Can a wife actually help her husband end a porn addiction?
Porn is the number one problem that women write in to me about, so I thought I’d spend three days talking about different aspects of it.
Thanks for all your comments yesterday on when to invite your husband back into your bed–sorry I didn’t join in the discussion! Another twelve hour day in our RV. And today we’ll be HOME! So as I’m wrapping up my first RV speaking trip, I’ve invited Robi Smith from the blog Hopeful Wife Today to share 10 steps with us for Top 10 Tuesday about how to help your hubby end his porn habit.
Many marriages are ending due to the effects of pornography. The marriages that are staying together after a pornography addiction are spending years to heal and rebuild trust. Husbands are being trapped in this powerful temptation. Many men see no way out of porn. Many women are hopeless to even try to help their husbands.
Certainly the husband must be the one who is willing to change. He must have the desire to quit viewing porn. However, most Christian men do not want to look at porn. In fact, they are desperate to quit! But they find themselves in an impossible cycle that is just too hard to stop. That’s why wives are in a unique position to help their husbands end a porn addiction.
I went through this cycle with my husband. He spent all his teenage years, young adult years, and married years addicted to pornography. For ten years I did not know he even had a problem with lust. It was that hidden. When I finally discovered his struggle, he felt free. He thought finally, after all this time, someone can know! Someone can actually help me beat this!
So here are the top 10 ways to help your husband end a porn addiction:
1. Confront him about his porn addiction
Porn addicts thrive on secrecy. Porn users typically cover their tracks by deleting history and viewing only when they think they will not get caught. If someone actually knew what they were doing, most of them wouldn’t do it at all. There is so much shame involved in this sin. That is why if you know your husband has been watching porn, you must tell him.
2. Daily Prayer and Bible Reading
The most important thing that helped my husband overcome lust was a daily prayer and Bible reading time. Not only did this help my husband, but it also helped me to heal and our marriage to be restored. This was a time that we set aside to specifically pray over our marriage. Moreover, we prayed for my husband’s struggle with lust. We found specific Bible verses that he could read and pray over in order to defeat lust. He calls this putting on the armor of God. He prays for God to protect his eyes and his body throughout the day. He does this every single day.
3. Use Internet Filtering to Avoid Porn
Internet filtering is so important to have on any computer and on his phone. We use Covenant Eyes because it has worked wonderfully. I knew that I could not have peace in my home unless I knew that the access to pornography was blocked. This also helped my husband so much with temptation. He knew it wasn’t even an option. Many people say that you can get around computer filters. This is probably true to some degree. However, you have to really try to get around Covenant Eyes. For my husband, he greatly wanted to quit watching porn, so he never put in all the extra effort to pass filters. He felt so relieved to know that someone would find out what he was doing on the internet.
Find out more about Covenant Eyes, or download some of their free ebooks on the effects of porn and how to quit, here.
4. Be Honest and Open to Each Other About Your Struggles
This was the most difficult area for my marriage when my husband was recovering from porn addiction. Porn watchers are usually secretive, deceptive, and keep their emotions closed. My husband had never been open to anyone in his life– ever. God has led me to urge my husband to tell me anything even if it really hurts. My husband doesn’t want to share things with me that will bother me. But honesty is so important in marriage. I am not talking about every lustful thought. I am talking about important things that happen in his day to day life that he should share with me. It might be about his struggle with lust. It could be an inappropriate conversation someone had with him. Sometimes it is when he feels like a failure at work or at home. This area will greatly help your husband overcome watching porn. He needs to be able to release his stress and have emotional intimacy with his wife.
5. Set Aside a Time to Talk about His Day
Before I found out he was watching porn, my husband very rarely shared his day with me. He most often said, “I don’t want to talk about my day, I’d rather hear about yours.” That was fine with me. But, I realized he never wanted to talk because he kept his emotions so closed from me. Now, we talk each night for about 15 minutes about our days. He tells me all about the events of his day. I tell him about my day. Additionally, we tell each other our “highs” and lows”. This is the best time for him to relieve any stress that is building up.
6. Find him Accountability
Many people will argue that a wife should never be an accountability partner. We feel differently in our marriage. I do agree that some things are too harsh for a wife to hear. That is true. No husband should be telling his wife random lustful thoughts he struggles with. My husband brings his thoughts before God and prays all day to “flee” from lustful thoughts. But, with other things, I am a part of my husband’s accountability. First, I needed to be a part of this. There was so much lying and deception in our marriage that I wanted to know when something came up. My husband agreed with this because it has helped us to rebuild trust so immensely. He tells me things in his life that are a temptation. He tells me where and when he struggles the most. This is something that he will always share with me.
7. Keep Your Reaction Godly
Hearing about a husband’s problem with lust hurts deeply in a wife’s heart. I can still feel the deep, overwhelming pain from when I found out my husband watched pornography. However, when I am listening to God, I know that I want to help my husband. I want our marriage to grow. I want to be in love with him. Therefore, to help him overcome porn, I have to have godly reactions to what he tells me. When he shares something about his past or his struggle with me and I react in anger, it closes him up more again. And I do not want that. Now, when he tells me something that is making him struggle with temptation I try to follow God. I pray with him. I ask him what he’s doing about it. Each time that I choose this reaction I am helping my husband. I know that this is not the easy or natural response. It takes practice. It takes drawing close to God. I have failed at this many times. But, God is helping me grow in this area.
8. Draw Close to God
This means for you, as the wife, to draw close to God. Knowing that your husband had an addiction to pornography is very devastating. We need to spend time with God to overcome this hurt. We can pour out all of our feelings to God. We also can pray for our husbands. We can cover them in prayer all day.
9. Trust him again by Trusting in God
My husband’s deepest regret is that he lost all of my trust. It has been over three years since I found out about my husband. There are still situations that I do not trust him in. There are things that I do not want him to do because I think “what if.” I can set boundaries in my marriage. These are normal, healthy boundaries for someone that is overcoming temptation to porn. However, I cannot keep my husband sheltered in a world where he cannot be a part of daily life. He has to go to work each day, the store, the gym, etc. He has to use the computer for many work related things. He even has to use computers at work that are not filtered at all. This can be very scary as a wife. I can let doubt control my life. But I choose to trust my husband by trusting in God.
I tell God that I don’t completely trust my husband yet. He lied to me for many years and betrayed me terribly. But, I do trust You God. So, I pray if there is something You want me to know that my husband does not tell me, please bring it to light. I can tell you that anything that has ever happened that my husband was too scared to tell me, God put it in my heart. God was the one who originally led me find out about the pornography. God will not let me down now. It might not be immediately, but He will show me. Knowing this has helped my husband want to be a good man.
10. Give Him a Second Chance After the Porn
Even after we make this decision, we have to carry it through with our actions. If your husband had a problem with pornography and he is truly repentant to you, what is stopping you from giving him a second chance? Is it fear, anger, or a desire for revenge? I have felt each one of those. But, in the end, they left me feeling dead. I could only choose God’s way. I looked at what Jesus did on the cross for us. I deeply studied the Gospels and read the words that Jesus spoke to sinners. His whole message to us is about redemption, restoration, and forgiveness. How could I claim to love God and not forgive my husband?
It may be the most difficult thing you ever have to do. But, God will bless you. He will take your marriage that was so broken and messed up and he will make it beautiful. He can only do this if you give your husband that second chance. And when you do that, you will be helping your husband in more ways than you will ever know.
Let me know in the comments: Have you ever struggled with rebuilding trust or with ending a porn addiction? How did you do it?
Robi blogs at Hopeful Wife Today, a site dedicated to bringing hope and healing to hurting wives dealing with their husband’s pornography use and unfaithfulness.