Marriage VLog: My Husband Used to be Addicted to Porn

I thought every week I’d post a video of me answering a reader question. So here’s one that came through recently, from a new bride with a dilemma:

I need to keep the videos to under 3 1/2 minutes, so it’s hard to give a topic a thorough answer. What would you all add? I know she’ll be reading, so if you can think of some other great advice, please comment!

If you have a problem with a husband who is involved in porn, see my series here. Or if you have a problem feeling that sex is positive, reread Monday’s post! And, of course, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex deals with both these issues in detail.

Comments

  1. Great response, Sheila!

    To the reader with the question:

    My husband and I have been married for nearly 15 years. I just found out about 4 months ago that he has been battling a porn addiction for the past 8 years. It can be very difficult to put it behind you… I have days when things just come rushing back (the initial hurt I felt, etc). At those times I start feeling very self-conscious and insecure. When that happens, I tell my husband. I don’t intend to hurt him, and I’m not trying to make him feel bad, but I do tell him that I’m feeling insecure. He knows what I mean, and he does his best to love me through the situation. I’m hoping that the passing of time will help to make things a little easier. No, it’ll never “not” be there… but I know I can draw on the strength that God gives me to try to push aside some of those feelings.

    As for seducing him… that may have absolutely nothing to do with the porn stuff… guys just like to be persued! It has taken me way to long to understand that. Guys like it when you take the initiative once in a while. It makes them feel valued and desired. Being a full-time mom, I was doing a horrible job at making myself look good for my husband. I wasn’t putting any effort into it at all. My 4 kids drained every bit of energy from me, and I could care less what I looked like. Now that I’m putting some effort into my appearance, I’m finding that it puts me in a better mood and makes me feel more confident! I’m even finding myself flirting with my husband again… which has led to him feeling more desired… which has definitely led to more fun!
    Nicole recently posted…Video for men so we can act like oneMy Profile

    • I agree about putting effort into your appearance – a long time ago I got into the habit of shaving every day, and wearing pretty clothes every day – it’s gotten to the point where I can’t NOT take care of myself. It really is a habit. Sometimes I’ll go into the shower feeling depressed and think, I just don’t want to shave right now, it takes too much energy. But I do anyway, just out of habit, and it’s over quickly and I feel better because of it! The same thing with applying lotion all over. As far as this sort of thing goes, it’s hard to beat the feeling of soft, smooth legs, and the way your skin feels when it’s moisturized. I think my husband has gotten spoiled, though…..but I suppose that’s a good thing!
      Jen recently posted…feeling happy, projects, and sexMy Profile

  2. The subject of porn always really bothered me, because I know what it does to women when their husbands look at the stuff. My husband used to, before we started dating and he found out the way it made me feel. He grew up in a non-Christian home where his mother forced him to watch movies that were not meant for children (she made him watch Chucky when he was in grade school), and he grew up not even realizing there was anything wrong with it. But as far as I know, he hasn’t looked at it since we’ve been together – and I used to snoop through everything! I even found out how to resurrect deleted internet history. I finally was able to trust him, but that moment when we were on his computer not too long after we started dating, and I saw that he had porn on his computer – that really, truly scarred me. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a spouse to have an ongoing addiction. My heart truly breaks for women in that situation. It’s just not fair, the completely unrealistic standard that society tells us we have to measure up to. Everything is digitally altered – photographs, videos and movies, EVERYTHING (trust me, I’ve done research!) – nothing that you see on film is real, but most people believe that it is.
    Jen recently posted…feeling happy, projects, and sexMy Profile

  3. Ive been married 18 years, 5 months ago I found out my husband had been addicted to porn since junior high and lasted until 11 months ago. He didn’t even tell me until he had stopped for 6 months after a men’s retreat. I was shocked, angry, sad, and many more emotions. Our relationship is much better, yet I am still working through it. No real advice, just empathy.

    • So glad your relationship is better. We’ve experienced the best 4 months of our entire marriage since he told me. There’s an openness between us that wasn’t there before. Praise God!
      Nicole recently posted…Allowing our Husbands to be MenMy Profile

      • That’s wonderful, Nicole, and thanks for sharing! I think that can encourage a lot of women walking through the same thing.

    • Kathy, so many women find such great relief when it’s finally out in the open because everything about their husband changes. He’s much more open and kind. But it’s such a rough road to walk through. I’m glad things are getting better.

  4. I’ve been married for almost two years and I was in a very similar position to the reader. Before my husband and I got engaged (but after we’d started getting serious/talking about engagement), my husband told me that he had been using porn but stopped shortly after we started dating. As a result, I had similar difficulties in the first few months of our marriage. He would make requests or try different things and my first thought was, “He must have seen this in porn.” But I agree with Sheila. It’s difficult to say that a desire is because of porn, because, especially if it’s been behind him for awhile, it is almost certainly a desire purely for you.

    I think the biggest help for me in transitioning from “pure and virginal” to “pure and sexual” was beliving my husband when he affirmed my sexuality. I think it’s really easy (especially if there’s a history of porn) to brush off anything he says as him being just focused on the physical or an animal or, if we’re discontent with our bodies, him not being truthful. But when he is affirming my sexuality, I’ve learned to take it to heart and to believe that his affirmation in that area is completely true (he honestly doesn’t see stretch marks– I had to trace them for him and even then he was like “oh yea, huh” and then it was like they didn’t exist again). And I’ve learned to believe that his affirmation of my sexuality is no different from his affirmation in any other area– my thoughts, feelings, skills, abilities, giftings and so on. So when he gets a big grin on his face when I show off a recent purchase, I take it in the same way I take his satisfaction in eating a meal I made, or his appreciation of clean dishes, or his interest in my thoughts, or his enthusiasm over an idea I’ve had. He loves all of me, and sexuality is a part of that.

    Further encouragement: keep working at it. It takes time and ‘practice’ and that is absolutely okay. All of the “be pure” books I read and talks I heard said, “Save sex for marriage, because sex is AWESOME in marriage,” as though it was immediately awesome, from wedding night, on. A lot of the authors were men or women who’d had sexual experience prior to marriage and it was great to get their perspectives, but there weren’t enough people saying, “You know what, sex IS awesome in marriage, but it takes time to get there.” Our experience has definitely been that sex is on an upward trajectory. It gets better as we grow closer and vice versa. You don’t have to have it figured out right away. Keep working at it (reading books, blogs, asking for advice, getting outside help if needed) and it will keep getting better.

    • Such a great point–“it is awesome in marriage, but it takes time to get there”. Absolutely! I think if we said this more clearly, fewer women would feel like failures in their first few years of marriage. Maybe I’ll write a post soon with that title!

  5. I’ve been married for about 4 years now, and my husband is also a recovering porn addict. He had been honest with me and told me about it while we were dating, but looking back I think I was so naive that I didn’t fully understand what a huge issue it really was… After all, he had some accountability measures in place, and I somehow thought the problem would just “go away” after we got married. Boy, was I wrong! After only 3 weeks of marriage I discovered that he had been downloading porn onto his laptop at work, and bringing it home. I was completely devastated, so much so that I almost left. I had never felt like an unattractive woman, but in that moment (and in many since) my self-esteem took a huge hit. It wasn’t until I talked with some close friends and discovered that their husbands, all Christians as well, had all struggled with pornography at some point or another, that I realized what an enormous problem it is. Even our pastor has been open with our church about his past struggles with it, and the importance of accountability.
    It has taken almost four years, but I am now at a place where I understand that my husband is not my enemy, he LOVES me and he doesn’t want to hurt me … Rather I now think of pornography as our common enemy, something outside of *us* that we have to stand together to fight. He has slipped up a few times since and given in to temptation (mainly when we’ve gone through rough patches), and I won’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt, because it does, very much, but it hurts a lot less now than it used to. Oh, and, it also helps that he has been open and honest about it when it does happen, because I think the secrecy and sense of betrayal is what hurts more than anything else.

    • Crissy, what a great comment! I love what you said about how you recognize that porn is the common enemy, because that is so true. And I also believe your last point is really true, too. When we’re open and honest with our spouses, it does help tremendously. But we need to give our spouses permission to be open and honest without us coming down like a ton of bricks. It sounds like God has helped you to find that balance, and I’m so glad you two are working together (with God’s help) to defeat this!

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