Standing in a dark Las Vegas hotel room with my ear cupped to the bathroom door, I heard a voice that I had never heard before. It was the voice of a man “chatting with” and making arrangements to meet with a prostitute later that evening. This was not the man I married eight years ago! Immediately fear seemed to strangle me. My body shook uncontrollably at just the glimpse of the depth of darkness my husband was entangled in.
This moment became just the beginning of the unveiling of my husband’s secret life of sexual addiction. I was finally seeing that his “little problem” with pornography wasn’t such a little problem at all. The next few days and weeks became his horrendous unveiling of a lifestyle of infidelity, beginning with pornography and spiraling into a limitless pit of sexual sin.
Although there were specific things Michael did that helped rebuild my trust, each action would have been meaningless apart from a foundation of true brokenness and repentance. I had seen lots of tears over the years, but genuine repentance looked very different than anything I had ever seen in him before. No longer was he just sorry he got caught or that he had to face consequences, but he was literally sick over where this addiction had taken him.
Of course, I could have forgiven Michael without continuing a relationship with him, because forgiveness only requires one. However, rebuilding trust requires two. It requires a relationship and at least the start of reconciliation.
Related: How to Tell If Your Husband Is Really in Recovery
As I worked on forgiveness, he worked on doing anything necessary for rebuilding trust in our marriage. Here are five of those things.
1. Commitment to a Full Disclosure of the Truth
Initially, there were three major dump-truck-type confessions of “junk.” But beyond that, he made a commitment to being a “truth-teller” every time a memory was triggered.
I got to where I hated the words, “Micah, I need to tell you something.” It was odd. Even though I hated hearing it, those moments of truth were also somehow rebuilding trust. We both knew that if he never disclosed those things, I would’ve never known. Yet he made the continual choice to wipe the slate clean and repair the foundation that had been cracked with lies.
2. Took Full Responsibility
His lifestyle cost us a lot. It nearly destroyed our marriage, small business, finances, reputation, friendships, family relationships, and testimony—pretty much everything that was important to us.
Previously, he was the king of excuses. After real repentance, however, he no longer tried to minimize, deny, or justify his actions or their consequences. He didn’t try to shift the blame to someone else. Instead, I saw him consistently take ownership of his actions by humbling himself before others and me, admitting his wrongs, and asking for the opportunity to make the wrongs right.
3. Willingly Set Up Boundaries
Initially, I gave him a list of practical things he could do that would help me see that he was sincerely striving for purity. I never had to enforce or nag about these issues. He willingly put up boundaries in his life, and then set up others on his own. Boundaries will look a little different for everyone, but some of the boundaries looked like this:
- Being accountable to other godly men.
- Submitting to godly marriage counseling and cooperating with anything asked of him.
- Installing Screen Accountability and not being on an unprotected computer.
- Changing cell phone number; getting rid of old contacts.
- Having no unaccountable time.
- Giving me a list of all e-mail accounts and passwords.
- Going to bed at the same time I did.
- Not watching anything that could trigger lustful desires.
Related: Boundaries for Couples Facing Porn Addiction
4. Pursued Other Forms of Intimacy Besides Sex
After our separation, Michael initiated a 90-day abstinence period in order to work on building emotional and spiritual intimacy back into our marriage.
That time was both fulfilling and draining. It was draining because issues surfaced that we couldn’t gloss over with sex. We had to deal with them.
But it was fulfilling because it took the pressure of physical intimacy off the table. It allowed us to actively pursue rebuilding our relationship with physical intimacy as the overflow of our emotional and spiritual intimacy. It also helped to “reset” his brain chemically and prove to us both that sex was no longer going to be an idol in his life.
Related: 10 Ways to Build Intimacy Apart From Sex.
5. Passionately Pursued God
Without a doubt, the most important thing he did to rebuild my trust was to passionately pursue God. In his own strength, I knew that I would never be able to trust him again. He’d tried in the past to quit viewing porn on his own. The results were always a deeper spiral of degrading sin. I determined that as long as I saw an active pursuit on his part, and I saw evidence of the Spirit’s work in his life, then I was going to choose to trust. I may not be able to trust him, but I could trust the Lord in him!
This may be a good start, but it’s just that…a start. I can still hear my counselor saying, “Trust is lost by the bucketfuls, and gained by the dropfuls. The only way to rebuild trust is by consistency over a period of time.”
To anyone looking in, we were a hopeless case. The sin was just too extensive. It took no less than the supernatural power of God and two willing hearts to do the tough work of obedience. That was six years ago. Despite near destruction, our marriage continues to flourish as Michael continues to walk in purity and submission to the Lord.
Wonderful article Micah. All 5 actions you mentioned are very important. I would go so far as to call them, requirements, for most couples.
The last two paragraphs are bulls eye statements. For true recovery to take place, understanding the time it takes to rebuild trust and that “It took (takes) no less than the supernatural power of God and two willing hearts to do the tough work of obedience”, is without debate critical to grasp.
Thanks, Micah, for sharing this story. I pray & trust God has and will use it powerfully.
Blessings to you and Michael.
Thank you, Dan! You are absolutely right. That point is extremely critical to understand, and unfortunately too few couples end up grasping that truth. In fact, every action listed is just a result of that one statement! This may sound simplistic, but, truly, when two people get their hearts right with the Lord, everything else will fall into place as they walk in obedience to Him.
I’m so thankful for opportunities to share His victory. We’ve been so amazingly transformed that Michael and I both feel that we would be ungrateful and disobedient not to share the victory and hope that the Lord has given us!
Thank you for this article. I am crying out to the Lord daily. I was a police officer for 18 years and an instructor for my department. I also play and sing in my worship team at my church. I also have three children. I was fired from my job six months ago for LOOKING AT PORNOGRAPHY WHILE AT WORK ON THE COMPUTER. Not only did I get fired, I will likely never be a police officer ever again. I now make minimum wage at a retail outlet.
The worse part of this is that my wife is devastated, humiliated, and resentful. Yesterday, she presented me with divorce papers. I don’t know what to say or do. She is raging with fear and unforgivness, while I’m so full of energy and passion to fight for our marriage. She see my porn viewing as an “affair” and feels that she has biblical justification to divorce me. I know that she is filled with fear and hurt. I know that she’s afraid that there’s more hidden, like a secret girlfriend. I am ashamed and panic stricken. I don’t know what to do. It will truly take the loving hand of Christ to save our marriage. I wish someone could speak love and hope into her heart…but it will be only Jesus that does, if he chooses to. I’m so sorry.
I will try to push forward and stay true to Him, either way. I will be attending an addictions group in a couple days and I’ll continue to do so whether we stay married or not. It’s been difficult for me to see my porn use as an “addiction” as I’ve gone years without viewing it. But, it’s been my escape when I’ve been overwhelmed by depression and feelings of rejection or failure. I wish my wife would understand that it has NEVER been about sex, or an attempt to leave her. I’m so sorry. If you are looking at porn, reach out for help.
I enjoyed reading Micah’s story. and I believe in what covenant eyes is doing. I had covenant eyes. and truth be told he got around the whole system over and over. I decided that i was loosing the battle. I decided to let him be in the hands of the Lord. I have my doubts and fears of what he is doing. I decided to give my marriage a chance after betrayal. My daughter’s grades went up and she has been better. I feel sometimes disconnected from him and feel that i will not allow him to betray me again. So my answer is Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. I will pack and leave. Its great to hear stories like this one. and that it came from his heart to change. Mine talks like i hate porn and their is no one else. I want to honor the Lord but he still says he has his weaknesses. So i completely surrender to Christ!
Glad to hear you’re experiencing success!
If your husband is still using Covenant Eyes and still struggling with being able to circumvent, you may want to ask him to list all the methods he’s used and share them with you and any other Accountability Partners he has. If you’re aware of them, you’ll be able to look for evidence of them, and take personal steps to ensure he doesn’t use them. (For that matter, e-mail the list to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep them on our radar.)
Here’s a freebie example: one weakness of our iPhone browser app is that it’s a browser app. It’s not full-device Accountability. (We’ve got ideas to fix that, but we’re not there yet.) If your husband has an iPhone, you can lock down other browsers (like Safari) and other web-enabled apps (like Facebook) to make sure he only browses the Internet on our monitored browser.
My husband and i did not have any sexual intimacy for 6 yrs. And then i found out he was addicted to porn. He has gone through classes and his healing seems to be authentic but it has been 2 yrs. Now and we have had physical intimacy 2 times.i have extended abunant grace and kindness to him as he works through his issues and i work through mine. I have talked with him before about this and i am aware that he experiences ED. I have asked him to go to the Dr. To see if there is anything that can be done or if there is an emotional dysfunction concerning physical intimacy. Its always the same thing, I’m sorry, i know Ive been selfish. Then he takes me out to dinner just him and i which is rare and i believe he has no intention of going to the Dr. I love him and raw sex is not the only kind of physical intimacy. He literally has no desire for me but thinks telling me I’m beautiful will somehow make me forget the real problem because I’m just this needy little women that will take crumbs. Ibviously he has payed attention to my growth because this needy little women has no need for manipulative flattery. I will only communicate with honesty and my plan is to give him 6 months to follow through with his word about going to the Dr. If he doesn’t, he will be greeted at the door with his bags and told to not come back until he fullfills his word about going to the Dr. And taking the initiative to set up and follow through with appointments concerning his situation.
I wonder why he is so afraid of going to the doctor. I’m glad you’ve been able to identify your boundaries. Sometimes holding firm to those boundaries does motivate others to change; sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, we get to be healthy, no matter what the other person chooses. Blessings, Kay
I am in a broken marriage because of the same things I have no idea how to help our marriage to have trust again and heal from so much damage. My husband who says he wants to change still continues to deceive me by his actions. I feel hopeless and that I cannot live like this.
Unfortunately, you’re not in charge of rebuilding trust. Your husband needs to be trustworthy. When he continues in old patterns of deception, he is not worthy of trust, and it would be foolish to trust him.
I think it would be wise on your part to allow him the freedom of his choices, while you turn to what you actually CAN control: your own good health and healing. Find a counselor who can help you process your emotions, and think about healthy boundaries. Here, here, and here are some articles about boundaries. Find a group to help you process the trauma. Look into the online resources at Bloom for Women.
Trying to control another person is always a hopeless task! Unless and until they want to participate in their own healing, you will always wind up frustrated and exhausted, trying to change what you can’t change.
Whatever he chooses, though, YOU CAN CHOOSE to be healthy and whole.
Peace to you,
He has ruined our marriage (33 years), ruined my life, and devastated our grown kids. I HATE him.
Hello, Micah. I found your article very powerful and very hopeful. I am seeking any advice you or your readers could give me. I encountered porn at a young age, and I realize now, after years of abusing my wife emotionally and physically, that I have objectified her and all women largely because of porn. I have left a trail of destruction behind me that has had terrible effects on my wife and our children because of my self-absorption and expectations that she exists to serve me. I struggle every day with my failure to love. Please help.
Gosh if you want to live in that bondage of watching every little move he makes, not being able to watch movies or tv shows that might spark that desire for unhealthy fantasy or porn, not being able to relax on a beach where women are half naked, not feeling comfortable being around sexy girlfriends or family members because their boobs are glistening thru their shirts or their bikinis are too small and your creeper hubby might be getting aroused and want to masturbate to thoughts of them…
That is MISERY and a life of living in bondage. I know because I lived it for 23 months of marriage with my wonderfully God fearing hubby that was attending a Sex Addiction group at Real Life Ministries, going to Bible Study, praying, etc..but ! Lying to me and the men in his groups, and after alllllll that I caught him looking at Massage Porn and desiring that BS again. I RAN to the divorce Lawyer and was done. I have a life worth living in peace and God does not want that worldly bullshit to ruin me. I know. Bye Bye creeper, selfish, self serving husband. Now he’s begging to come back, he’s “healed” and will never do that again he says..never lie again he says, it’s one to many times and my heart is no longer his. That is the consequence these men need.
Do not be a slave to their sin. I will counsel and advise and beg women to leave these men.
What do you do if your husband won’t do any of these things? I seriously am asking.
My husband is addicted to porn he constantly denies it . He has admitted to previous times.but in spam and utube.all this vile stuff comes up all the time
Day after day.he doesnt think or want to change.im sure sure if we should separate.been together 28 years.he could even be meeting up with women.je constanly says i have all the problems.
I’m so, so sorry. It sounds like on top of his behaviors, he’s gaslighting you. I would encourage you to find a counselor who can help you process through this and build healthy boundaries. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that might help. And take a look at the online resources at Bloom for Women; I think you’ll find those helpful as well. No matter what he chooses, I hope you will choose to be healthy and whole. Peace to you, Kay
What if your husband won’t do any of these?
Then it’s time to consider what boundaries are appropriate, given his lack of trustworthy behavior. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries to get you started. You may want to find a counselor to help you process through what’s appropriate for you now. You’ll also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women. Whatever your husband chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy and whole! Peace to you, Kay
I’ve been separated from my husband of 22 years of marriage for over a month now. I just found one of our old disconnected smart phones hidden underneath a drawer. When I turned it on & connected it to our WIFI I checked the history to my horror my husband had been viewing teen porn for over a year and a half. He completely crushed my heart with his numerous broken promises at him viewing porn. We had just been through all this three years ago when I found all his secret downloads on his then smartphone. I told him it was over because I’ve found porn mags. all through our marriage. He broke down and told me he was sorry and we started counseling as a couple. He started being the man that I married years before. Then back in November of 2017 I felt that the trust was being broken I opened my heart and he reassured me that I was just being silly. Then again in January I talked to him again because I was struggling with my gut telling me that he was looking again. Even though he had no access to a smartphone that I knew of. Then on March 5th I was putting up some of his clean clothes and the drawer seemed to off track that’s when my world shattered. I love him so much but I don’t think I can ever trust him again. I’m trying to be cordial when I’m around him ( he moved out to the apartment that we had built for our son that is away at college) I see him on a daily basis and it hurts so much. I’m trying to trust in God but I just wish he would of not went down this dark path. Of course its my fault and that really makes me mad.
Is he telling you that this is your fault?
Let me clear this up once and for all: his behavior is his choice. Do not fall victim to his gaslighting in this area.
I applaud the boundaries you’ve created so far, and I hope that you’re finding support for yourself through therapy, group, and/or Bloom for Women (online).
Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that should be helpful to you.
You are NOT a slave to his sin. If he wants to live that way, that’s his choice. Until he reckons with that reality, he’ll never come to true healing.
Peace, grace, and freedom to you, Kay
Great article Micah. I appreciate all 5 points. I think it appropriate to point out however that step number 5 calls for further elaboration. Pursuing God passionately is really the only to experience the heart change necessary to stay clear of the quick sand of lust. But many men would ask, How do i pursue God passionately?
We would respond with encouraging men to develop a discipline in the 3 primary spiritual disciplines that bring us closer to Jesus.
1. Time in the word of God daily.- This can’t be emphasized enough for men whether struggling with lust in any form or not. The bible references abound much to confirm the critical nature of this discipline, however Psalm 1, and John 15 are good places to start.
2. Prayer-This is often neglected, or excused with comments like, “I pray in the car and the shower”. Praise God for praying in the shower, however the Lord commands men in the scripture that “among you there must be even a hint of sexual immorality”eph 5:3. The only way to live that out is to have a vital rich connection to the Lord Jesus Christ is prayer. The scripture says over and over in the 4 gospels that Jesus often retreated to lonely places and prayer. We know that Peter and Paul held to the Jewish tradition of praying at 9, 12, and 3pm. Job was a man of prayer, rising early in the morning and we know he honored the ‘covenant he made with his eyes.’ This is important for the grace needed to fight the good fight, especially for the man fresh out of a dark place.
3. Fellowship (which you already stated in step 3, however it probably warrants a stronger emphasis). This would include not only being accountable to other men but also being disciplined by a strong more mature believe which is ideally developed within the church community.
I share my thoughts only because I wish someone had shared these with me much sooner than I received them. God made the promise that ” You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” Jere 29:13 Too many men don’t know how to ‘seek’, and are left to whimsical preponderances that produce no fruit. Or at least that was my story.
Anyway, thank you again for sharing.your story of victory and grace.
Amen, Dale! Thank you for filling in the gaps that I could get to in such a short post! I might just add one thing: The witness of the Holy Spirit. Prior to brokenness, my husband had done all of these things (seemingly well at times). However because he had never truly come to repentance, he had always done those things in the flesh. The Bible says that the flesh profits nothing. So we can read, pray, and fellowship, but without the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit it’s possible for even those things to amount to nothing. The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit.
So for some who may be reading this and say, “Well, I’ve done all those things and still no change,” maybe it’s not just a sin issue but a salvation issue. That was true for my husband, who had grown up in church all his life. He had a whole lot of head knowledge, but lived a powerless life against sin and temptation. But once the Spirit took over everything changed!
Thank you again, Dale. Great comment!
Thank you for your testimony! I have to agree that number 5 is the most important. I know for me, the thing that I had to realize was that even though I was asking God for “help”, I thought on a small level that I could beat sexual sin on my own. I didn’t get to experience real release and freedom from my sin until I realized that I had to completely surrender to God and understand that there was no victory until I surrendered to Him. That doesn’t mean that I never struggle anymore or that I don’t have to be careful. On the contrary, what it means is that I have to surrender COMPLETELY every day to Him and let Him overcome my sin for me, just like He overcame sin when He lived as a man on this earth.
I really appreciate your testimony and “pursuit of God” that you refer to in your husband. If we are not pursuing Him, then all hope is lost. Thank you.
Thank you Micah! I’m sorry you and your husband have had such a hard time but I’m grateful that you shared what you did. I’m a 32 year old Christian pretty much alone in my beliefs where I currently live. I have an addiction to pornography that I’m trying to overcome because I wish to be pure of heart and a good husband if I ever get married. I’ve been praying that if it’s in God’s will that he send me a spouse. I haven’t looked at pornography in about two weeks and was fighting a strong urge to view it when I heard I received an email. I opened it and read your story and it has given me the grace for now to continue to resist because it reminded me that the sin of pornography hurts more than just the viewer. I really wish to have a holy marriage one day and to see how it transformed your husband put some sense back into my head. I’ll keep y’all in my prayers and thank you for taking the hard but right road. Also, thanks be to God for giving both of you the grace to do it. Pornography brings such a spiritual blindness that seems to sneak up in unforeseen moments of weakness. It’s so hard
Micah, your comment on your husband initiating a 90 day fast from intimacy caught my attention as a similar commitment has been of significant healing for my wife and I. I committed to fasting from sexual intimacy for 3 months also but my wife suggested a 3 month period where sexual intimacy would be reserved for one planned day a week. During those 6 days I have asked God to reveal more of His purposes for human sexuality as well as why He would release such a dangerous passion into creation. He’s taught me much.
But a huge unexpected blessing of this is that my wife can now receive my physical touch and kind words throughout the week without doubting my motives. It has rekindled a great degree of non sexual intimacy, playfulness and relational comfort. Much more could be said, but I wonder if other marriages could be helped by planned times of prayerful abstinence in marriage.
I hear your story. I hear your want to overcome this sin. Each temptation is it’s own battle. The war over sin and temptation already has an outcome. WE WIN! We win because Christ has fought the fight for us and hold victory! Dutifully, give over very thought of temptation over to God. Be a man who prays Proverbs 4:20-27. Read it. Commit it to memory.
Also, I have done a study recently that has rocked my world. John 15, you know Jesus is the true vine. We have to abide (i.e. Make conscience effort to live in Christ) Him. Deuteronomy 32:32 tells us that the destructive vine comes from Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. Where are you planted? It’s a daily decision to abide in Christ.
In our selfishness, we choose not to abide in Christ but rather in the enemy and his plans. The enemy is only here to destroy you. Holdfast to God’s perfection through the Son by the power of the Spirit. Fight the fight! You are not alone! Press on and press on, Brother!
LG, I’m so sorry you feel like your having to battle this beast alone! However that’s just a lie from the enemy. Satan wants to keep you isolated and alone, but don’t let him. Pray that the Lord would send you another godly man who will do battle with you.
I didn’t understand what a dangerous and entrapping stronghold pornography is until my husband finally let me in on the reality of his battle. One thing is for sure: He did not fight this alone! Not only did we both desperately fight on our knees together, but several godly men came alongside of him and discipled him into a deeper walk with Christ. In addition to meeting with three different men weekly for accountability and discipleship, he also attended counseling and two other groups of men battling this together on a weekly basis. It was a lot, but well worth if for a season. I don’t say that because I think that’s what you need to do, only to serve as an example that you cannot win this alone. We were made for community. Pray that the Lord will send you some other godly men who’s spiritual depth you would like to emulate and ask them to walk this road with you and at the same time teach you what it looks like to live a life more controlled by the Holy Spirit moment by moment.
Also, I cannot tell you the value of hiding God’s word in your heart!! As you practice memorizing and meditating on the Word, it begins to “renew your mind” and transform you from the inside out! I strongly encourage you to start with 1 Cor. 10:13 ” No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man, but God is FAITHFUL who WILL NOT allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will make a way of escape”…every time!!! I love that! Memorize it, meditate on it, believe it, and obey it!
I’m praying for you, brother…that you would have a fresh view of a holy God who is able to break every chain and release every captive. And I pray for your surrender to His ways of leading you, whatever that may look like. Brokenness is painful! But it is such a gift!
I appreciate your transparency brother. I totally agree with my wife, Micah! You can overcome this with the Spirit’s help and the help of other brothers to sharpen you, encourage you, challenge you, and pour their lives into you! 2 Corinthians 3:17 “. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” You, LG have no ability to walk in freedom apart from the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 7:18 says “For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is NO ABILITY to do it.” You must abide in the vine, according to John 15:5, apart from abiding in the vine. . . in a love relationship with Jesus, you will not produce His fruit, Galatians 5:22-23. One of the fruits of the Spirt is self control. You, my brother can overcome this! Fight brother!
Thank you for sharing your story. It brought me to tears. I found out that my husband has had a lifelong porn addiction shortly after we were married. I have struggled with whether or not it would be biblical to separate from him, as he is not at all repentant. In fact, he has recently, today in fact, asked me to just accept this, and suggested that it might help me to so this if I would participate with him in the viewing of porn and subsequent masturbation. So today, as painful as this decision is, I have made the decided to separate from my husband. I now have just returned home from work, when this article showed up in my email.
That’s a rough spot to be in. Keep praying for him. Hopefully a separation will be the wakeup call he needs. If you haven’t already done so, check out Hope After Porn for stories of wives in similar situations.
Jeannine, I’m so sorry! I know exactly the struggle you’re talking about. I too wrestled with whether or not a separation could be justified biblically. In fact, there was a point when I knew in my heart that that was where the Lord was leading me, but I just fought with Lord over it. One morning after falling asleep the night before begging the Lord for answers, he led me to Jer. 3 in my quiet time and confirmed what he wanted me to do. In Jer. 3 the Lord issues his people a certificate of divorce, however if you continue reading you’ll see that it came with a promise of full and complete restoration of fellowship if they would only repent of their ways. So, really it was more of a separation. The Lord showed me that my separating from him was really me getting out of the way so that the Lord could do His major heart surgery on him. I wasn’t giving up on our marriage; I was releasing my husband to the Lord.
Secondly, pain is good. It lets us know that there’s a problem. If we as wives never allow our husbands to feel the consequences to there sin, then often times they won’t realize there’s a problem. God disciplines those he loves. You love your husband enough to not allow him to continue hurting God, himself, you, and many others I’m sure.
Thirdly, draw closely to the Lord like never before. You are in the perfect position to hear from Him! Although I hated being in that painful place, I sure loved the sweetness of the intimacy I had with Him. And don’t try to look too far into the future. Just let the Lord guide you day by day. He WILL show you exactly which steps to take, if you will just ask. Walk carefully. Even well meaning Christians will try to give you advise that doesn’t measure up to what the Lord is telling you to do. Seek Him first in EVERY decision you make during this time (and every time really). Praying for you!!
There is a wonderful healing ministry to free men from pornography – Pure Desire by Dr. Ted Roberts along with his wife Diane Roberts who helps the wife deal with the trauma from her husband. There is real hope in this process! Their latest DVD – Conqueror Series is a must as well for understanding the why/how/ etc and what must be done for healing…by both the husband and the wife!
This is an excellent sermon with hope and practical strategies for conquering a porn addiction. It is free. I am not selling this or trying to get web traffic or something. I am just a father who is helping his son get past this and discovered this message: http://www.praize.com/videos/Detailed/Multiple_Ministries/Breaking_Porn_Addiction_Through_Grace_J1004.html
I’m in my fifties and have struggled with porn addiction for 15 years – ever since I got the internet in my home. I have an amazing wife and two adult daughters. I’ve confessed my addiction to my wife & pastor at the urging of the Holy Spirit.
I guess I’d just like to say to spouses out there that if their man is a real Christian, he HATES his addiction but loves it at the same time. An addict knows in the “long term” his addiction will ruin him, but in the “short term” it gives him escape. I believe it’s all about ESCAPE. Who doesn’t hate themselves at times, or their life? Porn/promiscuity offers a “way out”. It’s very brief, and the addict knows it won’t last BUT – it’s such a great escape. Yes, it’s all a fantasy that dissolves into a harsher reality after every consumption – it truly is poison that kills us a little or a lot more each time – and YET – for that brief while I can escape who I am or where I’m at. And for most of us, porn has been programmed into our hardwiring at an early age as teenagers or even earlier.
Porn is EVERYWHERE today. Watch the Oscars and see exposed breasts – and yes impossible to believe the day has come – exposed vaginas. That said, what some women wear to the evangelical church I attend makes me cringe. What are they thinking? And not just the teens but often the mothers as well. Short skirts, high heels, lots of cleavage . . . Whatever happened to modesty? Christian women you’ve gotta know this is NOT the way to dress. Is it a man’s fault that this kind of inappropriate dress triggers him? Educate yourselves, your daughters. “Slutty” is in style in the world, but we’re not supposed to be conformed to the world.
And the Internet is a sea of porn. You must protect your children as much as possible in your home. Boys will always be exposed to it by their friends but gotta keep your home computers free of it. How as Christians can we NOT use the internet these days? It seems to be the basis for almost all facets of modern life. And yet porn is always only a “click” away. Lord help us!
Thank you for your comments Bob! I share your frustration, especially in regards to the dress in church. There are a few things I think will help curb some of the worldliness we see in the church.
1) The church needs to place a higher value on holiness.
2) Godly men and women need to disciple the next generation.
3) Godly men in the church need to be willing to stand up to the women as a whole and LOVINGLY say that this type dress isn’t tolerable.
That being said, we need to love those who struggle in that area just as much as anyone else, knowing that they too are deceived by the enemy, but at the same time be willing to speak the truth. Also, we do need to remember that the church is full of lost people! Many of those women who I may be tempted to be critical of, are really just being an outward reflection of the inward condition of their hearts. So, that being said, I would never approach an unbeliever in the same way I would approach a believer.
Thank you again for your comments. I agree that the only hope we have is Christ. The days are becoming increasingly dark and none of us can afford to be complacent in the battle! Blessings, Bob.
I had it too. No longer. Revelation will free you. Mine was slow. Also, I never accepted delving deep into it, I self limited using only the minimum content for my fix. I was in a constant communication asking for revelation. I felt empty, the visual no longer worked, and I desired sharing. I saw that the sharing did not exist and I was left with a hole. The hole was probably the size of the sun. I wished to die. Porn did not work for me anymore, I now knew of my hole. I did pursue affairs, but I could not bring myself to it. I would rather die alone then drag others into my abyss, perhaps love is my weakness. I engaged my wife, heavily, giving to her. No abstinence for me, I did the opposite. Incidentally, during one of my affair encounters, I began to see the power trip that some women get from stimulating this lust in men. She had me pretty close to tears enticing me with what I knew I would not betray. I am still getting over that woman, and my bet is that I never will. Such is the power of this matter. We as men must not hate these women addicted to their power anymore than wome should hate us for or lust. My wife keeps me well, so their power is not strong upon me. I do try to look away in general, and I will offer nothing but kindness regardless, which not all men do. I think perhaps that topic becomes part2 of the story.
Sorry, you sound like a creep. If your mindset is in the correct place it does not matter what you deem appropriate or inappropriate dress. It would not seem provocative, if you look at those women as the beautiful wives, mothers, daughters and women who belong to Christ that they are. How dare you try to lay your perverted thinking at the feet of any woman. You are soley responsible for your thoughts, that only you can control. You sound like your escaping is due to being unhappy with who you are and you dont like yourself. It sounds like you are escaping you. I think you should change the way you look at and think of women and change yourself in a way that makes you happy to be you. And learn to have fun sex with YOUR WIFE!
Thanks for this, Barb. I agree with you that the objectification of women is the problem, not the way they are dressed. Blaming women for the way they dress is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for your own behaviors. Thanks for pointing that out. Kay
@ Bob, I sympathize with your struggle. As the wife of a recovering porn addict, I greatly sympathize with men in general in the porn-saturated world we unfortunately live in. I agree that we must pursue holiness and righteousness from a pure heart educating everyone (men and women alike) of the reality of triggers that people addicted to porn and recovering from that addiction face; however, I will NOT stand for women being treated as the root cause of this scourge in our society or a man falling into temptation…dressing immodestly undoubtedly may cause the temptation, but does not cause the sin- that’s up to the individual person. We must all be responsible for our own choice to act on temptation or flee temptation. Legalism and unfair gender treatment IS NOT okay, but pursuing what the Bible says is a MUST! I have had to wade through the devastation of what my husband has done and how he lied to me over a significant period of time, but I have forgiven him and I’m on his side. We are a team and he is passionately pursuing recovery through Jesus, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. But in no way will I abide people blaming women and using gender bias in a negative form to shut down productive ways we can take this head on in the church.
Thanks for the response. I’ll do what you say. It’s such a struggle but I’m hanging in there.
I’ll be praying for you and your marriage. I’m sure God doesn’t want it to break up. Maybe separation is what will do it for him. I know you are disheartened by his refusal to change and it seems like there is no hope when you hear things from him about how he still thinks porn is great after all this time, but miracles do happen and flawed people do change because God is greater than any sin imaginable. His mercy is considered one of His greatest attributes so whatever you do, do with God and listen to him. He might have paired you two together for this reason. For Your husband, it might mean the saving of his soul and for you prayer, patience and perseverance. Just like Clifford Moore told me before your post, you aren’t in this alone. We are all in this together because Christians are a body of unity
I have asked for this article to be removed. I have posted on Facebook the following: THE WORST ADVICE! This does not heal relationships. IT DESTROYS. Men “confessing” to women makes them babies answering to Mommies. My professional work is successfully helping men stop sexual acting out behaviors. The FIRST thing I teach them is how to know if a woman is a co-addict who needs to stop HER behaviors found at cosa-recovery.org/behaviors.html (see number 12 for snoopervising). My clients have much better marriages and sexual sobriety that I attribute to dignity and integrity from confidence in their impulse control and emotional regulation skills. STOP TREATING MEN LIKE CHILDREN. PLEASE! [note: I am asking Covenant Eyes to stop promoting this POISON.] CONFESSIONS do NOT rebuild trust. They increase the emasculation. Accountability partners MUST be other men who share good values.
We’re actually with you, at least to a certain extent: we recommend against spouses being the sole accountability partner, especially in early recovery when the porn user inevitably will fall. In general, we subscribe to the philosophy that Dr. Doug Weiss describes: that the wife should choose how much she gets to know, but, as he explains, “the addict’s thought-life can be overwhelming for a wife,” and as you say, each man needs another man who shares good values as his primary Accountability Partner.
Regarding this story, it’s meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive. This is what saved this couple’s marriage, but every situation will be different.
I ask one simple question doctor- are you a christian? If not, by what authority, do you join this forum defaming Covenant Eyes and advising christian men?
Fantastic! Men got the lust, but women love that lust in men. The power it gives them is addicting! You got it!
I agree. I just found out that my husband has been viewing porn and masturbating at work…He found a way around the filters on the work computers. He’s been on CE for several years, and has find a way around that as well. He’s been lying to his accountability partner this entire time. He’s been looking at soft core on FB, which doesn’t show up on CE. I have ZERO safety from his lust. He’s found a way to break every boundary we set together as a couple. You can’t make them “be, or do anything”. He is going to do what he wants…unfortunately. He seems contrite but that’s always the way…isn’t it? He’s sorry he got caught…again. It’s the masturbating at work I can’t deal with, and looking at porn as his nurses walk in and out of the office…any time of the day, no rhyme or reason. He hasn’t been caught yet…at least that what he says.
I am interested to know if there was a root cause to this problem? if its been identified was was the subconscious misbeliefs that drove the behaviour? take 5 year to heal
Thanks for this article. I’m 31. I’ve been struggling with this issue since I was 11 or 12. The insatiable hunger for pleasure lead to the use of porn which lead to unbearable guilt which weakened my resistance. This cycle happened for 20 years. My wife found out ONE MONTH after our wedding. (What a honeymoon!). I was sure that I had kicked it. So, it wasn’t a lie when I told her that it was in my past. But, when it reemerged, I didn’t tell her. I didn’t tell anyone. I was so ashamed. It has come and gone. I’ve never been able to kick it for more than a couple months. At the time of writing this, I’ve been clean for 8 MONTHS! But I wasn’t free from guilt.
We’ve been married almost 8 years. Last week, my wife found in my YouTube history, a video that I had clicked on. I hadn’t searched for it, or for anything untoward, but it was present in a page of various water cooler type viral videos that I was viewing. It wasn’t “porn”, but it wasn’t something that I should have been watching. And, to be frank, I was wracked with guilt simply for clicking on it and I clicked away almost immediately.
After she found that though, I knew her trust was shaken. On Saturday evening, we were having a moment of closeness and vulnerability. It started with a trickle. Then the dam broke. Then we didn’t sleep. Then we met with our pastor who suggested we check out covenant eyes.
Today, Monday, I met a councilor. I’m going back tomorrow. I’m going to attend a meeting of celebrate recovery this week. THIS TIME IT’S OVER! 20 years of lying and hiding and feeling ashamed and being emotionally absent. 8 years of marriage not being able to get close to my wife who is the most beautiful and kind woman I’ve ever met. 8 years of not being the man that God intended me to be for her.
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me and for our marriage!
After the confession, I spent a lot of time on my knees because I’ve been shunning God all this time. He’s been at my door, but I’ve been holding it shut for want of him not finding out what’s in my house…like he doesn’t know…
I cried out to God. “I’M FREE. PLEASE COME IN!”
Thanks for sharing your story with us. I hope the addition of Covenant Eyes, a new-found commitment to community and honesty, pastoral counsel, and solid accountability will help you overcoming this habit!
Pornography these days is one of the biggest problem societies are facing.
I too wrote an article addressing the correlation of Human Trafficking and Pornography and common myths about it.
Our Ironical Passion against human trafficking http://srivastavapallavi.blogspot.com/2014/05/image-courtesy-httpblog.html
Have a look and share it as much as we can, because we all know how crucial it is to spread awareness.
Thanks for sharing!
Hi, thank you sooo much for all the very helpful articles in your website. And to everyone who has shared their story, thank you for giving me hope. I stumbled on this website while looking for solutions to my marriage challenge. I have been married for four years and have recently observed my husband has been viewing porn sites (3 months ago). This was after I returned home from studying abroad so I felt terribly responsible for this new development, i felt my absence pushed him to porn. I did not know how to deal with it and I did not know who to talk to (I am not comfortable discussing this issue with any of my local church pastors). So, I reassured myself he will stop since I had come back home for good. Unfortunately, he has continued viewing these porn sites. I was most horrified to see a porn video on his phone despite the fact that he knows our little 3 year old daughter frequently plays with our phones and loves to watch music videos on our phones. I am not angry with him because I know that isn’t the man I married and an evil spirit seeking to destroy my marriage is responsible for this. I have noticed a serious lack of interest in prayer and family worship from my hubby and I am afraid of the possible dangers this can bring to our home. Please how do you suggest I handle this issue? I am skeptical of confrontation because the only time I confronted him concerning my suspicion of infidelity, it didnt turn out good. If confrontation is the best way, kindly tell me how to go about this because I may have got it wrong the first time. I want deliverance for my husband, marriage and young family. I thought it might be helpful for you to know I am based in Africa, that should help in guiding the suggestions you give me. Thank you
One: Download Porn and Your Husband. Most of the advice in it will be relevant, regardless of location.
Two: Don’t blame yourself for his porn problem. Chances are good that he was exposed years ago.
Three: Remember, as you confront him, the goal is restoration, not accusation, but he does need to move toward repentence. In fact, in Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus actually commands that if in a one-on-one loving confrontation, the person doesn’t repent, then we are to bring in progressively more people. If not the pastors themselves, don’t be afraid to bring in another trusted church elder to lovingly confront him and hold him accountable for his Internet use.
Get your head out of the sand. You did not push your husband on porn because you were gone for a while. He most likely was doing it long before you were married and you only just found out about it. Men are really good about covering it up because they don’t want to have to give it up!! Yes, this IS the man you married!!! You can confront him, but he will just get better at covering his tracks if he is not truly ready to surrender to God! Until HE wants to truly change, YOU can’t make him. If men really believed that their wives were DAUGHTERS of GOD they would be on their knees begging for His mercy because of the way they treat their wives and other women.
Hi Micah. This article is very important and I deem it totally helpful for each couple. I’m still young and student but I do know that pornography destroys families. According to the statistics I did, 90% of men I questioned said that watching porno decreases intimacy, and consequently many couples split up.
During our conversations, I realized one important thing: God must be at the core of each couple.
I thank God you and Michael made it big! The success of your couple is also a great lesson for your children.
So tell me, what advices would you give to the youth, who used to watch porn (I am among them), who are still struggling with it, so that their future won’t be ruined by those demonic flicks?
Too much thanks!
Dallen, You are absolutely right. God must be the center or true victory is impossible. Will power will only go so far, and then the stronghold comes back with vengeance. Pornography is actually sexual idolatry. There are only two things that Paul said to “flee” (or literally run away from) and they are sexual immorality and idolatry. Pornography use encompasses them both! So…
1) A young man must pray for a heart like Daniel who determined in his heart not to defile himself with the Babylonian culture. That means that he would be willing to say no to those places, movies, music, TV shows, websites, or anything that might lead him into temptation. Much of the problem with Christians is that we aren’t willing to root out those areas of defilement. We believe the lie that we’re strong enough to deal with the temptation on our own. We want the victory of Christ, but we want to live like the world. It just doesn’t work that way. The world says “indulge yourselves,” but Christ says “deny yourselves.”
2) Eph. 5:11 says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Be willing to expose the sin and temptation to a godly man whose walk you desire to emulate. A young man should pray and look for a spiritually mature man who can hold him accountable and disciple him into a deeper walk with the Lord. When the greater addiction is Jesus, no longer does anything else even compare in satisfaction. My husband became so satisfied with Christ that the “fruitless deeds of darkness” just didn’t seem so appealing anymore. Not to say that he’s beyond temptation, on the contrary, he’s capable of any temptation (as am I), which is precisely what keeps him (and myself) walking closely with the Lord.
3) Get into the habit of spending time in prayer and studying the Word at the beginning of every day. If you’ve never read the Bible all the way through, I would recommend the One Year Bible and just start trekking through it. Don’t wait until January. Just get one, and get going.
4) Install filtering/accountability software such as Covenant Eyes on all your internet capable devices. Gone are the days of passive Christianity. If a young man wishes to keep his ways pure he must be proactive in “foreseeing the danger ahead and taking precautions” Prov. 27:12.
5) Get busy with kingdom work. David fell into sexual sin because he was at home lazing around when he should’ve been with his men in battle. There is a great war going on for the hearts and souls of men, women, and children. Find an area where you love to serve and get busy giving your life away.
Thank you, Dallen, for your comments and desire to walk righteously in an unrighteous world. Praying for victory over every temptation, and that the Lord would use you as an example of holiness and purity among your generation. Blessings!
Dallen, I totally agree with my wife, Micah.
I want to encourage you as she did in #2, pray to the Lord and beg Him to bring a Paul in your life. . .and older man in the faith full of grace and truth, willing and able to pour his life into yours, sharpening you and challenging you to live up to God’s call on your life.
In addition to what Micah said, in Romans 7:18 Paul says “For I know that NOTHING good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is NO ABILITY to do it.” Living in freedom from pornography and lust is SUPERNATURAL! You need to rely upon the Holy Spirit and not yourself. You, my brother, have no power. This battle is impossible to win in your own strength and flesh, but it is HIMpossible!
Lastly, I want to recommend a valuable person and resource I found VERY HELPFUL for me. His name is David Jones with Restoration Path. Here is a link to his website, http://restorationpath.org/. David Jones is one of my heroes. He is a man full of grace and truth and I believe he would be very helpful to you as well. He would offer some professional advice in addition to the local man recommended above. One of the great services David offers is Skype counseling.
God is for you brother! Rely on him!
We have been dealing with this all our marriage, more than 30 years of forgiving and thinking he was done with it. Years of hoping for better only to realize it was a farce. I am realizing that I have not been seeing repentance, only shame and temporary regret. He is full of anger. I have told him for years that he must deal with this, even for the destruction it will pass on to our children. Sure enough, it is on the way to that. He is not taking responsibility for what it has done to our marriage and family and wants me to “deal with my sin” because this time I have said no more! Yesterday my son, in front of his father said I was responsible for why dad did porn and if I had been different… His dad agreed. The counselors we have been seeing don’t really get it. Does being married to a porn addict mean that you are inherently sick too. I have spent these years clinging to and serving the Lord. I don’t understand how my kids can blame me. I tried to keep them from having to deal with it but my sons are computer savvy so they know and he told one of my daughters. We use covenant eyes and open DNS. I would talk to my pastor but my husband is my pastor. He is reading Pure Minds and has started attending a men’s group. Are they going to tell him that he needs to quit blaming me??? I am very angry and I am not going to put up with it anymore.
For your sake and his, I hope reality slaps him across the face. His addiction to porn is not your fault, and he needs to get that.
Often people, and Christians especially, have this confusion. Coming from the assumption that we all sin (which is true), we gravitate towards models of counseling and advice that say the wife is a “co-addict.” The co-addict model essentially says, “There is something profoundly broken in you as a woman, and when you met your husband, his brokenness and your brokenness were magnetically drawn to each other. You were like two heat-seeking missiles, bound to find each other. Your brokenness exasperates his brokenness, and vice versa.”
Now, I do believe that many women do enter into marriage with sexual and relational baggage of their own, but what’s incorrect about this co-addict model is it presumes too much about who is responsible for which person’s sin. Let me draw a worst-case scenario. Let’s say a woman was particularly odious to her husband—sharp, critical, mean-spirited, accusatory, vengeful, withholding forgiveness, withholding sex, insecure—you get the picture. Then let’s say her husband looks at porn. Who’s guilty of looking at porn? The husband. Did his marriage create stress in his life? Yes. But who went to porn as the release valve for that stress? The husband.
If you are guilty of sinning against your spouse—and we’re all guilt of it—own your own sin, not his.
I’m so sorry this has been in your life for over three decades.
I wrote a post about this, and perhaps your husband would enjoy it. Since it went out in our Pure Minds Online newsletter, he might have already seen it. It’s called, “Husbands Who Watch Porn: 12 Ways to Reassure Your Wife.”
Only4Him, I cannot adequately express to you how grieved I am to read your story of the potential destruction of your marriage, family, children, and church body. I can’t imagine why the Lord has allowed him to continue in a position of church leadership while living in such blatant sin for so long! However, I do know that the Lord will not strive with him forever. Actually, I fear what it may take to get his attention. I tried to “protect” my husband and his reputation for years by dealing with it alone. Eventually the Lord abruptly got me out of the way of shielding him from consequences, and his sin was very publically exposed. I hated every moment of that mortifying time, yet God used it to bring brokenness into his life (and even mine). God may be preparing you for such a time. He may be giving you His heart on the matter and preparing you to set some firm boundaries with him. I recently wrote about dealing with an unrepentant spouse that may be of help you.
His addiction is NOT your fault! There may be areas in your life that you need to work on (we all have them), but his sin is HIS sin. Would I have been justified to commit adultery in response to my husband’s extensive adultery just to punish him and make him feel what I felt? Of course not! Yet that’s the type justification your husband is attempting. My response, your response, and his response to dealing with our spouse’s sin should be to turn to the Lord for the answers and let the Lord deal with him, not take the role of vengeance into our own hands by sinning ourselves. Vengeance is the Lord’s. It’s our job just to follow and obey Him whatever that looks like. Your husband has no excuse for his behavior! He knows the truth and has turned a blind eye to it. You need to find a counselor who doesn’t perpetuate his self-justification and encourages him to take ownership for his own sin. You may want to check a few websites for some Christian counselors in your area.
1) The AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) has a very useful tool on their website that could help you locate some counselors in your area.
2) Also the Focus on the Family website has a database of counselors they recommend as well.
3) Restoration Path is also an incredible ministry that helped my husband. The Founder, David Jones is so very wise and full of truth. They have distance counseling that they do for both husbands and wives by way of Skype.
Also, do y’all have some other pastor friends/couples whom you could enlist to help you confront and hold him accountable? At this point, he’ s deceived in thinking he’s king. He’s king of the church, king of your home, and king of all his sexual fantasies. Scripture tells you to take it to the church once you’ve confronted him. In your case the church includes the wider church body as a whole, not just your own church.
As for your children, I want you to know that I’m praying that the Lord of Hosts will surround your home and protect your children on every side from the plague of pornography, and grant them the discernment to understand the truth and see it from His perspective without you having to defend yourself. As I prayed for you this morning the Lord led me to Is. 44: 1-5 which I prayed for you and your children.
Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.’ “This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the Lord,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.
I will be continuing my prayers for you and your family, Only4Him!
Love and hugs, Micah
Only4Him – My wife, Micah shared with me your comment. My heart is wrenched. I hurt for you, for your children, for the body of Christ, and for your husband. I not only hurt for all involved and affected, I am also angry at sin, not at your husband and the decisions he is making to blatantly sin, but I am angry at the enemy and his cunning, sly ways in helping your husband (as well as countless others) justify their actions to worship false gods! Pornography is an idol. . .a false god! Your husband according to Romans 1:22 is claiming to be wise, but becoming a fool for he is exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. According to Romans 1:25, He has exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and he is worshipping and serving something created instead of the Creator.
Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. God is just, He will not allow your husband to go on in sin without true repentance! Pornography blinds you to reality! Pornography is all wrapped up in fantasy and is not real! 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. I can speak this truth because I used to be this man, deceived into thinking my sin only affected me, deceived into justifying my sin to look at pornography because my wife, Micah wasn’t meeting my selfish expectations. This verse, 1 Corinthians 6:11 describes me, “And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Notice above in Gal 6:7 and 1 Cor 6:9, God”s word says DO NOT BE DECEIVED! Satan is good at deceiving us into justifying sin. Right now he is like the blind leading the blind. The body of Christ is looking to him to open the word of God and say, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” He cannot with authority and power preach the word of God while living in unrepentant sin, justifying his actions, and continuing in an immoral lifestyle.
May the Lord soften his hard heart, open his blind eyes and deaf ears and break him. Hebrews 12:3-13 talks about Fatherly discipline. My fear for your husband is he may not truly be a son. He is like the blind leading the blind. In Hebrews 12:8, it says But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. That’s pretty stout language, but it’s so true! Is the Lord disciplining him for his sin? If not then he needs to be very worried! He may be a bastard and not a son! My plea for your husband is to repent! His repentance should look different than others though, for he has willfully led a congregation while living in sin. He should not only seek God’s forgiveness, your forgiveness, and your children’s forgiveness, but he should ask the congregation to forgive him.
My prayer for your husband is this that if he is a son, the Lord would discipline him because he is a son, BUT if he is not a son that the Lord would discipline him and make him a son. Job 36:15 says “But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.” That’s my prayer for you’re your husband as well as others living in unrepentant sin. Suffering because of sin is gracious. You see, I was deceived into thinking that I was a son and that I could sin at any time I wanted because I have grace. Man was I wrong! I was deceived! I wasn’t a son when the Lord disciplined me. Neither was Paul on the road to Damascus when he was blinded, but the Lord disciplined him and mad him a son through his suffering. The Lord did the same to me. I lived a sexually immoral lifestyle behind closed doors, but I began to become more bold and didn’t care any longer about my sin being exposed or who I was affecting. The Lord got my attention. He broke me by taking everything away from me that I cared about. . .my wife, my children, my business, my reputation. Though I wasn’t a son when the Lord disciplined me, he disciplined me and made me a son! By God’s grace I repented. It was God’s goodness that led me to repentance, Romans 2:4. Once I repented, He restored all that I had lost and all the locusts had eaten.
I am so sorry you are suffering because of your husband’s sin. I am praying Psalm 34 over you and for your family. I want to encourage you more than ever before to seek the Lord, allow Him to be your husband during this time, and lastly surrender your husband to the Lord. I pray that the goodness of God would lead him to repentance, Rom 2:4. Bless you my sister.
thank you all for taking the time to respond and help me. i am thinking hard about all that you have shared with me. Your prayers and scriptures and the time you took to respond are precious to me.
I found out about my husband’s pornography use about a month ago. I only felt like something was wrong for about a month and starting looking at his phone history but it was always clear. I’m like Only4Him in that my pastor is my husband. This article so hit on the nail what I am longing for and am trying patiently to see come from my husband. He seems to struggle with the wording addict. He says he does not feel compelled or drawn to porn at all since my discovery of it. I’ve tried to express that I am uncomfortable with his self-assessment and I desire a deeper look at the underlying issues that led to such dishonoring, risky behavior for so long. He has admitted to on and off porn use for the entirety of our 30+ years of marriage. I don’t know how to trust someone who marginalizes it and blames me and our marriage problems it. He seems to go about his days without any change while I bear the consequences of his unfaithfulness and sin. I was initially calm and willing to supportively work on whatever issues that were needed. I recognize there is deep marital hurts and problems but I hoped we could get support and victory through God and His servants. After the numerous ways I have been blamed by him and his expectation that I will just move forward and work on our marriage by being nice to each other, my anger and fear is becoming overwhelming. By my insistent, he did confess the issue to an overseer. They met once and now that individual receives his Covenant Eyes report. I expected and feel there should be more and have shared that with my husband. He thinks it’s all that is needed because he doesn’t have an addiction problem. I don’t understand why God let this go on for so long and even now seems to bring so little support and correction.
Oh, I’m so sorry. I think pastors using porn is so much more common than any of us are able to admit. I recognize so much of my own story in your story! This is such a sticky situation, because if people knew, he’d lose his job and you’d lose your whole life, right?
We were missionaries overseas when I discovered my husband’s addiction. There was nothing in the literature about our situation. So, I wrote a book about it. It’s at Amazon if you’re interested.
A good bit of what I do now as a counselor is with women who’ve been in similar situations. I hear stories like this all the time: the church or organization knew, and provided some initial support which proved over time to be inadequate. I think churches and ministries are probably so overwhelmed by the number of cases that there’s a tendency to minimize the seriousness of it, if the man is willing to say nice words and go along with accountability software. When I hear a story about a good, healthy church that supports the wife and holds the husband accountable, that’s the rare exception.
The burden of this does end up falling on wives, and we have to decide what we’re willing to do about it. You might like our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about their struggle and what got them through.
I think you are seeing the relational symptoms of his addiction: he minimizes and blames, and doesn’t take your emotions into account. This is, I think, one of the very common things that happens with a long-term porn problem where women are simply objects to be used for his own gratification: you end up in that same category of person. Perhaps not sexually, but definitely emotionally, he’s incapable at this point of really considering you. It sounds like he’s still got a major case of porn-brain even if he’s not looking right now. And the real test of whether he’s really in recovery or just a dry-drunk (not looking, but the problem is still there) is whether he becomes able to turn toward you emotionally.
Unfortunately, I think religious work can provide a lot of the same kinds of distractions as other addictions.
The terrible thing that happens (aside from a lot of men not getting the depth of help they really need) is that the victims–the wives–are ignored. Many, many women who face this situation meet the clinical criteria for PTSD. So I would tell you this.
GET HELP FOR YOURSELF.
Find a therapist in your area, and get yourself some support. This is not marriage counseling! I think marriage counseling only works if he is actually taking responsibility for himself and his addiction, and I don’t think he’s there yet. But you can do a bunch of good work in therapy without his participation. He is responsible for himself, you are responsible for you. So get help for YOU.
And have a good knock-down, drag-out with God over this while you’re at it. He can take it. Blessings, Kay
I have a question for Micheal. My husband is the most loyal and committed pastor and gap year facilitator who has been in ministry for 18 years. He admitted his sex addiction to me about 7 weeks ago during an “in-house” separation that I initiated. He has struggled with porn and masturbation since 14 ( he is 51) and done everything possible to break free. On the morning the Lord spoke to him, and he admitted the dreaded word ADDICT, he came broken and repentant and suggesting the 90 abstinence period. Of course, I am delighted at his determination and effort and am doing everything possible to support him. The porn is not really the issue, but masturbation and anger. Rejection, fear of deprivation, abandonment are the roots. He has been faithful to do the 90 days but has had to start 3 times over. First after 6 days, then he made it to day 8. The pain was just too much for him. His body orgasmed spontaneously on day 10 of the 3rd round during normal (now very frequent) urination . We considered this a natural slip – not wanting to be legalistic, and continued without starting from day one again. The pain is almost unbearable and his aggression and increased adrenalin is not making it possible to build new intimacy pathways/ rewards. We have had a difficult and highly reactive aggressive complicated second marriage and I withdraw at any aggression now. Is this helpful in the long run? We both believe he needs to do this. I feel like I need to just stay out of his way until it’s over, but that is hardly helpful toward building a friendship and intimacy. Will this pass? Is this healthy for the prostate? today is day 14. He is cycling almost everyday and doing everything everyone has suggested including vitamin supplementation.
We live in South Africa and search as we may, cannot find any support group or even counceler that agrees with the 90 abstinence program. He has an accountability friend who is wonderfully supportive, kind and loving but even he finds it a bit extreme and has no experience with neuro-pathways and their strength. Any advice?
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Hi Micah, Thank you so much for your article. I have one question. When you are talking about your husband not viewing anything that will trigger lustful desires, what exactly do you mean? Certain television shows? Movies? My husband had a problem with porn for years and He’s finally over coming it. I try to limit certain television shows and such but I feel he’s resenting me for it. I’m having a very hard time being confident and trusting him, even though I do know he’s trying. Do you have any suggestions more than what you’ve highlighted?? Specifically to what your husband doesn’t watch.. As well as how to get back my self esteem and confidence. Thank you!
Good afternoon Micah, Thank you so very much for this article. Your information and message is powerful.
I discovered my husband had liked viewing porn right before we married. He and I are both 8 years into our own addiction recovery. We have told me it really wasn’t an issue I had trusted him. We married and started on life together. About a year and a half into our marriage the porn resurfaced again. At which point we sought counciling. The counselor at the time felt he had to separate himself for our sessions and seek separate counciling for his addiction to porn. He found someone to work with, went twice and said he was fine. Over the next year we had a large life change. He had lost his job. This was not due to his addictions, it was just something that happened. We both decided to look out of state for work. He found a great job, and accepted the position. I had to stay back because my child had to finish school and summer camp that year. So we were separated a full eight months. He did come back three times over these eight months but we lived with my mother and our child in a small house and intimacy didn’t exist. Once the moved happened I was a little distant. Scared. Emotional. I had caught him again viewing porn and this time I gave him and ultimatum. Me or it…. he promised it would stop. Two years later, our love life has been completely non-existent. So I did some digging and of course found the websites and much much more. Emails, craigslist, massage parlors, she male porn/prostitution. As I started digging into this I was horrified. So many emotions you had pointed out are exactly how I am feeling right now. Two weeks ago, my husband finally came clean with everything. (Or at least I think). He has admitted to all of the things he has done, and is extremely remorseful. The pain I see in his eyes is the pain I feel today. Instinctively I want to take away his pain. I love him so much! But I am so hurt. I am devastated by his betrayal. The lies, infidelity, the lack of respect for me, the inability to actually recognize when he is going to these places or paying for these services he wasn’t able to actually think about the damage he is doing. He is 100% willing and wanting to get the help he knows he needs to become a better person. To feel better. To live a better life. And this time I know he really means it. I can see it in his actions! I can feel it in my soul. I know he is going to get the help now and not let this addiction rule his life any longer. And for that I am so proud of him.
But where does it leave me. I have put my wanted and needs on hold for our entire marriage. As I found out this has been going on this entire time. The hurt, the devastation, the images, the lies, the dreams, the feeling of pain and anguish. How do I move on. How do I participate in rebuilding this marriage. How do I rid myself of the images, the dreams, and the hurt. How to I put faith into this relationship again. After all he has never been faithful to me. Never. When does the pain start to subside. I am so thankful to know I am not the only woman dealing with these same thoughts and feelings. Thank you again for your words of wisdom.
I’m so glad your husband wants to get help. I’d suggest a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) for him.
While he is working with his therapist, you need to find support for yourself. A counselor just for you, someone who can help you process emotions and build healthy boundaries. A group that can help you process the trauma–many women will meet the clinical criteria for PTSD, so be sure you get help! You might appreciate the online resource, Bloom, for additional support.
I think the most important thing here is that he truly does do the work to deal with his addiction and remain faithful to you. Without that work, there is no “participating” on your part!
Peace to you, Kay
Typically they remove my comments from this site because I do not agree with them, nor do I fit in their little dogma box. However, your comment moved me, so I want to respond. Porn addiction can be beaten, not just “recovered” from. It is a bit different than other addictions, which can make it easier or harder depending on whether one truly wants to live or die. Of course we should not encourage one to want to die, so porn addiction can be formidable–impossible without a revelation. I am talking about gone completely, no urge at all. See this revovery nonsensense is a temporary solution, given time one will eventually fall. We are talking about healing a purified heart. As he immerses into the world of porn, one of two outcomes is inevitable. First, time runs out, and he dies in that world. The other, that he sees it for what it is, A BIG LIE. For the second outcome to happen, three things must happen. He must be in God “thought” or prayer continually, something you cannot control. He must see all the efforts required to accomplish the same outcome in porn, and see that it is all those efforts he loves, not so much the outcome. Last, he needs to change his porn efforts into a loving you effort, with intimacy included. Revelation must come for this to work, but I believe for some it will. However, one important caveat to remember, if the porn quits working for him, he will not recover like a drug addict. The hole in his existence is real and must be replaced, it will not disappear. If not, he will truly wish himself to die, the pain is unbelievable and goes deep! I would rather be in porn than have the hole without a replacement. The good news is HIM LOVING YOU AND YOU LOVING HIM is the replacement! Now you can delete it moderator.
You article caught my eye immediately. I walked a dark path with my husband, and it was extremely painful. But thanks to GOD he brought us through, and God actually worked on me as well. I can now say that my confidence doesn’t rest in my husband, but it comes from the Lord! As I read your article it also caught my eye that your name is Micah. In the middle of our darkest valley God gave us a “surprise ” child. My husband had a vasectomy, but 6 months later I found out I was pregnant. I asked God “Why are you giving me a child now? ” We named her Micah. Now I see that God knew what he was doing. Thank you for your article!
I often doubt this ‘addiction’ thing. I see it as an excuse to carry on sinning. We all have a choice to sin or not.
A Christian lady I know was in despair over her husbands porn use which had gone on for many years. He would stop for a short time and then start again over and over. One day she had enough and said its the porn or me. If you don’t stop I am leaving, and he knew she meant it. Guess what, he stopped just like that, which proves that if a wife is determined the man can stop if he thinks he will loose everything. Up till that time she had not been strong and determined and acted herself.
Most wives don’t take this firm stand and because of that they they enable their husbands porn use. They are fearful of their marriage ending, or of being alone, of having no money etc etc. Another lady I used to know did this, her husband was a pastor and long time porn user, but despite the terrible harm this was doing to their marriage and the spiritual harm to the church, she just did nothing and let it carry on and on. Our of fear of the unknown.
A young lady in my family got married a few years ago. Partly because of having been sexually molested as a child, one of her absolute no no’s in a man was porn use. He claimed that he had looked a little in his teens but hadn’t since then(they were both about 30 when they married). Well 2 weeks after their marriage she found our quite by accident that he had already been looking at porn, and over the weeks and months it gradually came out that he had never stopped looking and it had been going on for about 15 years.The lies and deception were too much, he had married her under completely false pretences, he had lied about it over and over before they married, and they divorced about a year later. She has never regretted ending the marriage.
We can all stop something if we are faced with losing all that we hold dear. Not enough women are prepared to risk making such strong boundaries and sticking to them. If they did things would be very different.
I’m just lost, after 17 years of betrayal and uncovering his addiction to porn time and time again I’m lost. Reading your post and the tears started to flow. Breakthrough. Today after 2 and half years I realized he is at it again. I was so angry and he left. I believe God can mend it, but should I keep going back for more… We’ve been through this all before…All the lies, and the promises. I don’t even know what to pray. We have children. They need two parents, two whole parents. I just need prayers please.
So how do you move past the feeling of rejection: when your husband chose a woman on a screen or a prostitue over you, a woman who loves him. ? How do you believe him when he says you are the most beautiful women in the world when, clearly, his actions showed you otherwise? My boyfriend was addicted to porn for years before we met. He tried to stop many times but never had the will power he needed. When we started dating, I told him to see a councelor which helped. He has been porn free for around 9 months. We have been dating for longer than that which means that he was holding a woman on a screen over me more than once. And now I don’t know how to believe him when he says I’m the most beautiful woman. I don’t feel like his first pick. And I wasn’t. And maybe I am not since he stopped porn. But at the very beginning of our relationship, the stage that is meant to be the sweetest, I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t first pick.
I don’t know about this whole “you’re the most beautiful” thing. To me, it sounds like we’re WANTING men to objectify us and base the relationshiop on our looks?
He has to learn how to stop objectifying women, he has to learn to treat women as valuable because of who they ARE not because of how they look or how they perform sexually.
But as women, we also have to stop treating ourselves as if our appearance is what matters most, as if “I’m the most beautiful” is our ultimate measure of worth.
You BF should definitely be porn-free, and he should do his work, and treat you with respect. But being the most beautiful woman in the world? So what. You’re valuable just as you are. You live that out, and you expect him to live that out with you.
Writing to you as a 51 year old woman who knows that being the most beautiful woman in the world is no longer possible, but happier than I’ve ever been because I value myself as I am,
For all the women who have husband’s who have continued porn after promising to quit or have sexually acted out over and over after promising to quit, open your EYES. He is breaking the COVENANT he made with you before God. Do not be complicit in his sin against God or you.
If you can leave or make him leave, do so. If you do not have the means currently to do so, pray God put you on a path to financial independence. In the meantime, separate yourself from your abuser emotionally. Love from you when he is in denial will not help him and he WILL continue to hurt you. See him for who he is – a liar and a deceiver just like the master he is choosing to follow. I’m not suggesting you be cruel or ugly. But, you should feel a righteous anger from this sort of betrayal. Do not feel guilty for feeling anger toward your abuser. Put your foot down but put it down for yourself. Jesus said to forgive those who ask for forgiveness. Indeed, do so. But forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. Reconciliation comes after repentance has been lived out and the fruits of the spirit are evident in your mate. Boundaries for your safety and for the safety of your family need to be set firmly in place. Define a world that is safe and secure for you and your children and, putting your husband and all his issues aside, pray the Lord guide you toward making it a reality. God did not make women to suffer at the hands of emotionally, physically, or spiritually abusive men. Make no mistake about it, porn use/abuse (and the intimacy it STEALS from you) creates an environment where he is CHOOSING not to meet your needs. He is choosing to cheat on you with his eyes (and maybe his body too) and in his heart. This is a choice he is making and you tolerating it for any reason makes you complicit in his behavior. Not responsible, but complicit. You are literally enabling him to sin against God and you. STOP. God is not going to punish the wife who guards her heart or separates herself from sin. Remember every time he sins against you, he sins against God first!
To all of you ladies who are experiencing the hurt from your men abusing pornography and sexually acting out, I understand your pain. If this has gone on for years, you are quite likely struggling w/PTSD and it will not heal if you’re constantly exposed to it! I’m there – every day – WORKING my way out. God IS delivering me, one step at a time.
I tried leaning on the church. Many well-meaning pastor’s do not understand the deep emotional wounding that promotes this type of behavior and the neuro-chemistry involved. Like I said, well-meaning, but otherwise, ineffective.
Christian Counseling is expensive, but worth it if you can afford it. Make sure you find someone that specializes in sexual issues, addiction and trauma! If you cannot find a Christian counselor, then a secular counselor will work; just make sure you state your biblical worldview and get reassurance that the counselor is willing to work with you within your worldview.
Seek pastoral counseling from someone – preferably an older woman – who understands your situation. Develop spiritual disciplines. This is probably the best spiritual path you can take for healing your broken heart. Read what God thinks of you and the love He has for YOU. Read what God thinks of those who abuse His children. He is for you not against you. Cry out to Him and He will protect your heart.
For your psychological/emotional healing (if you cannot afford a therapist), read. Read anything from reliable therapists (AACC certified & promoted) that deals with these types of issues. Find a good workbook (there are several out there), and WORK IT! Work it twice if you have to, just don’t stop working on and FOR yourself. You will be delivered, one way or another from this situation. Refocus. Look at God as the one who WILL be there for you and meet all your needs. God will carry you through your healing process. If your marriage of 10, 20, 30 or more years ends because your spouse will not stop sinning, so be it. God will make sure your life is full of ALL YOU NEED to be fulfilled.
I hope my words haven’t sounded to harsh. I truly mean to help. I wish someone had been outspoken with me when this all first started. It may have saved me years of needless suffering.
I pray that God bless all of you who suffer in your marriages over this type of sin. May He bring you peace in the midst of the chaos, clarity in the midst of confusion and healing from your pain. May He bring you to a place of forgiveness where this betrayal no longer hurts. May he give you wisdom from the experience. May He deliver you from the bondage of lies and give you discernment to see TRUTH and only the truth. May He make His presence clearly known. May he bless you so richly that your healing gives witness to others and encourages them to turn to Him in the midst of their crisis. May you experience his love as you have never experienced it before. Amen.
Maybe I missed a comment but something I would like to add and addressing Bob’s comment many years ago on this thread.
I am so SICK to death of men using pornography as an excuse to “escape” for hardship in a relationship or otherwise. It is a lame excuse. An “escape” is going to the gym if you enjoy working out, playing golf, watching football, mountain bike riding, gardening, whatever that hobby is that you have.
Looking at other women’s bodies in a lustful manner while you are in a relationship is not an “escape”, it is being a pig. Let’s STOP sugarcoating this and call it what it is. Stop offending women with the escape garbage. Pornography was not introduced as an “escape” so enough now with the lame excuses. This is the same excuse I got from my partner and it is nonsense and a cop out.
Next, men have to stop with the denial that looking at pornography is NOT cheating, and as a result not as big of an issue. It is square on cheating, period, not buts about it.
To those men out there reading this. What you do or have done as a result of watching porn takes away our femininity in a big way which is the essence of a woman. Same as being masculine for a man. It dies or at least for me is at its lowest point. This results in women becoming more masculine to shield our pain and being stronger (which is because we feel the need to protect ourselves from you) and then we are on a rollercoaster ride of the conversation of why are women less feminine these days. Hmmmmmm, exhibit A – disrespect, inadequacy, hurt, lies, betrayal and the list goes on because of your selfishness and using your penises as a pacifier to make you feel better about yourselves which equates to arrogance.
Lastly, which I am surprised that this was not a question for men to ponder……..how would you feel if your wife was watching and looking at men with nicer looking or larger penises than you (maybe six pack abs, great chests etc) because she had to ESCAPE from life’s hardships or “turn off” however you want to put it? How masculine would you feel? How adequate in the relationship would you feel? Would you believe her if she said that it was nothing but just an escape?
I like many women with the love and support of GOD is trying to work through this. It is difficult beyond all measures. I feel like I am unattractive, not good enough, fat, not toned enough etc etc. I can only hope I can get through this.
This is very hard for me to write. On November 10, 2018 I tried taking my own life.This was only 6 long and excruciatingly painful days after my boyfriend had rapped me because my fighting and saying no, he one thought was a game, but two, it excited him so much because of his porn and sex addiction, that in his words”I craved you” and he couldn’t stop. I spent those 6 days hating my self and him. I felt worthless, degraded, so very unlovable, unappreciated, like a whore, used, so many horrible disgusting things. I truly didn’t have a want to live nor did I feel I even deserved to live. I still don’t really. Before all this I would say I was a godly woman who believed and lived by God word. I don’t know what changed in me that night but laying almost feeling lifeless underneath the very person I was supposed to feel the most love and protection from, my boyfriend. God wasn’t there. And I felt no protection from him either. When I got out of the hospital I tried to go home to my very pissed off at me boyfriend ,pissed that I had made the attempt on my life, and how dare I be so selfish. He said he was sorry for what happened but still doesn’t really acknowledge that his actions are what led me to do what I did. I couldn’t stay there and get better. It hurt to much, I was afraid if I stayed with him continuing his addiction, I would eventually make another attempt. So I left and came states away to my moms to try to get help while he says he is getting help for himself. I’m so lost and alone right now. I don’t know if he really is getting help or just saying it. I am starting counseling in about a week. This is my start. Where to go from here I can’t even think about because it is just to overwhelming. All I am able to think about is my start and one day at a time. Minute to minute on some days.
Rachelle, I am so, so sorry that your boyfriend raped you. This is a terrible trauma and I’m grateful that you’ve gotten the help that you need. I’m so glad that your mom is a refuge for you. Taking things minute by minute sounds really wise. Peace to you as you recover, Kay
Thank you very much for this article. My husband and I are walking through his recovery, my healing, our trust rebuilding, and our rebuilding of our marriage. This is exactly the type of advice I needed. So much of what’s written about this topic is not from a Biblical perspective and is not written for a couple who desires to live out the love of Christ through this entire process. Thank you and God bless you as you reach others like my husband and I.