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Save My Marriage: Counseling the Wife of a Porn Addict (Part 3 of 3)

Last Updated: July 27, 2021

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Although we like to see marriages restored, there is no guarantee that a husband will truly repent of his sexual sin. However, even though he might not change or the circumstances may not change in their marriage, God is able to change the wife’s heart. He is able to use this present situation to do a deeper work of sanctification in her heart and to bring her into a greater knowledge of His love for her.

If the husband is not repentant, the wife must get her spiritual leaders involved in her situation.  Matthew 18:15-17 tells us, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” If these biblical steps are taken and the husband still refuses to repent then excommunication should be decided upon by the church leaders. (For more on this topic, see A Biblical Guide to Counseling the Sexual Addict, by Steve Gallagher).

A Time to Separate from Him

At times, you may have a situation where the wife needs to separate from her husband. If he is being physically abusive with the wife or children, or if there is sexual abuse or incest going on in the home, a separation is strongly recommended. In such cases a restraining order and/or child protection services may be required.

In these situations, the wife is often willing to take this step initially; but it is not uncommon after some time for her to soften, perhaps even to compromise and take the husband back home.

At all costs, you must help her to stand for what is right for his soul.

If possible, the husband should be encouraged to seek help, possibly through the Pure Life Ministries Overcomers At-Home Program, the PLM residential program, or a similar program through another ministry. Once he has completed the program, it is essential to monitor his progress for a season. If he is sincerely walking out his repentance, then church leadership should help determine when it is safe and appropriate for him to move back home.

Equipping Her to Create an Atmosphere of Grace

On the other hand, hurting wives must understand that repentance usually comes in stages. A man who has been deeply entrenched in sexual sin will have years of ingrained habits to overcome. The wife must be patient with her spouse and the Lord’s work in his life.

When the husband is sincerely repentant and truly wanting to change, it is important that she create an atmosphere of grace in her home. This means that she is not going to “beat him down” verbally or hold his mistakes against him when he is honest with her about his struggles. Rather, she is going to be his encourager. For example, if the husband confesses to lying to her about working late, instead of tearing him down with her words she can tell him, “I really appreciate you coming into the light with me about this matter. It shows me that God is still at work in your heart.” Proverbs 14:1 tells us, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” As her husband is learning to live in the light, a wife must be patient and understanding. She is called to cheer him on, to believe the best for him and about him, even if he stumbles along the way (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

A wife that creates this kind of atmosphere in her home can be assured that her husband will feel increasingly free to share his inner struggles with her. And, in these times of vulnerability the Lord is able to bring intimacy and trust back into the marriage. As her husband continues to choose the Lord and do the right thing, little by little she will begin to see a new creation emerging right before her eyes. As I have witnessed over and over at PLM, God is able to make all things new in her marriage!

As you meet with the wife on an ongoing basis, look at how is she responding to being sinned against. Is she responding biblically to her inner struggles? Is she learning to live her life according to the Word of God rather than her emotions or feelings? When you begin to see that she is dealing with her problems God’s way and she is habitually responding to the Lord in obedience to His Word, out of her love for God, she is ready to be released from counseling.

To read more about restoring a marriage relationship in sexual sin or testimonies of couples that have experienced God’s restoration, see From Ashes to Beauty by Jeff Colón.

Read Part 1 and Part 2

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Rose Colón has been the Director of Women’s Counseling at Pure Life Ministries (PLM) since 1996. A certified biblical counselor, she also serves as mentor to female counselors-in-training for PLM. Originally from New York City, Rose has a Masters of Ministry in Biblical Counseling from Master’s International School of Divinity and holds certification from the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC).

  • Comments on: Save My Marriage: Counseling the Wife of a Porn Addict (Part 3 of 3)
    1. Mike on

      29 YEARS of successful marriage and as adults we both enjoy watching adult film and Internet. We are closer than most and completely happy and still in love…. And we enjoy adult material… Both of us… Anything can ruin a married couple even paranoia on this subject… This is incredibly ridiculous that this material is bad.for normal couples… We have near 30 years of marriage and watching this has been apart of a exceptional relationship. Also about 35%of the customer base for this material is Women….

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @Mike – Of course there are couples who watch porn together. No one is saying that there’s aren’t couples like you out there. But when you are coming from the perspective that enjoying adult material is introducing lust into your marriage, and when you believe lust is wrong, pornography becomes a huge problem for people. The issue is one of expectations: If a man or woman expects that when they are married their spouse should not look in a lustful manner on another person, then porn can ruin people’s marriages. On the other hand, if someone expects that their husband or wife will lust after others and has become accustomed to this expectation, then they will not feel betrayed by the use of pornography. The real question for couples is this: Which set of expectations is right?

    2. bailey on

      My husband of 8 yrs is a porn addict. He is unrepentant and even believes he was created to be with multiple partners. He told me that the risk of losing me to pursue this lifestyle was worth it and that he met a girl online that he planned to meet up with. We are currenly separated. I feel guily for leaving but I don’t know what other choice I had. I’m not sure what to do next. I’m having difficulty finding peace.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        You are not doing anything wrong by being separated from him right now. 1 Corinthians 7:15 says, “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” You are not enslaved to your marriage commitment in cases where your husband has abandoned you.

        I’m so so sorry to hear about the way your husband has treated you. Years of porn addiction have shaped the way he thinks about himself, the world, women, and everything else. Do you have a support network you can lean on right now? Friends? Family? A church?

    3. bailey on

      I moved back in with my mom. We both just joined a new church. I hope to find a mentor there. I also have a very godly friend I meet with once aweek. Is it possible to find peace of mind while in limbo of separation? ?..hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I’m fighting depression and wish I could afford counseling.

      Reply

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