Category Archives: Marriage

When Your Tool Doesn’t Fix What’s Broken

I’m guest posting today over at Heather Gillis’ place. Thank you so much for having me, Heather! Here’s a little teaser and then you can head over there to find out what tool really does work to fix your marriage.

Prayer Changes Marriages

It didn’t seem like it could be enough. How could simply praying save my marriage? How could words, words that most times weren’t uttered aloud, end my husband’s porn addiction?

For many years, I treated prayer like an “add-on” item to my Amazon cart. Something good, but not something that I truly needed. It was a way I could vent my frustrations, rail at God, and ask Him for healing, but I didn’t really think it had enough power to transform a life. I viewed porn addiction as something that required the “big guns,” though to be honest, I had no idea what those really were. I was in my early twenties and just learning one could be addicted to something called porn.

I had no tools to fix my husband, so I did my best to fashion one using the materials I had. I made one called Control. (Maybe you’ve used this one, too?) My control tool felt comfortable in my hand – tell him what to do and all our lives would be so much better. Though it was a very easy tool to use, it didn’t quite fit the job. I found myself frustrated often. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t follow my simple rules to keep him safe: Don’t close the door to the study, read the bible every day, keep the history so I can check it, tell me when he felt tempted, etc.

One day I realized how much all my drilling him with rules and regulations wasn’t keeping our marriage together. In one of my darkest moments of despair, I heard God right there in my puddle of tears in the middle of my bathroom closet.

To continue reading, please click here. Make sure you head over – we have a new resource for you to help you on your prayer journey!

How One Guy Found the Key to Amazing Sex


A guest post by Andrew Hamlet

I picked up some night shifts at the group home where I worked. Figured it would be some easy money because the residents were asleep. Besides I was going to be working with Chris and despite not getting to work together a lot, we got along.

Our conversation started out very normal that night. Hi. How are you? I’m good.  Standard banter for us. Then Chris got quiet. He moved passed the door that separated the two halves of the house and said, “Can I ask you a serious question?”

“Sure, why not?” I replied.

“You’re a Christian right?”

 “Yes, I am.”

“I’m just gonna come out and say it. I love my girlfriend, but I don’t know…the sex is just ok.”

Chris and I had never talked on this level. I was taken aback just for a moment. And then I responded with an equally serious question.

“I need you to be honest. How often do you watch porn and masturbate?”   His eyes went wide and then his head dropped a little.

“A lot,” he said.

“Chris, I’m not judging you right now. I can’t say that I’ve been perfect in that area at all. But what I’m getting at is this: using porn to take care of yourself is robbing your sex life. You’re creating a fantasy world that your girl cannot live up to and frankly, shouldn’t have to.”

Understanding seemed to flood his eyes at that moment.

“You’re not suggesting that I stop having sex with my girlfriend, are you?  ‘Cause I don’t think that I could do that,” Chris said.

“That would be the best, but how about this?”  The Holy Spirit, at that moment, just filled my mouth with words. “You stop watching porn and masturbating I promise your sex with your girlfriend will be the best it has ever been. Do you think you can do that for a month?” I said

Chris thought for a moment and told me he’d try.

A month went by and the first shift with Chris since our conversation was coming up. I wondered if he had stuck to the deal.   Did he give my crazy idea any thought?   I was also praying to God I wasn’t wrong – that abstaining for porn and masturbating did really make sex better.

We got to the house, did our rounds making sure that residents were settled in.

Chris could hardly contain himself.   He looked at me, grabbing both my shoulders.

“It worked. Andrew, it was the best sex I had ever had!”

He couldn’t wipe the smile of his face. I let him bask in the realization for a moment.

“I wasn’t wrong, was I?” I said

“No. I never imagined it could be like this,” Chris grinned.

“You know what I’m going to say now Chris, don’t you?”


“Imagine how awesome the sex could be if you waited till you were married,” I said.

“ I know, Andrew. I know, but I can’t do that,” Chris exclaimed.

“I know, Chris. You can’t.  You need Jesus to do that.”

Chris paused a moment, then spoke

“I know what your saying. I’m just not there yet.”

Chris walked to the other side of the group and it remained silent between us for rest of the night.

A few weeks passed and not a day went by that I didn’t think of Chris’ statement. I wondered, Should I have pushed him that night? Did I miss a chance to have Chris meet Jesus?

Another late shift came up and I took it. I was surprised to see Chris since he had already worked the day shift, but it wasn’t uncommon to do a double at our jobs. Turns out, Chris had another reason for picking up that shift.

Just as the house was settling for the night Chris passed through the door and he uttered this simple words: “Andrew, I need Him.” I was so caught of guard by his statement that I answered, “Need who?”

Chris paused and spoke again. “I need Jesus. I need what you have. I don’t want to go another day without knowing what you know.”

Wow, I thought to myself. Is this really happening? Is God about to use to me lead this young man to Christ?

We prayed right there in the group home that Chris would receive all that God had for him, that he would become a son of the King.

Chris got engaged a few weeks later, determined to find some accountability to help him abstain from sex with his fiancee until they became married.

I got call many months later.

“Chris, is that you?” I said “Aren’t you suppose to be on your honeymoon?”

“I am. Just had to call and tell you it was worth waiting for. I had the best sex of my life last night with my wife. You were right. God was right. Thank you.”

I hung up the phone amazed at what God had done. And so, my message to you is this: It’s not to late to abstain from sexual immorality and watch God bless it.   I promise that sex done the way God intended it has no equal. No website, movie or one-night stand will ever satisfy you in the way you seek to be really satisfied. But you can’t do it by your own willpower. Just like Chris discovered, you need Jesus. And no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, He wants you, too.

AndrewAndrew is a gifted story teller and teacher who uses his skills to further the truth of the gospel through his stories.  He’s sung and told stories through 80 songs and countless stories. He wants to engage culture and influence change. He wants to ensure the marketplace is filled with strong stories that challenge people to seek out God, not just pleasure.   Andrew completed a 4 year degree at Cornerstone University with a Communication Arts major. He completed film school at Compass Arts Film Academy, where he focused on creating compelling stories and characters. He resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife and four children. You can connect with Andrew on his Facebook page here.

A note from Craig and Jen: Are you struggling with porn addiction? Is it ruining your sex life and/or your relationship with your partner? You can kick this – with Jesus. How do we know? We did it. Read our story.

Book Cover

Why Giving Up Porn is Risky


Did you see the cover of TIME magazine recently? Did you hear what the state of Utah declared as a public health crisis? Or maybe you attend a church that isn’t afraid to address this same issue from a scriptural viewpoint?

What are all these people talking about? Porn.

And right now, you might want to look away from this post. Maybe you’re afraid of being judged. Maybe you assume, because I’m a woman, I’m going to be preachy and that I won’t understand. Maybe you just don’t get what the big deal about it is. You think, I’m a man. This is what men do.

If you are one that repeats that last sentence over and over again, you’re right. A lot of men look at porn. One survey revealed that 77% of Christian men between 18-30 years of age look at porn monthly. 36% look daily. 44% admit, or think they might be, addicted to it.

Men are definitely looking. Maybe you’re one of them?

But here’s what I want you to know: I am not here to judge you…

Come follow me over here to learn how my husband took the risk to give up porn and for what he traded his addiction.

Sharing the Pain of Porn: Podcast


Please come join me on Delight Your Marriage with Belah Rose. We’re talking about:

  • That you are not alone in dealing with porn addiction in your marriage.
  • The real reason men escape into pornography…(spoiler alert: it’s not your extra 20lbs!)
    • The world will lie to us and say we’re not x enough, that’s why our husband’s are addicted, but that’s only because they want to sell you something.
  • How to overcome shame.
  • What can you do to share your pain?

Join me over here!

Healing from Porn can be Fun?

Healing Fun

Yesterday at Gateway Church in northwest Austin, they talked about porn.

Porn talk in church on Sunday. God is moving, y’all.

With all that I am, I know God desperately wants healing for His people and He is stirring hearts to bring this issue into the light. Because where light is, darkness has to flee. And anyone who has been touched by porn addiction knows how much darkness surrounds it. It’s suffocating. It’s overwhelming. And Satan wants to tell us that it’s a hopeless situation or that it’s not worth the risk of confessing or that it’s not really hurting you.

Satan is really good at tailoring lies that speak to our exact situation.

But God is also really good at bringing Truth that touches our heart in just the place where we can receive it. Not to condemn us, but to convict us. And this conviction serves to let us know that there is something painful separating us from Him. He wants to show us how we can move it out of the way, how we can break down this wall that keeps us from knowing the fullness of His love and forgiveness. He wants this wall gone because He wants us.

God wants you. Even if you’re a porn addict. Especially because you’re a porn addict. He knows that if you’re turning to anything to fill this aching hole in your heart that what you’re really searching for is unconditional, totally fulfilling, audacious love.

And He has it.

And He feels it. He feels this love, this way, about you. And He’s going to keep after you with the Truth you need to be set free.

I saw this happen yesterday. I saw Truth spoken about porn addiction and healing in a new way.

This couple on stage (members of the church!) sat in front of hundreds of people and confessed the struggle with porn in their marriage.IMG_0657

And they said they were having fun.

FUN, y’all.

In all the testimonies and interviews and articles Craig and I have written about porn addiction and healing, we have never called this fun.

And yet.

I realized what they were saying, what they were exuding on their faces, was that building intimacy is fun. They were addressing hard questions. They were exploring their thoughts on things they had buried for so long. They were getting to know each other on a deeper level. They were learning what it means to really be one flesh.

As they learned that they could be fully known, they learned that they could be fully loved.

And isn’t that fun? Isn’t that a radical idea that our marriages can be places where we can have all our flaws and all our childhood pain and all our early adulthood baggage and still be loved. Still be someone that another person wants to be with? I mean, really be with.

Freedom is fun.

Porn addiction isn’t so fun. But having a spouse who will help you unravel it, who isn’t afraid to explore the real you, is. And the less you feel you have to keep up a facade, the easier it becomes to laugh, to enjoy, to give of yourself freely.

That’s fun.

Of course, it took this couple time to get to where this kind of exploration was fun. And for sure there were hard nights and tear-filled conversations. But the point is, there was more to it than just hard.

There were dates and late nights playing board games. There were road trips with deep conversations. There were revelations and inside jokes.

And how like God is that? To intersperse joy in the midst of pain? To bring moments of laughter when so many tears have been shed? To give us something to hold onto when our world has been blown to bits?

Just like God.

To watch the sermon about porn addiction by Ben Sledge and to hear the Skalko’s personal testimony, click here.

*And Gateway Church, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your Sunday.

An Easter Message for your Marriage


Yesterday was Easter Sunday, the day where God conquered death once and for all, where He took every sin we could possibly commit and paid for it with the ultimate sacrifice – Himself.

I think about the three days He laid in the tomb from Good Friday to Easter Sunday and the immense grief and darkness that came during that time. I imagine Mary, the disciples, and Mary Magdalene huddled at the foot of the cross, their anguish overwhelming. I envision Mary Magdalene at the tomb when she finds the body of her Savior and friend gone. It amazes me that she was even able to get out of bed to go to the tomb in the first place. Grief can be paralyzing.

The sermon on Sunday resounded with this simple message: Keep moving through grief, even if it’s simply putting one foot in front of the other, because you don’t want to miss the resurrection.

You don’t want to miss the resurrection.

As I sat in church, I pondered how this has played out in my own life, specifically in my marriage. Craig and I wrestled with porn for a decade. For 10 years, I was shrouded in grief, some times darker than others, as porn continually stole joy and safety and wholeness from us.

There were times we were unsure we would make it through. The darkness was so palpable we could barely see any light. The pain was so isolating, the problem so infuriating, the mountain seemingly insurmountable, the waves increasingly pounding against us. How could we ever survive this?

But we did.

It was long. It was hard. It was painful.

It was worth it.

Jesus’ death was long. It was hard. It was painful.

It was worth it.

The Resurrection came. The darkest of dark turned to light. The veil got torn. God won.

Our marriages can experience this same resurrection. While porn addiction feels like a death sentence, Jesus has overcome the grave.

What was dead can be brought back to life. What has been destroyed can be rebuilt. What seems insurmountable can be overcome.

Perhaps all you can do in your marriage right now, whether you are the one addicted or the one betrayed, is put one foot in front of the other.  That’s okay. It’s enough.

God is with you in the moving forward. He is in your every effort. He is there to receive every surrender, to forgive every sin, to trade every weakness for new strength. He’s already assumed every ounce of your shame so you no longer have to wear it.

The resurrection is coming.

Don’t miss it.

**************************************************************************Satan wants you to believe that you are beyond hope. Just as he thought he had won when Jesus was nailed to the tree, he thinks that porn addiction is a death sentence for your marriage.

But with Christ, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)

This is not a cliche. This is Truth. May the ultimate resurrection breath new life into your heart and your marriage.

#PornFreeFriday Periscope: REJECTION


Craig’s porn use left me feeling rejected. Why would he choose to look at porn when he had me? Here I was – living, breathing flesh – and apparently, that wasn’t good enough.

Ironically, after Craig’s initial exposure to porn, he kept coming back to it because he realized it was a “safe place” to be act like a man without actually having to be one. Because, face it, all of humankind has to face rejection in real life at one point or another. But with in the world of pornography, he seemed to be free from any risk of not being good enough.

The fear of rejection is something Satan preys on. How do we shore up this weak spot in us? How do we overcome this fear and push into intimacy with our spouse? Watch below to find out how Craig and I were able to overcome our fears of rejection and live free from their bondage. If you are able to view this between 1/22 at 2pm to 1/23 at 2pm, you can watch on Periscope (comment and give hearts). Just go here. If you miss the 24 hour window, you can watch below.

*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.
FamilyLife-Today-Dennis_RaineyBob_LepineDid you miss our story on FamilyLife today? Click here to check it out.

When All You Want for Christmas is for Your Spouse to Quit Porn


Craig spent many of our Christmases enslaved to pornography, so I know well the desire to just decorate and make things as perfect as possible so to try to escape the prison walls pornography held our marriage within.

But what if there’s another way? What if instead of decorating our prison, trying to hide what it really is, we embraced exactly where we are, bringing our reality to Jesus?

What could Jesus do with our Christmas wish?

*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.

How to Confess Your Porn Addiction to Your Spouse

I’m over at Covenant Eyes this week (no Periscope today – sick kiddo at home). Here’s a teaser and a link to the rest of the story…


Every time I found out about Craig using porn, I either found it on the computer or I caught him in the act. All the while, whenever I asked him about his temptations or actions, he denied engaging it.

Except for one time.

Though his confession was painful to hear, it paled in comparison with the rage and sense of betrayal I felt when I caught him trying to hide it from me.

Lies are never better than the truth.

Why confess?

We often tell our children it is always better if they confess to us first before we find out about something they did wrong. And this goes for adults too.

Anytime we harbor secret sin, it has the power to eat away at us and damage our relationships. Sin without confession always seems to beget more sin. We must keep up the lie lest we risk exposing the truth.

Click here to continue reading.

You Caught Your Spouse Looking at Porn. Now what?


Today’s Periscope gives you 3 Do’s and Don’ts for what to do if you catch your spouse in the act of viewing porn or you find it on his/her computer, device, etc.

I answer a few questions like:

  • Should I even tell him/her?
  • Can I tell anyone else this is going on?
  • Is porn about me? Is this because I’m or I’m not _________________.
  • Should I withhold my love until he gets his/her act together?

After you view the video, I’d love if you would be so kind to leave a comment letting me know what other kinds of questions/suggestions you have regarding porn/marriage. All comments have to be pre-approved, so if you’d like to be anonymous, just let me know and I can take your name off.

*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.