Your spouse confessed to watching porn. Now what? I know my first reaction was a ball of feelings including anger, frustration, hurt, and insecurity. I wanted to kick my husband out and not deal with any of it. Undoubtedly, your instincts are the same. But if your spouse is choosing recovery and you feel safe again, then choose to go against your instincts. Instead, choose to love your spouse through recovery. Here are three tangible ways how:
I know that trusting your spouse right now seems like the exact opposite thing that you should do. Trusting my husband at that moment seemed impossible. However, he had fessed up and chosen to get help, so he needed to feel that he was capable of my trust again. Complete trust in your relationship is not going to happen overnight. It is going to be a long road. But, in order to start building trust again, you need to intentionally choose to trust your spouse every single day.
It took everything I had to choose to trust my husband instead of constantly questioning him. But, with the help of X3watch, our pastor, and a trustworthy accountability partner for my husband, I was able to concentrate on building trust back into our relationship.
I will never forget what our pastor told me. He said “You have to choose to trust your husband. If you don’t, there will be no reconciliation in your marriage.” I wanted to reconcile; to save our marriage. I chose to trust. There were instances when I would want to go through my husband’s phone and computer, but instead, I prayed and trusted that the Lord was working in him. I can now see that choosing to trust him made it easier for him to work towards recovery without shame. Now, we have a great mutual trust.
After I found out my husband had been watching porn, the last thing I wanted to do was be intimate with him. You may feel the same way. In fact, you may want to completely withhold sex and intimacy altogether. After I found out, I cringed at the thought of having sex with my husband. I didn’t want him to even touch me. But withholding from your spouse can only increase the distance between you. Withholding sex will not fix the problem.
Let me be clear here, I am not telling you to “grin and bear” it or to “take one for the team.” I know that is how I felt when people would tell me to have sex with my husband at that point.
What I am saying is that intimacy is an incredibly important part of marriage and you should work together to create the closest intimacy possible. That includes having sex. Pray together before having sex and then have sex.
This part is going to be super difficult, push through anyway. The first couple of months after finding out, I didn’t think that I could or would enjoy sex at all. I began resenting the thought of making myself available to him. But then, I started to pray before we would have sex. By bringing God to the center and putting my husband (and our marriage) first, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved having sex with my husband! It got better each time.
Trust me, work through it together, putting each other first and honoring each other every step of the way. If you do, you will have a level of intimacy you have only dreamed of!
Praying is a vital step when you want to love your spouse through recovery. Pray for your spouse, pray for yourself, and pray together every day. My husband and I learned quickly that praying helped us put each other first. We learned that God changes hearts, and changed hearts means changed behavior. When we are able to change our behavior, recovery, healing and joy can and will happen.
I can tell you that my husband’s heart is totally changed. He has become a man who loves the Lord and in turn, a man who tries to love like the Lord loves. My heart has also changed. I am more capable of trust, forgiveness, and grace. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a lifelong process. But praying consistently and constantly will drastically increase your ability to trust, heal, and move on. Prayer will drastically increase your spouse’s ability to fight temptation, heal, and move on as well.
These three steps may feel contradictory to what you feel – I know they did to me – but do them anyway. Your spouse is not the enemy, the addiction is. Actively choose to love your spouse. Work together through prayer, trust, and intimacy. It is going to be challenging work (believe me, I know!) but it will be worth it. Watch God take your darkest hour and turn it into something beautiful like he did for me and my husband. Don’t give up. Show up.