9 minute read

5 Common Mistakes When Helping Wives of Porn Addicts in Our Churches

Last Updated: November 4, 2020

Coach Cat

Coach Cat is one of only two APSATS trained coaches in the UK and works with women from all over the world through Betrayal Trauma Recovery. She is the wife of a minister-in-training and is passionate about providing resources and education for churches seeking to support betrayed women. Having experienced her own life-saving encounter with Jesus Christ when seeking recovery from her own substance addiction, she understands the vital role of the church when ministering to those lost and broken by addiction and affected by the addictions of others.

Whether you are a member of a congregation, a volunteer Sunday school teacher, a small group leader, or a pastor, statistics show that there is likely a woman in your congregation struggling with her husband’s pornography use.

It stands to reason that a woman who belongs to a church (or any faith community) is likely to reach out to her church community as the first port of call in a crisis. Her church is likely to be the place where she has the deepest, most trusted relationships. Many Christian women who have experienced sexual betrayal desperately seek guidance from their spiritual elders in the frantic hope of salvaging their marriage.

The church holds both an important responsibility and an amazing privilege in ministering to the betrayed spouse, after all, did Christ not come to bind up the brokenhearted?

The women I meet daily through Betrayal Trauma Recovery are indeed heartbroken. Often the most important thing we can do is to ‘bind’ them up, to hold them together while they are broken. When done well, this process of healing in fellowship is both immensely powerful and incredibly beautiful and can create a closer relationship with God and each other than ever before.

How Our Well-Intended Helping Often Hurts Wives

Our church leaders have a very important and a very difficult job. They need our support and prayers. They do not become experts in all manner of psychological and pastoral issues the moment they are ordained, nor do they have unlimited emotional resources available. They too will feel the pain of the disclosure of a husband’s infidelity and may be completely confused by the gaslighting, blame, and distraction a porn user throws their way. It may threaten their faith or challenge their own sense of judgement if the porn user was someone they trusted and placed in a position of leadership. They may simply not know how to deal with this or believe what a wife is saying about this man they perceive as a “good man” who serves faithfully in church.

While none of these reasons excuse a response that creates more trauma for women who have been sexually betrayed, they may help us to recognize the ways in which our church leaders need support and education.

I have heard stories of the amazing support and care that sexually betrayed women have received in churches around the world. However, sadly more common are the horror stories–the stories of an already traumatized wife suffering a secondary trauma due to poor advice and invalidation, experienced at the hands of (mostly) well-meaning yet misinformed ministry teams and church leaders.

Let’s take a look at the most common responses that cause problems for the wives of porn addicts in our churches.

Mistake 1–Minimizing their pain.

Many women tell stories of how their husbands’ secret addictions have been revealed in their church communities. They tell me that churches are quick to support their husbands, celebrating the fact that these men’s sins are now “out in the open” and giving them the opportunity to repent. Their churches rally around their husbands, supporting them as they seek recovery–all of which is extremely positive.

During this time, these wives are sometimes left out of the process—or worse, ignored all together. Even for those who are not ignored, many are offered inadequate support during this time of confusion and pain. Many women have been met with embarrassment and avoidance, only compounding their sense of shame about their husbands’ actions. Some find their peers and leaders avoiding any form of eye contact at all costs.

You see, betrayal trauma is messy, it comes out in ways and places we’d rather it didn’t. It’s inconvenient and troublesome and brings with it a great deal of challenges around confidentiality, relationships, protection, and the like.

Betrayal trauma also doesn’t just go away. It actually needs to be heard to be healed, as highlighted in this quote by author Danielle Bernock:

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated, the silent screams continue internally, heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams, healing can begin.”

It’s worth remembering that many addicts use emotionally abusive behaviors to keep their addictions alive and “under the radar.” They are very likely to lie and twist the truth, downplay the scope or frequency of their porn use, blame the problem on other people or circumstances, and gaslight others into diverting attention away from the seriousness of their sin.

As women seek church support to heal from sexual betrayal trauma, the last thing they need is more (even inadvertent) incidents of distraction, diversion, and reality distortion. As churches seek to shelter women through the process of recovering from such abuse, leaders must develop even broader awareness and deeper discernment, equipping them to recognize such tactics when they occur. Without such insight, even spiritual counselors can miss indicators that wives are suffering from these subtle-yet-devastating forms of emotional abuse, focusing only on the pornography addiction, without holding husbands accountable for the behaviors that accompany it.

Mistake 2–Rushing the partner to forgive.

Christian women (and men) are called to forgive and to love unconditionally, that is true. It is also true that betrayed women experience a lot of pressure to forgive in the midst of their trauma and confusion.

Forgiveness is usually quite high on the priority list for Christian women committed to their relationships with Jesus and their husbands. They have made a commitment to be ‘in’ this marriage, and they’re often very willing to work through the messes they’ve been presented with. I am constantly amazed by the women who come to me, talking about forgiveness from the start of this process. In fact, the grace and compassion of all the women who reach out to me strengthens my own faith everyday.

Forgiveness is possible as part of the healing process, but it takes time. Contrary to popular belief, in this case, forgiveness is the result of healing as well as the path to it. It is very damaging to push wives to forgive their husbands too soon, especially when forgiveness is often confused with trust–and no one should pressure a woman to trust a man who is not trustworthy. This can result in women never feeling fully safe within their recovering relationships, because, well, “that’s done and dusted now, and we have moved on.”

The key here is healing, allowing women time to regain a sense of emotional safety in their lives and to experience and work through their trauma, allowing enough time for women to fully grieve losing the relationships they once thought they had.

Mistake 3–Misusing Scripture.

God’s word plays an incredibly important role for Christian women healing from sexual betrayal. But as representatives of God’s church, we should be very careful about how we use it. When Scripture is mishandled, used in ways that invalidate the reality and pain of betrayal trauma, it becomes not only counterproductive, but also spiritually abusive.

While Scripture will always contain truth and guidance, the context, timing, and means of presentation are keenly important factors that determine whether that Scripture is ultimately helpful or harmful. When making such attempts to help, church leaders may need to question their own perceptions and preconceptions. It is important to seek and consider, really consider, what each betrayed wife is currently experiencing. (While some themes are consistent, betrayal trauma presents differently in each individual).

I suggest that churches begin by asking questions like:

  • What do you need us to know about your situation?
  • What should we pray about when offering our support?
  • What should we look at when offering our counsel?
  • What are you feeling about God in the midst of this mess?

Remember that many women experience a deep crisis of faith after sexual betrayal, absorbing the reality that their “God-given” spouse has tragically wounded them.

In situations like these, mishandling Scripture can lead to soul-crushing results. For example, I have heard stories of wives who were told, “Remember, God called you to “remove the plank from your own eye before pointing out the speck in your husband’s,” which inadvertently asks women to endure emotional abuse and perhaps even physical danger from STI’s and other dangerous consequences of infidelity.

Related: Stop the Abuse of Partners of Sex Addicts

In even worse cases, women have been admonished to focus on their own sin (perhaps anger or unforgiveness) rather than upon their husbands’ sexual immorality, stating, “All sin is equal after all, and if you tell anyone else about this, you yourself are guilty of gossip.”

The wives I hear are desperate for their ministers and churches to acknowledge the utter devastation of their husbands’ sin and its impact upon them. As one woman characterized it, “Why can’t they see that I actually am an innocent bystander, one who deserves a medal for even thinking about forgiveness in the first place!”

Mistake 4–Suggesting ways in which she has contributed to his unfaithfulness.

Church leaders and communities need to know that emotional abuse and infidelity are not couple’s issues. They are not the results of communication problems, too-busy schedules, or differences of opinion.

Porn use is a porn issue, indicating a problem with the porn-user’s heart. And regardless of their own faults (real or imagined), wives have nothing to do with their husbands’ addiction to porn. Most men who are dealing with a pornography or sexual addiction were already addicted when they entered the marriage. In fact, many men lived in hope that marriage would resolve their attraction and addiction to porn, only to discover that it simply didn’t.

Related: Myth Busters–I’ll Stop Watching Porn When I’m Married

When first exposed, many porn users attempt to describe their compulsive lust, infidelity, and emotional abuse as a “communication issue” or “a breakdown in our relationship,” thereby avoiding complete and exclusive accountability for their own actions.

Today’s churches cannot afford to endorse or enable this line of thinking: first because it isn’t true, but also because it does not help!

This response signals a lack of understanding about pornography and related behaviors, while simultaneously ignoring  the science and psychology of addiction. Porn addicts cannot heal by suggesting or believing that anything about their wives has contributed to their addictive behavior—from physical appearance to sexual availability, communication style, professional identity, occupation, spiritual maturity, personal disposition, or anything else.

Most wives will go through a process of internalizing their husbands’ addiction. Women commonly translate their husbands’ behavior into messages about themselves, their value and worth, their sexual ability, about being a “good enough” wife.

Related: 6 Common Myths Wives of Porn Users Believe

As they do this, women almost always “come up short” in their own minds. Hearing this confirmed by someone else within their faith community, someone they respect, will compound those feelings of inadequacy. That can result in a severe delay in healing for women who were never even broken in the first place. All parties involved will heal much faster when responsibility for this brokenness is assigned where it belongs.

Sexual addiction is not about the betrayed spouse, her value as women, nor her worth as a wife. This is about the brokenness of a society that values women’s body parts more than their hearts and souls. Even Christian men have been sold this lie and paid for it dearly, a lie which leaves them dissatisfied with the wives that God has chosen for them. That’s on husbands, not on wives.

As people of God, let’s empower our Christian brothers to be responsible for their own walks with God, to take responsibility for their own behaviors, to seize the power and authority over sin given to them by Jesus Christ, and to stand together, supporting one another as they seek to live a life of purity.

Mistake 5–Ignoring our own hearts and behavior.

I’ve realized through countless interactions with women in trauma that we need to understand our own values around marriage in order to effectively minister to others. Honesty is an essential component to an addict’s recovery and in being a trustworthy person.

The truth is that if–as clinicians, coaches, pastors, and servants of faith–we hold any belief that dishonesty is permissible in a marriage, in whatever form (even if it’s hiding the fact that we got a parking ticket), this will render us ineffective in authentically supporting recovery for pornography addicts.

This principle also holds true when supporting wives through their healing from sexual betrayal trauma. If we ourselves are engaged in any form of questionable or compulsive sexual behavior, we will be incapable of offering the love and empathy sought (and desperately needed) by heartbroken wives.

Statistics show that pornography use is alive and well in the Christian church worldwide, and we cannot ignore the fact that some of our own pastors, leaders, and healers are struggling with this very issue. Because of this, it’s imperative that churches create their own process and standards for accountability at the level of leadership (and beyond), allowing God’s children to confidently follow those who serve, support and counsel us.

Related: Should a Pastor Be Fired for Watching Porn? 

Let’s help them heal!

I truly believe that our churches aim is to do a good job of supporting God’s followers through all life events. I also believe that betrayed spouses are rarely intentionally harmed by church representatives, and I believe that God’s church will continue to grow and develop in its understanding and approach towards betrayal trauma survivors. I and my APSATS colleagues work tirelessly for this very cause: to inform, influence, and encourage churches who seek to handle this issue responsibly.

If you find that you are unable to receive the support that you need through your own church community, please reach out to me and my fellow coaches at Betrayal Trauma Recovery. We are committed—and honored—to walk this path by your side and can even include your church-based support people in your sessions if appropriate.

If you are a church leader or part of a ministry team and you would like to know more about how best to support women in your community, you too can schedule a support call with one of our coaches to gain a better understanding of how you might offer them support. Email cat@btr.org to receive information about our webinars for clergy.

  • Comments on: 5 Common Mistakes When Helping Wives of Porn Addicts in Our Churches
    1. Marie on

      About 7 years ago, I found out that my music minister husband was molesting our daughter. Police also found a LOT of porn searches on his computer. I went through every emotion you describe in this article. And I wish the people around me had known all of this. There was an early push for me to forgive, and I told people I was working on it. I could not be pushed to forgive until I had worked through many of the emotions and issues. Even now, I struggle to keep forgiving. Every time one of my kids struggles with something related to the abuse, I find myself feeling angry again and have to remind myself to forgive. I’m in a new relationship, and every time an issue arises in our relationship, I find myself reverting to old emotions. This is not something you “get over” quickly. It takes a long time to heal those emotional wounds. Even then, you’re often left with the scars, so it never truly leaves you. And any time Satan wants to work against you, he’ll just bring up all that old stuff to remind you how inadequate you are, etc., to make you as ineffective as he can.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Marie, thank you for sharing this painful and powerful story with us.

        The push for women to “forgive” in situations like this is a massive misunderstanding of what forgiveness means, in my opinion. When women are told to “forgive” I find it often means “excuse.” I think people don’t want to face the horrific reality of abuse, so if the victims will just “forgive” everyone else can move on and forget it ever happened. Meanwhile, you and your children are left with the incredible trauma of the situation plus the complete lack of care from your faith community.

        OF COURSE YOU ARE ANGRY that this man abused your children!!!! Jesus said that if anyone harmed one of these little ones, he should tie a millstone around his neck and jump into the deepest part of the ocean. That sounds pretty angry to me! And not very forgiving either!

        Have you come across the work of Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk? He’s written a book called The Body Keeps the Score, which is an incredibly excellent work on trauma and post-traumatic symptoms like you’re describing here. Highly recommended.
        Hope and healing to you,
        Kay

      • M&M on

        Marie, I agree with Kay that you are right to be angry!! It shows that you love and protect your children as Jesus loves and that you hate injustice, which God also hates!! I imagine you struggle to forgive so that you can avoid bitterness and vengefulness, which is a good goal. However, not all anger is wrong.

        Please continue hating the oppression of the vulnerable!!

      • R. M. on

        I’m sorry you suffered so much and continue to suffer. I also feel bad for your husband who was a victim of Satan. Men in the church have not been taught spiritual warfare and were often victims as children themselves. Satan only attacks those who would be a threat to his realm, and your husband was a casualty along with you and your family.

      • Deborah Hixson on

        I was married to someone who I think was addicted to porn. I left in part because I feared he would do something to our children if he had not already. Years I felt grief, anger, and many other emotions and fears. Almost nine years ago five ladies prayed with me and for me. I took five or six sheets of paper with verses and teaching and read them allowed rebuking satan, seeking freedom in Christ though I already had it. I just had difficulty realizing it. Praying you have a group of ladies in your life who will do similar for you. The prayer group must be people, could include men, who regularly give thanks and praise to God, who know Jesus Christ and probably have been delivered from some type of satanic enslavement. But I do believe it is through the prayers of the church that people find their freedom in Christ. Keep confessing Christ, in Him we are free indeed.

    2. Laura Bender on

      Heard Leslie Vernick today at an event. She certainly is trying to help church leaders understand this. Thank you for getting the word out!

      Reply
    3. Tonya on

      I came across this blog post as I was updating my Covenant Eyes profile. When I read it, I remember all the painful counseling sessions that I sat through where I felt that I was being blamed for my husband’s porn addiction. Not only did the persons who counsel us damage me deeply, but they gave my husband the impression that he was the one who was wronged because I demanded fidelity. Now he has walked away from the LORD, leading myself and others who know him to believe that he may not have been saved in the first place. All that to say, this article is spot on. The counseling ministry that betrayed me is a national, very well-known ministry, and even trains counselors at my church. I have decided, however, that even though my children and I will continue to do counseling in the future, I will never allow myself or my children to sit in a counseling session with anyone associated with this particular counseling ministry ever again.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Tonya, I am so sorry that you suffered from abusive counseling on top of the real pain of your husband’s choices. I’m afraid that the church is not good at holding men accountable for their choices, and often will blame and shame the wife. I’m glad you have been able to set boundaries for yourself and your children to stay away from this damaging and unhealthy “ministry.” Thank you for sharing your experience here so that others can learn from it. Peace to you, Kay

    4. Eric on

      Thank you so much for posting this! As a pastor myself, I am encouraged that God is raising up such voices to help women who are struggling. I wrote a paper on the rape of Tamar to help a young woman in my current church who was struggling with the aftermath of assault. That powerful chapter in Scripture exposes 4 sinful responses male leaders often come up with that further harm rather than helping the victim.

      Reply
      • Brenda Scott on

        Eric, it sounds like you are a very emotionally aware and caring pastor. I would be very interested in reading your paper. Would it be possible to get a copy of it?

      • Reagan Marsh on

        Would it be possible to get a copy of your paper? I’m a pastor and biblical counselor, and would greatly value reading it. Thanks. reaganmarsh [at] gmail [dot] com

    5. M on

      There are some good poi ts to this article but my experience has been completely counter to this. In my case my sins nullified completely her responsibilities in the relationship. So while I was trying to clean up my side of the street I was being attaxked by her and ignored by the xhurch. I think the article on mistakes for wives is overgeneralized. I would tend to look at this more from an addict and codependant framework. We all have to work on our own issues.

      Reply
      • Ellie on

        While your wife was reeling from the level of trauma and shock in a disoriented time with a tremendous amount of destabilizing betrayal issues to work through is not likely the right time to focus on her personal issues. Working toward trust together and helping her to get there would require a tremendous amount of patience on the part of the betraying spouse for sure to tolerate experiencing the result of the pain he (or she) inflicted through sexual deception and infidelity.

    6. moved-to-protest on

      Goodness! I would caution great care here! Indeed, I suggest that it is well above the capacity of regular local-church leaders and parisioners to operate intelligently and with decency in this area. Having been away from church for a very long time, and being alone since my darling son’s death in a town where we were newcomers, I joined my local church (the one in which my son’s funeral service was held and the sole beneficiary of my will for that reason) and made warm friends with the new vicar there. The relationship was completely chaste, and conducted entirely in public. Nonetheless, his wife, herself ordainded, suspected an affair between us, and took her grievance to the church leaders. It took me by surprise when those previously very friendly church leaders (all oldish men) averted their faces and declined to answer my greeting. The climax came when the vicar himself made a public display of blanking me, now persona non grata to him. All this happened over two consecutive Sundays.

      Of course, I have not returned to this church, nor to any other. And I do feel very hurt and badly treated. I am not a loose woman, nor is the vicar a porn addict. But none of that mattered even to the vicar, who had earlier offered his enthusiastic friendship to me. Instead, he thought it expedient to turn on me to rapidly defuse the threat to his hold on his ministry created by his wife’s accusation. This quite ugly and thoroughly un-Christian scenario would not have developed if these church leaders were worldly-wise enough to see an insecure woman and not a betrayed wife in the vicar’s wife, and a bereaved mother and upright woman who needs the safety of the church community in me. But they are simple people. So they did not even tell me that I am accused, nor offer me a hearing. The upshot of their intervention was gratuitous insult to me. I hope my confidence suggests clearly that they, the typical local-church leaders, should not be encouraged to become porn vigilanties. And might self-styled betrayed wives be made mindful of not disrupting the civilised equilibrium of the church community? I put that to you very urgently.

      Reply
    7. Barbara on

      I have been told by well meaning friends and a therapist (Christians) to forgive and forget my husband’s porn use over 35 of our marriage. I have chosen to forgive but there is a process tomwalj through the emotional trauma.
      I expkakvdc the trauma but if I talk about it I am accused of not forgiving. I must keep silent about my pain. If I talk to my husband he tells me he will have to move into the guest room or move out of our home. He says he can’t take it and gets defensive when I share my emotions or ask anything about what he thinks may have lead to his addiction to porn.
      I have no money so I cannot go to therapy so I will be starting a support group in order to get and give support to others.
      I am made to feel like I’m crazy for grieving the loss of my marriage as I knew it. Loss of my husband as a trusted friend. The betrayal is so painful. I have to hide my tears.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Barbara,
        I am so, so sorry that after enduring your husband’s abuse, you’ve endured yet more abuse at the hands of “well meaning” friends and “therapists.” You won’t hear me telling you to forigve and forget! You’ll hear me telling you to find a licensed therapist, find a group, create healthy boundaries (here and here are some articles), and read up on trauma with The Body Keeps the Score. You might also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women, where you can find support forums, classes, and lots of other resources. I know you say you don’t have money, but if your husband tells you that “you don’t have money” for therapy, depriving you of the resources for appropriate treatment, that is financial abuse–on top of everything else. Walk dogs, babysit, bag groceries–anything that will give you the freedom to seek the resources you need! In the meantime, you might want to read this article about how a high view of marriage includes divorce.
        Peace to you,
        Kay

      • R. M. on

        It is a viscous cycle. Husband is hurting so acts out, wife finds out and feels hurt. Confronts husband who feels shamed and acts out, etc, etc. meanwhile the enemy is eating it up. Victory can only come through knowing our identity in Christ and what the redemption gave us! We are no longer slaves to sin, we are new creations and need to live as such.

    8. Val on

      My husband and I have been married for 43 years, and have struggled with the results that his porn addiction has had on “us”! Though I don’ t see divorce as a positive solution to our dilema, the fact is, he moved donwstairs over a year ago, making it seem as though we are! Over the years we have sought counseling but to no avail! I am constantly reminded that I am not fulfilling my duty to him as the scripture admonishes so I make it difficult for him to resist temptation! When i explain to him why I have lost interest in intamacy with him due to his unfaithfulness, he doesn’t seem to care enough or try to understand and so the vicious cycle continues! I find it extremely diffucult to respect or trust him on all levels of our relationship and at a loss as to what to do at this point! I don’t even consider us to be “platonic” as far as a friendship is concerned. Even though he claims to be a christian, he sure doesn’t live like one, yet accuses me of acting like I am “holier than thou” and accuses me of setting a standard that even the OT patriarchs wouldn’t be able to uphold, let alone expect him to! Any words if advice?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Val,
        Well, I always feel sad when I hear “over the years WE have sought counseling…” because, as a therapist, I get this story in my office all the time from women who’ve been married similar lengths of time to yours. I think pornography addiction has all too often been treated as a couples’ problem, when it really is one person’s problem that has a huge impact on the marriage. The person with the problem should be doing the work to solve the problem, and if he is not able to do so, the wife is free to respond however she wishes: leave, stay with boundaries, etc.

        It sounds to me like you’re choosing to stay with boundaries, but still being told that it’s somehow your fault that he can’t deal with his problems. He’s not respecting your boundaries. But that is his problem to deal with! You stay strong in what is healthy for you, and let him do his own work. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries you might find helpful.

        Be aware that someone who violates their own personal values on a regular basis, like your husband has been doing for decades, develops a system of rationalizations in order to protect themselves from the reality of what they are doing. Calling you ‘Holier than thou’ is part of his system of rationalizations. Here, here, and here are some short animations that might help you recognize his patterns so that you don’t have to ride the crazy train with him.

        (And BTW, anybody who’s read the OT should realize that the patriarchs weren’t exactly anybody’s standard for righteous living!!!! How many wives did David have? How many times did Abraham sell Sarah?)

        I think you would probably also benefit from the support of a good counselor. Not to work on the marriage, but to help you process your emotions and stay strong in your boundaries. You might also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

    9. Val on

      Thank you soooo much for responding! I have been praying with all my heart and soul as to what God would have me do! It is my hearts desire to be pleasing to Him and I feel as though leaving my husband would result in Gods disappoinment in me for a being a bad testimony; another Christian bit the dust! Living as we are is something akin to being divorced or widowed, yet without the closure one would experience in a normal situation! Some days the reality of what we have become is so emotionally exhausting, I can hardly function! The information you have provided, is very helpful!

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        You haven’t done anything wrong, and telling the truth and living in the truth is never a problem with God. Maybe other people struggle to deal with the fact that being a Christian doesn’t magically make everything perfect, but God is well aware of reality! None of us are required to hide, enable, or support sin. Be free.

    10. Val on

      Over the years, I have read books, commentaries, testimonials, been coached, counseled, etc., searching for answers to fix us! Even though he has been involved in counseling, it was only because I initiated it! For so long I have was made to believe that I was much to blame for his failure to resist temptation and involment! Because I became uninterested sexually, (due to his invovlment), I began pulling away! For far too long I have believed that I am guilty, (as he reminded me), of not meeting his need the way a wife is obligated to, all the while trying to function on the level that one is able to do within a healthy relationship! As a result it became just that, obligatory, so he moved donwstairs! I have found that I am struggling to break out of that mindset and face reality that at this point, we are no longer functioning as a couple! I am coming to grips with the fact that I need to make a responsible and sane decision about what I need to do and it is not without much pain and sorrow! Looking back over our years together, I now see the signs and red flags more clearly; the ones I have been inadvertantly glibbing over for far too long! I admit that I am not an easy person to live with at times, I have my own shortfalls, but I realize now that when he turns to his addiction for comfort instead of putting forth effort to work our differences out, that is not my fault! Although he reminds me that I am the “only” women he has ever wanted and has been with, (I guess porn whores don’t count because they aren’t real), and that when he said “I do”, he has not changed his mind or considered divorce, I just have to shake my head in unbelief! At this point, I am stronger and though I do feel sorrry for him, I cannot subject myself to his mindset any longer! I hope and pray, more so than I have been, that he would come around and do more than admit he has a problem and seek to get help! Thank you for your ministry and God bless those of you who are committed to helping those of us who are hurting, not on just one side, but on both sides of the spectrum!!!

      Reply
    11. Ashlee on

      Hello everyone, I found out last week that my husband has been looking at porn. I feel so sick thinking about it. We have three children. I am my husbands “one and only “. I have been trying to encourage him and be strong for him so we can get through this. The worst part is there is no one there to hold me up as my heart is crushed. I can’t believe he can look at another woman and feel the feelings only I am supposed to provide him with. I have been having a hard day. We are on day 4 of using covenant eye and last night I saw that he tried to delete the app telling me it was causing his phone to malfunction. My heart breaks again. Where do I turn to ? Is our two devotional a day and multiple praying and the covenant eyes enough to overcome this? I first felt ugly or like my stretch marks from pregnancy had made him find these lost girls attractive but after reading this article I am yet reminded that I was fiercely made, and it is not my fault. I feel so alone.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Ashlee,

        As a therapist, I would say that NO–Covenant Eyes plus multiple devotions and prayer will not be enough. These are good first steps, but only the first steps. Your husband needs to find himself a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, just for him, someone who can help him be honest about what’s really going on. “Causing his phone to malfunction”–nope. That’s just him needing his fix, and unfortunately he will probably continue to need it for quite some time. He needs regular, ongoing, experienced help to make it through to true recovery.

        You also need a therapist for yourself, someone who can support you as you process emotions and build healthy boundaries. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries to help you get started. Also, check into the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        Whatever he chooses, YOU choose to be healthy and whole.
        Peace to you,
        Kay

    12. Lisa on

      I’m sitting up, again, at 3:00 am, alone, although my husband is sleeping peacefully right beside me. We’ve been married for over 17 yrs and he disclosed (somewhat) his addiction last December. Our first counselor excused his lies and generally dismissed me outright. He would say “maybe he lied about talking to his co-worker (much more…inappropriate relationship) to validate you?” (i don’t care why) “maybe he’s just bored and that’s why after months, he won’t leave her alone?” (talk to a guy….call ME if you’re bored) “maybe it wasn’t a lie about the other girl?” (it was….already admitted) and so on. Several sessions later, I didn’t go to the last 3, he actually told my husband that he should go to work and have a personal talk with this one particular woman, privately, and tell her he was having marital problems because of her (no…not her or any of them) and explain that he can’t be friends with her like before. That was it for me. We started hunting another and found recovery nation. He made it about halfway through before quitting. A couple of weeks ago he found another. The guy sent “homework” ….we sent money. They had a session last week and he talked about my role. How to forgive and understand that men are visual and when he goes to work and spends all day looking at dressed up women all day, the last thing he wants to do is come home to less. It’s my role to dress up and have make-up on, hair done etc.etc. because when women get comfortable in a marriage, we invite the devil into our man’s heart. All men struggle with lust, even if they won’t admit it and it’s basically up to us wives to stay in competition mode in order to make it easier for men to try and resist. He sent links to two books. I read the first…..”When sinners say I do” . It’s a very manipulative collection of bible vs. cherry picked to teach that spouses are as responsible as the luster/cheater etc. We should worry about our own sins of anger etc. It even lies straight out saying Jesus was never angry and we (wives) should emulate. The other book that I sat up reading (and crying) is called “Love and Respect”. It calls for wives to always respect husbands and behave accordingly, whether they deserve it or not. It states that women are called to change in order to do this because if you don’t, your husband will not love you. It’s required for men, in order for them to love. If they hurt you by being selfish, or unfaithful etc., the only way they stop is for wives to show respect. I feel so hopeless right now. I feel like if I ask my husband to drop this guy, then I’M the one “stopping him” from getting help. Like I can’t be satisfied or something. I’m sorry this is so long. I’m really struggling….more and more with every attempt to get help. It’s making it worse.

      Reply
      • Olivia on

        I have been married 35 years. My husband has been involved in porn for most of that time. I didn’t know how deep until last year. He has been counseling for 2 years. He tells me it’s an addiction but also says it’s my fault. He an the pastor say he is making progress but I see through his lies. We have been staying in separate rooms because I heard that would be a healthy boundary. I was hoping to resolve this and move forward. He gave me his tv device and says he wants to show me he is trying. In the last 4 months he has bought 3 new devices thinking I am ignorant to his purpose. I finally have had enough. I can’t make him change. He has to want our marriage more than other women. I have lived my whole life for my family and I am devastated. I am in complete mourning. No one around me understands what I am going through. All the support is going to my husband. I am glad he has Christians who encourage him. I do love him, but this is not a healthy relationship.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Olivia,

        I’m so sorry for the pain you are going through, and so grateful for your wisdom. You know your situation, you know what’s going on. As painful as this is, I’m glad you can see the truth.

        His choices are absolutely NOT your fault. I know you know that. I just want to say it out loud!

        I think this article will be encouraging to you: A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce. You can be absolutely devastated and in mourning, and still do the right thing for yourself.

        You might also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women. And I hope you will find a therapist, just for you, someone who will understand what you’re going through and who will support you as you do hard things.

        You are wise and brave, and you can be free.

        Peace,
        Kay

    13. Lady on

      I want to hug every women who is in this battle! It rips your heart out. There are no words to express to the people out there who just don’t get it…to make them understand our pain and compounded feelings of invalidation by family, friends, pastors, and therapists. I have been fighting crazy upside down world for years over 20 at least. I really gave my husband chance after chance and he was messing around in recovery not taking it seriously. I am on the fence about divorcing partly due to fear. Fear of displeasing God, fear of not being able to make it financially on my own, etc. I do have my paperwork ready and all the lawyer needs is my credit card number.

      Reply
      • Lana on

        Lady I wish I could give you a huge hug. 20 years – you must feel so tired and weary of this battle. I’ve only been married two years and I have found the handful of conversations we’ve had regarding his porn use absolutely debilitating. I can think of nothing else for days afterwards, I don’t want to get out of bed, eat, shower much less leave the house. I haven’t gone to the church for counsel for the very reasons in these comments – it’s not worth it to add having my feelings invalidated to the weight of this burden. One thing that I have found instrumental for our marriage so far is the book ‘The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work’ by Drs John and Julie Gottman. They literally rescue marriages on the brink, but also help you to identify if yours is past the point of no return. The negative impact of porn use is addressed in the later chapters of the book. I wonder if giving this book a read could be something of a last ditch attempt to save your marriage.

    14. Tim Davis on

      Nice Article how people is getting affected in Porn ! how to get rid of this situation. I would like to recommend to anyone interested in the topic: https://www.hupcfl.com/blog/

      Reply

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