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Dealing with Your Husband's Porn Addiction: Encouragement about where to startWe’re in the middle of a series on how to handle a husband’s porn addiction. I know this is such a difficult road for many women; I hope that these posts help.

Yesterday we began our series on what to do when you discover your husband’s using porn. Porn use is so dangerous; it rewires the brain so that what is arousing is an image, rather than a person, and can ruin a man’s sex drive. In fact, it’s the largest cause of a man not wanting sex. And it ruins any sense of spiritual intimacy when you make love. The effects of porn are so damaging to both the man and his wife, who is left to feel violated and betrayed.

So I asked Vicki Tiede, author of When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, to answer some questions that I know my readers have, because we get to talking about it in the comments section of this blog! And I have receive so many emails from readers in agony over this.

Yesterday we looked at discovering your husband is using porn. Today we’re going to look at what, practically, you should do about it.

Here’s what I asked Vicki:

Does dealing with your husband’s porn addiction require involving other people?

A woman is usually faced with determining whether her husband has a problem with / is addicted to pornography. If he has come to her and confessed it’s much easier. The situation is more difficult if she has “discovered” the pornography either on the computer or by walking in on him. Now she will wonder if he’s really sorry or if he’s just sorry he got caught.

If a man truly has a one-time exposure to porn and he is horrified, confesses, and absolutely never looks at it again, then you don’t have a problem. If however he describes himself as only looking at it “now and then,” you have an issue.

You can no more accept the “casual use of pornography” any more than you would accept the “casual adulterous affair.”

Both represent an infidelity. Both are disobedient to Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

Now, here’s part two … when should you get other people involved? As soon as you have determined that this is more than a onetime event, you need to get others involved. (so glad Vicki said this! I wrote this, too, a while ago in this post, and it’s good to see we agree!)

Don’t miss this … I didn’t say you post this as a Facebook status or announce it to the world! I didn’t say you call your mother.

First, you take this to God. Pour out your heart and ask Him to direct you and your husband to whom you should tell. If your husband is eager to seek recovery and restoration, then I encourage you to make the decision together about who to tell and where to get help. Both you and your husband need safe sources of support, but you should not necessarily feel that you need to carry this load alone. I give a lot of information about this in my book, so I encourage you to read it to hear everything I have to say about choosing safe support, but some options to consider include a pastor*, a counselor for individual and joint therapy, a support group for wives/men, another couple who you know has gone through a similar experience. (*In the appendix of my book I talk about how to know if your pastor is a safe person to go to for help.) In my book, I also address why you might not want to go to a family member first.

You said that some women are too quick to forgive a husband’s porn addiction. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Many Christian women believe they must forgive almost immediately upon discovering their husband’s addiction/struggle. Here’s how that typically plays out…

She says she forgives her husband right away, then she wields the “pornography” club over her husband’s head and beats him with it on a regular basis. The goal of forgiveness is healing and growth. Fast forgiveness sabotages the healthy work that needs to be done to experience genuine, long-lasting restoration. Both the woman and her husband have work to be done. She needs to grieve her losses, and there are many! She needs to work through her anger; fears; inability to control this situation, her husband’s choices, and his recovery; and her guilt.

In my book, I wrote,

“Some Christian men may demand immediate forgiveness. This type of man is also apt to believe that, like an Etch-a-Sketch, his wife’s memory of his miserable choices has been turned over, shaken, and wiped clean so it’s good as new. He will become accusatory, withdrawn, or annoyed when she is depressed, angry, or inquisitive.”

Instead of quick forgiveness, I encourage women to go to the foot of the cross and meet with the Wonderful Counselor. She needs to allow Him to do the hard work of healing her wounded heart, so that she is able to stand ready to extend genuine, sold-out forgiveness when her husband seeks it and demonstrates that he is “turning from acts that lead to death” (Hebrews 6:1 NIV).

Sheila says: I found this part of the book fascinating, and I’ve been praying over it since I read it. I’m formulating a new post in my mind about forgiveness, and hopefully I’ll have it written next week! (Update: Here it is!)

The big theme of your book is that when dealing with our husband’s porn addiction, we have to trust in God, not in our husbands. You even said, “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but we are talking about addiction here, and the likelihood of recurrence exists. As a result, you can’t base your hope on your husband.” How does a woman get to the point where she can even feel hope in God?

If my plane crashes in the middle of the ocean and I survive, I don’t want to hear about forgiveness or that I’m a child of God. No. I want to know that there is hope that God can and will rescue me from this situation. I need to know that He sees, and hears, and cares, and that He won’t leave me in this place of pain. That’s why I start the book out with hope. I believe the most pressing need we all share is to embrace the hope that the God is able and willing to rescue us, wash the filth that clings to our hearts and minds, and usher us to the next step of healing.

I think one thing that helps a woman begin to feel hope in God is to hear directly from Him through His Word. Trust me, this addiction may have come as a huge and ugly surprise to her, but He sees what’s being done in a darkened office or in the wee hours of the morning. This came as no surprise to Him.

Jeremiah 32:17 assures us that “nothing is too hard for (Him).” THAT is something a woman in this situation needs to hear.

Might I just add that this is the enemy’s first line of attack? He wants her to feel a spirit of hopelessness. He will try to discourage her when her husband experiences a slip (Slight Lapse In Progress) in his recovery. That’s why her hope and happiness must not be dependent on the choices her husband makes every day.

My prayer for the women who would read my books was that this passage would be a living testimony of their own healing: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Thanks, Vicki, for sharing that with us!

Vicki Tiede is the author of When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography, a step-by-step road to healing for you as well as a game plan for what to do.

She writes: I am an author and speaker who has a passion for opening the Scriptures and pointing women to their true source of grace and faithfulness. For the past ten years, I have been honored to speak for numerous women at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. I am the author of three books including When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography (2012), Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009), and Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years (coming January 2013). I live in Rochester, Minnesota, with my husband Mike, daughter, and two sons. Visit her on the web.

Tomorrow in our Wifey Wednesday post I’ll do a summary of 4 things to do when you discover your husband’s porn use.

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