We have heard from many couples over the years about how pornography has hurt their marriages. However, some spouses don’t see anything wrong with looking at pornography—but it really bothers their mate.
There are two lies concerning porn.
1. Porn is something most guys do. It’s a part of how we work.
2. Porn does not hurt anyone. It’s my deal.
Men have trouble separating love from lust. Love is personal; lust is impersonal. Love is a matter
of giving; lust is a matter of taking. Love seeks stability; lust is short-lived. Love overcomes addictions; lust fuels addictions. This explains why men addicted to porn compartmentalize loving their wives in a different box than lusting after pictures of nude women. Thus, what for most women are inseparably entwined—love and sex—can seem to occupy two entirely separate niches of the male psyche.
One of the most alluring aspects of porn is the ability for a man to have a sexual experience without being judged or evaluated by a woman. His feelings of inadequacy and fears of vulnerability have left him more comfortable with false intimacy than intimate sex.
Before you confront your husband, be sure you know what you want him to do about the problem. I am sure you don’t want him to just feel bad about it; you want him to do something to fix the problem. Do your homework and pick the treatment center, program counselor, or recovery group you want him to attend. You also have to decide what you are willing to do if he won’t get help. Love him as toughly as he needs to be loved. Do not enable his addiction to progress and victimize more people. Be willing to do whatever it takes to help him see what he is doing and his need to stop the cycle and start recovery as soon as possible. As long as you leave life as it is, he will continue the addiction.
Don’t tell him, show him. A video or magazine cannot be explained away. He may try, saying he was holding it for a friend or picked it up by accident, but don’t even listen to such nonsense. If he is involved with porn on the Internet, print out the list of sites he has visited. If your husband is abusive, then you should confront him by phone for your own safety.
He may try to shift the blame to you. Remember: You did not cause his sexual addiction. It was his choice.
He may say that he feels horrible and will promise to quit. Rather than argue, you might want to initiate the “what if” plan. Simply ask him, “Okay, but what if you go back to it? What if you prove that you haven’t overcome the problem? What will you do then?”
Make your home porn-safe. Declare that your home will no longer be a pornographic safe house. Demand that all questionable magazines be thrown out along with videos. Install a filter on your computer that will not allow it to connect to porn sites. Be aware of explicit love scenes in movies or video games.
Make an appointment with a professional counselor for both of you. If your husband won’t go with you, go alone for support. The counselor will help you with problems resulting from his sex addiction and to encourage you to keep fighting for your marriage! This is a tough road.
*Our book, Guard Your Heart, can help equip you and your spouse with the tools to protect your marriage. It's available in our online bookstore!