by Juli Slattery


1
4

What Should You Do If Your Husband Looks at Porn?

“Last night I walked in on my husband viewing porn. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I feel so violated—like I could never share my body with him again. Why should I, anyway? I could never compete with porn!”

If your husband has been involved with pornography, you know the feeling of betrayal in discovery. You question everything: his love for you, your desirability, his credibility. Every sexual experience you’ve ever had with your husband is now viewed through a different lens.

The issue of porn has become increasingly common among women as well. It’s no longer “Every Man’s Battle” but is now “Every Marriage’s Battle.” Pornography is, unfortunately, a growing reality in our world. When meeting with a married couple, I no longer ask if it has played a role in the husband or wife’s life. Instead, I ask what role it has played in their lives. Even a man or woman who isn’t tempted by porn has seen it and been impacted by it.

In one respect, sexual intimacy between a husband and wife can’t compete with pornography. Porn is selfish sex, requiring no sacrifice and no effort to love another person. You can have what you want, when you want, how you want it. Sex with a real person requires patience, communication, delaying what you want to meet the needs of the other person.

A man whose sex drive is hyped up on porn will have great difficulty enjoying the beauty of sex with his wife. Research consistently demonstrates that men who regularly watch porn rate their sexual partners as less attractive than men who don’t view porn. Pornographic material fuels the illusion that fantasy and a sexual release will bring satisfaction. Instead of satisfying, it leads to an insatiable desire for more. If you are trying to compete with the pornographic images on a computer screen, you are out of luck. However, we must remember that porn is not intimacy; it's a cheap counterfeit. Your husband needs more than sex; he was designed for intimacy.

Couples who experience true intimacy know how to fully share their sexuality—how to communicate the most intimate of experiences with and without words. Being emotionally naked makes you extremely vulnerable. Both you and your spouse have to feel completely safe to let go, to share thoughts, desires, and physical sensations. The journey toward authentic intimacy is one of creating the safest environment possible so that you can explore to­gether without fear of betrayal or humiliation. Porn does the exact opposite. It makes your bedroom an emotional landmine.

As rampant as pornography and sexual addictions have become, God is still in the business of healing. No one is beyond his redemption and restoration. As you seek authentic intimacy in your marriage, here are a few practical steps to take.

Have Empathy for Your Spouse’s Struggle

Although you may not understand your husband’s sexual temptations, you know what it feels like to battle against sin. Empathy begins with humility, the acknowledgment that you are just as flawed and broken as your spouse. If you're honest, you struggle with sin just like he does. Your besetting sin could be anxiety, self-righteousness, the desire to be esteemed by others, gossip, bitterness, complaining, dishonesty, or even wishing you had a different husband.

Empathy also means understanding that good men are tempted by sexual sin. Christian men who struggle with sexual temptation carry an enormous amount of shame. Just the fact that they are tempted to look at porn or to think sexually about a coworker brings about thoughts like:

What’s wrong with me? No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop thinking this way!

I hate myself for the thoughts I have. If anyone knew what really went through my mind, they would be sickened.

I have met wonderful, Christian men who doubt their salvation because the fight against lust is so great. A godly husband is not a man who doesn’t struggle with sexual sin, but one who continually fights and refuses to give into temptation.

Call Your Husband to Purity

While some wives have a difficult time understanding why their husbands struggle sexually, others approach the issue as if it isn't a big deal. This is particularly true with porn. I’ve heard wives buy into this thinking with statements like: “It’s not like he’s having an affair. Plus, it takes pressure off of me having to always satisfy him.”

While Jesus extends overwhelming grace and forgiveness to us in our sin, he also calls us to pursue purity. As a godly wife, you are called to help your husband set his eyes on a standard of holiness in your marriage. But how do you do this?

One of the primary ways you can help your husband is to link his behavior with the impact on your marriage. Satan deceives men into compartmentalizing their sexual sin. In other words, a man may believe that he can fantasize about another woman, flirt with someone at work, or look at sexual pictures on the Internet and that this has no impact on how deeply he loves his wife.

Sexual sin of any kind destroys the possibility of intimacy between you and your husband. You can help him make this link.

If your husband is open about his struggle, asking for forgiveness, and wanting help, do all that you can to support him. If however, he denies that it is a problem and refuses to address it, you must begin lovingly drawing boundaries and creating an atmosphere that does not enable sin to continue. These decisions require great discernment, which is why Jesus tells us to bring in a wise third party (pastor or counselor) to help us walk biblically.

Fight Like a Team

One of the most damaging aspects of sexual temptation is that it divides couples. Rarely will a husband and wife discuss how they are tempted sexually unless one of them catches the other in the act. Because of the shame and feelings of rejection associated with sexual temptations, most people keep it a secret from their spouse.

As much as Satan would love to have one or both of you fall into sexual sin, he is happy to use the temptation itself as a wedge between you. The last thing he wants is for you and your husband to work together in combating temptation.

Remember who the true enemy is. Regardless of which of you in the relationship struggles with sexual temptation, you must begin to see this as your problem as a couple. I don’t mean that a wife should take responsibility for her husband’s purity or vice versa. However, when sexual sin and temptation hits one of you, it impacts both of you. Satan will use pornography, inappropriate emotional attachments, and other forms of temptation to further divide you if he can define your spouse as “the problem” or “the enemy.” As long as you are fighting each other, you cannot stand together.

Mike and I have learned over the years what it means to fight temptation as a team. At first, it seemed like an invasion of privacy to ask each other about how we were tempted. Then we realized that it was actually a step toward deep intimacy to be so vulnerable with one another. Fighting together against the Enemy has deepened our trust in one another and profoundly impacted our intimacy.

Being a team doesn’t mean being each other’s primary accountability partners. Although it is healthy for a husband and wife to understand how and when the other is most tempted, you need a woman you trust to ask you the difficult questions, and he needs another man to do the same for him.

Mike and I have also learned that being a team means playing “offense,” not just defense. In other words, we want to have an exciting sexual relationship and enjoy each other as friends. Sexual temptations are not as powerful when intimacy in marriage is satisfying.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 can easily be applied to marriage:

Though one may be overpowered,

Two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (NIV).

This verse speaks of a cord of three strands. Remember that the Christian marriage is not made up of two, but of three. You and your spouse do not stand against the Enemy by yourselves. You stand with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ ready and able to fight with and for you. The Lord’s opinion of your marriage is not neutral. He says in Hebrews 13:4 that the marriage bed should be pure and marriage should be honored by all. The Almighty One also declares that whom he has joined together, let no one tear apart. Begin fighting the true enemy of your marriage as a team by reminding one another that, “If God is for us, who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).

Author’s note: It is important to understand the difference between sexual temptation and a sexual addiction. Although the psychological community is still debating the symptoms of sexual addiction, we know that it typically involves compulsively thinking about sex, engaging in high-risk behavior (like looking at porn at work or paying for prostitution) and an inability to stop these behaviors despite repeated attempts. Please understand that a sexual addiction, like any addiction, isn’t going to go away with normal marriage interventions. If you or your husband have symptoms of a sexual addiction, please reach out to someone who is trained psychologically and spiritually to address this issue. Here are a few ministries to follow up with: StoneGateResources.org and PureLifeMinistries.org.

Comments

To leave a comment, login or sign up.
  • Sarah

    I saw some xxx sites on our browser history early in our marriage. I wept to my husband about it because I was pregnant and ashamed of my alien-looking body- not to mention the betrayal I felt that he would give his attention to anyone else. He grew up believing it was "normal" for guys to look at porn so my explosion took him by surprise and threw him on the defense. I haven't seen anything else since, but would like to ask. How can I keep him accountable for something he doesn't see as wrong?

Content Similar to This

by Authentic Intimacy

The second installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy just hit the big screen. We’ve had this conversat...

2 8

Read Article

by Juli Slattery

Pornography has gotten a lot of attention today as news broke of Hugh Hefner's death. Every life leaves...

4 6

Read Article

by Authentic Intimacy

Why do we care if Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 125 million copies? Because it means that women are l...

0 5

Listen

4

Favorites

Tags

See which tags match your interests. Create an account today