An Elephant in the Room

Many couples are tip-toeing around an elephant in their marriage. It’s big. It doesn’t belong there. But nobody’s talking about what it is or what to do about it.

That elephant is sexual addiction. Even before it is seen and named, most of us already sense that there is an invisible wedge growing between us and our husband. We may not know what it is, but we “know” that it is an ominous threat to our marriage.

Even after your husband’s struggle is brought out in the open, it’s difficult to discern what you’re really up against. This passage from our book for wives, When Sex Causes Heartbreak, describes the challenge of defining this intruder.

“Some people categorize sexual addiction as a sin issue, others chalk it up to bad behavior, or inappropriate choices, and still others have it pegged as a “lust” problem. In actuality it is all of those and more.

It is somewhat like the old story of the six blind men and the elephant. Each man was introduced to a different part of the elephant and drew their own conclusions of what the beast was like based on their extremely limited experience. The one who felt only its trunk, described the elephant as similar to a snake; another one that touched the pachyderm’s leg thought that the animal was more like a tree, and so on. Although each had something to say, none of the six could accurately describe the animal in total by exploring just one small part of the whole.

    So it is with sexual addiction. There are many books and programs that look strictly at one facet or another and offer suggestions for conquering the whole by looking at a very finite part of it. Lust is one area that has garnered a vast amount of attention. There is much material available about conquering lust.

    In actuality, lust is nothing more than strong desire. We can lust after money, or knowledge, or sex or a variety of other things. In terms of sex, lust is usually a somewhat self-serving form of sexual desire that falls short of God’s very best for our relationship but, in itself, is not particularly right or wrong. It’s how we use it and who we allow to be the object of that lust that determines its sinfulness.

    Contrary to much popular teaching, sexual addiction is not an issue of sex or lust or bad choices, or even external behavior. It is about pain and loneliness and fear.

It is only as the addict begins to receive healing for the root causes of his addiction that he will be free to see and understand the healthy ways that God intended sexual desire to be used.”

“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father, but from the world.” — 1 John 2:15-17

TODAY’S CHAT:  Did you get a sense that something wasn’t quite right before you ever found out about your husband’s struggle? If so, how did it make you feel and what did you think the problem might be? We invite you to briefly share your experience below.

Image courtesy of africa /

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field