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In January 2023, Pensacola OCF hosted a one-day workshop to discuss sexual brokenness and unwanted sexual behaviors like pornography addiction and to introduce solutions for healing and wholeness. CAPT Brent & Nicole Breining, USN (Ret.), led sessions throughout that one-day workshop, and they join me today on the podcast as we begin a series of episodes focusing on similar topics.
Brent and Nicole share their story and the impact that porn had on their marriage in this episode, and their remaining three Crosspoint episodes will cover topics such as the nature of addiction, the shame cycle, and the neurochemistry of the brain.
Having reached a breaking point in their marriage in 2012 and recovered since then by God’s grace, Brent and Nicole talk about why that addiction placed such a strain on their marriage, how God worked through accountability partners in their healing process, and more. Above all, their desire is for listeners to understand there is hope and that God can restore anyone struggling with problematic sexual behaviors.
Brent retired from the Navy in 2017 after a distinguished 27-year career, and he currently serves as a Foursquare Institutional Chaplain with Pure Desire Ministries, through which he helps men walk in sexual purity and break free from unwanted sexual behaviors.
Nicole received a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Illinois and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, going on to work as a hospital pharmacist for 25 years. Nicole also has been working with Pure Desire Ministries, leading their betrayal and beyond groups for spouses for about three years. Both Brent and Nicole are accredited pastoral professionals.
As you listen to this conversation with Brent and Nicole, here are a few questions to ponder in your personal time, with a small group, or with a mentor:
1. How can the church establish a culture of grace, especially as applies to this topic of addiction?
2. Brent refers to Ephesians 5:25, which says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” How does this verse shape your view of emotional intimacy in marriage?
3. Brent talks about the iPhone’s contribution to an increased accessibility to pornography in recent years. What steps can you take to ensure your own devices aren’t contributing to addictive behaviors?
4. How does our freedom in Christ set us free from the shame of our secrets?
5. Nicole talks about realizing her husband’s struggles with pornography prompted her to react in sin as well. If you’ve been hurt by someone else’s sin, what’s the value of not using their sin as license to sin in response?
6. If you’re struggling with addictive behaviors, sexual or otherwise, what positive habits can you establish to replace those behaviors?
7. Why is assessing your heart posture in all things so critical?