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What Do I Do When I Catch My Husband Looking at Porn?

by Vicki Tiede on August 7th, 2018 in Couples, Spouses

I wish you were here right now, so I could look you in the eyes, take you by the hand, and assure you of a few things that I think you need to hear.

I would begin by telling you how terribly sorry I am that you even need to read this blog post. I am sorry that your husband didn’t come to you and confess his struggle, but that you had to discover it on your own.

I bet I know what you’re thinking: Is he truly sorry because of what he did, or is he sorry he got caught?

It’s normal for a wife to wonder how much longer he would have kept this little secret or if he would have ever come clean.

This is a question you’ll never have an answer for, so it’s best to set it aside in lieu of the question that has answers: What do I do when I catch my husband looking at porn?

1. Rest assured that your husband’s use of pornography is not about you

I hope he has already told you this, but I suspect you’re not so sure. Believe it. Pornography is a selfish act meant to meet his own perceived needs. That means you are not in competition with digitally enhanced images of other women. This is not about your appearance, your sexual availability, or your competence in the bedroom. You do not need to be a size 8, get a tummy tuck, or engage in sexual acts that make you uncomfortable.

2. Expect to be bombarded by a host of emotions

It’s entirely possible that since you caught your husband you have experienced anger, fear, sadness, depression, and guilt –and the pain feels incomprehensible. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself saying and doing things you never thought imaginable. I was undone when I discovered my husband’s addiction, and I alternately cried until I made myself physically sick and raged like a crazy woman. (Not my proudest moment.)

Above all, you need to know that there is hope and that God is big enough to meet all of your needs. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 reminds us that our endurance, patience, and perseverance are inspired by our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Believe me when I tell you that His long arm of mercy can and will reach you and pluck you out of this miry pit.

3. Your husband’s use of porn will not go away if you simply ignore it, chalking it up to “boys will be boys”

God gives us a standard for marriage in the Bible. It’s that standard that causes you to think, “A faithful, loving husband doesn’t do this.” While the word confront doesn’t sound very loving, leaving your husband in this sin isn’t a loving response either. You need to tenderly confront your husband about his use of pornography.

Some women need to confront the issue immediately while others require some time to process what they’ve discovered before they can discuss it. There is no right or wrong time, as long as you don’t avoid or deny the issue. Don’t be surprised if your emotions bubble to the surface and you find yourself crying or fighting mad. Exhale. Remember that you are in a battle, but this is a battle not between you and your husband, but a battle between the two of you against pornography.

4. Find safe support

It is important that you find someone to talk to, and the first person should be God. Ask Him to direct your path in this situation. This is not the time to broadcast this to everyone you meet, but you do need support. Your best confidants will be those who are equipped to listen without judgment, and preferably someone who has experience with this. If your husband is committed to restoring your marriage and he is taking obvious steps in the right direction, I strongly encourage you to consult him about who and how much to tell.

5. Accept the fact that it is not in your power to fix this for your husband

God has given the Holy Spirit the task of conviction of sin. You are not responsible for your husband’s daily choices. Your job is to walk in obedience to the Word of God.  Turn to the Wonderful Counselor for healing your own heart. You’ve experienced a painful betrayal and you need to trust yourself into His care. When you arrive at a place of healing, you will be in a better position to create an environment that promotes healing in your marriage. Leave your husband in God’s hands. He’s got this one.

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  • Hawtforhubby

    I wish that someone would have warned me how hard marriage was…I’m still trying my best to fight for my marriage but discovering stuff on my husband’s phone for the second time is weighing really heavy on my heart. I wish he would just be honest with me. He says he feels inadequate and like he’s failing at everything and that’s why he searched out things and he didn’t want me to leave him. I don’t even know why he feels this way or what causes it, but until he starts bring honest with me about everything, failures included, this problem is going to linger in our marriage. I don’t know how many more times I can take my heart being broken. I want so much to help him and love him through everything, but I don’t even know where to begin right now. 🙁

    • Ryan Foley

      Talking, pure communication, really has been a key in my relationship. It can be so incredibly embarrassing and shameful as a man to admit to this particular problem, and it really is an addiction. There are chemical reactions going on in our heads that keep us going back for porn long after we’ve decided we want to quit, chemical reactions that are identical to those of a drug addict.

      The best thing to do is to tackle it together. DON’T lie about how this makes you feel. Tell him you’re hurt, but realize that he is hurting too. Without your support he will flounder, and it will take him much longer to recover. Search out resources, be supportive, and understand that you can’t actually fix it for him. The best thing I could recommend is receiving support from counseling of one kind or another. Connect with another couple from church, speak with a pastor, or find a good Christian counselor you can go to sessions with. It can be incredibly beneficial.

    • Guest

      I’m in the same boat. My husband has been caught several times. He hides porn everywhere. He is on Twitter, and all other social media outlets. He will not stop, even though I have asked. He says he is a guy, and it’s me. He admits to masterbation and that’s that. He uses incognito search and deletes his history. It’s out there, and I’m afraid too far gone. It really is all I think about. I hate when he’s home alone, because I know what he’s doing. And, I call him out on it. I’ve walked in on him 2 times. We’ve been married 14 years. I’m obsessed with it. I’ve list 30 lbs this year, trying to be what he wants. It’s not working.

      • Hawtforhubby

        I’m so sorry that you’re going through this with your husband. It sounds like he is not repentant and until he truly is grieved over his sin, he will not have the power or will to change. My husband was previously addicted to porn
        in his young adult years and completely stopped cold turkey a few years before we got married. I never thought the issue would come up in our marriage as I thought it was dealt with. But it turns out that many men struggle even after marriage and it’s not because you’re not good enough! Don’t listen to that lie, even for a second! It’s a common cop-out for a man to say that. You are beautiful. He chose to marry you, and he brought the issue into your marriage. I would suggest drawing some firm, but loving boundaries. As in, suggesting counseling and opening himself up to accountability, maybe even getting rid of internet altogether if that’s what it takes. You should not come second to porn in his life! If he’s not willing to get help and make a change, then you have biblical grounds to leave him. Although I’m not necessarily recommending that). Ultimately your husband’s heart has to be right before God before he can be right with you. I’m praying for you! Know that you’re not alone, and you’re not to blame! Find a godly woman you trust, and confide in her. Also get into the Word, and listen to encouraging music. Don’t let the enemy have a foothold in your marriage, because you’re fearfully and wonderfully made! I will especially be praying for your husband to have a change of heart and a desire to become pure and trustworthy!

  • Fake Name to protect loved one

    My fiancee has never hid that he’s had trouble with self-pleasure. He was always quiet about the pornography, but I wasn’t surprised when he brought it up. He had only brought himself to be able to tell me sometime after he was able to stop watching it for a while. At one point, it was over a year of him not looking at it. I think because of various larger stressors in his life, that that is why he’s fallen back into it. I believe he has done a lot to work on this and to try to break free and I do realize that it is not an easy task. I also don’t want to beat him up emotionally over it. I do see that he seems a little less attentive, which might mean the whole “gray matter in the brain” is getting overtaxed… but it also might be too much sports too. I know that he loves me very much and we try to make God the center of our relationship. He keeps telling me that he’s very lucky and very blessed to have me in his life and that he’s so glad that I’m not breaking up with him over this. However… when he keeps saying that… it makes me wonder… Should I? Am I supposed to reject him or something? I just don’t see how that would help. I love him.

  • A Caveney

    Why would you use a picture with an attractive woman’s breasts visible for a site such as this? I’m baffled.

  • My heart is shattered

    This just won’t stop. This is about the sixth time. If he obviously has an addiction that he cannot control himself then is it not up to me to remove that source of his addiction? (My mind is thinking to smash the computer to bits but I know I can’t do that.) I am thinking like net nanny or something. (this would take out of our already extremely tight grocery budget) I am angry, hurt beyond words and the trust is 100% gone. We have been married 33 years. I have threatened, pleaded, cried, screamed and nothing works. This time he has come out and told me it is my fault. I cannot comprehend that our love is not strong enough to overcome something so juvenile. I do not for one minute believe oh it is a guy thing or they can’t help it. He is a Christian but is far from God at this time and has been for a long while. I have gotten him back to church but he is only doing that for me not for himself.

    How did we get to a point where I want my husband to be practically a totally different person. The love is there but it is being tested to the utmost. My heart is shattered. I can’t remember the last time I felt that bursting feeling of being so proud of my husband. It used to be there all of the time. The thing is he was baptised just this past year. That day I was so proud of him I could burst but that is coming so far and few anymore. I want to pray for God to intervene but I am afraid. What if God’s answer would be to blind him so he could not see the porn? (could happen) Sometimes we have to be careful what we ask for because we might not like the answer.

    I know I have to turn this over to God (after I install the porn filter). You don’t leave drugs around a drug addict and I will not leave the porn around to fuel this addiction. I have been told by a friend that I am trying to be his mother. I am not. Am I not supposed to be his helpmate? If I was addicted to alcohol I would expect him to remove every trace. Sure we could work on this together IF he wanted to stop but he doesn’t. I am not of this generation where we tread lightly because we might hurt someone’s feelings. I am from tough love and you do what needs to be done in the name of love.

  • My heart is shattered

    All that does is hide the evidence. That is easy enough to do by clearing the history. At the very least I want something that blocks it. Totally remove the source of the addiction. Actually, in my current state of mind I wouldn’t mind something that gave a little jolt, kind of like a shock collar. (only partially kidding) This is obviously fresh over here and I am not dealing well.

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