Questions Wounded Wives Ask Part II

Renee, how is it that your ministry WIFEBOAT came about?
My husband, Joe Dallas, has worked with men for over 20 years with men who have wrestled against sexual brokenness –whether it’s been pornography, homosexuality, adultery—and for every man who has come for help there’s a hurting, confused and shattered wife who needs help and support.

Sexual sin is not just about the man who is struggling with it—it’s about a marriage in trauma.  I have run support groups through the years, but WifeBoat is a teaching blog resource and a way for women to get support and connect with each other no matter where they live or what time of day it is.

What made you personally interested in this kind of ministry?
My own story.  Before I even met Joe, I was impacted by adultery.  As a Christian, I thought something like that would never happen in my marriage, but it did.  It left me very wounded and broken.  But I experienced great healing and grace from God in those times of great need. I received very practical help and grew spiritually like I had never done before.  So I wanted to use what God gave me to help facilitate it for other wives in crisis.  (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

How common do you think this problem is in the church today?
We know that pornography and other sexual sins are the proverbial “elephant in the sanctuary” these days not only because of the number of people that come to us for help, but also in surveys and studies that have borne this out. And common sense tells us this.  The availability of sexually explicit material on the internet, media and culture affects people in the church too.  It’s a huge challenge.

What can the Church do to better meet the needs of families that have been affected by sexual sin?
I think the first thing is to admit that it exists!  Joe and I have found over the last 20 years of helping people with sexual brokenness that by and large Christians have been loathe to admit they struggle with these temptations. And spouses can be very humiliated and embarrassed.  We feel we have to present our Perfect Faces to the world and each other, so it can be difficult to find a safe place to go to and honestly get support and help.  

The Church can help by having conversations that will make it okay to reach out and get help and by providing a Biblically based structure on how to overcome and deal with sexual sin. We’ve developed resources like this that churches can use.  My husband’s book The Game Plan is great for this – and we have group materials available. The WifeBoat blog and Online Support Group are great resources for wives.

So, do you think people can recover from sexual sin or betrayal by themselves?
This is the type of sin that thrives in secret, so in my opinion, no.  The Bible tells us to live our lives in the light, so when we come to trusted brothers and sisters in Christ through counseling, accountability groups or our pastors, we are bringing ourselves out into the light so that we may be healed.  More often than not, it involves a process of adhering to a structure based on God’s principles with accountability and support.  Both partners in a marriage impacted by sexual sin need help—it’s very difficult to deal with it alone.

How do you get started?
First, be honest with yourself and God.  My husband has a great saying, “Thou shalt not kid thyself”.  (See Ten Tips for Maintaining Sexual Integrity ) Psalm 145 talks about how God is near to those who come to Him in truth, Psalm 55 tell us God desires truth in the “inward parts”.  Make an earnest commitment to God, remembering that it’s not your own efforts alone but His grace that will enable you to overcome and get healing.   After that, I’d suggest looking for a trusted friend, Christian counselor or pastor to talk with, and look into resources to educate yourself and get accountability and support.


  1. I hope everyone is okay this week. I feel raw as I navigate the holidays with the kids. I keep praying for clarity of thought and the strength to go on each day.

  2. Kathy:
    Good to hear you’ve found a place to get support. Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. -R

  3. Hi Renee,
    I have found a Freedom Recovery program/study, and they have a group called “The Betrayed Heart”…for women who have experienced infidelity of all types…I believe this will help alot. I have never had another wife to talk to in this setting. I will keep in touch. Kathy

  4. Kathy:
    That last question is the one that will take time for you to answer for yourself. I think you’ll need to take the first step, and that is, getting support. I’d suggest a good Christian counselor or pastoral counselor, and even a support group. WifeBoat will be starting up a new round of support groups in January, which I hope you’ll look into. The group provides a combination of teaching, journaling questions and group support. (I should have a new banner ad up on this site within a week). But you can’t do this alone, Kathy. Isolation is probably the worst thing, but hearing from other women who are dealing with the same things really helps give you insight.

    Thanks for writing back, Kathy. Please stay in touch. -R

  5. Thank you Renee for praying for me and being a support to so many women walking out and working out their salvation on such a road as this. Yes, you are right I have lost any sense of self confidencee in these past 10 years or so….
    What rights do I have?

  6. Kathy:
    I’m glad to hear that you’re in counseling and I hope that you’ll be able to find direction, insight and hope through it. There is alot to sort out about what’s happened over the years in your marriage, but from the questions you’re asking, it seems like you want to know if it’s okay now to be concerned about your own welfare. Perhaps the years of infidelity and your husband’s subsequent depression have confused your sense of confidence in yourself. It’s something that happens alot when women are in these situations, especially for such extended periods of time. Ultimately, only you can make the decisions about what’s right for you and I pray you’ll find the clarity and courage to make those decisions. God has told us to love and sacrifice for one another, yes. But not at the expense of our own integrity. So, what, as a good steward of your own life, is He wanting from you now?

    I”ll be praying for you, Kathy. God grant you wisdom, grace, and peace. Keep in touch, and take good care of yourself. -R

  7. Renee,
    2010 will be our 25th year anniversary since the realization of my husbands struggle with homosexuality a long time ago (two weeks before our 7th year anniversary). Our marriage has suffered three affairs, two of which with mutual friends, and one with a stanger who was also a married man with 2 kids. This one went on for one year behind my back. Plus countless annonymos encounters over the years. Sometimes I wonder if I should check myself into an abused women’s shelter…why have I stayed in this marriage?

    I just started counseling a few weeks ago with a man who has many years experience with same sex issues and adultery. I feel dead toward my husband and distant from God, but yet I love my God deeply and trust Him. I have sweet fellowship at times with God, but not consistently. Have I diminished my value by staying here or has God just given me that much grace over the tears… I mean years… of infidelity? My spouse says he is sorry, but as I am allowing myself to be honest now, I have never seen a heart change in my husband. I just feel like I would know it if I see it. He has gone to groups over the years, but never stuck with accountibility. We have two children in college. What kind of message have I sent them? Staying and trusting God is a good message, but is it the Best ? Have I just enabled him to stay in his pattern by not leaving? Leaving also takes a great amount of trust, maybe even more than staying!

    I just need prayer support as I seek Godly counsel. We just moved to a new area and haven’t got a church home yet. My husband just finished his Masters in counseling. He realized and had confirmed this gift in him. However he has yet to truly give his whole heart to Christ and hides alot behind depression, body aches and pains …one complaint after another. It has become such a drag (literally) to live with a depressed person who seems not to want to get better…and yet he says he has done everything he knows to obey God. I’ve trusted God to heal all that the locusts have eaten and to restore our marriage…I am just wondering if he wants to restore me outside of this marriage. I need a sign…if I am to change the status quo …Thank you. Blessings, Kathy

  8. You have to take care of yourself too. I do not believe that we need to live an intimate life with someone who had abandoned our marriage vows. I needed to see my doctor and have blood tests and other tests to be certain I was healthy. Through the grace of God I am. After 4 months, I feel better at this moment. But in 20 minutes I may be washed with anger and pain that is unbearable. Emotions come in waves as well as the strength you need. I have done things I didn’t think I could do since he left. Each feat is an accomplishment. I will not stand by and pretend that everything is ok because that is what he wants me to do. While I will not shout his secrets from the rooftops, I will not be the good wife who makes everything seem ok for appearances. I do not want my daughters to thnk that is ok. Each day I am solving more and more problems my way that crop up in our lives. While I miss my partner and friend, I am feeling empowered to live my life. God’s voice is hard to hear through the tears sometimes.

  9. Anisa,
    I’m not sure “everyone always” should be encouraged to stay in a marriage seriously betrayed by adultery — this is a decision made on a case-by-case basis. Generally, it depends on the level of humility and repentance that a husband has and whether or not the wife feels he is truly making reforms in his life. And I agree with you on the expectations that are put on many wives – these arbritary timelines of 90-120 days and you’ll be “better” are not realistic, nor are they fair. What your husband did (with your best friend, no less) crossed over some very serious lines and it’s reasonable for you to know whether or not he’s taken steps to make sure that never happens again. You sound angry and I don’t blame you — if you’re getting pat answers on what you should do, you probably don’t feel very listened to. And while everyone’s feeling compassion for him and his failure, you’re feeling out on the sidelines having to deal with the aftermath.

    And forgiveness does not equal trust. That’s a distinction many people have a hard time making, so they may be putting expectations on you in that area too. With God’s help, we are mandated to forgive. But trust is something that the offending partner has to earnestly begin to rebuild. If your husband is interested in rebuilding trust and you’re both willing to work on any issues that preceeded the affair, perhaps there is a chance for your marriage. But if you don’t feel that is the case, then perhaps it is appropriate for you to separate. Only you know this for sure.

    All that to say, one solution does not fit all. Many Christian women want to try to stay in thier marriages and are intelligently and prayerfully looking for signs that it is the right thing to do. Through support and counsel, they trust they will make the right decision for themselves and thier families.

    I pray that the Lord will bring you to a place of peace in the road that lies ahead for you. If you need support, please stay in touch with us at WifeBoat — we offer continuing support groups separately as well as through comments on this blog. God Bless and take good care. -R

  10. Why is it that everyone always encourges us to stay and work through such a traumatic offense as adultery? In my case, my husband was also my pastor, and the offense was with my best friend. I almost feel like my husband is spanked on the hand, and comforted with the words, “we all have sinned and fall short…” or “there is now no condemnation to those that are in Christ…”, and here I am, expected to mount up on wings like an eagle and simply soar over this gross betrayal and awful breech because, “God has called me to forgive.” And with HIS help, I did forgive, but now what do I do with the self-doubt, anger, images, covering the relationship, and covering the children from the truth, while still ministering to my husband intimately. It’s like I’m given a certain period of time to absorb, deal and move on — 90 to 120 days the max. I want wives to understand, from a Biblical perspective that it is OK if they elect to leave; that they ARE NOT considered weak if they opt out. I’m even finding that it takes more strength and faith to leave even in such a case. After 22 years and three children, it feels normal to stay in dysfunction than to leave and seek God’s normalcy. I just want women to feel and KNOW that they have an option what happens from here on, because we surely didn’t have an option when it came to the dimensional pain dumped on us at the uncovering of the adultery.

  11. Jackie,
    I am so sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through, and I hope you will find support and strength from safe friends as you go through the next steps in your relationship. If your husband were to want help, I would refer you and he to the resources on or check our the Exodus International website. And please stay in touch with us here at WifeBoat and let us know how you’re doing. Take care of yourself. -R

  12. My husband I are ministers in the church. I thought he may struggle with homosexuality but I became painfully aware 11 weeks after our marriage that it was more serious than I thought. I caught him in the act I didn’t see anything but he confessed to it. After that I had to get him to not contact this man anymore he agreed I think. I am not sure if he is still in contact with the guy or not. Today I was on facebook and his picture with an alias pops up and the information I am unable to see but I think He is leading a double life. I am tired we have been married for 2 1/2 years I am trying to work it out but I think our marriage is over

  13. Hello, Anne,

    So sorry that you are experiencing such pain when this should be such a wonderful, happy time in your life with your new baby. Congratulations! I will pray that you will find such peach and comfort in that little one. Every time you look into his face, remember, God is smiling back at you. I can definitely understand what you are feeling. I just posted my story under the subtitle of Wives of Men with SSA. My husband has been sexually active with another man for the last 15 years of our marriage. My heart is ripped in two. But, I do know this…WE are daughters of the King and He loves us SO much. Please allow HIM to love you like no one else can. You cannot fix your husband, only our Heavenly Father can. We can’t trust our husbands right now, but we CAN trust them to God. Everyday when you get up, tell God that you are trusting your husband to Him. I will be praying for you. Love in Christ!!

  14. hello again! So I’m now 2 weeks in to the groundbreaking revelation that my husband has been addicted to porn for the past year..the first year of our marriage, and we have a new born son. We have started counseling and just received Joe’s book today, which he plans to work through. It is still definetely a struggle that seems to hit me once a day like a strong intense wave of emotion, anger, sadness and depression. I usually unleash in that moment on my husband and say whatever thoughts come to mind because I feel I am aloud or entitled to say what I want. I can’t say I am completely justified because I can see how exhausted I make him after these conversations and can sometimes be hurtful with the things I say. As I read so many comments from other women, many seem to feel something similar to me- God is far away. Why is this? Is it because my heart is hard and full of anger right now, is he waiting until I fully forgive my husband? Is this a test to see how I handle all of this? I sometimes wander if I’m being punished for affairs I’ve had on God in my own life. It is hard to understand why in the time I need Him the most he feels so distant. If He came to me now with words of comfort, peace, and promise about my marriage it would be so much easier to be motivated to stay, trust again, and get through this time. P.S. Thank you for this place to come and talk through this!

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