As wives, how should we respond to this battle of pornography? More specifically, how do we deal with our husband’s struggle?
First of all, it’s no longer his struggle, it’s our struggle.
Being Christians and remaining abstinent until we were married, sex wasn’t an issue being newlyweds. It was frequent and awesome – our marriage was, for lack of a better term, GREAT!
But as Ryan mentioned in his post, one seemingly harmless and curious click onto a URL and the battle had begun.
What it’s really about
It’s not about how can I fix him? Or even how did I fail as his wife? It’s about how can our marriage be restored after a battle with pornography?
The effects of pornography are vast depending on the frequency in which it occurs.
For Ryan and I, the struggle was infrequent, but nonetheless, pornography existed in our marriage.
It brought hurt, shame and anger – none of which are easy to deal with, but are necessary if you’re serious about uprooting pornography in your marriage.
Our prayer is that this post will provide you with a few solutions and instructions on how to deal with this issue in a Godly and loving way.
4 Ways To Deal With Porn In Your Marriage:
When Ryan shared with me about his battle with porn, of course my heart hurt. But by the grace of God, I found myself more concerned about my husband and his pain, that I wanted to make sure my conversation with him was one of honesty, love and grace.
I needed God’s help.
This was not something I could/should manage on my own. I could see how the shame and guilt was tearing him up inside. How he knew it would hurt me to hear about it and how he knew it was hurting our marriage.
I knew that if I did not allow God to lead me with compassion and mercy then my words of anger and hurt would only be adding to Ryan’s sense of shame and guilt, possibly pushing him farther down a path of destruction.
Start with a conversation between you and God (prayer) and then move into a conversation with your spouse.
Ask God not only for His guidance throughout the entire conversation, but to fill you with grace. Pray that your spouse would be open, honest and also full of grace as well. Then LISTEN to what He’s telling you.
This struggle with porn was an opportunity for me to show Ryan how much I love and respect him. The primary way I could show him was in how I communicated with him.
The goal: speaking the truth in love (requiring God’s grace and guidance).
When I say speaking this includes not only your words, but also your tone and body language. It means looking him straight in the eyes when you say, “I forgive you” – it means grabbing his hand to show him you’re ready to help and walk through this battle TOGETHER, united.
It means initiating a hug and a reassuring kiss that although this hurts you, you’re not willing to give up or give in.
Communicate the truth in love; if you’re hurt, tell him – but not in a malicious way, but in a way that honestly communicates your heart and that although it hurts, you for give him, you love him, and you are devoted to him and to overcoming the issue of pornography.
Grace & Forgiveness
Extending grace and forgiveness should be our standard operating procedures for life and most especially for our marriage.
If you find yourselves arguing and pointing the finger, or maybe you just simply blame yourself for your spouse’s addiction – look back at Jesus. The ultimate example of grace and forgiveness.
With Easter approaching, this is a good reminder of how much grace has been extended to us and how much more we should be extending grace to our spouse.
Grace, by it’s very definition is undeserved and unmerited approval/favor. It’s a sign of authentic and sincere love.
Extending grace requires forgiveness. In this case, it means forgiving your spouse for their mistakes and it means forgiving yourself for contributing (at some level) to their battle.
Remember Jesus – the ultimate example of grace and forgiveness.
For us specifically, I am one of Ryan’s accountability partners. Maybe it seems weird that a wife would be an accountability partner for her husband, but honestly, it’s been very liberating and has strengthened our marriage.
This requires complete honesty in accounting for any moments of weakness, and it requires us (wives) to handle our husband’s hearts with care. The fact that he is being honest and transparent should not be discounted or overlooked.
Ryan has outlined a number of great ways to implement accountability into your marriage in his post, overall, it has to stem out of love.
Accountability is only affective if it is done out of sincere love and honesty, otherwise, it turns into a nagging argument of he said she said.
We hope that our transparency will reflect you back to the Redeemer, the One who restores and makes all things new. Our struggle may be different from yours, but nonetheless we’d encourage you to seek the Lord first. To not let shame or guilt keep you from the One who knows you the best and loves you the most.