Can a marriage recover from a husband’s porn use?

That’s the question a reader is going to answer for us for today’s Wifey Wednesdsay!

A reader recently sent me this beautiful email about porn, redemption, and hope. I wanted to share it with you today, because I know so many of you struggle with your husband’s porn use. Tomorrow I’m going to write a wrap up post on how to fight the porn, not fight your husband, but for today, I thought a story may help.

Can Your Marriage Recover from a Husband's Porn Use? One woman's story of healing and redemption--what she did, what helped, and how they're doing now. When your husband uses porn, you need to know this!

Recently my husband sent me a text and told me that he wanted to share some things that he had been keeping from me for our entire marriage.

As you can imagine, I let my lady brain take over and had all kinds of scenarios going through my head. He sent the text at 9AM and I wouldn’t be home until after 6PM! All day I kept thinking “Am I ready for this? Can I handle what he’s going to tell me?” We will be married 15 years this June and we have been together since we were 15! So what could he possibly tell me that I don’t already know?

When I got home that night he was in his chair writing, the kids came up to me and asked if Daddy was ok? He told them not to bother him and asked them to play quietly in their bedrooms. He didn’t even look up at me when I walked in the room, didn’t ask what was for supper, just kept on writing and writing.

After supper he asked the kids to go back to their rooms because he needed to talk to me. We cleaned up after dinner and went to sit down in our chairs. He handed me a note book and asked me to read it, he decided that it was going to be easier to write than say the actual words.

He told me of a day when he was 7 or 8 years old, the day started as many summer days for boys of that age.

He had plans to meet up with friends and tear up the town on his bike. One of his friends suggested that they sneak into an abandoned barn that they always rode by. It was a typical old barn full of rusty tractor parts and tools. But this barn was different–it held a secret that would change the world of all the boys. In the loft of this barn where piles and piles of pornography. This started him on a path that no little boy should have to walk.

Now let me fast forward to year 2 of our marriage.

We are fighting all the time, mostly about sex and how he hates my body and how fat I have gotten. I had gained about 50lbs going through fertility treatment and he was disgusted with my body. In that 6 page letter to me everything that we had fought about and almost divorced over made complete sense to me. I knew that his perception of women was warped because of the things he saw on those pages. I knew that his idea of a sex was skewed. He had no idea how to deal with it so he just got angry and when we did have sex it was just that, there was no love involved.

I prayed for years that God would change me, that I would wake up one day and be the perfect wife for this man that he had clearly chosen for me. I would throw fits and beg my husband to tell me what he wanted from me, but he would never tell me. I know that I sound naïve and the fact is I was, I had no idea that my husband struggled with pornography. He worked nights and I worked days for the first year of our marriage so he was home all day and I never knew what he was up to. I knew that he would spend hours online, he would get angry with me for asking him questions about his online activity. We spent the first 10 years of our marriage hanging on by a thread, not wanting to give up, but not wanting to do anything to make it better.

Then one day about 5 years ago God clearly spoke to me and told me that I needed to stop praying for one of us to change and just start praying for my husband.

I have never really just prayed for him in general, I always wanted him to change or be something different. So I started praying that he would allow God to work in him, to show him who he was and what he was put here to do. So I did just that, I prayed for this man that God picked out just for me, I thanked God for him. I stopped seeing all the things he wasn’t and saw what God saw. I stopped criticizing, pushing buttons just to get a response out of him. I let him know that I loved him and that was all that mattered.

Yes I was still struggling with not having a husband in all ways, but slowly God started working in me about that.

Fast forward to the Monday night he told me his secret.

I read his letter to me, I cried, I understood, my heart broke for the little boy whose innocence was stolen from him.

I got up out of my chair and went to his chair, crawled up on his lap and cried some more. Then I spoke to the little boy, “I’m so sorry” and my big, tough as nails husband cried.

“My heart broke for the little boy whose innocence was stolen from him.”

We held each other and cried.

I wasn’t angry at him for keeping his secret from me, I wasn’t hurt.

Honestly, I think I was relieved to know that all those years of sleepless nights fighting had nothing to do with me.

I know that sounds a bit selfish, but I always felt like it was my fault. I knew that in that moment we were going to be ok and that the enemy who stole his innocence and told him the lie to keep it a secret no longer had any power over us. He could no longer steal the joy that we have found in each other over the last 5 years. He could no longer hold the sin over my husband’s head. There was healing for both of us in the moment that he shared his dark secret with me.

I know no everyone can have the same healing experience as I did, but I wanted to let you know that sometimes, God asks us to do things that will make us uncomfortable, but yet there is so much cleansing that takes place afterwards. I look at my husband today and I see a light in his eyes that I have never seen before, a joy that has never been there.

He looks at me differently now too.

He sees a woman who stood next to him when she didn’t even know what was going on. He sees a woman who loved him through everything and never gave up on him. He told me that I saved him, that God didn’t make a mistake when He told my husband to marry me at 15yrs old.

I don’t know how long it has been since he lasted looked at porn, and I don’t want to know. What I do know is that God has delivered him from this and that I all I care about.


What a great story! I’m so glad she shared it.

I’m not writing it to say, “you should do everything like she did.” I DO think it’s important to get an accountability partner, and I do think setting something like Covenant Eyes up on your computer are important steps.

But I share this partly because healing doesn’t look the same in all cases.

The bigger reason, though, is because of her testimony of compassion for this man.

Tomorrow I’m going to share some other emails, and encourage women to fight the porn, don’t fight their husbands (if their husbands are repentant and take it seriously). But today, listen to her words:

I read his letter to me, I cried, I understood, my heart broke for the little boy whose innocence was stolen from him. I got up out of my chair and went to his chair, crawled up on his lap and cried some more. Then I spoke to the little boy, “I’m so sorry” and my big, tough as nails husband cried.

When husbands use porn, we get disgusted.

And it IS disgusting. We feel shame. We feel humiliation. We feel anger. These emotions are all normal, and likely important to go through if we’re going to honestly deal with our own grief, too. The negative effects of porn aren’t just on his brain and his sex drive; they’re on our emotions, too.

But I ask you to add one more emotion in there: compassion.

Compassion for a man who was likely led down this path at a very young age. In this guy’s case, he was only 7 or 8 years old. Imagine what pornography does to a 7 or 8 year old child. They don’t even understand about sex yet, but they see these images, and those images get imprinted on their minds. Those images get tied to the sexual arousal process in the brain–and now THAT becomes what is arousing. And they didn’t even really go looking for it; it found them.

For so many young boys (and young girls), porn finds them. It’s very different from an alcohol addiction or a drug addiction. You have to make a deliberate decision to drink alcohol a lot; for many young kids, they see porn and it starts changing the way the brain thinks of sex. And they’re drawn to it. With alcohol, people usually enjoy it for a time, sometimes years, before it takes over and they start feeling shame and can’t stop. With porn the shame starts almost immediately–and yet they can’t stop.

When you talk to guys who have used porn, almost all hate themselves for it.

I have known a teenager from a GREAT Christian family (parents were missionaries; he knew Scripture; he was talented and musically gifted) who committed suicide because he could not break his porn addiction. He didn’t want the porn; but it had him hooked.

I am not saying that guys are powerless against it.

I am only saying that the stories of so many of our husbands start very similarly to this 7 or 8 year old boy.

He wasn’t searching it out. It came for him. And he always, always wanted to stop. He hated himself.

So be his ally in stopping! Tomorrow we’ll look at how to deal with some of the after-effects of porn (the withdrawal of emotional intimacy, which this writer and Robi Smith both mentioned yesterday; the secretiveness; and the sexual rewiring). But for today, I just ask you to feel compassion on these men, who were once little boys who got sucked in.

And, if you’re a parent (whether it’s boys or girls, makes no difference), don’t let this 7 year old’s story become your child’s story! Protect their eyes when they’re too young to understand. Please. Think about their future marriages. Don’t let them grow up with this as their story. Think about getting Covenant Eyes, and as they get older, keep open conversations about porn!)

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