What does it mean to be a Godly woman? That question has been popping in and out of mind my since last week when I read about Josh Duggar’s link with the Ashley Madison scandal. I was heartbroken for the family. After they had just stood by his side so resolutely, this comes out. The pain and hurt must feel overpowering at times. But that’s how addiction works. Its grip is real and it doesn’t care what name or position you hold.
What has really bothered me though was the headline about Anna Duggar claiming responsibility for Josh’s actions and her father-in-law perpetuating that belief.
First, I consider myself to be a woman of faith who believes in the teachings of Christ. Forgiveness, the power of change, the healing power of love….I believe it. I also believe that God has given each one of us a voice, and He intends that voice to be used for good to dispel and breakdown messages that hurt us.
So, to anyone out there who has been devastated because someone you love struggles with pornography addiction, I have to scream out,
“NO! This is NOT your fault. You did NOT choose this. You did NOT cause this!”
A choice was made. That choice was not yours. The resulting consequences rest on the shoulders of the one viewing pornography–no one else. Even if you knew there was a past problem, you agreed to move forward in the good faith that your partner was on the road to recovery, committed to new choices, and ready to be faithful in your relationship.
Pornography and sex addictions are not about an unfulfilled sexual relationship or “needing more” from someone. This is not your fault. This is an addiction and just like a drug, it has no mercy. It is threatening our relationships and families at an epidemic rate.
Now, I don’t pretend for a minute to know what Anna Duggar or anyone else in a similar struggle should do. Those are personal decisions unique to each relationship.
Here are a few things I do know.
- God’s plan is NOT for one member in a relationship to be a doormat. That is not love.
- God has given both partners a voice. That voice is intended to be heard.
- Relationships require work and struggles are a part of the journey.
- Overcoming an addiction includes fully acknowledging its grasp, claiming responsibility, and getting professional help. Addictions don’t just go away by trying harder.
- Healthy relationships are founded in a mutual respect and love for one another where boundaries of safety are honored.