Article Jul 20, 2016

4 revelations about porn from your wife's perspective

A laptop gently closes. An Internet history is thoroughly deleted. A browser is hastily clicked off. Many wrongly believe that pornography is a private matter. But what about the wives of Christian men who use pornography? What is their perspective on the matter? I separately interviewed seven women whose husbands have a history with pornography. Their ages range from mid-twenties to late-fifties. Their stories are heart-breaking:

“After the confession, I saw him as a dirty man. Where was the repentance? The guilt and shame? Yet, in a weird twist of emotions, I felt unworthy to sleep with him. I don't look like those women. I don't perform like them.”

“I avoid thinking about it because I still cry about it. I avoid looking for signs of it because it’s too hurtful.”

The destruction of pornography extends directly to wives. The women interviewed seem to have a healthy respect for their husbands, and they do not believe that their husbands are awful men. They all gave insightful interviews that reveal four main things:

1. Your porn usage makes your wife feel inferior

When asked about their initial feelings upon finding out about their husband’s pornography usage, the wives had the following to say:

“I began noticing he wasn’t himself and felt a distance between us. I thought it was something I did, and I tried repeatedly to ask him about it. He put me off and made excuses. I felt shocked, first of all, then it moved to hurt, then it moved to full blown anger. He deceived me! It’s adultery! I started to feel unattractive and wondered how I could ever keep up with those images he was seeing.”

“It makes me very self-conscience. It makes me feel like I don’t add up and that I am never enough.”

“I am a very self-conscious person anyways, but that multiplied greatly when I found out about his struggle. I began shutting him out and not wanting him to be anywhere near me because I convinced myself that he didn’t want me if he felt the need to look at them. Our marriage has suffered greatly because of the walls I have put up in response.”

“I felt neglected and that I was not enough. I was shocked that this godly man, who handed me Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot before we were married, was involved in this sin!”

“I felt betrayed. I felt like I wasn’t enough for him as a wife and that is why he had to look at that. I mostly tried to take the blame on myself and what I had done to cause him to go that direction.”

2. Your continued porn usage hurts your wife more the longer it occurs

When asked how old their husbands were when they were first exposed to pornography, the answers were shocking. Most men were initially exposed as mere boys (most answers were between ages 6-12). It was a snowball effect for these men. The older they got, the more they looked. A prominent part of all of these ladies’ stories is that their husbands seemed to show genuine sorrow and would swear off pornography only to return to it again and again.

“I have been more offended at every occurrence. I think it feels like a slap in the face. Like, ‘Hello?? We’ve already been down this road and it was hell, so why would you go back there??’”

“Out of the blue one night, he confessed that he was looking at porn again. I sat there, stunned, disappointed, wondering how this could happen again.“

“I love my husband. However, in the midst of his most recent confession, I think I all but hated him. I think I was seriously considering divorce. I was ready to leave.”

3. Your porn usage torments your marriage

Even the strongest marriages decay under the sin of lust. Fighting, distance and decreased sexual intimacy are all results of succumbing to this temptation.

“Connecting emotionally, spiritually and sexually began to fall apart. Things were miserable. We were fighting every night. These were not just little arguments, but disastrous bouts. I thought about that time just the other day and wept.”

“Sex had not been easy from the get go. He confessed to a continued addiction that led to an online/phone affair. This made our sexual intimacy, or what had been a lack thereof, make complete sense.”

“We became distant and felt like there was a huge gap between us. I have to say we went months without any intimacy. At that time I felt very low.”

“I thought I should pack up and go, thinking about our kids and not wanting them exposed to that. How could I trust him when he lied again? If he’s looking at porn, will he eventually have an affair?”

4. Taking steps away from porn gives your wife hope and trust

For those wives who have husbands who are currently experiencing victory over the temptation of pornography, there is much blessing! The Lord has given these wives much grace to extend a hand of forgiveness to their husbands as they take steps away from porn.

“The Holy Spirit shifted my thoughts onto the work He was doing. The disgust I felt was replaced with overwhelming compassion. His confession actually brought us closer, and that was all God. My response of grace was the key that truly empowered him to gain true victory.”  

“I would forgive when he came to me because I could see his struggle and understood its grip.”

“I am starting to see that I am not the cause of this struggle nor does he love me any less. I am proud that he is taking steps to overcome this.”

“I trust him now more than ever because I can see what God is doing in his life as he seeks help to overcome this struggle.”

“He has accountability partners, and there are filters on every device. It makes me proud and feel loved that he reached out for this help. I feel he really values our marriage and wants better for it.”

Husbands, I hope you are filled with a desire to confess and turn away from pornography.  Jesus “breaks the power of canceled sin” and his blood “can make the foulest clean.” Be encouraged by 1 Samuel 12:20-25, which still has incredible application for us as modern-day Christians:

“Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. . . Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.  But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away . . .”

For husbands who are ready to take steps away from pornography, consider talking with your pastor and/or a biblical counselor.  Here are some additional resources to consider:

Wives, if you have discovered that your husband is using pornography, remember that we are to extend grace to sinners. Although devastating, this is not the end. Come alongside your husband, and help him in throwing off this sin that so easily entangles.