Accountability, Commitment, For Women, Love, Sex & Intimacy

Handle With Care: Wives dealing with pornography in their marriage

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:

Conversation 

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.

Communication

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.

Accountability

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.

Our Prayer

 

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.

 

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  • Diana VanDam

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

  • Tanya

    Thanks for sharing. I found y’all through unvailed wife and have enjoyed reading your guy’s posts and seeing your pics via facebook. My husband and I are going through something similar but I am having a hard time with it. There has been lies so its hard to have accountablity and trust when its been that way. I don’t know that I can trust him again. Would appreciate your prayers if you don’t mind. We have 8 children together so a lot to lose. Thank you.

  • PureLove

    Thanks so much for sharing! We are engaged to get married very soon, and my fiance has thus far been very open and honest with me about his addiction. I have just found it really tough and I would appreciate some more guidance on how to deal with this, more so how to really help him overcome this and also how to deal with my emotions (deep hurt, disappointment with not living a pure godly life, feeling inadequate etc). Any directions to a good advice on the web or elsewhere would be much appreciated:)

  • HisSisterSara

    Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to not be alone. But how do I deal if he feels no guilt, shame, or remorse? I thought he had quit, but found out just now, on our wedding night, that he has not. :(

  • Kathryn

    I am glad that porn has not sunk in its teeth deep enough to ruin your marriage. I have been married nearly 33 years and only truly uncovered this addiction 2 years ago. Lies, secrets, and blame have been used as weapons against me to throw me off the track of delving deep enough to uncover the truth.

    Your comment stating ‘contributing to’ your husband’s struggle concerns me. We as wives are not to be held to blame for our husband’s lack of maturity, selfishness and lack of concern for us as equal partners and soul mates.

    My prayer for you is that the transparency in your marriage remains and that porn will never again rear it’s ugly head. My marriage is all but ruined by porn’s insidious nature. Let’s pray that society will soon see women as valuable, giving human beings; not to be objectified for men’s sexual needs. My best to you and to all women whose lives have been forever changed by porn’s degradation.

    • MGTOW

      You got fat, didn’t you!

  • Amy Jones

    I’ve read through this a few times and realized that the post is ALL about your husband. All about how you can support him and love him and forgive him and help keep him accountable. NONE of those things are bad things. Clearly, in your marriage they are incredibly wonderful things. But for a woman who is struggling to cope with an addicted spouse, coming and reading that MORE is required of her, it’s going to lead to some unhealthy issues. For example, early in the recovery process, it can be a VERY bad idea for some women to be their husband’s accountability partner. Being burdened to forgive – while still swamped with learning the consequences of their husband’s addiction is impossible. For many women, the whole truth of what has happened in their marriage will never be told. Many women face months of attempting to sort through multiple stories, each stranger than the last, each less plausible than the last, trying to figure out what is actually going on in her life and home. I’m not saying that forgiveness is a bad thing – only that for many women immediately “forgiving” will frequently not be forgiveness at all – but the start of a long struggle to figure out how to cope with the consequences of what has been done to her when she has already “promised not to bring it up again.” (which is what “forgiveness” frequently means to a sexual addict.) You can’t sincerely forgive what you don’t know and understand. Discovering a sexual addiction doesn’t just damage the addict and the marriage, it damages the spouse too. A wife who is dealing with a partner’s sexual addiction needs tools to help heal herself, to set healthy boundaries, to help her stabilize her life and make decisions that can give her a stable road forward. Where I found those tools: http://www.recoverynation.com

    • MGTOW

      Feministing 101: ALWAYS blame the MAN!

  • Pingback: 4 Ways to Prove to Your Spouse You Love Them (Part 1) » Fierce Marriage()

  • lisa

    What about if your husband is unsaved and blames me because he has no passion for mr

    • Amber

      Then you hold on with every fiber of your being to the truth that his addiction is NOT your reflection. Your worth is not found in the love of a man, it is found in the solid fact that you are created by God, in the image of God, for the glory of God. Christ is so passionate about you, He delights in your very existence!

  • Tiish

    About a year ago, I found out my husband was into pornography. I was heartbroken and felt worthless, cheap, etc. I confronted him. He said he was sorry and would never do it again. Last week , I found out he’s still doing it. Again, I was hurt, very hurt. Our Pastor had given him a book, “The Secret in the Pew” by David A. Blythe, the first time. I think he he may have read a few pages then. But not since. We’ve talked and I’ve forgiven. I understand now that it is a process and will take time for him to overcome. I read the book for myself in about 2-3 hours. It’s directed to men, but has really gave me insight in this addiction my husband is struggling with. I’m looking for ways how other wives have come through this. It’ll be hard, but I’m willing to go the distance with the help of the Lord.

    • Amy Jones

      Tiish, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. What a painful time for you! Believing you had made progress toward healing only to discover that he was not where you thought he was is so discouraging! The first thing that I want to tell you is that you are not responsible for this. There was nothing you could have done, nothing you could have changed, nothing you could have said to prevent this from happening. Second, if your husband is going to change, he’s going to need to be motivated to change for himself. It’s going to be hard work that you cannot do for him. (In fact, trying to do that work for him will only prolong the recovery process). You will know that he is in recovery when you see him regularly reaching out for help and continually practicing new skills to help him cope with stress and create true intimacy. Finally, there is a website that is specifically designed for sexual addicts and their spouses. It’s http://www.recoverynation.com. Reading other people’s stories is so helpful. Recovery nation is designed to go beyond that and help you figure out how to move forward with life as it is now. It’s also a community where you will find other spouses struggling with similar issues.

  • My Beautifully Broken Life

    My ex-husband didn’t need more grace and forgiveness…he needed truth…he needed to hear me say that his lies were killing me and killing our marriage. Even after his arrest, he couldn’t give up this sin. I failed him but not because I couldn’t offer enough grace and forgiveness. I couldn’t offer him truth. I should have stood up and told him it was porn and chat rooms or me. He had to choose life. He had to choose the marriage. I was finally able to offer truth and the righteous anger that shows a man how his sin has hurt someone else only after counseling……I only heard in my head that I should offer grace and forgiveness. He would “repent” and offer excuses and lies and promises but in the end…he chose over and over and over to walk back into sin. There is no amount of grace and forgiveness that will allow him to chose anything but his addiction until he is at the place where he will allow God to break him. What a slippery road….what a hellish lie pornography and sexual addiction lead to. What a false hope we give women when we tell them to continually just offer more grace and more forgiveness. Righteous anger…..that is what is needed. Righteous anger like the kind that led to tables being overturned and whips being made in the temple. Jesus was not afraid to show His righteous anger. Wives should not be ashamed to have boundaries and offer their righteous anger to their husband. Only when his heart is broken will he have a chance to truly repent. If we keep holding their hand and gently telling them we forgive them without any signs of true repentance, we are killing them as surely as if we were condemning them. (mybeautifullybrokenlife.com)

  • MGTOW

    Porn! It won’t saddle you with a false rape claim, an STD, or an unwanted pregnancy.

    Porn! It’s the new and improved woman!

    MGTOW :)

  • Nate Danser

    I absolutely agree with Selena in what she had to say as it related to her personal experience. She was dealing with a noble husband who loves God deeply and cherishes her. Relatively speaking, he had a fairly good track record. He needed all the things that Selena realized she could offer him. Additionally, Ryan was willing to fight for God’s grace and strength to overcome (even if it took some time to come to that point).

    Most women who are married to the men that we minister to at Pure Life Ministries (www.purelifeministries.org) are not dealing with a man who has struggled “infrequently.” They are dealing with the absolute gut-wrenching pain of coming to the realization that they married a man that they never knew. Why? Because he deceived them the entire time.

    Imagine finding out that your husband has been visiting prostitutes for the last 10 years? Or that he is into homosexual porn? Or that he is a “peeping Tom” or a voyeur? Or that he’s been cheating on you for years?

    This is the type of situation that more and more women are dealing with these days. I so appreciated Selena’s grace and humility in the way that she responded to Ryan. I also understand that many marriages are in far greater trouble than theirs was.