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My Husband’s Porn Use Saved Our Marriage

with Meg Miller | November 12, 2018

Meg Miller knew marriage was going to be hard when she first tied the knot. After all, that's what everyone says. But three years into the marriage, Meg was shocked to find porn on their home computer, and she was devastated. Though her husband was repentant and sought counseling, Meg just couldn't get past it and thought this just might end their marriage. Miller tells what she felt after her discovery and what goes on in a wife's heart when she finds her husband is secretly lusting after other women.

Meg Miller knew marriage was going to be hard when she first tied the knot. After all, that's what everyone says. But three years into the marriage, Meg was shocked to find porn on their home computer, and she was devastated. Though her husband was repentant and sought counseling, Meg just couldn't get past it and thought this just might end their marriage. Miller tells what she felt after her discovery and what goes on in a wife's heart when she finds her husband is secretly lusting after other women.

My Husband’s Porn Use Saved Our Marriage

With Meg Miller
|
November 12, 2018
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: Meg Miller remembers clearly the day she discovered that her husband was looking at pornography.

Meg: I felt repulsed and disgusted, so I left—and left his browsing history up for him to find. I was communicating to him: “I know, and I’m gone.” He called right away—I was on a bus. I was trying to just go as far as I could just to get away. I didn’t have a plan, but I didn’t want to go back there.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 12th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. So, was this the end of Meg Miller’s marriage? As we’ll hear today, it was actually the beginning of a whole new chapter for the Millers. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any wife say, “You know, my husband looking at porn—

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—“that’s saved our marriage.”

Dennis: But we have one today.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Meg Miller joins us on FamilyLife Today to tell her story. I think our listeners are going to enjoy hearing your story, Meg. Welcome to the broadcast.

Meg: Thank you so much.

Dennis: She has written a book called Benefit of the Debt—D-E-B-T.

Bob: Not the Doubtthe Debt.

Dennis: That’s right.


Bob: Right.

Dennis: It is a compelling story—a pretty raw story. I would say—if you’re offended by raw stories, you won’t want to get her book; but since most of us live in the midst of raw life,—

Bob: —and real world—yes.

Dennis: —I think you’re just going to resonate with a lot of what she’s been through.

She and her husband Joe were married in 2007 and live near Washington, DC.

It’s been fascinating to get to know a little of your story and hear Bob asking questions of you and your vocation. You’re an organic farmer on the outskirts of DC; right?

Bob: Chicken farmers; right?

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Meg: That’s right. That’s what we produce.

Dennis: And Bob has some interest because he’s got a son—[Laughter]

Bob: No; I’m thinking about opening up the backyard and putting—

Dennis: Oh, yes.

Bob: —a coop out there.

Dennis: Sure, Bob; yes. [Laughter]

When you and Joe were first married, Meg, you said, in your book, that you knew there’d be issues—you knew there’d be problems in marriage. How did they first manifest themselves, early on, in your marriage?

Meg: You’ll see the trouble right away. The first problems we had were when Joe didn’t do things my way. [Laughter]

Dennis: Has anybody told you that that is common in all marriages?

Meg: Yes; so I knew we’d have problems. I knew he wouldn’t want to do things my way at first; but after some time, I thought maybe he’d be able to come around.

Bob: How did the two of you meet and fall in love in the first place?

Meg: We were ski bums in Big Sky, Montana, not following the Lord. We met and fell in love, and went our separate ways and came to know the Lord on our own.

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He was farming on his family farm, and I went back to the Washington, DC, area, where my family was at the time. I really met the Lord Jesus, and He saved me from my sin—the Lord Jesus did. He paid the payment that my sin required to make me right with God. The same thing happened to Joe in his own way.

Then, we reconnected and found each other back in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at another ski area. Boy, we were inseparable once we were both believers. We were: “Let’s just get married.”

Dennis: So, how did he ask you to marry him?

Meg: He wrote a song, and he’s not a musician; so he wrote—he learned one song on the guitar—very romantic because of the inequity—it was a horrible song, and I loved every—I loved that it was horrible. [Laughter] I loved that. That was the best part—that it was horrible.

Dennis: You said, “Yes.”

Meg: Yes.


Dennis: You then began to get some pre-marriage counseling.

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Meg: We did, actually. We had three sessions with our pastor, just because we were in a small church; and it was his ministry to us. We met three times—talked about faith / how important it is to be on the same page with your faith, finances, and family. We never talked about anything else. They were one-hour sessions. We thought, “Hey, we are equipped.”

Dennis: Let me just say a word about that. This is kind of one of those: “Assume nothing.”

Bob: This is a soapbox. You just—Dennis just pulled out the soapbox based on what you just said.

Dennis: I did. I am, Bob, because I think couples, who get married today—I don’t care how prepared you may think you are—

Bob: Yes.


Dennis: —marriage preparation is a non-negotiable. Ask any of my sons-in-law who got one of my daughters; okay? [Laughter] I had six conversations—count them—not one, not two, but six.

Bob: That’s in addition to whatever anybody else gave them, because they were getting additional premarital preparation from other people.


Dennis: That’s exactly right. Here’s the thing—

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—if you’re a parent, about to give away your daughter—or your son about to get married—make this a non-negotiable.

Bob: Yes; yes.

Dennis: By the way, I would encourage you, also, to go to the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. There is a track for engaged couples in this conference; and at any conference, somewhere between five and ten percent of the audience are engaged or contemplating engagement to begin their marriage.

Bob: Well, here is what I’m impressed with—and by the way, we’ve got information about the Weekend to Remember on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com if you want to go there.

I’m impressed with the fact that, with three hours of preparation, you went into marriage going, “Okay; we’re going to have problems,”—not just because you looked at the two of you and said, “We’re a combustible mixture,”—but because you knew that marriage is going to be challenging; and problems are going to come up; and that’s the normal way that marriages work. Had you thought through what those problems might be?

Meg: Yes; and I even thought, “Maybe, if 95 percent of men,”—

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—what they say—“struggle with the temptation of the eyes,” then I thought my husband would probably be one of those 95 percent; but I was ready and willing to work through that with him. I never thought it might threaten my identity. Yes; I knew there would be challenges, and I was really looking forward to exercising my creativity and, especially, my verbal prowess to working through all of these—all his problems—together.

Dennis: So, when did the atomic bomb go off—

Meg: Yes.

Dennis: —in your marriage?

Meg: 2010.

Dennis: Three years into your marriage.

Meg: Yes; I knew that he was staying up late, playing video games; and I knew that that’s when most of these things happen—that’s when we’re tired—and that’s when he’s loneliest; that’s when a whole day’s worth of my talking is fresh on his ears.

Bob: So, May 10th, you sat down on the computer to do something else; and his browsing history popped up?

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Meg: That’s right.

Bob: When you saw that on your computer screen—and you’re putting two and two together—and you’re going, “He’s been looking at stuff,”—in that moment, you have to decide: “Do I confront?” “Do I explode?” “Do I let it be and say nothing?” What were you thinking in those moments?

Meg: I was thinking, “If I were him, what would I want?” I would want to be the one doing the confessing. I decided to give him that honor by resisting the temptation to snoop further—and look at apps and pick up his phone and check different browsers—I stopped.

Bob: That’s pretty generous of you, because a lot of wives would see that and they—atomic bomb—they would explode in the moment.

Meg: Well, it was self-serving; because I knew, if I did that, he would hold some back. If I searched and found 80 percent of it, he would hold the 20; and the 20 is a seed for the next rest of our lives.

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I knew that, if I gave him the chance to bring it all—I say: “Hey, I found something. I do know that you’ve been looking at stuff. How open do you want to be now?”

Dennis: What was the size of the amount of material that you became aware of? Was it a large—a large batch of pornography?

Meg: It was not quantity but variety that really broke my heart—of the different things that I found on our browsing history.

Bob: So, did you sit down with him at dinner and just say, “I found some stuff on the computer”?

Meg: I got out of the house—I felt gross in the house. I felt like it wasn’t the same place when I had first walked in the door. It was a different place when I left, so I really wanted to get away from there. I was dealing with a lot of confusion, because I thought we were cool.

I knew that men might struggle with this; boy, but I thought it might be when I’m old and/or sick and unable to help him in that area or to be able to be the outlet for all his passions.

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I thought, maybe, then he might stumble. I didn’t think it would be three years into the marriage, when I’m still pretty fresh-faced and happy when I come home; and I’m still pretty capable of making a good meal. I didn’t expect it to be so soon.

I left and left his browsing history up for him to find. I was communicating to him: “I know, and I’m gone.” He called right away, and I was on a bus. I was trying to just go as far as I could just to get away. I didn’t have a plan, but I didn’t want to go back there.

Dennis: Hold it—a bus?—like a Greyhound to another city?

Meg: It was a metro bus to a train; yes. I was at a—I eventually—as we were talking on the phone, I was on my way to a train station—made it to a train station. I had enough money to get pretty far away—and a few nights of hotel stay before I figured out what else to do. No kids involved at this point.

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Dennis: So, you were kind of counting your cost of what you were going to do. You said you were cool—you and Joe were cool.

Meg: I thought so; so I was very confused to find out that he needed comfort elsewhere, because I thought we were cool. That brought up a lot of questions.

Bob: So, when he called you, what did he say?

Meg: “Let’s talk about this. Don’t go.” I have been known to break up with a guy and not look back, so he thought that was what was happening. Also—he also knew that I had—I think I had threatened him before: “If ever that happens, I’m not going to put up with it.”

Bob: So, he thought in the moment, “My marriage could be over”?

Meg: Yes; we both could, because I was just so disgusted—I didn’t really want to deal with that.

Bob: Were you thinking your marriage might be over?

Meg: I was thinking it could be depending on—you never know—a wife never knows how deep or big this is going to be. Over the next few days and weeks, I knew more would come out, and I knew I would decide then.

Dennis: I would imagine there is a listener—

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—a male listener—who just might need to hear how you received those images and “How did that impact you, as a wife?”

Meg: Listen carefully. [Emotion in voice] It feels like the worst betrayal, and confusion, and aloneness, and worthlessness. Even if that’s not what you want to convey—you don’t want to hurt anybody; you just want to look at a few things or believe a few lies for a few minutes—but to a wife, who you have pledged your attention to forever, it feels like the end of everything good.

Dennis: You indicated that this was like a domino that fell and that this spun you off into an identity crisis. Unpack that—

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—what do you mean by that?

Meg: I thought I had known where my values lay and that I could be strong enough. Either with him or without him, I could be strong enough. I could be happy whether or not his behavior was up to my par. I thought I would be able to handle something like this, and I was very surprised to find I couldn’t. I was so surprised at the power of my own hurt.

I had put myself, hypothetically, in the position of women finding this before. I felt a little stung—like: “What would it feel like? It would hurt…”—but, boy, I was really surprised when it actually happened. For some reason, it was way bigger. It was so big that it surprised me and alarmed me. It woke me up to something—that: “Maybe I should be curious about something. Maybe, I should pay attention to this hurt.”

Dennis: You know, Bob, we hear about the porn crisis—

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: —in our country, and we always think:

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“It is somebody else—it’s somebody else’s home.” Yet, just sitting across the table, looking at the expression on Meg’s face, of reliving that pain—you know, here’s the thing: “I’m broken; you’re broken.

Bob: That’s right.

Dennis: “Meg’s broken. We’re all broken human beings. We are in need of a Savior.”

That’s the starting point—you’ve got to admit you need a Savior to save you from yourself, and your sins, and how you’ve offended God and get right with Him; but after that, this is the most sacred commitment two people on earth ever make to one another—a man and a woman pledging that they’re going to leave their mother and father, cleave, forge a covenant with each other—a promise/a commitment—and that they are going to become one.

When you see something like this invade a marriage, it really creates a division in this marriage—

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—oneness is very difficult to achieve.

Bob: Well, because marriage has such great capacity for intimacy, and love, and connectedness, it also has the greatest capacity of any relationship for hurt and pain to occur; because nobody can hurt you as deeply as your spouse can hurt you.

So, when Joe calls and says, “Don’t leave,” did your heart soften? Did you say, “Okay; I’ll turn around—take another bus back home”? What did you do?

Meg: We had a strong support system around us. Someone gave us tickets to a Weekend to Remember getaway—I agreed to that. He said, “Would you just do marriage counseling with me, and would you do a weekend away—a weekend getaway?” I said: “Sure, but no promises after that. It all depends on how much else is coming out.”

Stuff still does come out.

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He doesn’t remember all of it in the moment, sometimes; or he does and doesn’t feel safe. He might—understandably, might lose everything that’s real in his life; so I can understand. I wanted to give him a little time to make sure he wanted to bring everything out.

So, when he said, “Let’s think about this,” I’m like, “Okay; counseling—sure,” but I had heard something in his voice. I heard something very interesting. He was really relieved and free—connected. He was hopeful—almost, oddly, excited. He was worried about me and worried about us; but I could tell the heavy cloak of secrecy was gone, and he felt good about that. I liked hearing that.

Dennis: You’re smiling now.

Meg: I liked hearing that for his sake. I still loved him—I would love him to have that freedom. Now, I was just a pile of roadkill, though.

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I would have to—I don’t know what I’d have to do—but some miracle would have to happen for me; but at least, he is free.

Bob: So, showing up  at a Weekend to Remember getaway, two weeks after you’ve discovered porn on his computer, I’m thinking that may not have been a weekend to remember for you—[Laughter]—or maybe a different kind of weekend to remember than a lot of couples experience. What was that like?

Meg: Well, if you think about his openness and excitement now, he is in a great position to go to that. He still uses the things that he learned.

Dennis: You’re touching on something, though, that I don’t want our listeners to miss; and that is, when a man is found out and does begin the process of coming clean, there is a rush of relief. At that point, he may begin to feel the relief, but it is the exact opposite of what his wife is feeling.

Bob: That’s right; right.

Dennis: Comment on that.

Meg: Oh, it’s awful; and then—especially, if it goes on for a while and it doesn’t—

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—you don’t feel healing right away—or especially, if you make the choice to forgive your husband and he—and you don’t feel forgiveness; you’re still hurt. It’s a disconnect—everything opposite of what he is feeling. Instead of a relief, I feel now oppressed—fearful of what’s going to happen / what else will come out. I felt repulsed and disgusted. I really didn’t want to—I didn’t want to hold his hand; I didn’t want to look at him.

I was everything he was not. Unfortunately, as time went by, that gap widened. I became—not more hurt—but I didn’t get better as he did get. He sought help and got better quickly.

Dennis: Did you nurse the hurt, at that point—as in kind of feed it?

Meg: I felt that temptation, and I resisted it. I did want to do that, because there was a little lie in my mind that said that would feel good; but I knew it wouldn’t—

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—just like snooping wouldn’t make me feel better; finding out more wouldn’t feel better.

I joined a support group of women, who were also dealing with similar sexual sins in their husbands. They encouraged me to find out more, and to snoop more, and to feed the hurt by comforting myself and medicating: shopping, overeating, movie nights—again, and again, and again.

Dennis: You know, what you are describing is really the seeds of forgiveness; because forgiveness gives up the right to punish another person. You didn’t nurse the hurt; you didn’t feed the resentment, but you still felt hurt. It would have been—I think it would have been wrong to have not allowed yourself to feel the disgust, the hurt, the betrayal, the loss of trust.

Bob: Yes.

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Dennis: Yet, Ephesians, Chapter 4—the last verse says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Meg, as I’m listening to you tell that story, and looking at your face, you may have not forgiven him at that point; but what I hear you describing—and as I look at your face—I hear you talking about the beginning steps of, ultimately, getting to giving up the right to punish him and make him hurt because you hurt.

Meg: Yes.

Bob: I’m just curious—in this process, how long from when you found something on his browser history until the point, where your heart started to soften toward him—and it wasn’t all fixed; but you were—you were where you were going, “Okay; I have hope again for what this marriage can be,”—was that—was that hours, or days, or weeks, or months?

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Meg: That was a few weeks later, but that feeling went away right away as soon as it came. I softened and then, instantly, hardened again.

Bob: Because of the protection of your own heart, going, “I can’t allow this to happen again”?

Meg: Yes; “If I do that, I’m condoning it”; or “If I do that, I’m ignoring it”; or “If I do that, I’m believing the lies that I’m worthless” and “He gets to destroy the family, eventually,” because I knew that, if it went on, it would destroy the family.

Bob: I really like the fact that your book, Benefit of the Debt, looks with clear eyes at your husband’s sin/his betrayal—which is real, and valid, and not to be minimized—but the work that God did in your life, to say: “Hang on; this is not just his issue. It’s your issue together.”

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There’s a part of the equation here that’s got to be considered—not that you caused him to sin; that’s his choice—but when two become one, there are two sides to this equation; and we’ve got to look at your side of it.

Gary Chapman wrote about your book—he said, “If you’re a woman, who has a husband hooked on porn, this book may make you mad; but it will also make you think.” I would encourage listeners—get a copy of Meg’s book, Benefit of the Debt. Read about her story and just ask God to speak to you through the book. We’ve got it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get a copy. Again, the title of the book is Benefit of the Debt: How My Husband’s Porn Problem Ruined Saved Our Marriage. You can order the book, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call to order at 1-800-358-6329—

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—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

By now, I’m sure you have realized that we have an early Thanksgiving this year; because of the way the calendar falls. In fact, I think this is the earliest that Thanksgiving can be, maybe. The good thing is—it has all thinking about gratitude and thankfulness.

One of the things we are thankful for, here, at FamilyLife® is those of you who partner with us to help extend the reach and the impact of this ministry. Every time you make a donation to support the work of FamilyLife Today, you are helping tens of thousands of marriages and families all around the country—all around the world—receive practical biblical help and hope because of your financial support. In fact, you think about the husbands and wives, who are listening today to what we’re talking about, and how this conversation might turn their marriage in a whole new direction. It might bring hidden sin out in the open; it might force some issues onto the table that were hidden before this.

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Our goal, here, at FamilyLife is to effectively develop godly marriages and families. This is a goal we could not accomplish if it weren’t for your partnership. So, we’d like to ask you to go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and make a donation to help support the ongoing work of FamilyLife Today. You can also call to make a donation. Our number is 1-800-FL-TODAY; or you can mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.

If you’re able to help with a donation, we’d like to help you with your Thanksgiving plans by making available to you the audio book, Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember. It’s a dramatized, narrated version of Barbara Rainey’s book about the first Thanksgiving—something the whole family can listen to as you travel over the holidays or as you prepare for Thanksgiving in your home. That’s our thank-you gift to you when you donate to support this ministry.

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All of the details of how you can get the audio book are available, online, or just ask about it when you call us.

And we hope you can join us back tomorrow as we will continue talking with Meg Miller about how God turned her heart and her marriage around after she learned that her husband had been looking at pornography. That comes up tomorrow. I hope you can be with us.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry.

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