Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Pastor’s wife Holly Elliff has seen far too many marriages hurt by a husband’s seeking for sexual fulfillment outside the marriage. And while a wife is never to blame for her husband’s sin, Holly says there are things you can do to help lessen the temptation for him.

Holly Elliff: It’s very simple to go to God for grace. It’s much harder to go to God and have to forgive the mistress, or have to go to God and say, “How do I help my husband walk out of this pornography addiction?”

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 13th.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t married, so there are some topics that she draws on the help of others to discuss and teach on. Today is a good example of that. Holly Elliff is a dear friend of Nancy’s, along with Holly’s husband, Bill. Bill Elliff pastors a church in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

If you have young children within earshot, now might be a good time to busy them doing something else, or listen later at Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Holly, I think you are right. I’ve listened to a lot of women in this whole area of meeting the husband’s physical needs, that most women who are not wired the way their husbands are cannot fathom why this matters so much to their husband. And you would say . . . ?

Holly: Well, I think many times we don’t realize that there are some cumulative effects that happen when we don’t meet our husband’s needs. We’ve talked about this in the past some time ago on Revive Our Hearts .

What happens is, every man is going to encounter temptation. I mean, I don’t care if he’s on a church staff in a godly place most of the time. In the world that we live in, men are going to encounter temptation.

So what happens is, because of the way God has built them physically, if my husband sees a billboard that has something immodest on it, it actually affects him physically. So he goes 24 hours being affected physically by what he sees. When he comes home at night, if I choose for whatever reason—I mean, maybe I really have had just a horrible day, and I don’t have one more thing on my agenda.

But he does. So in our house, my husband starts helping with the dishes, so I kind of have an early warning system in place. But let’s say that I’m obedient to the Lord.

Even if I’m exhausted, I have found that if I will go to the Lord and say, “God, You have grace for every area of my life, and You can even give me grace to respond physically to my husband when I have absolutely no desire in and of myself to do that. Would You give me the grace to do that?” As I take that first step, God does give grace to respond even physically to my husband; and as I do that, my husband leaves home the next morning without the baggage of the day before.

But if my husband had come home and for whatever reason—maybe he had made me mad at dinnertime; maybe I’m just exhausted and I don’t see it as critical—but for whatever reason, I don’t meet his needs. He goes into the next day and maybe the next day and maybe the next day without respect. Then what happens is, he walks day after day into that temptation.

There will be a point, if he’s not careful, where that need is going to be met in some way—it will either be met by me legitimately, or it will be met illegitimately, either by someone else or through the Internet.

We hear from so many couples who are dealing with Internet pornography, and it’s destroying their marriages. It is so subtle and so perverse and so available. So when a man encounters over and over and over resistance in his home to having his needs met physically, there are so many other ways for him to have that need met, that he can be blindsided by the Enemy.

Then what happens is, he’s getting his needs met somewhere else. The wife thinks, “Oh, good! The pressure’s off here. He’s not asking anymore for me to meet his needs.” So she’s initially relieved, but there’s far more going on in that home than she realizes—until it’s too late, and he is trapped in something that takes years to get release from.

So, just a word of caution in that: It’s very simple to go to God for grace. It’s much harder to go to God and have to forgive a mistress, or have to go to God and say, “How do I help my husband walk out of this pornography addiction?”

If we will keep short accounts even in this area on the front end, it will prevent years and years of hurt and heartache on the back end.

Nancy: Holly, isn’t the grace of God really what it all comes back to, in every area of marriage where there’s a command of God, a need of your mate that you don’t have the desire or the wherewithal or the ability to meet? How does the grace of God make the difference in a marriage?

Holly: I really think that is the bottom line, not just in marriage, but if you’re single, you’re facing things that in and of yourself you cannot deal with. I think for any woman who calls herself a believer, the grace of God is the bedrock for life.

What that means is, when I wake up in the morning and open my eyes and start to put my feet on the floor to get out of bed, I’m very aware of the fact that I cannot walk into my day apart from the grace of God. I cannot love the kids that God has given me apart from the grace of God. I cannot respect my husband apart from the grace of God.

It is not in me to do those things in my own physical strength. I don’t even have the “want to” to do those things, many times.

That has got to come as a result of me recognizing my need and then going before the Lord and saying, “God, I know I am so needy in this area. I know I can’t be the wife You want me to be, and I can’t be the mother that You want me to be. And even if none of those factors were in my life, I can’t be the woman that You want me to be, living my life to bring You glory, apart from Your grace.”

There’s a definition of grace that we’ve used for years in Life Action Ministries, where I first met Nancy, and that is that grace is “the desire and the power to do God’s will.” So I go before the Lord and recognize that I’m needy, and I cry out to Him.

James 1 (see verse 5) says that if I lack wisdom in any area, I can go before God and say, “I can’t do this.” Then God pours out on me His power and His strength and His enabling so that I am able to do things that are far beyond my own ability, and I’m able to do them in a way that is far beyond my own ability.

Because I’m just not that nice, you know? I’m not good apart from Him. But empowered by His Spirit, I have every resource that He has, and that is an amazing thought.

Nancy: It’s humility that releases the grace of God in our lives. Those verses in Proverbs and in 1 Peter and James—God resists the proud (see James 4:6). He stiff-arms them. He keeps them at a distance. One paraphrase would say, “He sets Himself in battle array against those who are proud.”

I don’t want God against me, but so many times I put myself in a position where God is having to resist me because I’m proud. I’m saying, “I can handle this. I can do this.” I don’t cry out to God; I don’t acknowledge my need for Him. I just keep striving and struggling. I kill myself in the effort, maybe. That’s pride, and God resists the proud.

I can’t survive in life if God is resisting me. But God pours grace: the desire, the power to obey Him. Who does He give it to? The humble. And how do you express humility?

It’s what Holly was just saying. Saying, “Lord, I need You. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t do this without You.” There is not a moment of a day of my life or yours that we are not utterly, absolutely dependent upon the grace of God to work in us, to will and do of God’s good pleasure (see Philippians 2:13).

Holly: You know, there’s a tremendous freedom that comes when I understand that fact; because what happens is, it takes the responsibility of production off of my shoulders because I don’t have to produce those things. I only have to surrender and let God produce those things.

It’s so much easier for me to go before the Lord and say, “God, I can’t do this. Would You do this?” and allow His energy and power and strength to flow through my life, than for me in my own strength to try to produce things that are not in me apart from Him.

Leslie Basham: That’s pastor’s wife Holly Elliff with some very practical help for wives in an area of marriage that is sometimes difficult to discuss. That kind of practical counsel for wives is found throughout some helpful resources you’ll find listed for you at our website. We’ve compiled a special list of resources for wives there. Check it out.

Also, look at the information related to the TV-free challenge coming up in August. You’ll want to participate. You’ll be amazed at how turning off the TV will affect your family.

If you’ve appreciated this series on marriage issues, we’d like to get you a CD of the extended, unedited conversation. It’s yours when you get in touch with us for a gift of any amount and ask for it. We hope to hear from you.


Nancy: Yes, Leslie, and I want to remind our listeners that there are two main ways that you can help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. First, you can make a financial donation by calling us at 800-569-5959, or you can do it at So many of you have done that, and I want to thank you for your partnership with this ministry.

The second way you can partner with us—and even more important, as far as I’m concerned—is that you can pray for us. Let me read a portion of an e-mail I received recently that was such a blessing.

This listener said, “I’ve prayed many years for a godly mentor and for wise counselors in my life. God has answered my prayers through your program. It’s my privilege, my joy, to learn more of God’s ways each day and to steadfastly study to become a wise and godly mentor myself.”

By the way, I love to hear not only that women are letting God train them in His ways, but that they’re seeking to be reproducers in the lives of others.

This woman goes on to say, “Thank you a thousand times for not just giving us pep talks without the Scripture. Your use of the precious Holy Scriptures to convict, to exhort, to admonish, and to encourage are a blessing to my soul every day. As long as the Lord gives me breath, I will keep you and the staff and this ministry in my prayers and supplications to the Lord.”

Well, that’s the kind of encouragement we love to hear. Thank you so much for your financial support and your prayers. We really appreciate both, and they are making a difference in many lives.

Leslie Basham: Again, we’ll make available to you the extended conversation of this week’s series for a gift of any amount. You can contact us at, or call 800-569-5959.

Some wives find themselves facing situations with their husbands that are downright dangerous. Tomorrow Nancy and Holly will discuss what to do in the case of domestic abuse. Don’t miss it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries .

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.