Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography

Written by Dr. Dave Currie

man1If you’ve discovered that your husband is into pornography, well, you’re not alone. This battle with the pornographic monster is a growing problem across the entire societal grid. With the proliferation of sex sites on the Internet resulting in growing accessibility with total anonymity, the problem is only going to grow. Statistics tell us that 35% of all Internet usage is pornographic, and that as many as 50% of men have serious struggles in this area.

Related: Read Maureen’s story about her husband’s porn addiction. 

Of course, none of that makes it any easier for you to accept. You will naturally be devastated by the news of your husband’s involvement with pornography. There is a huge sense of betrayal and a breaking down of trust. Whether your spouse has been involved physically with another person, or emotionally and mentally through pornography, the violation feels the same. Your reaction could range from disbelief, to disgust, to anger. You wonder, “How could he do this to me?” You likely have no desire to be with him sexually, and you may want to leave him altogether.

First steps

The first thing you need to work through is your immediate response. Your strong feelings are both understandable and justified. At the same time, you need to be very careful that your reaction to your husband does not create more problems than you are already facing. You have both a right and a need to express whatever you are feeling, but you need to do it in a way that will not complicate your recovery. Be honest about your hurts, share openly about your disappointment, but realize that lashing out with damning accusations and attacking, harsh words only makes things worse.

Your initial reaction will likely be impacted by the way in which you found out about the issue. It makes a difference whether your husband openly disclosed his struggle to you, or if you had to discover it and thus he got caught. Obviously there is more credibility indicated in a person who is willing to admit it before he is found out. On the other hand, sometimes God forces the discovery to push a person to deal with their porn problem. Regardless of how you found out, the problem has to be dealt with. As long as your spouse is willing to be totally honest about their battle now, you can work together to overcome it.

Sometimes wives say they’d rather not know if their husband has pornography issues. Yet the bottom line is you cannot be close as husband and wife if there is a cloak of secrecy around these personal struggles. True intimacy requires complete honesty. Although there is some real hurt that you are going to have to work through, you need to accept that resolving the issue is still the path to closeness. Many couples have successfully worked through pornographic addictions. It is possible to recover something precious between the two of you!

How much do you need to know?

You need to have complete freedom to ask your spouse the questions you need answered to be settled in your heart. If you are doing it to get more data to become vindictive and bitter, then don’t ask the questions. But if you desire to understand what he has faced, and you intend to forgive him and find peace in your own heart, feel free to ask the questions. Try to do this in a non-judgmental, non-punishing way. Your husband is likely already feeling plenty of guilt; what he needs now is to know that you are still on his side.

Your needs, his needs

As you face this battle together, you and your husband need to be aware of one another’s needs. You can help your husband by sharing openly with him what your needs are at this time.

Your biggest need is likely to rebuild the trust in your relationship. There are no shortcuts to this: it just takes time. Complete transparency is critical on his part, whether it’s about past indiscretions or subsequent failures. Likewise, you need to be totally open about your feelings. Since the emotional aspect is a woman’s highest priority, a reconnection towards friendship and intimacy is paramount. Rebuilding the relationship must happen before you can freely re-engage in the sexual dimension.

Furthermore, with the knowledge of your spouse, it would be wise to have an outside advocate to share your struggles with. This is a private issue that shouldn’t be shared with others, but to have a chosen friend, counselor or someone who has faced this with their husband is critical. They can help you work through your feelings and frustrations, validate your emotions, and coach you through the right course of action.

Lastly, you need a commitment from your husband to work through his battle with pornography and do all that it takes to get the help that he needs. He must get help beyond you; he must break the silence and be accountable, whether to a counselor or another Christian friend. They must ask him the tough questions as he faces his lust battle. It is unwise to have the wife be the accountability person. You have a relationship to build. Let someone else be the one that holds his feet to the fire.

Though you may not feel like meeting your husband’s needs at a time like this, the fact is he does need your help to conquer this addiction. Above all, he needs your unconditional love, as well as your forgiveness. He needs to know that the slate can be wiped clean, and that you won’t hold this against him for years to come. Nothing will strengthen him more to move to freedom than you believing in him and standing with him to fight the battle.

It would be very helpful to understand the complexity of pornography to the male’s psyche. Although some women struggle with sexual addictions (even in seemingly milder forms like romance novels and soap operas), it is predominantly a male issue. Listen to your husband and try hard to understand. Read at least one of these excellent resources: Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Pure Desire by Ted Roberts, and Men’s Secret Wars by Patrick A. Means.

Finally, while you are working with him to overcome his problem with pornography, realize that your husband will still have sexual needs. After an appropriate but limited period of time, you do need to be willing to re-engage in some sexual activity, as a sign of your love and commitment to him. This will help ensure that your husband isn’t further tempted to go back to pornography as a substitute for healthy marital sexual relationship.

Why the void?

In some cases a man’s problem with pornography is born out of his own issues. Many men started when they were younger and just never tell their wives about it. Yet, in some cases, pornographic involvement is his response to other problems in the marriage. Honestly assess your relationship and determine whether it is healthy and whole. Are his sexual needs being met? Are your sexual encounters as a couple satisfying and frequent? A husband’s pornographic addiction cannot be blamed on the wife, because he still has to make choices himself. However, a husband is also made very vulnerable to temptations when there isn’t regular sexual intimacy in a healthy, secure relationship. So it may be that there is a void that he is looking to fill with pornography because of the struggles of your relationship. You may need to make some adjustments as a couple so that you have a healthy relational balance and good marital sex.

I would urge you to go for help as a couple to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction. This might be the best time for you and your husband to recommit your lives and marriage to the Lord. Conquering the lure of pornography is very difficult, and you will both need to have a surrendered life, asking God to help you through this. Being assured of forgiveness from both God and spouse is a wonderful source of stability for your relationship. I would suggest that you pray together about it and work out your relationship with a God-centred focus.

Many couples have succeeded in overcoming pornography and have found a healthy balance in their marriage again: a marriage that they love being part of. Instead of being the end of your relationship, let this be a doorway to a new level of intimacy that you never thought possible.

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188 Responses to “Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography”

  • Jennifer says:

    A few years ago I found out my husband of 8 years has been watching videos of and even reading these weird sexual stories about growth and all kinds of other fetishes but yet he never wants to get initimate with me I felt very hurt and I confronted him about it and told him how it made me feel and he promised he would stop it because our marriage meant more to him than this stuff. Well today I just found out not only has he still been continuing with this stuff for over a year but he has now been creating his own sexual fetish stories/artwork and posting them online for others to read/look at and even has been commisioning them for other people. He also has a foot fetish and has been following this one girl online who posts pictures of her feet in so called sexual poses for men to gawk at and he even made a comment to her that her man is so lucky(I just cried when I found out about this as I felt so low that my husband has to tell another woman her man is so lucky, I feel as if what he is doing is as bad as cheating). I feel so hurt and betrayed and I feel like I do not even know him anymore, I am at a loss as to what to do

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Barb, I need to follow that up with this: I don’t know what your experience with church and Jesus has been like, but I want you to know that Jesus loves you and wants the very best for you. He will lead you through all the complexities of relationships and guide you to the path that is the best for you. I won’t say that it is the easiest, but it will be the best. There is no one who knows you better than Jesus does and He has a plan that fits you perfectly. You can trust Him completely.

    I’d like to invite you to watch a video of a lady who also was betrayed by the man she loved, and how Jesus has helped her to find peace and purpose in life. https://powertochange.com/itv/family/husband-stoppped-liking-me/ I would love to hear back from you what you think of this lady’s story.

    Let me pray for you: Dear Jesus, You know the pain that Barb has been feeling and how confused she is right now. I pray that You would help her to see what is true and feel the certainty of Your love for her. Help guide her decisions and avoid those who would take advantage of her loneliness right now. Amen.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Barb, in your time together did he talk about why he had lost feelings for you earlier? It seems to me that he is not looking for a commitment but just someone he can have fun with when it works for him. Is that what you are looking for? Be careful that you don’t let your loneliness take you into a relationship that is just going to make you feel more isolated and betrayed.

  • Barb says:

    My boyfriend and I were together15 months. At first it was so wonderful he would tell me he loved me and express how he felt content with me and happy again. I told him I felt the same way. About 3 months later he told me he didn’t desire me anymore and told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship.I cried terribly and was very hurt because everything was going good. I started classes to get a better job and I couldn’t finish because of this. Later I found out that he has been watching porn while I was at work and school. I flipped. I tried to talk to him and he would just isolate and didn’t want to talk about us. I felt so betrayed and still do. I left moved out just resently May 1 2016 I had to go to my daughters house and move to another State along with starting a new job and I don’t know nobody here but here and my grandchildren. He says he wants to still be friends and have a friendship relationship and to come visit him for the weekend. I missed him so much. I didn’t return his phone calls for two weeks after I left. I finally spent the last weekend with him and he went to the Dr. with me and picked me up after I had a car repair. We went out and had a great time! When I had to leave it was very hard after our spending time together and having intimacy. This is something I don’t understand what happened. I came back to my daughters and cried like a baby.Please of any suggestions let me know. He since has called and I won’t answer his calls because of the hurt.

  • Aldo says:

    Calla, thank you for that wonderful testimony. I pray that many of those on this site who are having the same problem would take it to heart and attempt the same therapy as you and your husband has done.

  • calla says:

    I am a product of a marriage affected by porn. 7 years we’ve been married and he’s looked at it hours everyday since. but…..GOD IS REAL!! counseling helped us a great deal. it was 30$ for a 1.5 he. session. it is sooooo worth it. just my husband hearing a Christian man explaining the same things that my words fell into deaf ears about….made all the difference!

  • Chris says:

    Marie…so sorry to hear of your situation….obviously what your husband is doing is not permissable before God and you being his wife. how to handle this situation is going to take Gods wisdom through christ in your life. first, be sure jesus is your personal lord and savior so he can direct you. you can log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to mentor above to be sure of your solid foundation upon christ jesus alone. as you do then jesus will direct you on how to deal with this situation. your husband should be willing to block porno with k9webprotection to begin restoring his faithfulness to you. if he isnt, i dont see how you can have a normal marital relationship with him. should he refuse then you would need to either pray about…praying him into repentance and living with him in some type of communication….or perhaps seperating within the home until he starts to see you are serious about this situation that he change….or an option according to 1 corinthians 7.10 to 11 is a possible seperation outside of your house living elsewhere for a time…or the possibilty of divorce should he absolutley refuse to give this up. Matthew 5.27 to 30 shows adultery starts in the heart. only jesus can show you. the above are only suggestions you can pray about as is marriage counseling should he yield to go to as well with your pastor. if you dont have a pastor let me know. i can check on some for you. praying now for you that jesus will give you his confidence and authority in dealing with this situation in his firm love with his wisdom and understanding granting your husband true repentance and salvation, praying in jesus name amen!

  • Marie says:

    I am struggling. I married who I was all but sure is the love of my life last year … but today, I’m broken. We are broken.
    Our sex life is laughable, mostly because he doesn’t really like to have sex. Which in and of itself is enough to make me seriously question myself. How can any other man in the world look at me like this beautiful, fit, sexy woman, but the only man who matters doesn’t want to touch me? Oh, but he’ll watch porn, he’ll look at pictures, he’ll lie and lie and lie about when and if he did. He says all guys do it and it’s no big deal. I asked him today, after finding out his indiscretions yet again … if he thinks it is his God given right to get off to whatever naked woman he wants to. I asked him if his vows meant forsaking all other women, except for whatever amateur porn girl happens to be the one for the day. I know they are vile words, but the rejection of sex is hard enough; knowing he is choosing someone on his phone has taken it to another level.
    It is ruining me. Ruining us. I don’t know what to do. I have surrendered my marriage to God day in and day out. I am far too ashamed to talk to anyone else about it, partially because I don’t want anyone to have harsh feelings towards him. He’s a good man, the best man, but an awful husband right now. Please pray, send words of love, anything. We need it.

  • Chris says:

    gael…so sorry to hear of this situation….jesus made it clear that the thought was the act in Matthew 5.27 to 30. you do have grounds for divorce on that basis with Matthew 19 since adultery starts in the mind and your husband is committing adultery mentally. i pray you would let jesus bring you the liberty you have through him. 2 corinthians 3.17. you do not have to be a hostage of your husband for the rest of your life. 1 corinthians 7. is clear that he has no right to withdraw normal sexual intimacy from you. 1 Timothy 5.8 says if a man doesnt provide for his own he is worse than an infidel. let jesus lead you into the promises he has for you. whoever has told you you cant divorce doesnt know the bible. blessings your way today!

  • Emily says:

    Gail, please disregard Mary’s comment to watch and emmulate porn. This is a horrible decision and will not only cause pain to you but also will encourage the issue rather than encouraging it to cease. You don’t cure an alcoholic by matching them shot for shot.

  • mary says:

    Gael, im sorry to hear that but you do have a choice. But at least you know about his problem and that He is not having an affair with someone else. Staying in a marriage for the sake of the child isnt good like you said but why dread it. If you want to be initimate with your husband go for it, take charge of your marriage so that he doesnt go into porn. You have your needs and he has his. God hasnt left your side, you just have to take power in yourself, rebuild and forgive your husband. if he watch porn why dont you watches with him and maybe do what they do to spice up your sex life.

  • Gael says:

    Hi

    My husband has been into porn since the second year of our marriage. I found out about it and confronted him. He said he will stop but I doubt if he has, after 15 years of marriage. The history section in the computer is always deleted, that is why I suspect him. Our marriage has been totally destroyed and we have not been intimate for these past 15 years.I hate him sometimes. I only stay for the sake of my child. But I am dreading the day when my child flies the nest as our marriage is empty. People think we have a great marriage, we have fooled them so well. Because of the porn issue and the way my husband refused to deal with it openly, I wish I could leave him and stay on my own. My hatred has escalated to such a great extent I wish I could have an affair just to hit out at him and let him experience what pain is. My relationship with God has also dwindled to almost nothing over the years because of the bitterness from having this issue unresolved for so long and that God will not let me divorce and I am stuck in this dead marriage, having to pretend year in year out that all is okay

  • Chris says:

    ali…i regret to hear of your situation…the images coming over internet today are truly wrecking so many marriages. men in particular seem to have a struggle with their eyes in this way many times more than women. the bible tells us that our eyes affect our heart so they do need to be watched over so to speak but our hearts also affect what we see, do and think. only a heart given over to God through his son jesus christ can find true freedom from the dangers of sin we have in our world today but since God respects our wills, he wont forcé us to receive him and as a wife, you cant forcé your husband to want to please God either more than his fleshly desires. yet there is hope because if you will take that first step towards christ and receive him into your life and find his peace, then you can help your husband to find his peace also and freedom from pornography too. you can find out more about having a heart-filled life of jesus peace by logging onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or by clicking talk to a mentor above. as you do, you will be able to address this situation through the wisdom of God and step by step, deal with your husbands problem which first can be easily addressed by blocking the porn with k9webprotection.com. i pray God through jesus would come to you today, comfort your heart in knowing that he has the answers you will always need in jesus name amen

  • Emily says:

    Hi Ali,
    First, I’m so sorry. I have never experienced something so crushing to my spirit than when I discovered my husband was looking at porn. It has nothing to do with you! You are beautiful! You are enough! You are loved! The road to recovery from the break of trust and pain is tough. Our experience is three years behind us and moments will resurface those horrible feelings. It’s a really hard blow for us women. At first my husband did not grasp the severity of his crime. He is a Christian man raised in a conservative Christian home. I had to come from the angle of list….anything that elicits sexual thoughts, which is a sin outside or marriage. I don’t think it sunk in until three days later and him watching how broken I was. I went to a friend who was a therapist and she suggested I write a letter. When I first found out I said little. I slept in another room and lay awake all night…I attempted to go to work and they sent me home because I was an emotional wreck and told them we were having some family issues. I wrote the letter and explained how I felt. I didn’t call names. I said how it made me feel. I was 4 months pregnant. And explained how inadequate I felt and it made me regret bringing a baby into the world ( your mind goes crazy places). When he got home I tried to remain calm. Gave him the letter and asked him to read it. I asked that he be accountable to someone. It took time but he eventually called his dad and told him what had happened. He still doesn’t have a solid person to keep him accountable so I ask him every once in a while about porn. He’s stayed away..and I believe him. I do think a man need someone who he looks up to to fill this roll.. Not the wife. Best of luck. It’s tough. I challenge fathers to prepare our young men for this battle. Talk about it openly ( my husbands dad never did)

  • Ali says:

    Hello, my name is Ali. I have been married to my husband Ian for 9 months and we just had our first baby in march. When I met my husband sparks started to fly and I knew he was the one I wanted to marry. While we were dating or engaged (I don’t remember) he admitted he looked at porn while he was in school and before he met me. He never told me that he still looked at it and never gave me a reason to think he did. While we were engaged I got pregnant and my sexualy desires slowed down and I know it bothered him and frustrated him. I just never knew that it was an issue until I woke up in the middle of the night to him jacking off to porn. I know he still looks at it but I never know when. He claims he only does it when he is bored and that he doesn’t really have any interest in it anymore. But he still looks at it. He told me the last time he looked at it was before our son was born on March 18th. But in his browser history on his phone he was looking at naked women on April 15th. After I put the pieces together I realized he was looking at porn while I was at work and he was at home with our son. I’ve tried new things to help spice our sex life and turn his attention towards me, but I feel like I’m more doing it to compete and make his sex fantasies come to life that hes created from looking at porn, rather than because I want to. I’ve told him it makes me feel like an object and that I feel betrayed. I’ve lost trust in him and am an emotional wreck. He told me that he’s trying to stop and that he cares about me still, but doesn’t know how to show that appreciates me. Also that if I continue to feel this way that he would rather me leave so I can be happy… I can’t leave, he is the only one I want and love. But I don’t wanna feel this way anymore. I don’t wanna constantly worry about what he’s looking at when he’s on his phone. I can’t talk to anyone in his family about confronting him cuz I’m not close enough to them to feel comfortable doing so. But I don’t feel it is right to have my parents do it. But they are the only ones I can talk to for help.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. Someone please help me. I can’t ignore it and I know he’s not going to understand fully how to rebuild our relationship back and stop looking at it unless he talks to someone…

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Kate, I am glad you felt comfortable sharing this issue here. One of the powers that pornography has on people is the secretiveness of it. By talking about it you both can begin to remove some of the hold that it has on your husband.

    That is also why I would recommend that he speaks to someone about this. Even if he would come to this site and talk in this forum or to a private mentor. There is a physical, mental and emotional component to any addiction, but there is also a spiritual part. Since your husband is a follower of Jesus there is infinite resources available to him to have victory over this addiction. He does not have to succumb to it for the rest of his life. God promises that in Jesus we have a way to escape any temptation (1Corinthians 10:13) Why don’t you invite your husband to talk to your pastor, or to a counselor, or to a mentor here on this site?

    Lord God, I pray for Kate and her husband as they face this seemingly insurmountable issue in their marriage. I pray that You would show them that through Jesus they can be set free from all that holds them captive. That even this addiction that has dictated her husband’s behaviour for so long can be removed from their lives. Help his desire to make a change and by Your Spirit do a transformation in his heart. Amen.

    I look forward to hearing from your husband Kate.

  • Kate says:

    thankyou for the comment!! we are baptized and members of a church. he seved a mission , we go to church on sunday so there is no problem with faith. i just dont know what can I do.. he says he knows that he hurts me with that and he doesnt like , according to him its an urge!!! and i have to accept it and support him. but i feel like even tho im his supporter i feel like throwing up every single time when i think about his addiction and that he has to masturbate.. :(

  • Viera says:

    Kate.. Your fiance needs to give his life fully to Jesus needs to confess his sins and be baptised. Pastor of your church should pray over him and for his deliverance. Porn is satanic and it destroying soul, spirit, body and people around. Your fiance need deliverance from demonic influence. He needs to not like it and not want it anymore. You can love your fiance as a person but you have to show him that you will not accept that sin. God loves him and wants to help him. Porn can destroy your marriage and sexual life after wedding. God bless.

  • Kate says:

    Hello.:)

    oh gosh i cannot believe im typing here but i need to share, i need help :( my fiancé is addicted to porn since he was a teenager. he is 23 now. he s been struggling with this for a long time. he served a mission he was gone for 2 yrs and he had to stop it, but he continues by now that he is not a missionary anymore. and you know he was honest, he confessed me at the beginning of this relationship . and he says he loves me, im his mind and doing those things just a habit. he doesnt feel anything. he feel that high feeling and he release stress when he is stressed. He says so strongly, this is such a strong excuse that this is CHEMISTRY. he doesnt wanna do this according to his heart but he has to do it and he does it cuz of his brain even tho it hurtful for him and for me too , he knows it. he said its like when he has to use the bathroom, or has to squeeze. he feels it, its coming, its happening and then it lasts…. he said this addiction never will last.. he is going to be an addicted but he is working on it. is that the right attitude?? saying that the addiction will be always there in his mind?? what am i supposed to do?? im so disgusted.. he said i have to accept it, and support him. im just so broken.. he is watching other women in a sexual way even tho we re both virgins cause according to our religion no sex before marriage. but he keeps doing his things. i dont know what to doo… what to feel. what am i supposed to do, to say?? please help mee. love, Kate

  • Chris says:

    tamara…so sorry to hear of your struggle…we understand with the way electronic devices can pour into a persons heart bad images, its very hard for men today to stay pure. of course, that doesnt excuse a man failing his wife in this área, but we do know that todays temptations arent what they used to be in that área. its best not to take a another persons sins personally since all sin first and foremost is against God who has made us in his image to walk with him in holiness. as we see people through jesus eyes, we can have compassion on them and pray for their salvation and forgiveness. for more information on doing that for your husband and to be sure you too have your own sins forgiven, log onto…knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above for more personalized attention. i pray jesus would help you to have his peace in this situation as you look to him realizing that we all need his help and salvation amen!

  • Tamara says:

    I was married for 22 years. My husband had an addiction to all pornography Weither it was on his phone or on the computer or movies. It never got any better. He would never face the truth that he has an addiction. I put up with this for 22 years and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. It affected me so much by bringing depression and constant anxiety and broke my spirit and me as a person was lost. We have tried counseling in the past but no true results. I finally got a divorce and has been 3 years. Of all that time we were apart we had joint custody of our precious babies. I know that caused them so much hurt and pain. Recently something happen to our youngest child. I feel like she needs us both to help her to overcome this that has happened to her. Me and my ex have been talking and I am going through some health scares at this time of my life. We have been talking for a few months and I came across his phone and there I seen pornography. It has made me sick to my stomach and I have lashed out at him and I am angry and so hurtful for believing it his lies. I just don’t know what else to do. I want to be here for my babies but I don’t want to go through all of this emotional brokenness all over again. I have came to far in my life to be broken again. Any advice I would greatly appreciate

  • Chris says:

    alison…i do feel for you and your situation especially being that you are so soon still into your marriage. you certainly have a right to be upset and to be considering a divorce. i pray jesus confort you in all of this and that the lord would give true repentance to your husband in jesus name amen

  • Alison says:

    I am really disapointed that there was any type of finger pointing in this article. The wife is not to blame even if there is no intimacy in the marriage. My husband has rejected me for the entire 2 years of our marriage so he could enjoy porn instead. Most porn addicts do not have the desire for their wives. It’s NOT the other way around.
    I am thinking about leaving my husband because he keeps getting caught with porn. i caught him 6 weeks into our marriage and caught him again 3 weeks ago. We fight about it all the time and I can’t deal with the rejection anymore. I am depressed and cry all the time, yet he still choses to look at it. If you are dating someone that has porn issues, Dont marry them! They will have intimacy issues and you won’t be able to trust them. It’s not too late to leave.

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