Day 13: Pornography ~ The Unwelcome Guest in Your Home
Missed some posts in this series? You can read them here.
Have you discovered that pornography showed up in your home like an uninvited guest, unpacked her bags, and isn’t catching on to the fact that she is UNwelcome? If so, let me begin by telling you that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that this is a post that caught your attention and felt like the promise of a cold drink in the middle of your desert.
I’m sorry that you may feel like you don’t even know the man you married. (Can I tell you some truth? The fact of the matter is, now you finally do know who your husband really is … all of him … not just the bright and shiny parts, but the dark and honest parts too. We all have those parts, by the way)
(He) will bring to light the things now hidden in the darkness
and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
1 Corinthians 4:5
I’m sorry if the thought has crossed your mind that maybe you should pack your own bags and move out for a while because you + your husband + countless digitally enhanced images of other women results in a house that’s too crowded and a marriage bed that doesn’t feel safe. Exhale. Remember that you are in a battle, but this is a battle not between you and your husband, but a battle between the two of you against pornography. Though this has taken you by surprise, it has not surprised God.
I’m especially sorry if your husband didn’t have the courage to tell you about his struggle and you found out the hard way. I imagine you may wonder if he is truly sorry because of what he did, or if he is sorry he got caught? It’s normal for a wife to wonder how much longer he would have kept this little secret or if he would have ever come clean. This is a question you’ll never have an answer for, so it’s best to set it aside in lieu of the question that has answers:
WHAT DO I DO IF MY HUSBAND IS LOOKING AT PORNOGRAPHY?
Do SOMETHING because your husband’s use of porn will not go away if you simply ignore it.
God’s blueprint for marriage is spelled out in the Bible. It’s that blueprint that causes you to think, “A faithful, godly husband doesn’t do this.” While the word confront doesn’t sound very loving, leaving your husband in this sin isn’t a loving response either.
You need to tenderly confront your husband about his use of pornography. There is no right or wrong time, as long as you don’t avoid or deny the issue. Don’t be surprised if your emotions bubble to the surface and you find yourself crying or fighting mad. Our God was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). You can trust that He understands what you are feeling.
Find safe support.
It is important that you find someone to talk to, and the first person should be God. Ask Him to direct your path in this situation. Your best confidants will be those who are equipped to listen without judgment, and preferably someone who has experience with this.
If your husband is committed to restoring your marriage and he is taking obvious steps in the right direction, I strongly encourage you to consult him about who and how much to tell. You likely have a million questions. You will find additional resources with answers to many of those questions here on my website.
Accept the fact that it is not in your power to fix this for your husband.
God has given the Holy Spirit the task of conviction of sin. You are not responsible for your husband’s daily choices. Your job is to walk in obedience to the Word of God. My book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart, leads women to the Wonderful Counselor who is in the practice of taking the broken pieces of a woman’s heart and making something beautiful.
You’ve experienced a painful betrayal and you need to trust yourself into His care. When you arrive at a place of healing, you will be in a better position to create an environment that promotes healing in your marriage. Leave your husband in God’s hands. He’s got this one.
Rest assured that your husband’s use of pornography is not about you.
I hope he has already told you this, but I suspect you’re not so sure. Believe it. Pornography is a selfish act meant to meet his own perceived needs. That means you are not in competition with images of other women. This is not about your appearance, your sexual availability, or your competence in the bedroom.
Friend, I encourage you to lay your husband at Christ’s feet and place your heart in His hands.
Thank you for this post. I know it will serve many wives who are surprised to find their husband facing such a battle. The key is to see that they must fight this one together. Suspicion is the worst enemy and will do more harm to separate the wife from her husband. Seeing that she can HELP her husband get free from this sin master is the first step towards freedom for him and mature growth for their relationship. Excellent post!
Thanks Vicki, for sharing on such a difficult and painful subject. After reading this I asked my husband to please talk to our sons (college and young adult) again about the dangers of pornography.
Well done, Gaye. This issue is rampant on college campuses and among young professionals. Sadly, they often think it’s okay and believe they will simply stop when they are married and have “license” to enjoy married intimacy. It just doesn’t work that way though. These are important conversations to have with our kids of all ages.
Vicki, thank you SO much for sharing about your situation. I receive email after email from so many wives who are finding themselves in a similar situation. I KNOW your words will minister to countless women.
Thank you for the supportive post and it was very well written. My only bit of input would be that sometimes it’s not the husband who has the pornography problem…sometimes it’s the wife who is stuck in the mire of this sin. Do the same things apply to her as it does to the man? How are tables turned? Or are they? Would love some input on your thoughts about that.
This is a great question. You are absolutely right that though there is a larger percentage of men dealing with pornography (50-70% of Christian men), about 30% of Christian women struggle with pornography. I do think all of these points are true if the tables are turned. You still need to gently address it because it will not go away if you ignore it, you need safe support, recognize that it’s not in your power to fix your wife (she must want to turn from the behavior if it’s going to happen), and trust that this isn’t about you. Here’s the thing … women often do pornography differently than men do. They MAY look at pornographic images, but they are more likely to read erotic fiction or get involved in chat rooms because it’s relational. You can be her biggest cheerleader. Let her know you believe she can beat this, create an environment of healing (just as I would tell a wife to do for her husband), and pray for her!
Thank you for this encouragement. My husband and I have been dealing with his for a few years now. Just when we think it’s gone something happens and he’s tempted again. It seems to be a never ending battle but it has only been with the Lord’s help that we have got through this and I have had the strength to not take it to heart… as much as I want to. God fills in where my husband leaves off… I wouldn’t be able to do this with out HIM.
Thank you for this, Vicki! Once the shock and feelings of betrayal abate, a wife can be her husband’s strongest advocate and prayer warrior. We can certainly pray Christ strength’s into our husbands’ hearts so they can resist temptation, and help pray the porn away through Christ. I will be reading your book now!
Thank-you for your post. I will never forget the day when I confronted my husband about what I stumbled across on his computer (because he forgot to delete the history). He too will never forget that day, because he viewed it as God opening a door for him to “come clean”. I was shocked, to say the least. Thank God, he was very remorseful and wanted to seek help and restore what was broken. Through God’s grace, a wonderful Christian counsellor, and very supportive family members, our marriage was restored and we were granted healing. A great resource for us was the Christian website and free online courses from “Setting Captives Free”. Since then, God has used us to help others who are struggling with the same issue. Although we are not responsible for our husband’s daily choices, we are still able to be an accountability partner for him and help him get rid of the temptations by setting up filters on the computer. I agree that we need to lay our husbands at Christ’s feet! Thanks again.
Thanks for the post. What do you do as follow up after you find out? Do I ask him weekly if he has looked at any porn or ask him if he has been tempted? And how do I get rid of the feelings that he is thinking of one of those images when we are intimate? This hurt me to my core because insecurity about my looks after children, stretch marks, etc. have made this have a particular hurtful sting.
Terri, I’m sorry you are going through this. I know exactly … As you can imagine, there is no single right answer to your questions as the answers depend on the people involved and we all come with different personalities, family of origin issues, baggage, level of spiritual maturity, etc. I’m going to give you a vague answer to your first question … I do hope the two of you are able to talk about his pornography struggle (I HOPE it’s a struggle!). If you are able to have calm, honest discussions about it, then together you can decide how often you should check in with him. As a general rule, I encourage women NOT to be their husband’s primary accountability partner. You can pray for him and be his absolutely biggest cheerleader – letting him know you are confident he can kick this habit and walk in victory – but not be his mother or the one to whom he answers. I’ve written a new mini-book that just came out last week: http://stores.newgrowthpress.com/-strse-1128/Your-Husband-is-Addicted/Detail.bok?xcategory=MINI+BOOKS
It walks women through what to do after they’ve discovered their husband’s addiction. It’s only 21 pages and very inexpensive. I encourage you to get a copy as it will give you (and him) some very basic first steps.
Your second question is harder as this will take time. I do address it in length in my book, “When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.” I just want to assure you that your husband looking at porn is NOT about you. I suspect he’s already told you that, but you can believe him on this one. Nevertheless, what you are feeling is normal … and painful … and consuming … but there is HOPE in Jesus. I truly think you would be encouraged by the mini-book and my full size book on this subject. I’m praying for you, Terri!
My husband was/is addicted to pornography – I don’t really know, I think lately it has been better… Anyway he said that he feels weaker to use pornography when we haven’t had sex, now I know you’re supposed to give it to him as much as possible – but sometimes I’m so exhausted from work & other duties. We are trying to resolve our sexual issues as well and have been making progress. We also had an issue of premarital sex which I had been struggling with.
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