I wish you were here right now, so I could look you in the eyes, take you by the hand, and assure you of a few things that I think you need to hear. I would begin by telling you how terribly sorry I am that you even need to read this blog post. I am sorry that your husband didn’t come to you and confess his struggle, but that you had to discover it on your own.
I bet I know what you’re thinking: Is he truly sorry because of what he did, or is he sorry he got caught?
It’s normal for a wife to wonder how much longer he would have kept this little secret or if he would have ever come clean. This is a question you’ll never have an answer for, so it’s best to set it aside in lieu of the question that has answers: What do I do when I catch my husband looking at porn.
- Rest assured that your husband’s use of pornography is not about you. I hope he has already told you this, but I suspect you’re not so sure. Believe it. Pornography is a selfish act meant to meet his own perceived needs. That means you are not in competition with digitally enhanced images of other women. This is not about your appearance, your sexual availability, or your competence in the bedroom. You do not need to be a size 8, get a tummy tuck, or engage in sexual acts that make you uncomfortable.
- Expect to be bombarded by a host of emotions. It’s entirely possible that since you caught your husband you have experienced anger, fear, sadness, depression, and guilt –and the pain feels incomprehensible. If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself saying and doing things you never thought imaginable. I was undone when I discovered my husband’s addiction, and I alternately cried until I made myself physically sick and raged like a crazy woman. (Not my proudest moment.) Above all, you need to know that there is hope and that God is big enough to meet all of your needs. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 reminds us that our endurance, patience, and perseverance are inspired by our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Believe me when I tell you that His long arm of mercy can and will reach you and pluck you out of this miry pit.
- Your husband’s use of porn will not go away if you simply ignore it, chalking it up to “boys will be boys.” God gives us a standard for marriage in the Bible. It’s that standard that causes you to think, “A faithful, loving husband doesn’t do this.” While the word confront doesn’t sound very loving, leaving your husband in this sin isn’t a loving response either. You need to tenderly confront your husband about his use of pornography. Some women need to confront the issue immediately while others require some time to process what they’ve discovered before they can discuss it. There is no right or wrong time, as long as you don’t avoid or deny the issue. Don’t be surprised if your emotions bubble to the surface and you find yourself crying or fighting mad. Exhale. Remember that you are in a battle, but this is a battle not between you and your husband, but a battle between the two of you against pornography.
- Find safe support. It is important that you find someone to talk to, and the first person should be God. Ask Him to direct your path in this situation. This is not the time to broadcast this to everyone you meet, but you do need support. Your best confidants will be those who are equipped to listen without judgment, and preferably someone who has experience with this. If your husband is committed to restoring your marriage and he is taking obvious steps in the right direction, I strongly encourage you to consult him about who and how much to tell.
- Accept the fact that it is not in your power to fix this for your husband. God has given the Holy Spirit the task of conviction of sin. You are not responsible for your husband’s daily choices. Your job is to walk in obedience to the Word of God. Turn to the Wonderful Counselor for healing your own heart. You’ve experienced a painful betrayal and you need to trust yourself into His care. When you arrive at a place of healing, you will be in a better position to create an environment that promotes healing in your marriage. Leave your husband in God’s hands. He’s got this one.
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.
I have caught him 3 times, all 3 times he has said he isnt doing it. He downloaded it to his phone. I don’t know why he started. The first time I thought it was me, it’s not. 2nd and 3rd time I’m angrier then before. He hasn’t made love to me in over 2 years. A year ago his intestines burst. I get the year, I don’t get all the other times. He said he won’t be normal because of colascamy bag. Help. I’m a Christian wife. He isnt christian.
Terri, I feel for you. You are not alone. Vicki, I am enjoying your web site, however, sadly beyond maybe your on-line support groups giving some much needed support everything else stated for me is been there, read that, understand that…but still need help.
I feel compelled to try to write here, because while what I read here is good to one thing needs explaination…the #4 above…if he is committed to restoring….consult him about who to tell and how much.” Porn using spices, addicts, are, even f they say they are committed, are not good references for who to talk to. The spouse most likely will feel shamed, embarrassed, and fearful of loosing respect so they will not want you to share…but you must talk to someone. So DO, use much caution, the church, friends cannot be trusted for the most part, but DO NOT stay isolated. You and your spouse cannot do it alone. Do not let the using spouse put any blame on you or keep you isolated in any way.
I have been married 30 years to a depressed porn addict who I thought had hit bottom more that one time, but I had to confront him yet again at the holiday. It’s a terrible, tough battle. I spent to many years listening to him say what “he needs” , being afraid I’d “dishonor him by talking”, being afraid I’d push her m more into depression if I didn’t “keep the peace”. You have to have a healthy outlet, your using,addict spouse cannot tell you who that is or isn’t.
Annette, I’m so sorry you’ve walked this path for so long. You are absolutely right, we cannot do this alone. I want to emphasize the point I was making in the article, as I think it will clarify your point. I said, “IF HE IS COMMITTED TO RESTORING…” THEN, you consult him.
Friend, though I don’t have all the details here in your post (that wouldn’t be appropriate), I suspect if you’ve been on this rollercoaster for 30 years, you’re aware that your husband hasn’t been really committed to restoration and recovery. In my book, I talk a lot about the importance of getting support and how to find good, healthy support. No, the sick person in the relationship doesn’t dictate to whom you speak, when you speak, or what you say. They aren’t healthy enough to do that. However, if they are going through all the appropriate motions … professional counseling, one-on-one accountability, filters, etc. etc., then they’re demonstrating a commitment and you can consult with him who to tell and how much. (Consulting doesn’t infer that they have the final say!)
I do pray that YOU have the support you need. I’d encourage you to check out my online support group. We have a new group starting in March 2017. I recently had a woman who’s been married 50+ years, so you will be in good company.
So after I confronted him he said he stopped, can’t find anything on phone anymore. Caught him doing himself to someone on the game systems. I’m so frustrated. He says he lives me, Sorry I don’t believe him or trust him anymore. I want out just have no where to go. Feel so alone, wanna cry but if I do I might be feeling sorry for myself, don’t want that.
We tried Celebrate recovery over 10 years ago. We only attended for a while and we thought things had improved or rather I hoped that would improve but I kept catching him on the internet. Many counseling sessions later and still sex is never a priority. He’s registered with so many sites. Talks to “fake” women on theses site describing what he wants to do to them. Claims, that they’re just trying to get his credit card so it’s not real. Doenfhours and hours engaging in it
Now we are back at Celebrate Recovery but I’m done and I plan to divorce my spouse. Over 30 years of lies. I feel as if God has released me. Intimacy has been dead for years, no kids, no major responsibilities. Why stay. Mainly, Involvement in church has kept us connected but I can’t carry the family. This mess hit the fan when I discovered he sent a photo of his privates. Plan stupid. I don’t understand why folks just can’t accept the love of God. When everyone has forsaken you, God will always be by your side. You have to settle that God values you. I’m disappointed to have wasted years of my life but I’m looking forward to a better future.