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3 Ways to Love Your Spouse through Recovery

by Melissa Ruff on December 19th, 2016 in Favorites, Spouses

350photo-1416348316427-9ebac5dfef01Your 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:

1) Trust

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.

2) Intimacy

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!

3) Prayer

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.



  • Jeanette Easterly

    Please for the love of human rights and respect for victims of manipulation, Gaslighting, and domestic violence, remove this article! How dare you minimize our pain like this!

  • Lauren Sanchez

    This article is concerning to me and the message it sends to
    women and men reading it. Even if your husband is intentional in getting help
    for his addiction, it will be up to him, how he demonstrates through his
    actions and changing to his behaviour that will open the opportunity for his
    wife to begin to trust again. I don’t care if your pastor says “You have to choose to
    trust your husband. If you don’t, there will be no reconciliation in your
    marriage.” You listen to the Holy Spirit to direct you in what you can do to
    support yourself and your husband in this process. What you can trust in
    is a Heavenly Father who is good all the time and who loves you to the deepest
    core of your being. Whether your husband changes or not, your trust can rest in
    a God who’s desire is to love and heal your heart. Rebuilding trust is
    absolutely possible to do with your husband, but he will need to demonstrate
    that he is worthy of your trust through a changing of his heart and his
    actions. Also, the author refers to intimacy and sex interchangeably. Sex is a
    form of intimacy. And again, unless trust has been re-established, if he has
    had a 90 day minimum reboot abstaining for sexual activity and is busting his
    ass every day to work on himself towards healing, there is no way on earth,
    heaven, hell or any parallel universe that I’d be having sex with my husband. I
    believe the author had a good intent in what she was saying, but sadly I feel
    it misses the mark when it comes to the health of both partners. I would
    however emphasize to all women going through betrayal to draw boundaries and
    support yourself and your husband from that safe space.

  • Ralph

    An excellent article on the hope that comes when two people are involved in the healing / reconciliation process. Trust begins by trusting God first for no one of us is trust worthy on our own because we are our own worst enemy towards God’s plans and purposes.

  • Tracey Forrest

    I have never visited your site before, but after reading this article on Chritian Post, I had to respond. This article is terrible advice to many women struggling in a relationship with a porn addicted spouse. I lived with one for 18 years. I did everything recommended in this article and it kept me trapped. All along the person 100% responsible was my husband. You are, I am sure unintentionally, perpetuating the myth that the wife is in part responsible for her husband’s unwillingness to be faithful to his wife.

    I have counseled many Christian women in this situation and for almost every one of them, they did everything recommended in this article. It is a terrible thing to lay any responsibility (which you have done whether you meant to or not) on the shoulders of a wife.

    Trust as been destroyed. It is the responsibility of the one involved with porn to earn that back. Once you’ve broken an egg, you cannot repair it. It can be offered again as a gift, but if it is continually dropped, eventually it should no longer be offered.

    I cannot tell you how many well meaning Christians continue to force feed the lie to women that porn is a lack of sex issue. It is NOT and how dare you dump that on these wives. Porn is a far deeper problem than just sex and a man (I realize women can have this issue too) who is struggling with porn needs to deal with the core issues, THEN perhaps, he will want his wife and will do what needs to be done to woo her.

    You really need to balance this atrocious article.

    I am for the first time speaking out on this topic and using my real name as I am so disturbed by what you have published here.

  • Prisoner of the Highway

    There are a great many people in the world and in the comments who speak with great authority on issues they know nothing about. To you I present a parable.

    A soldier marches along the path toward battle. As he goes, he waves to his family, to his brothers and sisters in Christ. He wins many battles under the command of his great King. One day he sees a bit of darkness off to the side of the path and goes to investigate. As he stands at the edge of the deep shadow filled pit, a tendril whips out, wrapping around his ankles and drags him in.
    The gospels of peace fly from his feet in the fall as he notices the light doesn’t seem so bright down here.
    Dragging himself upright he readies his sword and shield to face the beast. But the beast is quick, striking from all sides. Soon the breastplate of righteousness is torn open and his blood seeps through the cracks.
    Suddenly voices echo from above, “Husband, father, brother! Is that you?”

    Ashamed of his failure, the soldier takes off the girdle of truth and tries to bind up his wounds, saying,
    “No, no, that’s not me!”

    As he tires, suddenly hope flares to life in his heart.
    “The King!”, he cries. “The King can save me!” “If my loved ones call Him, He will come!”

    But, looking up, he sees only disgust and contempt in their eyes and the shield of his faith is shattered by a massive blow and torn from his arm. Collapsing in exhaustion the mighty two edged sword of the Spirit slips from his fingers.
    Clinging to the helmet of his salvation and weakly crying out for help, as the beast rushes forward to consume him, he stares upward into the unforgiving faces of his accusers until his eyes close.

    And he saw no more.

    Maybe before you get caught up in your human rights being violated and how traumatic this experience is for YOU, try it from this side.

  • grant15

    I am new here… so hello!:) my husband and I have an amazing relationship and I love him so much. It’s only through God we have made it this far and it’s only been 2 years of marriage. After the first year I found out he had been watching by hinges he shouldn’t have. We got over that I knew my husband wanted to do the will of God and he was super involved in the church and I worked there by his side. Just recently again I found out something worse he was messing around with another female in the church and this has crushed me completely. I still love him no doubt but at this point working on trust it’s so hard and I do give him his space and privacy and check his things periodically not like a stalker type. I have given my husband over to the Lord and I have seen God work in him but all that time I thought God was working in him it was all cover sin he was committing at the same time. It’s difficult to just let God when I thought I seen God doing something but he was doing the opposite… I need help at this point I understand the guilt he feels I get he wants to change and this whole thing is a process but I fight more mind battle than I can process now. I’m so hurt and angry like God you can’t expect me to forgive again and again so easily. Anything else besides prayer or how to talk to my husband with being whiny or complaining.

  • Choosing love… for now

    Maybe this statement should have been in HUGE letters. “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.”

    This entire article was based on this statement. I get that not all porn users choose recovery. That sucks big time for them and the person they are harming through their not choosing recovery. The article was for those, like me, who have been struggling with this thought: Is there something wrong with me that my husband has done things that have shattered me in ways I never dreamed I could be hurt, and I still want to believe him? I still want to trust him. I still want to love him and show love to him? Is that really wrong? Am I insane? I still want to trust what I am seeing. Not fear what was or what might be, but trust and love… for now. I know I am setting myself up for pain if there is relapse… but I choose love.

    For all of those who have been harmed by the betrayal of a person who is refusing recovery… I don’t really think this article pertains to you. I am sad for you that you read it, sad for you that you missed the qualifier that the author put in the beginning of the article, and sad for you that your porn user is not choosing recovery. But this article helped very much to validate what I have been going through. My husband convinced himself that indulging in the lusts of the flesh was the answer for him. He sees now the intense pain it has caused. I can choose to heap shame on top of his shame and beat him down… or… I can choose to love him even if it might cost me even more pain somewhere down the road of recovery.

    God chooses love and I am supposed to be striving to be like Him, if I am claiming Christianity. I truly believe that loving someone who has hurt me so deeply would be impossible without the power of God in my life. I could not do it in my own power. If the power of God is not in your life, choosing love is nearly, but not completely, impossible.

    I love the picture that “Prisoner of the highway” painted in words. Thank you! I am certain that I would need people in my life that will help me out of the pit of sin should I get stuck there, even if it were my choices that got me there. If I wreck my car because I chose to drive unsafely, I would be very grateful for the first responders who might choose to help me instead of saying I don’t deserve help because I chose to drive unsafely. I am choosing to extend my hand to this man I married out of my choice to love him no matter what.

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