I have often asked these same questions below to the men who attend Castimonia. The key, for me, is to not be judgmental or condemning of these individuals and understand that sometimes wanting to save their marriage (rather than have God fix them and their problem) is what the Holy Spirit uses to get them to attend the group. After extended attendance, however, they move to more of a healing focus for attendance rather than the selfish, “save my marriage” motive they originally had.
I frequently ask the members of our Saturday morning men’s purity group:
- Why did you come to our group?
- Why do you stay in our group?
Many guys come to group because they got caught, they feel bad that they got caught and their wives are pissed at them. They want peace in the house. They want their wives to get over it. They want to get back in the bedroom and have sex again.
I’m OK with whatever reason drives a guy to group. Really. Whatever gives you the courage to break the ice on the group is fine. It’s your starting point. It is your reality.
But if your primary reason for staying in a support group is to fix your marriage and have sex again… wrong answer. Your motivation is shallow, and you’re making an idol out of your marriage and your wife. Also, you’re focusing on something other than YOU.
YOU HAVE TO BE THE FOCUS It sounds selfish doesn’t it. But we become sexual strugglers because of our choices. We have a lot of changing to do. Before we can repair relationships and regain trust, WE have to change ourselves. It will be great if our marriages get back to the intimacy (spiritual, emotional, relational and sexual) God has designed them for. But until you are a lover and not a luster, you can’t be what God wants you to be.
A friend of mine who’s helped guys in recovery for over 15 years tells guys they need to make themselves and their own recovery their #1 focus for at least the first TWO YEARS. Wow! It doesn’t mean we don’t work on our marriages. It means getting our core right with God has to be #1.
WHAT IF YOUR MARRIAGE FAILS? If a whole marriage and sex are your #1 reasons for recovery, where does that leave you if your marriage dissolves. Too many guys in my groups have left recovery after they separated and divorced their wives. It tells me their focus was off.
Otherwise, we give up when our marriages give up. marriage fails, we still need to get our core issues right. We still need support, structure, and a purity plan. We still need the help of counselors, ministers and those experienced in recovery. We still need to be disciple on how to be pure.
MOTIVES SHOULD EVOLVE Our motives for staying in group should evolve. I don’t expect this to happen immediately.
For me, I came to group because I failed in life and ministry and thought I was a failure. I didn’t want to be a statistic. I didn’t want to be another fallen minister. I wanted to prove to myself, my wife, and my spiritual mentors that I was not a failure. This motive drove me hard into recovery. I was consumed for the first two years and did as much recovery, counseling, reading, and listening to podcasts as I could. Somewhere along the way God showed me through my counselor that I had an identity problem.
My early focus was to get back to “normal” in my marriage. But my “normal” was not healthy. I was not healthy for my marriage. I was not healthy for the Kingdom of God.
Q: Why did you come to our group?
My answer 6 Years Ago: To get rid of temptation. To get my marriage back to normal. So my wife won’t be pissed at me any more. To get on with my life. To get back into ministry.
Q: Why do you stay in our group?
My answer today: I can’t isolate and be OK. I need other brothers in my life who know my insides and love and accept me. I come to group to help other guys. Group helps me stay focused on recovery and accountable. Group reminds me I am only a few bad decisions away from falling back into bondage if I don’t stay engaged.
GET HELP FOR YOUR PURITY JOURNEY
Jeff Fisher helps guys with their purity journeys through:
- Online / Phone Support Groups
- Accountability Coaching
- Personal Coaching
- Speaking at Conferences