Dear Word Washed Wife,
I have been married for 12 years. I just recently found out my husband is addicted to pornography. He didn’t tell me about this, I found the evidence on his computer one day while he was at work. I wasn’t snooping, an ad just popped up and it made me uncomfortable so I checked the web browser. I was shocked. Seeing what he has been watching has rocked my world. I confronted him as soon as he came home from work. He turned white and immediately started to cry. I said very ugly things to him, I wish I could take back. He says he will never look at it again. I am tempted to throw the computer away. I have always been insecure in my looks and now he has blatantly shown me I’m not enough. I don’t know if I can ever trust him again. We have two daughters. We are active in church, both believers and we haven’t spoken to each other in days. I never thought I would contemplate divorce but I think about it every day now. What should I do? Help, please.
I am sorry you find yourself in this situation. It must have been shocking and very hurtful on many levels. Sadly, you are not alone. Pornography is rampant and is damaging many marriages, to include Christian marriages! I recently read Mo Isom’s book, Sex, Jesus and the Conversations the Church Forgot. A staggering statistic in the book jumped out at me. Mo states that in 2017 over 4.6 billion hours of porn was viewed. Approximately 90-95% of males today over the age of 13 have viewed some form of pornography. If we were talking about the flu, we’d be talking about a pandemic disease!
Wives who discover their husband looking at porn are as hurt by the deception and by the secretiveness of the sin as they are by the infidelity. They begin to question if they truly know to whom they are married. Other women feel a deep sense of inadequacy or unattractiveness. They fear that because of who they are, because of how they look when the lights are on and because of their imperfections and wiggly bits they may be the cause of their husband’s desire for something better … someone more picture perfect. Other wives are simply disgusted and feel as if their husband has cheated on them. Women need to know that their mate’s every sexual experience is shared with them only. They consider pornography as a betrayal of the sanctity of their marriage vows. But know this – the problem with pornography is not confined to wives only. These days, wives are becoming addicted to pornography too! I must stress that keeping a pure mind/spirit it not just a priority for men. It is for all of us. ( Romans 12:2)
Rest assured that your body is not the reason for your husband’s sin. Do not permit Satan to whisper that in your ear. Keep him quiet by telling him that you are created in the image of God! (Genesis 1:26-27) Believers sin when they stop chasing after Jesus and instead start chasing after other things that the world tells them will bring them happiness. When they do, they soon find themselves stuck in a bucket of sin; they see no way to get out.
I understand your pain and hurt, and through talking with many couples over the years, I can also imagine the pain that your husband is experiencing. No matter what people are addicted to, whether it be drugs, alcohol, pain pills, gambling, or pornography, most also wrestle with the shame of their addiction. Shame keeps them trapped in their behavior. Satan convinces them that they deserve neither forgiveness nor a way out! This is probably the reason why your husband did not confess. I understand that his secretiveness hurts, but he probably tried many times to stop on his own. But without the light of the Gospel shining on this sin and some proper tools, he ended up feeling only condemnation. Being a Christian, you must forgive your husband. I cannot think of a sin that my own husband could commit for which I would not forgive. Know that I am not talking restoring full trust; I am talking about forgiveness. Forgiveness is absolutely essential – for both of you! If you do not forgive your husband, a root of bitterness will grow in your heart, and it will grow until it strangles it. To protect our hearts, Jesus tells us to forgive so that we can also be forgiven! (Matthew 6:14)
Trust can be rebuilt, but steps must be taken. Your husband needs a support group of Christian men that can hold him accountable. If he is addicted to porn, a Sex Addiction (SA) Support Group may be in order. Your husband has lost the right to un-monitored internet exploration. There are many software programs that will keep him from being able to look at porn. But know, this is but a security net; your husband’s heart needs the most attention. He needs to hear from you that you love him and do not think he is a creep. He needs to be encouraged to stay in the Word of God and in fellowship with believers. Sadly, many churches are not ready to hear his confession, but my prayer is that you are in a body of believers who care more about the health of the body than their own discomfort. I pray that your church will help him tackle this sin.
You are a long way from being out of the woods, but please know that your letter is the first step. Find a group of sisters, either in a SA spouse’s group or with ladies from your church. Allow other Christian women to speak truth into your life. You will have to share honestly about what is going on in your marriage. You will have to be vulnerable with these ladies. Being vulnerable is slightly different from telling people what’s going on in your life. Being vulnerable is allowing people to speak into your life after they have heard the full truth. Do not allow Satan to isolate or make you feel shameful. Wise Christian friends will speak truth in a loving way, but it still may sting a little. I love Bret McCracken’s wisdom, “On the other side of discomfort is delight in Christ (Uncomfortable).” My sister, seek to live in this very spot … completely delighted by the love of Christ!
Stay washed in the Word, in fellowship with believers, in forgiveness with your husband, and in prayer for purity in your heart! You are not alone. God is not surprised. He has this. Trust Him with it!
Word Washed Wife
““Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
DISCLAIMER: In the interest of all reading, and with an intent to simplify some questions, I have taken the liberty to edit some letters. Because every marriage situation is unique and multi-faceted, I have personally reached out to each person who wrote me an e-mail to offer more specific details that address their needs.