I am filled with righteous indignation today, and frankly, I’m on the war path! I keep on discovering more and more marriages that are slowly being destroyed due to pornography. The stories women tell me often reveal very similar downward spirals. Their husband’s use of porn has evolved into online sex chat rooms, actual encounters with other women, or even sex crimes. Then there’s a whole other group of women who feel unloved because their husbands rarely, if ever, want to make love to them anymore. The reason? Their husbands are busy satisfying their sexual needs with pornography and masturbation.
I say ENOUGH! It’s time that women everywhere step up with courage and dignity and declare war on pornography! Ephesians 5, verse 3 says “among you there must not even be hint of sexual immorality” and in verse 11, God instructs us “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” It’s time that all women adopt a zero tolerance standard for pornography use by their men (and themselves as well). I’m NOT saying to declare war on your husband. He is not the enemy. However, we can no longer wring our hands in defeat and stand by helplessly as our marriages and families crumble.
What should you do if your husband is viewing pornography? Respectfully, but firmly, tell him you will not tolerate that anymore. Ask him if he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stop. If he says yes, then work with him to find help. There are some great programs out there. For instance, in the Bellingham, WA area, men are being helped at Band of Brothers For Christ and another group called Prodigals. If your husband refuses to sincerely seek help or continues looking at porn, then you may have to establish a firm boundary in the relationship. You may even have to separate for a time. Take a stand, ladies! If you don’t, you and your marriage will likely end up being destroyed.
I believe one of Satan’s most successful schemes to destroy marriages and families is….pornography. Glancing once or twice at porn might seem relatively harmless, but it can rapidly become an addiction. Once a person becomes addicted, they find they need to move to progressively more perverse types of porn in order to achieve the same arousal. Then, even perverse porn no longer gives the same satisfaction and they often end up acting out in real life situations, sometimes ending up with prostitutes or same-sex encounters. Marriages are torn apart in the process. Plus, of course, your husband looking at another woman’s naked body is not okay with God! Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, “If anyone looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
We can’t be ignorant to this pornography epidemic in America. Even among Christians, HUGE numbers of both men and women are ensnared by habitual porn use. In fact, a survey of pastors done back in 2001 revealed that almost 40% say pornography is a struggle for them! As wives, we need to be alert to the signs that our husbands could be addicted to pornography. Here are some common signs of habitual porn use:
Your husband no longer seems interested in having sex with you
Your man is becoming rough during sex or wants you to engage in perverse sexual acts
Your husband seems to be on the internet a lot, especially when you are out of the room
Your husband is very secretive and seems to be avoiding straight answers about activities
If your husband shows some or most of these signs, you may need to lovingly address the possibility of a pornography problem with him. Keep in mind your husband is not the enemy, and if you make him feel like he is your enemy, he won’t feel safe to discuss this problem with you. Be gentle, loving, and respectful, but DO address this issue. Take action to fight for your marriage!
You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc. The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him. Hmm. That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!
The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction. You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him. What do I mean by “speaking words of life”? I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle. Your words are so very important. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.
Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife. Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him. He needs to hear words of hope for the future if he commits to doing the hard work to break free from the addiction.
I was asked recently how a woman can help her husband (or boyfriend) if he’s struggling with the temptation to view pornography. This is such a difficult question because, ultimately, he has to be the one who does what is necessary to overcome this temptation.
However, there are 2 things that you can do:
1) Sit down with him and let him know that you want to support him and help him in any way as he wrestles against this temptation. Then gently and lovingly ask him to share with you the things that seem to trigger the desire to view porn. As you show compassion and understanding, he will be more likely to feel safe sharing the things that trigger him. Then once he shares those “triggers”, you can ask what you can do to help him deal with the reasons he’s turning to porn. You may be able to come up with ideas on how he can avoid situations that trigger him.
2) Insist that he actively pursues assistance from a 12-step group, sexual addiction treatment program, or a godly mentor with experience in this area. He needs other people to help hold him accountable and to pray for him. He NEEDS to have other men speak into his life and help him deal with the common temptation to lust and view pornography. Accountability is Biblical. James 5:16 instructs, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
In case you weren’t yet aware, pornography is a gigantic cancer that is rapidly destroying marriages and entire families. Hundreds of millions of men regularly view pornography (and many women too), and even among Christian men, the problem is rampant. Goodness, even a majority of pastors admit to struggling with temptations to view porn. Back in 2001, a survey found that 54% of pastors had viewed pornography in the past year. I’m sure the numbers are much higher these days.
Why is pornography such a big deal? Well, marriage counselors will tell you, and I will tell you from counseling many women in crisis in their marriages, that pornography usage almost always escalates into something truly horrific. When a man starts viewing pornography, he almost always progresses to more and more perverse pornography as he chases that “buzz” from viewing something sexually arousing. Unfortunately, in many cases, the man can no longer get his “fix” from pornography and ends up committing sexual acts outside of marriage. In either case, the marriage is often destroyed and families are torn apart.
What are some signs of a possible porn problem for your husband? Some common signs include no longer being interested in sex with you, coming to bed after you or exiting the bedroom in the middle of the night, and requesting increasingly perverse or odd sex acts from you. If you notice some of these signs, it may be time to have a serious talk with your husband. However, don’t approach him as an enemy. Approach him in love, as his helper. Remember, in Genesis 2:18, God says “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.” Approach your husband kindly, but firmly, and let him know you want to help him tackle this problem that could harm both him and your family. Insist that he seek serious, long-term help and accountability.