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But if you want a magical line between "reparable damage" and "irreparable damage" to trigger divorce proceedings for you, forget it. There is no line of irreparable damage in the distance somewhere; it lurks right at your door from the moment he refuses to repent. There is nowhere to hide.

Staying married surely isn't safe. His sexual sin poses huge spiritual danger to the whole family, and compromises his spiritual protection over you. I was chased regularly in nightmares by Satan until Fred turned from his sexual sin. I haven't had such a nightmare since.

There is also the generational sin we spoke of, as well as the ongoing danger that your sons and daughters will stumble upon his magazines, tapes and websites—the most common way young men fall into sexual bondage. Worst of all, your husband will not be the example your son needs to teach him that his Christian walk includes sexual purity. Cascading stages of irreparable damage begin to flow from the moment your husband refuses repentance.

Then why not divorce? Because divorce brings destructive cascades of its own. Statistics show that young men often turn to pornography in the wake of divorce to salve their emotional pain and to begin to explore their masculinity.

Furthermore, sexual addiction counselors find that divorce is no effective answer. Patrick Middleton, one such counselor in the Phoenix area, told me that he has seen very little evidence that divorce leads to consistently healthy results in families shattered by porn.

So whether you stay or go, his sexual sin will wreak its havoc and there are no easy options. But if you do choose to stay, it is time to take an active role in the battle, doing all you can to release the law of reaping and sowing into your husband's life.

Perhaps your husband has paid little price for his sin in the past. Those days must end, so that he might come to his senses in the midst of the mess he has made.

A Helpmate Is an Active Role 

As wives, God has given us two roles to play in marriage. One role relates to submission, and the other involves our responsibility to be our husband's helpmate. The trouble is that we too often play the wrong role in the face of sexual sin, submitting quietly in the messy tide of events, alternating between wringing our hands in worry and folding our hands to pray while we wait for our husbands to turn.

This is time to play the other role. You were created to help your husband from the beginning: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18).

The word helper comes from a Hebrew word in Genesis, which means "a help as his counterpart." So what does a helper do? Fred likes to explain it this way: As a helper, a wife's role is to help lift her husband—boost him, prod him, encourage him—to Christian greatness, or maturity in Christ.

What is the most effective way to help your husband? First, take steps toward your own healing. Then, confront your husband, telling him what a Christian wife expects of a mature, Christian husband in marriage and holding him accountable to become that very man. Then put these four key actions in motion:

1. Learn about the differences. When a sexually addicted husband is unrepentant, a wife begins to heal by learning the sexual differences between men and women. The real root of his sexual sin lies elsewhere. Once you understand that his problem is not about you, your beauty or sexiness, you can quickly recover your sense of worth and focus on restoration.

2. Develop spiritual disciplines. Prayer and Bible reading will allow the Lord to speak to your heart and keep a steady walk with Him. If you are to heal, you need a stronger prayer life than ever before.

You also need to develop a few close female relationships for support, insights and sharing your pain. Avoid male relationships like the plague...hold yourself emotionally separate from any other men and avoid discussing your dreams and desires with other men. Secular TV, movies and books can feed the discontent that you have in your life, so avoid them.

Also, do not overcommit your time. You have already been called to an important ministry in God—restoring your husband and marriage. Give it the time and energy that any great call deserves.

You do not need to add other ministries or time stresses to your life. Keep things pared down enough so that no matter what you are doing (raising kids, working at an outside job, volunteering) you still have the time and focus for the restoration process at home.

3. Reject hypervigilance. Perhaps a fear-motivated question is plaguing you: But what if he does it again? Reject fear. You naturally desire the safety that control can bring, but a hyper-vigilant focus upon his every move cannot deliver the safety you crave.

What you really need if you are to feel safe is a sense of your own self, your value in God, and the development of your own skills to communicate your pain and to set and enforce boundaries. Settle for nothing less than God's picture of marriage.

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