Sexual Sanity and Healing Wounded Hearts
There’s little doubt that pornography is a modern-day plague. Though pornography has always existed in one form or another, the Internet has created a medium through which it can be disseminated both widely and discreetly. Almost an entire generation of boys has succumbed at one time or another, with a new generation quickly falling into all of the same traps. And it has not just been boys; many men have found the temptation irresistible (and, of course, not a few women). While there are some who try to downplay pornography’s impact on life and marriage, evidence is mounting that it is a terribly destructive force.
Two new books from New Growth Press address the issue head-on. One targets men who are struggling with pornography or any other manner of sexual sin and the other brings help and healing to women who have found that their husbands have an addiction.
David White’s Sexual Sanity for Men seeks to help men “understand that sexual sin starts in their minds and hearts and shows them how knowing Christ breaks their chains, builds spiritual brotherhood, and helps them take practical steps to re-create their minds in a God-focused direction.” This is a study or a course as much as a book. It is broken into fourteen chapters, each of which has five parts. The idea is that you will read one chapter per week, and one part per weekday, and hopefully meet with other men along the way. There is a downloadable leader’s guide that allows it to be structured as a group study.
The heart of the book is helping men re-create their minds through the power of the Holy Spirit so that they are able to make choices that are sexually sane. Paul Tripp says it well in his endorsement:
I know of no resource for men who are struggling with sexual sin that is more soundly biblical, drenched with the gospel, and practical at the street level. I am thankful that this resource now exists and will recommend it again and again. Here is a welcome for men to come out of hiding, to embrace that there is nothing that could be revealed about them that hasn’t already been covered by the blood of Jesus, and to believe that God has given them every grace they need to fight the battle with sexual sin.
Meanwhile Vicki Tiede has written When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography. (Long-time readers of the blog may remember that I interviewed Tiede early in 2011 and at that time she mentioned that she was working on the book.) This book is meant for the women—the thousands or millions of women—who have been left shattered and betrayed when they have found out that their husband has an addiction to pornography. In many ways Tiede has the more difficult task; the men have sinned and have now to put sin to death; the wives have been sinned against and have to deal with the betrayal and heartbreak and bitterness.
Tiede writes from personal experience here and gently guides women away from anger and despair and toward healing. The book promises that “Through daily readings and questions on six important topics: hope, surrender, trust, identity, brokenness, and forgiveness, you will grow in healing and hope. Allowing God to meet your greatest needs is a long and learned process, but he promises to help you every step of the way.” Much like White’s book, this one is structured as a series of daily readings of five per week for six weeks. It is equally drenched in the gospel and equally practical. I had the opportunity to read it before it was published and to write this endorsement:
A porn plague is raging in homes across the world today, and for every addicted husband there is a brokenhearted wife. While there is an abundance of powerful, biblical resources to help men overcome addiction, their wives have largely been overlooked. I am grateful that Vicki Tiede has filled that void. In a book that is sensitive, biblical, and conversational, she comes alongside hurting women as a friend and guides them to the hope and peace only the gospel can give.
Though much has been written on the subject, each of these books has a niche all its own. White gives men the time they may need to overcome an addiction and to retrain their minds, something that usually cannot be accomplished overnight or through a quick reading a single book. Tiede eschews easy answers and calls women to the kind of action that will take time and conviction.
Both Sexual Sanity for Men and When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography are well-written, well-formed, and much-needed books. Any of us can benefit from reading these books and every pastor or counselor will want to keep some on hand.