A few weeks ago, I got an email from Jake Larson, with XXX church. He asked me if I’d like to guest post on his site. As my team and I read through Jake’s blog and checked out his website, we all felt certain he needed to post on my site. He is having a huge impact helping free people from the devastation of pornography.
I’ll be honest; there was a part of me that thought maybe this is too risky of an issue to tackle in our little blog space on the Internet.
But then I posted about the topic on facebook and realized women were begging to see this addressed. Really addressed.
So, we’re going there today. What women want to know about pornography.
I just found out that my husband has an addiction to pornography, where do I go from here? What are my first steps as his wife? What am I supposed to do to help him?
This is a great question and I’ll tell you why. You are asking questions that are going to put you in a helper role verses a hinder role.
Although you are angry, hurt, and burdened by this discovery, it is imperative that you do not become another disperser of shame. Most men who are wrapped up in an addiction to pornography feel a level of shame that is paralyzing. They are well aware their behavior is detrimental to their marriage, to their relationship with God, and to their role as a father.
The shame pornography produces is literally killing men from the inside out. More than a lecture on the top ten reasons why he is scum, he needs to know that you are hurt, but you will help. Here are a few necessary steps:
Share with a friend
In order to help, you must immediately find a healthy outlet to be heard. Many women are so embarrassed by this discovery that they hide the pain and the secret from those who love them the most.
Immediately after finding out about your husband’s addiction to pornography you must seek out a friend and share your disappointment, pain, and insecurity. You will need the support.
“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” [ECCLESIASTES 4:12]
Require Tangible Steps
If your husband doesn’t take steps that require him to sacrifice time, money, pride, or freedom he will not succeed. It is absolutely imperative that you demand he gets help.
I have never met anyone who has overcome an addiction to pornography alone. It will not happen and it does not happen. Real tangible steps and sacrifices are the key to recovery.
He must meet with another man who will help him develop a plan for success.
He must be accountable for his actions online through filters and accountability software (www.x3watch.com).
He must give you access to his devices that enable him to view pornography.
He must dig deep into his soul and discover why he runs to pornography.
Many times men will tell their spouse that they are so sorry and will never do it again. At the time, he really does mean what he is saying. He sees the pain and hates the sin – he doesn’t want to go back to it. However, his statement of abstinence is far short from what is required to overcome the temptation.
Stay Engaged in The Relationship
Do not choose this as a time to check out and pull back your love. Your husband needs to know that he can count on your support and encouragement.
There is a big difference between staying engaged and enabling his behavior. This is not supposed to be an easy process with minimal discomfort for your husband.
However, isolation and shame often cause a man to spiral back into his unwanted sexual behavior. He needs your presence, encouragement, and love. This love demands actions, repentance, and responsibility.
The Bible says that you are your husband’s helpmate. Where he is weak you will be strong. As you stay engaged you will turn his weaknesses into strengths! He is going to be stronger and better with you in his corner than without you. Walking through this process together can be the beginning of a stronger, healthier, and Godlier marriage.
What can I do as a wife to help my husband preventatively?
In no way is this exhaustive, but here are a few suggestions.
The deepest need for a man is to be respected. Yes, even above sex (barely). He needs to know that you appreciate him and admire all he does for you and the family. This is key to any healthy marriage!
Second, meet his sexual needs. If you don’t make his sexual needs a priority his eyes will wander and he will struggle. Most every man will have a greater struggle with lust leading to pornography usage without a healthy sexual relationship with his wife.
Third, protect him. We can’t handle movies with strong sexual content and we’ll struggle in stimulating environments. However, we’ll experience them with you if you’ll let us and it won’t help our purity. Be an additional set of eyes protecting our purity.
Is pornography wrong if it is something a couple enjoys together?
Yes. Many couples seem to fall into this temptation. They want some additional spice in their sex lives and pornography becomes the solution.
Only one problem, pornography is not reality. Pornography gives us unrealistic expectations of our spouse and turns sex into a purely physical act.
Women are damaged from pornography on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Watching pornography to spice up your sex life is like going to a marriage enrichment seminar taught by someone who has been divorced 4 times. If you want to learn how to connect with your spouse sexually from a dysfunctional and harmful role model, then pornography may be your method of choice.
Second, God created sex to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife. We are not to defile our marriage bed by inviting others to join us (Hebrews 13:4, Matthew 5:28).
“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19
One woman asked, “What’s the big deal if my husband is thinking about a porn star while having sex with me?” I don’t know, only that he is fantasizing and lusting after a woman who is not his wife.
The third person in bed with you is purely fantasy today to become reality tomorrow. Pornography is not satisfied with a casual user. It will take you further down pornography blvd. than you ever expected to go.
Jake Larson is a Pastor at XXX church. You can follow him at www.jakelarson.com, www.twitter.com/larsonjake, and www.facebook.com/larson.jake.