We have put together a list of books for husbands who have a wife that is a victim of childhood sexual abuse. These resources are listed alphabetically by author. Along with the title, we have included a summary and personal opinions on the content.
Barshinger, C. E., LaRowe, L. E., & Tapia, A. T. (1995). Haunted Marriage: Overcoming the Ghosts of Your Spouse’s Childhood Abuse. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
The first of our books for husbands was written by Barshinger, a therapist, equips husbands to appropriately respond to their wives, explores how people might overcome the sins of their fathers, and identifies with the plight of the husband in its tone and examples. The book’s content is primarily comprised of insights from clinical practice and the research of 17 documented resources.
This team of authors provides guidance to husbands for the need of individuation while simultaneously guarding against individualism. From the spiritual perspective, readers are warned of the inadvertent ease by which healing can be idolized in a therapeutic age. “Being happy is not the goal of therapy or of life. Being healed and restored in our relationships with God, others and ourselves is . . . We are healed to live. We do not live to be healed” (p. 44).
I highly recommend Haunted Marriage.
Cameron, G. (1994). What About Me?: A Guide for Men Helping Female Partners with Childhood Sexual Abuse. Carp, ON: Creative Bound Inc.
As the husband of a CSA survivor, Cameron offers insights into the identified symptoms of a survivor. Cameron addresses symptoms that can be backed by scholarly research. However, this work offers no documentation of scholarly sources and recorded only the dynamics within Cameron’s personal marriage. Cameron’s work contains a chapter guiding husbands through the decision of whether or not to remain married. This conversation stands in contrast to the work of Barshinger et al. (1995) which challenges husbands to commit to the healing process.
Davis, L. (1991). Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.
This book appears on almost every list addressing sexual abuse. Written in a question-answer format, it serves as an easy reference guide. Many of the answers provided emphasize what husbands should do for their wives. I found this book to be very informative but did not feel that it was always supportive. Davis is not consistent in identifying with a husbands’ needs as they work through secondary trauma.
DeMuth, M. (2013). Not Marked: Finding Hope & Healing After Sexual Abuse. Rockwall, TX: Uncaged Publishing.
DeMuth writes in this book of her personal abuse and journey towards healing. Included in the book is a chapter on the effects of CSA on marriage. She addresses fears and the sexual struggle she has personally experienced in her marriage.
DeMuth offers the following life principles in her writing: stop comparing the worst in you with the best in others, and how God made you is how He heals you. Another benefit of this book is that DeMuth’s husband, Patrick writes a response at the end of each chapter. This aids in providing insight to the effects of CSA from both a husband and wife’s perspective.
Gil, E. (1992). Outgrowing the Pain Together: A Book for Spouses and Partners of Adults Abused as Children. New York: Dell Publishing.
In this book, Gil offers prescriptive instruction to spouses of those who suffered from CSA. He does this with an emphasis on the fact that the husband should assume an assertive role in the relationship. Gil also addresses topics such as anger, touching, power and control, and sexuality. His prescriptive approach includes various techniques that can be employed while communicating: making lists, creating signals to indicate stress, and so forth. In contrast to many authors who write on this topic, Gil’s work assumes a higher ease in communication.
Hansen, P. A. (1991). Survivors and Partners: Healing the Relationships of Sexual Abuse Survivors.Longmont, CO: Heron Hill Publishing.
Hansen, like Barshinger, addresses husbands by educating them on the impact of CSA. He also gives attention to the trauma faced by husbands and their personal need for self-care. Hansen writes from the perspective of a therapist, the husband of a survivor, and a survivor himself. Through self-disclosure, and reaching into the heart and mind of husbands, Hansen presents the difficulty he had in understanding why his wife’s awareness and understanding of abuse was not enough to restore their marital stability.
Rather than telling husbands what to do, Hansen breaks down the psychological responses to trauma experienced by both husband and wife. The process of healing, which brought awareness to Hansen of his own CSA, supports the notion that “Psychologically, men and women with certain types of dysfunctions that complement each other consistently find one another and fall in love” (Barshinger et al., 1995, pp. 49-50; Oz, 2001). Bass and Davis (1992) echo this theme in their publications stating, “People unconsciously pick a mate where your meeting point is where you both need to grow” (p. 387).
Heitritter, L., & Vought, J. (2006). Helping Victims of Sexual Abuse: A Sensitive Biblical Guide for Counselors, Victims, and Families. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House.
The book is true to its title. It focuses on the abuse survivor without addressing the needs of the survivors’ husband. The content offers an understanding of the initial and long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, presents the ultimate betrayal of incest, and offers advice for guiding the survivor through their sense of powerlessness and overcoming guilt and shame. The chapter on discovering self-identity addresses the identity of the survivor but fails to encourage self-awareness in the husband.
Jones, D.S. (2012). When a Woman You Love Was Abused: A Husband’s Guide to Helping Her Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
In this book, Jones has three primary objectives. First, Jones presents several aspects of the effects caused by CSA. She uses these effects to identify how survivors are unique. Second, Jones outlines the healing process. Lastly, Jones offers advice on how husbands can foster a healing environment in their relationships.
Bill Ronzheimer, Ph.D. (2019)
Help, My Wife Is A Survivor of Sexual Abuse
I am excited to announce the release of my new book Help, My Wife is a Survivor of Sexual Abuse: Answers to Your Most Important Questions. We are happy to offer this resource on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
It is my prayer that the information, insights, and recommendations in this book will lead to transformed lives and marriages of husbands and survivors.
The statistics are staggering: at least one in four women have been sexually abused by the time they reach age 18. The long-term effects of the trauma from sexual abuse are immeasurable. They include shame, panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation, aversion to or perversion of sexual intimacy, somatic disturbances, and much more.
Help! My Wife is a Survivor of Sexual Abuse is written to husbands of childhood sexual abuse survivors. The book answers 10 recurring questions asked by husbands of survivors. I have identified these questions through doctoral research, ministry to husbands, and personal experience. The author addresses each question with the introduction of a new chapter.
Maintaining a conversational tone, Bill guides the reader by exploring new perspectives and establishing new patterns for personal development and for responding to their spouse. These perspectives and patterns are based on research, years of interaction with husbands of survivors, and a blend of clinical accuracy, personal experience, and a distinctly Christian perspective. Though the book addresses husbands of survivors, wives who are survivors of abuse will note that they too wrestle with many of the same questions. For this reason, survivors will glean new insights from this book.
As an added resource to the book, we have also included an Extended Question Guide. I have designed the guide to build off of the questions presented at the end of each chapter. In my personal experience, nothing has taught me more about myself, my wife, and God than this journey toward personal and marital health. The questions in this guide are based on the content of Help, My Wife is a Survivor of Sexual Abuse. I hope they help to facilitate further personal and marital growth and health.