Wives: If you Suspect Your Husband is Looking at Porn

Wives: If you Suspect Your Husband is Looking at Porn

For a large majority of men today, the ubiquity of porn on the Internet, and its ability to provide unlimited access to it (especially via search engines) means that the issue is no longer, “Have you looked at porn?” but rather, “Are you actively looking at porn?”  Many wives may already fear or suspect that their husbands are engaging in pornography.

Looking at porn is not harmless (see the short video of Bob Heywood’s struggle with porn and its impact on his marriage). But the problem is that pornography usage is usually hidden, a closely guarded secret. What if you suspect that porn is impacting your marriage (or your relationship with your boyfriend or fiancé)?  Here are some things you can look for, and steps you can take to bring healing.

Signs that may indicate usage of porn:

  • Unusual decreased sexual activity between you and your husband—and increasing relationship distance physically.
  • Mental distance between the two of you. He’s there, but “not there” when you seek to engage him.
  • Late night computer activity, especially a pattern of needing to use the computer after you have gone to bed.
  • He quickly changes the screen when someone comes into the room, and he is spending more and more time on the computer.
  • Secrecy regarding finances, like not letting you see credit card statements.
  • Any gaps in accountability for time and finances.
  • No history on the web browser after he spends time on the computer (keep in mind that private browser windows are pretty standard today, leaving behind no web history).

What steps can you take?

Viewing pornography is sexual sin and is not just what “men do.”  While painful and devastating for any wife to acknowledge, you must honestly face the reality of sexual sin impacting your marriage.  Now is not the time to be passive. You have a vital role to play in helping your husband break free.

  1. Know that the Lord has comfort for you! He has not abandoned you or your marriage. Feelings of grief, shock, fear, and despair are normal for the wife who’s just discovered her husband’s porn usage. God is your compassionate Father and source of comfort and strength. (read 2 Cor. 1:3-4.)
  1. See this as a real threat to your marriage. Don’t deny it or hope that it will just go away.  Now is the time for you to battle hard for your marriage through prayer, courageous confrontation and humble reliance upon the Lord.
  1. Talk openly with your husband about your concerns. You may need to acknowledge that this is a common problem for men today, even Christian men, so come alongside him rather than take an oppositional role.  Watch for his response to your inquiry—is there defensiveness, anger, deflection?  Check your own heart for self-righteous indignation.
  1. Pray for and seek helpers who can encourage you and pray with you. Seek out godly Christian women or any ministry leader who is a “safe” person for you to talk with (someone who has track record of godly living, is compassionate, and is trustworthy with confidences). Talk with your pastor.
  1. Don’t put yourself in the position of being his “porn police” or primary accountability partner. If he admits he is struggling, tell him to talk to one of his friends or his pastor to set up accountability.  If there is a group of men who meet regularly for these issues, encourage him to attend.
  1. Do not think or accept (if your husband suggests) that his porn issue is your fault. He is responsible for his own behavior.  His behavior comes from within his own heart (Matt. 15: 17-20) and your behavior cannot cause him to look at porn.
  1. Consider marriage counseling with a pastor, counselor or a trusted couple. This may be a perfect time for both of you to seek assistance to talk through ongoing issues or problems. Couples that do not talk openly about their struggles, needs and disappointments (especially sexual problems and disappointments) are wounding their marriage. They need to be willing to look deeply at motivations and past events that affect their relationship with each other. Since sexual sin is so dangerous and powerful, it is something which must be dealt with openly — with the help of other Christians. Your marriage will not survive if this is not dealt with, and if your husband refuses to seek help.
  1. Run to the Lord as your refuge! Psalm 16:1-2 says that God is your strength, hope and safe place as you navigate these painful and scary waters in your marriage. You cannot control your husband’s heart or his response to the Lord, but you can bring your own needs, pain and confusion to him, and you need to!

Christian couples dare not keep sexual sin hidden in the shadows. It will only get worse and its potential to destroy the marriage is real.  The hope of the Gospel is that in Christ we can find restoration, reconciliation, and victory, even over deeply embedded sin patterns. There is hope for deep change and profound healing through the power of Jesus Christ.

We have a great devotional book for wives dealing with this issue in their marriage.  When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography:  Healing Your Wounded Heart, by Vickie Tiede.  You can get a copy here.

 

Harvest USA
About The Author
Ellen oversees the Philadelphia office’s ministry to women. Her ministry is focused on discipleship with women who are struggling with sexual and relational sins in their own lives, as well as women who are impacted by the sexual sins of their spouses or others. Ellen is available to teach, equip and encourage others (churches, organizations) to become more effective in ministering the gospel of Christ into the midst of all aspects of sexual brokenness.

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