Frequently Asked Questions.
Hi. I’m sure you’ve received thousands of questions about this topic but I feel like the walls are closing in on me. I’ve been married for 12 years and I found out about my husband’s porn addiction four days after our honeymoon. On Mother’s Day last year I received confirmation that porn and masturbation were still part of my husband’s life. He went to counseling for a very short time but never made the connection that participation in porn IS adultery. I still feel violated and I just don’t trust him. He has apologized for the sin of porn, and I have forgiven him, but I guess there is a part of me that wants an apology for being unfaithful- I want him to understand that the two ARE connected! How can I move into a place of trusting him again if he doesn’t even understand that he was unfaithful? Too many times I have been tempted to leave our marriage because I wake up everyday wondering is today another day he going to ‘cheat’ on me again? And I guess does it matter- so what if he finally makes the connection, how can I can stay in a marriage where constant suspicion hovers over me? Thank you for any encouragement you might be able to offer.
My name is Shellie R. Warren and I’m the women’s blog editor for the site. As life would have it, I am also a marriage life coach.
First, let me say that your feelings are warranted. Honestly, I find it to be a bit…fascinating that your husband’s counselor didn’t have him address sexual misappropriation during one (or more) of his sessions. I actually deal with quite a few women who feel just as you do—that watching porn is committing adultery. And I understand where that feeling comes from (“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”—Matthew 5:27-28-NKJV). It is hard to know that your husband has looked at any woman, in any form, and lusted her (not LOVED her but lusted her). Although I must say that sometimes, I wonder if some of those women have ever taken the time to think if they, too, have committed adultery in their hearts; if they have looked at someone and had inappropriate thoughts. Indeed, it’s not *only porn* that causes people to be(come) sexually immoral.
And I say all of that to say that while adultery is the one reason where a person *could* divorce, it’s important to remember two things: One, Matthew 19:1-12 tells us that it was because of a *hard heart* NOT adultery that divorce was even “introduced” and Proverbs 28:14(NKJV) tells us “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Calamity is not a comfortable word. It means “a great misfortune or disaster, as a flood or serious injury” and “grievous affliction; adversity; misery”. I believe that’s a big part of the reason why God hates divorce so much (Malachi 2:16). It’s *very messy*. Secondly, you said that your husband has asked for forgiveness. Although it takes time to *heal* from what you have dealt/are dealing with, please do not forget what Matthew 6:14-15(NKJV) says as well: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Forgiving your husband is not “doing him a favor”. As a Christian who wants to maintain a healthy relationship with God, it is necessary. Plus, I John 4:18 tells us that perfect love casts out fear. *Fear involves torment*.
Each day, we ALL do something that hurts and disappoints God and yet, he chooses to love us and draw us with lovingkindness (Jeremiah 31:3). He chooses to accept us anyway. And when Christ was here and he was asked how often we are to forgive, he said “seventy times seven”. That’s more than once or even 10 times (Matthew 18:22). If your husband has asked for forgiveness, if you see him taking some *real strides* to be a healthier individual, love is what he needs. Fear is an enemy in your marriage.
And finally, there is a study that you might want to check out. I study Hebrew and the Hebrew word for “helpmate” (like when God said “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmate for him”), is Ezer Kenegdo. Do you know what that basically translates into? LIFESAVER:
Wives are lifesavers! And what’s so divine about even that is that John 14:26 says that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and so wives have a very similar spiritual title (and to a certain extent, even role) as the Holy Spirit! That is *really and truly powerful*.
You have the right to feel how you feel. I will say this. You are going to drive yourself absolutely crazy waiting for the “ball to drop” again. Your husband is human. He can only take it one day at a time but living in a stressful environment (Matthew 6:34) will not make things easier on either one of you. If you need him to acknowledge the misappropriation, then *prayerfully consider* asking him (ASKING NOT TELLING OR ORDERING-Proverbs 21:9). But more than anything, Christine, know that he can’t heal you from your brokenness as it relates to all of this. ONLY GOD CAN (Psalm 147:3). Take this time HIM to get the kind of lasting wisdom (James 1:5) that you need, OK?
Your husband needs you and you’re more equipped than you think.
“In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:4-NKJV)
We’ll be praying for the both of you.
I am currently in a dating relationship where we have begun to talk about marriage. My boyfriend is very honest with me about his pornography use. He has software on his computer which blocks porn sites and sends his history to his accountability partener. This has really helped him reduce how much he watches porn. But it is still something he struggles with. I’ve been reading many stories of wives and girlfriends of porn addicts. I’ve found it very encouraging to read how supportive they are and how much they trust in God. But I have not heard any stories about husbands who have completely overcome their addictions. By God’s grace I have seen great improvements in my boyfriends behaviour and his drive to serve God in all he does. But he still watched porn. Is it possible to overcome this? If I marry him, will it colour our relationship forever?
My name is Shellie R. Warren and I’m the women’s blog editor for the site.
So, I read your email and allow me to present this scenario: What would you do if you had a girlfriend come to you and say “I have a boyfriend and we’ve been discussing marriage. I really love him but he’s an alcoholic. He’s trying to stop but I want to know if it’s wise to move forward with him.”
I’m going to *hope and pray* that your advice to her would be “You don’t need to marry anyone who is an alcoholic. Actually, what you need to do is give him the time and space that he needs to sober up and to make sure that you don’t do anything that will cause you to become codependent.”
Whether it’s alcoholic, drugs, porn, shopping, food, etc., an addiction is an addiction and it’s really not healthy to “move forward” with someone until they get the help that they need to overcome it. That said, a few years ago, I did a video that I want to encourage you to watch that will address my Spirit-led resolve on what a girlfriend should do about a guy who is involved with porn:
As far as your question about if there are success stories, there are some. You might want to pick up the book that Clay Crosse and his wife wrote some years back: I Surrender All: Rebuilding a Marriage Broken by Pornography. Also, there is a couple who used to blog for us under the name “The Light” whose marriage survived porn, on both parts, as well (you can find them in the women’s blog archives). However, these people are *married*. They took vows before God to stay together (Matthew 19:6) and that’s different than the situation that you are in. Honestly, until your boyfriend is in a healthier state, as a marriage life coach, I advise you both to *slow down*. Aside from his addiction, the statistics re: how many married couples under 25 who remain married are not the best (60 percent of them get divorced) and it’s mostly due to the fact that people need time to mature and *fully embrace their singleness* before joining themselves to someone else.
This does not mean that I’m saying “break up”. However, what I am saying is what your boyfriend needs right now is not a wife (sex doesn’t “cure” a porn addiction…it oftentimes makes things *much worse*) but a Savior—time with his Lord and for you to be a *friend* who prays him through it.
We’ll keep the both of you in our prayers, OK?
Please keep us posted,
I have been struggling with porn addiction for the better part of 16 years, and immediately following any kind of slip i am saddled with feelings of extreme shame and -more recently since i am married- fear. How can i deal with such deep shame? The shame controls me nearly as much as the porn and the masturbation do.
You need to get real accountability and you need to remove this from your life. Shame and guilt is just like porn and masturbation, it is a lie that we allow ourselves to believe.
You need to stop believing these lies. Get solid accountability and then work on your sobriety, when you do this the shame and guilt will start to go away. You have to know and be able to accept God’s unconditional love as well.