Husband Addicted to Porn!

Sherry AllchinFor Those Giving Help, For Those Seeking Hope3 Comments

Is your husband addicted to porn? You are not alone.

In the last days, perilous times shall come. Men…shall be lovers of their own selves….” 2 Timothy 3:1-5, ESV

Pornography—it’s readily available everywhere from sex flicks to websites and online chat rooms, and as easy as “sexting” pictures of self to others. The format matters little; the results are the same … devastation.

More than $13 billion was spent on porn in 2006 in the United States alone, and the grim truth is its bigger business today. See the stats.  Because it’s easily accessible in secret, it can be a very private sin. Or so it may seem.

The Secret of a Husband Addicted to Porn

The secrecy magnifies the betrayal, the anger, and horror a wife feels when she discovers her husband’s (or child’s) secret sin. She may have known it was a past problem and believed he lived in victory, or she may have been clueless to his addiction and feels duped by him.

Still, she knows porn addition is not “normal” and feels violated, exposed in shame that the man she trusted has taken what was sacred between them and viewed other women (or men) and other acts in violation to their sacred covenant of marriage. It is among the worst betrayals!

The images of porn is fantasy, hidden away in his mind. It cannot be stopped or monitored by another unless the porn addict chooses. A wife can’t compete with a fantasy!

She loses faith that their intimacy is real—it may just be a part of his fantasy about someone else he has viewed. If she withdraws from intimacy, he may use this as an excuse for his sin. If she gives, she may feel used, not loved. It feels like a “no win.”

How to Respond to a Husband Addicted to Porn

So what is a Christian wife to do when she discovers her husband is into pornography? Truth be told, some of these biblical principles may be difficult to accomplish without the help from your church’s pastor or other spiritually mature male. Or you may reach out for biblical counseling through Biblical Counseling Center. We have trained and experienced biblical counselors on staff, meeting both in person in greater Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, and by Skype.

1. Listen objectively before passing judgment or reacting in anger or disappointment. Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen with discernment to be sure you have the facts. Is his story consistent with what you know? Listen carefully:

If one gives an answer before he hears,    it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13, ESV

2. Begin the discussion privately between the two of you.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. Matthew 18:15, ESV

Try to understand his depth of involvement, but it is rare to get the whole story the first time. God didn’t get it straight from Adam and Eve, and your husband isn’t likely to respond much better without help. But a good discussion is two-way, so ask him to listen to how you are feeling and how his sin affects your marriage and also his relationship with the Lord.

Appeal to him to get help. If he refuses and you are convinced you have the facts, Matthew 18:16-17 says to involve help anyway. Be discerning about whom you choose to involve, and keep the circle small. Don’t run to others who are not a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. That includes other family members. Gossip is destructive, even if it is true.

3. Seek to discern if his heart attitude toward his sin is one of repentance, or excuses and justification for wrong. Anger indicates lack of repentance. Worldly sorrow feels bad that he got caught or hurt you. Godly sorrow produces the fruit of repentance, which is to change. Pray that he will come to a place of true godly sorrow:

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV

But what if he doesn’t want help? Neither did the Prodigal initially. Keep praying and trusting God, and getting help for yourself. It is easy to focus on his sin, but you must choose to focus on your faithful Lord instead, and on your own growth through this difficult trial.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4, ESV

His desire for pornography is not about you, though every wife I’ve counseled initially believed she should have been enough for him and that it is somehow her fault. It is not! He chose to sin.

4. Remember, he will need those who will listen with compassion and humility, knowing we all are candidates to sin God has given you permission to involve those who can help. The truth will come easier when a pastor, counselor, or friend listens and then guides him into accountability in love, not in shame or anger, because love unifies and encourages. The goal is restoration.

5. The depth of involvement that comes out of these discussions will determine the kind of help. Will a men’s accountability group and installing Covenant Eyes or another computer accountability program be enough to stop a husband addicted to porn? Perhaps for some men, yes. Godly sorrow produces change.

For others, a more intense individual counseling with a godly man who can unpack perhaps years of wrong thinking and help him develop a lifestyle of self-control in the seven building blocks for moral purity. Wives do not make good counselors or accountability partners for their husbands, but function best in the God-given roles to support, encourage, and pray for their husband’s growth in sanctification. In fact, you as the wife will need your own counselor and encouragement as you go through this trial with your husband.

Choose a counselor that will keep you pointed vertically, and that will use Scripture to teach, comfort, and guide you through this difficult time in your marriage. As each of you focus on your own growth and sanctification, in time you will unify into that three-fold cord that is not easily broken.

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV

6. Model the grace and mercy that God the Father so graciously bestows on each of us when we sin and repent! Forgiveness comes with true repentance and change; it is choosing to model after the way God has forgiven us! Rebuilding trust is the process that takes more time, observing his accountability, faithfulness, and consistency.

Trust first begins vertically–trusting God even when you fear a future fraught with anxiety, with or without your husband. Going vertical strengthens you to face your anxieties and disappointments, and to choose forgiveness when there are no guarantees.

7. Work on your communication and relationship as a couple. After he is growing in his vertical relationship with the Lord, it is time to evaluate the horizontal in every sphere. When a crisis in a marriage becomes a stepping stone to greater growth and intimacy, it strengthens the relationship and builds a platform for ministry to other couples in crisis.

Join the Conversation

Which of these 7 biblical principles of responding to a husband’s pornography do you find most helpful? What other biblical principles would you add?

Here are two complementary downloads:

Freedom Through Forgiveness

5 Principles of Communication

Find other free downloads here at Biblical Counseling Center.

3 Comments on “Husband Addicted to Porn!”

  1. Number 1 and 3 spoke to me. I’m nearly on track with those … however, my husband is looking at male porn and has been since before we were married (28 yrs). This is a recent discovery. He is not a Christian.

  2. I have been a Christian for 16 years in October I’ll be married 45 years. My husband has done pornography off and on getting caught throughout these years. I have prayed and stand scripturally with Jesus on Restoration in this area. I pray that God would bring my husband for Godly sorrow and repentance but he says he doesn’t share the same conviction that I have. He says he hasn’t got his Epiphany yet those are his words. I choose to forgive over and over from my heart I pray God brings restoration. I trust the Lord and I put all my hope in him but if my husband doesn’t feel a conviction but just a sorrow and grief for hurting me what should I do next.? Because of his pornography we haven’t had Intimacy in our marriage but once in 16 years and that failed . He says he wants to have intimacy with me but anxiety and fear stops him. I’m going to God with my heart betrayal and rejection, and I will continue for I know he’ll bring restoration and healing to me my hope is that our marriage will also be restored. My husband refuses Counseling of any kind, I will sit with him tonight and tell him how much it hurt but I will also tell him I forgive him and I will ask God 2 restore our marriage. Please give me some wisdom of God in the situation I have forgiven and forgiven and forgiven. I know the Lord well test our faith through all trials and I hope in him. But I do need some Council today before I speak to my husband tonight I thank you so much for what I learned by reading biblical counseling.

    1. Hi Terri,

      Heartbreaking! Have you reached out to your church? This is a sensitive area, which many men struggle with. You need mature women in the church to minister to you, and your husband needs to repent, both to you and to God. God can restore your marriage. But you need others to come alongside you too. You are hurting deep. Do you have caring Christians in your life to share your struggles? A female counselor from our staff could also meet with you, either in person or by
      Skype.

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