“How to Take Your Marriage Back from Porn” is the subtitle of Fight For Love, a new book by Rosie Makinney. I was excited to read this book; and after reading it, I was super excited to share it! There has been a desperate need for a resource that will encourage women whose husbands are caught in porn addiction. We have needed a book that will give these wives hope, courage, and practical guidance. I think Fight For Love will do just that!
However, I do have a concern about this book that has dampened some of my initial enthusiasm. Can I recommend a book and give a serious caution at the same time?
First, let me tell you what I love about this book. Then I will share my concern, and I will explore that topic with the help of my friend Dr. Jessica McCleese, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist (www.BeFullyWell.com).
What I Love about This Book
Even when only one person in a marriage is using porn, Satan knows how to destroy both the husband and the wife with that one stone. The husband may be the one caught in a sexual addiction, but the wife is often trapped in a stranglehold of despair, fear, and deep hurt. She feels inadequate to satisfy her husband sexually, and she also feels inadequate to forge a healthy path forward for either her husband or herself.
Rosie Makinney does a fantastic job of speaking truth and life into a wife’s wilting and wavering soul! It is Rosie’s healthy perspective that excites me about Fight For Love. Rosie recognizes that fighting porn is a battle worth waging and that it is a winnable war. But even as Rosie encourages wives to fight porn, she urges them to focus on their own journey into the emotional and spiritual thriving that is found only in Jesus Christ.
Here are some quotes from Fight For Love that I appreciate:
By relinquishing your attempts to control your husband and focusing instead on obeying God, you will not only relieve yourself of a massive burden, but you’ll also set your compass to actual recovery. (43)
… the only person’s reaction you can control is your own, and the only one who can convict is God. Be courageous, be calm, be kind, be firm. (44)
At some point into recovery I realized that the goal was not just about helping my husband get sober from porn and healing my marriage. The truth is, God brought me on this journey for me to heal me from [unhealthy] ways of thinking. . . . God wasn’t just stepping on my head to deal with my husband. He was taking me through all this for me too. (107)
That is a life-changing truth! We do not need to resent the failures of our spouses because God promises to turn curses into blessings for us because He loves us (Deuteronomy 23:5). God knows how to take the very thing that the enemy hopes will destroy us and use it instead to prosper us (Genesis 50:20). Let God do that for you!
Whether my husband got better or not, I could still work toward becoming healthier. … Being stuck in my victim role, dependent on Mark for my happiness, was making me angry and depressed. But choosing to align myself next to him on a parallel healing track felt purposeful and hopeful. (111-112)
I don’t need the relationships around me to be perfect in order to be okay; I don’t need everyone to keep their act together for me to keep mine together; I don’t need to control you for me to be happy. My ‘okayness’ truly comes from the Lord and not my circumstances . . . . My dependency is on God alone, which frees me to interact with others in love instead of in insecurity. (121)
That is a truly Biblical perspective! When God is our Need-Meeter, we can succeed and flourish wherever God assigns us, and we can minister joyfully to the people that God puts around us.
So, remember, when that little voice whispers in your ear that you aren’t strong enough or brave enough to go through this process, plead guilty and point to Jesus. . . . Yes, you are broken and terrified. . . . But remember: you are not doing this in your strength. Your hope is in the Lord. Your ‘help comes from the LORD’ (Ps. 121:2). The Lord God Almighty is on your side, and He will be victorious through you. For ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matt. 19:26). (139)
My Concern about This Book
Rosie devotes one chapter in her book to “the tools of recovery.” I agree that the principles of honesty, accountability, and support are very important components of successful recovery. However, some of the steps which Rosie mentions require the careful guidance of a trained counselor or therapist, and this should probably be communicated more clearly.
Rosie does say that the first tool, disclosure, should not “be attempted without the supervision of an experienced third party” (67). This same caution needs to be given for the other tools of recovery, such as the tool of celibacy.
Rosie writes: “Against the typical advice you may get …, a period of celibacy is highly recommended at the beginning of recovery. . . . The suggested time frame for celibacy is normally ninety days” (80, 81). I understand that in some situations, with professional guidance and support, this tool can be useful. But I am concerned that readers may try to use this tool on their own, only to find that it did more harm than good.
But I am not a sex therapist, so I called my friend Dr. Jessica McCleese, who is a certified sex therapist, as well as a licensed clinical psychologist (www.BeFullyWell.com). She confirmed that the tools of recovery discussed in Fight For Love can be very helpful but definitely require professional supervision.
While Dr. McCleese shared my concern about the recommendation of celibacy, she was even more concerned about the potential harms of unsupervised disclosure (which Rosie acknowledges). Dr. McCleese explained that details can be shared in disclosure which cause long-term damage and increased emotional pain. A trained therapist can filter the disclosure details so that what is shared is ultimately helpful and supports healing.
Other Things I Like about This Book
Rosie also includes a chapter to women who are struggling with porn themselves, as well as a final chapter with some excellent resources on porn-proofing children.
I am very thankful that Rosie Makinney is giving women hope and courage in this critical battle. I am thankful, too, for her encouragement to create supportive groups, to fight porn together within local church bodies, and to be vigilant on behalf of our children.
If I may give a caution about using the recovery tools only with trained supervision, I believe Fight for Love can be a great encouragement to many. In fact, Manna For Marriage is giving away 3 copies of this book.
If you would like to enter your name in the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment HERE. Three names will be selected at random on June 9, 2020.
Blessings to you,