If your husband confessed to looking at porn, let me start by saying I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I can only imagine what you must be feeling.

I understand how difficult it must be to talk about. You and your husband are at the beginning of a long and painful road, but I have confidence your marriage can emerge stronger than before.

As you work through this together, here are a few things to remember:

It’s good he confessed to looking at porn

People who struggle with pornography may feel a sense of remorse, but that remorse seldom rises to the level necessary to spark a confession. So it’s good he confessed to looking at porn.

His confession tells you two things: He wants his behavior to change, and he is willing to accept help. He’s exposed his most intimate shame to you. He knew his confession would hurt but decided a marriage without lies to be worth the risk. How you respond to him now will determine the level of honesty in your relationship going forward.

It’s not about you

When we sin, it’s much easier for us to blame someone else than it is to take responsibility for our actions. This pattern began in the Garden of Eden when Adam was first confronted with his sin. He blamed both Eve and God (see Genesis 3:12).

Your husband’s first exposure to porn likely happened long before you ever entered the picture. I know it can be hard to understand, but no matter what he may have said or implied, his porn use is not about you. It is not even primarily about his sex drive. It is about him and his relationship with God.

He’s using porn to satisfy a longing only God can fill. Until he identifies his need and brings it before God, he will always struggle.

For more on this need, listen to “How Can a Good Man Be Tempted by Porn?”

It’s not your fault

After your husband confessed to looking at porn, you may have been tempted to blame yourself. If only I were thinner … If only we had sex more often … Or If only I were willing to try ___.

Your husband may have even tried to offset his guilt by blaming you directly, but don’t accept responsibility for his choices.

Even if you had sex five times a day and had the body of a supermodel, his problem would exist. You can’t solve an addiction with more “drug.” His lack of self-control is not your fault. Don’t let it undermine your confidence. You are beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:13-18).

It’s OK to demand better

Being a good Christian wife does not mean blindly accepting everything your husband does. Offer him grace, yes, but not to the point where he feels a license to continue his damaging behavior. If his conduct is sinful, a “good Christian wife” will help him see that.

Be clear about your expectations. Let him know you expect his fidelity, both physically and mentally. If he refuses, let him know there will be consequences.

For a deeper understanding of how boundaries can be used to help strengthen a marriage, read Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Some things may need to change

“It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (Romans 14:21)

If your husband were trying to lose weight, you probably wouldn’t eat his favorite dessert in front of him. Yet we often overlook the impact sexually charged “entertainment” can have on someone struggling with sexual sin.

Take an objective look at the shows you routinely watch. Are people dancing around in barely there outfits? Do the storylines trivialize sexual promiscuity? Is there nudity or simulated sex scenes?

People struggling with porn need to retrain their brains to break the addiction. You can help by choosing not to watch sexually charged shows.

It is also helpful to share passwords with each other and your phone’s location data via Google, Apple’s Family Sharing, or with a free third party app like Life360. This isn’t about spying on each other, but about establishing openness and mutual transparency.

Some habits may be hard to change, but your marriage will be stronger for it.

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He needs your prayers

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

Your husband is engaged in a spiritual battle and needs your help. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Pray that God helps him see the “way of escape” when temptation comes. He will face temptations in the future. But knowing he is not fighting this battle alone can make the difference between success and failure.

If your husband confessed to looking at porn, forgiveness may take time.

You may be feeling pressure to forgive your husband right away. After all, Matthew 6:14-15 clearly states, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

The problem is, too often, we say the words before we mean them. Then we get confused when anger, mistrust, and resentment flare up. Instead of lying to ourselves and our spouse, say, “I’m too hurt to forgive you right now, but I commit to working toward forgiveness.”

Be honest with your feelings. Give yourself time to pray through your pain. Let God do his healing work in your life, so when you forgive, it can be real.

For more on this, listen to “A Wife’s Response.”

You are not alone

A recent survey showed 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women watch porn at least once a month. The problem is widespread, but shame convinces us we are alone and we should stay that way. You may think, It’s not my place to disclose my husband’s sin, so you suffer in silence.

But you need someone who will help you mourn the loss of what you thought you had, and when the moment is right, gently offer a godly perspective to help you see a vision for what the future could be. You are not betraying your husband or engaging in a man-bashing session by getting support. You are looking for someone who will help you fight for your marriage, even when you want to give up.

If you’re wondering how to start the conversation, try forwarding this article to a trusted friend and see what happens.

See what else FamilyLife has to offer on this topic here.


Copyright © 2020 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Carlos Santiago is a senior writer for FamilyLife and has written and contributed to numerous articles, e-books, and devotionals. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling. Carlos and his wife, Tanya, live in Little Rock, Arkansas, with their two children.

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