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When Your Husband Is Addicted to Porn

On a whim, I invited a new friend over for lunch. As we watched our toddlers run around the yard we chatted about typical mom things—discipline, toddler tantrums, sleeping rhythms, and more. I recalled she had previously asked for prayer about post-partum depression. As I helped pack up her stuff, I asked her how she was doing. 

“It’s been tough,” she said. “Did you ever struggle?” Knowing she was looking for support, I recalled my rocky adjustment to our first baby and the lingering blues that followed. After a minute she confessed, “Really, it’s our marriage.” 

I asked one probing question and my friend burst into tears. “It’s porn.” With that revelation, her pain and emotions overflowed. My heart ached for her. Sadly, this is a conversation I’ve had on more than one occasion.

As a pastor’s wife, I’m well aware of the ravaging effects of pornography in marriage. While I’m grateful this isn’t my own experience, I’ve sat with multiple women as they share the devastating effects of porn. Although each situation is different, there are many similarities between the stories.

While I know both men and women struggle with pornography, I want to offer a few words of encouragement for my sisters whose hearts are heavy because of their husband’s actions. I know there are no easy answers, but I encourage you to not despair. The God of the universe cares for you and your heartache. 

When you’re tempted to feel all hope is lost, here are a few things to remember, as well as some practical steps in moving forward.

1. You are not alone.

Most wives keep this burden a secret, assuming it’s only their husband who is struggling. No one else is in the same boat. Yet thoughts like these only compound the shame and the suffering. 

Sadly, the problem is extremely common. It’s likely other women you know are in your same shoes, longing for a friend to talk with. Sister, while you may feel alone, you are not alone.

2. This is not about you.

When pornography is discovered within marriage, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with shame and self-doubt. Why would he turn to airbrushed perfection if there wasn’t something wrong with me? 

Hear me, sisters. This is not about losing weight, or being prettier, or retaining the figure you had before you became a mother. This is a spiritual battle, with the flaming darts of digital perfection being hurled before your husband’s eyes. 

3. Help him seek help.

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Encourage your husband to confess his sin to your pastors or elders. Ask him to seek accountability through meeting with another godly man, purchasing accountability software, and taking other necessary precautions in times of temptation. Harvest USA is a wonderful ministry that seeks to help those struggling with sexual sin.

If your husband refuses to confess to others or seek meaningful help, go to the leaders of your church for assistance.

4. Share with a trusted friend.

You, too, need help and support. Your broken heart needs healing. Seek out a godly woman who can share your burden and pray for you. Be thoughful about whom you tell, however. An older woman, outside your immediate circle of friends, might be a wiser choice in this instance. Finally, look for biblical counseling you can do together as a couple.

5. Remember God’s providence.

God is not surprised at the fiery trial you are facing (1 Pet. 1:6–7). He has a plan for your growth and his glory. As difficult as it is, your husband’s battle with pornography is a tool God is using to draw both of you to himself—to lean on him with all your weight in your time of need. Your faith is being tested by fire­­; may it result in praise and glory to Jesus. Cry out to God as the only One who can bring true healing to your husband’s sin pattern, your broken heart, and your marriage.

After a couple of meetings with my friend, she encouraged her husband to seek accountability, which he willingly did. I also introduced her to another friend whose husband has been in the same battle for many years, so they might encourage one another. In God’s kindness, my friend’s marriage has been steadily improving as they’ve humbly acknowledged the struggle to others who have come alongside them.

We are not meant to face our trials alone, but with the strength of God Almighty and the gift of fellow believers in Christ. Your husband and your marriage are never so far gone that they are out of God’s reach. Hope in the One whose power can change hearts and heal broken lives, to the praise of his glorious grace.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6–7)

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