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Ok, You’ve Stopped Using Porn. Here’s How to Restore Your Marriage.

Last Updated: December 15, 2020

Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy. She’s also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

First, it’s awesome you’ve been kicking your porn addiction! This is really difficult. It’s a daily decision to deny your flesh, pursue God, and engage in the restoration of your marriage.

Chances are if your wife knows about your struggle with porn, she is incredibly happy that you’ve decided that it no longer deserves to have a place in your life.

As much as she wants to support you and regain her trust in you, she might also be struggling with her own hurt, confusion, and anger. Here are some ways you can help her and improve your marriage.

Validate her feelings.

Many woman see porn use as infidelity, similar to adultery. There is a deep sense of betrayal there, often compounded by her own feelings of inadequacy. She most likely doesn’t realize that your porn addiction didn’t have anything to do with her, but she’s still trying to convince herself that you didn’t stray because of her breast or waist size.

She’s started to doubt whether she pleases you in bed and if she’s enough to arouse you. She may even feel like she has to have sex to try to keep you away from porn, which doesn’t give her much freedom to just let loose and enjoy it.

If you brush off your addiction with phrases like “It wasn’t that big of a deal” or “At least I didn’t actually have sex with another woman” or “I’ve stopped looking at it—why can’t you just take my word for it?” you will fuel her anger, not diminish it.

Understand the cyclical nature of porn.

My husband could go months without looking at porn and then stress would hit and he would be overcome by feelings of inadequacy or anxiety and run back to it.

Satan knows this is a weak spot for you and the last thing he wants to see is you and your marriage whole. As a wife of a porn addict, it was super helpful for me to hear my husband talk honestly about his battles with temptation and ask me to fight with him. Most men have triggers that lure them back into the grip of porn. Have a conversation with your wife about what kinds of things are triggers for you so that you can work together when those things come up.

Remember, this isn’t a battle you were designed to fight alone or based on your own willpower. Your wife can be a key ally if you enlist her.

Practice intimacy (and not just of the sexual variety).

Porn destroys both sexual and emotional intimacy. Chances are if you were engaging in porn, it might have lessened your desire to have sex with your wife or made your sex life feel unfulfilling. In addition, many porn addicts turn to porn to escape real life, looking for acceptance, power, freedom, and release in a fantasy world.

If you’ve had a habit of checking out, chances are you haven’t been communicating meaningfully with your spouse. You may have come across as distant and unfeeling, leaving your wife feeling lonely and unimportant. She may have put up some self-protective walls with you because she’s afraid of being hurt.

With time and intentionally showing her your love and care, these walls will begin to come down. Be vulnerable, telling her honestly about what is going on with you—more than just you had a good day at work. Some things she may want to know: What has God been speaking to you about? What did you learn from your quiet time? What have been some things that are stressing you out and how can she help? What are the things you’re dreaming about for yourself? For the family? What are some goals you want to reach? And don’t forget to ask her some of these same questions of her.

Allow for sex to be more than just sex.

Not only do you want to help her bring down her walls of self-protection, but you also want to build her back up. When you’re having sex, tell her what you love about her—her body—how she pleases you, what you love about her personality. She might feel like she has to perform or be something more than she is so it’s incredible for her to hear that you love her and appreciate her just the way she is. Spend time pleasing her, asking her what she likes, and what she would like to do.

Porn takes a huge toll on a marriage, but God can show both you and your spouse how to rebuild, reconnect, and live a restored life. Some days you may experience huge victories, some days only baby steps toward healing, and even some days, steps backwards. But continuing to press into Jesus and step towards each other will break down walls and build a strong foundation for your marriage.

  • Comments on: Ok, You’ve Stopped Using Porn. Here’s How to Restore Your Marriage.
    1. Typical on

      Here is what I noticed about this article. It is all about what the woman wants and making the situation ideal to her. It is so female centric. It seems that once a man gets married, his life is all about her and her needs and her wants and her idealism. This is why men turn to porn. It is tiring and it gets old. That is the reality. Look for yourself in this article. There were over 10 specific points in this article where it is all about her, her, her, Never mind what really is going on with the male. Lets just make sure the female is taken care of so she can have her illusions about what life is. Which of course, is all about her, her, her. Dont women get this yet? Dont they understand what drives men to porn in the first place?

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Interesting perspective on an article that is all about a man rebuilding the intimacy in his marriage. Why is a man getting his sex life back on track female-centric?

        I believe you’re reading something into this article that isn’t there. What we call “staying on topic” you seem to interpret as biased. Please, peruse our blog if you want other articles that address the underlying reasons why men turn to porn.

      • Jen Ferguson on

        You are right – this post refers to the woman’s needs because it was the man that sinned against her by going outside of the marriage for sexual fulfillment. This is not to say that a woman doesn’t sin in her marriage – she does. We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. Every day. But because I’m speaking specifically about the sin of engaging in pornography and repairing that brokenness that stems from that, I wanted the husband to know how his sin may have affected her and what he could do to begin to help her heal from the wounds.

      • Tracy on

        Men are not driven to porn by women. Men going running to porn when they think only of themselves.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Thanks, Tracy. I agree that personal responsibility is really the key.

      • JeremiahP on

        No offense, but you deserve everything you get, with that attitude. You have sinned AGAINST your wife, with many other women. It is adultery, according to scripture, and you have betrayed your wife’s trust. Also, if you really want to be a man-child in bed, you’ll realize that it is all about pleasing your wife, and that starts well before you get in bed. It comes from a true intimacy of listening to and valuing your wife. There are many other articles about how women can heal and serve their husbands, but I suggest you focus on your own issues and what you need to do before your Lord as to how to heal and be more Christ-like, sacrificial in your love and desiring to serve. It’s not about you, man.

    2. Emmanuel on

      Good article. Do you mind if I make a comment? Struggling out of the occult realm into Christianity as an African, by the grace of God, some things are known. Pornography is like a fish hook. It is smooth to swallow but distractive to come out. Anytime a person sits down engrossed in pornography there is a high likelihood of being possessed by a demon of perversion. He may want to give up but he is chained by the demon to continue.
      The best way to be free is to be prayed for to be delivered but this has to be done by people who are clearly walking with God otherwise it could be more harmful to the victim. Many women might thing that pleasing the husband sexually can resolve the problem. I beg your pardon. The enemy is just looking for an opportunity to get at you because one of Satan’s important gateways to pass deposits into others is through sexual contacts. However, because devils are so crafty, they will embed into your weakest point which may not be pornography but something else and you will be battling in that area for a long time to come. The best solution for the man is prayer of deliverance by true men of God because true men of God shine with God’s brightness.

      Reply
    3. Eleica Rowe on

      Porn is sin. Porn is cheating. And it is about the marriage and the wife because the husband and wife are supposed to be one flesh. I’m so tired of the sin being classified an an addiction.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Eleica. It sounds like you’ve heard “addiction” as an excuse for bad choices. And that’s frustrating. I do think there’s a pretty good case for the idea of porn addiction, just like there are many other kinds of addictions running loose in the world. However you define the problem, addiction or sin, excuses will get you nowhere. The way forward is personal responsibility and working hard, by the grace of God, toward good health and recovery. Blessings Kay

      • Norb on

        Sin or addiction, it’s really just semantics. Question is, how do you react to the sinner/addict who’s trying to improve and kick the habit? If you wield the sword of judgment and tell the person what apiece of garbage he is on a continuing basis, I can assure you that will not work and will in fact drive him away. If failure is your goal, then go for it. If you try the Christian route and say “You screwed up badly, and I’m mad, and you’ve got work to do, but God forgives and so do I”, then success is possible.

      • JeremiahP on

        Addiction according to the world is an excuse to continue in sin. Addiction according to the Christian should be synonymous with being a “slave to the flesh”. There is a real patternistic, drug-like quality to pornography. Though it does not diminish the responsibility that a porn addicted Christian should have about his sinning against his wife and God, there are physical attributes about the sin that need to be overcome with habitual and thought changing behaviors, primarily by dwelling with the Lord in thankfulness and worshipful-ness. But I have also personally found success on multiple fronts, including the study of what porn does to the body and mind of the addict, because it’s helpful for me to understand what’s happening when my body urges me toward sexually acting out, and how I can break that cycle using every tool at my disposal.

    4. Jen Ferguson on

      Norb, I totally agree with you!

      Reply
      • Steve on

        I appreciate all you do to help men overcome this horrible sin, addiction to pornography. My addiction started out innocently enough. My wife and I trying to have children for years, and me taking pain medication due to a serious injury. My inability to sexually perform in the bedroom let us to try pornography as a marital aid. Ivan took it one step further, searching for herbal supplements that could possibly help me. From there, my watching and viewing of pornography just spiraled out of control. 3 years ago, my wife so frustrated by my pornography usage, filed for divorce, our child completely disowned me, hates me and will have nothing to do with me. In an effort to keep me away from our child, my wife then moved out of state, making it impossible for me to have contact with her and with our child. Within a few months of my wife leaving, I lost our beautiful home too short sale. I have literally lost what I hold as being dear and precious in life, my wife, my child, my home. At times I see absolutely no point in continuing on and now instead of pornography I turn to thoughts of suicide. I would give anything to have my beautiful wife and my beautiful child back in my life. However, at this point in time I don’t think reconciliation is possible. My wife will only talk to me to inform me of pending court dates or to demand more money and financial support. No one needs to kick me, no one needs to say a word about my son and try to demean me, because I am by far my worst critic. At this time and point in my life, I would rather just simply crawl in a hole and cover myself up and die. As a Christian I’m embarrassed and ashamed, I know how much I hurt the woman who loved me the most. It’s not something that I am proud of it started out very innocently. Now I’ve lost everything that matters to me in life.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Steve. I am so, so sorry for the pain you’re suffering right now. And you may be right: reconciliation may not happen at this point. Sometimes that is the sad consequence of situations like this: in the course of addiction, relationships become so damaged that they are finally broken beyond repair. I understand the hopelessness that you feel right now, in the face of all this ruin. Usually I’m talking to wives in situations like this, but I’ll say to you what I always say to them:

        GOD IS NEVER, EVER OUT OF OPTIONS.

        We may be out of options. Our lives may never be what they were before, it’s true. But God. Please keep taking the next step, even though it is painful right now. God is not out of options for your life, I promise you.

        Please CALL YOUR DOCTOR right away, and tell him about your thoughts of suicide.

        If you feel like you are going to harm yourself right now, call 911 and let them assist you to a hospital. This kind of depression is a medical condition, and there is medical help for it. Please access that help right now.

        If you need someone to talk to immediately, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1 (800) 273-8255. There is also a chat line available if you prefer to text.

        I would also recommend that you seek out a counselor to help you process through this pain.

        Here’s the truth for all of us: God loves us. He knows everything about us, and He loves us. Cling to that truth, and please access the help that’s available to you today.

        Blessings, Kay

    5. JeremiahP on

      Steve, you might also want to check out Celebrate Recovery in your area. It is a great support group where people can just listen to you, and there are a number of mature Christians that understand biblical definitions of addiction and truly want to help you. If not CR, I hope you find some sort of support group, like a Divorce Care. You need people to help you heal, my man. I hope and pray that you will know the healing presence of God, and that He will wash your soul continually in His presence. Please reach out to genuinely loving Christians that can help you out.

      Reply

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