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natsumi

My Husband is Breaking his Covenants....

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What do I do?

I know that my Husband is breaking his covenants, but I don't know what to do. It isn't my responsibility to tell our Bishop - only he can repent, but it's straining our marriage. My husband is recently unemployed and looking for work, I am employed full time and at work all day. My husband has (or what I thought was prevously) struggled with an addition to pronography and masturbation. We have talked to our bishop and his temple recommendation and priesthoods were revoked for two years. Recently, just this month, we were able to attend the temple together again.

For me, this was the first time I was able to attend the temple ever. I'm a convert to the church and I had many apprehensions to overcome as well as addictions of my own. However, taking the temple prep class + prayer and meetings with the bishop allowed me to overcome my addictions to be completely worth of my recommend. I made 100% sure of that. June 9th was my endowment and I recently just went back to the temple for the second time on Monday (the 18th) with my husband. After we left the temple, he says to me that he realized that it's not enough to tell Satan to begone from our presence to relieve our addictions but that we have to do this, plus we have to move away and forward. I had hope in me that we were both maintaining our worthiness.

Come to find out, last night we were intimate and he could not finish. I knew from previous experience that meant that he had pleasured himself earilier in the day. I asked him to stop, and asked him sincerely to answer if he had. He said that he did and I thanked him for his honesty. We went to bed with that being said, but since then I have been so upset. I just cannot allow him to enter the temple having violated these sacred covenants nor preform his priesthoods in our home knowing that he may not be worthy to have them. It's not my saying, it's up to the bishop, but I feel he obtain his recommend under false pretenses and I am just betrayed.

I love my husband dearly, but I am not sure what to do. He is very prideful and stubborn. He does not like being told what to do, and in previous times when he has done something as "little" as masturbation, bishops have often given him the "resist temptation" speech. But this goes further, I know he has a problem and should not be allowed to continue to violate such convenants without serious circumstances. Even having preisthoods, recommend, and sacrament revoked for 2 years seemed to do nothing...I am at a loss. He just doesn't seem repentant....any advice on what do to?

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This is not your problem. It is your husband's.

I do not believe that masturbation is a trivial or unimportant sin. But I also don't think it alone is nearly as big a deal as you seem to be making of it. It is mostly a sign of something deeper, maybe unresolved stress or something else. Your condemnation of him is, in my opinion, more damaging to your marriage than is his masturbation.

Support him and help him without any condemnation whatsoever. Let him work things out. That's my view on the matter.

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I think part of the problem is he is self pleasuring and neglecting his wife's pleasure. He is having fun and she is having none. Very selfish of him and destructive to her self image.

Yeh that's what porn does to relationships.

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It just bothers me that it has barely three weeks that we've been temple worth; it took him 2 long years to get his priesthood + recommend + sacrament back. He did not show any signs of struggling and he was planning on hiding it from me. We are recovering together from similiar concerns so we are generally open about it. I understand why he is not forthcoming with it the day it happens, and my Husband never really was one to tell me when he had broken his promises. In fact, I've always had to find out on my own which only hurts me more. I just am not sure what to do because this strain on my marriage (a new marriage might I add) is not going to allow us to be sealed at the end of the year, nor raise a family.

I've known my husband for 10 years prior to our marriage, we were pen-pals and I know by the spirit that I was to marry him. I do love him with all of my heart, I just don't want our marriage to fail or fall apart. My father was highly addicted to pornography which ruined his marriage to my mother, it also exposed me and my sister at a young age. My sister became very promiscuous at a young age which led to sexual abuse by an older man and I became addicted to pornography as well. I have finally overcome my addiction because of my faith and the atonement, if it were not for the temple I fear I would still be wrapped in it. But I had the willpower and the desire to overcome such a disgusting habit, I fear my husband does not really have this desire as I did. I know he knows it is wrong, and I know he realizes the need to repent but I do not think he has the full capacity and desire to do so. The contrite spirit and broken heart as we should say.

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Guest

I hope you are taking every measure to make sure you don't have children with him right now.

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Eowyn, we are not sealed in the temple so we won't have children outside of that. I had asked him once if we could - because when we had recieved our temple recommends I had wanted a child with him he told me no. He says children are expensive :( His reponse is always "not at this time". In retrospect, I am glad that was the answer now, as I would not be wanting to have a child with him knowing what I know now.

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Natsumi, just in the interest of clarity while masturbation and pornography tend to be associated with each other it isn't a given that when you say he has been pleasuring himself that he has been looking at pornography. I understand there are pornography issues in the past for both of you but if you're trying to communicate a relapse of that particular aspect, rather than purely masturbation, it isn't necessarily coming through.

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I'm sorry. :( It sounds like your marriage has been difficult and painful. I hope you can find the best way to peace and happiness.

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Oddly enough, those that have overcome addictions are the least tolerant of others still addicted and I understand that. I tend to feel that if even I can over come something then surely any one can. It doesnt work that way. You can not make him overcome this. I dont even know what to suggest except that the more upset you get, the more he is probably going to dig in his heels. He may even use your 'nagging' as an excuse. (no its not your fault if he does. He is the one with the unresolved problem.) If not the nagging then he would find something else to blame it on like the mail was late today.

If you want to stick it out, and only you can decide that, then I wish you the best of luck. You might try a codependency support group to help you not get trapped into that. And of course prayer.

hmm hate to go to this but why is he soooo adamant against children? Has he actually ever agreed to have children or has there always been conditions?

Edited by annewandering

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Thank you for your advice. I haven't actually said anything to him or nagged him at all. This is only the first full day after his confession to me. So far, we've gone on like any other normal day. I know it's not easy and I know that I cannot force him to just resolve his issues. Only he can do that. I am just hoping for some advice on how to go to him about getting help or approach him to let him know that he needs to address this serious issue without making him feel like he's a horrible person. I am not trying to condemn him or take away his recommend + priesthoods + sacrament (because that obviously didn't work and that's not my call) I am his wife, my duty is to service him but I am unsure how to service him at this point when our issues - while similiar - are seperate and need seperate treatment.

I am also glad you brought up the point of that if I do try to force him he'll just dig in his heels more - this is SO true with my Husband. Any excuse for him to avoid his problems, he'll take it! The reason he said that he commit the sin was because "It was a lazy day", when he is unemployed - could have been looking for a job, we were to feed the missionaries that night (and needed groceries), the sink was overflowing with dishes, and there was a bucketload of chores that didn't get touched! He chose not to do anything! I know he's stressed without a job but I have not pressured him, I have not said one word against him. I have encouraged him only to speak to our career specialist at the church if he would like (since she was my visiting teachee) and since my company is hiring, I sent him to our website to look for some openings there. It took him 2 weeks to do it, but he did both. I didn't complain or push him I just let him pace himself. He still doesn't actively look, and even though we need the income we aren't struggling so I just...support him and help him whenever I can.

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I think part of the problem is he is self pleasuring and neglecting his wife's pleasure. He is having fun and she is having none. Very selfish of him and destructive to her self image.

I really hope this isn't your ultimate conclusion.

This really reads that he is having a crisis of confidence and esteem in himself. So he's trying to reach out for something to comfort him. So then the question: Isn't intimacy with his wife the ultimate comfort?" The answer: nope. When a person reaches that level of self doubt, they see the world as being judgmental, not good enough or a combination of the two. So then, he falls back on trying to wrap himself in his own comfort blanket. That blanket being pornography/masturbation. And to push him to the Bishop will only exacerbate these feelings. He needs to come to this need on his own. The only things you can do is to love him, hold him, let him know you still care and don't give advice, just listen.

If he's come around before, he'll come around again when he gets a bit more confidence in himself, a vision of hope for the future and a feeling of security.

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What do I do?

I know that my Husband is breaking his covenants, but I don't know what to do. It isn't my responsibility to tell our Bishop - only he can repent, but it's straining our marriage.

If your neighbors car was stolen and you knew the thief, would you hold back indicating that it's not your responsibility to report them?

If the neighbor was being unfaithful and you knew, would you hold back from telling her indicating that it's not your responsibility to tell her?

D&C 64:12-14

And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.

And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver—

Verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things.

Was this revelation was directed to the Elders of the Church? Yes.

Was D&C 121 directed to the Prophet Joseph Smith? Yes.

Can you apply D&C 121 to ourselves and derive guidance and comfort from it? Yes.

Can you apply D&C 64:12-14 to yourself and derive guidance and comfort from it? I do.

Knowing what you know and the consequences of sin, if you were the one breaking your covenants and being unrepentant, wouldn't you want someone to so bless you by shining light on the darkness in hopes that it leads you to repentance? I would.

Alma 32:13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.

I feel for you sister and empathize with the pain, suffering, confusion and sorrow this is causing you. By all means allow him to repent of himself and humble himself of his own accord but in the event that he does not, I pray that you will ponder these words. I sincerely hope that they will help.

Love,

Martain

Edited by Martain

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Thank you Martain, this is my biggest fear. I believe my husband only "repented" because of the knowledge that I was to be endowed and he would not be entering the temple to witness that event. Now that it is over, he feels that he can fall back into those habits until we are to be sealed in the temple at the end of the year. I know that his father, while may not be wrapped up in sin as he is, does not regular activate himself in the service of the church. In fact, his father openly told his family that now that his family is raised and married he will now go inactive since his "duties" as a parent are complete. He did not attend my endowment due to not being a temple worthy individual. I do not know the circumstances of his father, but I do know that my Husband has many traits of his father. That he feels that he is right in all things and will only do what he wishes, when he wishes and on his own terms - whenever and whatever that may be.

I feel that he may not repent of what he has done this last day and continue to fear each day what he will do now. I don't think he sees this as severely as it is, even if I see it as more severe than others. Still, I do not want to make him feel betrayed in any way I just wish him the best help he can recieve.

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Oh Sister Natsumi,

I hear the fear in your voice. I hear your love for him and your fear that he would feel betrayed or even reject you if you were to step forward. I hear the confusion and your desire to help him if only you knew how best to do so. I sincerely want to help you and I went to bed last night pondering what advice if any I could offer and this morning I continued doing so.

Do you remember how in Alma 32:13-15 the one who humbles themselves is more blessed than the man who is compelled to be humbled? Surely we all want our loved ones to be more blessed than less and hope that they will humble themselves of their own accord. Surely you'll want to allow him as much opportunity as possible to humble himself of his own accord.

Since the difficulty is that you don't know if he's already done so, talk to him.

Start with telling him how you're proud that he had the courage to tell you about the pornography and that you love and support him. Surely he was afraid of your rejection as well. Share with him you're feelings about pornography but then make it clear that while you hate and abhor pornography, that you love and adore him. Let him know that you want to help.

Ask him how long he's been battling with this and whether or not he's been counciling with the Bishop and if so when the last time they met was.

What you'll do next and how you can best support him depends on his answer to the above questions.

If he has not yet gone to the Bishop regarding past and reocurring issues with pornography here is what I would do.

Clearly state your expectations that he needs to go in and confess and give him a time frame by which to do so. Offer to go with him for support and offer to call and schedule the appointment for him if it would help.

If he doesn't want you to do it for him but indicates that he will follow through, then give him that time. If he then doesn't follow through, support him in his weakness, go and make the appointment for him, lovingly let him know that this is something he needs to do, tell him that one of you will be talking to the bishop and if he wants it to be him then he will be coming with you.

If his meeting with the Bishop is without you please make sure you know when the apointment was and then the next Sunday pull the Bishop aside. Then, referring to the scheduled appointment and his issues with the law of Chastity and moral cleanliness, ask the Bishop what more you can do to help your husband with his repentance and go from there.

If however he has gone to the Bishop regarding past and reocurring issues with pornography then here is what I would do.

Again praise him for his courage and emphasize your love and support for him. Remind him of how you look forward to being sealed to him for all of time and eternity and that you don't want anything preventing him from being worthy to make those covenants.

Have him read D&C 82:7 and loveingly set a clear expectation that he needs to schedule an appointment with the Bishop again and that you want to come with him as well. If he doesn't, set it for him and let him know that one of you will be talking ot the bishop and if he wants it to be him then he will be coming with you.

Be loving, be firm, be supportive and realize that in the war against pornography, he will need your help.

Your fear is clearly audible but please remember that the fear is not from your Heavenly Father (2 Timothy 1:7). Please also continue applying James 5:16 and know that doing so will definately help him.

Hoping something I've said will be of assistance,

Love,

Brother Martain

P.S. Picking the time and place of such a discussion in order to minimize the influence of stress and fatigue is also a very good idea.

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Oh sweetie. How can I say that you are overreacting in the most sweetest way possible?

Anyone who has been through recovery will tell you that sometimes slips happen. Mbing is NOT the same as using porn and mbing. And your husband was honest with you. That, in and of itself, is a better sign of recovery than a perfect performance record.

You said your husband is struggling with his unemployment. I think many do...especially if they are men. I'm wondering if what you see (in reference to the mb AND his inability to clean the house at key moments) has less to do with irresponsibility and more to do with stress. Perhaps he is struggling with some depressed feelings. Perhaps he hasn't completely exchanged his old coping for healthy coping.

I think he needs your support, compassion, and patience.

DON'T go running to the bishop. Take a breath instead. You said you'd been through addiction stuff too, right? You better than anyone should know that there is always a story underneath the story. What would it be like for him to find a soft place in you so he could talk about that story?

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Yeh that's what porn does to relationships.

I think this is what porn and masturbation CAN do to relationships.

It doesn't have to mean the end of the world and it doesn't have to mean the destruction of a wife's self image.

There is something that is bothering me about the responses on this thread. Maybe it's the assumptions being made. Maybe it's the overreaction. Probably both. One thing I know for sure. Overreaction doesn't help anybody.

Maybe the Lds world does have an epidemic of this type of behaviors. But I also think we have an epidemic of freaking out over it too.

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I liked Misshalfway's advice even though I see it as conflicting with what I wrote =).

In the end the best guide isn't going to be either of us but the Lord via the Holy Ghost. As you ponder what to do and sincerely ask the Lord what he would have you do, I'm positive that you'll be guided.

Have you considered a priesthood blessing?

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If you withdraw your support from him, it will only further the addictions hold on him. When he sees judgement in your eyes, he will probably react in anger and go to the only thing that helps him feel better, the addiction. Even if its a momentary thing that perpetuates the guilt cycle.

Relapses are lessons in humility.

Listen to him, because he knows he can't do it alone, even if he feels that no one trusts him.

Ether 12:27.

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Misshalway hit the nail on the head again!

--

*I am pleading with you in what is about to follow*

Please, Please, Please take a deep breath and think this through. If you go tell the Bishop it will only destroy trust in your marriage. Destroying trust over a matter as trivial as this is not worth it. Instead of going to the Bishop just express your concern to your husband. What you decide to do could be fatal to your marriage.

Now I want to put things in perspective for you. Every single man has masturbated before, it is unavoidable. If a man tells you he has never masturbated in his life he is probably lying. Like Misshalway said, we make far to big of a deal about nothing. Why do you think Bishops always give the same talk to him? It is because they have all had similar struggles.

Edited by MasterOrator

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There is a good article in the June Ensign and there have been others on this very topic as well. These issues cultivate an internal self loathing and a cycle that seems nearly impossible to reverse. This would be a good opportunity to check out the addiction recovery program. Go with him if he would like to have you there, or perhaps with someone who can be his mentor and ally. This is going to require time, prayer and a Godly portion of love, patience and long suffering. Whatever you are feeling, his feelings will, with the right mixture of anger, personalization and judgment, drive him further from God.

Counseling seems like another thing to consider. Working the problem rather than the "sin" may be an issue of "view" or "attitude" but will go further on the road to redemtion which requires repentance. Leave the issue of repentance with the Bishop (it seems you are) so it follows that he will have to be brought onboard at some point. I see this as a journey to get closer to God. It's a slow, painful and personal journey that you can be supportive of but he can't be made to "drink". I think you sound like you have it in you and I find that impressive.

Choose to fight 'for' and 'with' him. God bless you both.

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