Recovery from porn addiction is hard – it’s hard on everyone. For the husband, porn has been his “go to strategy” to fix underlying pain and difficult emotions. For the wife, she is reeling from the pain and shock of being betrayed and hurt from her husband’s choices. As the recovery process solidifies, a husband will need to build trust and be accountable for his previously secret choices. He will likely feel a need to keep the matter private, but privacy in recovery only offers a dark corner where sin can continue.
Most sources on recovery from porn and lust suggest that a husband (and his marriage for that matter) will benefit from an accountability partner. Accountability is more than confessing failures in the battle; it is reaching out in the middle of a temptation and struggle with lustful thoughts or actions. You may think that you can be his partner too, but I discourage you from taking on this role with your husband. If you are your husband’s accountability partner, you may be opening yourself up to further pain and difficulty in your own recovery for several reasons. In a podcast with Covenant Eyes, several author and counselors offered their points of view.
1. Since you and your husband are rebuilding your intimacy, you cannot control his choices or actions. Being your husband’s accountability partner can leave you feeling like the “porn police”. Joe Dallas, author of The Game Plan: The Men’s 30 Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity states that having wives in an accountability relationship with their husband causes them to be maternal role in their marriage.
2. If you hear that your husband is struggling with sexual thoughts or other sexual struggles, you are more likely to think false beliefs (“I’m not good enough”; I am not able to satisfy him”). Amy Smalley, who counsels couples with her husband Michael through Marriage Restoration Intensives states that a wife should not be her husband’s accountability partner, “because that directly affects her….She feels like ‘This is a direct reflection on her’.
3. You can find yourself having obsessive curiosity with her husbands porn use. Dr. Mark Laaser, author of multiple titles and founder of Faithful and True Ministries states, “These obsessive thoughts often feed unforgiveness or a desire to manipulate and control”. If your husband wants to recover from porn, he will need to have a partner– a man or group of men, who can listen and ask the hard questions. As his wife, you are intimately involved already and cannot be an unbiased partner.
On the other hand, a husband does need to be accountable to his wife. His transparency in recovery will further build trust between in the relationship of husband and wife. Wives need to be able to ask hard questions about her husband’s recovery and receive honest responses. A healthy marriage is built on honesty and vulnerability. When a husband offers his progress voluntarily and is truly repentant, a wife will benefit from seeing his repentance in action. Building trust is such an important area, it is likely a post unto itself!
In a new e-book through Covenant Eyes, author Luke Gilkerson shares all there is to know about accountability. Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust through Biblical Accountability is an essential, hands on guide for accountability that will guide your husband who is serious about overcoming their stronghold. This easy to use guide gives essential advice for accountability, including the what, who, how, and why for successful accountability. Luke Gilkerson has thought of it all and lays it out this practical book.
- What to look for in a good accountability partner
- The biblical building blocks of accountability
- How to hold each other accountable to both actions and heart-level motivations
- Five reasons why accountability typically fails
- Whether a spouse makes a good accountability partner
- Good discussion questions for accountability partners
When your husband is struggling with lust and pornography, you cannot make him find an accountability partner. However, Gilkerson produces a scripturally based argument that balances truth while lovingly points men to their heavenly father.
Download E-book: Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust through Biblical Accountability
Note: quotes were based on transcription of Podcast 66 – Should my wife be my accountability partner? The experts give their answer ~ Covenant Eyes Radio –May 20, 2010
You can read more about what you can do to create a healing environment for your husband in my book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.
Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_16571832_abstract-word-cloud-for-accountability-with-related-tags-and-terms.html’>radiantskies / 123RF Stock Photo</a>