If you’re to rebuild marital trust in the wake of a husband’s betrayal, there can be no dancing around the issue. The root of the problem is his behavior. When a husband demolishes his wife’s trust, there cannot be complete restoration until that trust returns, because trust is the basis of all relationships.
Trouble is, when it comes to trust, there’s a catch. No matter how desperately you want it, you can’t manufacture trust on your own. Trust requires two ingredients: Your husband must become trustworthy, and you must trust again. Each of you is responsible for bringing one of the ingredients to the table.
Neither will be easy to provide. Becoming trustworthy will require an immense character change on his part, and that’s no small task. On your end, trusting your husband again will require obedience and submission to God, in spite of your scars. That won’t be easy, either.
– Brenda Stoeker, Every Heart Restored
To rebuild trust, the husband must act decisively to become trustworthy again. A wife can’t do her part (trust him again) until he has done his part (become trustworthy). Men don’t always like that first responsibility, but it is true.
Our wives can do some things in the relationship without our help, of course. For instance, Brenda can love me simply by choosing to do so, no matter how badly I treat her or betray her. She can forgive me over and over again, even if I never ask her to do so. She can also commit her heart faithfully to me no matter how adulterous my heart may grow in return.
But trust can’t exist in a vacuum like this. Trust can only exist in relationship. Brenda can only genuinely trust me when she has full confidence in my faithfulness when she’s not around. Only one thing can bring that confidence—my consistent, faithful actions. Without right actions, I can’t have her trust. If I want her trust, it’s all on me.
You need to face this responsibility like a Christian man. You made the mess. You need to clean it up. There will be no trust until you become trustworthy, which means she’ll need at least three things from you:
1) Your Complete Openness and Honesty
These go a long way towards rebuilding trust by eliminating fear. Rhonda’s words speak volumes to all husbands:
“My biggest fear is what I don’t know or how deep his sexual sin is. About two years ago, we were building a house and living with my parents since the house we were living in sold and we didn’t want to rent if we didn’t have to. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and caught him looking at porn on the Internet. He said he was trying to get some romantic ideas since he knows I want more romance. Whatever!
Several months later, after moving into our house, I was looking for an anti-virus disc for our home computer, and he said he had it in his Navy bag. When I looked in his bag I found a stripper video that was signed by the woman on the front cover, and it was addressed to him.
Recently, when we talked about his e-mailing and talking to another woman, he said it started last December. Yet when I searched our records I found that he had actually started calling her in July. I also found some more telephone numbers showing up on our wireless bill that seemed to be very popular at odd times of the day.
While I am encouraged that my husband says he is committed to making the changes that are necessary, I am finding forgiveness is much easier than trusting again.”
Of course it is, because her husband is not being completely open and honest. How about you? How much detail are you willing to give your wife in your answers to her questions? You need to be willing to give her as much as she needs. She deserves that. The party’s over, my friend. It is time to quit hiding, and to be who you say you are.
2) Your Patience as She Heals
Your wife deserves all the patience she needs, too. Betrayal’s damage demands gentle care, and you owe her that much simply out of restitution, if nothing else. You wounded her. You need to help her heal.
Make no mistake, the damage is real, and healing takes time. Megan describes her experience:
“My husband and I are four months into recovery, and my husband’s renewed walk with God is so exciting to me. However, I’m still struggling to believe that I am safe, and that I won’t be hurt by his betrayal again. Sure, our relationship is better than I ever imagined it could be, but now I’m just so scared to lose what God has miraculously restored. Some days the fear and pain come rushing back in and I feel devastated all over again. I feel like such a hypocrite. My husband is very patient with me and very encouraging, but now I am afraid that if I don’t stop this doubt and this constant need for encouragement that he is going to get discouraged and quit. Am I normal? Do I just need more time? Does it get easier?”
These agonizing questions reveal why a wounded wife needs your patience so desperately. She’s been crushed and turned inside out, and she needs the time to get back on her feet again spiritually. Don’t get discouraged. Stand up like a man and continue to live this new life God has given you patiently. She’ll catch up.
Besides, your patience is really a sign of your level of repentance, and that will be a crucial sign of trustworthiness to her. If you don’t have patience, it is a troubling red flag to everyone involved, and it should be to you as well. It means you simply aren’t where you need to be before God. Some husbands get irritated and complain, “What kind of Christian woman are you that you can’t relax and trust me again?” That kind of attack is outright spiritual abuse, and it comes out of the same weak character root that sent you into sexual sin in the first place. A deeper repentance is definitely in order.
3) Your Trustworthy Acts
You must give your wife every right to play a role in defining what “trustworthiness” means to her in your marriage, and she must be able to count on you to come through for her on these issues. For instance, if you don’t like to read, but she needs you to read Every Man’s Marriage as a follow-up to Every Man’s Battle as a sign of commitment from you, you need to read it or listen to the audio version of the book. If she defines trustworthiness as you attending marital counseling with her, you need to go. You need to show your trustworthiness in the way she needs to see it.
She also needs to see you being proactive in building purity into your life. You must be the one buying the accountability software, and you must be the one placing your computer in an open area, like the family room or breakfast nook. You must be the one limiting your time on the web and setting tighter standards on the films you enjoy as a family, and you must be the one making sure you are part of an accountability group. As long as she is the one nagging you to get these things done, she will never feel a sense of trust because she will always feel that you are doing these things because you have to, and not because you want to in your heart.
I know that my husband has been into internet porn more than once and it isn’t something that you just STOP! We have been having marriage troubles for a while and have only been married 6 1/2 years. He and I do not have an intimate relationship for the last 2 years..he hasn’t had a want, when asked why he has been on there he says cause you were not home. When I am home nothing happens..get that
What do you do when you’re a Christian and your husband isn’t? I’ve been married for over 20 years. Found out about 5 years ago my husband has been looking at porn. Each time he said he’d stop. Since then, I’ve found histories on the computer, a flash drive filled with porn videos, and caught him looking at porn on his notepad while we were alone together on vacation 3 weeks ago. Four years ago we went to counseling but nothing changed because he doesn’t see anything wrong with what he’s doing. The last two times I found out, I told him I couldn’t trust him anymore -he’d destroyed what little there was left. He said how sorry he was – he didn’t mean to hurt me. But then whenever we discuss it now, he gets very defensive – as if he has a right to do this, even if it hurts us. We’re going to another counselor tomorrow. I think he just wants us to go so I’ll realize how silly I’m being and accept the fact that all men do this and I shouldn’t make such a big deal about it. I just don’t know what to do if he has no intention of stopping this.
It is good you are going to see a counselor. Here’s what I hope your counselor tells your husband:
1. Using porn over and over only destroys the potential for real intimacy with your wife. You are training your brain to desire women who don’t look, act, or sound like your wife. You are training your brain to love the variety of porn, not the exclusivity of your wife. (You can learn all about this in our book, The Porn Circuit, which is book written to non-Christians).
2. Getting married means “forsaking all others,” just like you said in your vows. If you wife was chatting with men online or flirting with her around town and you saw her reciprocating, you probably wouldn’t be happy. You really wouldn’t be happy if she was seeking it out behind your back or if you caught her masturbating while she chatted online with another man. Don’t do the same to her.
I pray your husband gets the message. Write back and let me know how things are going.
Christina, are you both Christians? If so you should definitely try going to marriage counseling/come together before God in prayer. & Speak from your heart in prayer… Be very real before God about your pain. Seek help before these tendencies becomes habitual & ordinary… And life as you both know it. -Sending up a prayer for you ;) From: Speaking From Experience
You’re not alone. I’ve been married for over 18 years and it has been a LONG journey for us. My husband was SO addicted to porn, rejection of me for the false stuff was a regular occurrence. I felt so undesirable and worthless cuz he would rather masturbate to porn than be with me. It got so bad, he almost cheated on me. This was 8 years ago. Our relationship is much better today than it was years ago, but it’s still not where I wish it was. I just found porn on his phone last week. The only difference now is when I confront him, he’s fairly honest with me. I long for the day of purity and freedom. I PRAY for it!!! Every Man’s Battle conference and Celebrate Recovery were good for him. Maybe you can talk your husband into going to one… Praying for you and your marriage!
i have to call BS on all this pornography shaming of men. it is not a SIN issue that women are concerned with, it is THEIR OWN PRIDE. millions upon millions of christian women have read and enjoyed and masturbated to the 50 shades of grey series….and i can tell you one thing for sure. i’ve seen every kind of pornography you can imagine… so i know it when i see it. i picked that book up and read it for 5 minutes and i can most certainly say that 50 shades of grey is PORN. but nobody makes a big deal about THAT do they? NO. WHY? because if they did, then men would have to admit that their egos are hurt by their wives’ fantasies. HYPOCRITES!! women don’t care about their husband’s sin, they care about their own pride. millions upon millions of unmarried women watch porn themselves or send naked pictures over the internet. if you sit in front of any adult book store for more than 5 minutes you’ll see that the majority of patrons are WOMEN. if they aren’t buying porn then they are buying sex toys that their husbands can’t possibly compete with. nobody can convince me otherwise that christian wives don’t have sex toys on a multi-billion dollar industry- when over 70% of all americans claim to be christian. you aren’t SAVING any marriages by shaming guilty husbands while letting scornful, hypocritical wives go free. i’m not giving a pass on porn at all. i’m trying to overcome myself but don’t dare act like women are the innocent victims when they are JUST as guilty in their own way. the image you portray is that all the churches are full of porn addicted husbands and all the wives are chaste, desperate lilies bereft of any self-determination in the face of their husbands’ selfish sex addiction. the churches are FULL of women with sex toys and porn of their own fashion. what you need to be teaching is that men enjoy sex just like women do… just differently. and porn is an outlet for men to enjoy the same as the wife’s sex toy is an outlet for her. is it right? is it good? no… but let’s stop with the hypocrisy and man-shaming. porn is not cheating. there’s lots of couples that even watch it together. you need to teach that porn doesn’t have anything to do with a man’s feelings for his wife. if the wife isn’t getting affection, then porn is a SYMPTOM not a cause. man you guys need to take some diagnostic courses or something. you draw WRONG CONCLUSIONS from the data you gather.
I just wanted to point out that we do address women’s struggles (especially as it relates to Internet pornography). In fact, we made a couple of videos regarding 50 Shades of Grey. That we choose not to address other offline struggles is a reflection of the fact that we serve those who are struggling with Internet pornography (or love or minister to someone who does).
You are correct in pointing out that a woman using a sex toy or reading a steamy romance novel for her own arousal is just as sinful as a man who uses pornography; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But please keep in mind that posts like this are helping wives who are dealing with the initial feelings of betrayal when they discover their husband’s porn use. One survey found that 70% of wives of porn users exhibited symptoms of PTSD after making the discovery. While each wife will undoubtedly need to work through sin issues of her own, that is something that will be addressed in counseling or a support group, not here.
How did that relationship go. Your story mirrors mine. :) Your experience can give help me tremendously in my thoughts.
I don’t know what to do….. my husband just told me he was watching porn when I moved in about 3 to 4 months ago. Going into the relationship he told me he had a porn addiction and I was suppressing it I guess when we living in separate households, now the problem faces me head on. The fact he was looking at another woman and wanted to be there with her right then instead of me, just killed my self esteem. I just sat in the bath tub unable to move I was so depressed. I feel ugly unwanted, and feel like I’m just here for connivence for him. I know That’s not the case and he has a problem and he is slowly getting over it. But he keeps telling me masturbation is natural, and i respond maybe when your NOT in a relationship! But now he is in a long term commitment to me and he doesn’t see anything wrong with what he did. He saw how it made me feel when he saw my extreme depression he felt bad, but I can’t trust him again. I don’t have my sexy drive anymore. I just feel useless and I don’t know what to do. Honestly I just feel like I’m going through the motions and I’m paralyzed on the Inside. I still love him. And I’m going to seek Counseling for me. But I just need to someone to listen to me and tell me they understand or give me advice.
Thank you for sharing your struggles and reaching out for help. Depression and hopelessness are common reactions to finding out your spouse is watching pornography, so do not feel like you are alone! The good news is that your marriage can heal from this!
I would definitely recommend that you pursue counseling, perhaps even couples counseling so that you can begin the process of healing and recovery. It’s going to take time, but do not give up!
He has not looked at porn in 4 years, that I know of, but I am afraid to let my trust down. How can I trust again. He is always home, so how can I trust him when he is not?
….sorry, but my first post accidentally posted without being finished….here is the finish….what I’m saying is that once your husband is trustworthy again, which he seems to be, then it is your job to trust again. To have faith. To believe. As Brenda and I said in Every Heart Restored, often times the husband is the original problem, but then when he repents and becomes trustworthy, the wife becomes more of the problem to rebuilding because she won’t forgive and won’t trust again. God is clear in scripture that repentance needs to be treated with forgiveness. I would recommend the book Believing God, by Beth Moore, to help you strengthen yourself in God enough to be able to let go of your fear and unforgiveness. Fear and unforgiveness are very difficult sometimes, and Beth Moore will be very helpful to you as someone with good truth to come alongside you in this and to help you face the future with faith and trust.
I knew my husband used to have a problem with pornography; he was honest with me about this before we even dated. My impression, however, was that it USED to be a problem. He never looked at porn while we dated but two weeks after we got married he admitted to me that he was looking at internet porn from work! My husband has been very honest, to my knowledge, everytime he has looked at pornographic images, and most of the time he volunteers the information without me asking him, knowing how bad it will hurt me again and the risk it poses on the marriage. He seems to be doing better and I know he is sincere in his desire to stop, but what can I do to encourage him when I still hurt so bad? How can I feel better about myself again? Trust isn’t the hardest thing for me because he has been honest, but our sex life is suffering because I feel so ugly. What can I do?
@Stephanie – Thanks for your question. I can’t tell you how many women have expressed similar sentiments on this blog over the years. I won’t try to pretend I have a great understanding of how you feel. One of our regular authors, Ashley, has written on this subject from a personal perspective many times. In one of her articles, “Am I Beautiful Enough for Him?” she talks about she learned to overcome the feelings of insecurity. In another one, “Sex After Porn,” she talks about the conflicting emotions around making love when struggling with insecurity.
From a man’s perspective, I will say porn and sexual media in general have a powerful influence over a man’s mind. Porn trains men to understand beauty differently. But more than this, it trains the mind by eroticizing power and objectification. When a man looks at porn online, he has complete control of the experience: he can search for whatever he wants, see whatever he wants, see how much he wants, and fill his mind with all kinds of sensual novelty. No woman can really compete with this, because she’s not competing with merely a sexual experience, but with a fantasy experience. This is why even “picture perfect” celebrities have husbands who are addicted to porn: because these men are training their minds on fantasy, not reality.
With that said, your husband’s mind can also be retrained. As you build new experiences of intimacy (not just sexuality), you begin to build a new foundation of love, respect, and passion.
I know this post was written long ago, but I could have written it myself. My problem is I am MUCH older than most women who have to deal with self-esteem issues, insecurity, etc. I am 60 yrs old. My husband was viewing porn with 18-20 yr old women. He quit a few yrs ago & in trying to rebuild our relationship, I realized at my age, I will NEVER feel like I am beautiful or sexy to him….EVER. How can a 60 yr old woman ever feel that she is so beautiful that her husband is no longer going to think about 18 to 20 yr olds as sexual partners? I used to be very open & trusting with my husband. I didn’t mind making love in broad daylight or with every light in the house on. I actually preferred it because I so enjoyed looking at him. As he aged, I thought he looked even better because he is the only man I thought of throughout our 30 yr marriage. When he opened up to me about the porn & everything else going through his mind, I learned that the majority of the time that I thought we were making love, he was actually fantasizing about porn stars, women we both knew, some of my younger relatives, attractive women that he saw at work or on the street, etc. To make a long story short, when we have sex now, it has to be pitch black. I won’t be with him in the light of day….NO WAY! I won’t change in front of my husband the way I used to. I won’t take intimate showers with him the way we used to. If he walks in on me in my bra & underwear, I will cover with a towel, or duck under the bed, etc. He thinks I am just being ridiculous, but it actually comes from a pain so powerful that I can’t even explain it. I will never trust and believe that I am beautiful enough for him at 60 yrs old. He told me himself that he was fantasizing about other women when he was with me. I feel as though he made a fool of me when I trusted him & let him see every part of me in broad daylight. To him, I wasn’t me even then. He didn’t want me; he wanted something better than me, definitely much younger & a way better body. I can’t compete with that, and I don’t know how as a 60 yr old woman, that I can ever get my self-esteem & confidence back. To me, it seems impossible. If I was 30 again, then maybe….but not at 60. I don’t see it.
Hey Jeanie. Thank you for sharing so openly. I think the worst thing about porn is that it takes the “naked and unashamed” intimacy of our marriages and turns it into a performance that’s all about the surface. That’s the real perversion, in my book. I think that’s the real pain, too. Before, you experienced that were beautiful just because you’re YOU–you were trusting that he was with you, and loving you, the way you were with him, and loving him. And then, it turned out his mind was in a whole different place.
I think you could regain the joy of your sexual relationship, but I think that would come by resolving the real pain that’s here: the broken emotional intimacy of your marriage. That’s where the real pain is, and that’s where the real healing has to come, too.
The reality is this: you have something so much better to offer your husband than a hot young bod. You’ve got the wealth of all those years together, the experiences you’ve shared, the companionship, the things you know about one another that no one else knows. A hot young bod is a fleeting, shallow thing by comparison, in my book.
I hope your husband can work on his addiction issues and learn to bring his real, true self into your relationship again. I think he needs accountability and counseling–group therapy like Celebrate Recovery or Sex Addicts Anonymous, and/or individual therapy. The American Association of Christian Counselors is a good place to look for a local therapist.
And I hope you’ll find healing, too, and walk your way back to the knowledge of who you really are as a person, wholly loved and wholly complete, regardless of the cultural definition of “sexy”. Celebrate Recovery is a great place to find support, as is individual therapy.
I don’t know how deeply you’ve dug into our archives here, but Luke recently compiled a list of our favorite articles for spouses, and you might appreciate some of those.
Blessings to you and let me know what you think–Kay
I picked up my husbands phone a few months ago and there was erts from his google and I opened it and he had been on date site looking at naked women on youtube and porn he denied it at first then as I searched he admitted he didnt do it all the time but his history went a few years back .what has really traumatized me is at the time I had breast cancer God healed me I lost my left breast had chemo list all my hair he betrayed me at the worst time in my life .my husband has always verbally ,mentally emotional and used to physically abuse me resentaly it’s been mental and verbally. So when I froud all this his was doing I was devastated he apologized to but within the couple of weeks he was still looking so I asked him to leave to top it all off In july 2019 I had another mastectomy due to complications from reconstructive surgery I was stressed out from my toxic marriage we went to church most of the time I was the one who got up and made it happen my husband tells me hes sorry he broke his phone he doesnt use google or youtube no more but hes always working out of town he gives me his phone to check his history im sure hes sincere and I do check his phone cause I used to see phone lots of numbers he said he was never with anyone else but he cheated on me in the past and the things he has said to me verbally and mentally things about my body it’s so hurtful and painful it’s hard to get through this I’ve been disobedient to God I havent been praying .I’m not mad at God I’m just angry at my self for putting up with this man I love so much but hes broken me so bad it hurts me to much to even try to fix my marriage and I’ve.been married 43 years.
I am so sorry for the many years of pain you’ve suffered. It sounds like your husband’s porn use is simply one facet of his abusive behavior. You can’t fix this, because you aren’t the person making these choices. If there was any fixing to be done, it would be his job. I hope you have a therapist, just for you, someone who can help you process this pain and decide on healthy ways forward? You might also want to read up on boundaries, here, here, and here, just to decide what is okay with you, what is not okay with you, and how to create a life that is healthy and right for yourself. You may also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women, where you can join in forums and work through trauma-informed workshops for your own support.
Peace to you,
It;s been almost 3 years since I caugh tnmy husband in all his lies about porn. It has destroyed me in so many ways. Yes we are still together, because I love him. But in all honesty, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t cry, feel betrayed, feel stupid and naive, feel sad, feel he had a choice an dhis choice wae not me. I have always felt that in any kind of relationship, the 3 most importnat things are Love, Trust and Respect. Once one of them crumbles so will the other two and the realtionship will be hurt. I cannot ever trust my husband again. I belived in him totally and that can no longer be. Once your marriage falls apart you can glue it back together but the porcelian will not be the same.
Lulu- I feel exactly like you do. I will be staying with my husband, but I feel confident that I will never be the same again. I will never regain the trust. I will hang on until the kids are old enough. I have 11 years until I am 50. No man wants to have sex with a 50 year old-ever. I’ll hang in there until then.
Linda’s response is completely false on one point….good husbands do ABSOLUTELY want sex with a fifty-year-old woman…I sure do. Brenda, my wife, is fifty, and our sex-life is as awesome and as exciting as it was twenty years ago and thirty years ago. God intended it to be so. Scripture is clear on that, and we can’t change our theology based upon our experiences. Our theology has to be based upon Scripture. The reason it doesn’t happen that way as often as it should is that men don’t guard their eyes and commit to God’s plan in this. Therefore, their tastes in women don’t change as they age, as God created it to be. Because I have committed to God’s ways, my tastes have changed and Brenda’s “fuller” body shape is every bit as exciting as it ever was before four kids. The answer is not in settling or holding on until you can divorce later. The answer is for your husband to committ to God’s ways and for you both to grow closer to Him together.
Lulu & Linda,
Please don’t give up hope or “just” settle. You’re right, the porcelian won’t be the same, it will be so much better & stronger & more beautiful than before! I know from personal experience that if both of you are focusing on God, then your marriage will begin to blossom. Even if your husbands are not willing to change, YOU can. If you’re going to remain in the marriage than please, don’t just “get” through it. Instead, fight like a wildcat! Work on looking to God for your everything & have no expectacions of anyone else. Pray every day for your husbands! Pray that God would allow you to see them through His eyes! Pray that he would give you an unconditional love for your husband & the strength & patience you need to endure this trial. Are you going to allow God to refine you through this trial or are you going to allow Satan to destroy you? It is a choice. You don’t have to trust in your husband but you can trust in God. He created you, he DIED for you! Don’t you think you can trust Him? I pray that you do.
No one should stay with any man that will not stop porn use. He is degrading his wife, his family, all women and God. If he continues to view porn you are just allowing him to have a life he wants but continue to sin uncontrollably. Leave him immediately.
Well, this is all so new and raw for me. I was quick to forgive because I am sad for him as well as me. It must be horrible to carry around the shame and guilt of sexual sin. He knew how bad it hurt me but continued to view it. I was sad, depressed and felt like I could never be what he wanted. I resorted to plastic surgery to feel better about myself, am constantly on a diet, and never look good enough. He tells me I am beautiful and I turn him on. Still, I can’t help but think that he is imagining the other girls he has seen. I prayed and prayed and fasted until God showed me that my husband truly is sorry and remorseful. Then I prayed that the shame wouldn’t turn to condemnation, but to conviction. The Lord is faithful and forgiving and restores everything back to it’s original created goodness. As much as it hurt to hear, I needed complete open honest communication with my husband. I am thanking God right now that he gave me such an awesome man to do this for me. I am healing a bit at a time and it’s only when I dwell on what I found that I fall back into the sadness. I hate sin and what Satan has done to corrupt and pervert intimacy. A verse comes to mind when I fall back into the trap of believing the lies. Forgive much because you have been forgiven much. Trust on the other hand is coming more slowly. I have to stop myself from checking the browsing history. First, I pray and trust God that he is working on my husband, then I trust my husband that he has repented. Sigh….why am I us so late reading this blog? Because it takes time to heal. Thank you for this site.
Angela, you have an awesome heart and attitude, my friend. Proud to all you my sister in Christ!
When we were dating/courting my husband told me that he had struggled with porn. (I had told him all of my sins first because I knew if our relationship was going to go anywhere then I needed to get this out of the way, and I didn’t want to marry him and always feel like if he really knew me/ what I had done then he wouldn’t have married me. And I felt that one of the foundations for marriage should be complete honesty.) A few weeks before the wedding he admitted that he had looked at porn one night, he said it was because he was desiring me. (We were both virgins when we married.) And I was troubled but I forgave him and dismissed it because I just knew that when we got married he wouldn’t have to look elsewhere. Because I believed I would be able to meet every sexual need that he had. It was my job as a wife and I have a strong drive myself. So we got married and several months later we found out that I was pregnant. I was very fit before but after I became pregnant I gained like 50 lbs total. But we still
I don’t think it posted my whole story so I will break it down. After I was married I found out my husband had viewed porn and had been flirting/chatting with women online. I felt humiliated, angry and betrayed. It happened over a year ago and he’s been clean since. I love him, respect him, make love to him & I do my best to trust him. But I know that I don’t trust him fully. I worry about him everyday even though I try not to. I know that I am somehow holding back a piece of myself (because I am afaid of getting hurt again) but I don’t know how to give it back to him? Why can’t I be the happy lighthearted sweet smiling girl I was before? What should I do? Please respond…
This is tough, because broken trust is hard to rebuild, and for some temperaments, it can seem very difficult to let go of the past. My first suggestion is to read my wife’s two books, called Every Heart Restored and also The Healing Choice. These books will really help you understand what is behind his sexual sin, and will help you deal with the emotions and rebuild trust. The knowledge regarding male sexuality in these books will enable you to see these sins in a new light, perhaps. Given the fact that you are honest and that you have a bit of a sinful past of your own, I believe this knowledge will really help you to put his sin into a new perspective, which will help you build trust by helping you understand exactly what is behind the sin (Books are at http://www.fredstoeker.com). My second thought is that it might be useful to be part of a small group where you can talk these feelings out and get suggestions from other women in your situation. We are associated with Avenue, founded by Susan and Clay Allen. Susan and Clay specialize in helping women set up small groups across the nation, but best of all, they have an 800-number “small group” format where you can do “small group” connection with women by phone, once a week or however it makes sense to set it up. You may not know anyone in your situation, but they do, and they can connect you. Their organization is awesome, and many readers have become part of these groups and have been helped. Let her know I told you to contact her. Susan’s email address is: SusanAllen@AvenueResource.com Her website is: http://www.avenueresource.com/
Third, I would say that the key path for you will be to focus more about getting closer to the Lord than to focus on getting more trust in your husband, and that is especially where The Healing Choice can help. Brenda talks a lot about rebuilding trust in God in that book, which helps in every other area of trust in our lives. Trusting God more will help you trust your husband more, in our experience and, frankly, building a deeper prayer and worship life with your husband will be key to that. Especially singing together. As you see him growing in the Lord, it will be easier and easier to trust that he won’t stumble again, because you’ll see that his identity is so tightly tied to Christ that you’ll know that he simply won’t do it again. Brenda knows where I will go and where I won’t go when I’m alone. She knows it for a fact, because of our spiritual connection and because of my habits tied to that. If you can build this same kind of connection, this will have great impact upon your trust.
What if you have all the evidence thh Craigslist and yes I did go through his phone and I have a very good memory of that I read and saw. He has all the textbook behavior signs that everything is true. I very tried talking and have made every approach in various ways because I know that without trust there is no relationship and he continues to deny it. He plays the I’m the crazy delusional one and when I try to show him the proof he gets violent. He thinks all this is bullshit and teases me about it. For instance, I ll call and hell hang the phone and screams quit calling me I’m trying to get my d–k sucked. How do I get him open up to me or am I wasting my time? My ver best friend in the whole world tried to help me and was so busy with her own always made me feel just important and I failed because I went back with him. I don’t know what to. Does anybody have any suggestions?
It sounds to me like your husband is engaged in classic gaslighting behavior. You know the facts, but he is denying them.
If he refuses to deal with reality, then consider what healthy boundaries will look like for you in this situation. Is this the kind of relationship you want to be engaged in for the rest of your life? This is the question. Here, here, and here are some article on boundaries that might help you think through this. You might also want to find a therapist who can help support you.
Thank you very much Mr. Stoeker! I don’t know anybody in my situation and I felt to talk about our situation to people we know (even our senior couples/friends) would bring dishonor and shame to my husband and put him in a negative light with them from now on. I needed answers and prayed that God would show me something, and I believe that He led me to this site. God is so good to me! So thanks again!
I have been looking at porn on and off for the 12 years of our marriage. I have showed my wife little to no intimacy and have had sex less than once every year or so….I was able to ‘hide’ it for years until last night when she found out. I am now in a hotel and have no idea how things got this bad. I have 2 kids and they are crushed. My whole life is destroyed and I feel so sick inside. She says it is over as I lied for years to her about not knowing why I was not affectionate towards her…..when all along I was viewing porn. I would do anything to have things the way they were when we first met without the porn problem. What do I do to hold onto my family and marriage? I feel lost.
When you are at the bottom like this, my friend, it is pretty normal to feel lost and confused. But there is a way out of this mess. I’ve written two books that I think will be very helpful for you in getting a handle on where you are at. One is called Every Man’s Battle, and that will give you a practical start in getting control of you eyes and your thoughts. The second is called Tactics, and it will help you with the spiritual side of this battle, and will help you understand the emotional pain that drives you to sexual sin, a key understanding. I would point out to take special notice of Chapter 14, and apply what I’ve said their. Just reading the books alone won’t help. But if you actually apply the suggestions and practical steps, they will set you free, because they are Biblical and true. You will simply have to stand up and fight. Your wife will need to read Every Heart Restored and The Healing Choice, both written by my wife Brenda Stoeker. It will give her a perspective on this sin that will ease her emotional pain and will, hopefully, help her move from judgement to mercy in her relationship to you. Hopefully, she will choose to stand up to your side, shoulder to shoulder, to help you fight on to victory. But even if she doesn’t, you can win this if you set your heart on God and set your heart on His principles. It will require changes in you, and a new way of living and a new mindset towards your sexuality. But that will come as you read the books and get closer to God. Don’t give up hope now. A new dawn is rising in your life. This is the moment God has been waiting for, the moment where you have come to the end of yourself and the moment you are ready to turn to Him for help. He will help as you step up to engage the battle. Watch for His work in your life. It’ll be there, and that’s a promise. God’s promise.
After 8 months of marriage I finally found what was distancing my new husband from me. I was absolutely crushed..it took a while but I finally got back on my feet. I prayed everyday that I wouldn’t judge him and show him as much mercy as the Lord has shown me. Just as I was feeling a new miniscule, but important, amount of trust again, I found things in his email outbox from a few weeks before we got married. More pictures, but this time, a “friend” of his that I had trusted. I am devastated. The pain is here all over again but this time I’m furious. I know it was about 9 months ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that it happened. I feel so close to my breaking point. If it weren’t for the Lord sustaining me I would have already left my husband. How will I ever trust him again..
Our hearts ache for you, my friend.
In answer to your question, my wife Brenda, who co-wrote Every Heart Restored with me, always says that a woman in your situation always must begin with educating herself about male sexuality. When a broken wife looks at her situation through the eyes of female sexuality, it is overwhelming and it takes on a meaning that isn’t always accurate, because female sexuality is so different from male sexuality. Every Heart Restored has a nine-chapter section on male sexuality that is very detailed and helpful in this regard, and it can help you move from judgment to mercy. It is doubtful you can ever trust him again until you understand male sexuality more clearly, especially in light of what he has done, which we agree is completely and utterly wrong and indefensible. Still, an understanding of male sexuality will give you a clearer picture of what is behind it all and keep you filtering your pain and emotions properly.
Brenda says that the second step is to get closer to the Heavenly Father and to Jesus Christ than ever before. We have a motto around our house….”never waste a crisis.” What we mean by that is that as long as we are going through an “unintended journey” through a great mess like this, we might as well (1) allow God to use it for our good and (2) allow it to drive us to a deeper walk and connection with Him. How do you do that? In Brenda’s book “The Healing Choice,” Brenda spends a number of chapters teaching readers, through very practical, easy-to-take steps, how to get closer to God than ever before in the midst of a crisis. When a crisis hits, we need to know exactly how to dig in to get closer to God. Brenda has much experience in responding to unintended journeys, and has a lot to say that is very valuable.
Brenda says that the third step is to be walked through the range of emotions that you are going through and that you will be going through by someone who has been there before. Her friend, Susan Allen, wrote “The Healing Choice Guidebook,” which will help walk you through that emotional journey towards a healing of your heart.
You will have to take an active role in the healing process, which is no fun to hear, because often in a crisis like this all we want to do is sit in a corner and sit appalled in disbelief, and to wonder how this ever happened to us, and to ask ourselves, “When will this awful feeling ever go away?” If you want it to go away, you need to stand up and take the three steps above and take control of your heart and your connection with God as best you can. It isn’t easy, but very possible.
From a husband’s point of view, I would also suggest that you have your husband read “Every Man’s Battle” and “Tactics” to learn how to beat this sin in his life. He should also read “Every Heart Restored,” so that he can get a feel for exactly what he has done to your heart. Hopefully, these steps will get you both on a new journey, an intended journey, one that takes you both closer to the Lord and His ways as a couple.
Bravo, Fred, for your wisdom here in the article and in the following comments! God has given you much insight and grace to share to those of us hurting from sexual sin. Thank you for your encouragement to continue to be open and honest, patient, and consistently faithful in my actions.
I began my recovery 4 months ago, and most days have been hard and rocky. God’s given me a great support network in a licensed counselor specializing in sex addiction, new friends and accountability partners in my Celebrate Recovery group, and several resources to work through. I hear familiar words in the comments of the wives above. My wife and I are still working through this, and we still have those hard, tense conversations. I know years of work are ahead of us.
Thanks, too, to Covenant Eyes for this blog and their accountability software. The software has been one tool I can use to help reassure my wife.
@Jon – Thanks for stopping by. Hope you find more of our articles helpful!
i have been married for 25 yrs. we married when I was pregnant and have struggled much of our marriage. in the early years I had problems with my self, wanting more of my husbands attention and I often blamed it on the fact that I felt he had to marry me or I had to marry him. we both got save and grew after we married and grew at different times in our marriage. most of our marriage i just felt like i wasn’t attractive, when we were having kids, i thought it was because i was pregnant, my husband didn’t seem to be attracted to that pregnant figure. I seemed to intiate sex most of the time, meaning like 90+% of the time. at one point I found a magazine, being naive I brought it in and asked him if this is what he liked? he was embarrassed and then I never saw it again. then years later with the advent of the internet in every home, and the relationship coming to divorcing when the kids moved out and me be tempted outside the home by men that were giving me more attention than he did. God intervened. my husband early on used to tell me I was being too needy and pushed me away. So I took antidepressants and learned to not be so needy filling my time and self esteem with work. whatever work I did it was too much and I would always have to quit because he wanted me to spend more time with him. but then he would be short and critical or busy when I was home or around and then I would feel lonely and needy. he doesn’t show me much affection, Finally a friend confronted him on the pornography and then everythiing got better for a while he went though setting captives free. life got better and then we drifted again. scott did not stay accountable or active. I did trust him. then we were having more marital problems and I was working too much again and then i found the pornography on the internet again. the intimacy is only when i initiate it. I think he touches the cat more than me. I am an attractive woman, not perfect but okay. i enjoy sex with him. I just don;t feel close to him, I don’t feel loved. I want to have a good relationship. I want to meet his needs and I want to feel loved and cherished by my husband. I am hurting and don’t know what to do.
It isn’t easy to know what to do in a situation like this, and I’m not going to pretend that I can give you a simple answer here. I can say a few things here that are important, however. If a husband isn’t interested in sex or initiating it, it almost always means he is into porn. And, since a man’s native language of passing intimacy is sexual, and since your husband is spending much of his sex drive on porn outside of the marriage bed, he isn’t going to be communicating much in the way of intimacy with you. He is most likely addicted, and probably deeply wounded somewhere in his past, a wound that keeps him hiding in this safe place, a place of sexual cyberspace where no one ever says no and where no one ever demands anything of him, where no one ever requires him to risk anything interpersonally.
The fastest way to help you get more intimacy and to feel more from him is to help him heal from whatever that is, and to help him step out of that cocoon he’s built for himself. My book “Tactics” would be a good one for you to read to better understand how wounds can draw men into sexual sin and into safe, non-threatening places in their lives. My book “Every Man’s Marriage” would help you understand what true male leadership in marriage is to look like, since by now it may be tough to even know what that is supposed to look like in a healthy marriage.
Once you have read these, my thought is that it will help you discuss these things with him more effectively, and may help you to get him to read the books himself, along with you. You can help him understand what is behind all this, and hopefully get a non-threatening discussion going where he can admit he’s wrong and that he needs to get some counseling help. You haven’t caused any of this. But you can be a big part of helping him get free. Obviously, “Setting Captives Free” wasn’t enough because he can’t seem to carry this in his own strength. You can help carry your brother’s burden and can help him take what he learned there, and then what you both learn in my books, and then you can keep those truths active and applicable in his life and in your marriage, together.
This isn’t at all hopeless, unless you both decide that you can’t team up here. As long as you are teaming up, you can pull this mess out of the fire and put your marriage on stable ground. God is certainly with you on that score, and will be active at your side.
I’ve been married for almost a year now and 2 nights ago I caught him watching porn.I’ve had problems with it before and he apologizes and say it will stop and I thought it had.We recently got cell phones with the internet on them and thats how he’s been watching it I guess.What hurts is that before I caught him, he had put me to bed and told me he love and was like he was going to watch tv in the family room for awhile.Hours had passed and he still wasnt in bed,the tv was down really low,so i got up to see what he was doing.Anyway,I caught him looking at it in his phone.Once i asked him about it, he became so defensive and almost angry that i had caught him.My feelings are just so…..hurt and my trust for him is gone. Im pregnant at the moment so i’ve been super emotional these past few days.Its scary to feel like he’s lusting after other women and maybe that would somehow lead him to cheat on me in the near future.I hate having to wonder now what he’s doing while im not around because I know in my heart that he will bold face lie to me….I’m just really scared for my relationship right now.I pray that God mend my broken heart.
You didn’t say whether your husband is a Christian or not. If he is, it would be good to insist that he read both “Every Man’s Battle” (which teaches how to control the eyes) and “Tactics” (which teaches a man why his emotions drive him to sexual sin). Both are written by me, Fred Stoeker.
You see, this is not an issue with you or about you, Nia. It isn’t about how you look or whether you are enough for him. This is about HIS sin and HIS choices and HIS addiction, and how he has been choosing to deal with the stress and pain in his life for years. He surely had this sin in his life long before he met you, so it isn’t really about you. It is about him. So, he needs to address this and attack this and admit that it is wrong.
Of course, as his wife, you can be his helpmate in this situation and help prod and push him to a higher level of Christian walk, if you choose to. After finding out about this addiction in him, you can feel broken and victimized and feel confused as to what to do next. You can feel paralyzed. But you need to push through that and, in a sense, get angry. The enemy is trying to steal your husband and family. You need to rise up and refuse to let that happen, and fight for your marriage and future with your husband. Refuse to let this stand.
I recommend that you get three resources:
Every Heart Restored, written by Fred and Brenda Stoeker
The Healing Choice, written by Brenda Stoeker and Susan Allen
The Healing Choice Guidebook, written by Susan Allen
These resources will help you (1) heal and (2) will give you guidance as to how to fight for your marriage. Don’t allow yourself to be victimized. Stand up and fight. There is a baby that is counting on you.
There is no real hope for men with porn probems. My husband has looked at porn his whole life and has lied about it and other things his whole life. I never knew porn was a problem until after we were married and honestly if I would have known who he really was I would not have married him. He is fearful, cowardly, spiteful, mean and insecure. He lies and makes no real changes. He says he’ll change, he’s gone to counseling but does nothing on his own. He doesn’t follow through with books, reading, behavior changes. He doesn’t share emotions, lustful thoughts or feelings or things that happen with women during the day. My life has stopped because because I’m constantly preparing for his day, what he’s doing, what we need to talk about and offering “support”. There is no support that this type of man can get from anyone. He is weak and selfish and full of excuses. This has been going on for 5.5 years and we have been in counseling for 3 years. Unfortunately, no more books or counseling can help this man. He is to scared to make any real changes. I thought he would be a good husband because he was kind, but who he is to the real world is very different than how he is in “dark.” My husband is a Christian and we go to church. It’s all for show with him though. He hasn’t made any changes in his heart though because his behavior never changes. He never discusses it or shows any initiative. He only does what other people tell him to do to just appease him. I though he just needed to grow up or grow out of it but he’s 34 and years of marriage now. During and after counseling he looked at porn and even did it as recently as 4 months ago. I saw porn on the computer after we go back from church. He denied it was him until 1:00 AM in the morning. He has showed me over and over that he is not trustworthy and I would be a fool to trust him.
You began with this statement: “There is no real hope for men with porn probems.” That is a very normal response from someone in pain, and especially from someone who is married to a man who likely isn’t Christian at all (judging from your own statement that there is no fruit in his life and judging from Christ’s statement that we will know His followers by their fruit). Without God’s indwelling presence, perhaps you are right–there is no real hope. After all, your husband is showing no signs of repentance that might lead to hope. But to say that “there is no real hope for ANY man with porn problems” is to deny Christ and His truth. Christ promises that men can do all things through Him, as He strengthens them, and that includes changing men who are stuck in porn. That is not only true in theory, Biblically, but it is also true in practice. It has been over twenty years since I’ve looked at porn, and it has, in fact, been over twenty years since I’ve even surfed the channels to find sensual shows or surfed the web to find sensual imagery or pictures. My wife has told me recently that for years she’s been watching what my eyes do when hot billboards or joggers or girls in bikinis appear in my path, and she has never once caught me in over twenty years doing anything but what a Christian man should do in those situations….look away. If you say that “there is no real hope for men with porn probems,” what do you do with MY testimony? What do you do with the hundreds of testimonies I receive in emails from men every year who are experiencing victory after reading my books? If your husband were to first get serious with God and then read books like “Every Man’s Battle” and “Tactics,” he could definitely change and there would be great hope. Furthermore, as you would read my wife Brenda’s two books, “Every Heart Restored,” “The Healing Choice”, and work through “The Healing Choice Guidebook” by Susan Allen, and then join one of Susan’small groups over the phone, you would be able to get the help and support you need to help guide your husband back into truth and freedom. There is always hope for every man stuck in porn, if he gets serious with God and serious with himself. There is always hope for every wife who turns to the Lord for healing.
My husband was caught on porn once he knows I hate porn I mean what do you get off on porn if you have a beautiful loyal wife he apologized and said he would never do it again and once again I caught him if he can just over other woman then when the opportunity comes he will cheat he says he’s sorry but I forgive him I think but the trust is gone I haven’t slept and feel like giving up I can’t do this any longer how can I ever trust a man that lusts over other woman I feel our marriage is coming to the end
If trust were to be rebuilt, your husband would have a lot of work to do! That’s his job: to monitor his devices, to attend therapy, to find a group, to do his work. If he doesn’t do that, then you’re wise not to trust him, because he’s not being trustworthy. While you’re waiting to see if he’s going to do his work and become trustworthy, build healthy boundaries for yourself. Here, here, and here are some articles that should help. Take good care of yourself by finding a therapist, a group, and checking out the online resources at Bloom. No matter what he chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy! peace, Kay
I married right after my 20th birthday and have now been married for 24 1/2 years to someone who didn’t exist. Everything I thought he was I found out to be a lie. I asked if porn was a problem before we married due to background- wouldn’t have married him if he’d been honest and he knew that. He’s now getting help and we’re in counseling, but only because he got caught. I know he’s really trying to save our marrage but I see little hope. It’s not like I can enjoy a movie or even go to a store with him on date night(omg the lingerie dept., the magazines……). Trust was always my most important requirement and it’s no where on the radar. The paranoia is driving me crazy! We can’t live in a cave and I know I can’t control him, I’d just be happy to emotionally disengage. Even if he is trying, I’m a major mess and not a positive help right now. How do I let go enough to let him regain the trust he wants? Is it worth it? If he can’t lose the porn problem I don’t want to heal only to call the marriage over in 6 months or 3 years later. It would be easier to get it over now. The children (ten total, ages 23-3) may not know the details but they know it’s strained, we’re getting help and it’s taking a toll on them too. He expects me to support and help him; I’m struggling just trying to breath. The honest, principled, highly moral Christian I thought he was never existed and I’m finding little to connect with.
It isn’t easy to find our that your whole marriage has been a lie. My wife and I talk extensively about that in our book Every Heart Restored. And restoring trust is impossible until he becomes trustworthy again. You can only trust someone who is trustworthy. Once they’ve been untrustworthy, they have a lot of hard work to do in order to become trustworthy in your eyes, as the wife. And there is no way for a husband to rush that process. He has to focus on himself only, and focus on retraining his mind and heart when it comes to the sensuality in his environment. That is the key to rebuilding trust. Then you WILL be able to see a movie or go to a store without those feelings. has been over twenty years since I’ve looked at porn, and it has, in fact, been over twenty years since I’ve even surfed the channels to find sensual shows or surfed the web to find sensual imagery or pictures. My wife has told me recently that for years she’s been watching what my eyes do when hot billboards or joggers or girls in bikinis appear in my path, and she has never once caught me in over twenty years doing anything but what a Christian man should do in those situations….look away. So, I’m trustworthy. Brenda said it this way in Every Heart Restored: “I feel incredible security knowing that I’m married to a man who keeps his eyes to himself. Even after four babies and twenty-four years of aging together, I live unthreatened by any women around me. Fred loves me for me and is very satisfied with who I am and what I’ve become.
When my husband prays, I’m confident that nothing is hindering his connection with God. If I knew of dark hidden areas, I’d have no faith that his prayers would even rise to the ceiling, but I’ve seen how a pure man’s prayer packs a spiritual punch.
My confidence in Fred’s spiritual protection is unbounded. I never wonder if there are open cracks in our spiritual defenses where the Enemy can slip through into our lives. Christianity is not a game to him, and image means nothing. He’d rather be a Christian than seem like one.
Fred has every right to make the decisions for our family because it’s God’s plan, but even if it weren’t, he’s earned that right through his actions. He’s proven in battle that his commitment to the Lord and his love for his family are the highest priorities in his life, and we simply rest in his strength.
This normal, godly pattern leaves everyone flourishing, and this wouldn’t be possible if blatant sin were clogging things up. I know who he is, and, in the secret places of life, I know where he will not go in his mind or with his eyes.”
If your husband becomes trustworthy, you can have this, and the paranoia will be gone and you will be able to have a normal life of date nights and shopping and everything else. But two questions have to be answered: (1) Will your husband crucify this sin in his life and (2) Will you stand with him as he fights for victory and will you still be with him at his side to celebrate that victory? In other words, will he be trustworthy in the midst of this mess? And if he is, will you be trustworthy and will you still be there? Neither question is any more important than they other. There are ten children whose eyes are glued on this situation and your husband’s decisions and your decisions will determine how they view men, women, and marriage for the next decades stretching out before them. There is a lot riding on all this. None of this is easy. I’m just saying that if your husband is really working on this, going to counseling, reading books like “Every Man’s Battle” and “Tactics”, and getting serious with God, then there is great hope. Don’t be impatient with yourself. There is no rush here to “trust him.” You won’t have to live in a cave. You won’t have to control him. Eventually, he’ll learn to control himself, right out there in the great big wide-open world.
I have been married to a fantastic christian woman for 17yrs now and we have 3 beautiful daughters together. I have struggled with pornography most of my life. I finally realized about 8-10 yrs ago that this was an issue.Through out this time, I have confessed numerous times to my wife about it but never sot out help regarding it, even though I had said I would. 2 1/2 weeks ago, I finally confessed once again to my wife about my struggles with using pornography, and she has asked me to move out and get help. I feel at a total loss. Since then, I am now seeing our pastor once a week, as well as another man who has been in a program similar to alcoholics anonymous but for porn once a week. I have also downloaded the program X3watch onto our computers including my work computer and have asked my best friend as well as my employer to be be my accountability partners in this. I have also read your book everyman’s battle and have ordered everyman’s marriage. I have been reading a few other books on building relationships within couples as well. I have also been researching rebuilding a marriage after infidelity online. And most importantly, I have been praying and recommitting my life to God. I understand that all of this is late in the game and I have hurt my wife dearly as well as shattered any trust that was there. She has recently told me that she doesn’t love me and isn’t sure she wants to try to work this out. I love my wife dearly and I want to reconcile our marriage, I am just not sure if she wants to and it scares me. I am willing to do what ever it takes to win her back but I am not getting any positive response back. I believe that she is still really mad and hurt and these lack of responses are her way of letting me know. I accept ALL responsibility for my actions or lack of. She is not being mean in her actions towards me and says I can still come over every couple of days for supper (for the kids). We can still sit and talk about stuff but she does not want to talk about us. How do I talk to her about seeking forgiveness? Is it still too early? Is there anything else I can do to show her I am making an effort to beat this thing? Should we seek counseling together? What can I do to earn back her trust?
Sometimes it can take awhile for a wife to respond. The most important thing she is going to need to see from you right now is change, not in your words, but in your actions. Books like my “Every Man’s Marriage” would be very good for you right now, as well as the ones on purity. My book Tactics talks about the spiritual side of the battle for purity, which is also critical for you. Chapters 13-15, and especially Chapter 14, will be life changing in your relationship and intimacy with God, and this can help you put the sin to rest. You sound very motivated, and that is the key. As for your thoughts on broaching forgiveness, I doubt if your wife has a forgiveness issue. It is more likely that she has a trust issue. You’ve shattered her trust. Crushed her heart and her dreams. The funny thing about trust is that she can’t do it alone. She can’t just decide to trust you, so there is no way for you to rush her in this, to rush her to choose to trust. Nothing you can SAY is going to compel her to trust you. The only thing you can DO to help her trust is to become trustworthy. If you become trustWORTHY, she can risk trust again. So continue on the great path of healing that you are on, and become trustworthy. God will do the rest, according to His grace.
I’ve been married for 13 years and last November I found pornography on our computer. In a flash, I knew why we had the “same fight” over and over. You see, my husband would not initiate sexual intimacy. I had to ask and he would make promises and then continue to show no love. Oh, I was okay to hold hands with, cuddle and give back rubs to but if I wanted more or was led to believe there was more a fight was likely to happen. There were no gifts given to me for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Valentines. On our 3rd wedding night he told me that we did not have to have sex that night. I was crushed from the beginning. He spent the first 6 months of our marriage saying he didn’t understand that I wanted intimacy–hmmm I was naked for him or I was physically stroking him. Then it became worse as I knew something was very different. Now I know he started with the porn. He has said that there have been times, even a couple of years, when he hasn’t looked at it. His behavior never changed while viewing or not viewing. Well, I guess he was more cruel while hooked on the stuff. Now he is doing EMB, going to counseling and we are reading Every Man’s Marriage and Every Heart Restored. Yet almost weekly he still rejects me physically. How can I ever trust him when he promises to do better yet does the same thing week after week? He “found” God again but I don’t believe he even knows how to fear God. Lying, blaming and meanness are not fruits of the spirit. We met at seminary and were preparing to be missionaries but I’ve only watched him be religious when appropriate and then selfish when he wants to. I’m so tired of holding his feet to the iron and being treated harshly once again–as far as I know he isn’t looking at porn but what hope do I really have because he has always treated me with contempt while thinking he “really loves” me. I’m strong on my own now since EHR and counseling. I am worth so much more and I’m sure my heavenly Father is not pleased. We have 4 children so whatever action I take does not only affect me. How long can this go on? What are some things I can do while waiting for him to grow up?
It is very difficult to give advice on something like this beyond generalities because I just don’t know enough about your situation, although you shared enough to make it clear what is going on. I will just say a couple of things. First of all, your husband has a problem with intimacy with you, that’s true. But what seems clearer to me here is that he has a HUGE problem with intimacy with God. Because of that, he can be spiritual when he has to be, but not spiritual when he doesn’t want to be. That connection with God would keep that from happening. In my book Tactics, there are important truths that would help him connect with God, if he woudl do them. Chapters 13-15 would be especially important, and Chapter 14, especially. Chapter 14 teaches things that you and your husband could actually do together, and it would help your intimacy and oneness, as well. I think that you should read Tactics, as well, as I think it might open your eyes to the connection between “intimacy with God” and porn and masturbation. It would be very helpful. My wife Brenda also suggests that you might connect with Susan Allen’s ministry, called Avenue. Susan co-wrote The Healing Choice and The Healing Choice Guidebook with Brenda, and Avenue connects women in your situation with weekly small group discussions/support, either in your area or by 800-number conference calls. It is very effective, and Brenda thinks that in a frustrating situation like yours, that this would be very helpful to you. You can read the books and work through the Guidebook on your own, but the small group discussions can be extremely helpful.The best contact info for Susan’s organization is:
877-326-7000 toll free
This email address goes directly to Susan’s volunteers teams. These are “alumni facilitators” who will connect with you by email (or phone if requested). I recommend email over the toll free number, as the telephone call center can only take information via voice mail. Use the phone number only if you don’t have email access.
Avenue’s website is: http://www.avenueresource.com/
Thank you for your suggestions. I will be contacting Avenue and have ordered Tactics. I so appreciate you and Brenda’s ministry. You have given me many words of hope over the past few months.
I am tired of all of it………….tired of having to check computer use……….tired of being the iron to sharpen…………tired of feeling guilty if I don’t have sex often enough………..tired of all this. I remember a time I thought I married a man of integrity…………now, we are always having to deal with this. To his credit, he has made great strides………..we now have Bible study…..we pray…….he goes to acct. group. He is moving from dishonesty and secretiveness to honesty and openess. Even so………..when he is honest and tells me of a slip up……….it hurts and yet I am suppose to say……..”Thank you for being honest with me…….and let it go”. He says it’s hard to be honest when he knows I will be hurt………….the rock and the hard place. So…….this is our life. The elephant is always in the room………….never goes away. I am just tired of it…………..that being said, I find encouragement that others with much more difficult scenarios are still hanging tough. I just feel sad………………
Brittany, I understand your discouragement. Our loving Father put us in families (physical and spiritual) that we might encourage one another. I hope that I can encourage you to focus on the progress he has made rather than letting disappointment, sadness, anger, bitterness, or any other negative thought process pull you down into discouragement and wanting to give up. When we take those destructive thoughts captive (2Cor 10:5) by refusing to dwell on them, and instead replace them with God-honoring thoughts and speech (Php 4:8, Eph 4:29-32), even though it is hard, it does produce joy because it’s Christ-like. It will produce the fruit of the Spirit in YOU regardless of what he is doing. I would also encourage you to use every opportunity to praise the progress and pray for the stumbles. Let him sense your partnership with him in his growth and maturity, and you will someday rejoice with him in the victory you both have attained by your perseverance! My prayers are for you to focus upward more than sideways! It will make all the difference in your own personal joy and contentment, even in the midst of a difficult trial (Jas 1:2-4). May the Lord be your strength and encouragement today and always!
I can so understand the constant pain. I thought I married someone with whom I could trust (in that way) and found not only porn but chat room and a separate phone and email to talk with others and watch porn together. It started out as just learning to ‘help’ us. The odd part is, we were having wonderful sex and often. I love and am so attracted to him, but addiction is addiction. The bitterness is deep because he started lying despite my proof and tried to tell me it’s because he was bored because I was working every day. He’s a grown man and HE is responsible for his own actions. The best advice I’ve read here today is for the man to be patient. I flip flop between total love and devotion knowing he’s sorry and has stopped because he never meant to hurt me and acting like a complete maniac because I think of all those things and my insecurity and hurt shows as anger. Trying to get my confidence back is the hardest. I am very attractive but attention from other men does not make me feel better. I read where even models and beautiful actresses get cheated on and have the same problems so it’s not looks anyway. Truth is, I can’t compete with porn stars, but the truth to me is “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO”,
If men would just stop to think about how they would feel if we did that they would never do it. I feel sad too but it’s starting to take a backseat to optimism and love, Little by Little. No one’s perfect, I’m sure not!
I just found out six days ago that my husband has been viewing porn on the internet our entire nine years of marriage. I knew he viewed it when he was single but was naive obviously .I figured the forsaking all others in our marriage vows stood for ALL others.Since my discovery of the computer history I have asked him for a divorce,he has asked me to go to counseling as a couple, I agreed.In the meantime I have been trying to educate myself and even though I realize he’s not just a masterbating male that needs visuals but has a serious problem all these blogs I’m reading are just discouraging I feel more hopeless than I did two days ago.Women are still finding their husbands viewing porn after years.I haven’t asked my husband the deep questions yet.Im afraid.I love him but how does a marriage survive without trust.How can you truly ever trust your husband again.Especially if you spend the rest of your life checking up on him like a child and waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Great questions, Kelly.
I don’t think a marriage can survive without trust. I couldn’t live in the kind of situation where you do have to check up and you’re always on alert. Your husband absolutely does have to do the work to ensure that he is trustworthy, and that will only happen by trustworthy behavior over time.
I think there are two kinds of trust that need to be rebuilt: behavioral trust (he does his recovery work faithfully) and emotional trust (he cares about how you feel and invests emotionally in the relationship). Here’s an article I wrote a while back that explains.
There are a couple of books you might find helpful: Boundaries in Marriage, Cloud and Townsend; The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman.
Is it ok for husband to keep bringing up the virtous wife scirpture? Push his wife around..call her the problem. Caught him looking at porn…a good few times..on computer to phone. Battle is to forgive and trust..I forgive and try and trust. Could it be we was not supposed to be? I see he uses me as forgiving him that i forgot. I do the schools and he is on his mobi. What makes is worse he hss put bing private search browser our computers saying that system is much better. I have three daughters and i am concerned how he treats me. He says he doesnt want to go church with me as i am not a virtous wife. I may as well hang my boots and say i am going to hell in his eyes. I pray..when all is ok he is great but it seems he tries to come up with thing to upset me and make it like its my he is the way he is. I feel like throwing in the towel. I mean he makes statements like i dont listen to him over ten years since we have been together. So he doesnt care if it bothers him that it bothers me helate on the computer and if i decide to stay up with him he latet goes to bed and then he is on his cell phone. It makes me sad and upset as a person. I have been faithful to him all the way. My only concern now is my walk with Christ and my kids. He is mentally draining me out and if it wasnt fir Christ i would have been long gone. Our love life was fine till i caught him. I do pray for him i also pray asking the dear Lord that my husband doesnt make fool of me. So then i catch him again. That was a over two years ago. What are the scriptures for a good husband? How can any women be happy with a man who doesnt acknowledge Christ.
School runs..sorry for typo errors.
In the last line, you say your husband is not a Christian, yet you say he keeps bringing up the scriptures regarding a “virtuous wife.” I’m not sure why he is using scripture to twist you around when he isn’t a Christian. When it comes to men leading their homes in a way that Christ approves, I think the most important scriptures come in Ephesians 5, and I’ve delved deeply into what that should look like every day in practice in my book Every Man’s Marriage. It comes in book and audio format, and I think it would give you a good picture of what it is supposed to look like. If you could get him to read it, I’m sure it woule help, but again, if he isn’t a Christian, I’m not sure. If a husband does not acknowledge Christ, I’m not sure how an woman can be happy. She can continue to live before him in Christian love and have peace that she is doing the right thing. So she can have some form of peace. But true happiness and connection? That is unlikely.
My husband and I just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary last weekend and just last night, I asked to see his phone and he deleted all of his history on it before giving it to me. I suspected something was up so I wouldn’t stop asking what it was until he confessed. He told me that he had a porn problem before we got together and now he just looks at it when he’s ‘bored at work’. I have been lied to about this for almost 3 years and i’m crushed. He says he’s never going to look at it again and that he’s so sorry he hurt me and that he will do anything to get my trust back. We have a one year old and one on the way. I feel so disgusting, like i’m not good
enough. I told him that I can’t trust him to use his smart phone anymore and so he said he’ll go back to his old phone that doesn’t have internet. did I do the right thing in taking away the smart phone? I feel like i’m just being controlling. I hate that I can’t trust him.
Hi Sarah. There are a number of issues here to consider. First, I do think it was wise for him to give up use of his smartphone, at least for now. If it is a stumbling block for him, it might be best for him to be without it for a while. Another option is that he agree to use an accountability service for his smartphone. This will monitor where he goes online and send reports to someone he trusts to hold him accountable. It has been a very effective tool for men who struggle in this area.
Second, your emotional reaction to his porn use is quite justified. You’ve been lied to. Your husband’s eyes have feasted on images of other women. Your outrage, hurt, and disgust are normal reactions to his betrayal.
Third, understand that not being “good enough” is a common lie women in your position believe. To someone who retreats to pornography, no one woman can live up to a fantasy world. In that fantasy porn world, he is the only thing that matters: the women in that world exist to satisfy him. This is one reason why men like porn so much: it is a place to escape from “real life” where they can feel all-important and attractive and can cater to their selfish whims. In marriage, men are called to die to themselves and serve their families.
Fourth, I can’t tell from your comments, but on the surface it sounds as if he’s trying to make amends. This is a good thing. Be encouraged that he says he doesn’t want to look at porn anymore. But always remember: don’t believe what he says, believe what he does. Believe behavior. As he shows a good track record of staying away from porn, this will help to build trust over time.
Last, your question: Are you being controlling? Only you can answer this for yourself. Perhaps you believe you are being controlling (maybe that’s what prompted you to write your comment). If so, then acknowledge this is not a road you want to go down and choose an appropriate action. Confess to your husband that you don’t want to be controlling or manipulative. Talk it through with him. Perhaps there are other men in his life that can shoulder the burden of holding him accountable to his actions. I would highly recommend this so you aren’t always carrying the burden of being the “spy” in his life. (This video shows a couple that has learned this lesson. You can also read her story in this e-book we compiled for wives in your position.) Remember this: There may be rightness in your actions even if the motives are not right. It may be good for him to give up his phone or have some protection on it, even if you were motivated to take it away because you wanted to “control” him. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.
My husband has had a problem with porn since before we were married 11yrs ago. Although every incident has left me hurt, I have just recently realized that it is an actual addiction. Every Mans Battle has really opened my eyes to the depth of the problem. Although my husband is going to counseling and support groups, I cannot trust him, and am constantly worrying about who he’s looking at, thinking about, etc. I don’t even enjoy going out anywhere with him for fear of him seeing attractive women. I have been told over and over that this is not about me but I can not seem to separate myself from his problem and I am so insecure with him. Although we are both getting help, many days I feel completely hopeless. Can I ever really get over this and the pain I feel from it?
My husband has struggled with porn in the past, but yesterday I found that for the last six months he has been downloading pornographic images and photoshopping my face onto the women. There were at least 50-100 of these images. He has created porn with ME as the subject, with other men treating me like an animal. Some of them show me bound & gagged & other frightening things. These were stored on a computer that my children use every day! I am devastated on so many levels. He is supposed to be my protector. It should be horrifying to him to see pictures of other men abusing me sexually, yet he has created them for his pleasure. This goes far beyond a “porn” problem, does it not? I have not found anything like this addressed in the many online resources I’ve searched. I do not know where to turn for help.
I can’t imagine the pain and betrayal you feel right now. I agree, this is more than just a “porn problem.” Usually an obsession with porn is far more than just a porn problem, but in this case there are a number of complications. First, he appears to be into some sadistic material. Porn typically blurs the lines between pleasure and pain, and because of this he is now linking sexual pleasure with harm (at least in certain instances). Second, he isn’t thinking about how others might be exposed to this same material (like your children) which is very distressing.
Third is this matter of him photoshopping your face on the women. Without conversing with him, it’s impossible to know for sure why he’s chosen to do this, but if I were to wager a guess, it might be a way he justifies looking at porn. He might feel like his lust isn’t a problem if he’s thinking about you in the process. Of course, this is ridiculous for many reasons. (1) He has to get the original images, which means he has to subject himself to likely thousands of pornographic images to to get the ones he wants. (2) Even after being photoshopped, the images are still a vehicle for his lust. Those photos, no matter how cleverly edited, are not you.
There may not be many women who have experienced this kind of problem before, but it is not unlike many other twisted forms of porn addiction. He needs to be confronted about this. He might try to justify himself by saying that he was trying to be faithful to you by making you the center of his fantasies, but if this is his plan, it is actually counterproductive. They are robbing your marriage of intimacy. They are filling his mind with unrealistic expectations. They are driving him more inward into fantasy, not outward toward real romance. They are training him to sexualize violence. They are training his mind to objectify you. (He can read more about this in the free e-books we have on our website.)
I recommend he seek help for this problem from a trained counselor.
As for you, I know all of this must seem shocking and terrible (because it is). It is really important for you that you seek some help yourself. Don’t go through this alone. Just as sure as he needs help to change his heart, so you need support as you decide what needs to happen next.
I think it does.Im in no way a professional but thats just scary and way creepy.Be careful and smart.
Thank you so much for your reply. I think I just needed someone else to say yes, this is a terrible thing. I think you are absolutely right about the reason for photoshopping my face into the pictures. I caught him a couple of years ago playing around with photoshopping just my image, making my clothing more revealing, etc. He justified it by saying that there is nothing wrong with lusting after your own wife. I think this is an obvious progression from that, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept, or any less frightening.
Now he knows that I’ve seen the images. The last 2 days he has come home from work and gone straight to our room, where he lies in the dark by himself. He hasn’t talked to me and he hasn’t touched his computer. He leaves me notes when he leaves at 4 a.m. for work saying he is ashamed to face me, that he will go anywhere that I want (counseling) and how bad that he feels that I’m hurting, etc. But he has not apologized or said a word about what he has done. His Bible is lying on the counter where he left it after church on Sunday. That is what concerns me the most (what is going on with him spiritually). I know that we won’t make any progress until he is broken before the Lord over this.
One final question. I am actively seeking help for both of us, and I am strongly leaning towards a ministry that offers nouthetic counseling and specializes in addictions. Any thoughts on this? Thank you again for taking the time to respond.
Thanks for letting me know what is going on. It is good he is facing the shame of his actions. Of course, I would hate for that shame to become so toxic he runs from you and God and everyone who could help him, but it is good for him to face the shame of his choices. It will make the grace of God all the sweeter when he encounters it.
I agree: a good nouthetic counselor would be very good to find. Have you tried looking on the NANC directory? I’m not sure you can search via speciality, but my suggestion would be to start calling some counseling offices in your area and get a sense for their personal experience with sex addiction.
I have been married for 26 years to a man with a porn addiction. It has affected every part of my life, self-esteem, and marriage. My husband has looked me in the eye and lied to me over this.
I do know that God can change hearts and actions because he has changed my husband. And I am grateful for that. But here is my question…when we had our last big blowup over this and I told him I was tired of living this way, we agreed on certain things he would do..internet filter, accountability, etc.
My problem is this: he did these things for awhile, but only for 6 months or so. He says he has a new understanding of his problem and has been delivered or “relieved of the burden”. HOW do I trust him when he no longer acknowledges the problem or that he ever had a problem? I am finding it very hard to trust. Every time he watches a movie that has some nudity in it I find myself right back in the middle of the pain. He doesn’t seem to understand this or think it is a big deal. I love this man but I don’t know if I can ever really trust again. And if I can’t, then I wonder if our marriage is really any better off than it was all those years he was lying to me?
First, let me say how sorry I am to hear about your pain. Men often have no idea how deep this hurt goes.
As for your question, I recommend first you talk with him about what rebuilding trust looks like to you. You may be baffled somewhat by that question yourself, but a basic rule for rebuilding trust is “Believe Behavior” (read this brief article by Doug Weiss about that). Don’t believe what he says, believe what he does. He needs to know what behaviors you are expecting that will help you to know you can trust him again.
It is also important for him to understand what you are expecting regarding his disposition. Believe his behavior, yes. But what he says can also be an indication of his heart and his understanding of how much he’s hurt you (this excellent article by Joe Dallas is about that.) It would probably build your trust far more if he was at least verbally acknowledging the seriousness of his sin.
Tell him, “You may have overcoming some hurdles, and if so, that’s great. But understand that trust is something earned. I am willing to trust you again, of course, because I love you. But it isn’t an automatic thing. Here’s what rebuilding trust looks like to me. It means you continue to acknowledge that despite your growth, you are still temptable. It means you need to understand that I don’y draw a sharp line between porn and the nudity in a mainstream movie: both are meant to provoke lust. It also means if the tools you were using before to keep you ‘back from the edge’ were working (accountability, filtering, etc.) then I want you to keep using them. Even if you have gained a measure of victory, those tools are as much to help me as they help you: they help me see how serious you are about this.”
Start there and see where the conversation goes.
My husband and I have been married for 3 months now. We are both Christians, from Christian families, but both have probably never fully embraced a relationship with our Lord.
2 months after we started dating, he told me he has struggled with porn since an 11-year old. It was the darkest part of him that he hated, but knew I deserved to know. It was really hard to handle for awhile, but I quickly forgave him, believing it would end. It did not.
Almost a year into dating, I caught him trying to video me changing in his room with his computer webcam. We worked through that as well. He denied it at first, but eventually came clean. That was a bigger hurdle to cross.
All along I have decided to forgive him and move on…despite the pain.
I don’t know why I thought this (knowing how deep sin like this is), but I figured it would all just go away. Especially after we got married. Unfortunately, about a month and a half after we got married, I discovered search history that told otherwise. It was one instance. We tried to work through it. Since then, I have found proof two other times.
I know he is sorry and I know it causes him major pain. It makes him feel dirty and unworthy. I don’t want to bring it up with him, because I know it crushes him to know that I know and am experiencing pain.
My latest struggle, though, is the constant searching. When I get home from work before he does, I scroll through his computer and email…whatever I can look through to try to find where he has fallen. I don’t know if I think it will make me feel better to know exactly what is going on? I have only found proof twice, but thoughts still flood my mind. All day I face the battles, wondering what he has seen, how deep his exposure goes, and if he has ever been involved with anyone online or elsewhere. I cannot help but wonder if anything has been hidden from me, even though there’s pretty solid proof that there isn’t.
It’s this distrust that scares me though. I don’t want to not be able to trust him. He even mentioned how me looking through his computer had caused him to stumble. I’m afraid of what might come of this. I don’t have solid hope that his struggle will stop. We are making positive steps, but how can I fully trust him again when I don’t have solid feelings that he will stop? I’m so afraid to get hurt again.
Is it harmful for me to be looking through his computer and monitoring him? I guess I don’t really know. To me, not seeing anything feels good, but finding what he has seen hurts so deeply. Yet, I keep desiring to look, wondering just how deep it goes and what he is looking at. I am simply lost.
Great question, April. It breaks my heart to heart your story.
There’s no doubt when a woman is reduced to “spying” on her husband, something in the marriage has gone wrong. His repeated untrustworthiness has caused you great pain. Trust is something that should be earned, not just given willy-nilly. You instinctively understand this: this is one reason why you search his web history. You want to see for yourself proof of change, and his browser history is one of the only ways you know how to see change.
I do believe that “spying” is not the ideal solution. He should be voluntarily opening his life to you. Part of the problem for him in the secrecy: this is one of the things that drives the addiction for him. The way out is confession. He needs to get honest with himself and others and talk about the problem. He needs to get honest with you and volunteer the information he has customarily hidden from you all this time.
That said, what do you do in the interim before he’s ready to make that step?
I recommend you dig into the following articles and podcasts. There’s a lot of information that might help you.
1. Are Husbands Supposed to Be Accountable to Their Wives?
2. 7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask – 3-post series by a Christian counselor
3. Including Wives in Accountability Relationships: Who protects the wife when a man protects his secrets? – Post by Doug Weiss
I also highly recommend this video series for wives of porn addicts. Excellent material: “True Betrayal: Seminar Series for Wives of Porn Addicts.”
Grace and peace to you, April.
Thank you for the informative comments and also finding out I’m not alone! I wish every man would understand that women are SO attracted to faithful loyal honest men. Being with my husband and KNOWING it’s just us two and how deep our love is is by far the most erotic thing I’ve ever experienced as it is with him. Why do men forget that?
I also think the key to getting over the pain and mistrust is that the husband “gets” how much it hurts us. Too many want to make light of it and say it’s “nothing’ as if that will make us feel better. That only hurts us more. Part of deep love is respect. This is an action that says there is NO respect and that is the most painful of all. Respect should be shown at all times, even if the spouse never finds out. And yet I’ll bet every man that has been ‘caught’ would be devastated if their wife left them. Again, why do they forget this?
Hi Ginny. I think it was Paul Newman who said, “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?” On one hand we agree with Newman: when you’ve tasted the real thing, why go back to what is inferior? On the other hand, people who love steak still eat hamburgers. People who have high tastes will, at times, rush to the convenience of McDonalds.
A post we recently published talks about this from a neurological level:
This is one reason why men can easily forget and rush after the cheap thrill of pornography.
In the end, what is needed is not just a strong sense of satisfaction in marriage but a ruthless commitment to fight temptation.
Thank you Luke for your comments but it also drives home to me how helpless I am in this situation. As much as I TRY it seems you are saying that I can’t stop my husband from going to ‘McDonalds’ Wow. That hurts.
Things have been good lately although I have not moved back home yet , I am planning on it next month. I still monitor the internet from afar just to be sure. Today I found him looking at beer posters on ebay with bikini babes on it. I overacted. I said I saw it on ebay history but in fact it was on a computer tracker. So, of course he said he pressed on it ‘accidentally’ yet the computer tracker showed he ‘scrolled’ over several pictures and spent much time on one. It may be a small act and rather innocent but just the fact he is so adamant that I’m wrong and he didn’t do anything alarms me. It’s not even the fact now, its the lying about it . I would have been angry if he had said he did it but not as much or as hurt and fearful of our future as I am since he is lying about it. He even swears to God and on his mother’s life. That’s scary. I know he’s not a bad person and would never do anything in person but this compulsive need to look at something or someone else is so devastating in light of what happened in the past. Yet he is so ashamed of what he did that he will never get real help as he would have to ‘tell’ what he was doing . To me, until you admit to yourself it was a serious problem nothing will actually go away, you are just waiting until you can do again. Am I wrong? Can you have a ‘little accidental ‘ slip and still not be in danger of going back to the dark side?
Because what he was saying to other people and how far it was progressing was SO incredibly scary. And JUST when I’m thinking everything is going great and I can relax and trust again. Again, it wasn’t porn but it WAS disrespectful and insulting to me. I am a controlling person lately and very hard on him and I hate that about me, I never used to be that way. He continually says it was ‘nothing’ and let’s go forward not dwell on the past but I’m so unsure. These little things are killing me and I’m sure it is him. He is in deep dark depression since I yelled at him how hurtful and insulting that was but I will NOT let him tell me it was accidental and I accused him of being a compulsive liar. I don’t think our marriage can survive this much longer no matter how much we love each other. It’s been a year now.
Hi Ginny. Yes, in a sense that is exactly what I am saying. Your husband must make specific, conscious, and repeated choices for himself. You cannot make those choices for him or force him to make those choices, nor would you probably want to do so if you could.
This does not mean you are helpless, however. There are steps you can take to guard both your heart and put up helpful boundaries between you and your husband. I recommend several links for you to read:
“Porn and Your Husband” (free e-book)
“True Betrayal” (Christian-based video series for wives)
“7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask” (written by a wive’s counselor)
Not having all the facts of your story, I would give you this word of advice: Believe Behavior. Don’t believe just what he says. He might be telling you the truth, but you simply can’t rebuild trust on words alone. He needs to know that and he needs to hear that from you. When trust has been shattered in any relations, the only way to rebuild it is with trustworthy behavior. To give trust so easily after it has been broken is not loving, it is just foolish.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t show him compassion or understanding. I do believe he needs to be able to say to you, “I recognize that I broke your trust and that you shouldn’t just give trust back to me. I need to earn it. What does rebuilding trust look like to you?”
Hi. This is hard for me, as I have never posted something like this before..but here goes.
I have been married since Aug 2009, and my husband has been watching porn since. He actually told me before we got married and said it was in the past, and so I decided to trust him. I am completely devastated. I have found out he has been watching and contacting other girls(real and far away fantasy ones) over and over again.
I try to forgive him, but his :reformed cleanness” never lasts more than a single month!
And now, the worst part(for this kind of situation) is I’m pregnant. I never imagined living this kind of marriage with a child! My own father had this horrible addiction, with many other issue, and it tore me and my family to pieces. I have seen first-hand what it can do. And now my husband has the same problem! I experienced a lot of pain as a child and teenager-dealing with a lot of warped family issues..and God miraculously healed my broken heart. He gave me joy, life, and hope for my own life and future.
But then why, how could HE let me marry this “Christian” man??
I keep on telling myself I should have left him when I had a chance, but now I’m pregnant!
What am I supposed to do??! I actually came to a mental breakdown this weekend..I felt hopeless…yet when I worshiped God I felt strange joy. I know God loves me.
But I don’t think I love my husband enough anymore to endure more pain. It’s too much.
I can’t raise a child with a man who is not willing to be a man. He has apologized every time, after he is caught. I usually feel it before I find proof on the computer. I do not want to feel this way anymore. I don’t want to feel trapped now, especially because of the baby.
Please, I don’t even know why I’m writing all of this because in my heart I have already given up on him. I know that sounds horrible for me to say, but it’s true. And I hate what I would become if I stay with him any longer. It’s just not worth it. I am planning on moving back to my mother’s house, but not by happy choice-I just know I will need all the help I can get raising a child on my own. I hate that it has come to this, but I have been wishing that I was in heaven, and that I was never born. I am not suicidal, at all, and would never end my life. But this is too much. I wish I was in heaven.
I was not pregnant when I found out about my husband’s extent of his porn addiction but knowing myself I knew I had to ‘get away’ for awhile or I would go crazy. You need to concentrate on yourself and your baby now and if you need to go somewhere else and be with someone who loves you then by all means do it. It was CONSUMING me and my life and it wasn’t MY problem which absolutely infuriated me. Addicts lie. Simple as that. Maybe if you’re not there he’ll realize what he has to lose and straighten up.
I’m going to read the book by Fred, especially the chapters about men’s sexuality and how different it is from ours. I think that’s what I can’t understand because of course I’m not a man and I think to myself “How could you DO that?” If I can understand a little maybe I can ‘let it go’.
Let go and let God. It’s been almost a year and I am healing but at first I wanted to stay holed up and away from everyone. Don’t do that. Stay connected to other people, go places, talk to your Mother about everything and of course you can talk to me. I have been to Al-Anon meetings in the past for his “other” addiction and the one thing they would tell me when I would get upset over what I should do is “YOU DON”T HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION TODAY’
Devastated…I have been there. I pushed away the truth through THREE children. I didn’t know about the porn problem until after our first was born, and literally his stash of photos came drifting down from our bathroom ceiling tiles on a very windy March day. I was recovering from childbirth, and Miss July landed in my sink, right in front of me. From there, we endured some 17 years of lies. He would admit it was a problem, say he was going to give it up, then we would coast along, just until I discovered more. The internet made it easier for him to lie….now we have smart phones. I endured an eating disorder early on after I initially discovered this, thinking I could look good enough to help him overcome this…..major trust issues…..we were separated for two years after 17 years of marriage. I fell into emotional affairs, which I feel is my version of addiction: just looking for the emotional connection missing in my marriage. We began to reconcile after two years of separation, even after I filed for divorce. He seems to have recommitted his life, but I still have trust issues. I think it’s because he is never completely open and honest, so I have this sort of shadow hanging over my head, where I am not sure if there is just so much more I do not know. For example, he became honest only in the past six months about returning to porn while we were separated. So while I was working on becoming closer to Christ, really dedicating myself to God and our children while praying for him, he was back into what tore us apart, but even more heavily and freely I assume. To find this out AFTER reconciliation and a re-courting makes me wonder what else I do not know. He says “nothing” .. he has said that before. To top things off, at the age of 42, as a non smoker, healthy gym rat, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. This just eight months after he moved back home. So….we have terminal illness, the threat of losing him….while trying to rebuild trust. Our marriage is better than ever, but still full of holes from my end. Things I just feel aren’t quite right. He still feels the need to lie about things, saying it’s to protect me. He traveled for work with a female last year, but told me he was with group of guys. I knew he was with a female coworker because an email came through on his phone about the travel plans. Although I do not think he was/is having an affair with her, I wish I wouldn’t have to beg for honesty. He finally admitted it, and said he didn’t want me to worry. Ugh. Hard to rebuild trust with lies.
So…I guess what I am saying is this could be a long and difficult road. And without honesty, total honesty, and openness, it will be futile. I love my husband, forgive him, fear losing him, fear for his faith, but would LOVE to some day feel I know everything, so I can forgive everything.
…and I’m not sure if this will be seen or moderated since it’s an old thread, but I will ask what looks to be the common question. Yes, we are both Christians. He plays in our church band, large, well attended church. We attend small group. We are involved. I work in Christian media, and have for most of my career. We have Christian counselors and materials, any book, including yours, on our bookshelves. I have interviewed experts from Laurie Hall, when her book first came out (Affair of the Mind) to, more recently, Emerson Eggerichs. With all that, it doesn’t work without complete honesty accountability. And I am not sure if it’s time to give up on that, considering the illness, and just coast, or keep trying.
Dear Been There,
I can TOTALLY understand your feelings about the honesty issue. My husband, although I know is a decent good person inside, still lies about things. They may be about things small but they are still lies. And he still insists his actions with online porn was ‘nothing and just stupid’. After reading about addiction and dealing with my husband’s previous alcohol addiction I have learned it’s become such a way of life with him to lie and that he truly believes he “has” to to protect me or keep me from getting angry or us having a fight. Why can’t they face the fact that even though we will be hurt or angry about what we hear that it will eventually help things so much. I don’t think they are being honest with themselves actually. How do we lovingly tell them we need that total honesty? I don’t want my husband to be depressed or feel worse about himself than he already does and I’m sure you don’t want to add more stress on your husband but I don’t want to give up my needs either. And I also know I’ll continue to have “meltdowns” without a full accounting and admittance from him. That’s no good for either of us. I also would like to know what I can do to guide him to understand it WAS an addiction. I think I’m going to tell my husband that our marriage can be so wonderful if I understand and maybe he can write a letter ? similar to what they are required to do in AA
Maybe that will be easier than facing me, afraid of my reaction.
Writing a letter may be a good place to start. In regards to his porn use in particular, I’d also recommend having him read two resources. The first is our recovery guide for wives. While it’s written for women like you, we’ve also heard from men who used it to gain insight into their wives’ feelings. Then share this blog post by Dr. Doug Weiss about wives and accountability. Even if you don’t use Internet Accountability software, it’s a good reminder that it is your right as his wife to choose how much or how little you know about his online habits.
If he’s a habitual liar, which is how it sounds from your story, you may want to encourage him to seek professional support to help open up lines of communication and trust in your marriage.
I have read all the threads on here and they all basically say the same thing. Husband cheats and we all try to forgive. I just do not understand. Why must I be the one to forgive? It is not fair. My husband has told me time after time he is sorry but if you are “sorry” you would not have done it in the first place! I use to be a fun loving person now I am always serious and I feel like a physco always trying to see computer history and if we go out in public I watch him like a hawk, apparently I am physco but he made me this way now he has to deal with it. He ask when will you forgive me, it’s been almost four years (since I caught him, that is). Ahh I really would like to trust him again it is just so hard and I do not know how much longer I can live like this. I have read that someone said, it is not that you are not good enough. Well then why? Why would someone want to hurt someone they love so much? Everywhere I turn sex is always there, magazines, computers, tvs, clothing etc…how I am suppose to trust/forgive when we live in a world that is constantly reminding me of my pain? Someone on here said we can’t live in a cave, well that seems like only option…
I know it’s been sometime since you wrote this but I am just now reading it. I am in your shoes. My radar is up about EVERYTHING. We can’t even go to a ballgame without me watching his eyes. I don’t want to be this way but my self-esteem is so low even after a year and a half. Even when he gives me a compliment I don’t believe him.
What’s scary to me is , there is a person there I don’t know. The person I thought I knew (and trusted) has another side to him that I despise. So, now, who is there? The person I love? or the person I despise? The person that truly loves me? or the person who had no qualms about hurting me? I have 20 yrs of investment in this relationship, there is no one else I want to be with but I’m so scared of being ‘duped’ or hurt again. I know I am the one hurting our relationship now but can’t seem to stop it. Like your husband he has not given me any reason (other than little white lies) not to trust him but I still don’t. Will I ever? Will I ever get my self-esteem and confidence back? My mother used say to ‘fake it till you can make it’ so I’m faking it but inside I’m still lost. I understand how you feel and hope we can find help.
I just wanted to say that I am so thankful for finding this site and just downloaded one ebook. I am just beginning my journey of dealing with this. I’ve been married 6 yrs, we had 3 kids in 3 yrs, 5 weeks. We live out of the state we are from, so no family around. I felt I had been pulling away from him emotionally and decided to write him an email. I told him that I know that I wanted to work on myself and that I planned on doing just that and that I didn’t want to keep pullling away from him as I was doing. He is a great familiy man and loves his kids….we’ve been going back and forth about having another one. We both want one, but I’m not sure of the timing as I am going back to school myself and he is in medical school. He is always studying and up late. The specialty he wants to go in would take 6-7 years of him working 80-90 hr weeks. I’m just trying to take in the work I’d have to do on my own and I feel guilty about saying that although I really want another one, I’m not sure if I could balance it the best I could. Anyway…..looked into history after he was acting funny and discovered a site he has visited and numerous deleted history, confronted him, of course he says hes sorry and tells me it started 2 yrs ago…..after looking into the site further, I discovered it wasnt just videos, it was a live web chat. I’m so crushed and just feel overwhelmed. He says that he never joined the site and that its another site that he frequented thats just videos. This was just 3 weeks ago….talked it out, hes trying to be more attentive, I’ve been trying to fix up for him more and we have it more regular. I’ve initiated intamacy twice which is a lot for me…and while I am happy that I’m over coming my insecurities about being self conscious about my body and showing him my emotions and love, I also feel sad….I cant explain it. While it is my husband that I am doing things with and love dearly, its the circumstances with which it developed from that is hurting I guess. I know and feel like I should’ve been there for him more in the past, and I can’t change it, so I am trying to do it now…..but everytime I think about how he’s kept things from me for 2 years…its just hard. I am trying to move forward and we haven’t talked about it since the time it came out. We are both embarassed I guess.
When the kids were younger, under 3, and it was just me doing things, no family around for help, I would be too tired to give him some when he would ask and had told him to use his hands…haha…I caught him looking at something a few years ago and just told myself that it was because I was too tired and that it was ok. He was apologetic. I don’t know the art of femininity and he is the only man I’ve ever been with.
I’m trying to move on now but its hard when I know hes on the computer all the time for school. I was never one of those girls that always asked what he was doing/where he’s at and now I hate that I always want to check the history on the computer if I’m using it. I hate it….
Reading this site has been good, while it hurts me more to read and be reminded that all those images are forever burned in his head and that I will never be able to fill those desires that he has been building while fantasizing about other women over the past years, I know I can only find peace within myself with the hope of the Lord. This site has reminded me to keep Him my focus, instead of worrying about putting out enough and looking attractive enough. I guess that’s all I wanted to say….So thank you for helping me while I begin this journey…..
Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry your husband’s issues and your insecurities are colliding. I pray you marriage can recover and grow from these experiences. I hope our education here is helpful to you.
No matter how hard I try I can’t stop looking at porn and lying about looking at porn. My wife doesn’t trust me at all any more and is taking the kids away for good. I even look at it on my work computre at work and at home. Some times I want to give it up but for the most part I don’t want to stop and now I am loosing everything because I still want porn. I need help!!! Please!!
Khris, this is exactly what porn addiction is: much like an addition to alcohol or drugs.
First, understand that there is hope for you in this. Change is very possible. I cannot tell you whether your wife will ever trust you, but if you are willing to make changes in your life, you can break free from this addiction. Thousands have done this. Making these changes may also go a long way to rebuilding the trust.
You would be interested in this free e-book, The Porn Circuit. It will really help you wrap your mind around your addiction.
Give the extend of your situation, I also highly recommend you find some kind of professional counseling for this, preferably someone who has some training in this area. A good group to contact would be Faithful and True. They have an only “self test” for sex addiction. They have 3-day intensive workshops available as well.
Let me know if you want to talk further.
You need to put your wife and family first. Stop being selfish. Wake up from your stupid fantasy. You men take your wife for granted but when you lose the one you hurt and neglected then you want help? Me me me get over your yourself and start respecting the woman you claim to love and married. Now!!!!
Hello. I just turned 20 a few days ago. I have been married for about a year and a half.. When I met my husband, I asked him up front before we really even started dating if he was into porn, because a previous boyfriend of mine was addicted. He told me no. Fast forward five or so months and we are married. We move away from home. I am isolated from everyone I know but him. He keeps a lock code on his phone but I’m smart and I catch on to what it is. He hasnt been intimate with me in a couple of weeks, and I know thats not normal for a newly-married 24 year old man. I look on his phone. Porn everywhere. Text messages from his buddies about the strip club. Phone numbers and girls names I don’t recognize asking for nude pictures(these texts are from when we were engaged)… He apologizes to me while I cry my eyes and heart out. I eventually let it go. I continue finding porn on his phone for a couple of months then I tell him I am going to leave. He stops for a while. Then later he changes the password on his phone, and constantly hides it. I had been under the impression he was a Christian man, but he has not attended church since we have been together. He has told me he doesn’t pray when I ask him to pray for one of my sick relatives.. I go on in misery not trusting him for months and months, threatening to leave because I cant stand the pain of what he does when I am not around. I end up locking him out of his phone and he has to buy a new one. I tell him if he puts a password on it I will leave. I know it is wrong to threaten him so much, but I know if I am away the pain will fade and I will heal. I dread him coming home from work everyday because I will have to be on my toes and watch his every move. I sneak in the room and snoop on his phone when he is asleep. I am going crazy. Literally my hair is thinning and I cant motivate myself to do anything. Anyway, today I walked by the bathroom going to put his folded clothes in the bedroom, and I heard moaning from the bathroom. The door was locked so I banged on it. He opened it and I blew up at him. He refuses to show me his phone and wont let it out of his sight. He acts suspicious and does these things and in the same breath demands my trust. I am going crazy. I need help, advice, anything. Please. I love my husband very much… Love the sinner, hate the sin… but I guess he doesnt respect me enough to stop..
Have you read Porn and Your Husband yet? It will lay out some next steps for your marriage. You may even want to have your husband read it, so he has an idea of what his porn use is doing to you emotionally.
Regardless of what else you do, you should definitely seek out professional help for both your husband and his porn use as well as yourself and the trauma you’ve been facing. You may want to ask your pastor for suggestions. And if anyone you speak to tries to brush off his porn use or says you just need to forgive him without addressing his behavior, then find a different person to talk to.
hi guys hoping someone can help give me advice on how to get past my husbands porn addiction. I discovered it a little over three years ago but I didn’t say anything for quite a long period of time. I watched as he got further away from me on a intimate level just little things like giving me a kiss and a cuddle for no apparent reason, communication had broken down and his temper got really bad so a year and a half in of me knowing about it I finally spoke up and told him I knew he was spending hours on porn sites I knew the stuff he was looking at had gotton border line illegal and just down right awful and I told him the way he was treating me and the kids was down right awful. Anyway ill cut a long story short he never took and blame for his actions his excuses have always been its a man thing blah blah I asked him about the porn live chat site he had been on he got very angry at me for not trusting him to the extent I left the table quite upset I fell over and sprained my ankle quite severe before he would even help me up he informed me it was “karma” as I had no right to be having a go at him. Any way I caught him out a few times after this again border line illegal and told him that when I look at him all I see is a dirty old man his porn addiction and the fact that he was not treating me like a porn prop in the bed room I felt like I was just a warm body for him to fulfil what ever was going through his brain in day life he was being rude and mean and at night he would be sweet and kind just to have sex this is how it felt., any way the last time I told him enough was enough he needed to see someone and then WE need to see someone ie a therapist. he said he didn’t need to I needed to trust he he wouldn’t look any more. any way a few months later his awful attitude was back and I now have no way of knowing what he is looking at so I assumed he was back on the porn, we cant communicate because he just gets angry and tries to justify it and turn it around on me and the odd time he has communicated he has said words and that’s all they are its like he is reading froma scipt telling me what I want to hear. he got really aggressive with one of the kids and I told him enough is enough he is to get help or I am leaving I had bought furniture ect and told him this was it he is to see a therapist to work out his issues one a fortnight at the longest gap hi told him once a week would be better but at least an appointment once evry two weeks and then i want us to see a therapist to get the intimacy , trust and communication back So he booked an appointment for early January this year he told me I had to get rid of the furniture so I did he went once I kept asking when he was re booking he said he would I left it a week and asked again he then got angry and informed me he would book when he was good and ready too (its now june and he hasn’t been back) any way I am suppose to have trust in the man I love who has never come to the table to help me heal he has told me I need to trust he isn’t doing anything wrong and leaves it there I haven’t mentioned anything since January but I did go interstate to 10 days in feb too be with my nanna when she passed away when I got back the computer crashed so this already put thoughts into my head because our computer has only ever crashed from his porn use. I asked he said he hadn’t and left it there the week just gone I thought he had been looking up parlours so it opened up old wounds but I do believe he is telling the truth that the kids have hit a button so its the one and only time I actually believe him. But also keeping old wounds open is the fact that he has only initiated sex once in 4 and a half months this is not like him either. So I ask after all this and the fact I cant help but wonder if he slept with an ex years back adding to the trust issues on my behalf I ask how after everything and this is cutting a very long story straight how do we get the help for me to trust him again? I am emotionally drained and exhasusted , sick of being in a relationship with there is no communication, true intimacy and when we try to speak about issues that actually matter and may help us go forward he just yells at me, tells me I need to trust him, and turns issues onto me so how do I heal how do we move forward and how do I trust him again? I do love him but cant keep going like this I crave the love we once had but don’t know what to do to get it back. Any advice ?
It really sounds like your husband is very unwilling to get help or even consider his porn use a problem. He doesn’t want to be open with you, it seems.
At this point I recommend you look into (1) finding some local support for yourself, and (2) think about what you can do to make it abundantly clear that you need to have trust in your marriage if it going to thrive.
You need to have others around you that you can talk to about this situation, people who know you and your husband and can offer good advice. Ideally, a counselor would be good.
You might want to read this article by Ella Hutchinson. It may give you some ideas about next steps for you.
I caught my husband looking at porn.When I confronted him he came clean but I know he was not completely honest.He apologized however when I told him my feelings and how my trust for him was lost he tried to imply he did it so he wouldn’t go out and cheat.Then when he saw me reading this website he said can you just get over it already, and said it was my fault for not being around him alot.I was a full time worker whose job is an hour from my house.i got home 8 or 9 every night.I am Christian and want to work things out but I just found out this morning and he’s already telling me to get over it.He is also Christian. I tried to explain to him that it is cheating in my eyes and in Gods eyes.I don’t know what to do if his attitude doesn’t show remorse how can I stay with him?
First, read Porn and Your Husband if you haven’t already. Then read this blog post for some more practical advice. Finally, you may want to hand him a copy of The Porn Circuit and lovingly explain that while you want to “get over it,” you also know that pornography is addictive in nature and that you want to see him fully healed from it.
And remember: keep praying for him. God can – and has! – softened even the hardest of hearts.
my husband came out and confessed to having a porn addiction about a month ago, we have found a therapist and have seen him once. He wants to stop and fix our marriage he is taking all the steps im just not sure he can , he is currently not viewing porn, there are filters on the electrical devices. We have always had problems in the bed room, he just doesnt want me, he never really turns me down when i initiate but never initiates himself. I am having trouble because i thought that once he stopped he would turn to me but still doesnt. I feel like he is never going to want me and we will always struggle with it. I do know that if we cant get thru this i cant be with him i know that it isnt me it is him but i cant take the pain too much longer. We are getting better at communicating about things and i explained to him that it is hard for me to just think that he has stopped completely, i asked ” How can someone go from masturbating to porn several times a week to nothing” he has been taking long showers and i suspect him to be masturbating i asked him if he masturbates still and he admitted to doing it once, i know it was hard for him to even admit to doing it once but this did confirm to me that was what he was doing, i couldnt imagine him admitting to doing it everyday. i dont know what to do, this is just as bad to me as watching porn, the image is in his head and he is still fantasizing about other women. I want to be supportive to him and help him but I cant come out and say things like this because he rarely admits to a lie especially if its one like this where he is telling the truth but not the whole truth and it normally ends in an argument . i dont want to discourage him. i just feel discouraged myself i feel like he isnt in this 100% and we will have to result in getting a divorce. Are there n e women who have dealt with there husband just not wanting them and did it ever get better?
Rhianne, when we as men have been masturbating to porn numerous times a week, a couple of things happen. First of all, since our hands are hooked to our own nervous systems, we know exactly what needs to be done to ourselves at each moment to take ourselves higher in intensity. We get used to focusing on intensity, rather than focusing on intimacy, in our sex lives. Since you are not hooked in to your husband’s nervous system, you can’t take him to the intensity levels he can go on his own. Now, that is no problem in the long run, because as he gives up porn and masturbation and returns to a focus on you and a focus on intimacy, he will be able to respond better to you and feel like initiating, but for now, there is a lot of guilt remaining in him and he likely has trouble initiating or really moving in that direction with you, because his focus is still on intensity. The second thing that happens to male sexuality is that, as long as we focus on the younger, perfect bodies in the porn, our “sexual tastes” can’t grow and move along with the changes that are happening in our wives. While I can back this up scripturally, I don’t have time to do so here. All I can say is that it is difficult for him to be enticed by you, because it is unlikely you are as perfect as those air-brushed images on the screen. God has created our sexuality as men to grow and change and move along with our wives aging, as long as we keep our eyes on her and not on the porn. He hasn’t been doing that. Again, if he stays away from the porn/masturbation and focuses only on you, things will change, but he needs to understand the danger of masturbation. It isn’t just a “moral” issue. It is a phyical, science issue, and if he does it, it will keep the two of you from uniting in the ways you should be uniting and must be uniting. It isn’t a victimless issue, and the one he hurts most is himself, and his sexuality. Perhaps you can share this with him so that he understands what is actually going on in himself, and so that he will be more diligent in winning this battle for purity.
Thank you for your input Fred it is appreciated. Now i know i do need to talk o him about it an it isnt something that will just pass. i do hope he can and will be willing to stop/
So, i did actually let my husband read what i posted and the response, it seemed to help a lot and i felt relief for being able to confront him about it in a way that didnt cause an argument. We still dont really have sex im am trying to just be patient. We went to see our counselor yesterday and it has left me a bit hopeless and discouraged. He asked if we had talked about any issues at all and what about so i told him about this issue, the counselor didnt say much then but asked my husband to express how he is dealing with going from masturbating several times a week to nothing. My husband said that he has been trying to focus on other things other than sex with me that our relationship does need like quality time with me and the kids. Later we touched on the subject again and the counselor actually said that it is none of my business if my husband masturbates and that it is his responsibility to have his sexual needs met and it is mine for mine too. I did cry and said how am i suppose to be ok with having nothing sexually with him while he has to masturbate to be satisfied, the counselor said that it is a whole other issue and thats where we need to find a medium. The discussion was kind of left open because we were running out of time. Is it ok to leave one spouse with nothing while you’re satisfied doing this. Everything i have learned about getting over this addiction says that masturbation is still wrong and im not sure if he is saying that it is ok but it sure seems like it.He made the next appt one on one with just my husband. I feel hopeless because if we do eventually start having more sex and my husband secretly has to masturbate to meet his sexual needs,how is that ok and what really has changed from his porn addiction other than viewing porn, how is that healthy, i dont want to be in a relationship with someone i cannot sexually please it is unfair to me, honestly who would want that?? I dont know what to do should i change counselors this is our second one, it is extremely hard to find one who has dealt with issues like this and i know starting over again with a new one will frustrate my husband very much but i just dont feel like this is ok, and fear that losing everything we have learned together about fighting this addiction might be at stake.
Wow. Get a new counselor, or at least stop going to that one. That one is filling your head with lies. It is absolutely your business what your husband does with his sexuality. This person has no basis for what they are telling you. (And every sex addiction specialist would tell him that.)
As for your husband, he should not be denying you intimacy in your marriage. Has he said what his hangup is? Does he just want to have more quality time with you to build romance? Great. Do that. Make time for that.
If your husband needs advice from a good porn addiction expert, I recommend he read something by Dr. Doug Weiss, Dr. Mark Laaser, or Joe Dallas. These men understand the need for absolutely honesty and transparency in a marriage when it comes to this stuff.
If you meet with this counselor again, press him on this. Why is it none of your business what your husband does with his sexuality? Ask him that. Remember the truth from 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” Quote that to him. If he rejects this, you know exactly where he’s coming from.
6 months ago I caught my husband masturbating to porn when walking into the computer area with my toddler to bring hin a snack while he was supposed to be studying. I was 7 months pregnant with our second chikd and had never felt more battered, ugly or hurt in my life.
He was very repentant and it was obvious he was sorry he hurt me and ashamed by this addiction. At the time he was very willing to talk but I was too emotional to process anything. We agreed he would form an acountability partnership with a pastor friend and left it at that.
Since then I have questions but he is not willing to answer them pr ecen discuss the issues. He claims that I am constantly beating him over the head with old sin and should be able to just trust him now that he is ‘free’. I know he has made big efforts and some change is definatately occuring. What concerns me is when i go through his phone and ask about something he gets angry that I ‘snooped’ (things i find are possibly innocent like deleted call history) and says I am pushing him away. Not to be crude but I have also noticed he has a partial errection at random times, tiny semen stains are on his underwear and his sex drive is not what I expected of a 30 year old male. We have a LOT of stress in our life right now and just want to know if these things can be normal after abandoning masturbation and the body adjusts?
Because he is making efforts, should I be trying to extend more trust and not look through his phone etc?
Hi Sarah. Your husband sounds like a lot of men I’ve met. On one hand, his efforts are commendable. It is good that you see a change in his behavior. It is good that he has sought out accountability.
On the other hand, it sounds like you both need to set some expectations about what is “off-limits.” I agree: you should have 100% access to his phone and other electronics. No question there. It will work much better, however, if you have a conversation about those expectations.
It could sound something like this: “I know you’ve been upset when I’ve asked you about things and when I’ve checked your phone, so I want to set some expectations so we are on the same page. First, I want to be able to check your phone and computer for the very reason you don’t want me to check it: I want to trust you again. You think I should trust you now, but trust needs to be earned. I have forgiven you, but trust is not the same as forgiveness. If you caught me getting online and chatting sexually with men, and then I confessed that I had been doing that for years, I would expect you not to trust me until I had earned it back. If you indeed have nothing to hide from me, then checking your phone will never be a problem anyway.
“As far as talking to you about this issue, let’s just set a regular time to do it so I don’t ‘spring it on you.’ Let’s set a weekly time to pray about our intimacy as a couple, you can talk to me about how things are going, and we can pray for each other.”
Sarah, as far as the physical effects you’re noticing, more erections, wet dreams, and a change in libido are all symptoms of changes in hormones that happen when a man is “detoxing” from porn. They aren’t indicators that is actually is, but they certainly can be signs of it. More importantly, both of you setting aside time to make love is very important right now (and I mean really making love, not just quick sex; dating and romance included). He needs to build up a new habit in his life that doesn’t search for quick satisfaction but instead uses his sex drive to pursue patient romance with you.
same thing here for me, except its my wife. I am lost for words.
So sorry to hear about your problem, Jason. What happened? What’s her story?
Just an update on my situation that started when I found out of the extent of my husband’s porn addiction Feb. 2012.
I never thought I would EVER get over it. I will admit I still think often of the words I saw him say to other people, of the disturbing videos I saw, of the possible actions he was contemplating. But I am happy to say , even though we have had a few setbacks, things are on the mend. I am able to understand a little that quite a bit of it was a cry for attention, validation, etc. and it has taken away my anger. There is still an accountability program on the computer and quite frankly, I think it will need to be there indefinitely but very rarely do I check it now. I have stood strong and adamant on what I need to trust again and I feel better about myself. What I want to convey to men AND women is: When you look at your loved one as your only source of intimacy things escalate to heights you could never dream of. What a waste of time it is to look elsewhere, what a waste of time and energy on GARBAGE that could be directed at your loved one. It’s not always easy but definitely worth it. Thank you so much for all the reading material that saved my marriage , and my life.
Hi Ginny. Great to hear about the changes that have happened in your life!
My wife and I have been married 9 1/2 years now and we have 4 kids, ages ranging from 11 mo. to 8 years. I love my family beyond words, but unfortunately due to many, many mistakes in the past of my porn usage, my wife and I seem to be at an idle emotional state; at least for my wife. Over the years I have been in a cycle of using, getting caught, staying clean until it starts over and just damages things even more.
To add to this, before we were married she had discovered that before I had met her I had slept with her best friend (in fact I met my wife through this person). I can’t remember for sure, but I’m not sure I had slept with her again after meeting my wife, but that’s beside the point. Discovering this hurt my wife very much. She felt I had lied to her by not telling her. I think I kept this from her for many reasons: fearing she would not want to be with me, assuming she had to have known and didn’t need to say it, etc. but bottom line is I had at that point damaged trust. So adding the discovery of porn usage after we were married just made it worse.
We normally have a decent relationship and get along great with the exception of what is probably the normal amount of disagreements or arguments in any marriage having to do with random things. We laugh, poke fun at each other (in fun, not in gest of hurting one another), and are able to spend great quality family time. We express love to each other verbally, and a hug and kiss frequently, however sex has been far and few between. I can count on one hand (two at the very most) the amount of times we’ve had sex in the last 3-4 years, and the last 2 1/2 years maybe twice (last time being when our 11mo old was conceived, but it’s always been sparse – 2-3 weeksor more on average between). This is most certainly due to the fact that I’ve damaged trust enough that she has no desire, however, especially now, I can’t keep my eyes off her and am crazy with desire for her (have for a long time). I find her more and more beautiful as time passes (though I’ve always found her attractive), and I playfully express that to her but don’t really get much positive feedback. I don’t know if it’s because of her self image or if it’s because she just doesn’t want to hear it from me, but I can tell you I very much would prefer her over any other form of sexual satisfaction! But… another issue may be that I have trouble initiating anything in fear of rejection, and in fear that she just doesn’t want it (at least now). I hate the feeling of rejection, it’s just humiliating to me for some reason and makes me feel childish; like I’m stepping out on a ledge and exposed, then crushed. That may be an exaggerated reaction, but the effect is there.
I really feel I am on the mend from my addiction, and have been for a while now. I feel God working on me and can tell I am about to break free completely. I’ve read most of “The Porn Circuit” and am at 2 weeks of abstaining from any form of sexual activity, I’ve narrowed down my porn usage to a derivative of lust. Lust is the real issue for me — keeping my eyes from going astray — and when I don’t control that it leads to a desire for looking at porn, but very rarely do I look at it. I have always very much wanted to break free, but kill myself in giving in to self satisfaction because I don’t feel I’m getting enough sex, which is my fault to begin with… But I am alone in trying to fix the issues. She has said she doesn’t want to have to deal with it or help because it’s not her problem. I have recently shared that I feel that I need her to see improvement, and that I’d like to share my feelings and struggles with her, otherwise she’ll never “see” improvement or know when it is safe to start trusting me again, but she doesn’t think she can handle hearing it. I can understand that, she’s going through a lot at this point because her father found out he has throat cancer a couple weeks ago. It’s hard enough for her to look at the accountability reports through covenant eyes, everything that she sees that “may be” something and turns out to be nothing just puts her through the emotional roller coaster again, and that really bothers her. The other day I bought condoms in high hopes, but she found I had opened the package and thought one was missing, so she questioned me about it. When she realized there were none missing she was very frustrated she even has to deal with worrying. She has also recently shared that she just feels stuck, and that she can’t leave because we homeschool and she doesn’t have a college degree so doesn’t think she could make it on her own. She also dislikes my family a lot because they don’t treat her well (in a hidden expressive way; on the outside they’re all nice, but often make comments that may have hidden meanings, and it angers her a lot, but I have never said anything to them to defend her because it’s either not obvious or I don’t know it happened at that particular moment [I’m also non-confrontational] so she resents me for that). Those feelings she has shared are partly a result of fluctuating emotions, she has said, and just gets in those moods where she feels that way, most of the time everything seems fine…
This is probably going to be the longest post here… but I guess what I’m looking for in this novel is encouragement. Going on 3 weeks now from abstinence, as well as in hope that our marriage can get better and more secure, I want to know if there’s any way this can be fixed, and we can move on with a more normal marriage. I really want for our sex life to be better, because I desire her so much, and I’m not sure I can handle continuing for the foreseeable future being expected — either by myself or God — to remain free from ANY sexual activity for several years or longer until this can be fixed and we can be expressive together again, but I feel like any expression sexually without my wife is just moving in the wrong direction and tends to progressively get worse…
So… any advice? I would greatly appreciate it!
Have you suggested to your wife that you lack of intimacy is unhealthy and that you would like to explore, with a counselor or pastor, the reasons why this is happening in your marriage?
I will give that a try and see how it goes. I’ve mentioned seeing a counselor before and her reaction was that she knows what the issue is, that it’s my self control and nothing to do with her, so we don’t need to see a counselor to tell us the same thing. Which in part is true, however, like I mentioned to her recently, if we don’t work together to fight the issue there’s no way she can “see” change and improvement; her reaction to that was that she was just emotionally done and doesn’t want to have to deal with it, I think because she hates having the issue brought up and dealing with the pain of it. Though I think she goes through moods where we’re fine — minus intimacy — until the topic is brought up somehow, then the pain rushes back and she’s “done” with it. I just don’t know how to get past that wall to start building trust again (assuming there’s even any desire for that on her end). The only logical solution I can come up with is that I’ll just have to deal with it on my own and trust that God will speak to her heart to change it, as difficult and discouraging as that may seem. I just don’t see how she can be physically and emotionally fine without intimacy, because it sure is painful for me…
So she doesn’t want to have sex with you more than once a year and the problem is your lack of self-control. Yes, porn is a matter of self-control, but a sexless marriage is another issue entirely. If she’s “done with it” as far as the porn goes, then fine. But what does she say when you want to have sex with her?
I’m not at all discounting the pain that betrayal can cause in the heart of a woman. Not at all. I’m just trying to understand: Does she believe a sexless marriage, a marriage without physical intimacy, is a good marriage? Does she want to change that? The counseling is to help her as much as it would be to help you.
One of the things I love about her is that she’s willing to sacrifice whatever it takes for the better of the family, I think, so in this case I believe she may be sacrificing what she may want of intimacy or affection, for the better of the family; or in other words, in lieu of leaving and “taking our kids’ father away from them”, or creating a separation in the family, she’s willing to dealing without affection. When I hint towards sex she becomes a little evasive about it. However, I think her attitude towards sex seems to vary depending on a number of variables, because we have discussed in this last year the concept of me getting “fixed”, but I just can’t seem to grasp any pattern to this to feel comfortable enough to navigate the issue when the timing is best. Does that make sense? From what I’m hearing of you, though, is that if there’s any way I can convince her that the counseling is not necessarily to deal with my issues, but instead it will focus on how we will recover from it together. Is that about right?
That’s about right, yes. Obviously, your recovery as an individual and your recovery as a couple are not separate issues, but the major goal is the overall health of your marriage and getting to the bottom of the lack of intimacy (physically speaking). She needs to unearth why she is so evasive and you need to discover how you can treat her in a way that engenders more trust and affection. I’m sure you both have something valuable to learn by sitting down and talking with someone about this.
My girlfriend and I had been dating for a few months and told her that I was not looking at porn, even though the entire time I would look at it. She would constantly ask me and I would deny it. The guilt ate me up, but we were never really “official.” I told her I loved her and wanted to marry her and she the same, however we didn’t have a “real commitment” to each other. I have battled with porn for a long time, but I never realized how much of an issue it was. I came clean with her after looking at engagement rings a few weeks ago. I haven’t watched porn at all since then. The desire is slightly there but not nearly as bad as it used to be. However, she doesn’t believe me. She wants me to be honest, but she doesn’t believe me when I am. Sometimes, I just want to tell her that I have watched it (even when I haven’t) just to make her feel like I am being truthful. We are not married, but I love her with my entire being and want to spend my life with her. But this issue has torn us apart and I feel like we are barley holding on, but both of us don’t know how to go on without the other.
At this point her trust of you has been shattered because you lied to her back towards the beginning of your relationship. Because of this, she’s right not to trust what you say at the moment. That is a trust that must be built over time, and that is a process both you and she should embrace. If you continue to act in a way that is reliable and trustworthy, and as she see this over time, trust can be rebuilt. Your part of this is not looking pornography and being absolutely patient with her as she figures out what will help her regain trust. Her part is figuring out what actions on your part will help her heart to trust you again (not all at once, of course, but over time). You both have to live with the fact that for the time being trust has been broken.
Here’s an idea. Your husbands are watching porn because the day after you got married, you stopped performing sex acts on him that he enjoyed. I’m not talking about basic love making but a bi-yearly blowjob would go a long way and give him something to look forward to. It’s cheaper then a present on his birthday, less work then shopping around for an expensive Christmas present and just as much appreciated as a diamond ring.
No blowjobs means more porn surfing. That simple.
Not that simple, Jessica. We know many men who have very sexually available wives who still look at porn. To be sure, being experimental and fun in the bedroom is a wonderful thing for married couples to do, but this does not slake a man’s thirst for porn. Porn trains a man to want a variety of women paraded in front of him (this is, after all, what porn is). A porn-trained brain won’t be satisfied with just one woman, no matter how vivacious she is. The man must do his part and desire to be a one-woman man.
My husband has been to my knowledge addicted to pornography for 10 years or more (we have been married for 16 years) no matter what I do he cannot give it up. He has been to a Recovery Course but still I find this stuff on his computer. I have largely stayed with him because of our child who is now 14 and I feel I could possibly leave him now. I honestly believes that he hates me and my christian faith (which he calls extreme). Why does he not want to have a relationship with me and why is he so cruel ? I feel such guilt in allowing him to do this to me. Your thoughts please.
Your situation sounds beyond rough. It pains me to hear stories like this.
Your commitment to your family is admirable. It is good you haven’t bailed on your marriage yet (even though many women would have done so). It is also good that you recognize that, to some extent, you are partially responsible for enabling your husband. The more boundaries you can put in place to guard your heart and sanity, more he will understand that porn is something you cannot tolerate.
His attempts at recovery haven’t stood the test of time, and this might partially be because of his animosity toward your beliefs. If he’s hit a point where he links his “recovery” with trying to please you and your Christian convictions (convictions that he hates), then it doesn’t surprise me that he’s still sneaking around with porn.
At this point, it might be best to lay down some boundaries in your relationship. I highly recommend you read this series of posts (especially the last one) to help you do that. In the end, his choices are his, but he needs to know that you will not tolerate him filling his mind with images of other women.
You also need support for yourself. Have you been able to talk to others about this? Do you have a spousal recovery group you can attend? Are there any people who can mentor you right now? I highly recommend you read this free book written to women in your shoes.
Thank you for your quick reply which I really appreciate. Yes you are right my faith is part of the problem. He sees me as all white and himself as all black. I have tried all the boundaries things but he just doesn’t care. It is almost like he has no feeling around this issue. My church is small and find this very difficult to deal with. The problem is that after most of a life addicted to pornography, mastabation and escapism my husband has become a shell of a man, weak, defeated and failed. This makes it very difficult for me to “reverence” him as I must. I am in turmoil as to what to do for the best, my 14 year old son is being shown a terrible role model of manhood.
Thanks for replying, Naomi. It sounds like your husband is far gone. There are other boundaries to consider, such as sleeping in separate rooms or even having a period of separation from the home. Have you gone to these extremes yet? If not, approach these options very cautiously, but don’t be afraid to take them. You are correct: your son does not have good model of manhood, and he needs to know that his father falls short. (All fathers fall short, of course, but it takes a real man to admit his faults to his sons and choose to work past them.)
As far as a support network for you is concerned, start by finding one woman you trust. Is there someone in your life who serves for you as a good friend or even a mentor? Someone who serves as a good example of spiritual maturity? Find that one person and begin meeting with her to talk about this issue. Then, agree to meet together every week for prayer and encouragement. I know a lot of women who have found the True Betrayal series very helpful. This free video series is made for groups of women whose husbands have betrayed them sexually. Women who don’t have a support group locally often watch these videos together with a good friend and then use the information to talk with their friend about what they need to do next.
Thanks for the reply. I may come back to you again later but for the present there’s a lot to pray and think about. We have tried living apart and monitoring but John just stopped paying for it so Stop It Now took it away. I am now on the point of asking him to leave permanently. I am sure God does not want this miserly for me and my self respect has at last said enough is enough. I do really need to think about what is the best for our son. As you can see this is not a position I have come to lightly and my prayer is that the LORD will guide me in the way forward. It is really as though there is no marriage left anymore. It is an empty shell. For all spiritual, emotional and practical purposes my husband ‘left me’ a long, long time ago.
Warmest regards in Christ and under His mercy
I will pray for the decisions you need to make, Naomi.
Luke I have just been looking at your blog The Lazy or Apathetic Self Centred Spouse and this type really fits …
“One of the marks of lazy or apathetic self-centeredness is complaining that too much is being asked of him/her, or on the flipside labeling their spouse as being demanding with overly high expectations. Discussions about what is reasonable can begin to feel absurd. The lazy or apathetic spouse makes every request seem like a big deal and their areas of neglect seem normal.
In these cases, the offended spouse begins to be forced into the role of a parent more than a spouse. If the home is going to function, they must be “the responsible adult.” The lazy or apathetic spouse enjoys being cared for but rarely if ever expresses gratitude. However they also resent this because it causes them to feel like a child or juvenile.
The responsible spouse feels caught in a Catch-22: (a) treat their spouse like an adult and see significant areas of marital, family, and home life deteriorate and disintegrate, or (b) treat their spouse like a child and make the “marriage work”but then face the anger of their spouse that comes from their being “parental.”
Finances, hobbies, and time with friends are frequent points of conflict as the laziness is rooted in immaturity. Inactivity, poor hygiene, and lack of enthusiasm all make the relationship very difficult. In some cases, the indifference extends beyond the home to an unwillingness to maintain employment. Regardless, friends and family usually begin to notice the inequality in the marriage but often choose not to mention it. This all further increases the strain on the marriage.
As these strains become more pronounced and multiply over time, the marriage problems seem more and more insurmountable. This only confirms the “what good would it do to try” attitude of the passive spouse. When things hit a severe crisis, he/she may put forth effort for a short time, but the lack of “perseverance muscles” result in falling back into old habits quickly.”
I have just read the string of posts here as you suggested. This is horrendous. How can you bare to read all this pain. We have lost all our men to the Devil, where is the victory ?
Did you watch the True Betrayal series I mentioned? There is a complementary one called False Love with is all about freedom for those who are trapped. There’s the hope. The hope is found in the gospel. In know countless men who have been transformed by God.
I have just found this on the internet it may be very encouraging for other wives who are clearly struggling with their husband’s sexual sin. It has certainly given me fresh hope. Whether Jesus can save my marriage through this I pray that he may.
How to Heal a Troubled Marriage
The Bible says much about how a man is to treat his wife, and vice versa. “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Col. 3:19). This verse speaks reams of food for thought and practice, when it comes to a husband’s responsibility in meeting his wife’s deepest, most enduring needs. It would seem that God has placed within the woman’s psyche a limitless desire to be loved, to be nourished and cherished, “even as the Lord the church” (Eph. 5:29). Yes, the relationship between Christ and His church is what the marriage covenant pictures. Further, to the wife, Paul states: “and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph. 5:33). What does it mean for a wife to reverence that man? How can a man truly love that woman? How can a wife’s obedience to a simple command, and a husband’s obedience to a simple command, bring a healing balm to a troubled marriage?
by Jerry Gentry
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Col 3:18-19).
It is a common falsehood among Christian husbands who sometimes promote the idea that wives are lesser beings, since they are commanded to “submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). Is the wife just his doormat, for wiping his shoes? Is she little more than his workhorse, who irons his shirts, cooks his meals, cleans his house and bears his children? Obviously, no Christian man really wants that kind of a wife, though men often reduce their wives to second class citizen status, by the way they thoughtlessly treat these delicate creatures. What is she to do about it? Must the wife rebel, or is there “a more excellent way” (1Cor. 12:31), for a Godly wife to love a thoughtless husband?
Wife, when did you last show your husband genuine reverence? Would you know how to reverence that man? Why would such reverence be important to your marriage? Do you honestly know any wife in this world, who reverences her own husband with respect and submission “as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22)? The high calling for every wife is clear: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). Wife, the way you reverence your own husband mirrors precisely your real relationship and submission to Jesus Christ. It is myth to think you can submit to, even respect and reverence, Jesus Christ, while you disrespect your husband. You know that to be true, if you will think about it.
Rare is the woman who gives her husband the level of reverence she thinks she would give to Christ, though many wives give much effort to that end. But my husband? That man, who leaves his dirty clothes all over the house? That man, who burps rudely at the dinner table; that man, who selfishly ignores my need to talk in favor of reading the newspaper; that man, who regularly forgets to take out the trash, until I remind him? Reverence that man? Christ is nothing like that man, you say, and rightly so. Christ is not like your husband, agreed. But that is not the main issue for you. The question for you is simply this: Are you like Christ? Stated again, are you treating that man like Christ commands you to treat him, even though he is sometimes such a thoughtless dolt? The way you treat that man, regardless of his faults and weaknesses, is a measure of your own obedience to Jesus Christ. Right? If you doubt that fact, then you need to go back through Bible 101, and learn again the first rudiments concerning the marriage covenant. Will you live by faith, which is to obey God even when it makes no rational sense?
Really, reverence him? That’s right, wife. Reverence that very man, strange as that may sound to you now, after all you have been through. Read the words in your own Bible. You are commanded to do something toward him, which is not conditional upon what he does in return. Do you believe that? Will you do that? You are commanded to look up to him, even when he leaves his dirty socks where they came off his feet, even when he forgets to say “thank you,” after you’ve fixed his favorite meal, even when he spends more time petting the family collie than in listening to you. But that’s not fair, you object!
Fair? What is fair? Is obedience fair? The command to you, wife, is to “see that she reverence her husband,” and do so joyfully, with a good spirit. Will you agree with that Scripture? Your reverence for that man is not conditional on his performance of his duties to you, any more than the command that husbands “love your wives, and be not bitter against them,” is conditional on your respect for him. Now you want him to love you, right? Then see that you reverence him, and wait on God to prompt change in him. What if he does not change immediately? Keep on obeying God and reverencing him. There is one thing for certain. Any wife, or husband, who takes up the words of God and determines to live by those specific words, even stand alone in obedience to God when necessary, even in the face of ridicule and rejection, is a person who gains God’s respect.
“But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2). Christian wife, will you tremble at His word? You must humble yourself, otherwise you will excuse your disobedience through your own pride and self justification.
Wife, take a step back in time, for a moment. Did you once fall in love with that man? Were you once so crazy in love with him that you would do anything to be with him, even marry him? Your marriage was an unconditional lifetime commitment, not a limited contract. The only way it will work now is when you individually take up the words of God and make the decision to live by those words. Who will go first? What if the husband will not go first? Is he in the right? No, he is in the wrong. What can you as a wife do about that? Most wives right there make the wrong choice. Will you nag and criticize? Will you draw inward and remove your “heart” from that man? Will you separate from him, even divorce him? There are very few grounds for separation or divorce in the Bible. Even toward the unbelieving husband, who is pleased to dwell with the believing wife, the wife is given a formula for exercising her highest feminine powers in winning him to Christ:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
“While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1Pe 3:1-2). Do not allow such language to reduce your thoughts back to the “doormat” mentality. Paul says just the opposite. He tells you, the wife, to use your “chaste conversation,” your pure gift of gab, your “sweet talk,” by whatever name, to win him to Christ. Does that sound like a “doormat?” No. Would you win your husband to Christ? Then don’t be a nag. Don’t criticize him. “Sweet talk” him through your “chaste conversation” to becoming like Christ, and reap the rewards of having a different kind of husband, one you will like much better than the one you now have. That is the Bible formula. Are you willing to use it?
Yes, you married that man, and oh how sorry you have been, on many occasions, since then! You then thought he was a Christian, but how could he also be such a weakling, and so uncouth at times? How could he be so thoughtless, so inconsiderate, so downright crude? Answer: because he has not yet become perfect, like Christ, in his own obedience to the commands God has given him.
In a word, he has not yet disciplined himself in all the ways he must, to love his wife, and be not bitter against her. You see, it would appear that God has given two people of opposite gender in marriage two different sets of needs, and two different sets of weaknesses. The wife needs love, whereas her husband needs reverence. His first love may well turn to bitterness, in the face of her criticism and nagging, expressed as her reverence slides away. A husband’s bitterness expresses itself in many subtle ways, but most often through lack of communication, except for blow ups. He feels your lack of respect, absence of reverence, that you have removed your “heart” from the relationship. It has cut him to the core, hurt him deeply. He has tried to tell you about it. But you got mad, justified yourself, cried and gave him the cold shoulder. He later bought you flowers, and you both made up, superficially. So what does he do now? He remains silent, to your unspoken needs, so as not to provoke your anger and feel the chill of your cold shoulder. It is simply too painful. He wants to avoid going through that agony again. In the process of guarding against further hurt, he holds you at some distance.
Every husband must learn to endure with patience every disrespect his wife shows him. When she cheers others, but nit picks at you, then you must still love her. When she sleeps in and doesn’t make your breakfast, except when company comes, you must still love her. When she reminds you that she noticed what you failed to do, that you said you would do, you must still love her. Often without even knowing it, without even thinking, she shows you disrespect, more in her attitude than just in her words. And often you show her bitterness, in failure to talk problems out patiently and kindly. Why does she say such things, you think? But you dare no longer ask. The thought of her likely response is too painful.
A girl is attracted to a man who sweeps her off her feet, gives her goose bumps, makes her feel like a queen. Such is the basis of worldly romance. Even with all her gift of speech and their mental acuity, a wife is easily deceived. It all goes back to the first sin in the garden of Eden. It was this very sin that Eve first committed, of letting the Serpent sweep her off her feet and deceive her. Wives have been deceived, as a general weakness, ever since. Wife, do you believe that? It is in your Bible. If you think otherwise, then is it because you too are deceived?
The apostle Paul confirms this basic weakness in wives, when he admonishes: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1Tim. 2:14). Many women are sharper mentally than their husbands. Many women have superior verbal skills than their husbands. Many women are quicker at thinking than their husbands. Yet even with their sharp mentality, their superior communication skills and quickness of thought, they can still fall into the oldest sin known to the woman, the sin of being deceived. When a woman overrules, neglects or rejects her husband’s words, then she is living in deception. The devil has her heart, as sure as he had the heart of Eve. Mark it down. It is in your Bible.
Two people of different gender in one marriage make for both exhilarating fellowship and awful heartache, when each fails to understand and practice the unconditional requirements of the marriage covenant. By way of review, what are those most fundamental requirements, once again?
Wife, you must “submit to,” and “reverence” your husband. Husband, you must “love,” and “be not bitter against” your wife. Plain and simple in command, but more difficult in practice.
Husband, how is your bitterness expressed in real life? It is expressed in anything and everything that is outside of “love.” What are some examples? When your wife fails to compliment you and build your ego, she strikes at your most basic need. Yet, you are to love her anyway, and show her kindness. When she fails to thank you for the many things you have done to support her, you are to love her anyway, and continue to provide for her. When she befriends those who have abused your generosity, even takes the other side with sympathetic understanding against you, you must be understanding and gentle toward her. Hard as that is, it is your unconditional marriage covenant responsibility.
When she takes you for granted, will you do what makes her feel special, anyway? Even when she is deceived into withholding her heart from you, and giving her heart wrongly to a friend or a close family member, or even another lover, you are to intercede for her with God, for mercy, not judgment. The Psalmist speaks of such sacrificial love: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” (Ps. 50:5). When will husbands begin to show such sacrificial love for their wives, even as Christ did on the cross, when he interceded for us all and said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Husbands, when you enter into such a covenant of sacrifice, with God, then you will have no will of our own in marriage. You will seek God’s will only, and your wife will feel it, because God is duty bound to give her such grace, as the third member of every Godly marriage covenant. But instead, you have turned bitter, and criticized her for the disrespect you felt. You have thrown mud back at that woman, and you are wrong. You have treated marriage as 50/50, and justified your lack of motivation to show her sacrificial love, because you have been hurt over and over. You have not yielded “your bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1), ready and willing to go to the cross, for that woman. Husband, you have missed the point. Marriage is not 50/50.
Marriage is 100% only, and husband, only when you give yourself 100% in obedience to the unconditional, sacrificial “love” and “be not bitter against” concept, will you please God. What if your wife does not change immediately? That is not your responsibility, but God’s. Perhaps you should do a thorough housecleaning to rid sin from your life. Keep on loving her, sacrificially. If you get your act together, in obedience, God can shake her up, even put hooks in her jaws, and bring her into obedience, in His good time. Sin is the main reason for troubled marriages, and you can “be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). It is certain that “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known” (Luke 12:2). Deal with what God places on your heart, and wait on Him to change her. And what if He does not? Then you have the comfort of knowing that you have met your unconditional basic marriage responsibilities anyway. You have pleased God, even when it made no rational sense.
Wife, what if your husband is unwilling to go first? What will you do? If you are a Christian wife in subjection, then you will meet the unconditional marriage responsibilities which God has given you alone. You will submit to your husband, even use your “chaste conversation,” your “sweet talk,” to win him to Christ. And out of your genuine respect and reverence to God, you will begin to reverence that man too.
Marriage is a tough row to hoe. Who will disagree? But the rewards bring the highest level of fellowship in all the earth. So, wife, next time you feel like a doormat, realize that maybe you have partly put yourself there, in your failure to reverence that man and meet his most fundamental need to be held up on a pedestal, his need to feel important. Will you nag? Criticize? If so, he will withdraw his heart, and give you the silent treatment. Or worse, he will yell and put you in your place. Will you then remove your heart from the marriage bed? Then he will feel the rejection, and where will he turn to meet his most fundamental need of all, that being, to feel important, to feel like his life makes a difference to someone. Will he find another woman? Many men do, in rebellion against God. And husband, when you fail to give sacrificial, unconditional “love. . . [and] be not bitter against” her, when you neglect to meet her deepest, most fundamental needs, when you ride roughshod over her heart, where will she turn? To another man? Many wives to just that, in rebellion against God.
The bottom line is this. We each have individual responsibilities in marriage. Why do we wait on the other, before we are willing to step out in obedience, and wait on God to work change in the other mate? That is the issue, in all troubled marriages. Wife, that is the issue with you. Will you shed the “doormat” deception, and rise above that carnal justification, which is little more than a poor excuse for not winning your barbarian husband to Christ, through your “chaste conversation?” Perhaps you need to bridle your tongue, and bring it into subjection to God’s word. “And if they [wives] will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home” (1Cor. 14:35). How long has it been since you asked your husband to explain something to you from the Bible? Wife, it is one thing you alone have sole power over, independent of your husband, in your marriage. You need not ask his permission. You need not plead, beg, or otherwise show him any obeisance, when you make the choice to win him over through your “chaste conversation,” and to reverence that man with the personal, unconditional, sacrificial love of Jesus Christ in you.
Husband, will you “love” sacrificially, or show “bitterness?” Which will it be for you? When that woman turns up her words of criticism, will you tune her out, or will you turn on your sacrificial “love” for her? Most of us tune that woman out. Yet, we must admit that our unconditional marriage responsibility is to “love,” even “cherish,” our wives. It is much easier to justify our faults and fall back on the “bitterness” of blame, neglect and self justification, that it is to follow that “more excellent way” of sacrificial love. What will you do, if your wife refuses your best efforts at dealing with marital conflicts? Will you give up? Will you become callous, embittered, unfeeling, in the face of her nagging and criticism? If so, then you have completed the necessary cycle, which will lead to total estrangement and divorce. You know God hates divorce, and neither of you want that. What must you do? You must find a way to show that woman that you love her, unconditionally, sacrificially. You must walk by faith in God, the third member of the marriage covenant, to give to her needed changes too.
You’ve both had troubles for years. You have both cried your eyes out off and on. You have tried just about everything you know, short of divorce, and failed. Want to try something new? OK, then try God’s simple word, his plan for meeting the most fundamental needs of your mate. Change your approach, that is, if you value your marriage enough. Do you want to save your marriage? No one but you is keeping you from taking the first step. Wife, show him some genuine respect. Reverence that man, as a last resort, and see what blessings God will bring your way. Husband, show that woman some genuine, sacrificial love, that is if you still do really do care about her. When you do that, she will know it, and God will be there working on her heart.
How must we heal a troubled marriage? It will be healed when we pour in some balm, and begin to meet the unconditional fundamental needs of our mate. How? Husband, love your wife, unconditionally, sacrificially. Let her know you really care for her. Wife, reverence your husband, even when he does not deserve to be reverenced. Let him know you really look up to him, if you do. And if not, then your heart is not right with God. Reverence that man even when you don’t feel like it. God is not a quitter, and you are not obeying God if you give up. As Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Wife, you must keep on reverencing that man, that undeserving dolt, anyway, even when he fails to “love” you as he should. In doing so, you bring God positively into the equation, on your behalf. Husband, in the face of your wife’s worst criticism, you must keep on loving that woman, unconditionally, sacrificially, anyway. In doing so, you bring God positively into the equation, on your behalf. And when God works, a troubled marriage is healed, in miraculous ways. That is how to heal a troubled marriage.
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I PRAISE God that he has restored to their first love countless men. Thank you for sharing this. I haven’t yet looked at the False Love film yet but will do so. I pray the Spirit of Truth which is the Holy Ghost will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Merry Christmas and God bless.
I have just watched the False Love series. They have given me a much greater understanding of my husband’s struggles. I am sure this series is of great encouragement for men who have been seduced into this sin of pornography. Also on Brad Hambrick’s site there was a article on whether pornography (in the absence of adultery) gives Biblical grounds for divorce and he concludes not. I myself have always read Matthew 5 : 31 – 32 as only giving a right of divorce to men against adulterous wives and not the other way round. I am not aware of any scripture which gives wives a right of divorce but let me know if there is Holy Scriptural authority for this that you are aware of, although I do know that 1COR 7:10 – 11 allows wives to leave their husbands in extremis
“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”
but of course this does not allow us to remarry and encourages return.
Thank you for the recommendation of watching these video’s, the LORD is doing a great job through Brad Hambrick and his church.
I’m glad you were blessed by the videos!
We have some interesting discussions on our blog about the divorce question (this post is getting the bulk of the discussion; it quotes Hambrick’s article).
Truthfully, this is still an issue I’m working out in my own mind, so I’ll refrain from trying to give an answer.
I am so sorry about the sad situation I in am in in my marriage, and know it’s not really possible for ministers or counsellors to stand in my shoes and give advice about the Will of God for me. I have to make personal decisions about my marriage relationship myself, however painful.
It seems to me there are four aspects to a marriage relationship, respect, trust, understanding and love, and sometimes a wife still loves her husband even when all trust has been broken, there is no respect left and neither can grow in their understanding of each other in the relationship because of fundamentally different world views and by this stage I believe my husband is incapable of having a true relationship or sacrificially loving anybody.
The advice that I have received from some quarters that God is perfecting me through the pain, humiliation and suffering of my marriage seems to be a worldview that God deliberately makes us suffer. I don’t believe this can be supported from the Holy Bible’s teachings because I know that God loves me. Although we are called to rejoice in our trials.
Much is said about suffering but normally it’s along the lines that God is with us and wants to help us through such times. Suffering, that we don’t bring upon ourselves and which is caused by the sin of others, requires a choice of three responses. Firstly we may choose to resist it as something which comes from the enemy, secondly we may choose to endure it the best we can because we know God is with us through it and thirdly we can flee. But is a wife who has made a lifelong covenant relationship free to flee ?
I consider emotional and sexual abuse in a relationship to have all the hallmarks of the enemy who brings death and destruction wherever he can. When something has gone on for so long, 18 years including courtship in my case, the abnormal appears normal but most certainly is not pure.
The choices before me are whether to stay with my marriage and accept it because this is the Will of God for my life and watch my husband be eaten by the devil from the inside out, make efforts to bring about an improvement which I have done for the last 10 years without success, or find a way of escape.
I do pray I will be able to find peace and get the wisdom needed from the Lord. Only He knows and understands all the circumstances and what His claim on my life is.
Thanks for sharing with us, Naomi. I hope you can come to some conclusions based on the Word.
I think that’s the truth the Holy Bible and therefore our LORD Jesus Christ does not allow divorce where there is pornography but that is not what we want to hear. He obviously doesn’t allow fornication or adultery so that just leaves celibate separation or marriage subject to abuse. It’s a tough call.
It is. I know some trigger happy wives who want to call it quits at the first sight of lust or pornography. I know other wives who put up with decades of abuse, infidelity, neglect, and even total abandonment and stay in their miserable marriages. Neither of these extremes is good, in my opinion. It is a very tough call to know how to apply the principles of the Bible in some of these situations.
There is also these verses which I believe are pertinent
The land shall vomit them out and cut them off from their people.
LEV 18:17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; it is wickedness.
LEV 18:24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things:
LEV 18:25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
LEV 18:26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
LEV 18:29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
LEV 18:30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
Although John has “only” done the pornography not the act itself he has committed adultery “in his heart” thousands if not tens of thousands of times.
MT 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
MT 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
MT 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
LK 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
TIT 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
My husband’s mind and conscience are defiled and that is why he is so heartless, self centred and lazy. As his character deteriorates with the continued use of this stuff he becomes more and more unfeeling, manipulative and deceitful. Not surprising really, when you think about how he has handed himself over the devil and given him a lot more than just a foothold.
This is the same kind of degradation you read about in Romans 1: the continual giving of oneself over to sin resulting in more and more callousness.
Luke my GP has recommended me to Clouds House and their Families Plus programme supporting people like me. They have suggested I keep a diary so I though your might be moved to tears by what the reality of my life over the last few weeks has been
21st December 2014 and recent past
1 John and John Junior are on holiday skiing (John having stolen this holiday from me because he wanted to go instead and he had had a two week holiday in the summer and the deal was that this was to be my turn).
2 A couple of weeks ago he smashed up a chair in John Junior and my presence (an eighteenth century dinning chair inherited from his father’s family which has been in the family since 1825). I have the repair bill, The restorer said the damage was very extensive. The back was completely boken off from the seat and in multiple pieces. John Junior, who was standing very rearby was very alarmed and recoiled at the explosion of violence.
3 While away for the week John has not contacted me except for a short email on the first evening looking for his phone. I have been alone all week with our two dogs.
4 Some months ago John punched a hole in the door, which is still there as a testimony to his behaviour. I wanted him to be convicted of his sin everytime he looked at it. Simon Bethel my lawyer, has an email about this incident. I think it was about April this year.
5 There has been much angry violence in the marriage over the years.
6 We went out to a concert at my request (a very, very rare event) and when speaking to some acquaintances we meet there, he was very rude about the music, which he knows is my particular taste and I thoroughly enjoyed but I could not counter without making an unpleasant scene.
7 Again at my request I asked him to take me out to dinner the night before they went away on holiday, again a very, very rare event. Again there happened to be a couple of our family friends in the restaurant who came over to chat to us. John took the opportunity to deeply criticise the home schooling package that I have selected to educate John Junior with because he cannot cope with Institutionalised education. Again I could not speak up without making a public row. It felt like this was a direct attack on me but make to an uninvolved third party so that I could not defend my self, my decisions or my judgement.
8 We have not had successful sex for months (well years actually) latterly my husband has become impotent. I understand this is common with men who masturbate repeatedly to pornography, of any type because the real thing then just becomes ‘bad porn’. The doctor prescribed Viagra but he refuses to use it. I took him to the doctor. It was so painful seeing these pills sitting in the bathroom unused that after a year or so I threw the tablets away. He never even noticed.
9 A week or so before they went skiing I found a semen stained rag by his computer and tv one morning on his chair as I was opening the curtains. I left it in an obvious place on the chair and sometime later he had removed it and put it in the washing box. My husband lives in chaos, everything is untidy and he never put a rag in the wash box normally. This is the sort of thing I spend my life doing, tidying up around him. He has piles of books and newspapers and cd’s and rags around his chair all the time.
10 Not very long ago, during our daily devotions with John Junior, which start the school day, he flung the book he was reading to John Junior and I across the room in temper. This sort of behaviour, though shocking at the time is quite commonplace.
It breaks my heart to read this. Is the journaling helping?
Dear Naomi, I feel for you. I have lived all of this. Oh, and don’t worry about the Viagra. It won’t help. My husband tried Viagra, Cialis, etc. It is a brain problem not a penis problem, so meds for erectile dysfunction usually do nothing. My husband was unable to get an erection with me, and we had no sex for 6 yrs. He finally quit the porn, and it took him a year to get some function back in order to be with me. It’s better now. Things can get better, but he has to decide on his own that he wants better for himself and everyone else. My husband was AWFUL in every respect: nasty, self centered, self serving, demanding, demeaning. I could go on & on but u get the picture. He has become a sweet, sweet man, since he quit the porn & whatever else. His heart has changed & opened up. Of course I live in fear of it going back the other way. If my husband is cranky I think, “Uh oh, he’s going back to it”. But he hasn’t; I know that. Let me know how you are doing since it’s been like 8 months since u wrote that.
TIT 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. TIT 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
The journalling does help to objectify my experiences, helps to recognise my feeling responses to the events that happen to me and probably most importantly gives me somewhere to ‘put’ these feelings. Here are items 11 to 22
11 It was John’s 60th birthday this year and I arranged two big parties for him. The catering cost about £1,000. For my birthday John said he would take me to Istanbul for 4 days, his choice of location not mine. I arranged for dog-sitters/house-sitters (family friends) to also take responsibility for our 14 year old son while we were away. The night before we were due to fly it transpired John had not booked the flights or the hotel. So the house-sitters turned up the next day, expecting us not to be here and we spend my birthday weekend sharing my home for 4 days with the house-sitters! John arranged nothing else.
12 Just remembered a telephone conversation I overheard that John had with a creditor of his recently and how he sought to be totally funny, charming and sweet talking to put off paying for a few days.
Sunday 22st December 2013
13 Just had an email from John, didn’t ask how I was and no news of their holiday, just could I pick him up from the airport at 6.20 pm. Appeared to lie about why he didn’t contact me earlier.
14 When I was crying this morning because of our Son’s disrespect and rudeness at Church my husband gave me a hanky out of his pocket, which was hard and crunchy from dried semen.
15 I got sent to bed at 10.40 pm. He did leave his computer at home while he was away skiing much to my amazement and delight and amazement of amazements, he actually made love to me tonight, the first time in as long as I can remember! And what’s more it was actually pleasurable not perfunctory and lacking in feeling, or him just losing interest and abandoning it. Also John came for a walk with me with the dogs when I asked this afternoon. He hasn’t done that for a long, long time if ever.
16 I spent hours today In tears because of John Junior’s bad behaviour at Church. I guess being with his Dad for 8 days has not done him any good. He was totally rude and unacceptable and I felt totally publically humiliated. Culminating in him shouting at me at the end of the service and announcing, without discussion, that he was walking home. My husband doesn’t come to Church. John Junior had refused to come in to the service, he refused to join the prayer-group, he refused to stand up for the hymns and he refused to sing. He said I was the most frightening and scary person on the planet. Altogether, I felt terribly disrespected and that my feelings and needs didn’t matter.
17 After I got home, in the midst of all my tears, I said I had had enough of being treated like dirt and disrespected. I have spent the last 3 years of my life dedicating myself totally to John Junior’s home schooling and getting him out of a hole because he hated institutionalised schooling. I said if that is the way he is going to treat me I shall leave him and his Dad to themselves and make a new life in London at Darlan Road. I am not going to stay around for any more of this.
Monday 23st December 2013
18 Junior came in this morning and said he felt guilty about his behaviour yesterday and it wouldn’t happen again. I said he hadn’t better. I said I was glad that he had a conscience about the way he behaved but someone had to be the adult in authority around here and it happened to be me. I said I had also felt lonely and neglected while they had been away because no one had bothered to keep in touch. Also I asked if anyone had got me a Christmas present and that he, John Junior ought to think about all the thousands of pounds I spend on him on presents over the years. John Junior was ashamed and said he would get me a present straight away.
19 John my husband is back home, so chaos returns, things everywhere shoes in the middle of the floor, papers scattered randomly. Half finished jobs all over the house, half finished washing up, half finished putting away, dirty things in the cold, greasy washing up water: quarter finished unpacking. The only thing that is really important to him (apart from the computer, TV and CD’s) is food, thinking about it, buying it, preparing it, cooking it and eating it.
20 So upset about the emotional distress of yesterday over the events at Church. I had been in great spirits and very healthy and vital while the menfolk were away, I now feel tense, I have a sore throat and have pains in my digestive system. All these symptoms are very typical of the background health issues that I suffer from when John is in the house. I generally feel crushed and helpless and on the edge of tears much of the time.
21 John actually made love to me this morning again, second time in 36 hours, absolutely unheard of! It wasn’t quiet as affectionately centred on me as Saturday night but at least he didn’t have erectile problems, which has been so hugely distressing and devastating to me and destructive to my self-confidence previously.
22 He even wanted to have a shower with me this morning! What’s going on? Leaving his computer behind for a week has obviously done some good.
My husband and I have been married almost 9 years and within the 1st year i caught him looking at porn it was heart breaking, then i caught it again a year later, we argued and faught i told him how it hurt and so on. To the best of my knowlegde it stopped so I was accepting that but then recently alot of other lies have surfaced non on cheating or anything that bad but it has caused some major trust issues again. I was on his phone about a week and a half ago and honestly I wasn’t looking for anything but i seen some odd downloads he had left open. it turned out to be porn but he swears that he doesn’t know how it got there. we have discussed this ever since and I can tell from the years of his lies that he is still not giving me the whole truth but i just dont know what to do anymore. I want the pain and anger to go away and I want to get past this and make our marriage stronger than ever. I just don’t know how if he either wont give me the honest truth or if I just can’t accept what he is giving me.
Have you considered setting some clear boundaries for him? It can be very helpful when trying to reestablish trust, especially with a husband who hasn’t been consistent with his commitments. I recently did a video about this topic. Watch it and let me know if it helps to clear things up for you. There are some next steps you can take. You are not powerless.
I also highly recommend you talk with someone face-to-face who can help you out emotionally at this time. It is important you have a sounding board and someone who can speak wisdom into your life. Do you attend a church anywhere?
The problem is that porn encourages lies and dishonesty. It is a very selfish activity and once established becomes all consuming. My prayer partner told me about a new website/group of young men entitled “fight the new drug” set up to encourage young christian me just not to go there, ever. It is far to dangerous. I recently meet a lovely young girl of about 30 who called off her engagement because her fiancé admitted pornography addiction. Heartbreaking.
We’ve heard quite a bit about Fight the New Drug. Sounds like they are doing some great work in schools and churches.
I believe these holy scriptures cover it …
LK 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
TIT 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. TIT 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
LEV 18:17,24-26, 29 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; it is wickedness. …
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: … For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
MT 5:27-29 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Here’s the weblink, it looks very good. It is too late for my husband of course. http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/#get-the-facts
This is a nice little 3 minute video, worth watching
This is a very sobering interview about the potential effects of long term use of porn which is a must watch for anyone who is serious on this subject.
God bless Naomi
Hello again Luke,
Is no one else posting on this line anymore ?
Here is an update on my situation which I have sent to the addiction recovery people who have been counselling my husband for the last couple of years. I thought you may be interested.
Thank you for your ‘Battleground of the Mind’ Flyer for next week. As John has no doubt told you, I asked him to leave the matrimonial home at the beginning of January, which he did. On Boxing Day night, after I had gone to bed, he downloaded 250 pages of perverse sexual literature which I emailed over to my lawyer the next day.
After his arrest in 2009 John signed a ‘contact’ with Social Services undertaking not to access this type of material in the family home ever again, as it is morally unacceptable that a young boy should be reared in a place where the Head of the Household is engaging in this type of disturbing and perverse sexual literature. John willing signed this Social Services contract to ensure he could return to the family after nearly 12 months apart. However, as we all know John has not kept to this agreement over the intervening years. It is now nearly 5 years since John’s first arrest and he has had more than enough time to put his sexual house in order and he has had huge input from multiple agencies both secular and spiritual.
I have now sadly come to the conclusion that he is either unwilling or unable, or both, to control this lustful and perverse desire and have therefore determined that we can no longer live together as man and wife. I find his perversion disgusting and quite honestly I do not know how I have stood it for so long.
Social Service, who are now engaged again, are of exactly the same mine and do not want John to return to the family home again as an appropriate protection for his son John Junior. I have peace about this new situation and our son, John Junior, is thriving having come out from his father’s dominating and oppressive spirit.
Keep up the good work with the addicts and please give my regards to Dawn.
Warmest regards in Christ
Thanks for sharing, Naomi. Your story is heartbreaking. I hope he comes to his senses.
Hello. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I came across it looking for materials on how to get past this myself.
It’s been about 3 weeks since I discovered my husbands porn addiction. Well, actually, I have cought him several times over the last 10+ years and he promised to stop many times, but just recently when I realized how excessive it has gotten and how badly it was effecting him as not just a husband, but a person. It took seeing that he was visiting questionable sites with girls who looked clearly under 18 to push me over the edge and give him the ultimatum of porn or me. The porn was changing him.
He was very responsive at first, telling me that he always felt bad doing it, that he won’t do it again, that he will do anything to save our marriage. I saw him for one of the first times with no wall up, crying with honesty flowing out of him.
Oddly enough, this gave me hope. I had never seen him so vulnerable, empathetic and understanding to my feelings.
The next couple of days were followed with a high of sorts. He was taking initiative, I felt comfortable getting close to him for the first time in years. He admitted to feeling so much better with his new resolve. We started to have sex again, which has been great!
..but then things started to change. I ask him to read some books and he fought me on it. He finally agreed to read this little 10 page book but not without a fight first. He did benefit from the short read but I am now fearful to ask for more.
I also have these little breakdowns, where I feel insecure and need reassurance and love. He makes it very clear that he is tired of them. They happen every few days. A lot of times after sex or if I ask him to do something to reassure or help me trust him and he’s reluctant.
Last night we made love but he fell asleep really fast. I felt good, but when he started snoring…the panic set in. I all the sudden felt used. All the old feelings came up. I know he didn’t mean anything by it, but I couldn’t help it. I told him how I felt this morning and he got frustrated. Not only was be frustrated but later on in the day he went as far to say that I don’t care about his feelings of frustration and how frustrating and hard it is to pursue sex with me because I have all these “problems.”
In so many words, I heard “you are ruining sex for me.” And naturally, my feelings were, you ruined it for me 10 years ago and contined to do so…am I supposed to feel bad about that?”
Except I do feel bad. Because not only do I have past issues with abuse, but now I have these insecurities about myself. I feel inadequate next to porn (since I’m real and porns not) but now on top of all those insecurities I’m being told yet, another thing about myself that makes sex even less enjoyable. And here I was thinking I was doing great being able to be intimate after all this time, but I was wrong.
It hurts so bad. I just don’t see how I’m supposed to ever feel good about myself again?
He just doesn’t understand how much I need his empathy, support snd patience to show and prove that he has really changed. He thinks that him stopping should just be the end of it. It’s only been 3 weeks as despite me forgiving him, loving h and being more attracted to him than I have in 10 years, he thinks I should be somehow “better” than I am and he’s already thinkng selfishly.
This scares me. I love him so much. He really is a good man and I believe he
loves me and wants to be better. But I feel like he lacks the understanding that 10+ years of this can’t be fixed so fast and it’s going to require a lot of work on his part for me to get past it. Yet, I already feel guilty like I’m bothering him and making his life miserable.
Any suggestions on how to get him to understand what I need and why I need it so badly. I’m so scared with his current attitude on track that I will lose him to this all over again.
First, thank for sharing the details of your story. I know it must hurt to relive these past 10+ years. What your husband did to you through his deception and lust is deplorable, so your distrust of him is not only common, it is completely justified.
From afar it is hard to give any advice that won’t seem simplistic and shallow, but I’ll do my best.
I do recommend you talk to a skilled counselor/minister who has dealt with women in your situation. Find someone who doesn’t just treat you as a “co-addict” (a common way to classify wives of porn/sex addicts), but as someone who has been traumatized by your husband’s sin (and any past victimizers). You need love and support right now, as well as good counsel about how to move forward with your husband.
You already know that you didn’t cause his addiction, nor can you control it. You already know that porn standards aren’t realistic and that no living, breathing, in-the-flesh woman can compete with a harem of online fantasy women. The fault is not with you. You know this already, but oftentimes the heart is really slow to believe that. It will take time, but change is possible.
Your husband is being insensitive right now to your needs. To him, he’s been keeping a secret about the depths of this problem for years. Now that the secret is out, his feeling is one of relief, but you’ve not had years to think about this. He should be more patient with you.
He may be closed off to the idea of getting more help for his pornography issue (which is a shame), but perhaps you can approach him about getting help enriching your marriage. You might say something like this: “I know I’ve been frustrating you recently because of my own insecurities. I’m still adjusting to everything and I would appreciate your patience. That said, I don’t want our marriage to stay where it is. I want to grow in intimacy with you. I want us to have the best sex and romance we can have, and that involves both of us growing together, learning to communicate better. Are you willing to learn with me how we can become better lovers?” Then propose some ideas about marriage enrichment: see a marriage counselor, read a book or curriculum together, go on a marriage retreat, etc.
I know that marriage enrichment and overcoming pornography are two distinct issues, but he might be more open to dealing with latent porn issues if he knows your overall goal is the enrichment of your marriage.
Just a thought.
You might really enjoy this book: Porn and Your Husband. It is free to download on our website.
Hi, I’ve been married for 5 years, my addiction to pornography started when I was 12 yeas old and grew since. 2 years ago I accepted Jesus and since then He has begun to clean up my life, I haven’t viewed pornography in over a year, but to be honest I have still battled with lust and controlling my eyes, this world is to filled with sexual temptations every where I go, either billboards, to the check out line magazine racks, and its just popping up in more and more places now. its like I cant let my guard down and just relax unless im in my home where I know we have taken the proper steps to rid our home of temptations. as I mentioned earlier I still struggle but I know I get stronger each day and its a battle I will face the rest of my life but each failure takes such a blow on my wifes heart and confidence and her already diminished trust for me. I guess my question is, is there any hope for us? I wont say weither or not my Wife is a Christian cause I cant be sure, but if I cant be sure then im convienced that she probly isn’t. I don’t see the evidence of Him in he heart in her life. I just want to be a Godly husband and father they deserve that, I know this lifestyle is sinful and I don’t want my boys growing up like and ending up like me and taking this sin in to their marriages. she doesn’t want to go to counseling I bought her every heart restored I don’t think she read past the 1st chapter. Im seeking a deeper relationship whit the Lord, I just want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that one day she will experience true happiness and fulfillment in our marriage
Have you sought out any accountability or mentoring relationships in your church? Have you reached out to other men who have been in your shoes? I cannot overemphasize enough the importance of a rock-solid accountability/mentoring relationship when it comes to overcoming habitual sin in our lives.
You said you haven’t looked at porn in over a year, but that you still have “failures” that your wife knows about. What are these “failures”? Your lusting heart? Can you describe the dynamic between you and your wife when it comes to these failures, how they she knows about them, and what she says when they happen?
well for instance yesterday we walked in to walmart. I know whats there as far as magazine racks I know where the movies are and when we have to go in those areas I have already prepared myself mentally to keep my focus on my path ie the floor maybe my kids, something to control my self. well as we walked through the door way on wone of the medal detectors they put thins like movies or video games advertisments, well ad we walked by it I wasn’t really focusing on that being an area for me to really watch where I put my eyes, I was just relaxed well I saw the advertisement, wasn’t anything bad, the was a guys head pointed it out to my wife , o I want to see that movie, I could feel the atmosphere change not cause I saw something explicit, but because of what it could have been, and this bought on a huge fight which lasted several hours, because in the past Ive told my wife look when we go to places like this I don’t look around I know whats there and I truly don’t want to see it I want to be pure.
by failures I mean: masturbation; im still struggling to overcome my thought life, its a battle but I am having much more victory than defeat
another failure would be we went shopping for her some clothes, we walked by an adversitment of a woman in a bikini, I saw it looked away but when she wasn’t looking I did look again. when we got home she asked me a blanket question of do you have anything to tell me, and comeing from her that could mean anything from, dreams, inappropriate thoughts, see something even as simple as a snap fitness bill board with a woman on it in a tanktop, not baring any cleavage or anything, all they way to did I see something at the magazine rack my the check out stand, I told her what I had seen and that’s another example of a failure.
yes I have mad myself accountable to an older man in my church which has been extremely helpful but my wife feels that if theres something I can tell someone else she should also know, we should be able to share everything
As far as talking to your wife about these things, there is a fine line between honesty/openness/transparency and a wife’s overwhelming obsession with your thought-life. I’ll tread softly as I say this, because I don’t want to be misunderstood.
There are some men who ere on the side of too much secrecy. They’ve had their secret life of sin, and now that they’re making strides to change they have their secret recovery life as well. They will not be open with their spouse about any progress they are making (or not making). They are even counseled by therapists to do this. This sort of secrecy does no one any favors. If that is a man’e tendency, these articles may be a help:
1. What Every Wife of a Sex Addict Has a Right to Know About Her Husband’s Recovery
2. When Porn Shattered My Fairytale World
3. “I’m getting married, so I don’t need Internet Accountability anymore.”
4. Honesty in Marriage: Should my wife be my accountability partner when it comes to lust?
In other relationships, the man is very honest, even volunteering a lot of information about his inner world, but the woman can become obsessed with that inner world, even counting his struggle or possibility of his struggle against him (merely for living in a world of temptations). This can often turn to a very sour relationship very quickly, placing the woman in a more maternal role. This is very unhealthy for a marriage. For couples in that situation (and this sounds like you), I recommend these articles:
1. Should my wife be my accountability partner? The experts give their answer
2. Spying on Your Husband on the Computer
3. Are Husbands Supposed to Be Accountable to Their Wives?
Let me know if these articles are a help to you.
but how do I get over the condemnation I feel for not telling her EVERYTHING like she wants? mind you yes its condemnation not conviction
This is a conversation you need to have with her, for sure. It sounds like she faults you not just for sinning, but being tempted (I mean, in an external sense, surrounded by tempting images in everyday life). If you spot a woman jogging and you think she is attractive, but you are conscious of the temptation and turn your eye away, does your wife want to know that? If you have a thought about a woman you saw on a billboard, but you are conscious of it and do your best to put the thought out of your mind, is that the kind of thing she wants to know about? If so, ask her why that information is important to her? Is she offended at you personally because you live in a world where tempting things exist? These are examples of being tempted, not sinning, and there is a big difference. Even Jesus lived in a world surrounded by temptations.
As far as lustful thoughts go, when you confess to something (like doing the double-take with the bikini photo), how does your wife know beforehand that you have something to say? When you tell her, how does the conversation play out? What does she say?
the examples you gave are all things she would want to know. yes any and every temptation if notice it she wants me to tell her. if I don’t she says im lieing to her. and I can feel satan using her definition of honesty to condemn me in to telling her those things, I guess I have a hard time pen pointing the differences between condemnation and conviction in the moment but not so much in hind site. I will respond to your last question about how this all plays out most of the time at a lunch when I have more time. I want you to know I do appreciate all you’ve done so far and look forward to the Godly advice to come thank you again.
It would be good to know why she wants to know about the temptations around you. Have you ever asked her?
I have she says she wants to know that she can trust me, and that I am telling her everything, she says she tells me everything, I doubt that cause I know I don’t ask that of her that she tell me every single thing she see and does, I just try my best to trust God to work on her heart and I know in time I will see the fruit of that.
Let me note a little bit of our history and one thing that I believe has a big impact on her lack of trust for me. we dated for an extremily short period of time b4 we got married, and not long after we got married she knew about my addiction, she kept it suppressed for 9 months befor confronting me about it. from that point on I admitted to my secret life promised to quit but never followed up with it. I accepted Christ 2 years later and began taking steps toward my recovery. well married 5 years now and this past july she came clean to me that 4 months in to our marriage she had slept with 2 different people in the same week while back home to visit (we were away cause I was in the military), then 2 other instances since then with different individuals. its been almost a year since this news came out, and it really made my recovery from porn harder for a while dealing with my selfesteem issues stemming from the affairs. I believe I am back on the road to recovery and haven’t looked at porn since april of last year even in light of the affair news, struggled with masturbation and lust.
now that ive kinda given you a little back ground hope that helps
now to give you somewhat of a conversation would go like. Lets say I went home today and mentioned that I went to a new customers location to drop off some equipment on my way there I passed a woman jogging, I noticed her, she was attractive but I looked away focused my eyes on the road and continued on my way, then when I got to the office I have to get the contract signed Id go inside and lets say behind the customers desk, he has a swimsuit calendar hanging up, I notice it but again I look away get my papers signed and get out the door.
theses are 2 things that she would want me to tell her. id get home shed ask how’d my day go or whatever and sooner or later the question would come out well do you have anything to tell me.
if I say no, in her eyes im lieing if she really knew what I had come across that day
if I say yes and explain to her what I saw, the conversation would then go to accusing me like o great now your driving around staring at other women, or sometimes it would be simply a I don’t believe you just looked away but whatever, and then be followed be the cold shoulder. and also so you go to these offices and look around to see what you can see.
I understand that shes still in the healing process and I need to be more understanding that she is trying to protect her heart but I still do make mistakes, and sometimes I don’t look away right away and the Holy Spirit is there to convict me and I confess it to God as sin and truly repent. But she says how she is NEVER going to be happy with me because all I do is lie to her when truth is it takes lots of guts to talk about every little thing with her, especially when I see what it does to her self worth and confidence. Which also causes her to lack the want to be intament with me, which adds to the problem.
I want my marriage to heal but im concerned that im just adding to the problem y discloseing EVERYTHING like she asks of me, but when I don’t satan’s always there to condemn me for “lieing” to her.
So, have your explained to her the difference between temptation and sin?
There are some major “conflict resolution” skills that you and your wife and foster, and it might be helpful if you had a counselor to work with the both of you. Let’s face it: she’s committed adultery, you’ve been entrenched in porn, and it seems like both of your wrestle with deep insecurities around what the other one has done. There is probably a lot that can be learned from someone who can help you navigate through these rough waters.
Might she benefit from some of those articles I posted above?
Sounds like a very difficult situation, T.
Have you two pursued counseling for these things?
we did go to 2 different forms of counsoling the first was with our pastor the second was a retired minister and his wife. both thought that my wife was being unrealistic with the amount of openness she has demanded and when they confronted her with that she kept her mouth shut but once we were alone she let me know that its not how she wants it and that she should be allowed to set the level of honesty in her marriage not someone on the outside, ive expressed that I think its does us more harm than good but she disagrees and holds he position on it.
it just hurts that anytime I struggle with my sin, we have this huge fight she says that things will never change ill never change and that she just wants a divorce.
truth is a lot has changed, ive gone from a guy who didn’t go a single day with out looking at porn and I couldn’t enjoy intimacy with my wife unless I was thinking about the trash I viewed on the internet to being complete in love with my woman and want not to hurt her with my sin and have been sober from pornography for over a year. and am developing a thriving relationship with my Father. I just wish she could see how far I have come and that im not settling for where I am but I am where I am. I understand scantification is a process not a switch I just wish she could understand that
I’m only judging by the comments you’ve left, but from the sound of things, your wife seems bent on finding your sin and temptations and condemning you for it. Yes, of course, you are guilty of lust, like all men, and that is a sin the Lord is slowly eradicating from your life. But your wife seems unwilling to even allow you to be tempted. This, to me, is one of the biggest problems. If she wants honesty, fine, but she shouldn’t blame you of sin when you do not sin. I’m sure you’ve been round and round with her about this, but here’s what I might say to her if I were you:
“I am willing to talk to you about the temptations I face in any given day, but I refuse to let you make me feel bad anymore for simply living in a world of temptation. If you choose to give me the cold shoulder or have an accusative tone with me because I admit to you that a tempting image came across my path, my goal is to not let your attitude to affect me. Yes, when I am guilty of actual lust, I should feel guilt and run to the Lord for forgiveness and strength, but I will not allow myself to feel false guilt because I am tempted. They are very different things. If you choose to act this way toward me, I will simply walk out of the room to distance myself you. If you want to talk about it later with a different attitude, I will be more than willing to talk to you. This is a boundary that I need to make sure I don’t get sucked into false guilt. I understand honesty is for rebuilding trust between us, and I am willing to be honest, but I am no willing to feel bad anymore for sins I have not committed.”
If she wants to know the difference between lust and looking, I would say thing: “If I notice a female or see someone who I might consider attractive, I am not guilty of lust. My aim each time will be to look away so that the look does not turn to lust. I understand my heart has the tendency to do that, but out of love for the Lord and you, I want to make you my standard of beauty, and to do that I am going to practice the discipline of turning my heart away from other women and to thoughts of you.”
and as far as her reading some of the articles she flip just knowing I was online looking for help at all
So she doesn’t want you to sin and she doesn’t want you to get help for sin? Does she know that is weird? Sorry to be blunt. I know her hurt is real, just as yours is about her adultery, so I’m not trying to belittle that. But her guilting you for finding help is a perfect example of how the trauma of porn causes insanity.
I don’t believe its so much as guilting me for trying to find help, but more of the fact that she doesn’t feel she can trust me to be on a computer without here standing over my shoulder. I an understand where shes coming from sort of and am being patient with her but the internet can be a great tool for encouragement and advice if used properly.
Have you already signed up for Internet Accountability? You may want to make your wife an Accountability Partner (in addition to a mentor from your church), so she can see herself that you’re not watching porn. You may even want to be proactive in telling her about ads, just so there are no surprises on the Report. Maybe this feels like a step back, since you’re enabling her trust issues, but hopefully over time she’ll see you’re trustworthy.
(Luke’s out this week, which is why he’s not responding, for the record.)
wont really pay since the only computer I use is at work on my lunch break as a source to get in the word and help with advice with my recovery
So, would she be open to you having a computer outside the office if you had Covenant Eyes installed on it?
no I highly doubt it. not at this point at least. I have a long way of rebuilding her trust ahead of me and I accept that fact and take full responsibility for the damage done to it. last April I got my laptop that had been broken for about a year fixed installed a lock on it so it couldn’t get on the internet at all I downloaded e sword, a free bible study tool and used it strictly for that, she didn’t trust that for even a few days which resulted in her leaving me. for 1 week she left and not a word was spoken. the first day she left, I put a restore disc in my laptop which got rid of everything including the lock and that evening indulged in sin. afterwards I had a church member put that lock back on, about 5 days later I resotred it agn and fell to temptation. but afterwards filled with shame and regret it lead me to googling, “porn ruined my life”. for the next few hours I watched videos of all different guys from average joes to pastors who share in my struggles, I took a shower, where I cried out to God, completely broken and naked just poured out my need for His help. Went to bed and felt Satan slipping in agn with temptations, this time instead of being filled with lust it was rage. took my laptop in my garage and took it to pieces with a rather large wrench. that was the last day I sought out and looked at pornography, since then I have struggled, for instance if I have to travel to a customer location and say they have a swim suit calendar hanging in their office and I have to enter it to get my paperwork signed, there has been occasions where I felt tempted and gave in and looked, unable to sit there and stare because I could feel the conviction of the HS like a fire in my bones. filled with condemnation id tell my wife of my failure, and she sees those stumbles as proof that I cant handle temptation and come out victorious, no matter how many other times I tell her that hey I gotta go in the office agn today and walk out tempted but not falling to it. so as far as her feeling comfortable with me getting on a computer im convinced that she wouldn’t at all, not just because of the temptation to look at porn, but also cause of now a days there is dirty images every where, you cant log on to an email address on yahoo without random Victoria secret ads popping up or similar stuff. it could be the most innocent thing these days but satan has laid his traps everywhere. In her eyes I guess its remove the object and the desire will soon follow, but I believe the desire goes then the objects that you cant really remove completely will no longer entice you like it used to. lol sorry for all that I know its drug out but I want you to see both her side and mine that way ur advice isn’t one sided.
Sure. I think it would be great if you could get access to helpful materials that aren’t Internet-based. Perhaps the best thing would be to purchase helpful books and videos that will aid you in your journey…and of course, making sure you are surrounded by helpful friends, accountability partners, and mentors. If the Internet is going to be contentious point, then forget about it.
I know I’ve only heard from your side of things, but it sounds like you still need to put up some helpful conversation boundaries with your wife (much like the conversation I modeled in an earlier comment). It may not help her initially, but it will help you.
My husband and I have been married for 9.5 years and ever since the Valentine’s Day (11 days before we got married), he introduced porn to our lives. It has been such a constant issue for the duration of our marriage that I feel no hope. Between him lying to me and hiding things from me, I am more insecure about myself and our marriage now than I have ever been. I recently left due to the high stress of dealing with it. I did come back to try one last time on our marriage but the thoughts are still there. I pray WITH him daily and it still isn’t getting better. He has now started to just “forget” or tell me “he didn’t think to tell me” when he leaves the office or that he is stopping off somewhere on his way home. I feel helpless. I am so in-love with him but I feel no hope that our marital problems will ever get better. This is the only life I have known for almost 11 years now, how can I be single or alone now?! He is a very hard man to get to open up or to be honest with me. Our intimate time now feels pressured on his behalf; he acts as though because I complain about not getting it, he has to entertain me and do it anyway. I want him to want me, desire me again, be sensitive to kissing and touching again. It feels like it takes everything I have to turn him on. I’m just at a loss.
So sorry to hear about what your husband is doing to you, Felicia. It is sad what some men will do to their wives—deplorable.
Let’s talk about next steps. You’ve made it clear you can’t be around him when he’s using porn. Now it is time to tell him specifically what you need him to do that will help to rebuild your trust (other than just not looking at porn). Tell him you want him to find good accountability with another man, or that you want him to get counseling, or that you want him to install Covenant Eyes on all his devices so his Internet is monitored. If he is unwilling to do basic steps that show he wants to change, then its time to put up some very clear boundaries with him. I recommend you watch this video with Vicki Tiede about that, and then reach out to her if you feel like you need added support.
In the end, it is important you take care of your own heart in the midst of this. Your husband has put you through 11 years of trauma, and that isn’t a light matter. Consider watching these free videos by Brad Hambrick. They are excellent.
Getting caught by my wife just the other day has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me! I am a follower of Christ and I love him deeply, but sometimes just like any other person I take my eyes off him. I love my wife with all my heart and outside of Christ, her and my son are the most important things in my life. We have a wonderful sex life in my eyes and she is the only one I desire. As a Christian man I make sure to stay uber-conscious of my in counters with women in my everyday life. I used porn in times when my wife may be out of business once a month or when she was pregnant with out son. I never thought twice about the effect it would have on her and the pain it would cause. It was just a tool used for release…a quick fix until my wife was open for business again. I never once thought about her and how she would feel. She is pregnant with our second child now and had a small infection so we could not be intimate for a while. So what do I do, I sin. Well scripture tells us “what we do in the dark shall be brought to the light” and it was. she caught me red handed. I feel like the worst person, like Paul….the chief of all sinners. God told me to be honest….so I was. I have always made it a point to be honest with my wife. I tell her everything. She knows about my sinful past. she has heard my testimony in front of God and the church, but I have hurt her with my rationalizing of my sin and not calling it what it is, I use words like “a tool” but it is straight from satan and it is sin. With God’s strength in me I have let go of most sin in my life and trough my wife catching me just in a short time of God breaking my heart and showing me 1. How much I really love my wife and I don’t want to ever hurt her and lose her trust 2. I have repented from this and will completely turn away as scripture tells me to. God has opened my eyes as he does when we sin, I just hope and pray my wife forgives me and trust me again. I love her so much. we have a great relationship, we have a great sex life, we have a wonderful son. We have always put God first in our marriage. I now know what this crap(porn) can do. Being caught has strengthened my pray life and like I said before has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has truly opened my eyes.
I am so thankful for my husband (the previous poster). After a few days of being emotional separated from my husband, God worked in our lives. He showed my husband the evil of porn in a marriage, and He showed me how to forgive with my whole heart. We never could have done it without Him. Not completely and wholeheartedly. I’m so glad my husband is once again my best friend, and we can once again tell each other everything. I want us to love each other without fail, to use this experience to strengthen our marriage. I have realized how much I love my husband, how much I want to impress him, and how “jealous” I am for him! With God, we can make our marriage stronger, make each other stronger, and give our children an example of a Godly marriage. I want to thank God and my husband for his repentive heart. I’m grateful God enabled me to completely forgive. I do trust my husband again. I’m not saying that Satan doesn’t try use his whispers to play on my insecurities. He does, but between my husband affections and God’s presence, Satan is made quiet. I look forward to making our marriage stronger. It is a great relief to know that when we do have problems, we can always to turn to God and each other to work through them. Thank you, God, for my husband!
Thanks, Brittany. Your comment is a breath of fresh air.
Hello. I am writing this with such a broken heart. I married my high school sweetheart in December 2013. We got married on our 5 year anniversary. We were friends for a year or two before we started dating, and I had asked him in the past if he ever looked at porn. He told me that he had been tempted when he was younger with girls in magazines, comics, and even in some video games growing up but that it had never been something that he believed was right. He told me he never had gone to a porn website and that he never would. We are both Christians by the way. Fast forward to this past April, we had barely been married 4 short months when I walked in on him in the bathroom looking at a porn website. He had scrolled past several videos and was on page 4 when I grabbed the phone from him. He said he hadn’t clicked on anything yet and that he ended up there because he saw an article about porn stars on Reddit and got curious. I immediately felt like I had been hit by a train because this is the ABSOLUTE last thing I would have expected from my husband. He was my best friend and to me, he was a man with such integrity and honesty that I was in complete shock with what I walked in on especially since he knew exactly how I felt about this topic. He immediately told me that this is the first time he had ever been on one of those sites and that it was a moment of weakness. He told me he had always scrolled past articles like that and always ignored them but that this one night, curiosity took the best of him. I was devastated and he had truly convinced me that it was a one time thing, even though I had a gut feeling some thing was really wrong. I had cried hard for several days and he saw me completely broken. He would tell me how sorry he was and how he couldn’t believe he let this happen. He told me he understood how badly he hurt me and that he never would hurt me like that again. It was tough, but I chose to believe him, especially because he would say “look honey, I’ll leave my phone with you while I use the restroom, I want you to be at peace and know that I will never do this to you again”. Then, one morning in mid June 2014, I grabbed his phone to make a call since mine was on the charger in the other room. I unlocked it and the app for the site “Reddit” was opened (which he had told me that he wouldn’t use anymore because there are too many inappropriate things on there) and I noticed that there was a saved folder in his account. I got curious and decided to check that folder because I thought it was strange that it had been pulled up. I clicked on it and found a link to a thread called “What are some porn videos you can watch over and over again and never get tired of?”. He had saved this on his phone. I immediately woke him up and confronted him about it and he was in complete shock saying that he didn’t even know he could save things on there and that he had never seen that link and that it must have happened on accident. I was crying hysterically again and saying I didn’t believe him and he looked me right in the eye and told me that he wasn’t lying. He told me that he was so sorry that I had found that but that it wasn’t true and it really happened on accident. He convinced me of that again and the fact that he had never even seen that link before. By this point, I really believed what he said, but all the emotions from the time I walked in on him were rushing back. I had trusted this man with everything in me since I was in high school and I had to believe he wouldn’t have done this and hurt me again when he saw and knew how I felt about porn. About two weeks ago, I was feeling really down and having a hard time trusting my husband. I decided to look up advice and I found this wonderful article. I felt it explained everything so clearly for him about what I’m going through and what I expected/needed from him. So, I showed him this site and he read it and prayed with me and told me he truly understood and he once again said how sorry he was and would never slip again. Now fast forward till last Tuesday, September 9. Once again, my phone was in the other room and my husbands phone was right by the bed. He was asleep when I reached over and decided to scroll through Instagram for a little before waking him up and starting off our day. I opened Instagram and the first thing that popped up was the search bar for certain hashtags that had been entered. Not to be crude but I saw “#largebreats #hotgirls #seethru #tittietuesday” along with about 5 other hashtags. I immediately woke my husband up and questioned him on this and his reaction was to immediately start spewing out some sort of excuses. I felt this extreme anger come over me and I yelled at him to stop with the lies and that it was time to tell me the truth. After a long fight for it, he told me that he had in fact watched porn since he was 12 and all the way through when we were dating, our engagement, and up until now that we are married (we are both 21). He had lied straight to my face for years. I had asked him several times in the past if there was something he was keeping from me. He would say absolutely not. I would pray with him and show him articles like this one and he would say how sad it was that people went through this and that he could never do that to me. It was ALL a lie. I feel as if the man I married is dead. I feel as if he never existed, actually, and that I have been deceived into a marriage with a stranger. I don’t understand how God could have let this happen. How could I never have known? How could I believe all of his lies? How could he have lied to me SO much? He saw me cry as if my family had been murdered. He knew how I felt and how broken I was, and it never stopped him. He read this article and just a couple days later, got on Instagram and looked at those pictures of other women (he says he’s been using Instagram instead of porn websites for a couple months now because that was his compromise for not watching videos). All along I thought I was the only one he had loved and had seen completely naked. I was the only one he had ever laid eyes on. And now I’m one in a billion. How could this happen? I’m in complete shock how he was capable of doing this to me and hurting me so much. We have a great sex life by the way, I have never felt rejected and I have never rejected him in this way. I just don’t understand why he would want/need porn if I feel as if he have good sex often. Also, Apparently that link on Reddit about porn videos that you can never get tired of watching was one that he had looked at a few times before but had honestly never meant to save it, so instead he lied to me and said he had never seen it before. I’m devastated. Last Tuesday after he told me all of this for the first time,
I quickly ran to my in laws and had to talk to them (I had never told anyone about the time in April or in June and at this point I could not keep it in and deal with it alone anymore) and they were also in completely shock. Everyone knows my husband as a God fearing, honest, and faithful man. They said this had hit them like a brick walk and never would have believed that to be true. The four of us have spoken and my husband no longer is using an iPhone, but is now using a phone that can only talk/text. I cannot trust a word he says to me. He made vows to me, we wrote our own, not even ONE year ago, about how he would always be faithful to me. And all along he has never been faithful to me. We are going to speak with our pastor this Sunday, but I don’t know how much longer I can stay in this. I’m so in love with my husband and I want to do everything I can, but I don’t know how to whenever I don’t even really know him. I also forgot to mention the fact that I told him two weeks ago, the same night after he read this article for the first time, that I had a gut feeling he was hiding something. I also told him about these nightmares I kept having about walking into a room with him in the middle of it, with porn magazines, movies, pictures, just covering every wall. And he was standing in the middle just looking at it all. And I also told him to remember that God says in the Bible that the things you think you’re doing in darkness, will soon come to light. After I told him those things and after he read this article, he told me that he knew how wrong porn is and that it truly was a one time thing back in April. He told me that I was driving myself insane with all of these thoughts and that he really had come clean about everything and that he wasn’t hiding anything! I now realize that God was speaking to me and using me to try to convict him into telling me the truth about this sin and repent to God about it. But it didn’t work. He quickly, within the next day or two, got right back on Instagram and searched through all of these amazingly beautiful women that I can never even compete with. Not to mention, he was on his lunch break at work and was texting me about how much he wanted me to trust him again, as he was going back to the Instagram app and looking through inappropriate pictures.
I’m so sorry for this extremely out of control long post, but I just had to vent and put it all out there and show you how much guidance I need right now. My husband has now explained to me that this is a super in the dark sin that he never even admitted to himself and that before he could even feel guilty, he would masturbate and watch the videos, and quickly delete everything afterwards and go on with his day as if he hadn’t done anything wrong. He has told me that he is fully embracing this sin and putting it in God’s hands because he can’t live on lying anymore. Now that he has a clear conscious and that he has let go of everything, that he can heal and he never wants to go down that path ever again. I’m really hoping this is truth and that he will not relapse into this addiction in a few years while I have just birthed our first child or something. I’m terrified of being crushed again. I feel as if I can’t breathe and I’m supposed to keep living my life and going to my classes and doing all of this work and not focus on the fact that my life has been completely shattered. I need guidance. I am constantly praying, alone and with my husband as well. But I feel as if I can’t live on. Please. Help.
Hi Susan. Wow. I am so sorry for all the pain you’re in right now. I know that feeling of having your life shattered. I want you to know that healing is absolutely possible. My own experience is that God redeems and brings us through things that are just impossible to us. I know you can’t feel that right now, but I want you to know it’s out there! Hang on and heal.
It’s a good thing that you know the truth, no matter how painful it is. Your husband has been trapped in this, alone, for many years, and he needs help. When I think of all the little kids who’ve gotten sucked into this over the years, it just breaks my heart. This is his opportunity to start healing. I’m so glad you were able to speak with your in-laws, and I think it’s great that you’re going to talk to your pastor. The more support he has on this journey, the better. He probably needs to get himself into a group like Sex Addicts Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery or Pure Desire, or one of the online groups at XXXChurch. Personal counseling could be a great thing, too. He can check with the American Association of Christian Counselors for someone in your area, and do some phone interviewing to find someone who’s a good fit. Here’s an article with more ideas for him. The more responsibility he takes for himself, the better. Give him some ideas, and then let him track down the help he needs. He’s going to need help getting out, but you don’t need to be the person who does all the helping. Let him find some good resources, and make use of them.
When porn has been a part of his life for so long, I would expect him to continue to struggle for a while. He CAN get well, no doubt about it. It’s just going to take hard work on his part, and having good support makes a huge difference.
As for you, you’ll need time and support to heal, too. I don’t think there’s one right way for every person to handle this. It’s such an individual thing, knowing your own relationship and your own heart and making decisions for yourself. We talk a lot about having good boundaries here on the blog. And one of our most popular free downloads, Hope After Porn, is the stories of four different women and the choices they made in recovery.
Also, I’ve written a bunch about my own journey on my blog. Here’s a post from a couple of years ago with some ideas that might help. I also just released a memoir a few weeks ago that’s available at Amazon.
There are lots of resources here on the blog and in so many other places, but mostly today I just want you to know that you’re not alone, and this is not a death sentence. You’re walking with a sisterhood in this.
Lots of wives in cases like this actually meet the clinical criteria for PTSD. And so I’d say, while your husband is finding help, you could also find yourself a counselor, someone who can listen to you and help you process your emotions in a place where you are just being cared for.
Praying for you–Kay
I know exactly how this ruins a marriage. My husband and I have been having marital issues due to his addiction. He came back from deployment and still treated me like dirt while preg go with our daughter. 2 weeks before I delivered I caught him on Internet dating sites and all other kinds of smutsmutsmut I
Cindy, I am so sorry. I know the title here is “rebuilding trust”–but it’s ONLY wise to trust when other people are trustworthy! If your husband is looking at dating sites and pornography, then he’s not being trustworthy. He absolutely can become trustworthy again, but he’ll have a lot of work to do! Meanwhile, you have to decide what kind of boundaries make sense in your particular situation. Have you read our free download, Hope After Porn? I think it might help give you some ideas of how other women have handled their own boundaries in similar situations. Let me know if that’s a helpful resource, and if you have other questions. Blessings, Kay
Smut. Even after I delivered he was still sending messages to random girls telling them he was going to divorce me and leave and take away my daughter. I forgave him he said he’d stop but it didn’t and neither did his porn addiction. He wouldn’t stop until 2 months ago I finally caught him . I yelled and confronted him. I wanted to leave him. He took away everything I believed in. My marriage seems nothing like a joke. We were married in front of god and every vow and promise he said seemed like a lie to me.I hate him with every fiber of my being for what he has done to my self esteem, innocence, and trust.I don’t see him as my husband he is nothing but a stranger to me now. He gets upset because I throw his past at his face of everything he has done to destroy our marriage stability and most important trust. I can’t trust him and I don’t think I ever will again. He took advantage of my good being and generosity. I cant go to a store without being worried or feeling hes watching porn. What can I do to forgive?
Oh, ooops! I replied before reading this extra comment. Forgiveness. Well, it sounds like you’re really angry, which is normal and I would say a HEALTHY response to the threat of your marriage being destroyed. The way you handle your anger, you’ll have to judge. I think we can be angry without sinning, but it’s hard! Those feelings of anxiety when you’re separated are also very normal. Hopefully, if he’s really being trustworthy, you’ll be able to take that into account over time and some of these really raw feelings will settle a bit.
Forgiveness, in my opinion, is completely separate from trust. I think we can do what the Bible says about forgiveness (God has forgiven us so much, so we forgive each other) and still not be able to trust the person, because they’re still not trustworthy. I think we can forgive, and still have hurt feelings and anger and anxiety that take time to heal. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that we turn off our brains and have no boundaries.
All that to say, I think trust can be pretty straightforward on the behavioral level: trustworthy people behave in trustworthy ways over time, and then we trust them.
Forgiveness, however, involves our feelings and our belief system, and is much more complicated.
And while you’re learning whether or not he is trustworthy, and while you’re processing your feelings and becoming able to forgive, you’ve got to keep your brain in gear and your boundaries in order. It’s a tough deal!
I hope you’ve got some good support in place while you go through this. I like to recommend the American Association of Christian Counselors as a place to look for a therapist, because they’ve got lots of counselors in lots of places around the country.
I’m having such a hard time right now, and taking the advice in this article seems almost impossible. When my husband and I first started dating, he confided in me about his problem with pornography, assuring me that it was something he was trying to recover from. He slipped and watched pornography once or twice while we were dating and confessed to me, and we worked through these betrayals stronger than we were before (or at least I thought so). We had been married for about six months when I first found porn on his phone. He downplayed it and told me it was a one time thing. Since then, it has been a two year cycle of betrayal, lies, and eventual confession and promises to change, only to fall back into infidelity again. Two days ago, after feeling for weeks that something was going on, I decided to check up on my husband’s online activity. I discovered a porn blog that he had started over a year before, in which he stated that he loved watching porn and had no intention of stopping. I was so shocked. He had posted nearly every week for a year and a half. We had been to counseling a few months before and he had told me that there were periods of months where he wasn’t looking at pornography. Now I know that was a lie. At first, when I confronted him, he was defensive, telling me that we should just get a divorce because, after trying for five years, he was convinced he couldn’t change. Now he is being super affectionate, telling me he loves me, touching me as much as he can, and he tells me that he feels a passion to fix our marriage that he hasn’t felt in a long time. I want desperately to believe him, but after nearly three years of this dysfunctional cycle, my heart is so broken. I just don’t understand why this keeps happening. I’ve tried to be very understanding. Having a recovering alcoholic for a father, I know something about how addiction works. I don’t expect for my husband to be perfect, and I know how easy it is to slip back into watching pornography; I just want him to be honest with me. It’s so hard for me to believe that my husband is sincere this time. I’ve been fighting this fight on my own for so long, that I don’t know how to even begin to trust him again. I know my husband is a good man. He is a loving father to our son. He is a retired veteran, and he suffers from PTSD, which complicates our situation even further, as he often has trouble expressing emotions other than anger. I want so much to find healing in our marriage, but I just don’t know how. I feel like I have to guard my heart constantly. Intellectually, I know that his addiction is not about me, but emotionally, it’s harder to distance myself from the problem. Right now, everything is just too raw. I feel so depressed, and I feel like I’m failing him, because he seems so eager to fix things, and I just can’t keep up with him right now. It scares me, because I think he is expecting a quick fix to our problem, and I don’t see that happening. I know that recovering will take a lot of hard work, and I’m worried that he will burn out and give up on me. We’ve decided to go back to couple’s counseling, with my husband promising to be honest this time, and my husband will be seeing his therapist more regularly. I’ve also decided to seek counseling on my own, but I am nervous because of issues in my past that I really don’t want to revisit. I’m trying to be optimistic, but I just can’t open myself up completely right now, because I’m so terrified of having my heart stomped on again. Just being able to type this out is a huge help, as I haven’t felt comfortable talking to anyone close to me. I want to save our marriage, and I don’t want my family or friends to look at my husband as a bad person, because I know he’s not, even though his behavior has hurt me in ways I never believed possible. I’m so hurt and angry, and I’m also very confused, because, despite everything, I still love my husband. I know that only time will tell whether we can work things out, but for now, I’m just praying for peace for both of us.
Hey Holly. Well, honestly, I’m encouraged because I think you guys are already making healthy changes in going to therapy individually and together. That is EXCELLENT. Of course the work is just beginning–but at least it’s beginning! I’m also encouraged that your husband is attentive to you. We don’t always hear that!
I know you’re hurting, and I think it’s going to be HUGE for you to let yourself feel as bad as you feel. I think going to therapy and pouring all that out with your counselor will be so good. I know it’s scary to think about dumping all that on your husband, when it seems like he’s got all he can handle as it is. I think at some point you’ll need to let him in on that hurt, though. Let him help carry this.
I know it’s scary to revisit old wounds, to put yourself out there for pain all over again–but it sounds like you’ve got a good support system in place to allow that to happen.
There are no guarantees in any of this, which I just hate. But I think you’re heading in the right direction.
It’s okay to be hurt and angry and confused. That’s all normal. And you still love him and want to save your marriage. That makes perfect sense to me, too.
Blessings prayers and peace to you–and let us know if you need further resources. Kay
I’ve been reading all these posts and, well, I don’t know what to say. My husband is not a Christian. And in the last 3 years of our 7 year marriage, he has been more and more distant. I caught him looking at porn once. He said he never does it. I saw major internet history a few months later and he said the guys he works with were using his laptop. Then he got arrested for solicitation. Stupid me, forgave him. I felt like God wanted me to. I felt like he was giving me an opportunity to show him God’s love. We went to a Christian counselor for 8 months. He participated, but you have to drag things, feelings out of him b/c he just isn’t a talker. We have not had sex in over a year and the year before that we only had sex maybe 5 times and it only happened because our counselor gave it to us as homework. I asked him several times over the last few months if he had looked at porn again at all, and he said no. But Sunday night I found some history on his iPad. I told him and didn’t give him a chance to blame someone else or make some excuse. I told him I deserved better. He works too much, doesn’t share any feelings with me, doesn’t touch me except for a kiss hello and goodbye. I am so lonely and sad and depressed. When I found the history Sunday, I felt my heart racing, but I felt numb. AND STUPID. And I’m 99.9% sure I will tell him I want a divorce. I have no hope left. I can’t believe I’m married to someone who looks at porn, doesn’t touch me AT ALL, doesn’t open up to me. If I’m going to feel so alone, then I want to be alone. He won’t change. He’ll say he will. But like another poster said, he’s never done anything to make any changes. And after reading some things on Porn the last 2 days, I know why he’s withdrawn, why we don’t have sex, etc. I’m disgusted and have zero hope. I’m glad others are working things out. But I’m done.
Hey D. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.
It’s really sad, but it sounds like your husband has a habit of turning away from you and toward his addiction.
Recovery is a long, hard road even under the best of circumstances, and it requires real work on the part of the addict.
I’d say the best of circumstances would be the addict taking responsibility for himself, doing the practical things to cut off porn (internet filtering), getting into accountability relationships, going to a recovery group (like Pure Desire or Sex Addicts Anonymous), and continually working the program they need to work.
The best of circumstances always, always includes good boundaries for yourself. Recognizing the reality of the situation and considering what’s healthy for yourself in it. Our free download, Hope After Porn, talks more about what boundaries look like in real life. And of course, Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote the real book on boundaries, and they’ve got one called Boundaries in Marriage that might be a good help as you decide what to do next.
Whatever your husband chooses, I hope you’ll find some local support for yourself. Pure Desire has groups for spouses in some locations. xxxChurch has online support groups for spouses. Celebrate Recovery isn’t porn-specific, but it’s good support for all the bumps and bruises of life, and it’s in lots and lots of places. The American Association of Christian Counselors has a network of counselors all over the country, so that’s a good place to check for a therapist if you’d like one.
Blessings and prayers, Kay
I need some advice. Big time. Here’s the situation:
After finding out we both have feeling for each other, my best friend admitted to me that he was addicted to porn. He has been struggling with this for four years now, im the first person he has told this. I had agreed to hold him accountability partner.Since we both are Chistians, We stared a bible study.. We’ve always had a God centered and honroing friendship. We go back for years but have only become closer than ever this past year. He says he really wants to get over this addiction and feels that before we become anything more than just good friends he had to admit it to me. I’m honored and thankful that he would own up to the problem and admit it to me but I’m. Not sure if I can really help him. In the past two weeks since it’s all come out, I’ve been brain storming ways to help him.
He has slipped eight times and I know I’m not, but I feel like I’m personally responsible for this. I can’t begin to imagine how this feels for him.
I gave him a rubber band and told him when he feels urgured to do so snap himself with it and just play with the rubber band and also a bunch of scripture to memorize but it’s not enough. Since I’m the only one he has ever told I am kinda at a lost because not only do I not understand the struggle because I’m a girl and I just dont get it but I have no one I can ask abut it because it isn’t my secret to go blabbing about.
Hey, I’m glad you wrote. Here’s the bottom line. He’s going to have to take responsibility for himself. Internet accountability, educating himself, and getting some help through a group or a personal therapist. Here’s an article for him, some ideas to get started with. There are also tons of free resources here on the website.
This can’t be your job! I know you know that. Here’s an article I wrote a while back about boundaries with porn when you’re dating. I know you aren’t really dating YET–but there’s the possibility, right? So check these ideas and let me know what you think.
HE HAS TO DO THE WORK. That’s really the takeaway here. HE has to do it.
There is a lot of helpful stuff here. Thank you. Yeah I know I can’t just force him to want it. I almost wish I could tho.
I like your article. You make a lot of good point and bring up stuff I haven’t considered.
Yes, the possibility is there, we’re just not there yet.
It’s the worst, not being able to MAKE SOMEBODY ELSE!! When clearly it’s for their own good!! :) Walk on, sister, and let us know how we can help. Blessings, Kay
First off, thank you for this article. Thank you for your willingness to give Godly advice. I need some myself!
My husband had a porn problem for the first 10 years of our marriage. Those 10 years consisted of him being caught every year or few years, him saying he’s done…ect. It went round and round. That cycle seemed to have ended about four years ago…. when his relationship with Jesus changed after one of those fights. He finally started to do what it takes to rebuild trust. He wanted me to look at his computer and be accountable to me. I would ask him every month, or every couple of months how he was doing with this struggle… and it’s always been good. He’s never gone into detail, and I never ask for details. Over the past four or so years, I still look at his devices (mainly his smartphone)… but less and less often. I used to ask his permission to do this in the beginning, but for the last couple of years, I have done it without his permission…as he would seem bothered, but never said so. In 2014, I checked the history on his phone 3 times. He was aware of these times I checked after, because he would ask, and I would tell him I did. Although there have been questionable gaps in the history on his phone, and he keeps all his text messages deleted… I have respectfully asked him why, and trusted his responses.
He sat me down a month ago and told me I am never allowed to touch his phone again, and that he’s felt like he’s a child. That he shouldn’t have to be accountable to me since it’s been so long since I’ve found anything. He told me that one of the times I had his phone (he had deleted an important video that he had recorded on his phone so I was trying to recover it with some software…I wasn’t even trying to look for stuff that he had done, I just wanted that video! And I couldn’t figure out how to use the software by the way…), he told me he was so angry that day that he almost left the house… I was TOTALLY unaware of any of that at the time.
So while I’m still trying to trust him right now and respect his wishes… all that doubt is creeping back in.
He told me he’s been venting and getting martial advice from men (not Christians) at work. He needs some strong men of faith, but hasn’t done what’s needed to be done to find those men. His relationship with Jesus has fallen at the wayside. I’m praying for him, hard…and am trying to deal with my emotions behind his back, since he was not open to my feelings after we taliked last month. He wants to be respected, and I’m trying my hardest to make him feel like the man I see him as…I’m his NUMBER ONE FAN!!! Our marriage has been INCREDIBLE the last few years…in my eyes. So….I’m struggling right now.
Hey Amanda. I think you’re right to be concerned about his level of anger and his lack of openness to your emotions. I think the gaps in his phone history and deletion of text history is a cause for concern. My own feeling is that you should be able to have all the access and assurance that you want or need. After all, this is your marriage, the two of you together. I would try to have a conversation about being on the same team; you need to understand and be reassured about what’s going on; you’re not trying to be his mother, but his partner, that sort of thing. See if he’s able to respond positively to that. You might look for a group that BOTH of you could attend–say, Celebrate Recovery? Those are in lots and lots of churches around the country.
Another resource I like a whole lot is Dr. John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. It’s all research-based, and very practical about how to strengthen your marriage in general ways, not just about avoiding porn. Again, it’s more of a “we’re on the same team” approach.
And, if you’re needing more support than he’s able to give you right now, you might want to think about going to counseling yourself as you walk through this. I like the American Association of Christian Counselors directory. Lots of different kinds of Christian counselors in lots of places. Let me know what you think–Kay
Thank you for your response, Kay. There days after writing this, I figured everything out. He’s been having an affair for the last year. I didn’t reach out soon enough. Pray for me and my kids… and him.
I’m so sorry, Amanda. I hope you’re finding the support you need through this tough time! Please let me know if you’re stumped for resources, and we’ll see what else might be useful to you. Praying right now for courage, comfort, peace, safety, healing, and hope. For all of you. Blessings to you today.
I just stumbled across this post and I’m so glad I did as I don’t know what else to do. I’ve been married for almost 10 years to a man that has struggled, basically our whole marriage, with pornography. Before we married, he told me he had a problem with lust, but through God’s help, he overcame it. I know of one time when we were engaged that he slipped up. Fast forward to now and the track record consists of him looking at porn, me accidentally discovering it, confronting him and him promising never to do it again. I often ask him how he is going with it all, he tells me he is fine, there are no problems there and then I find out he has lied (again. Looked me in the eye and lied). Almost two years ago I discovered he was looking while at work at night (he sent me a text to tell me he loved me and missed me, then looked at porn) and when I confronted him he lied and said he accidentally pressed something. When I searched further I found he had been looking often as well as looking up prostitution websites, advice about having an affair with a workmates (he confessed he had even thought of who he would have the affair with), what its like to have sex/an affair with an older woman, etc. Our marriage almost fell apart over this, but we worked hard to pull together and I ended up falling pregnant with our 5th child. Throughout my pregnancy I would ask him how he is going, check our search history, etc, but he appeared to be going fine! 2 weeks after I gave birth, I stumbled across the search history in his Facebook page. Once again he lied once I confronted him. I pushed a bit more and found out he had still been looking a porn, throughout my pregnancy and after I gave birth. It’s now about 8 months after my last discovery, and I just don’t know what to do anymore. I have zero trust toward him (he looked me in the eye and lied straight to my face and I believed him), we had been seeing an amazing counsellor who specialises in sexual addiction and diagnosed me with ptsd, but hubby says we can’t afford her anymore, so we haven’t had counselling for about 3 months. He doesn’t quite see what he has done as cheating (but I do, especially when there were many times he couldn’t have sex with me as he had just been looking at pics), and he often says things like “this is something every guy has a problem with”. I feel so unlovely and unwanted, especially after having 5 kids and because I am the one whines always initiating sex. I adore my husband and really enjoy having sex with him, but after fighting so much for our marriage, (and fighting hard for us to even be married!), I am tired and don’t feel I have much fight left in me…
I am just so, so sorry for the sad situation in your marriage. It’s heart breaking.
I think you’re finding that you can’t save your marriage alone.
Your husband has to be fighting for it, too. He has to do the work of fighting for his own heart, his own choices, his own behavior. The good news is: that absolutely can happen! It happened for us! The scary thing is, he has to get in the game and DO the work himself.
If you can’t afford counseling any more, I would suggest that you look for support for YOU through a free group like Celebrate Recovery or S-anon (for spouses of sex addicts). There are also affordable options online at xxxChurch.
You might appreciate our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about their experiences with their husbands in recovery.
My best advice to you is to work hard on your own recovery, your own support, your own sanity, just as hard as you wish your husband would work on his. Whatever he chooses, and I hope that he chooses well!!, YOU can choose health and wholeness for yourself. Blessings, Kay
Hi Kay, thanks for replying. That is exactly how I feel, I just haven’t been able to put it into words. I want to know that our marriage is worth the effort and fight from him. And I need to know that I am too. I’m not located in America, so do you know of any online support groups that I could link with. We moved here no long ago, so I don’t have any close friends that I can talk with, but I know that talking through my emotions, problems, etc, would definitely help. I know that thinking through and over analysing every little thing in my head is not good and I don’t want to obsess over catching him out again.
One thing I would like some clarity on, if you could provide it for me please, is on initiating sex. I recently read that if a husband, who may have had a porn addiction but is seemingly getting help, is not initiating sex, then he is more than likely still looking at porn. How much truth is there to this statement? I’m curious as I am usually the one that initiates (and often gets turned down) this was his behaviour when porn was involved. I have tried to talk with him about this but it will either end in an argument, or he’ll just say “it’s nothing, I’m just tired”, etc. I don’t want to make something out of nothing, so should I be concerned… (I hope that all made sense?!)
Hey. That’s what I’m here for :) Yes, both things are true: Your marriage is worth fighting for, AND you are worth fighting for. Mostly you just have control over your own self, tho. That’s the thing that’s tough to work through. xxxChurch has online support groups. You could also try contacting The Oaks Counseling, which is a group out of Austin, TX that offers online counseling services to folks abroad. I haven’t used them myself, but I have friends I trust who say they do a good job.
As for initiating sex? When I hear what you’ve said about it and your attempts to converse–that doesn’t sound great to me, the arguing and excuses. I’d like to see you moving toward an ability to just have a conversation about any/all of the issues surrounding his recovery. I would say, try to have a conversation about it more from the angle of “I just want to understand what’s happening”–try it that way when it’s not in the moment. And seriously, just try to listen and understand his perspective.
I’ve read stuff that says 5 years is a good benchmark for recovery. During that time, you’ll have relapses but you want to see a growing ability on his part to take responsibility for himself, alongside that capacity to turn toward you emotionally. But porn does impact the brain in lots of ways, and at least for my husband it took a long time before he could look back and say, “Wow, my thinking was really crazy.” We just talked this morning about something he said to me in the midst of porn-brain, in fact. He doesn’t remember the specifics like I do, but when I told him what he’d said, he said, “Well, that sounds like what I would have said at the time.” At the time, all I could do was say, “You are out of control right now. Stop. Go to counseling and work this out. This is not my problem. It’s you.” Even though he didn’t really believe he was thinking crazy at the time, I’m so grateful he had enough desire for the relationship that he would keep working. Does that make sense at all?
Thanks again for replying. Well, I wish I could believe that I am worth fighting for, but tonight, hubby told me he doesn’t have the capacity to fight for me or our marriage. To say I am shattered is a massive understatement. I really don’t know where to go from here. I don’t want it to be over yet how do you try and save a marriage that the other person can’t be bothered with? I will just turn it over to God and trust that He will bring the change. Any prayers from you for us and our beautiful children would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again for your time and help.
Oh, I’m so, so sorry. What a terribly painful place to be.
YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
If your husband can’t fight for you, YOU fight for you. Whatever he chooses, YOU be healthy. YOU be strong. YOU be courageous.
The Lord your God is with you, WHEREVER you go, and HE fights for you and loves you and never lets you go.
I hope you’ll seek out local support as you walk through this–a personal counselor, maybe.
Blessings and prayers, Kay
My husband and i are both 20 years old, we got married when we were 19. Weve been married for three months. Before we got married, i found out about my husbands porn addiction. A few days after we got married i found out that he hadnt stopped watching porn completely, he had been porn free for about a month but had lied to me about it the whole time. I gave him an ultimatium, me or the porn… he promised that it was ended already and wouldnt ever be an issue again. I found out a few days ago that a month ago he had watched and masturbated to porn again, after me continuously asking him if he stopped. It has been about five days since i found out, my husband is not on the fortify program along with convenant eyes and many filters in place, to show that he is trying. I am hurt that it is still a temptation and im still not even sure that i want to stay in this marriage, as he has broken our vows. I have and always will be faithful to him but i believe that this marriage and relationship are bbad for my mental health, as i obsesse over what he is doing and making sure i am no longer being hurt. I do believe that he will get over his porn addiction, but i still do not trust him. I feel that his.porn addiction is just one of the many things that i should be worried about. We are going to see a couselor, but until then i still feel scared of what he will do. Not only that, but a new issue of intimacy and trust has come up. My husband is still very much attracted to me and still wants to have sex and make love and show me that he loves me through sex. While i would like to have sex, i dont feel as though i trust him at all. His argument is “well if you love me and you feel like you love me and we have a connection and bond while having sex, you should want to have sex because well bond even more and you can feel like youre trusting me.” He says that even though hes defiled our vows and the purity of what we had, that if i can still make myself vulnerable to him and let myself love him, i will trust him and build intimacy. I dont feel the same way. Even though i do get turned on, and i want to make love, i feel disgusted that hes shared this with someone else. Ill remember what hes done and not want to share my intimacy with him again since he will share it with porn stars. It makes me feel very uncomfortable and he wont stop,no matter how much i push him away and tell him no or stop, he will continue because he says that i am just fighting against feeling my love for him amd we will only rebuild trust and intimacy by having sex. I dont feel the emtional support i need from him though, and i dont want to have sex yet even though i love him amd want to be able to give just yet. It feels as though it is fake and a lie, because the vows are broken. I just dont feel secure or safe or trusting, and i dont think i will start to feel those things by having sex.
Additionally, my husband tells me that he is not even attracted to the pornstars he watches. He tells me that i am the only one hes attracted to and find attractive and that i am what turns him on. I dont understand how he can watch porn if that is true. Is it possible that he is not sexually attracted to the pornstars he watches? I find it hard to believe. He says that he just needs the idea of sex, and that he even find the pornstars ugly. I dont understand. Can i really be the only one he is attracted to, or wants or thinks is attractive, when he watches and masturbates to porn?
This sounds like rationalization to me. This is how he explains to himself that this is really not as bad as he knows it is. It probably makes sense in his own head, but it doesn’t really make sense when you start looking at it. Here’s a short animated video I did about defense mechanisms that might help.
Hey Dana, I am so, so sorry. I think you’re experiencing the need for boundaries, and he’s not able to hear you. You should be able to say no to sex. That is a very basic human right: the right to your own body. When you choose to share that in marriage sexually, it is a gift. But it should never, ever be demanded of you. You will rebuild love and intimacy when he is trustworthy! And your sexual relationship can be an expression of that. But, it sounds to me like he’s got some pretty screwy ideas about love and sex–which is not surprising since it sounds like porn has been his main source of sex ed at this point. I would suggest that the counseling is not really a couples issue at this point. He needs to take responsibility for himself and sort out his crazy views of sex. You need help and support in healthy boundaries and emotional processing. Once he’s getting himself together and being more respectful of your boundaries, then you can probably do some good work in counseling together. Of course you don’t feel safe or secrure right now. And of course you won’t regain those feelings by having sex. You are absolutely right! He has to deal with himself first. You need healing. And then you can put that sexual component back together again. Blessings, Kay
I first wrote in on October 16, 2013 and wanted some additional encouragement or advice. I have been doing good with my healing with less than a handful of falls in the last year, and we recently broke our 4 year dry spell of no intimacy. It seemed great our first night (I hope this isn’t TMI), which I had totally been unexpecting, it was a great surprise to finally feel close to my wife, I hadn’t felt that loved in a very very long time. Aside from performance issues in endurance, which has always been an issue for me, things were fine. The next night, however, it all came crashing down. After beginning, I had to stop/slow down in fear of ending too soon, and it set her off, saying this is why she doesn’t try… This began a heavy discussion, as I was trying to figure out what was going on. Our problem in the past has always been that we never talk about sex, never talk about what we like or don’t like, if we did I don’t remember much of it, and it wasn’t very direct or an intentional discussion. What we got out of this discussion, though, was that she has been feeling trapped in our marriage. She can’t leave because she can’t support herself and the kids, but can’t stand to stay because she feels stuck. It’s a lot of things that bother her, the kids always fighting, the feelings of just not being happy.
I had asked her a few months ago what her feelings are on sex, and she said it wasn’t even on her radar. Honestly didn’t know if it was health issues she was having, or if it was just me, and she said she didn’t know either. We recently, in the past year or so, found out she has celiac disease, which is known to diminish sex drive, and I still don’t know if that’s really the issue. But one comment she made the other night was that “there’s nothing wrong with her”, she just doesn’t feel that way about me anymore. She’s mentioned before, stemming from discussions we’ve had were I’ve said I’m so close to being rid of my porn issues (I hardly ever even think about it, and only succumb after months of avoiding it, until finally I break down because absolutely nothing changes in our relationship), that it’s nothing I can fix, and I can’t fix her, or I can’t change her feelings. That’s one of the reason’s she doesn’t want to go to counselling; she doesn’t see how it would help because no one can change the way she feels (not in a stubborn way, more like no one can change her feelings). She also said she has apparently talked to many people about leaving me, but every one of them told her that I was a good man, a good husband, and that she’s just looking at it the wrong way, or that she’s making too big a deal about it, or that it’s not worth it? I was a little out of it emotionally out of it at that point; we both were, so I don’t remember her exact words. But with all that, she said she hates her life, has no life, always stuck at home with the kids, no way to get a job to support herself, and not really a way to do that if she did because we’re very adamant about not sending our kids to public school. As far as intimacy goes, though, she just doesn’t feel that way about me anymore.
Needless to say, this is hurting me very much. It seemed like we were finally breaking free from our emotionally/intimately vacant marriage, but regardless of my performance issues (which can be fixed, I’ve been finding), there are obviously issues going on, and I feel totally helpless. I cannot get out of my mind the feeling/moment we had that first night. The feeling of love I felt (not during sex, but being held afterwards) I cannot express in words how good it felt to finally feel like I was loved again. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like there’s nothing I can do, all hope seems to have left me, and just can’t imagine having to go through another 4 years or longer without that feeling again. The feeling of constant torment of being so close to the woman I love and want so badly, but feel I can’t even touch her because she just doesn’t feel that way about me anymore…
So I write today in search of help and encouragement. I don’t know what to do, or even what to think. I don’t know if this is something we can get past, or if we’re both just doomed… I know that getting back to church regularly and focusing only on God, leaving it to him to fix, is probably the only way to get past it, but it feels like whenever I say I want to get back to going to church, she feels that its just my way of trying to fix her (though she hasn’t said that exactly). But seeming that counselling is off the table because no one can fix the way she feels about me, I don’t really know what to do. It kind feels like counselling would just open the wounds up more and no way to heal them. One thing I’m planning to do is buy her a diamond wedding ring. I was never able to afford a nice one, and she has lost the one she did have. But I sold my guitar, my shotgun, and am trying to sell my amp (I used to play in a band and music has always been a part of who I am), and my goal is to show her that I’m giving up all the things that I hold dear to me, to show her how much she means to me. I’ve been working on saving for several weeks now. With that though, I know it’s not going to change anything, but it’s what I need to do anyay. I want to spend the rest of my life with her regardless of what happens in our relationship, I love her so much, she just deserves to have a nice ring so much more than I deserve those things… anyway, I’m just ranting now… Sorry for the novel!
Hey Archer. I’m so sorry for the pain that you and your wife are both experiencing in your marriage. I’m wondering if you’ve been attending any kind of group or therapy for yourself as part of your recovery process? That would really be an excellent place for you to process the kind of complicated issue. If you haven’t done group work or personal therapy, I would encourage you to begin immediately. Whatever your wife chooses, YOU can choose to work on your own emotional health.
The other thing I would recommend is John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Gottman is the premier marriage researcher alive today, and this book tells you exactly what it takes to make marriage successful. (None of it is about sex, by the way.) You may get some insight as you read, into where the gaps are between “we get along great” and “she’s talked to many people about leaving.”
I would also say that a nice ring is not going to solve the problem. I think your money is much better spent on therapy for yourself. Whatever your wife chooses, YOU choose to be healthy.
One thing I forgot to add. During our discussion, she mentioned (which is exactly how I feel too), is that we get along great! We laugh together, spend time together (not on dates, 4 kids with allergies and not knowing anyone who understand the importance of no gluten in our house…), we don’t have a problem with the way each other is parenting, every other aspect of our marriage seems to be in good shape. It’s just intimacy, and it seems that whole component of feelings I guess that is vacant (on her end though). I can manage to get a hug and kiss just about whenever I want, if I approach her, but it’s never the other way around. I guess I cannot remember the last time she initiated any kind of affection, which I think is one thing that hurts me the most. This is what I’ve done to her though, so I guess I deserve it, it’s just hard to deal with and I don’t know what to do, or if there’s anything that can be done.
Hi. I’m wondering if you’re still responding to posts, which I would appreciate very much. Straight to the point: my husband and I have been married for almost 13 years and we are both christians. More over, we for several years held leadership positions in the church, so knowing that viewing porn is a sin and is wrong; is more than clear. Our sex life was ok at the beginning with no complications. I’m almost 9 years older than him, but due to my physic, I don’t represent my age. After three years of marriage, I accidentally discovered porn in our computer. When confronted, he was like: ehh, yea, I did it. I immediately requested counseling at the church, which truly didn’t help. I forgave the issue and we continued our marriage life. I took some measures of not relying the computer etc., and apparently things went back to normal. We tried for several years to have a baby and finally we couldnt. That was devastating for both and tension increased. Bottom line, Things were colder between us for several years now. I always tried to talk to him but he was distant and defensive, avoiding taking seriously what I was saying. Time passed and a couple of months ago he admited that he is again in porn.. He blames me for it and do not admit any responsibility. I had been diagnosed years ago with a hormone inbalance and was a very painful time of my life. He doesnt aknowledge that, he only blames me for his decision of using porn. He had to admit he has been doing it behind my back for several years. He admited it cold blooded, no remorse or repentance. On the contrary, according him, its all my responsibility. He doesnt feel accountable, nor he wants to give me more information regarding it. Marriage is on the verge of a definitive breakup, I dont trust him, I trusted him before and he did it again, with no remorse and hiding it very well. The lie was up to my face all this time. If you read, thanks for the advice.
Kate, I am so, so sorry. What a painful and difficult experience to have in your marriage.
First of all, I’m sure you know this, but let me say it anyway: your husband’s choices are his choices, and you are not to blame. He can only recover if he is willing to take responsibility for himself and his choices, and do the hard work of recovery. It’s a very common defense mechanism for men to blame their wives for their porn use, but it’s just not reality.
Secondly, no matter what he chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy. I would suggest that you find a counselor who can help you process through your emotions and work out what healthy boundaries will look like for you. There are directories here and here that you can check for someone in your area. A support group might also be helpful. The truth is, a situation like this is traumatic to most women; many will meet the clinical criteria for PTSD. It’s so important that you get help just for you.
You might appreciate our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about their boundaries in recovery. Also, here and here are some articles on boundaries that might be helpful to you. And here’s an article about how porn and divorce are addressed in the Bible. It’s quite different from what most churches say about porn and divorce, so it might helpful.
I hope those resources are helpful to you. Please let me know if you have other questions. Blessings, Kay
My husband had watched porn recently and hes saying that he was just curious. Idk wheater to believe him or not. But now its hard to trust him and its hard to be around him naked anymore. I feel so uncomfortable. We’ve only been married for a couple months now but been together almost 2 years. Its hard enough to cope with the fact i already dont feel good about myself. He didnt make it any better. I wanna trust him again. But idk if i can.
I don’t know about the “just curious” story. Most guys today are totally aware of porn and what it’s all about. Most are exposed to porn at very early ages. “Just curious?” Color me “just suspicious.” Unless he grew up under a rock, with no internet access, and no friends with internet access? I don’t think so.
I think his trustworthy behavior is absolutely key to your trust. He needs to demonstrate that he is trustworthy by adding blocking/filtering software and being honest and open with you.
Also, he needs to be trustworthy by turning toward you emotionally and being willing to listen to how you feel about this. Here’s an article I wrote a while back about behavioral trust vs. emotional trust.
It’s really okay for you to tell him that you’re not interested in being naked around him when he’s looking at porn. He needs to do his part and be trustworthy, or there’s no reason for you to trust him with your most vulnerable self. Having more sex, the right kind of sex, being skinnier, having bigger boobs, whatever–none of that will stop him from looking at porn. He has to choose that for himself.
It’s NOT ABOUT YOU. I know it’s almost impossible to feel that to be true, but I’m telling you: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. This is a choice he makes. It has nothing to do with how you look, how you perform, or who you are. This is HIS BAD CHOICE. And he’s the one who needs to make better choices.
Here’s a recent article from The Gottman Institute on porn and the negative impact it has on relationships. Perhaps he’d be willing to read that and start making better choices.
Peace to you, Kay
We’ve been married for 19 years. She is 62 and I am 58. She stopped having sex with me several years ago saying she has absolutely no interest and that I should accept that. She even gets insulted at any sexual innuendos (mine or even actors in movies and TV). In respect for her feelings, I don’t mention anything sexual at all. I give her a morning hug, hold hands with her when we are out walking, and take on a great deal of the household chores as well as holding down my job that pays the rent and bills. Sexually, she remains off limits. Trying to take care of my own needs, she forbids me from looking at porn. I would consider that I have a normal sexual appetite (once every 10 days or so) with no where else to turn but pornography. I would never consider finding someone else to satisfy me, and I feel the safest and least harming outlet is my few times a month pornography. The few times she suspected I had been looking at porn she stopped talking to me for weeks (yes weeks!). The lack of intimacy has me getting more and more depressed. God gave us our bodies and pleasurable feelings for a reason – I don’t believe the reason is to quell them. I am not convinced that pornography is bad in all cases.
Hi Greg – Honestly, my heart just breaks. Really, for both you and your wife. There’s definitely the hurt that you’re feeling from being neglected in this way. Then, there’s wondering she experienced that caused her to change so radically from the first 10+ years of your marriage.
I’m certainly not going to judge you in any way for your choices. You are in a very difficult spot. As I imagine myself in your position, I think that I would also struggle mightily to stay pure. I’m never going to condone use of porn, but I’m also sensing the great struggle that you find yourself in. It isn’t fair. I would just encourage you, and ask you to seek God’s strength in honoring your marriage. Are you seeing a counselor of any kind or have any male accountability in your life? Have you found other honorable outlets for your sexual frustration? What would your wife do if she saw you trying to redirect your frustration in good, positive ways? “Hey, I’m heading off to see my accountability group again.” “Hey, I’m heading off to serve at the food truck again.” And when she asks why, “I’m trying to honor you. You’ve made a decision that I don’t understand, and instead of sinning against you in return, I’m trying to seek God’s guidance in how to press on, and I’m doing that by being open and honest with other brothers in Christ.” or “I’m choosing to redirect some of the frustration I feel in our marriage in good, noble, generous ways.” Maybe she would start to realize how much this is impacting you. I understand that there are medical or other severe situations where sexual intimacy isn’t possible, but that’s much different than outright denial.
Again, Greg, I hope you sense zero judgment in what I’ve typed. I think your situation sounds incredibly difficult. I have prayed for you specifically after posting this response.
I have been married to my wife now for 5 years this december. We are both christians born and raised in the church, etc. I have struggled with lust for years now and it has caused many issues in my marriage, I was clean for a while but just recently fell back into the same sin all over again.. my issue has been over texting. It breaks my heart how much my sin hurts my wife and the last thing I want is to lose my wife and my kids. I love my wife so much and I know deep down she knows it but my issues with lust have caused her to feel unwanted like I don’t want to be married to her and that I want anyone else but here which is not true.. She has not spoken to me much in the last few days since she found the text on my phone. In the past I said I would get help but I never really did. This time around I don’t to play games anymore.. I already spoke to my pastor and I am going to start counseling with my church. Other then that what else can I do to show my wife that I want to fight for my marriage and that I want God’s healing. At this point I am just done with electronics and just want to give her my phone and tell here I don’t want it anymore, that its not worth hurting her anymore. That she is really everything I have ever wanted. Is that a good first start? Do you have any other suggestions? I am just praying that my wife can hold on and will not leave me and help me get through this. She has forgiven me a few times before but now its like a broken record and I dont want her to at some point just say forget it, its not worth forgiving you if you are just going to do it over again.. I dont want to do it ever again. I want to be set free and live my life for God and for my family.
I think there are two very important things to keep in mind.
First, you absolutely must rebuild behavioral trust. Your wife must be able to trust you again BECAUSE YOU BECOME TRUSTWORTHY. You must take responsibility for yourself and your choices. If getting rid of electronics is helpful to you, fine. If your church is able to help you with that, great. If, however, your church counseling program does not help you move along in recovery, you might want to find a counselor who specializes in sexual addiction therapy. Here is a directory. I would also encourage you to find a group to attend, a place where you can be real with other men about your choices and the impact they’ve had on your wife.
Second, you must rebuild emotional trust. You must support your wife. Listen to her without explaining or defending your choices. Attend to her emotions. Be kind and helpful. Instead of turning away from her, turn toward her. Here’s a video that might help. You should get a copy of John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Read it yourself first: commit to at least that much when it comes to rebuilding the relationship! Then see if your wife would be willing to read it with you. The truth is, a good successful marriage is far more than “not looking at porn.” It’s about having a real, true, emotionally connected relationship.
One final piece of the puzzle is this: you’ve been used to turning to “lust” to deal with your emotions. Men are taught all kinds of terrible things about themselves in our culture. Don’t feel (big boys don’t cry), be tough (be a man), and that acting out sexually is normal and healthy (boys will be boys). You’ll need to face up to your own pain, your own disappointments, your own grief. You’ll need to be vulnerable with yourself, with your counselor, with your group, with your wife. You’ll need to learn how to be with your pain instead of shoving it away with bad choices. That’s hard work. But it’s work that works, if you do it.
Peace to you,
My husband of over 40 years was using porn from free video clips found on Internet. He was masterbating to them. I suspected then caught him doing this a few times in one week and finally confronted him. He was very apologetic for hurting me and explained later that due to his ED problem from prostate surgery he never felt complete. He said he had been doing this for a couple of years. I suspect longer. He said he was done with it. Since then, I have struggled with forgiveness and trust. Why couldn’t he come to me first? We went to church and Bible study together but at night he would engage in the porn. He was living 2 lives.
Of course you have struggled with trust, since your husband was living two separate lives. The question is, does he come to you with his feelings now? Is he concerned about your feelings now? Those are the ways forward to rebuilding trust: sharing our own vulnerabilities and caring about the other person’s. Unless your husband does his own emotional work around his sexual vulnerabilities, and unless he is open and willing to share with you, then I suspect he will continue to find dysfunctional ways to deal with his emotions.
Thank you for your reply. It has been 6 months since my discovery of my husband’s porn use and masterbation and I am still struggling. He immediately asked for forgiveness and has since told me he has asked God for forgiveness and prays for us everyday. (I told him 3 days after the discovery that I forgave him and have tried to move on.) But I have dark days and anger still. He knows when I struggle and avoids me unless I initiate conversation about it. He has never liked to talk about uncomfortable subjects, but he has been forthcoming to my questions but no additional comments. He is understanding but has been a bit vague on some questions…such as what initially started his looking for porn sites?? He doesn’t know, he said. Before, he said his ED issue made him feel incomplete. I told him that I didn’t think all men with ED search for porn. He was silent. I mentioned my sadness at what happened to what I thought was a good thing and how he was a hippocrite, often commenting on others’immoral behaviors. Answering more inquiries…he said, yes he knew it was wrong. But, he never said he tried to stop. He goes out of his way to be kind to me and always has been. I was so upset at my last outburst, I even mentioned separation for awhile but he wanted no part of that. It would devastate him (and me) if others knew . We have family here, church members, we are loving parents and grandparents. I definitely have love-hate feelings for him and wish I could move on. Even though he has stopped the porn, I still have a strong suspicion that he still holds those porn images in his head and masterbates to them. Should I continue to question him, even on this?? (I have been understanding about his ED but I guess the porn and masterbating was a quick fix that became an addiction, rather than discussing with me. But we were intimate during all this time, as well…perhaps I was duped!?) Thank you for your response.
Well, I would want to make sure that he is actually doing the work he needs to do. Does he see a counselor? Go to a group? Have accountability partners that receive his Covenant Eyes report? Have friends that he talks to about his struggles? Those to me would be good indicators of behavioral trust being rebuilt.
As for ED, that is often a RESULT of extensive porn use. If he has no medical issues, then ED should not be an issue.
You might appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women, and a therapist for yourself is not a bad idea either, to help you process these emotions that you’re dealing with.
Almost all the stories i read are of men who turn to porn INSTEAD of their wives. Men who covet porn over their wives who may be aging and gaining weight, etc. in my case my wife has obviously gained some weight and aged, but i’ve never stopped desiring my wife and never stopped telling her how beautiful she is to me but it is her lack of interest in sex with me and her lack of willingness to address it through therapy or hormone checks that has driven me to porn. I would much rather my wife than porn but she won’t make herself available to me when i need her. I’m not too demanding, once a week is all i ask, i’m lucky to get twice per month and that is with days if begging and grovelling like a dog before she gives in. So i’ve turned to porn as a release. I wish i didn’t have to. I may be wrong, but in my case i feel like i am the victim, not my wife. Advice please?
Your wife is not an object to be used for your sexual gratification. If she doesn’t want to have sex with you, she doesn’t have to. The real question is: why doesn’t she want to? I suspect it may be that you’re not investing in the emotional side of the relationship, so she’s not interested in the physical side.
I highly suspect that there’s a lack of emotional intimacy in your marriage that’s being demonstrated in the lack of sexual interest from your wife. If you really want to make your marriage work, address the emotional intimacy and see if the sexual intimacy then resolves itself. I would suggest The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, and Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson for marriage enrichment. Read those books. Discuss them with your wife. See if she becomes more interested in investing in a sexual relationship with you, when you demonstrate that you are willing to invest in an emotional relationship with her. Otherwise you’re just using her for sex, and I’m sure she can tell.
You are making the choice to use porn and rationalizing that your wife’s lack of interest in sex has ‘driven you to porn.’ You don’t ‘have to’ use porn. You are choosing to use porn. At least be honest about that. But also be willing to do the work to repair the emotional breach in your relationship and see what happens.
I need anyones help. I’m a young man just married a bit over a year ago and I’ve had a porn addiction for a while. I’ve hid it from my wife till she found out. Ive installed covenant eyes to help. But what I’m worried about is my wife. I want to make our marriage better than it was before but the thing is I dont know how. No more porn is a obvious but what else. She doesnt want anything to do with me any more so how do I show her that I want to fix it and that I’m trying but to also be there for her. To rebuild our trust for each other. I know I have to show her that I trust her to earn her trust but how do I show her that when she wants nothin to do with me? Do I let her have her space and hope she doesnt keep thinking of things to make it worse or even have her family tell her wrong things to do? I dont know what to do anymore. Alot of times I feel like I should kill myself to give her that happiness because it’s the only thing I can do. I’m not saying I’m trying to kill myself. I’m saying I am willing to do anything to help our relationship. So please help me.
I definitely don’t think you should kill yourself to make someone else happy. That’s not going to work, and I’m glad you don’t actually mean to do that.
I really appreciate your willingness to think about what you can do to rebuild trust. There’s actually a lot of good, research-based marriage advice out there. John Gottman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight. Those are two books I would start with. If your wife is willing, you could discuss those books together.
I would also suggest that you find a therapist for yourself, and begin doing your own emotional work of inner healing. Most men are socialized to deny, repress, and ignore their emotions, and this leads to issues like using porn in order to cope with any inner pain that crops up. If you truly want to develop healthier ways of being in a relationship, you must do your own emotional work, separately from anything your wife is doing, without any agenda of controlling how she functions in the relationship, simply because you are a person who needs to be whole inside.
I don’t know what your wife will choose to do, there are no guarantees that a relationship can be restored after trust is broken. However, you can and will have a life, regardless of what happens in this relationship, and I urge you to make your life as healthy as it can possibly be, and that means doing the emotional work of inner healing for yourself.
Peace to you,