How Can I Protect my Pastor-Husband from Sexual Sin?

If you are married to a pastor or Christian leader, in the wake of yet another renown pastor, Tullian  Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) stepping down from ministry because of his adultery, it makes you think seriously about your own marriage, and “will this happen to us?”

Adultery usually starts long before any physical touch with someone you are not married to. It often begins with a dissatisfaction in one’s marriage, which leads one to being vulnerable. Then we are open to inappropriate desiring and lusting after someone else.  Beware too, that if your husband is in public ministry, there will be women who will find him desirable and attractive and, who may, or maybe not intentionally, make themselves “available” to him.

As a pastor’s wife, I believe that there is much we can do to help protect our marriages, emotionally, physically and spiritually, so that our husband, and/or we, will not fall into adultery. But how can we affair-proof our marriages?

Here are a few things I have found helpful to strengthen and maintain a strong marriage. These are good for all marriages, but particularly for those in public ministry. (Not in any particular order except the first one!)

  • Maintain a close relationship in Christ. Study and meditate on the Word of God, be a praying woman, and love the Lord with all your heart mind, and strength.
  • Be a godly woman. Act godly in all circumstances.
  • Make yourself attractive – inside and out!
  • Be strong in your theology, listen to your husband’s preaching. Discuss theological issues. If your theology differs from his, be open to be challenged and read around the subject, particularly, to understand his view. Be careful to never undermine his ministry by openly disagreeing with him.
  • Lose those extra pounds. Dress well and how your husband likes.
  • Be submissive to your husband as to the Lord.
  • Be a good example of a loving Christian marriage, so HAVE a loving Christian marriage!
  • Be publicly physical with your husband. Look like you are “together”. This can only flow out of a close marriage that happens in private.
  • Encourage your husband. Be his No. 1 fan.
  • Be a visible helpmeet to your husband. At conferences, when he is tied up talking to people, ask him if he would like a cup of tea or if he would like you to get him something to eat, or he may need you to photocopy his notes. He may ask you to pray or talk to the girls or women. Be ready and helpful.
  • Be gracious about the time your husband has to spend time away from you and the family. Go with him if possible and/or appropriate.
  • Thank God for his calling. Pray for him and his ministry.
  • Raise the children to appreciate the ministry of their father and to love him.
  • Practice an open door policy. Be hospitable so that your husband can invite women he must see into your home.
  • Help him by being interested in his ministry and be his confidante and best friend.
  • Help him to hold to the rule “never be alone with a woman” and the same applies to you, “never be alone with a man”.

I hope you have found these things helpful, I have. I am sure there are other things we could be doing too, but the abiding thing is to (a) have a strong faith yourself and (b) build a strong marriage together.


Sexual Grooming

Dear Parents

This is a difficult blog to write but I want to bring some things to light so that we, as parents, and friends, are aware and are quick to protect our children (both boys and girls) from people who are grooming our children for sex.  I have seen, close hand, a sexual groomer at work. It is heartbreaking and yet incredible how this can happen under our own noses.

I strongly encourage you to read this blog written by Rachel Lees who was sexually groomed by a prominent Christian leader. She writes about the stages of sexual grooming which I found were very helpful and spot on.

By the time a groomer has completed Rachel’s list, the groomer starts to make the child sexually aware and/or orchestrates situations where they are naked (or mostly; for example; like going swimming together or hugging at night-time) and then progresses to abusing the child sexually. By this time, a groomer has stolen your child’s heart and made it theirs, and it isn’t a huge leap to steal their body too.

Listen and Look: Be aware of where your children are at all times and who they are with. Be aware of any adults that are very friendly with your child(ren). This is a very difficult area because it makes it so difficult for adults who are genuinely friendly to children, so a high degree of discernment is needed. If someone has had the courage to talk to you about a situation, it probably means it may be more than just being friendly and time for you to be evaluate the relationship. The difficult part for a parent is to hear the counsel and advice of friends who are concerned for your child. The advice from a friend may well confirm some uneasy feelings you have had, or it may be like a lightning bolt out of the blue. People don’t usually say something of this nature without there being some substance and the groomer WILL be someone you trust totally. So the temptation will be to brush it off. But listen. It takes a huge amount of courage to say something, because often nothing, as such, has actually taken place (remember we are talking about grooming here), but there are some signs that someone sees what is going on and feels so uncomfortable that they have plucked up the courage to say something to you. Take special note, if the person talking to you is someone who has been abused themselves,as they are often very aware of how sexual groomers work. Listen to your child. Sometimes they will try to tell you something, especially after sexual abuse has actually happened or is happening, but we don’t listen to them or don’t believe them. Don’t brush them aside or disbelieve them. Very, very rarely will they make up anything of a sexual nature.

Act: Then the other difficult thing to do is to act. Even if there is nothing happening, it is probably time to take stock and look at yourselves and your child(ren). Do you have a close relationship? How do your children interact with adults and others? Are they withdrawn and isolated or overly friendly? Are they being touched or are touching an adult inappropriately? Is someone very friendly with your your child?

Protect them: To pull a child away from a relationship that has developed or is developing (see the link to the steps a sexual groomer uses) can be very difficult, especially before anything of a sexual nature has actually occurred. They will not understand why you are so against their “friend” “favourite uncle”, whoever, and will possibly become very upset with you and will want to tell their “friend” how unfair you have been. Parents, have courage and do whatever you need to do to protect your child. It may mean breaking off all contact, or making sure they are never alone with the person. If the adult involved is an innocent party, they will understand your desire to protect your child and respect your boundaries. However, if this is not the case, this can be a very harrowing time, especially if the grooming is fairly progressed. The adult will try and circumnavigate your boundaries and keep contact with the child and the child (not understanding what is happening) can become deceitful and determined to see their “friend”. Persevere and pray for courage and strength. Seek support from friends and family, especially from the person who has spoken to you (if someone has).

Love them: Draw your child back into your family, (one of the things groomers look for are children who are isolated from their families, or who are vulnerable). Spend time with them, lovingly, gently and kindly showing them that you love them and that they are a very vital part of your family. You need to replace their “friend”s friendship and “love” with your own true love and kindness.

Pray for them: During this time, you need to be on your knees. Pray for your child and the groomer. Pray for safety for the child (and any others) and pray that the groomer may come to repentance.

So, parents, be vigilant! Be prayerful. Don’t put your head in the sand and think it won’t happen to you or your children. It may, sadly, have already happened or is happening. Develop and maintain a close relationship with your children. This is particularly true when you are going through a difficult time yourselves. Children can get pushed to the background when we are stressed about jobs, moving or have a death in the family. It can be a “relief” when a close friend or relative offers to take the child on a special trip or outing. Parenting is never easy and when we have difficult things happening in our lives, it can be downright hard, but… always keep your children emotionally close to you, spiritually close (praying for them and with them) and physically close.

If, as friends, we see a situation between a child and an adult that makes us feel uncomfortable, take courage and talk to the parents. Talk to them, and pray for them. So often people see things, but decide it is none of their business or although uneasy, they can’t pinpoint anything particularly bad so they don’t say anything but sadly, the child ends up being abused. Please, be full of courage, parents and friends. Do not let groomers into our children’s lives.