Today’s question is an important one. And it’s very straightforward. Here’s what the wife asks:
My husband is addicted to porn. I have no one to talk to — where do I go?
Even in this short question, I can sense the pain, urgency, and despair. When it comes to pornography, let’s be clear about two things:
- Too many men battle this temptation and feel trapped by a horrible habit that they don’t want to continue, yet feel insufficient to overcome.
- It’s cheating on your marriage. What was supposed to remain entirely within marriage — sexual pleasure and satisfaction — is being met elsewhere.
As much as I feel for the addicted porn viewer and their struggle, it’s no wonder that wives who discover their husband’s porn use feel betrayed. According to Jesus, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28)....it's no wonder that wives who discover their husband's porn use feel betrayed. Click To Tweet
Porn isn’t the stray glance or public temptation of scantily dressed women; it’s the intentional consumption of sexually charged materials for the purpose of lusting and receiving sexual pleasure.
Yet for some, many perhaps, it is also like an addiction. As I said, they know it’s bad, often they want to quit, but the temptation is so strong. If you’ve ever been addicted to anything — drugs, smoking, coffee, soda, etc. — you understand how the head knowledge and the heart desire to quit something are constantly battling with the baser need you have to feed the hungry beast. You’ve experienced the longing, followed by the dopamine and adrenaline rush, and your body tells you to keep that loop going.
The point is that when one spouse is habitually using porn, both of you are suffering. Your marriage is suffering. It’s easy to feel like you’re on opposite sides. So one major goal you need to have is to get on the same side. It will take both of you working together on this issue and your marriage. He needs to do his part, and you need to support him.
To the question: I have no one to talk to — where do I go? The best response I think I can give is to point you to resources. Following are a few great posts addressing the issue of a husband’s use of porn.
Unveiled Wife also has a list of Resources to Educate Yourself on Pornography
Q&A with J: When Your Husband Falls Off the Porn Wagon here on my blog
As far as talking to someone and getting real help as the wife of a porn-addicted husband, XXXchurch provides many resources for overcoming porn addiction and walking through that experience with your spouse. They have small groups you can participate in online, as well as an entire program for wives called Recover. (If someone has been through this program, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.)
Some of the churches in your area might also offer programs for porn recovery, including outreach to spouses. Check around and see what’s available; you might be surprised to discover useful resources in your own neck-of-the-woods.
I don’t know whether your husband confessed the porn addiction or you simply discovered it, whether he is remorseful or recalcitrant, and whether he wants to seek help or you feel alone in this matter. Of course, this will all be easier if he is repentant and willing to reach out for help.
If he is not cooperative, you need to be willing to bring it up to someone in your church congregation. Of course this is difficult, and scary, but you cannot allow your marriage to disintegrate. Nor is it any favor to your husband to allow him to continue in sin. Likely he recognizes that his porn habit is taking a toll on himself and his marriage, even if he doesn’t admit it right away.
Many Christians steeped in pornography have a hard time getting help because they feel such shame even admitting their problem. It’s hard to bring out in the open the worst parts of ourselves and ask for help and healing.
But Luke 8:17 says: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
God already sees and knows. As long as you hide, however, you cannot be healed. Consider it like this: Would you want a life-saving operation to be conducted by your surgeon in the dark? We have to step into the light so that all our struggles can be seen and our Healer can make us, and our marriage, whole again.
Be wise about whom you bring into your confidence. But consider that this may be a step you need to take.
I pray that the resources I provided will point you in the right direction. And may God bring you strength, comfort, and hope.