gets so hard to disentangle it and feeling that it's not somehow a reflection on how we are. But if he was sneaking downstairs and doing cocaine in the middle of the night, you wouldn't be lying up there going, oh, if only I was more attractive. You just wouldn't. And you'd go, he's doing what? He's doing cocaine every night? OK, we need some help.

We need some help. OK, I'm not going to shout it from the rooftops. You wouldn't personalize it.

You wouldn't. That's the word I was looking for. Yes. What if you have a husband who isn't repentant, who just lies and just will not receive what his wife says, like, hey, we need to get help. Yeah, and there could be a couple of reasons for that. I mean, one, he could just be narcissistic and abusive. Or it could be he's so far into denial that he really does believe his own rationalizations. It really is because she's not available enough.

She doesn't make an effort. We don't, you know, whatever it is, he actually believes it, even though it's not true. He doesn't understand the effect that the pornography has had on the way that he sees his wife anymore. Or it could be the shame. You know, it's really, it's really hard. Or the other one that I've just thought of that is so, so cruel is the fact that guys have tried to stop and they have tried so many times on their own.

And they think, I can't stop. I really can't. If we open up this issue and we start to go for help and she starts to believe this and I can't stop, this is all going to fall apart because I know I can't stop. I have tried.

I have tried so hard on my own. And I think a lot of guys are in that position. They might have even been to therapy or they might have been to recovery ministries and they still can't stop.

So it's like, we can't go near this area because if we do, it's going to end in disaster. And it's not true. It is absolutely possible to have a porn free marriage. You just haven't done the one thing that really works. And that's being 100% honest with the truth. And that sounds really simple and really easy, but it is the hardest thing to do because it's not just confessing to actions. It's confessing to what is going on underneath all the resentment and all the anger and all the fears and all the hurt.

And you have to get that and you have to get it out and you have to get it into the light with other guys who are going to hold you to that standard. Be as equally honest and walk alongside you without judgment and love. And that's how we become Jesus incarnate to our brothers and sisters in that we love people and yet we know everything about them. It's so interesting to me. Share with our listeners what your husband does now. Yeah, he's a CSAT, which is a certified sexual addictions therapist. Sometimes I just, you know, I'll be standing making dinner in the kitchen and just like giggle because he's upstairs with a group of wives. You know, empathizing with the wives about how awful it is that the husbands are doing pornography and being, you know, critical and resentful. And I'm like, how did you do that, God? You know, and he's so validating and helpful.

I think it's really helpful when you've got a sort of a male figure, you know, who's in a position of authority, like leading the group to actually validate your instincts, your fears, your experience. So yeah, he works with couples and individuals all day long. It's amazing. Isn't that crazy?

He has done miraculously through you guys. You're listening to David Ann Wilson with Rosie McKinney on Family Life Today. This is a serious issue and Ann's got some serious encouragement for wives in just a minute. But first, we've got a link to Rosie's ministry, Fight For Love Ministries, in the show notes at

You can check that out there. Rosie's also written a book called Fight For Love, How To Take Your Marriage Back From Porn. You can get a copy at or by calling 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And in so many ways, this conversation can draw us into more dialogue about how ungodly attractions and addictions in our marriages have the ability to lead to even darker places. Well, our guest earlier this week, Dave Carter, wrote a book called Anatomy of an Affair.

How affairs, attractions, and addictions develop and how to guard your marriage against them. We'd love to send you a copy as our thanks when you partner financially with Family Life. You'll help more families hear conversations just like today's. Conversations that point to the hope found in Christ.

You can give at or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, here's Anne with some encouraging words for wives. Besides pray, I would say this too. Begin talking to God and be honest with Him. God, this is what I feel if you're the spouse.

This is what it feels like. I feel like I'm betrayed or I feel like I have no control and I feel like I'm not enough. Like, tell God all of that. For us as women, for wives, and your book is specifically written to women, wives, like, what would it look like if we fought together? If we brought Jesus and God into this and said, let's fight for our men, let's fight for our sons and our daughters and our children and our families, we could make a difference. Coming up tomorrow, David and Wilson are joined again with Rosie McKinney to talk about how porn is often accompanied by denial and how to know if you actually have an issue. That's tomorrow. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. family life today is a production of family life a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-26 09:38:28 / 2023-01-26 09:49:48 / 11

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