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His Porn Will Change You: Should I Hold Him Accountable?

Last Updated: July 22, 2015

Caitlin Bootsma

Caitlin Bootsma is the editor of Human Life International's Truth and Charity Forum and the Communications Director for Fuzati, Inc. A wife and a mother to two young red-headed boys, she is passionate about educating people about the benefits of living out God's plan for our lives, including our sexuality.

Being the spouse of a reformed (or struggling) porn addict is more complex emotionally than many of us realize at first. Even when your husband is trying to pursue purity and both of you are rebuilding trust in your marriage, it’s still tough. First, you were betrayed, then there may have been a confrontation, anger, tears, and insecurities. Now, you are trying to move forward, but as a supportive spouse, you may be in a tough position.

Whether or not you are his Accountability Partner, it can be tempting to enter into your husband’s world a bit and view exactly what he’s viewing.

Should I hold my husband accountable for porn

If your husband and you have decided as a couple that you’ll receive regular reports of his activity, you necessarily will be revisiting these feelings of fear, distrust and betrayal. Yet, your husband needs someone to be accountable to and not every man has someone else besides their wife they feel like they can trust.

But then comes the dilemma that many wives face: “Do I do more than just check the accountability report? Do I actually see where those reported links lead?” For some women, it’s quite the temptation to figure out not only if her husband is struggling, but exactly what he is watching/viewing.

You may think that “knowing everything” your husband is up to will help the situation, but I’m here to tell you that viewing his porn stash will change you. Consider, that when you look at the pornography he’s been viewing, you may be:

  1. Comparing yourself to the actors in the videos/images. Your husband is trying to turn away from this behavior because it is unhealthy for him and dishonoring your marriage vows. These images are not your competition, but people being objectified who will never bring your husband true happiness.
  2. Focusing more on these “slip ups” instead of the healing process. If there is anything we know about pornography, it’s that these images are practically burned into our brains. As you seek to strengthen your marriage, seeing those images over and over again in your mind may only bring back those feelings of resentment, anger and hopelessness.
  3. Exposed to sexual behaviors you didn’t want to know existed. Trust me, there are many perverse behaviors that you don’t even need to be on your radar. You can’t un-know these things and they certainly won’t help you strengthen your own marriage—in and outside of the bedroom.
  4. Drawn into the pornography yourself. Don’t overestimate your own powers of immunity or self-control. Many people began viewing porn at the suggestion of a friend or even accidentally and later became hooked. Protect your purity for your own sake as well as to be a stronger helpmate for your husband.
  5. Further damaging your marriage. Your marriage has already been hurt by pornography use. Introducing more viewings of it certainly isn’t going to help anything. And unless you’re telling your husband you watched it, you’re adding one more secret to ones that have already been kept from you about pornography during your marriage.

In and of itself, the desire to be sure that your husband is on the right path is a good one. Good intentions, though, won’t keep pornography’s ill effects from further hurting you and your spouse. Nothing good comes from pornography—that doesn’t just go for our husbands, its true for us too.

  • Comments on: His Porn Will Change You: Should I Hold Him Accountable?
    1. Lost Cause on

      All of this is a lost cause actually until we hold women accountable for using sex to get what they want and for doing porn. It is the same old story. Men are bad. Women are saints. Yet, the problem continues to grow. Why? You are only holding one side of the equation accountable. Also, women have also devalued men so much in American society that frankly, looking at porn is preferable to dealing with most American women. Finally, try to write an article telling women to become biblical women. I dare you. Every feminist in the world will try to hang you. Here is the reality. No one holds women accountable and telling men they are the evil ones 24/7 will not bring about change. In fact, that will accelerate the problem.

      Remember this always for every man looking at a porn there is a woman taking of her clothes so he can view the porn. The bible talks about women who tempt. Those women never died off. The devil is using them quite well and in fact, he strengthened them because in America you can never speak out against women, so they will just keep tempting, tempting, tempting. So basically all the stuff you wrote about even thought it might be helpful really doesn’t matter. Even if your husband goes cold turkey on porn there will be some Hollywood woman taking a bikini selfie or some woman using sex to sell something on TV. Until women stop doing these things it is a lost cause and of course, women won’t ever stop because they have to be the center of attention. Women are vain. But of course, we cant say that either in America. Women are just innocent saints in America.

      Reply
      • sweetz on

        By golly Lost Cause, I think you are right on. I am an American woman…a biblical standard woman (there ARE some out there). I dress very modestly, never go to swimming pools or beaches, and do not even have a TV in my home. What I have seen about the way women are is nothing but shameful. They dress to get the attention of men…and the loose way they talk to men is just as bad. I was thrown off of a site because I recommended to a woman there that when she dated a man, she dress modest, waited on the sex and not get too wrapped up into him until two years have gone by. This would give her enough time to do a little digging regarding his sexual history and also to see if he thought her to be worth the wait. Nooooo!!! Women “put out” on the second date, then wonder why adultery is so easy for men to do, and often these very same women find themselves on the receiving end of that horror in no time flat…either by emotional affairs, physical affairs, or porn. It is all too accessible. If women were virtuous, a man would have a far more difficult time finding an adultery partner and there would have been no porn industry…as a matter of fact, there would be laws against such things if women stood up against it in mass. When tempted to wander (because HE has no virtue), a man would have to settle for going to a whore house as in the days of old. I can see that I am going to end up as an old maid if my marriage crashes and burns. My standards are simply unrealistic for nearly any man now days. Most men love with their eyes rather than with their heart. Once I see a man who’s eyes wander over to every woman that walks by…checking her out, I would consider him…GONE. So I agree, it does take TWO sides to solve this epidemic…and like you said, that is NOT happening in this moral climate.

      • Ashley on

        A lot of women certainly aren’t saints. But you know what? I’m a good Christian women who dresses modestly, wants to do right, and loves my husband. Know what else? He started getting sucked into porn use as a child. I can assure you, I wasn’t around to blame this on. No woman had mistreated him to drive him to this. He got curious and found things on his own. It was the forbiddenness, I suppose. Then he deceived me when we were dating. He mentioned some porn use, but made it sound like it was SO far in the past. You guessed it, I discovered him doing it after we were married for 2 years. No, I do not withhold sex, never have.

        I think the bottom line is if a man (or woman) wants to blame porn use on someone else, he hasn’t truly repented. Repentance includes owning up to one’s sins, not trying to pass the blame to someone else.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Thanks, Ashley, for speaking up. In my experience, the need to blame is usually attached to personal shame; the greater the personal shame, the greater the need to deflect that terrible emotion by blaming others. When we’re taking responsibility for ourselves, we don’t feel the need to blame other people. Blame is a huge red flag. You’re wise to see it for what it is: a symptom of an ongoing problem.

        Blessings, Kay

      • Trick on

        While I agree with you to a point, I’ll just say this: If men didn’t watch porn, there would be no more money for them to make it…

      • Hannah on

        But…. Unfortunately… We cannot control others. You are right. It would be nice if every woman was virtuous and pure and open had never been made. It also would be nice if every woman dressed modestly and had real self esteem so that she would never degrade herself in such a way. But the world is not perfect. Not a single person IS perfect. I think that instead of blaming women or blaming men we should simply focus on our sins. Since the garden of Eden there has been sun in this world. And no matter where you look or how far back you go you will always find women who do not value themselves, men who follow the lusts of their eyes, both men and women who fall into adultery, men who exploit women, and women who exploit men. But blaming it on others – like the porn industry , or women is NOT helpful because we have no control over others! Even if every man in the world stopped viewing porn and never paid for it there would still be a women out there who did not believe in her value and beauty and would still try to use her body for attention. Even if every women in the world kept her body covered and porn wasn’t available you would still have men who masturbated and or searched for other means of sexual gratification because they do not know the worth of purity. What it comes down to is that we cannot blame anyone else for the sins we commit. I am sad that the porn industry is so large but I do not blame the INDUSTRY for anyone’s porn addiction. This was a choice that they made. As though it makes it harder that porn is so accessible now days it is not an EXCUSE for be coming addicted to porn. I am not pointing a damming finger at anyone who views porn. We all have sin and I am no less in need of Christ and his grace then anyone else. But until we can stop blaming others for our mistakes we will NEVER be able to truly heal. I am a young women. I dress modestly and try to be virtuous in every way, I still have sins. And in order to overcome those sins I have to be willing to recognize that others are not responsible for my sins. I cannot point the finger at anyone else and say that they made my choices for me.
        I hope that this have you something to think about.

    2. sweetz on

      My husband was very clever. Knowing we had Covenant Eyes installed, he found a way to get to see naked women anyway. He’d go to Google search. In the bar he would type just ONE letter…such as “S” or “F” or “V”. Then he would click on “images” and there he could put his mouse over any of thousands of images and expand them without ever going to the actual site. Very clever…but I got the strange report and did the same thing he did. So after that, I decided that he was simply not going to repent and I removed Covenant Eyes entirely. I never went back to his computer to check history or see what he was doing. My marriage police days were OVER….but the marriage may very well be also. This is NO way to live.

      Reply
      • Jay on

        I think you need to find out the reason why he is watching porn. Porn is just a symptom. Not a cause. I lived with a woman once. Before her, I looked at porn. Once I was with her, I didn’t up until a point. It was a very specific point. During the course of our relationship, it came out she was molested as child. I took her to therapy. We went to couples therapy. I tried all I could to help her. But the sex stopped in our relationship and after sex months I had enough. So I watched porn again. It wasn’t that I hated her or wasn’t attracted to her. I loved her and was attracted to her, but a very real need of mine wasn’t getting met and our communication stopped. I am not saying this situation is yours, but what I am saying is there is a very real reason why people watch porn. You have to find that reason. Porn is hardly ever the real reason. It is just a symptom. I could have watched porn 24/7 and not stopped loving my girlfriend. The porn had nothing to do with it really. The sex just stopped and the communication stopped. To this day, I have nothing really bad to say about her. She just closed off. So find the reason and you will find the solution. I know people want to say the porn is the cause of it all. Not really. It is always something deeper. Always. It is something not being spoken about. Maybe he feels trapped, maybe he feels you arent the person he married, maybe you got out of shape, maybe he got out of shape, maybe he feels inadequate. It could be a litany of things. The good news is people fall in love for reasons…. you just have to go back to those ways. This is why you NEVER put a false front on when you date…. too many people play pretend when dating and then after the marriage the truth comes out… be true to yourself.

      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Hey Jay,

        There’s a lot behind what you’re saying I agree with. I agree porn use is often a symptom of a deeper problem (or problems).

        But my chief problem I have with what you’re saying is your example assumes men will or ought to look at porn when they lack a sexual outlet. While I have no doubt many men do this, and while many men use their sexless life or their subpar sex life to justify looking at porn, I’m not sure that really is the “deeper issue” that needs to be addressed. In other words, while a strained relationship can definitely be a catalyst for people seeking out stress relievers, is the deeper cause the strained relationship or is it the state of a person’s heart that seeks or demands a certain kind of relationship in the first place?

      • Nadia on

        I agree this is no way to live. I have been married 4 years we just had our second baby. I caught him and my whole world fell apart. He ruined the happiness I was feeling and our family. I lost my weight with the delivery I hadn’t even gained much but he stopped looking at me. I felt so cheated this was not the person I married. It’s been 5 months since and I monitor his use he is clean from porn. Still I can’t sleep I feel sick to my stomach and I don’t think I can live like this. I have gross images enbeded in my brain.

    3. sweetz on

      Jay, I know why my husband watched porn the same as I know why he lusts for live women in his everyday life. He was brought up by a father that modeled open adultery, incest and a lascivious spirit. His father gave him condoms when he was only 14 years old. Lust is the foundational experience for his sexuality. My husband was an adulterer in his first 20 year marriage, and brought porn into our marriage too. He is 62yrs old…has had a lifetime of objectifying women and using lust where love should have been the operational factor. He loves with his eyes. He is disconnected from the heart because of all the influences of his upbringing and porn…which, by the way were so very pleasurable. Love making is too benign for him…and I doubt he has ever experienced it on any level. His sexual dopamine rush is what fuels his performance…and he can only get that from the FORBIDDEN or the STRANGE flesh. So no, my experience is not like yours, but thanks for the insight on what I might be doing that causes him to run to porn. I take no responsibility for his tearing down our marriage in favor of “strange”.

      Reply
      • Bob on

        Sweetz, so did you not know all of this before you married him?

    4. Nathan on

      It is never healthy when a wife or husband feels that their spouse’s morality is any of their responsibility. Genuine long-term change won’t occur. No one can be helped who won’t help themselves.

      Reply
      • Sweetz on

        Bob,
        No, I did not know it until 1 year after marriage…although the reasons he gave for his prior divorce seemed a bit strange and hard to believe. It came out a little at a time (trickle truth) probably because there were inconsistencies in things he would say…plus I found the porn when he forgot to close a window on line. When he would drink heavily, many of the things he said about his father came out in conversation…including his admission to adultery during his first marriage among other things. Then of course, there was the constant flirting with his customers at work which was often told to me by disgusted acquaintances of his or mine. Last, I walked into his store where he was entertaining a woman in the back room this past Nov. Since being caught, he suggested that we read the Bible each night out loud together (we are almost into the New Testament now)…AND he just started a 30 day water fast four days ago…totally unprompted by me. He says he needs “cleansing”…”spiritually, mentally, and emotionally”. I can’t help but be impressed by this sudden turn around…he even took 30 days off work to do this. I am hoping that the Lord will help him and speak to him. Time will tell. I have had enough after ten years of him saying “I’m trying…no one is innocent, everyone is guilty”…which was in my mind a total cop out for him taking responsibility for decades and decades of sexual sinning while claiming to be a Christian. But now he appears to be, so there may be some hope.

    5. Ben on

      All these comments absolutely break my heart. How have we lost our commitment to Christ? To walk faithfully before Him? To model His love? What ever happened to “throw off the sin that so easily entangles and …fix your eyes on Christ the author and perfecter of your faith”? There is no blame to put on anyone else for the sins we take part in, but He is gracious to forgive. It is His grace that “teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives.”

      I’m a 29 year old single guy, who has a huge desire to be known and loved by a God-fearing woman. Yes I do struggle with sin, and yes I am ashamed of my sin. But no, I have not lost hope that by His grace I will continue toward being Christ-like. Please don’t lose this goal in your own lives. Look intently into our Creator’s eyes. Know Him and walk humbly before Him. Don’t let the struggles of this life drag you into a muddy life without satisfaction.

      Sincerely
      Ben

      Reply
    6. Jim on

      Sweetz, thank you for sharing. i’m on the same road as your husband and have had a similar “Father” experience. I know the key is that the only place i can receive sexual pleasure is from my wife, Period. I don’t want to be “62” and still doing what i’m doing. Thanks for the wakeup call.

      Reply
    7. Michelle on

      I am called as a Christian to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind & strength AND to love my neighbor as myself. I am a sinner who fails everyday in the area mentioned in my first sentence who needs to go to the cross everyday for my own forgiveness. How can I not then forgive my husband everyday if he would sin/struggle in this area of sexual temptation? God has forgiven me much & I need to forgive little in comparison to that. It’s a daily choice (sometimes minute by minute) to choose to forgive. There are such blessings in doing so. First & foremost, the eternal- I am pleasing God & that is worth so much to me. I am not accountable for others sins ONLY my own. Second, relationships can be restored!! There is HOPE! Don’t ever give up on your spouse!! That is only falling into the devils trap. We wrestle not against flesh & blood ( our spouse) but against principalities…. Make God BIG in your life, by prayer & reading His precious Word & the Holy Spirit WILL help you. He promises this!!
      That will give JOY even through earthly pain & sorrows. And hearing “Well done thou good & faithful servant” will be worth it!!!!

      Reply
    8. C on

      I think that we all need to remember that we will individually stand be fore God and answer to Him for what we have done with our lives. As far as marriage goes God placed the man as the authority and tells him that he is responsible for the families spiritual state. The Bible says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. The husband is the first one the Lord will look at when holding someone accountable. It’s about loving each other and as someone who has never been without a man her life that has committed adultery, been addicted to porn, or has been a child molestor, (3 dads and a husband) I assure you porn is extremely damaging to the people involved and it is the responsibility of the man to keep his heart and home pure. I can say this because I that wife that has never once turned my husband away or given him attitude when he has come to me for intimacy. I care about his needs and I am more sorry than I can say for those men that suffer neglect or manipulation because of the selfishness of their wives. (With the exception that I some men are very unkind in the bedroom.)

      Reply
    9. Lonnie Story on

      Having been at a treatment center for my porn addiction( not that I endorse that for everyone) there were some women in my group that has suffered terrible abuse as children and had turned to making open and otherwise used their bodies to please men. They were victims and needed help not condemnation. Just be careful about your view of these poor women.

      Reply
    10. Michael on

      First time visitor. I am beginning the road to recovery from pornography and other sexual issues. I have lost one marriage to porn and I don’t want my current marriage to fall to the same fate. I was married 17 years before and lost the marriage to porn and other sexual issues. I have been married to my current wife for 14 years. She knows about my past and has caught me with porn. I have admitted my sin and have asked for her forgiveness. I am in an accountability relationship with another guy who has the same problems I do. We also attend a men’s sexual issues group with others who have been through the same thing and have been free from porn in some cases years. My wife and I have a devotion every morning and we pray. Like some have said, we’re only responsible for ourselves. No person can make us change,. We have to want to change and them commit to being accountable and have others we can share our struggles with. It’s not easy, but I’m committed to be pure.

      Reply

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