I hear from you regularly, you whose husband’s eyes are filled with many other women and not with you. You don’t even want to think the words, but he’s addicted to pornography. And every one of you carries a sadness I would love to be able to heal.
I think about you and carry you in my heart:
- The 60-year-old patient sitting on the exam table fighting back the tears, who shared, “My husband hasn’t touched me in years. He spends every evening in the basement looking at other women on his computer.”
- The friend riding in the back seat of my car as we were returning from a Christian event, almost choking on the words as she told how her “good Christian husband” kept promising to stop looking but never followed through.
- The young mother writing to me about how she was trying to protect her two children from her husband’s internet porn while he seemingly refused to even admit he has a problem.
Sometimes you get angry. At him. At life. At marriage. At God for not fixing him even though you pray – and pray and pray and pray. You feel used and abused by the man who promised to love you even if he hasn’t done anything to hurt you physically. You wonder why you’re not enough. What if you hadn’t gained that extra weight? What if you kept yourself looking more sexy? What if you never said NO even if what he wanted seems disgusting?
And you’ve probably tried doing all those things, and more. But nothing makes any difference, at least not for very long. Some of you may worry about his soul, knowing that God doesn’t look kindly on those who indulge in pornography (or any other sexual satisfaction outside of marriage). Some of you have a husband who keeps promising to get better but doesn’t stay clean. Others of you have a husband who isn’t even trying to get away from pornography.
But mostly you’re just sad. You feel alone. Lonely. You know that perhaps right now, even as you’re reading this, the man you love may be getting his visual fill from images or videos that make you feel dirty just thinking about it.
And so you cry. Perhaps you’ve given up asking him to stop. And you pray.
Will anything ever change?
3 Things You Need to Know
In my position I hear mostly from wives whose husbands struggle in this area. But women struggle here too. Although this is written from a woman’s perspective, if you’re a husband whose wife is hooked on pornography most of this will apply to you also.
If your spouse is into pornography there are three things you vitally need to know, and to remind yourself of over and over again:
- Your spouse’s pornography problem is not your fault. This one may be hard to believe, but it’s absolutely true. Regardless of how often you had or didn’t have sex, what your physical appearance was or is, or how well you did or didn’t treat your spouse, what he (or she) does with his eyes is HIS problem. This isn’t about you even though it may feel as though it is.
- You can’t fix your spouse. You’ve probably already figured that out, haven’t you? You can pray for them. And only God knows how many spouses’ hearts have been changed because of a loved one’s prayers. But if he ever develops a life of sexual integrity it will be because he chooses to do so and gets the help he needs.
- You can thrive whether or not your spouse and your marriage are healed. God sees you and loves you as an individual. He has a good life for you regardless of what your spouse does or doesn’t do. You may still hurt. But you can learn to take responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and wellbeing, and enjoy fulfilling God’s purpose for YOU.
What You Can Do
You already know some things that DON’T work. Nagging. Begging. Pleading. Crying. Getting rid of his stash of magazines. Trying to be more sexy yourself. Hiding the credit cards. Telling him how bad he is. Doing those things may even make it harder for your spouse to get the help he needs.
So what CAN you do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Pray. And keep on praying. Pray for your own heart, for wisdom and courage to do what you need to do. And pray for him, that God would break through his hardness of heart, his addiction, even his feelings of hopelessness.
Prayer is vitally important. Nothing will change without prayer! But you must also know that PRAYER IS NOT ALL YOU MUST DO! It’s important that you also:
- Get help for yourself. Find an older godly understanding Christian woman to talk with. Search out a counselor, therapist, or female pastor with training and experience in this area. Search for Biblical wisdom. You might find ideas on the blogs at xxxchurch.com. They offer resources for both the sexually addicted person AND THEIR SPOUSE.
- Connect with a community. There are many other wives who feel lonely, sad, and angry also. You need to hear their stories, and to share your own. If you can’t find a place to meet other such women in person, connect with an online group such as through X3Groups.com – online groups led by trained Christian individuals to help people in your exact situation.
- Learn new ways of relating to your husband. If he wants to break free from pornography your help can be invaluable to him. If he doesn’t want help you may need to set up some boundaries for yourself and any children you have. Wives Care is one healthy place to learn these new ways of relating and living. You can learn the healthy way to forgive, and find help to know how and whether to fight for your marriage.
I see you. I hurt for you. I know you are strong. I believe you can survive and thrive even through the pain. I don’t know what “the other side” will look like for you, but I know God can get you there.
Most of all, God sees you. I pray God brings you peace. But even more, I pray you hear God’s direction for what YOU must do to thrive yourself. And only He knows whether you might end up saving your marriage!
Feel free to write to me using the Contact Us page. I’ll respond to you personally.
Your Turn: Has pornography invaded your marriage? What are you doing about it? Leave a comment below.
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True intimacy with your spouse depends on healthy communication.
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