In a recent issue of The Good News, Cory Nickols covered the sensitive issue of pornography addiction and men in addition to offering different avenues and therapies that can be taken for those seeking help. This month, we will look at the issue from the perspective of women and will learn how a local South Florida Life is helping those women whose partners or husbands are struggling with this addiction.
Am I Not Enough?
For women whose relationships are struggling because of their partner’s addiction to pornography or who have engaged in an adulterous affair, the situation can seem hopeless. Often times, numerous questions and endless feelings of doubt and despair plague the woman’s mind.
“Why does my husband want to spend time with another woman instead of me?”
“Why doesn’t he find me attractive anymore?”
“What did I do to make my husband not want me?”
“Why is that girl in that magazine, internet site, etc., more important than me?”
Most women are emotionally and psychologically tormented while trying to figure out why this has happened and are left wondering if their relationship is over. Finding out that a partner has an addiction to pornography or has committed adultery can leave the woman feeling demeaned, devalued and dishonored. To help answer the question of “Why?” many women turn to Christian Marriage and Family Counselor, Jaqi Iaia (pronounced Yaya). In addition to being formally educated in Marriage and Family Counseling, Iaia is also Seminary trained. Through the Renewed Hope Life at Victory Life Church in Plantation, Iaia, the Director, counsels women and their spouses/families who are dealing with various types of issues and addictions.
“In regards to dealing with a partner who is addicted to pornography or having inappropriate relationships with other women, I thought ‘Why not put together a class specifically for women?’ There is such a huge need for women in the church who are dealing with this issue,” she explains. “I wanted to help women understand the root cause and psychological mechanisms as to why men become involved in pornography and affairs.”
Women who are interested in learning about the deeper issues to these problems can do so by attending Renewed Hope’s 3-week course For Wives Only, which starts in June at Victory Life Church. For Wives Only is specially designed for women whose husbands are struggling with inappropriate sexual activity via the internet, printed materials and/or illicit relationships. “Any type of program that deals with addictions and the behavioral aspect of the problem is wonderful and well needed, but what I wanted to do with this course was to provide a little more meat and help women understand why men look at porn, while also taking a closer look at the women. For instance, a topic we may discuss could be why some women would be willing to be involved with a man who has a porn addiction.” One topic that will be touched on during the class will be why the root cause of the pornography issue their partner is struggling with has nothing to do with the wife. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, there is a mother glitch. We have to look at the mother-son relationship. Some men were brought up with a distant, cold mother who fell short in the nurturing and caring department…while others were brought up by an over-controlling, enmeshed mother who may have looked to her son for all of her emotional support. When a man understands how this dysfunctional relationship with his mother plays an enormous role in his addiction, a couple finally has something to work with in terms of repairing the marriage,” she shares.
The Brain Factor
So, why is pornography highly addictive? “The endorphins that are released are extremely powerful. They become explosive; it literally creates a greater high than one would get from using morphine,” explains Iaia. “When a pornography addiction is recognized and dealt with early on, the person struggling can be quite successful in overcoming the addiction. Wives need to know that men are shamed by this behavior. Because of this shame, they don’t confide in their wives about their struggle. When the addiction surfaces, women need to understand that he has a shame issue but they also need to see what he is willing to do about the problem. This is when setting up personal boundaries becomes very important. The level of betrayal and lack of trust within the marriage are now extreme. If the man is willing to go to counseling, then it will be helpful for him to know that the woman stands behind him.” Not all men, however, will be willing to go to counseling once their addiction has been exposed. Iaia shares some options for women who may currently be experiencing this. “No matter the struggle, women need to understand that you are not going to change him. If the husband is unwilling to go to counseling, then I feel the woman needs to have the confidence to stand in front of that man and make herself understood. He may lash out or become defensive because he doesn’t want to hear it, but that woman has a responsibility to protect herself and know that this is not what God desires for their marriage,” tells Iaia. “To continue to live with a man who violates and abuses you on an ongoing basis because you want to try to ‘keep the marriage together’ is not what God intended for husband and wife. A wife cannot keep her man from not sinning – he needs to take responsibility for himself and his actions. In certain circumstances a separation may need to take place for a period of time. Scripture tells us to separate from each other for a time of prayer and fasting. Separation puts up a boundary that says ‘I am not going to be here anymore unless you commit to doing something aboutt this.”
There is Hope…
Going through the experience of dealing with a spouse’s affair or pornography addiction doesn’t mean that divorce is a certainty; many marriages survive and grow stronger having gone through these circumstances. “There are many marriages that can be restored – again, it requires an intervention and counseling, but I have seen it happen. People have affairs or look at pornography because there is some sort of pain, loneliness or intimacy issue, along with a whole host of problems between the couple that haven’t been addressed; they begin to live in a state of avoidancy,” she shares. “No marriage can sustain a triangle. If both husband and wife are willing to work on the marriage, understand the problems within the relationship and learn new ways to communicate and speak to one another, then these issues can be worked through.”
Where Do I Sign Up?
Women who are interested in attending the For Wives Only series must register ahead of time with Iaia. There is a $25.00 registration fee that will include an individual counseling session before the series commences on June 16th. Through the individual counseling sessions, Iaia will get to know each attendant one-on-one and learn more about individual circumstances. She will then use this information to better serve the attendants of the series. “Women will leave this series having a better understanding of where the sexual addiction or dysfunction comes from, they will feel empowered and they will have renewed hope for their relationship,” Iaia adds.
There is a $25.00 dollar fee per person per session. To register for this 3-week series, please call Jaqi Iaia at 954-916-4818. For Wives Only will be held from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Victory Life Church in Plantation starting June 16th.