Is My Sin My Wife's Fault?
Men in sexual sin who are married commonly blame their wives for their sinful choices. But this kind of thinking is never right and is only another form of minimizing the seriousness of sin. Join us for part two of our interview with biblical counselors Ken and Trey as they discuss this common counseling issue, and the way out of such a destructive mindset. (from Podcast Episode #478 - But, My Sin Isn't That Bad!)
Nate: So, Ken and Trey, as we continue our conversation about minimizing sin. One of the next points that I want to talk about is a man who's blaming his wife for his pornography use. If you've got a guy who is constantly fantasizing, those fantasies are coming from his own desires. So, he's got situations, characteristics, body types and actions that he loves that are coming from his own heart and are becoming really entrenched in him. When he gets married, he will come to realize that his wife isn't a porn star. She won’t want to do some of the things that he has fantasized about or she may not look like his fantasy women. These unmet expectations will make it really easy for him to be totally dissatisfied, and to start blaming his wife for his that. This mindset could then easily lead him to justify meeting his needs through pornography or adultery. What are some of the things you as counselors see going on in the life of a man like this?
Ken: Lust is demanding. If someone has given themselves over to a lustful mindset, then that lust is never going to be satisfied. Not only is it sinful, but you're putting your wife in a position where she can never live up to your fantasies. There is a saying that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and in the garden the first sin Adam committed was that he shifted the blame towards his wife. These men are saying it's my wife's fault that I'm doing these things. But even if your wife is sinning against you, it's never right for you to sin against her in response.
<pull-quote>If someone has given themselves over to a lustful mindset, then that lust is never going to be satisfied.<pull-quote><tweet-link>TweetThis<tweet-link>
A married man in selfishness and sin may ask, “What can I get out of this relationship?” But in Paul’s description of marriage in Ephesians, he talks about how Jesus is the example of how a husband is supposed to behave in a marriage relationship. In the same way that Christ laid His life down for us, we as men are supposed to lay down our lives for our wives, not sin against them. It's supposed to be sacrificial love. I would say in a true Christian marriage where they both know the Lord, if the husband is really modeling Jesus to his wife, that woman is going to respond and he's going to be fulfilled and satisfied the way God intended through that marriage.
Trey: Yeah, and I think for someone listening, they might hear you describing a man who is in sin and they think, wow, that's kind of a harsh description of his life, but it's truth. When I am trying to see if I am in lust or not, the phrase I say to myself is, “I want, ____.” That's what lust is. I'm wanting. In marriage, those who are in lust have the mindset of wanting more than their wife could possibly give them. The solution is to see the blessings that the Lord has given you, which is why gratitude is so important for a Christian or a man who's wanting to come out of sexual sin. The phrase I use for gratitude is, “I have _____.” When I do that, in essence, I am acknowledging, this is what I have and even more than that, this is what the Lord is giving me. In one sense, lust is an arrow that is going in the direction of wanting while gratitude is an arrow going in the direction of what I have and what the Lord is giving me. The two are polar opposites. When you're in that place of gratitude and you're thankful for what the Lord has given you, you're satisfied, and you can have less than what your flesh wants but be satisfied because your eyes are on what you are grateful for and that's where your heart is.
Nate: Yeah, I do think sometimes we need kind of like a shock to our system to see the reality of what's happening inside of us. But the thing I'm grateful for is that when we acknowledge the truth of our condition, I've always found that it's like the tone of the Lord really changes. Once a man acknowledges that he has been treating his wife horribly, God doesn't just keep beating up on him. It seems to me that God would be like, “Alright, let me teach you how to love her. Let me teach you how not to blame shift. I love you. I want to see you to come into a much better frame of mind and spiritual condition.” So those hard words sometimes are really just intended to bring us to repentance and then the grace of the Lord just overflows to us. That's what's amazing to me about His grace.
Ken: Yeah, absolutely. The truth is what sets us free, and telling a man how evil this mindset is and telling a man how selfish he is being is not going to be a very palatable message because we don't want to hear negative characteristics about ourselves. I was also thinking about flipping the script on this. You're supposed to love your neighbor as yourself and esteem others better than yourself. His wife is his closest neighbor and if he’s not willing to meet that command in that relationship, then he’s probably selfish in all of his other relationships. And what would he think if his wife was in sexual sin? Would he justify that? Would he think, “I treated her bad, so I guess it's okay if she gets her needs met somewhere else.” How would he respond if things were on the opposite foot?
Nate: It's amazing to me how often a guy could be sleeping around with prostitutes and viewing pornography, but then his wife threatens to divorce him and he loses it. It's like the worst thing possible has happened. He’s thinking, “How could she do this?” It just shows the blindness of sin. You've treated her like trash for decades and now she’s done with it and you can't fathom how she could do this to you.
Ken: It is amazing. He's already broken the covenant and now she wants to break it and he's upset.
<pull-quote>The longer you are in sin the less clear the lines are, so crossing them becomes easier and easier.<pull-quote><tweet-link>TweetThis<tweet-link>
Trey: Yeah, it gives testimony to Hebrews 13 about the deceitfulness of sin. Sin really is deceitful. The longer you are in sin the less clear the lines are, so crossing them becomes easier and easier. What was black and white is now gray and that's what makes it so hard for guys coming out of sexual sin – they're blinded to what is really truth. And what is that truth? It's God’s Word and getting into His Word creates the standard. And that truth really does have a way of setting people free.