Hope During Your Husband’s Porn Addiction: 3 Critical Reminders

The waves were rough that day.

I had my little daughter standing next to me in the calf-deep water. Grannie was sitting in front of me, closer to the shore. We chatted. We laughed. And we didn’t notice the wave behind us.

Hope During Your Husband's Porn Addiction

All of the sudden we were smacked with a large, unexpected wave that lifted Hannah off her feet and nearly knocked my 88-pound grandmother under the water. Hannah had already been holding my hand, but since her feet no longer found footing on the ocean floor, the rip tide was carrying her north. I tightened my grip on her and lunged for my grandmother to help her keep her head above water.

I had two people who did not have enough strength to battle the wave and undertow on their own, clinging to me. My arms were outstretched, one pulled north and one pulled south. My heels dug into the sand beneath me and I held on as tight as I could, desperate to save them both. The wave passed and everyone righted themselves, hearts beating quickly, relief settling in.

Fighting Porn. Losing Hope.

Later, as I reflected on that terrifying moment, I saw myself not as the one doing the saving, but as the one who needed to be saved. Jesus was in my place, arms stretched out, hands clasped upon me, never losing His grip, despite the pull of the waves.

But when it came to Craig’s porn addiction, we both found ourselves letting go of the one person who could actually save us – Jesus.

I kept myself afloat with my list of rules and regulations he needed follow to keep away from porn. I buoyed myself with anger toward the porn industry. He tried to keep his head above water with his own willpower, which never seemed to last longer than a month or two. We were barely treading water because we put all our hope into recovery, an end to the tenacious cycle of addiction.

And when more waves of life came, when the addictive behaviors reared their ugly heads again, we lost hope. We drowned in a sea of despair, unable to see God working despite our failures, relapses, and arguments. I figured since he had looked at porn again, since my rules had failed again, since we couldn’t seem to get free of this darkness again, we were destined to be lost in this sea forever, never making it to the solid ground of shore.

Thankfully, through His Word, God showed us that hope is not a destination.

Wearing Hope Like a Lifejacket

“We don’t make it to the end of a process and think, ‘Now we can have hope.’ Rather, hope is what gets us to our destination. It is the fuel that keeps us going even when the future looks bleak. It is what compels us to keep trying, even when the task looks insurmountable. It is that which keeps us afloat when we are drowning in a stormy sea.” {Excerpt from Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography}

But we have to remember to put hope on. Lifejackets do no good hanging on the rack or stuffed in the seats of a boat. They only help if we are wearing them. But how do we wear hope?

  • We remember we are anchored by God’s promises. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” God promises to always love, always forgive, never leave you, and to give you a future that is good. So many times, I looked at Craig, didn’t see God working, and promptly lost hope instead of trusting that much of what God does within us is not immediately visible.
  • We remember God is our safe harbor. Hebrews 6:18 says, “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” I often sought refuge in trying to control Craig’s behavior and in creating rules that would keep him “safe” from porn. But this was a false sense of security for me and for him. Rules do not keep us safe. Only our relationship with Jesus can keep us from temptation and darkness. Only in Him can we find true rescue and refuge.
  • We remember to keep swimming. In the NIV translation of Hebrews 6:18, it says, “We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” The Greek word for “set before us” is the same word used in Hebrews 12:1–2 (prokeimai) where it talks about running the race that God has marked out for us. When we grab the hope that is set before us, we can carry on together with perseverance, with patient endurance, fixing our eyes on Christ, who will perfect our faith. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that would come after His death and resurrection. We can persevere through this storm, too, because with Jesus there is always hope. We can live with joy in our relationship in Him, despite the circumstances that enter our lives. Not only did He die to take away our sins, He promises to be with us on each step of that journey. We can always move forward, even in a storm, with Jesus as our hope.

You may find yourself mired in hopelessness, tired of treading water on your own ability because of porn addiction or something else that continually crashes down on you. Just as I would not let go of my daughter or my grandmother, Jesus will not let go of you either, even when your grip feels weak, even when you decide you’re tired of hanging on. With Him, there is always hope. With Him, there is always light. With Him, no darkness can consume you, for where He is, there is no darkness that can extinguish His power.