• IMPACT Magazine

For Better, For Worse - Surviving porn and infidelity


It was hardly love at first sight but rather “hate at first sight”. We were such polar opposites. Elaine was fun, spontaneous, expressive and driven. Desmond on the other hand, was quiet, withdrawn, methodical and easy-going. But as the saying goes, opposites attract, and we found ourselves drawn together during our first mission trip in dental school. This mutual attraction was fuelled by a common passion for mission work and a love for Jesus.


After four and a half years of courtship, we got married on 3 May 2008. It didn’t take long for disaster to strike. Elaine caught me watching pornography just six months into our marriage.

Elaine: I felt betrayed as I always thought that Desmond was a holy, God-fearing, good Christian man. Subsequently, I examined myself and wondered if it was my fault for not fulfilling him enough sexually. I read a Christian book on sex – Red Hot Monogamy by Bill and Pam Farrel – and found that wives could also initiate sex. This was a new idea to me. I decided to try it out. I slipped into something sexy, sent him a kinky message to come to the bedroom. However, when he saw me lying on the bed, his first response was “What are you doing?” I was very disappointed. Why was it so different from what the book said? I thought to myself that since he was not interested, and I did not even have any sexual desire for him, there was no need for me to ‘cheapen’ myself into initiating sex anymore. I told Desmond, “Whenever you have a need, just let me know.” Sex to me was just the duty of a wife to please the husband.

Desmond: Despite my promises to change, it happened many more times thereafter, but I always managed to keep it hidden. We hardly had sex as I was already getting my sexual needs met via the unhealthy addiction with pornography and masturbation. This obsession had completely perverted my view on how God had designed the gift of sex to be beautiful and pure within a marriage covenant.

It didn’t help that we were starting our climb up the social and economic ladder. Elaine was busy with her Master’s programme, and I was busy working and making money. We hardly had time for each other, and even when we did go for meals together, I would be on Facebook the whole time. We hardly communicated with one another and hence hardly had any quarrels. The one time that we did quarrel saw a violent ending as we came to blows.

Elaine: The final straw came when I caught Desmond watching porn again, almost three years into our marriage. I thought that in order to “find our love back” we should just go back to our first love – Missions. I asked if Desmond was willing to take a six-month sabbatical to go to the mission field with me after my graduation. His first response was “Are you crazy? If I go away for six months, I will lose all my patients and there will be no more income for us.” When I heard that response, I felt cheated again. This was no longer the same man that I fell in love with, or the man that I kept convincing myself God wanted for me as we both had a heart for missions and to serve Him in the mission field. I felt stupid for marrying and committing my life to this man so early in my life, when there are much better choices out there. Choices like Jack, whom I kept guarding my heart against.

Desmond: After much deliberation, I agreed to just go for a month of the mission trip after Elaine’s graduation. However, immediately upon her graduation, and one month before our planned trip, another setback came when Elaine suffered a heatstroke during a half-marathon and sustained a slipped disc. We agreed that she should stay home to rest while I would still go on the mission trip alone for one week, as the first week of the itinerary had already been planned and the villagers were expecting dental treatment.


Elaine: When Desmond was away, Jack visited me everyday. I was depressed at that time, wondering if my injury would mean the end of my career as an orthodontist. However, Jack encouraged me, told me jokes, brought me out to places that Desmond had never brought me to and brightened my days. I found myself feeling more and more attracted to him and kept questioning myself, “Why did I marry so early?” Here was a guy who paid 100% attention to me, thought like me, was jovial and we always had so much to talk about. Subsequently, I found myself in love with Jack and started toying with the idea of divorcing Desmond since I no longer loved him, and he was not the same man that I had married. Jack said he was willing to marry me even if I was a divorcee.

Desmond: Thousands of miles away, I was having a wonderful mission trip. God had rekindled the passion for missions in my heart. However, I flew back home into a maelstrom, as Elaine revealed to me that she was in love again, with Jack. At the same time, Elaine dropped another bombshell. She had hidden the fact that she had previously been involved in a sexual relationship and had first gotten pregnant, then had an abortion. Even though this happened many years ago before we had even got to know one another, the unexpectedness of these two bombshells hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only did it look like my marriage was over, I didn’t even know the person that I had gotten married to. I spiralled into depression and the days passed by in a blur. We did try marriage counselling for a number of months, but it seemed like the love was never coming back.

Elaine: As a last resort, we flew to the United States to attend a marriage workshop, Love After Marriage (LAM), run by Bethel Church in Redding, California. This would be my last try to save our marriage. In my mind, I was thinking that being a Christian, I needed to try everything first, and then be able to justify to God that nothing had worked even though we had tried everything. It would be impossible for me to stay married to him. In fact, we had not even been sexually intimate for almost a year, and after the porn discovery, I also distanced myself and refused to change or be naked in front of Desmond as I did not want to be cheapened or looked upon like a porn star in his eyes. I had the divorce lawyer ready and contacted HDB regarding the sale of our home. Everything was good to go upon our return. I was pretty sure the workshop was not going to work and was just going through the motions.


Amazingly, God showed up! He supernaturally intervened in the form of three miracles. The first was when our small-group couple facilitators prayed over me and released a word of knowledge about seeing me crying out to God to see me through a math exam. I had not shared anything about my past to anyone there, and I knew immediately that the scene had taken place when I was taking my GCE ‘A’ level exams, shortly after my abortion and when my boyfriend left me. All this while, God was just head knowledge to me. But at that moment, I realised that God is real. He was the one who saw me through everything and helped me to be where I am today. Realising how much He loves me, I did not want to do anything to displease Him and I knew that I could not be with Jack.

The second miracle was when we were being prayed for during a time of inner healing, and seeing that Jesus was there with me in the abortion room, and in Him, there was no guilt, no condemnation and He loves me. He also gave me a name for my unborn child. Desmond was also brought back to his childhood memory of being caned and chased around his house naked as his mum discovered him masturbating in his room. Seeing that Jesus was also there with him delivered him from both the shame and guilt he had taken upon himself, and the thinking that sex is dirty. The third miracle was when we made love again, and saw bloodstains on the bedsheet. It was as though God was saying, this is a new covenant, a new beginning.

Desmond: I wish we could say we lived happily ever after, but marriage is always a work-in-progress. LAM gave us the tools we needed to build on our miracles, to stay happily married. We realised that a big reason why our marriage never got off the ground was the burden of hiding secrets from each other. We were never free to be who we really were, and each discovery of another skeleton in the closet was a painful betrayal of trust. As someone once said, ‘Intimacy’ means “into me you see”. When we choose to live with nothing hidden, the enemy has no power to interpret our dysfunction to us. My spouse is able to speak into areas of need and to bring God’s truth about any situation. For example, there have been a few very brief relapses into porn, but I’m thankful that I’m able to bring it before Elaine without fear of condemnation, and I’m thankful that she chooses to see it as an invitation for her to bring God’s healing and forgiveness.

We endeavor to work on our communication with each other. It is so important that we talk, not just about the mundane functional things of life, but about our dreams and aspirations, about what God is saying to us individually and as a couple. We have disagreements, but we are able to deal with them in a healthier way. The enemy is always trying to bring separation and distortion, and that’s all a disagreement is. It’s not about winning any argument, but seeing what each other is really saying. We make an effort to get to the heart of the issue, rather than taking offence at each other’s opinion.

On a personal front, we have the tremendous blessing of being parents to our wonderful (almost) 3-year-old girl, Esther. We are currently also expecting a baby boy, Daniel Josh.


Desmond and Elaine Ng now partner with LAM to host marriage workshops in Singapore and are privileged to see many marriages healed as a result. They have also opened their lives in their book Rings on Fire because they believe that God can use their story to heal broken marriages.

#MarriageVows #Christianity #Addiction

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