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Porn and Adultery – A Woman’s Perspective

Last Updated: April 2, 2024

The following is a testimony from Sarah Markley. To read her complete story visit her website.

. . . .

sarah markleySix years ago my life ended . . . or rather, began.

Early in January of 2004 I confessed to an affair, both emotional and physical, that I’d been engaging in for a few years. It was the end of an old way of life for me (and for my husband) and the beginning of something amazing and grace-filled.

During one of the first sessions with our marriage counselor she said, “An affair is not the reason for marriage problems, it’s a symptom”. . . or something like that.

Right, so all of the other things we were engaging in both individually and as a couple were feeding our selfish habits, one of which was a horribly self-destructive affair that I’d been fostering. We, in essence, had a sick marriage and one of the results of that sick marriage was my affair.

Caustic communication with sarcasm as its core value, excessive drinking and elaborate money spending habits were just some of the bad practices we’d built as a couple. Add to that regular viewing of pornography and no boundaries in what we watched or how we each interacted with the opposite sex, and we had a marriage ripe for disaster.

Years before all of this, my husband had been ejected from his Christian middle school for selling porn videos out of his locker. That’s right. Needless to explain in detail, he’d struggled with pornography, like many men, from the time he was very young.

During the first few years of our marriage, both Internet and video pornography became a regular part of our bedroom activities. Even though he introduced it to me, I was a willing participant in the viewing and allowed the images and desires to invade me until it became almost as great an addiction as my husband was dealing with.

He looked at videos.

I looked at erotica websites.

And then together we used pornography as a “third party” when we had sex with each other.

The cycle that pornography created was destructive. It zapped my husband’s desire for me, but it fed my craving for frequent sex. As a result, we became so unevenly matched in desire that most evenings one or both of us was so frustrated with the other that it became a constant source of battle.

Pornography did NOT cause me to have an affair, but it fed my desires in unhealthy ways and was a factor in my downward spiral. It became something I relied upon for arousal. It became something I depended on during our times of sexual interaction. And then it became something I engaged in alone when he was gone on business trips or working late.

Six years ago our lives came to a standstill. I had confessed to an affair with a friend of my husband, God had broken my heart, and I was ready to do anything and everything to fix the mess that I’d made. Although my husband hadn’t engaged in an extramarital affair, he was in as much of a need for redemption as I was.

We spent a couple years living like “monks,” having gotten rid of movies, DVDs, and the TV cable—things that would have been detrimental to our crawl back to Christ. We poured out alcohol, read the Bible from cover to cover and spent hours and hours in counseling sessions.

God had so breathtakingly changed us in January of that year that halting the pornography was just a given at this point. We were so ready to have our lives wrecked by God that locking down our computers was a no-brainer. Our hearts were different: new and alive. The thought of pornography was distasteful to me by now and I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my “newlywed” relationship with my husband or my “newlywed” relationship with God. I disciplined myself to try to forget the pictures that had been burned into my mind from years of viewing destructive pornographic images.

Most of it is habit by now. As a couple, we know that when a television show or movie goes “south” we need to switch the channel or turn it off altogether. We still don’t have a cable connection to our home and we’ve tightly locked down the computers at home.

I’ve been able to live six years pornography-free, both in my mind and in practice. I owe it to a heart changed and softened by Christ, and to boundaries that we’ve put in place and adhered to as a couple.

And I’d never go back.

  1. Phyllis:

    Thank you for your question.

    The “bad” news is that NO one will change unless they make the choice themselves. No amount begging or counseling will make a man or woman, who has chosen to engage in an affair of any type, stop that affair.

    Even if you took away his phone (so no text messages) if he wants to carry on an emotional affair with someone he will find a way. Lock down the computers and some men will still find a way to view porn.

    It’s about desire and the condition of the heart.

    If your husband truly is repentant like you say he is (or was) then he will allow God to come in and truly take over this area of his life.

    The key to true heart change is to allow God to first help him understand the gravity of his sin, how much it has both grieved God and his wife, how with the affairs/porn he can never have healthy and whole earthly relationships. And then after that, do EVERYTHING that it takes to make things right.

    With us it included getting rid of harmful friendships, we stopped watching all television and movies for awhile, i erased phone numbers, email addresses. i know of some couples that “fixing” things included a job change, church change, even moving.

    It comes down to a single question: how bad do you (does he, in this case) want it?

    How bad does he want to be whole? to have a good marriage? to be in right and honest standing with God?

    It isn’t easy. it takes discipline and intention. this kind of stuff doesn’t go away without a lot of hard work and the Holy Spirit.

    I will be praying for you and your husband today for your particular situation.

    I hoped this helped. if you want to email me directly you can at sarah (at) sarahmarkley (dot) com

  2. Phyllis

    Sarah, I am dealing with my husband’s addiction to pornography from childhood and his subsequent unwillingness to put boundaries up in relationships with other women. I have locked down both of our computers at home. However, he has carried on explicit “emotional” affairs (as far as I know) with women via text msgs on his cell phone. He claims he has quit but I don’t believe him. He repented to me and God and said he was going to get help thru counseling, but he hasn’t made any moves to do so. He is a pastor and I really don’t know how to handle this. Can you offer any advice?

  3. Sarah, thanks so much for sharing that story! I have been reading a book called The Worth of Every Soul and their story is similar. It’s awesome to know that there are people who take their troubles to the Lord instead of running from them!!

  4. Beatrice

    I wonder if you realise how much you are helping others with your honesty. I have only just stumbled across your website while looking for something else, but your comments are an eye opener to me. Thank you so much!

  5. Praise the Lord Sarah for imparting His supernatural intervention in your individual and marriage’s most desperate times. It overflows my heart with joy knowing that Christ can sympathize and grieve with each and every one because of His living in humanity’s shoes. Because of His perfect fellowship with the Father, Jesus is our means of escaping a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. Freedom from all forms of sin is there, we simply have to desire it and choose to love God above all things.

  6. A touching story that is good for all to here. Thank you so much for being willing to share yourself and you experiences with us. It’s great when we can use our mistakes to help others learn and avoid them. It’s also great to see God bless you through honesty in your marriage. Keep working at it, and again thank you for sharing.

  7. love it, sarah. love your honesty and God’s redemptive power. thankful for that for sure.

  8. Thanks Cindy. =)

    And Johnny, I agree. Thank you for your comment.

  9. That’s an amazing story. I can’t imagine how difficult that may have been. Dealing with one spouse who has an addiction is one thing, but when both struggle with the same issue, that brings a new set of challenges. Although, I can see how it could go either way. Either you both help each other, or you both hinder each other. I’m glad that in your case the former is true.

  10. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your heart and life with many. I am confident your words will help change someone’s marriage today.

    I love you, my dear friend.

    • Leah

      What happens when everything you’ve tried even prayer doesn’t work?

    • Hi Leah. You might find some answers at this article. It is some of our best resources for women. You might consider starting at the webinars.

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