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His Porn Problem: He hates when I bring it up

Last Updated: April 18, 2015

Ashley Weis

Ashley Weis is a wife and mother who has a pain-filled past that no longer haunts her. After discovering her husband’s pornography addiction she thought she’d never heal, much less have a “good” marriage again. God has shown her that without rain, beauty never grows. Now, with a beautiful marriage and a heart that knows the radiance of hope, Ashley reaches out to other women through books about recovering from pornography.

After admitting their porn problem, a lot of men get angry and annoyed when their wives bring the subject up. The wife wants to heal and feels like she needs to communicate these things in order to overcome this. He, however, feels like they need to move on to overcome this.

Imagine if you murdered someone and went to jail, truly repented, and were sent free from jail on pardon…something you never imagined possible…and when you get out there the closest person to you constantly talks about your murder. “How did it happen? What did you do? I just can’t get over this.” It would chain you to your past and make it hard to find freedom, wouldn’t it? And even if the person closest to you trusted that you wouldn’t kill them, and forgave you for what you did, but still talked about it all the time, you would feel the guilt always plaguing you. You would probably rather run back to jail than try to fight for freedom with the past always bombarding you.

I think one of the most common problems when going through this is that we don’t know how to communicate positively. As wives, we get stuck in trying to heal by talking about sin and dwelling on the negative topics, instead of talking about God, how we can become better examples of Him, and focusing on things that are pure. Because it’s through this that the negative gets washed away. If we keep talking about sin, sin will increase all the more. As hard as it is to allow your ex-inmate to find freedom in his new world, you need to allow him to find his way to new life.

I know it’s hard for a woman to do this, because her pain is still keeping her in her own prison, so she wants to keep him locked up too. It’s not fair to see a free man running about with joy when you are still in your cell counting down the days to your death. But you can have freedom too.

We need to figure out what is keeping us in prison. What locks us up in our dungeons, and let go. We need to let go of the negative, stop talking about sin, and allow our husbands (and ourselves) to embrace a new life. He won’t be perfect when he gets out of jail. He will still make mistakes, but he needs someone’s love to help him figure out how to live a new life. Same thing goes for a wife. Both of us need God more than anything. We need to break free from our cells, then embrace new life with Christ without dwelling on the prison we just escaped. We need to focus on God, things that are pure and lovely, things that draw us near to God and keep us there, in His arms, so that every instance of our lives on earth are lived as though we are already in heaven with Him. Let the old husband, the old marriage, the old YOU go…so that you can embrace the new husband, the new marriage, and the new you in Christ.

  • Comments on: His Porn Problem: He hates when I bring it up
    1. Kathy on

      I was married to that man for 22 years. He was addicted to porn. HE would not get counsel. HE wanted it swept under a rug. I’ve wiped so many slates clean that I ran out of erasers and divorced him. They have to want healing. This man progressively got worse and deeper until there was no way out. Of course, the first one he blamed was me. I learned that an addict can never get enough sex. We had filtering software and he bought another computer to keep in his vehicle and, of course, had no filter on

      I have since remarried a man with normal desires. Sex is great. I should have divorced my ex the first time I found the porn. I grieve for the 22 wasted years.

      But, I thank God for a wonderful life now!!!

      Reply
    2. Ella on

      This kind of “addict-centric” thinking is exactly what is keeping wives from healing like they need to. Ashey, I have read your book. Perhaps now that you are removed from that initial pain by a few years you have forgotten what it feels like. I know that happens to me sometimes. My husband has over 3 years of sobriety and we are happily married. Sometimes I forget how bad it was. As I counsel other wives, I am reminded. That first year was hell. Professionals who are not sensitive to the trauma the partner has endured and just focus on how she needs to be supportive are doing so much harm to the marriage and retraumatizing her. Instead he needs the support of his therapist in how he can best support her. Then, with time, she may be able to offer him support. It’s like telling someone who just experienced the loss of a love one to stop grieving. Just because they grieve doesn’t mean their faith isn’t strong enough, as you imply here. A woman whose husband is a porn or sex addict has been betrayed in the worst way. He must “live in the doghouse” for a while, as CSAT, author, and speaker, Rob Weiss puts it. Ashley, times are changing and you have bought into an old lie. Read more in Barbara Steffens’ book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. If you’ve already read that book you clearly didn’t get it.

      Reply
    3. Ella on

      Further, OF COURSE he is angry when you bring it up. OF COURSE the murderer wouldn’t want to be reminded of what he did. No one wants to be reminded of their sin, but that’s not reality. I bet the mom who got drunk when she was pregnant doesn’t want to be reminded of her sin every time she looks at her baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. But she has to. She may have repented and God may have forgiven her, but she will always have that reminder. That;s just life. No one gets off that easy. If a wife cushions his fall, as you are encouraging her to do, then he will not feel the full effects of what he has done and will be more likely to go back to the porn. He needs to see how he has hurt her. He needs to get the gravity of the situation. If he is getting angry when she is in pain he needs someone to explain to him why she is bringing it up so much. If he is sensitive to her, instead of having crap like this article to throw in her face, she will heal more quickly. Thank God my husband had proper guidance and was patient with me and never got angry. He knew he had NO RIGHT to get angry with me. Because of that I got over my anger quickly and forgave him quickly. I still cried a lot and brought it up a lot that first year and every time he held me and listened and asked what I needed. That is why I love him so much today. I know it took so much strength for him to do that, but if he could do it, so can other men. Women need support from their sisters on this journey. They don’t need to be told something is wrong with them because they are still hurting.

      Reply
      • Kate on

        Thank you for your comments, Ella. Ashley’s article left me feeling like I should put on an apron, a big smile and bake cinnamon buns while never mentioning my husband’s sin again and just support him.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Kate. Shame and silence are addiction-supporting behaviors. Being able to express our thoughts and emotions, and to have those be accepted, even when they’re painful, is enormously healing. The other day, I ran across this quote in Time magazine from renowned marriage expert John Gottman:

        “In really bad relationships, people are communicating, ‘Baby, when you’re in pain, when you’re unhappy, when you’re hurt, I’m not going to be there for you. You deal with it on your own, find somebody else to talk to because I don’t like your negativity. I’m busy, I’m really involved with the kids, I’m really involved with my job.’ Whereas the [relationship] Masters have the model of, ‘When you’re unhappy, even if it’s with me, the world stops and I listen.’”

        The reality is, there’s a world of hurt that has to be faced in recovery. And men who are really, truly in recovery will learn to face it. No apron, smile, or cinnamon buns required.

      • Lisa on

        Ella, just superb in you level of thinking. I’m two months out of finding out my husband has a sex addiction. We have found an amazing therapist and your response helped me so much Ella!

    4. enid on

      I am very pleased to hear the biblical view on forgiveness being encouraged here. In my 18 years of marriage this principle was abused every time my husband got caught using porn. I was told that I could NOT bring it up again, NOT express any negative sorrowful attitudes, nor could I withhold sex for even one day after discovering he was using porn. When a woman who’s heart is hurting engages in sex she is forced to disconnect emotionally which causes a very unhealthy emotional/sexual dynamic which has been proven to cause massive sexual dysfunction for her down the road. Seperating emotionally from the physical experience simply causes problems and when a woman is not allowed to work through the layers of the pain, or post trauma, which come up over time, this is just one area that suffers and the effects are damaging to the marraige so much more than him feeling bad that she keeps bringing it up. Also, since I was not allowed to mention it to my husband, it became in his mind a smaller thing. He could repent, move on, and return to life as normal. Thus he would more easily return to his porn use since he could easily clean up his mess… No problems from me. He could not see that this was a big problem. He would say to me, “every time I have always repented to you and you have forgiven me…”. In short, he saw no need to get help… only more demands on me in the bedroom. We are now seperated and almost divorced. His bedroom behavior became abusive. The aftermath as far as all those years of not being able to grieve was overwhelming. I have spent over a year and a considerable amount of counseling dealing with the grief after the fact, because it was all still there. During the marriage I kept telling myself, “70 x 7”. But if he ‘loved me as his own body’, then the issues of my heart would have been his concern and he would have loved me through the hurt he caused, and I would have been more than willing to support him through his struggles. But anyone that has been through any kind of trauma understands that the pain surfaces in layers or that different situations can trigger another area in the heart that hasn’t healed yet . This happens over time and depending on the situation, perhaps over a very long time. It is not condemning to a husband to simply expect that he should love his wife through the healing process from the trauma that he caused from his sin.

      Reply
    5. Mark W. Gaither on

      Enid, I couldn’t agree more with what you have stated. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people in ministry fail to understand the critical difference between forgiveness and restoration. Forgiveness is about letting the past go; restoration is about rebuilding trust. Forgiveness is OUR responsibility; restoration is the responsibility of the offender. God commands us to forgive 70 x 7, but He does not require us to step up for another punch in the face.

      Uninformed ministry people also fail to understand that there is more to repentance than saying “I’m sorry.” Genuine repentance involves much more; at least six signs, without which we should be wary. Clearly, your husband used “I’m sorry” as a free pass to avoid the consequences of sin.

      My dad used to say, “Stupid should hurt.” That’s why I disagree with the counsel you were given regarding sex with your husband. Without creating toxic shame (which only adds fuel to the addiction), there is a way to LOVINGLY say no to sex so that it is understood, not as punishment, but as a natural result of broken trust–that sex is intimacy, which cannot occur apart from trust.

      In defense of Ashley’s article, I want to point out that talking about past wrongs in the process of restoration is necessary. (Dave Carder’s book “Torn Asunder” is very helpful in this regard.) The key is to avoid “toxic shame,” which offers no hope for future restoration, only condemnation. “Healthy shame” is the goal; it says to the offender, “What you have done is a shameful act, but I believe you are better than your behavior. Show me you can do better.”

      To help the offended partner communicate authentically and to facilitate “healthy shame,” I outline a responsible process for responding to porn-related infidelity in the article, “My Husband Is Having an Affair with Pornography, What Should I Do?

      Stand strong! Communicate authentically. Inspire hope. Trust Christ.

      Reply
    6. Enid on

      thank you Mark. the way you stated it brings a great deal of clarity. I myself have encouraged women who have stayed in marriages where there was porn and affairs. I have helped them to deal with the pain and the forgiveness. I, before my husband repeatedly began to use porn, even spoke to womens church groups on several topics. One being intimacy in marriage, including how to deal with the increasing porn issue. I have given advice that I now regret, or wish I had brought better clarity to, as you have just done. I would feel very sorrowful for a man who was working sincerely in his marriage for healing, freedom and wholeness. Who wanted restoration and yeilded to the difficult, painful process and his wife were bitter and cruel. Yet, if this were the case he must endure the effects of his sin in a Christ like manner, just as she should be encouraged to forgive ’70×7′. I understand that this was what the article addressed, but the line is so fine and the number of men that I have seen endure the process with integrity are so few, that I think its very important that the issue be handled with such care. These women are victims who simply cannot endure another victimization. And something that may not always be taken into consideration, in many cases it effects all areas of life so the wives are also having to put life back together essentially. Men have lost jobs, are in counselling, have stopped fathering due to the effects of the addiction, any number of ‘life upsets’ as a result and the wives have to pick up the slack and manage life while he’s getting help. So along with dealing with the betrayal, they now have to “clean up” whatever mess this has created in their private world. It’s such a fragile issue on more levels than the obvious and I guess my soap box would be that the women really truly must be handled and communicated to with care. Again, I really appreciate what you’ve shared. Very good stuff! I will share it with others as well.

      Reply
    7. Cayce on

      I am in the midst of what so many people are discribing. My husband has admitted to a pornography addiction but has refused to get help . He has blamed me for not being attractive enough or not giving him enough sex. I’m struggling to find the line between forgiving, even though I have not seen true repentance, and taking the verbal and emotional abuse. Although I realize his actions are his responsibility, I can’t help but worry that confronting him again or not giving him sex is going to make things worse. I can’t handle it getting any worse. What am I to do?

      Reply

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