For over a year now, I avoided writing this post. I felt this nudge telling me to write it, and I ignored it. If I’m being honest, I’d rather be doing a million other things than this. But here I am, sitting in front of my computer about to share some information I believe someone needs to hear.
Let me explain. (Because let’s be real, my husband is the gifted writer in our family. No worries, I’m not trying to take over.) Here’s the most recent statistics according to Covenant Eyes:
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55% of married men say they watch porn at least once a month compared to 70% of not married men.
63% of adult men have looked at pornography at least on time while at work in the past 3 months; 38% have done so more than once.
64% of self-identified Christian men and 15% of self-identified Christian women view pornography at least once a month (compared to 65% of non-Christian men and 30% of non-Christian women).
37% of pastors said viewing pornography was a “current struggle.”
75% of pastors said they do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use.
79% of 18-30-year-old, 67% of 31-49-year-old, and 49% of 50-68-year-old men say the view pornography at least once a month.
76% of 18-30-year-old, 16% of 31-49-year-old, and 4% of 50-68-year-old women say the view pornography at least once a month.
Over a year ago, my husband blogged about overcoming his addiction to watching pornography. I knew the statistics. It wasn’t easy for us to share our struggle, but I knew the information would benefit someone. What I never considered was the response I, the spouse, received from that post.
There’s another side to the pornography epidemic no one talks about.
When I discovered pornography on my husband’s computer, I had NO CLUE what to do. Along with every insecurity you can imagine, I felt totally unequipped to respond. Please understand, I don’t write this claiming to have all the answers, nor do I claim to have handled everything the right way. I’m just a wife who walked the road millions are walking.
I don’t have 5 easy steps to heal your relationship. I don’t have one revelation that will make this go away. I only have insight into some ways to respond when you realize your spouse is addicted to pornography.
1.) Seek God.
Psalm 121 says, “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
If you skip this essential truth, there is no foundation for healing in your marriage. It’s easy to keep your eyes fixed on the hurt, the pain, and the brokenness. Keep your eyes fixed on the Healer if you want to walk down the road to healing.
2.) Get a grip on this statement: It’s NOT your fault.
If I were thinner. If I were more attractive. If I would have been a better wife. If I would have lost that baby weight faster. I probably deserve this because.
Satan LOVES to fill your head with insecurities. Seriously, he delights, not only in destroying your marriage, but destroying you as well. Your spouse’s struggle is NOT because of you and honestly, it’s not about you. Any book you read, any counselor you go to will confirm this. Don’t multiply Satan’s attempt to destroy your family with pornography by allowing untrue insecurities to consume you.
3.) Even when you are hurting, respond in love.
This is an emotional time for your family. It’s painful beyond imagination. And you’ve heard the saying: The people we love the most are the people we hurt the most. The saying is true. If your spouse is addicted to pornography, the most important you will ask is, “How will I respond?”
Consider the radical teachings of Jesus. When He came, He gave us this new way to respond to people who hurt us—even the people we love the most and the people who hurt us the most. When I found pornography on my husband’s computer, the love that Luke 6 talks about was NOT how my flesh wanted to respond. When I finally responded with the love of Jesus, the journey to healing and restoration began.
If you’re wondering if you’re responding to your spouse with love, here’s a good litmus test in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 13 shows you how LOVE responds: with patience and kindness, not envy or pride, not arrogance or rudeness, not insisting on your own way, not irritable or resentful (OUCH!), not rejoicing in wrongdoing, but rejoicing with the truth.
4.) Be the helpmate you vowed to be.
Be careful about how you respond to your spouse. The first time I discovered pornography, I immediately forgave my husband and thought ok we’ve moved past this. It’s not in the dark anymore. I’m good with him. He was very repentant. Life was moving on.
I was wrong. What I failed to do was walk with my husband through the healing process. When he confessed to having fallen back into the trap, I thought my life and our marriage was crumbling.
If your spouse is addicted to pornography, they will not be able to quit cold turkey.
[tweet_box design=”default”]External actions can’t be removed without internal replacements.[/tweet_box]
Just like all other things in life, external actions can’t be removed without internal replacements. Your spouse needs help discovering the void leading to this addiction.
In being a helpmate, be willing to take extreme measures to help your spouse overcome this addiction. For our family, that meant me locking all the electronic devices in a safe deposit box, paying for an accountability service on our phones and computers, and going to counseling with my husband. It may mean something different for your family, but be willing to be supportive.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Nagging your spouse is not the definition of being a helpmate.[/tweet_box]
Disclaimer: I don’t believe that being a helpmate is being a nagging wife. Proverbs 27:15 says, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a nagging wife are alike.”
Remember that through marriage, you are fulfilling a vow to God to work TOGETHER while on this earth for the good of the kingdom. Don’t get caught up trying to change your spouse for your benefit. The road to your spouse’s freedom will look a lot different if you see it through the lens of Jesus.
5.) Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
Forgiveness is hard. It’s especially hard when you’re hurting and when someone has offended you in such a personal way. It’s hard when Satan is telling you it’s okay to hate your spouse.
Satan will fill your head with lies giving you a million reasons your spouse doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Don’t listen. There is so much freedom in forgiveness. You can’t control your spouse’s actions. You CAN control your heart. You can make the choice to forgive.
When (yes, it’ll probably happen) your spouse slips and falls, make the choice to stand ready to forgive and help them move forward. If you ask any spouse struggling with pornography, I bet they would tell you they are more likely to be honest in the future if you choose forgiveness and support over anger and separation.
6.) Don’t let your spouse’s addiction consume you.
Through hearing from different women, I realized some women don’t want to move on.
Some want to make sure their husbands feel the hurt they have felt by constantly reminding them of the pain. Some want to believe it is okay to dwell on the negative emotions they feel. Some want to tell everyone how awful their spouse is (including their spouse). Some want to read every book/article/blog they can get their hands on because it’s easier not to forgive if you continue to relive the pain.
I hope those statements aren’t read as insensitive. Trust me, I understand the hurt. I have dealt with the pain. It’s undeniably there. But you cannot let your spouse’s addiction consume you with lies from the enemy. Feelings of anger, frustration, and hopelessness are understandable. When you choose to dwell on these emotions, Satan wins.
The less you dwell on your spouse’s addiction, the less power it has over you. The more time you spend noticing things you are thankful for in your spouse, the more joy you will find.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The less you dwell on your spouse’s addiction, the less power it has on you.[/tweet_box]
I write all of these things from my experiences. Everyone’s situation is different. My husband was immediately repentant and felt he was in bondage due to this hidden addiction. He wanted to be healed. Many of you do not have that. I can only speak from where I walked, but I can pray for each of you!
God is SO FAITHFUL! Don’t give up! I remember many moments of hopelessness, thinking we would never overcome this. Years removed, I can look back and see the ways God used something so painful to restore our marriage to something beautiful to reflect His faithfulness.
The journey won’t be easy. Find someone you trust to help you walk this journey. You’d be surprised how many others are traveling on the same road. Talk with God continuously. His faithfulness stands the test of time. He will walk with you through the most painful of times and show you hope when your eyes can’t see the light.
[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_color=”#336699″ border=”all” inner_container=”true”]If you’re struggling with your spouse’s porn addiction, I want to help you any way I can. Send me a message on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.[/content_band]