3 minute read

Spying on Your Husband on the Computer

Last Updated: February 19, 2014

April Mabrey
April Mabrey

April Mabrey is a wife, a corporate mom to twins, homeschooler, speaker, and Covenant Eyes blogger. April loves to share the story of how God has dramatically redeemed her past and restored her marriage.

spying on your husbandThinking back on my “Magnum PI” days literally makes my stomach turn.

I accidentally came across my husband’s porn addiction back in the early 90s after being married for only three years. He was attending seminary class in the evening, and I was waiting for AOL to tell me if I “had mail.” I wasn’t out to catch him doing anything because I was completely oblivious to the addiction he had been feeding since he was thirteen.

Once I set eyes on those addresses things changed. I changed. I went from being completely in the dark into being in denial. When I say “denial” I don’t mean, “My husband has fallen down drunk in the living room, and I just don’t want to discuss it.”  What I mean is that my husband became a master at living a cleverly concealed private life, so it was difficult to figure out the truth. Do I operate from a position of suspicion or trust?

Those years were very tough for us both. My husband had no accountability other than me, and I had no one to cry to other than him. It was miserable and absolutely the wrong approach.

Vacillating between suspicion and trust took a big toll on our marriage. I was becoming the parent and he was becoming the child. My respect for him and my romantic emotions were being squashed by the new roles we had taken on in our marriage. Constantly checking on him to “keep him accountable” sounded good but ended up in disaster every time.

When your husband is living a lie, you cannot depend on him to verify the truth for you. He’s not capable of telling you the truth because there is too much to lose. No matter what I found, there was always an excuse. A woman in this situation needs a reliable plumb line so that she can measure where she is in relation to the truth.

Ephesians 1:17-18 says that God will “grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation.” How do you learn the truth? Ask God to reveal it to you. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

You don’t have to sink to sneaking through his wallet, checking his browser, or listening to his voicemails. God wants to heal your marriage and free your husband more than you do, so ask Him to show you the truth. But finding the truth doesn’t mean you go all “Jessica Fletcher” on him: that’s controlling. It’s about asking God to reveal it to you in His time and then being willing to face it when He does.

I can remember rolling over in bed one night to find my husband’s spot empty again. This wasn’t odd, but on this night I asked God to give me the strength to get up and face my fear on the other side of that door. I remember walking into the living room and seeing proof with my own eyes. I was afraid that the fear would consume me that night.

But let me tell you something. The power isn’t in what was behind that door. There was a lot of pain behind that door, and yes, you’ll have to grieve your losses, but it will not destroy you. The pain will not kill you. It’s not taking the pain out that kills you.

So where do you go from here? As God shows you the truth, truth requires a response. You can flee from it, you can rationalize it, you can suppress it, or you can deal with it.

In our home, by God’s grace, we finally started dealing with it. This is where Covenant Eyes comes into play. My husband has Covenant Eyes on every device he owns. It monitors every website he visits and every link he sees. All of that information is compiled into reports for others to read.

This not only means he is called to task for what he does online; it also means he is willing to be open with me. After years of hiding and justifying, he was finally willing to say that he needed help and that he wasn’t going to keep secrets anymore.

And the best part is, I don’t have to play detective anymore. I don’t have to be his mom. I don’t have to be his task-master. Other men who see his report can support him in his fight to stay pure.

And I can simply be his wife.

Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlrobin/
  • Comments on: Spying on Your Husband on the Computer
    1. Jon B.

      Loved this article, as it mirrors closely my journey with my wife. I agree that having a community of trusted friends/family is huge in these situations. Thanks for writing and posting!

    2. Blessed

      All of these are great ideas. My husband and I just moved for school a year ago and will be moving again when he graduates. We really don’t feel like we have anyone to talk to, honestly we have been so busy with school and working to pay for it that it has been hard to make friends. And his family has so many issues it would be a bad to talk to them. We both want change but already are feel defeated and lost without support.

    3. April

      Blessed; Is there a way to reach out to your family or someone at your church? Even a support group like Celebrate Recovery or something similar? You can google sexual addiction support groups in your area. It might also be an easy way to meet people that share the same struggles as you and your husband. If you want to change and are really ready to learn new ways to handle stress and rejection the next step is up to you. The ball is in your court so to speak…I’m praying for courage and discernment as you move forward in your journey.

    4. Kallie

      What if you have Covenant Eyes on your husband’s devices, but doesn’t have anyone to be his accountability partner, so the job is left up to you?
      Why is it so hard to be his wife and his accountability partner?
      I am so stressed out and I don’t know what to do.

      • Kay Bruner

        Hi Kallie, I personally would not want to be my husband’s accountability partner. I think it’s just not a healthy or workable solution. I think it’s best for men to take responsibility for their own behaviors in this area, and part of that will be asking for help from people who aren’t being traumatized by the issue!

        If he doesn’t have anyone in his life who can be an accountability partner, then part of his job should be to get some folks in place. He should have a personal counselor of his own, preferably a CSAT certified therapist. He should have a group of his own, like SAA or Pure Desire. He should have his own support network of men who will be able to provide him with strength and courage when he needs it, rather that putting the burden on you to carry him through this.

        You have your own stuff to be responsible for in this situation: your own emotional processing (with a counselor or a group like Celebrate Recovery, S Anon, xxxChurch, Pure Desire), your own boundaries to think about and put in place. It’s not your job to fix him or to police his habits. It’s your job to work on your own health and healing. It’s his job to work on his stuff. Here’s another article on boundaries, and here’s a link to Hope After Porn, where several women tell their stories of boundaries and recovery.

        No wonder you’re stressed out! You’re doing the work of two people! Let him have his job back, and you take on yours. That’s probably the first good boundary to get into place here.

        Blessings, Kay

    5. Joe Esquivel

      Jaja men have to relieve some sperm almost on a daily basis and to masturbate is a human, natural way of being a real human by nature men have to do this, by watching porn it doesn’t mean they are bad evil people it just mean its nature to get arouse by sexual acts, I think that spying on someone’s browsing history is Sick and not good for the stalkers as well as for a group of sick bastards spying on a person, sexuality is a very private issue and none should care what a person’s private sexual fantasies are, I don’t think husbands or wife should know every website a either one of them visits, sometimes a husband wants to surprise the wife with a Present or gift and now he can’t because mrs.Detective wants to know everything the husband does,,,it’s wrong!!! And it’s not healthy to let others know what a person does in their life specially digital life, there’s millions of peoples who are fine getting their daily fix of porn and that’s nature it comes in their D.N.A to masturbate and noone should care , believe me the Pastor in your local Church does like to watch women’s tight Jean’s and skirts but they will cover up utilizing Jesus christ as an excuse to lure themselves from doing it, we are humans and humans masturbate and it’s no one’s business how they do it. I think it’s more perverted to know someone’s porn fantasies and spying on them it’s just sick. Covenant eyes is sick to provide details about someone’s sex life it’s just wrong to stick your nose and point fingers at some one for masturbating and it’s more sick to spy on someone’s using Jesus my Savior as an excuse to do such of evil act. Men, Women have natural instincts for Sex in different ways is in our D.N.A AND its nature, Sex does release endorphins in a human body and Sex benefits the soul don’t you ever feel ashame of it.

      • Moriah Bowman

        Hi Joe!

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Without involving the biblical reasons behind why I believe pornography is wrong, I think that we can still argue that porn is not truly beneficial for anyone (regardless of one’s religious beliefs). Fight the New Drug, which does not affiliate with any form of religion, shares a great post about how porn quite literally changes our brains. Luke Gilkerson also wrote a great post on the topic.

        In a husband/wife relationship, it is healthy to have a certain level of trust so that a woman shouldn’t need to constantly “spy” on her husband’s technology. However, with this trust must come honesty from the husband. It’s a two-way street. If someone is battling porn addiction, we believe that accountability is crucial to finding freedom.

        As for your thoughts regarding Covenant Eyes, we most certainly do not share details about someone’s sex life. The screenshots that are taken are highly blurred and only shared with the person that the user has chosen to be their ally. We do not “stick our nose” into people’s business. Our users make a conscious decision to sign up and pay for our software because they want to be free from porn or never start watching it in the first place.

        Finally, I do want to address your thoughts about masturbation. I think this article sums up my opinion on masturbation, and I encourage you to consider this view as well.

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