By: Allie Joy Hudson
5 min. read
Struggle and Pain, Growth and Gratitude
In many ways, my husband’s struggle with lust has been a defining force for us as a couple. (He is very open about talking about this and has given me permission to share. I so admire his transparency, and I’ve seen many people open up to him because of his willingness to be honest first.) God has grown and taught us both so much through this area of weakness and struggle. The pain I have felt throughout this process has been real and gut-wrenching. But, in the midst of it all, I am thankful for this journey, because through it, God has shaped and humbled us both immensely.
My husband has struggled with lust since he was young, so naturally, this was a burden that he carried into our relationship, and later, our marriage. I’ve learned to carry it too. It’s been hard. I’ve felt some of my lowest lows because of this. I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, insecurity, and paranoia. But there is hope. As I think about where my husband is now compared to a decade ago, I rejoice because God has delivered him from struggle after struggle. He has found true victory in Jesus, and I’m so proud of the commitment and obedience he has learned to embrace.
Today, I want to share some of the many things that God has taught me through my husband’s struggle with lust. I don’t know where you are on your journey, whether you are struggling or whether you have been hurt by someone who does. But I hope and pray that this encourages you to seek Jesus and lay your heart, your fears, and your sin at His feet.
10 Things I’ve Learned
- Every slip-up has been a wound, some big and some small. I could look back on these things and feel the hurt of each one. But every setback has been a stepping stone on our journey, together, as husband and wife, of healing. God has used each slip-up to point us back to His face and to set us on the path of getting closer and closer to freedom from lust.
- This is an ongoing process. As much as we might like them to, a person’s deep-rooted flesh struggles don’t typically just vanish overnight. This process could be lifelong, but in a way, this is a beautiful thing because the struggle keeps us humble and dependent on Jesus. And, just because a temptation persists doesn’t mean we need to give into it. Because of the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us, we have the power to not sin! Our lust and our insecurities do not have to define us.
- I want to strive to protect my husband in any way that I can. Over the years, we’ve figured out practical steps to help him in his fight for sexual integrity (i.e., me having his computer password, him not having a smartphone, encouraging him in pursuing accountability, etc.). I get to do my part in helping Michael succeed, but I know that it’s not up to me to control him. Another big part of helping my husband is praying daily for God to protect him in this arena – mind, heart, eyes, and body.
- To the spouse who is hurting and feels defeated, something God has been so gracious to show me throughout this process is that there is hope. Whether we struggle with lust or something totally different, because of Jesus, God does not see our sin when He looks at us. He sees the righteousness of His Son. There is hope in this truth, and there’s also great hope in the fact that God is faithful to strip sin of its hold on our lives when we yield to Him. He has brought us so far, and we’re in such a good place now. God can do this in your life and your marriage too!
- This struggle has brought Michael and me to our knees. Like Paul in Romans 7, I have heard my husband cry out, “God, I don’t want this! Please take it from me!” We have both come face to face with sin struggles because of this process, and God has helped us to see that it is only through Jesus that we are able to have lasting, sustainable victory over sin. And He is faithful to give us that! He makes a way out of every temptation if we just ask Him and submit to Him.
- I’ve learned that I need to ground my thoughts in truth when I’m processing raw emotion: My identity is in Jesus. My husband’s struggles are not because of me. There is grace, forgiveness, cleansing, and healing in Jesus.
- When anxious suspicions creep into my mind and heart, I need to surrender them to God in prayer. I’m honest with the Lord, and with my husband, when I’ve had an anxious day and think the worst. Also, when a past hurt comes to mind, I need to speak (oftentimes even out loud) that God’s grace has covered what’s past. God is gracious as I process, but He is also gracious enough to not leave me in my anxious state.
- This has been a process for me of learning how to trust well. God is steadfast, unchanging in character, and perfectly worthy of our trust. I can trust God, and I can trust that He is holding and protecting me, my husband, and our marriage. And though it looks different than my trust in the Lord, I’ve also learned to trust my husband – to believe the best in him, to trust that he is leaning on the Lord for strength, and to know that his heart is to honor me.
- Being up close and personal with my husband’s struggle with lust has given me awareness. I’ve seen over and over just how sexualized our culture is, and I’ve realized that this struggle is extremely common, for both men and women. I’m thankful for this awareness because it’s made me more conscious of ways to look out for my husband and of how I present myself to better care for those around me. God used the pain we went through to give me a major heart and passion for sexual integrity – which led me to Proven!
- God has grown me in grace. Years ago, long before we were married, when my husband first opened up to me about his struggles, I was heartbroken. I didn’t know how to respond and held things over his head for a long time in hopes of changing him. This, of course, only hurt us both. While it is was so important for my husband to seek repentance, God also showed me my part to do, which is to forgive and to extend grace in His strength. I can be hurt, I can process, but God has called me to forgive as He has forgiven me. Forgiveness and grace make way for new life and true healing to spring forth.
Related: Sexual Integrity After “I Do”
Our Good God
My friends, this process has been long and tough, but there has been so much growth and good in it because of the God that we serve. He has shown me that it’s only through surrendering this struggle to Jesus that both my husband and I can and did find freedom.
Wherever you are along your journey, lean on the Lord, hard. God sees you in your pain and struggle. He is right there with you, calling you to Himself. It’s only through Him that we can have victory and hope, and He is so faithful to provide. Submit yourself to His perfect leading today, for He is good.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven for three years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.