The Let’s Prevent Bad Marriages Podcast!

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Podcasts | 23 comments

What if someone you love is about to make a bad marriage choice?

Or what if your girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t treating your relationships or your issues seriously?

We’re tackling two complicated reader questions on the podcast today! Listen in:

And you can also watch the podcast on YouTube, too! Rebecca and I filmed in my closet (we’re still getting her office set up), and then the last question Katie and I tackled when I was visiting her recently.

We tackled these reader questions about engagements

We answered two questions, including:

My 17 year old Christian niece who lives in the USA is engaged to be married this fall. Her parents and his parents are supportive of the marriage. 

My niece has been homeschooled and lives on a farm and has had a rather sheltered upbringing in a loving but strict Christian home.

She is in love and can’t wait to marry and set up home with her fiancee . Her Pastor is willing to provide some pre marriage counselling prior to their nuptials.

Extended family members are concerned for her due to her youth, lack of experience. Due to this fact she does not discuss her plans with them. She has told me but as an uncle who lives around the world from her (I am in Australia) I’m hampered in how much advice I can give her or how much I can help.

Now, what material or books can you recommend that would be helpful to this young woman and her and, to fiancee too, which would help to prepare her (and him) for what lies ahead.

What advice can you offer me as to how I can help support her and them both.

We have known each other for 5 years and we’ve been dating for 4 months. We love God and He’s been the centre of our friendship and our relationship. We know that this is what God has called us to and are planning on getting engaged in a few months and married within the year. 

My question to you comes from one of our many great talks that we had. We knew that we would have to talk about our pasts at some point before engagement and after much prayer and thinking I told her mine.  I opened up and told her more about my Porn problem, my history about being sexually abused as a young child and just how that has impacted me and my process of healing.

Now it feels awkward, at first it was awesome because it was just the two of us talking and having fun, but now pretty much every conversation has a serious side of it which is good but its really exhausting.

Another thing that happened was that she said that our relationship is going slow. This really made me think and I doth think she understands that what I have done over the past 4 months in terms of letting her being apart of my personal life, telling her some really personal things. I don’t know how to communicate that in such a way that I don’t use my history as an excuse or tell her to slow down. 

Girlfriend isn't taking my disclosures of porn and past abuse seriously

Timeline of Podcast

Want to follow along as we answer this? Here’s our timeline! (I wish I had been doing this all along with the podcasts, but I hope you find this helpful to navigate them now!) And the timestamps are slightly different because in the audio-only version Katie kindly edited out all of our “ummmmms”. And there were a lot because, well, allergies. (Seriously, just look at Rebecca’s eyes in the video!)


0:45 Reader Question: What do I do when I’m worried about my niece’s engagement?
7:15 When You Don’t Agree With Your Children’s Choices
12:00 When Your Child Walks Away From the Faith
12:50 Reader Question: She Always Wants to Talk About My Past!
22:55 Discussion on Porn Use Before Marriage
29:22 Our Response to Emerson Eggerich’s “Mother and Sons”


0:45 Reader Question: What do I do when I’m worried about my niece’s engagement?
6:50 When You Don’t Agree With Your Children’s Choices
11:30 When Your Child Walks Away From the Faith
12:25 Reader Question: She Always Wants to Talk About My Past!
22:10 Discussion on Porn Use Before Marriage
28:15 Our Response to Emerson Eggerich’s “Mother and Sons”

Are you ready for the honeymoon you always dreamed of?

The Honeymoon Course is here to help you plan the perfect honeymoon and start your marriage (and your sex life!) off with laughter, joy and fun!

Don’t make the same mistakes other couples have–get it right from the beginning! 

Links to Things Mentioned in the Podcast

We talked about:


That’s it for today’s podcast!

What resonates with you? Do you have anything you want to say to any of our readers who sent in these questions? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Anon

    So many people need to hear about stuff like this. My wife and I did all the mistakes possible. Looking back we should not have gotten married.
    I was also honest about my porn problem but neither my wife and I understood the seriousness of it. My wife pushed for marriage and I wasn’t sure about it but struggled with saying no. I thought I needed to work more on myself and tried saying that but I didn’t want to hurt her.
    Closing to a decade together I don’t know how long this marriage will survive. My porn problems have gotten worse with time. Things aren’t really the same anymore. My emotional problems were deeper than I thought. And soon we will have 3 kids. She doesn’t deserve this. I should have stopped myself from proposing. I should have thought about her own good even if she didn’t see it. Now 3 kids may have to suffer for that.
    More single people need to hear about this.

    • This is a Pseudonym

      Yes, you should have thought about how this would impact your wife if it went wrong. But now you’re married and have 3 kids. It’s up to you to turn this around.
      If you’re committed to your family, you MUST seek outside help. Find a good CSAT (certified sex addiction therapist) and see them weekly. With Covid many CSATs are willing to do video calls, so you aren’t limited to what you can find in your area. In addition to therapy, go to a 12-step SAA group.
      If you’re going to stop your porn use, you have to get serious about it and find help. If you haven’t been able to stop it by yourself in 10 years, it’s time to get help.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I completely agree. Rather than focus on how your marriage was a mistake, you need to put all that emotional work into getting yourself better and your relationship healthier, because now there are 3 children who are relying on you. It’s easy to feel helpless; but put that energy into turning things around. God really can do it. It’s like I said in last Tuesday’s post, when you dedicate yourself to God, you give him permission to do amazing things in your life and turn it around. But it starts with you and your own attitudes. God doesn’t barge in.

  2. Wifeofasexaddict

    You usually give really good advice, but you missed something really big on the second question. The childhood abuse and the porn use are probably related. I dont have enough information to know if this man had an addiction, but it definitely has the potential to become one. He is probably using the porn to numb the pain of his abuse, and it won’t get better without professional help. To the writer: it’s much easier to deal with this now than in 20 years when you have kids and you have escalated your behavior. Please see a counselor now. Look into Pure Desire. To the fiance: push the pause button, hard. Stop pushing for marriage. You are not moving too slow. Let him sort this out before you get married. Voice of experience here… you will regret it later if you don’t.
    Also, getting married won’t solve the porn problem. Again, voice of experience.

    • Jane Eyre

      I agree so much with this and it was my first thought: sexual abuse of children causes so many problems. Regardless of where this relationship goes, he should seek counseling and healing.

    • Meghan

      Yeah, my husband struggled with porn as the result of sexual abuse as a child. By the grace of God he was free from it when we met, but he’s still in therapy for the trauma. EMDR therapy, for anyone curious. It’s been super useful for both of us – me for a traumatic birth experience and him for his childhood trauma and subsequent problems stemming from it.
      Dear Writer #2, there is no shame whatsoever in seeking therapy and treatment. You matter. Get the help you deserve. Set healthy boundaries with your almost-fiance about what you need to happen prior to getting engaged. It’s OK to do that. In fact, my husband was ready to propose long before I was ready to say yes. I had some fears I needed to work through on my end before I felt peace about moving forward. And he was supportive of that.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’ve heard so many amazing things about EMDR! I’m so glad that it’s being more widely used.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is very, very true. I thought of that as well but didn’t say it explicitly, but I should have. Sorry about that!
      It’s amazing how much trauma and porn use are linked. In many cases, trauma triggers porn use. In other cases, porn use creates and reinforces trauma. It’s a terrible circle.
      I’m always trying, when I’m answering these questions, to apply them to as wide a group as possible, too, to make it more useful, and some people have porn use without the trauma. But yes, they’re quite often linked, and if both are present, they almost always are.

      • Wifeofasexaddict

        Trauma is the root of addiction. (I’m not saying all porn use is addiction.)

  3. Harriet Vane

    A 17-year-old getting married gives me all kinds of red flags. Her brain is still 8 years out from maturity, and she isn’t even a legal adult. Statistics on very young marriages predict a very high rate of divorce- which is understandable. Teenagers still don’t even know who they are. Their decision making skills are still developing. If we recognize we can’t trust them to drink responsibly, why would we imagine that they should be able to wisely select a spouse?!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, me, too. they just haven’t seen enough of the world yet.
      I assume she wasn’t marrying until she was 18 (I don’t really know, but it could be that her birthday was coming up), but it’s still very, very young.
      Now, my girls married young, as did I, but not that young. And we honestly had seen a lot of the world (literally) and a lot of different churches, and we’d all earned our own money and lived on our own first, too.

  4. Denis

    I am listening/viewing from France en enjoy it but…. you are sometimes talking to fast for someone who’s native language is not english. Would appreciate if you could slow down !

    • Meghan

      You know what would be really useful? A transcript! It would make the podcast more accessible for deaf and heard of hearing folks as well as non-native English listeners.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m really thinking of adding that, Meghan! It’s just a big expense, and with no income from speaking engagements and with advertising cratering, I’m just trying to keep making enough to keep all my employees on. But I’d love to add that when there’s more money available!

    • Madeline

      If you watch on Youtube you can use the auto-generated subtitles. They’re not perfect but they might help.

      • Natalie

        On YouTube, you can also slow down the speed of the video. Try taking the speed from 1x to 0.75x or 0.5x if you want the words to be spoken more slowly.

  5. Jane Eyre

    The teenage marriage is such a terrible idea. If they are really the right people for each other, they can marry in their 20s. Wait even two or three years.
    It’s not just the issue of selecting a spouse and brain development. A lot of it is learning interpersonal skills, because marriage is the ultimate test of interpersonal skills. You need to learn to communicate, speak up when needed, stay silent when the fight isn’t worth it, sacrifice when necessary, stop sacrificing when you’re overwhelmed and the other person needs to step up, draw boundaries with in-laws, choose friends wisely, plan careers, make wise choices around childbearing and contraception, and communicate about sex.
    Getting married does not make that all magically happen. Many of the couples who marry very, very young end up with years of problems arising from things that happened early in their marriage. Many of those issues could have been avoided with just a few more years of adult life.
    That all presupposes the marriage is even a good idea, an assumption I’m not really willing to agree with.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Teenage marriage is a bad idea. Unfortunately, for this uncle, there’s nothing he can do, if the parents support the marriage. I have known many girls get engaged at 17 and married at 18. I don’t know many that turned out well.

      • Anon

        I think the best possible thing that her uncle can do is to provide a listening ear and some good marriage resources to give this marriage the best possible chance. It sounds as if she has already been warned by other family members and is refusing to listen. It’s important that she has someone who is concerned but who hasn’t told her it’s not a good idea – hopefully, the marriage will work out, but if it doesn’t, she’s going to need support and it’s much easier to ask for help from someone who can’t say ‘I told you so’.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, that’s my take, too. Ultimately when someone else has made a decision, you can’t stop them (and really, we do need to honour other people’s rights to decide for themselves). But we can let them know that no matter what, we’re here. And that we accept them and also think they’re capable of making good decisions.

  6. Felice Mathieu

    Teenage marriage is a bad idea? Well, I suppose I understand the sentiment. I do also believe that marriage at ANY age without biblical counsel is a bad idea. I think older people looking to get married are just as guilty as the young ones.

  7. Natalie

    I loved your passion especially in the last segment on “Mothers and Sons”. Being the mother of a 3yo & 1yo sons, I’ve had “Mothers & Sons” recommended to me on several occasions (never read it. No desire to after “Love & Respect”) along with “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. Dobson. Haven’t read that one either. I’ll look up the book you recommended instead. Honestly, anything that’s recommended by FotF I’m really just turned off by these days, seeing as how they’ve lost my trust in recent years with how they’ve treated you & your (what I’d consider to be very reasonable) rebuke.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Natalie! Discipline that Connects with a Child’s heart is honestly a great book. I was reading it, thinking, “hey, this is my parenting philosophy totally!” Except they’re a lot more practical than I could have been. I love it!


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