75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Ray and Laura Jones
- Published on Amazon.com
(Caveat: I'm one of the men whose sexual sin contributed to my wife's broken heart.)
I picked this book up with great expectation. I had read Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (The Every Man Series) several years ago in my attempt to conquer pornography. I enjoyed it, but cannot say it helped much. Looking back, the Every Man series didn't offer anything beyond the cycle. If you have any experience with this issue then you probably know about the cycle. It goes something like this:
1) the wife gives it all she's got, but eventually quits
2) the husband gives it all he's got, but eventually quits
3) Wash, rinse, repeat
I felt like Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (The Every Man Series) called me to give it all I had. Every Heart Restored: A Wife's Guide to Healing in the Wake of a Husband's Sexual Sin (The Every Man Series) basically calls the wife to give it all she's got. (Though I think they even did a rather poor job of convincing me of that, but maybe that's because I'm a man.) The hope offered between these two books (not judging the others in the series) seems to be that the husband and wife will get their cycles aligned and then enjoy marital bliss for the rest of their lives.
I now know of only 3 ways to break the cycle. The first two are suggested and supported by the authors: divorce (legal and/or emotional) or 'aligning the cycle.' The last way to break the cycle is hinted at in this book, but I just don't feel like the authors ever got there: true victory in Christ.
Since I suggest that you skip this book, let me recommend the one that God used to break through my thick skull: Undefiled: Redemption From Sexual Sin, Restoration For Broken Relationships. What did it for me is the realization that God isn't going to answer a selfish prayer. I had begged God to remove the sin of pornography so that I could live without shame or so that I could have a happy marriage... most recently the latter. You see, even my marriage is just another false lover. God wants my whole heart. He has been trying to win it back. When God revealed this, I suddenly realized I didn't need to learn a new trick (like bouncing my eyes) and just work harder at it. I needed to decide to love God back - even more than I wanted to have my marriage healed. And that has restored my heart.
I came back to update this review with another recommendation and an excerpt to encourage you:
"I am reminded of a story from the desert fathers. The desert fathers (and mothers) were Christian hermits, monks, and ascetics who lived in the desert, mainly in Egypt, during the third century-- when Christianity was still illegal in the Roman Empire. The story goes like this:
"One of the fathers followed by his disciples arrives at the gates of Alexandria. He sees a very beautiful woman coming along the road. The disciples cover their heads with their cloaks so as not to fall into temptation of the flesh. From underneath their cloaks, they see their master and are scandalized to find him looking straight at the beautiful woman! After she has entered the gates, they remove their cloaks and ask, "How could you succumb to temptation and look at the woman?" Their master replied sadly, "How impure are your hearts. You saw her only as a temptation. I saw her as one of God's wonders."
"These disciples, living in community with one another and their master, had cut themselves off from the fuller community by reducing women - especially beautiful women - to temptations to be avoided. Their master, on the other hand, had learned to love and embrace the fuller community because he was able to see others as wonders of God. This is the very trap I want us to avoid. I don't want you to be either afraid of women or to reduce them to inhuman objects of lust, desire, or temptation. We can end up doing this by falling into either extreme, by refusing to look at them at all or by willingly looking at them as objects of desire. I want you to be able to love your female neighbor by seeing her as the wonder she is: the image of the living and true God."
- Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships by M. G. Bianco.
164 of 181 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I plan on posting this under the reviews of this book on Amazon.com about that book I was telling you about.
If you've just been wounded by a man's sexual sin, DO NOT read this book. I picked this book up under the guise it was supposed to help wives deal with the emotional, mental and physical aftermath of her husband's sexual sin (porn and/or affairs), but it's more about justifying a man's bad behavior and stressing how the burden of correction is on the woman.
My first problem with this book is that it's written by a man. As a woman, there's healing in hearing how other women felt, dealt with and hopefully overcame this crisis. A woman who has been devastated and wounded by her husband does not need to hear the cool, casual and dismissive remarks of this male author. Nor does she need to hear how she should be excusing her husband's behavior because he is biologically prone to sexual sin, had an absentee father or experienced childhood abuse. Let's not forget that many people have had bad childhoods and either end up in serious personal troubles or grow up to have productive lives -- it's all about choice. A bad start in life doesn't excuse one's poor life choices -- regardless of gender. What's worse is the author condemns women for wallowing in their hurt and sorrow, calling it a sin to stay in that frame of mind. Well, yes, we need to eventually move on from our pain toward healing and forgiveness, but do not condemn a devastated, betrayed woman for what she is feeling. She needs to feel in order to move on. Let's not forget God knows what it feels like to be betrayed. The Old Testament is full of passages on God speaking about the hurt, rejection, betrayal and sorrow He felt over his people constantly rejecting Him and committing idolatry. God understands a woman's plight in this area, and even on a greater scale. I ask the author to read Hosea with the intention of really hearing God express his deep hurt over being betrayed, then the author will get a glimpse into a heart of a betrayed woman. I personally found reading Hosea quite healing and also guiding in terms of finding that I can forgive.
The author of this book, however, has no compassion and demands forgiveness rather than lovingly points the way.
Another concern I have about the author began early on in the book during a discussion he had with his wife about a pre-marriage group he leads. He had upset several women in the group over a discussion on PMS. He commented on how women can simply overcome mood swings, aches, pains and other symptoms by just praying harder. The author's wife tried to explain to him that the women were upset by his comments because they seemed to make light of this very real female issue. The author, in his arrogance, threw scripture at his wife in reply. I'm not surprised the author showed little compassion.
Yes, it is true that God is greater than PMS, but it's not an easy physical issue to deal with. Each woman is different and each woman experiences PMS in greater or lesser degrees. To have a "Christian" man come in and make light of a very real issue appalled me. What's worse, in the same breath he turns around and tries to excuse the poor sexual behavior of men, including his own, on background and childhood, without ever really talking about an individual's responsibility to pray and seek God for help and deliverance. He is quick to point out how women should do this, but avoids talking about how men need to take responsibility for their own actions as well and hit their knees. The men can curl up in a ball of guilt demanding the women do all of his work. I find no scripture or verse that backs this attitude up.
Sadly, this book glosses over the deep wounding and pain of a betrayed woman. If you have been betrayed, this book will offer no comfort or guidance toward healing and forgiveness and rebuilding of trust. In fact, I really don't recall it addressing these issues in depth at all. It touches briefly on "here's what you're feeling," than rushes on to talk about how men feel and the needs of men and what men have to have for the rest of the book. The author's wife speaks briefly in spots, only to be overshadowed by her husband's remarks. The author makes no bones about having had a very bad and violent temper, so it's no surprise his wife is agreeing with him throughout the book.
An additional problem I had with the book was the assortment of accounts from other women who have dealt with their husband's sexual sin. The stories are the same: wife catches husband, husband lies, "repents," then just finds better ways of telling lies and hiding his sin until he's caught again. These men never honestly deal with the issue and their wives are left wounded over and over again and told they need to keep praying, keep forgiving, keep excusing their behavior as "well, this is his natural tendency and he had a bad childhood," and if I pray hard enough, he'll change.
While prayer is crucial, the husband needs to take responsibility and pray if he's to be free of sexual sin. If he's not honestly praying and earnestly seeking God for help, guidance and deliverance every moment of his life, he will not change. He hasn't hit a point where he feels he needs to, so he does not. God does not force us to change. He will gives us all the tools and ability we need to change, but unless we step out and use them and rely on His strength, we will not overcome that sin. As wives, we are helpmates and stand beside our men in prayer. But preventing them from sinning is NOT our sole responsibility. The husband needs to be the one to take action in getting his life right before God. The women in these accounts seem little more than doormats, and there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says we should permit that.
The author is also quick to hammer home the point that women's bodies belong to their husband. True. I kept waiting for him to talk about the rest of that scripture, about a man's body belonging to his wife. He never did. He points out how men have twisted that scripture to abuse their wives. The author's wife even joins in to tell women our bodies belong to our husbands and to withhold it is a sin. But neither of them bother to say how men are wrong for depriving their wives of their bodies through sexual sin. If more men viewed their bodies as belonging to their wives, maybe they'd be less inclined to give it to another woman, to pornography or to whatever the sexual sin might me. This point was not discussed.
The main point of this book: "Wives, your man is going to fall into sexual sin, so give him sex whenever and however he wants or he'll be FORCED to look elsewhere because of his natural tendencies and bad childhood. It doesn't matter if he's not taking care of your emotional or relational needs, because marriage really is only about sex to him and your needs are secondary as a woman. Oh, and it's nothing personal, because men can separate love from sex and therefore have affairs with dozens of women but still say he loves you. But as women, your job is to always forgive, not matter what he treats you like, and then maybe he'll decide to change, after he cheats on you again."
I think the author has forgotten 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
AND Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
If more men AND women believed and lived by those scriptures, and many others talking about what love really is, we wouldn't be having to write or read such awful books on sexual sin in marriages.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
E. R. Wright
- Published on Amazon.com
If you've just been hit with the revelation of your husband's "secret life", this book may not help. The title is deceptive because it implies that you will be healed after reading it.(Healing is God's job!) I was frustrated with the first few chapters, because it dealt with man's sexuality rather than the wife's torment. My raw agony was nowhere to be found within the pages of this book. However, this book was still useful. Overall, the book was all right.
There were nuggets of practical advice and hope. I liked the way views from both wives and husbands were presented. The most important thing I learned was that it is possible for a husband to love his wife and still sin against her. I don't understand it or like it, but I believe it and this book does a good job of introducing that concept. I also learned a lot about the importance of a Christian wife's role of encouraging her husband spiritually. I liked Fred's description about how Brenda influenced him by lovingly refusing to accept anything less than righteousness from him. I also liked Brenda's attitude that her destiny is forever entwined with Fred's and that when one sins it pollutes the stream for both of them.
If you are in deep pain right now, understand that healing will take lots of time and lots of God. This book won't fix you or your marriage, but it can give you some insight and encouragement. For biblical healing, I strongly recommend "Lord Heal My Hurts" by Kay Arthur.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This book has some good points, but my anticipation ended largely in disappointment. The book is a bit light. Though truly the only way to get through the effects of your husband's sexual addiction is through God; Brenda's portrayal leads me to believe she is either larger than life or in a bit of denial.
A really bizarre thing Brenda Stoeker wrote was "... two dear old school chums who... suddenly and inexplicable found ourselves in bed together." This oddity begins in the second to the last paragraph on page 222 and continues onto page 223. I am still shocked that she would write something so flip. To describe intimacy with her husband as being like fornication, in my opinion, is completely irresponsible. Considering the primary audience for this book is women who are newly and/or deep in suffering through the reality of their husband's illicit sex, her words are really insensitive. Perhaps Fred's mental adultery is far enough behind them that she can talk so "lightly" about such things, but it shows disrespect for the majority of readers. Also, it is flat out bizarre and out of context in Christian self-help! The book has some good stuff so it really is unfortunate she tossed in that bit of trash and, in my eyes, did much to discredit herself.
Take this book with a grain of salt and, if you haven't already, find really good Christian therapists for yourself and husband! Good luck to all of you in one of the most painful trials of your life.
Helpful books for you and him: Any of the Boundaries books, How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong, Trapped in the Mirror, The Narcissistic Family, writings by Patsy Rae Dawson (gospelthemes.com), Douglas Weiss. Ph.D (sexaddict.com), Mark Laaser (faithfulandtrueministries.com and Edwin Cole, especially Maximized Manhood
47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't consider myself a feminist. Let's just start with that. I turned to this book because of the reviews and hearing of the "Every Man" series. I have have a husband struggling with a pornography addiction. After reading most of the book, I am disgusted beyond belief.
These are ACTUAL EXCERPTS from the book, then decide for yourself if YOU would feel better after reading this:(this is just a few pages...IMHO it is like this EVERY PAGE)
"When we wives disobey God and do not make ourselves sexually available to our husbands, we block off their main, natural route for expressing intimacy." (pg.72)
..."but before you cavalierly cut him off, consider exactly what you are doing." (pg.72)
"Life will always feel pretty meaningless to a husband without regular sexual intimacy...that is how men are made.." pg.73
and the next page (pg 74).."Where do they go to build an alternative intimacy if you pull away from them? All their alternatives are sinful:Internet porn, masturbation, sexual involvement with coworkers. When a man chooses to marry, he knows he is LIMITING his sexual options to her alone." (pg 75).
EACH PAGE IS FILLED WITH THIS MYSOGINISTIC B.S.
I swear, I read this with an open mind, with the eyes and heart of a dedicated Christian woman. But Fred writes most of this book, with his pathetically submissive (and permissive) wife walking literally 10 steps behind with a apologetic attitude. Fred loves to point out the debates that he has "won" with his wife on this subject and proceeds to blame her for all of HIS shortcomings and wandering eye.
Save your money AND YOUR SANITY. Go to a qualified marriage counselor or family therapist. The LAST THING YOU NEED IS THIS BOOK!!!!