7 Ways to Support Your Spouse through Porn Addiction

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Here’s how you can move past the hurt to a place of freedom from pornography.

Imagine with me for a moment that you come home one night to find your husband engaging sexually with another woman. Shock and rage consume you, yet there is no one but him to hear your cries. He’s the only one in the room. This other woman? She’s on the computer screen, completely oblivious to your presence.

This is the man you pledged your love, commitment, and fidelity to all those months and years ago, and now you feel like you’re competing with pornography for his love, attention, and affection. Where do you possibly go from here?

While part of you wants to help him rid his life of this nasty sin, another part of you is reeling with hurt, anger, and betrayal. I know because I’ve been there. I made many mistakes when I first discovered my husband was in the throes of a pornography addiction, but God extended us both the grace and wisdom that eventually helped us heal.

Now we want other people to know what we did not — you are not alone. According to a recent Barna Group study, 77 percent of Christian men ages 31-49 looked at porn at work within the last three months and 64 percent view porn at least monthly. Additionally, 18 percent admit they are addicted and another 8 percent believe they might be. This is a rampant problem, but not one that is bigger than God’s power.

Here are seven ways to support your spouse through a porn addiction:

1. Find support for yourself.

It all goes back to the whole airplane/oxygen mask analogy: you have to take action to save your own life before you can actively help someone else. When I first caught my husband engaging in porn, I was too afraid to tell anyone else, lest they would think I was a bad wife.
But your husband’s porn addiction isn’t a load you were designed to carry on your own. You wouldn’t pick up a two-ton boulder and hoist it on your shoulders. Carrying your husband’s porn addiction alone feels just like that — impossible. This is exactly the type of thing I believe Paul was referring to when he said, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).

You don’t have to join an official support group. A truth-speaking, grace-filled friend can do a world of good. If you don’t rely on support, the lying, shame, and heartache will take its toll on you emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

2. Pray.

Prayer is simply talking to God — and you can tell him anything. Tell him how angry you are, how hopeless you feel, what you really desire your marriage to be like. He’s a safe outlet for your emotions. Prayer has tremendous power to heal, especially when you pray using God’s Word.

The real enemy in porn addiction is not your husband. It’s not even the porn stars or producers. It’s Satan. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” What better weapon do we have against this enemy than the sword of the Spirit, the very Word of God?
Beth Moore has a book, Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds that I use daily to pray for my husband, my children, and myself. Prayer is a good offense and defense — and it is essential in the battle against pornography.

3. Remember that it’s not about you.

Porn is not about you. It’s not about the size of your breasts, the size of your waist, or what you’re not willing to do in bed. The number one lie about porn is that it’s about sex. It’s not about sex. It’s about escape and fantasy. It’s about engaging with a false world so one can disengage from all the problems and fears that come with reality.

4. Help him get to the root of his addiction.

Talking with each other productively, engaging in counseling, and/or joining a support group are all avenues that can help you and your husband get to the root of why he continually gets caught in the porn trap.

It has been our experience that porn addiction is a heart issue, one that cannot be stymied by only adding filters to computers and electronic devices.

5. Discuss real accountability.

God wants us to work with and help each other. However, an accountability partner isn’t someone who asks scripted questions each week so you can lie to him and keep on in your addiction.

An accountability partner is a brother who understands and accepts your struggles, who is with you in the fight, and who wants to know how to pray at that particular time. Accountability doesn’t have to be limited to guy friends. You can play a helpful role once you get to a place of healing from his betrayal. Just remember, accountability is not the same as assuming a parental role with your spouse.

6. Show respect, even if he doesn’t deserve it.

Men thrive when they feel respected. When I was disrespectful to my husband, he took that as rejection, which only served to further his belief that porn was the only world in which he could feel good about himself. Truthfully, there were many things he did well even when he was in the darkest periods of his porn addiction — but I chose not to see them.

Think about this: if a wife assumes her husband cannot do anything, what is the husband’s motivation to change? If the wife assumes all responsibility, where does a husband have space to grow into his God-given responsibility? Porn use is an indicator of a hurting heart. Hurting hearts need to be built up, not torn down. One of the best ways we can build up our men is by showing them respect.

7. Have fun together.

The journey to freedom from pornography can feel heavy and hard. Sometimes the last thing you can bring yourself to do is plan something fun. But in his research, Dr. Stuart Brown learned that “play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation . . . In the long run, work does not work without play.”

I found that when my husband and I continued to go on dates, joke around with each other in the kitchen while cooking, and chose to sit next to each other on the couch, I could see him again as my husband, not just the porn addict. The space for play opened up a space for a sense of kindness, compassion, and intimacy.
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Freedom from pornography is possible. Don’t give up hope — for your husband or your marriage. With God, all things are possible.

Written by: Jen Ferguson


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