4 Things to Remember About Your Husband’s Porn Problem

When dealing with the porn addiction of a spouse, it’s really easy to believe lies that make you feel inadequate. Here are the four most important things to remember about your husband’s porn problem.

Betrayed Wife Sits on Bed

1. It’s not because you aren’t attractive/fit/sexy/adventurous enough.

If you’ve seen the types of pictures and movies your spouse has been viewing, your first instinct might be resignation. You think to yourself, “I could never compete with that!” or “If that’s what he wants, why did he ever settle for me?” or “What have I been doing wrong?”

On the other hand, you might greet these physical bodies on the screen with a desire to rise to the challenge. You might think, “If that’s what he wants, that’s what I’ll try to give him.” You might overhaul your diet, start lifting weights, or measure your worth as a wife by the size of your jeans or the number on the scale.

I’ve been there. At first, I tried to compete. I lost weight by eating diet microwave dinners, joining a gym, and taking up running. I tried to be more exciting in the bedroom, even adding things with which I was uncomfortable. It had zero effect on my husband’s porn addiction.

Then, I went the other way. Realizing that I could not, especially after birthing two babies, look like the girls on the screen, I resigned myself as simply not enough. Not thin enough. Not voluptuous enough. Not exciting enough. Not pleasing enough. Wallowing in this lie also had zero effect on my husband’s porn addiction, but it did greatly affect my outlook on life and my own self-image in an extremely negative way.

While your marriage may have issues (because every marriage has issues at one point or another), you are not the reason your husband or wife decided turning to porn was a good idea. Chances are, porn was an issue for your spouse before you even entered the picture. Assuming blame for this problem will get your partner no closer to the real root of the issue and will only end up giving Satan a way to destroy how you see yourself.

2. You were not designed to fix this problem.

Craig’s (my husband) porn addiction came to light when I was still in my early twenties. I had no idea at that time in my life that people could be addicted to porn. I thought his porn viewing was a matter of self-control. If he put his mind to it, he could overcome it, especially after he saw my reaction when I caught him. What other kind of deterrent would he possibly need?

After I realized he didn’t have the self-discipline to overcome this problem on his own, I tried to make it harder for him to get to the porn. I told him I would constantly check his URL history. (I didn’t know about internet accountability and filtering like Covenant Eyes.) I turned his desk around so his computer screen faced the door to the room. I didn’t allow him to close the door to the study where the computer lived. I asked him if he had looked at porn or if he was struggling with temptation.

I built walls to try to protect him (and myself). But my efforts stemmed from my desire to control him, and he simply viewed them as obstacles to overcome. In full truth, there was a very real part of him that wanted healing from this addiction. But at this time, porn had been his crutch for so long, and he was scared to imagine a life without it. My parental measures made him feel like a kid who was trying to see how much he could get away with.

Even though some of these measures could have born fruit had they been a joint decision, true healing could only come with God. Your spouse’s porn addiction, though it affects you, is really between your partner and God. As Beth Moore said recently at a conference, “Discipline is an important thing, but it will not deliver you.” Jesus is the Savior who will deliver your spouse to freedom.

Though it can be so painful to sit back and watch, you are not without a role. You are the prayer warrior, the encourager, the helper, and friend. (And to do this, you need a safe place to vent your frustrations, anger, and hurt. Checking into a support group, counseling, and/or trusted friends/pastors are a must.)

3. Porn is not about sex. It’s about fantasy.

This is exactly why changing your external appearance will not lure your spouse from his or her porn addiction. Your spouse doesn’t turn to porn because he needs more or better sex. Your spouse most likely turns to porn because he wants to get lost in a fantasy world. While this might not make you feel better at first (because you can still go down the path of “Is life that bad with me?”), think of it in terms of a coping mechanism. Your spouse is overwhelmed, stressed out, afraid, etc., so he or she turns to porn to get away from it all and release some feel-good hormones. Some people drink too much. Some use drugs. Some use food to comfort themselves. Others work themselves to death.

Related: What Your Sexual Fantasies (Might) Say About You

We can all fall in a trap of being consumed by the trials of life and looking for a way out. None of these behaviors are healthy. Not one of them provides any long-lasting solutions or comfort, and all of them have far-reaching consequences.

Craig needed God to show him that in a real relationship with Him, God would always love him. He would never be rejected and wasn’t meant to handle this life’s stress on his own. Only after this revelation was he able to trade the crutch and comfort of porn for something that truly does show a way out of hard circumstances and situations–a relationship with God.

4. Your spouse’s porn use is not okay.

There are many people in our society who see absolutely nothing wrong with pornography. But if we look at the facts, we realize this isn’t just a spiritual issue that threatens your marriage. This is a societal and moral issue, as well.

There is an abundance of research that shows porn is harmful to our psyches and to our ability to relate to people on deep and intimate levels. It destroys healthy sex-drives and impacts how we view women. Porn pumps money into the sex-trafficking industry and makes very few people rich, while most of the actors, actresses, and models are left with very little money, drug addictions, STDs, and a very short life span.

There are multiple reasons why working toward freedom from porn is essential. Satan will try to convince you that it’s harmless, but you can arm yourself with secular and spiritual truth so you don’t fall for his lies.

Recovering from porn addiction is possible. The restoration of your spouse and your marriage is possible! Keeping yourself immersed in prayer, scripture, and within a good support system is vital so that the truth stays central in your life. As Jesus says in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

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