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Your Husband Looks at Porn: Now What?

Advice from a husband and counselor on how to respond when your spouse is struggling

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Typically the event doesn't start with a confession but by discovering your husband has a secret problem with lust, masturbation, or pornography. Faced with horrifying acts of betrayal, your reactions may range from sadness to depression, from anger to rage, to sexual disinterest or having an affair.

Obviously, this is a relational problem between you and your husband; it's a breach of trust with the love of your life. You promised to forsake all others when you said, "I do." Very few couples getting married recognize that all marriages are a fragile covenant consummated by two sinners with seemingly good intentions. While strong love and commitment go a long way, it's never enough—sin is always going to express itself with some level of hurt and pain. It's always the grace of God that ultimately makes any marriage survive unfaithfulness and become more meaningful and glorifying to God.

All marriages are a fragile covenant consummated by two sinners with seemingly good intentions.

Whether you've been married just a few months or for more than 25 years, your worst fears are realized when you discover hidden sexual sin. Every moment of joy, satisfaction, and intimacy you've known with the man of your dreams seems to have been shattered. What was real now seems unreal. What was true intimacy now feels like false intimacy. What was a trusting relationship is now filled with paralyzing mistrust. This relational mistrust becomes the main element between you and your husband in the struggle to move forward.

All marriage relationships are complicated. Unfaithfulness takes the normal complications to the tenth power. There's no formula, "Do X, and then Y will logically follow," but instead it's a process of radical change, not only in your husband's behavior, but also in his spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity.

Where Did it All Begin?

You need to understand that your husband's lust, masturbation, or pornography use did not begin when you "gained 20 pounds" or "lost interest" in sex. Neither is it because your husband is visual and sexually hardwired. Women are sexually hardwired as well and are increasingly becoming addicted to pornography.

Long before you met your husband, his problem with looking at porn began, probably around age 11. Pornography is more accessible than ever, but the problem has become more extensive in conjunction with what has always lurked inside each of us: The drive to "look" isn't an overpowering sex drive or an addiction to sex, but an overpowering, demanding, selfish desire. Pornography, with its inherent ability to be secretive with easy accessibility, uniquely meets that demand. The essence of your husband's condition is an unwillingness to be told what to do spiritually, relationally, and sexually. You need a new man, not just a change in behavior.

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2013, December
Posted December 18, 2013

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Today's Christian Woman
Your Husband Looks at Porn: Now What?