Revive Our Hearts Radio

Helping Husbands with Temptation

Leslie Basham: Pam Vuke’s marriage has been damaged by pornography. But she looks back and says, “Don’t be quick to give up on a husband who has hurt you deeply.”

Pam Vuke: There is always hope. The message of pornography is hurtful. The effects of that sin are painful. I think today that the way it is portrayed, there is no hope: the addiction has such a hold on you; you can’t be set free. That’s not true. You can be set free, and we’re a living testimony of that.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 25.

We heard yesterday from Tony and Pam Vuke. When Tony confessed the sin of using pornography for many years in their marriage, Pam struggled through the problem with him. If you missed the earlier part of this interview, you can hear the story at ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy’s here to pick up the conversation with Pam and Tony.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Tony, you have a wife who is modest and has a pure heart but who found herself married to a man who had had these struggles. What can a wife—a godly wife—do to encourage her husband in this battle, to be a helper rather than a hindrance? As you look back on your journey with Pam, how would you encourage wives who are in a situation where their husband is struggling with the issue of pornography?

Tony Vuke: I think one of the things that helped me out the most was that Pam still loved me and accepted me. She shared a lot of her struggles and battles. That was huge. One of the biggest fears is that you’re going to be totally rejected.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of disrespect, and even though she was hurting—and I could see that every day; I lived with that every day; I could witness that—yet, when she would reach out to me in love, it was so strengthening. At the same time, she was also there to promote the honesty and the accountability. It’s not just a passive love that allows anything to go on, but it was an agape love.

Nancy: I’ll tell you two things I’m hearing in this story that I think bring such hope. One, is that it really is possible to have victory in besetting sins—in sexual sins, which can have as tight a grip as anything—but there are others.

For some of us, women, it has more to do with an issue with food, or, for many of our people I’m finding in the Christian world, an issue with drink. It’s interesting, because I’m studying Titus chapter 2 right now, that older women are exhorted not to be enslaved to much wine, and I’m thinking this is apparently something God’s Word knew would be an issue for a lot of people.

So whether it is substance abuse or sexual issues or attitudes of the heart or of spirit—jealousy, lust, greed, or whatever, there really is—through Christ, freedom and victory available. I think that gives hope.

Tony: It does.

Nancy: It gives hope to somebody who’s a struggling sinner to know that there can be freedom. Then to know that God can restore a marriage which, apart from Christ (I’m looking at you two) statistically speaking, what chance did this have of being a great marriage?

Tony: Exactly.

Nancy: When I asked you, Pam, before I met Tony, I said, “Tell me about Tony.” This was a wife who really has a lot of love and admiration for her husband.

Pam: I guess I’d seen those characteristics, more of God’s characteristics grow in Tony. Despite everything we’ve been through, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Just the fact that he’s here today and sharing his testimony and the struggles that he’s had. I’m just looking at him right now, and it brings tears to my eyes that he would be so open and honest about his struggles, and to see where God has brought him today. The love that we have for each other and the value of our love is stronger than it ever has been.

Nancy: It’s not just Tony who’s changed, but God has used this crisis to change you.

Pam: Absolutely.

Nancy: There’s a sense in which Tony was an idol in your life, as I’ve heard you tell this story.

Pam: Yes.

Nancy: Your trust was in him, and anybody who trusts in man or woman is going to be disappointed.

Pam: Yes, that is so true.

Nancy: It almost seems as if this is what it took, in God’s providence, for you to come to a place of really having your wholehearted trust in the Lord, which is the only way anybody can be secure.

Pam: Right.

Nancy: The only way is to have your trust completely in the Lord.

Pam: Yes. That is very true, Nancy.

Nancy: How long after you all began processing this issue of pornography addiction and the impact of that on your marriage—how long after that was it that you began to share this with your children? Did you feel that was needed or appropriate? How did you approach that? You now have four young adult children. When did you bring them into that part of your story?

Pam: It’s funny. Just the other night, because we had been preparing to come down here and meet with you, I was sitting on the couch talking to our oldest daughter, Courtney. We were talking, and I said, “When was it that you found out about your father? When did we tell you?” She said, “I think it was my sophomore or junior year in college that you had shared with me about Dad’s addiction to pornography.”

It wasn’t right away. We decided to wait and tell them when we felt it was the appropriate time in their lives, and we told them individually. Again, it was very hurtful for them to hear that about their father because they looked up to their dad, and they trusted in him. On the outside, I think Tony and I fooled a lot of people. I think we covered our struggles up very well.

Nancy: I’ve heard you say that people would have been shocked to find out that Tony Vuke had had a struggle with pornography, that people would not have suspected that at all.

Pam: Yes. As a matter of fact, it’s so awesome to be able to share this today because there is no perfect marriage, and there is no perfect family. I think a lot of people would look at Tony and I and our family and would think we don’t have struggles or especially these types of struggles.

One thing that has really encouraged us to be able to share our testimony with people is that there is hope. There is always hope. The message of pornography is hurtful and as painful as the effects of that sin are. I think today that the way it is portrayed, there is no hope. It’s such an awful sin, and there is no hope—once you get into it, the addiction has such a hold on you, you believe that you can’t be set free. That’s not true. You can be set free, and we’re a living testimony of that.

Back to your question, we didn’t tell the kids right away. It was when we felt, or when we were prompted by the Holy Spirit, and we felt at the appropriate time to let them know.

Nancy: Did you feel it was important to let them know at some point, and why?

Pam: Absolutely. We did feel that way because my whole wardrobe changed, and I tried definitely to dress more modestly and was more aware and conscious of the way I dressed and the effect it had on men. I wanted to be able to teach that to my daughters as well.

After they got into their teenage years—it’s a struggle for teenage girls to dress modestly. Just the things that they’re faced with and the things that they see every day—it’s hard for married women to dress modestly.

Nancy: Immodesty is mainstream.

Pam: Right. Exactly.

Nancy: To be modest, you have to go counter-culture. You have to swim upstream.

Pam: Yes. I mean, think about how difficult that is for our teenage girls today. We were trying to bring that into our home and to teach them that. But because of the struggles, we decided that maybe we needed to share with them what their dad went through. Hearing about his struggles, we hoped that they would be able to relate and want to change the way that they dressed and start dressing more modestly.

Nancy: Do you think that has impacted them as they have now become young women and heading into their own marriages and families?

Pam: Yes. I think we wish it would have impacted them more, but there’s such—that peer pressure is so strong in teenagers’ lives. Even as women today, I think that we have this need of wanting to feel loved and to feel attractive, to look attractive, and so I think there’s that struggle there, in that lie, that we feel like we have to dress immodestly to get that, to have that need met.

It was hard for them, too. But as they’ve gotten older, and now they’re in marriage relationships, I definitely have seen them change in the way that they dress.

Nancy: You have a son. What do you wish Tyler would know and get now? As a dad, what would you like to pass on to him, especially as it relates to morals and moral purity?

Tony: I think, with everything that we have gone through, that has been a huge blessing in all of this. We were able to pass down to him sexual issues that we could talk openly and honestly to him about. Going into a relationship, if you’re going to choose your spouse, are you going to choose somebody that’s just wanting to share the package in inappropriate ways, and be attracted to that, or are you going to look at the inner beauty and the character of that woman?

Pam: I think, too, something that’s very important that Tony and I have done to protect Tyler, as well as the girls, and not every home has to do this, but this is something that we decided that we wanted to do—we got rid of the TV. We kept the TV, but not programmed TV, so that wasn’t a part of our home. It has been for the last fourteen years.

Nancy: That’s a huge, huge factor right there. I just want to say that, and we’ve done this at Revive Our Hearts each year for the last several years, a TV 30-day-fast challenge during the month of August. I had the blessing of growing up in a home that did not have television, by choice. I don’t think people who are saturated in the TV culture can fathom how much toxic waste comes into the mind and heart. Not just sexual issues, but a whole lot of other issues as well—world view and attitude and roles in marriage—to be free from that daily bombardment.

Really consider prayerfully, “Is the input that’s coming into our home by means of the television and movies, is it wholesome? Is it godly? Is it Philippians 4:8—the things that are true and pure and good and lovely—or are we bringing things into our minds?”

I can’t thank the Lord enough for the things I’ve never seen—for the things I wasn’t exposed to growing up, for images I don’t have to deal with today. I’ve got enough indwelling sin to struggle with without adding to it with those layers from the media.

I know I jumped in there, but I just really want to affirm that choice, or similar ones, to protect your family, guard your own heart, and those of your children.

Pam: Thank you, for sharing that, Nancy. It’s so encouraging to have you share. Not many people get rid of their TV today. Another thing is the magazines. I cannot believe how many mothers and women are naive to the different magazines that they allow in their home and allow their daughters to look at. That was another good thing that came out of this.

When I look now at some of the magazines and what’s in those magazines, I think that really protected the girls, as well as Tyler—never having to stumble across that in our home. That’s another thing I think it is really important: Try and keep as much of the world out of your home as possible.

Nancy: In order that the hothouse, the greenhouse, the place where you’re preparing those tender young plants to be able to take root and to go out into the world, where there is brokenness. It’s a fallen world, and you can’t avoid or escape it out there, but you want your children to have deep enough roots into the soil of God’s love and of His purity and His ways that when they get out there, they, by God’s grace, can handle it. They’re prepared.

They’re equipped with the Word of God and the grace of God and the Spirit of God in their lives. To just bring that stuff into your home is almost guaranteeing in a sense, that that’s what your children will have an appetite for when they get out of the home.

Tony: At a minimum, it’s going to increase their battle and struggle. It will definitely increase, and it’s not just the TV, it’s the computer—where’s your computer located?

Nancy: How do you handle computer stuff in your home?

Tony: What we did was we allowed the kids to get on the computer in the dining room on a laptop, so the computer wasn’t in a room that they could go in and close the door.

Nancy: It wasn’t in the bedroom?

Tony: No computers in the bedrooms, and also, there’s a lot of different protective software that can go on there and can protect you from stumbling onto things. The computer is a huge issue, and it’s hard to keep up with, as fast as technology is progressing. It’s hard for parents who are in a whole different generation.

I am, by definition, a computer illiterate. I can get on there and peck and type and what-not, but that’s about it. Everything you allow into your home has to be monitored or you’re setting yourself up for destruction. The computer is one of those things that takes a lot of skill, a lot of effort to monitor all the things that go on there.

Yet it’s not something that we as parents can turn our heads and say, “Well, it’s the direction our society is going in, so I’m just going to let them do what they want on it.” There’s too much destructive things on there for them.

Nancy: You have to be vigilant.

Tony: You really do.

Pam: You really do.

Nancy: You have to be watchful.

Pam: I remember, Nancy, listening to you, and one of the things that you shared that was very helpful about the computer is when you go on there, you go on with a purpose, and you don’t stray from that purpose, because the computer and information is endless. There’s so many things that can pop up or that can grab our attention. We’ve tried to teach that to our children as well. That was really good information.

Nancy: That practice in my own life has been influenced by that verse in Proverbs that I learned as a child and has been so helpful to me. It’s in Proverbs chapter 4, beginning in verse 25, and it says,

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (vv. 25–27)

That has been such a challenge to me over the years—to make sure that I’m not deviating off to the left or the right, that my eyes aren’t straying, that my heart isn’t straying, that I’m being intentional about looking forward.

Even in a practical way, when I’m getting on the laptop, when I’m driving down the road, you’ll see billboards, walking down the street where I walk, as I pass men that I don’t know, I want to be intentional about where I put my eyes, where my feet go, and where my eyes go.

It is important not to look to the right or to the left, sometimes in a literal sense, but making sure that my path, my feet, my eyes are looking straight forward. Of course, the straight forward there is the mark of godliness and purity and being intentional about what I’m doing with my time and my heart and my eyes.

Pam: Nancy, another thing that you shared was when you were doing the whole teaching on The Look, that spoke volumes in my life also.

Nancy: Let me just say, The Look is our little booklet on the subject of modesty, the subtitle is Does God Really Care What I Wear? This is the little booklet that you picked up and have used. Go ahead.

Pam: Right. One of the things in that booklet, I believe, or you shared it on the radio, was that women can dress modestly but be immodest by their behaviors or the way they present themselves or by maybe the way we look or interact with other men. I was really convicted in that area of my life. That was really helpful. I’m very careful now about it. I can dress modestly, but how am I interacting with other men? You can send a mixed message that way as well.

Nancy: If we fit into the culture, the standards are so low and flirtation is a way of life. If you look at the end result of going there, and you look at the broken marriages and the children of divorce and the people addicted to sexual whatever, you will say, “Is that where I want to go? Is that where I want to send somebody else?”

Tony: Exactly.

Nancy: To be more guarded and protected on the front side of all those things opens up a whole realm of blessing and freedom. I can have healthy, godly relationships with godly couples and with the men that I work with. There’s a lot of freedom and protection because of the guardrails and because we’re willing to walk within those guardrails. We’re not talking about life in a straight jacket. We’re talking about the pathway to freedom.

Pam: Exactly.

Nancy: Doing it man’s way—the way that comes naturally is what puts us in bondage.

Tony: It really, truly does.

Nancy: As we’ve heard you share here.

Tony: Yes.

Nancy: I know God has really given you a heart for mentoring young women in the subject of purity. Tell us a little bit about that, what you’ve done along that line.

Pam: Well, about four years ago, at the church we were involved in, we saw that the girls were in and out of relationships. Again, Tony and I were not pure when we got married, and when you see that, you experience that, you want to spare other people from those things. So we did a purity conference.

We had girls that spoke on purity—two of them were our daughters—and modesty, and it was just a fun weekend. Since then, I’ve been able to talk to women at women’s groups about modesty and purity and the struggles that I’ve gone through.

I’ve used your materials. As a matter of fact, I was driving down the road one day, and I turned the radio on and I heard you teaching about modesty and purity and I thought, Who is this person?

The thing that I loved about your teaching is that you share it with such compassion and with such love. A lot of times, when you hear this teaching, it can be very legalistic. I didn’t sense that or hear that, and I was very drawn to you and what you had to say, so I’ve used your material. It’s been very, very instrumental in helping other women and young, teenage girls.

Nancy: Well, thank you, thank you, Tony and Pam Vuke, for your honesty, your openness, and for the freedom and the beauty of Christ that I see in the both of you, and the manly character in you, Tony, and the feminine heart, Pam, that God has given you, and the oneness in your marriage.

As you shared earlier with our staff, today in chapel, you were sitting next to each other, and, Pam, you had your hand on Tony’s leg there next to you. There was such a visual picture that God has taken what could have been—and would have been apart from Him—a hopeless mess and has given you His love for each other. He has restored purity. God can’t restore virginity, but He can restore purity.

We’re speaking to a lot of people today, who have made wrong and foolish, unwise and sinful choices in their past. Maybe you’re still feeling the condemnation, the weight, the guilt, the burden—thinking, “I just have to live with this baggage.” Yet, as we’re seeing in your lives, the baggage of our past, you can’t undo, but it can actually become a part of your life’s message, and there can be freedom. There can be joy. There can be purity.

Here’s a couple today enjoying the blessing of a pure heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matt. 5:8). You’re not only seeing Him, but you’re reflecting Him to others as a result of being willing to walk the pathway of confession, humility, brokenness, repentance, obedience, forgiveness, clear conscience—all these principles we’re talking about on Revive Our Hearts all the time.

As a result of your willingness to say “Yes, Lord,” you are experiencing His fullness, His beauty, His grace, His peace, His love in your marriage, and starting a whole new family line. That’s what I love about God’s grace.

If you think of it, you all came from homes with some good things and some bad things and a lot of issues and a lot of baggage—every home has their issues—but God has picked you up out of that, given you a whole new life, and is now enabling you to pass that baton of faith and purity on to your children and, by God’s grace, your little granddaughter, Sophia Grace, and others that I trust the Lord will bless you with. For generations to come, Lord willing, there will be that whole new family line of those who will impact this world with the purity of Christ.

Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible, awesome, amazing grace, and thank you, both, for being willing to share out of your lives.

Leslie: What a moving story about God’s ability to change lives. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been speaking with Tony and Pam Vuke. God has been helping this couple heal after their relationship was almost destroyed by pornography. They are a vibrant testimony to God’s gift of hope.

Maybe you’ve been devastated by the sin of others, and you wonder if there’s any hope in the relationship.  I’m praying that the story you heard today is giving you hope in the restoring power of God. Maybe you need to know what steps to take next.

I recommend Nancy’s book, Choosing Forgiveness.  It will show you why bitterness is like a prison you lock yourself in when you don’t forgive. Nancy will walk you through Scriptures and show you how to be free. She’ll take you through a process of identifying those who have wronged you and offering them complete forgiveness. You’ll be amazed at the freedom you’ll experience.

We’d like to send Choosing Forgiveness when you donate any amount to support Revive Our Hearts. Ask for the book when you call with your donation. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

On today’s program, Pam mentioned that she’s used some material from Revive Our Hearts about modesty. You can find more out about those resources at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Do you ever feel like your emotions are out of control? Nancy explains how to handle runaway emotions and offers practical advice on a lot of other topics as well. That’s tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.


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