Editor’s Note: During the month of April, we have been focusing on marriage. The following post is a bit more vulnerable in nature. We’ve chosen to leave the author anonymous in order to protect those involved. Many of us fight battles behind closed doors and are struggling to find healing in those dark places. We pray this will bring hope and encouragement if you’re walking through a similar situation. As always, Harvest Christian Fellowship is here to help you. Please reach out at anytime. We are praying for you and we know God is always working things out for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. Much love, Julie Snellgrove (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I could’ve easily titled this blog, “Dealing With My Husband’s Porn Journey,” but I’ve realized, this isn’t only about him; it’s our journey. And yes, I’m going to talk about pornography today. (Insert smile here)
I came into our marriage with trust issues because of choices I made in my past. I was a guarded woman, and fear had taken root in my heart about infidelity and lust. As newlyweds, there were a lot of career and family distractions, so it was easy to shove my pain and my hurt under the rug and pretend I didn’t know my husband had a problem with lust and pornography. I was scared to face it, honestly. I was scared to address it because I knew that meant pain for us both.
One night, I’d had enough and called him out when I saw him looking at another woman. We had come to a spot in our marriage I never dreamed we’d find ourselves in: broken. I’m not sure I will ever forget the pain that I felt that night. Women are emotional beings, and we tend to attach our self-worth to the attention we get from our husbands. And when our husband’s attention is not 100% on us, we get jealous. We feel hurt, inadequate, less than, betrayed, violated, not good enough, ugly. To compensate, we put up walls, cover up, and aren’t as willing to have sex. Is anyone with me? I became very jealous and hyperaware. The enemy had a foothold at this point.
The evening that I lost it was the night the Lord began healing us both. My husband didn’t change instantly, and I didn’t trust instantly. Things actually got worse before they got better. I had a really hard time trying to understand; I felt so betrayed by these fake images. It took some hard conversations, some honest evaluations of where we were in our relationship, some boundaries, and a lot of counseling to get through.
The Lord graciously gave me insight to this specific addiction. Desire for the opposite sex in itself is not sinful; it’s what we do with those desires. I’ve found that pain from old wounds is what drives a man to look at porn. It’s a deep-rooted problem. If this is a struggle your husband is dealing with, he probably hates that he does it. He probably prays for enough strength to not look at those images and asks other men for wisdom and prayer for healing. He probably lives his life in constant shame. Through this process, the Lord brought enough healing to my heart that allowed me to see that my husband was being honest and had a desire to change. I realized that I needed to find a way to help him.
Here are some things that really helped us:
- HONESTY. One evening, we sat down and my husband allowed me to ask some really tough questions under the agreement that we wouldn’t get mad at each other. I would much rather know and have him be honest with me about where he is than keep it from me. Warning: these conversations are NOT fun. But there is something supernatural that happens in your marriage when you get to this place of honesty (Proverbs 12:22).
- BOUNDARIES. We put boundaries in place and made a commitment to stay within them. Boundaries bring safety and cultivate deeper intimacy (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).
- COUNSELING. We went to counseling together, and I unloaded a bunch of pain that I had been holding onto. I realized that my husband was wrong for looking at porn, but I was wrong in assuming wayyyyyyyyyyy too much because of pain I had not dealt with in my own life. I had to swallow my pride (Ephesians 4:32).
- FRIENDSHIP. I was completely vulnerable with a few friends and they supported me, listened to me, grabbed my hand and told me I was strong and brave and could do hard things. They spoke life into my bones (Proverbs 17:17).
- COMMUNICATION. This is the bottom line: had we talked about our struggles years before, they wouldn’t have bled into more than 5 years of marriage. It’s taken a long time to take off each brick that has been put around my heart as a result of lust and porn. Our marriage isn’t perfect; we aren’t perfect. But we have learned some very valuable lessons along the way, and one of the most important is to communicate with your spouse (Proverbs 16:24).
- LOVE. I learned to love him through the sin. Together, we didn’t accept or support the sin; we acknowledged the sin and agreed to love each other through the sin. It was hard to love him while I knew he was still struggling with looking at porn. But love conquers all. Even a porn addiction (1 Peter 4:8).
- PRAYER. I prayed like crazy over my husband and myself. I prayed for freedom from this addiction. I prayed for empathy to rush over me. I wasn’t perfect, and I had to humble myself and realize I am a sinner, too. I prayed for forgiveness and understanding (1 Peter 3:8-9).
- SCRIPTURE. I saturated myself in the Word of God and in His Truth. I did my best to take every evil thought about my husband captive and submit it to the Word of God (Philippians 4:6-9).
- SUBMISSION. I learned that my husband was created for intimacy and has a sex drive, and my role as a wife is to submit to him and his needs. If I’m not giving my husband what he needs, it may be a stumbling block. Sex with your husband is a weapon of unity against the enemy (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
With confidence, I can say the Lord met us in these hard places, and with a lot of hard work, He delivered my husband from his sexual sin, and my heart was healed from jealousy and filled with trust. And I can confidently say that the Lord will meet you. He will walk with you through this valley (Psalm 23:4). We had some very ugly fights and hard conversations, but the rewards are worth it. We now have an open and honest relationship with more intimacy than I ever thought possible.
Never be ashamed of seeking help; we ALL have issues. You may feel hopeless or feel like the pain is too deep. But know there is always hope! Our God is a God of healing and restoration. Please send an e-mail to the church office if you’d like more information on counseling. We are here for YOU!