The following is shared from my friend “Janice” who has been working through her husband’s pornography addiction:
I married a Godly man. We both “saved” ourselves for marriage. We both are highly involved in our large church. We volunteer with our children’s youth group. He is a provider, and he helps out around the house. About a year ago, however, my husband told me he was struggling to sleep comfortably, and so he would head downstairs to sleep on the couch. I didn’t mind too much; with three kids and a busy work schedule, I wanted him to be comfortable. Around that time, however, it seems as if our sex life became a little less of a priority; we had been through dry spells before, but this spell seems to have no reason. He also started “working” a lot in our office when he was at home, and sometimes missed our family meals together. I didn’t think too much of it for a few months. One day, however, I went to login to our office computer to email some friends, and I noticed a reduced window that my husband hadn’t left. When I clicked on it, I was horrified to be confronted with a hardcore user-generate porn site. At first, I didn’t know whom to blame – was it my spouse or one of our kids? Was this a mistake? It had to be a mistake. My husband knew to stay away from pornography—he was a Godly man after all. I didn’t talk to him that night about it, but took some time to pray and think. The next day, our cable bill came, which my husband always pays. For some reason, I opened it and was terrified when I saw tons of pay-per-view purchases added to our statement – we weren’t purchasing movies together—what on earth was going on?
And so I began to learn that my husband had fallen into a porn addiction. It broke my heart, and it shook my perspective of him. How could he bring such filth into our home? How would this impact our marriage? Our children? Had one of our children been exposed because of his recklessness? I was sick over the thought of all of those images and private sessions he had been having with other women while online. It made me question his attraction to me, our marriage, past and present. When we spoke, he told me that it had started a year ago, while he was on a business trip. He ended up watching a show on TV, which then opened the door for him to purchase pornography at the hotel room. It reawakened an old habit for him, repeated use of pornography while in college. He felt horrible, he told me, that weekend, and really broken up. But a few weeks later, he started visiting explicit sites online at work. It had continued to escalate to the point when he was looking at pornography multiple times a day. It all made me so sick, but I have learned to forgive him since.
My husband, like I said, is a man who wants to honor the Lord. And I know he wants to love me well. He has done those things in the past, and even through his addiction, he was trying to turn this part of his life over to God. When I discovered his addiction, however, he truly surrendered his lust and struggle to the Lord, and I have grown to respect him because of the safeguards, accountability, responsibility and change that I have seen implemented in his life. We both started meeting with our church’s counselor right away. We uncovered some things that may have contributed to his temptation, and we talked through ways that I could help. He also started meeting regularly with an accountability group at our church that focused on issues of integrity and lust; his group meets once a week, and they have regular checkups throughout the week to see how they are doing. We also installed parental controls and filters on all of our Internet-enabled devices, and I am the only one who knows the passwords and unlock features. We also installed parental controls on our TV, which I manage. My husband also only stays, whenever it’s possible, at a porn-free hotel (like an Omni)—so when he travels, the temptation isn’t one button push away. Of course, all of the filters in the world can’t stop someone from looking at pornography when they really want to, and he has continued to struggle here and there, but I have, through God’s grace, been able to trust that he is taking the precautions and steps needed to move back to purity. I know he is heartbroken too, and seeing God work in him through this has helped me forgive him.