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When Blessings Come Through Raindrops – by TheJoyFilledWife

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This is a guest post by TheJoyFilledWife. Many, many wives will face this same struggle that she has faced. The enemy has ensnared our men (as well as many women today) and our brothers and sisters desperately need the power of Christ to find victory over temptation, sin and evil. How I pray that God might deliver His people from all of our sin that entangles us and keeps us from being the holy, Spirit-filled people He calls us to be. I am honored to be on this journey with her and to watch as God creates beauty from ashes and joy from mourning.  I am so thankful for her willingness to share her pain, her brokenness, her story, her healing and her great faith in Christ with us!

I don’t think I’ll forget the date as long as I live. It was Sunday, June 2nd 2013 when I awoke in a panic, grabbing my phone as the chirp of a new email sounded. It was unlike me to wake up feeling anxious, or to be in any particular rush to address the new messages that flooded in the night before. But this morning was different. I felt it in my gut. This was no ordinary moment in time and somehow, someway, I knew deep inside that my life would never be the same again.

I quickly cleared the various texts that had piled up over the past several hours and began to delete the last of my emails and I felt the pit in my stomach sink like a 1,000 pound lead weight. As my eyes fell upon the title of my final email, I knew in my heart that I was about to come face to face with one of my greatest fears in life. It was the weekly internet accountability report we had subscribed to since we got married 4 years prior. The title of the email urged me to check the content report of the web sites that had been visited in recent hours, stating that there was cause for concern.

Lord, please no… anything but this.

With all the courage that I could muster up, I swallowed hard and clicked. In a matter of moments, I felt the air escape from my lungs like a blow to the stomach with a steel pipe. Hours…upon hours…of pornographic image searches. I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces as I sunk my face deep into my pillow to silence my cries. Please, Lord…don’t let this be true. But I knew in my heart that this was no mistake.

I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t battle the urge to send the email straight to the trash without opening it. If I did, perhaps I could pretend I never saw it and go on with life as I knew it before. When we go through tragedies, sometimes our first instinct is to pretend it’s not happening, especially when we can’t make sense of it all. Or we want to ask why the Lord would allow us to face such heartbreak. Yet we serve a God who gives us the courage to fight those tragic battles with our head held high and peace in our heart. Peace amidst trials is nonsense to the world and, believe me when I tell you, these tragic times are often the greatest opportunity of our lives to show the world the One who dwells within us. The Lord has called us for such a time as this. If we but keep our hearts set on the promises of His Word that “He will never leave us or forsake us”, Deuteronomy 31:6, He will use us to impact more hearts than we could imagine. When we choose joy in the midst of our painful circumstances, it is a powerful testimony to those who are watching from the sidelines. And trust me when I say, there are ALWAYS people watching from the sidelines.

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.“ – 1 Peter 3:1 & 2

Although my husband is a believer and I knew it would take an act of the Holy Spirit for him to overcome his addiction and subsequent struggle with anger and control, 1 Peter 3:1 & 2 kept rising up in my heart. If unbelieving husbands can be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, could the Lord use me in that same way to help point my believing husband back to Him?

Lust is often a lifelong battle for men and we, as wives, can bless our husbands by being their greatest prayer warrior, meeting their physical and emotional needs, being EXTREMELY patient with them, and by showing them respect in all areas (unless they ask us to sin). We serve a God who changes hearts and there is no heart too hard for Jesus to soften. I pray we will allow Him to use us to minister to our husbands in all areas.

Before I wrap this up, I feel compelled to say something very important to you fellow wives out there who were or are currently facing this same kind of heartbreak in their marriage:

  • You are beautiful.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are precious
  • You ARE good enough.

Not because of who you are, but because of who you belong to. You are the daughter of the King. He made you just the way He wanted you and desires to use you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Please don’t believe the lies of the enemy that tell you if only you were prettier, or taller, or shorter, or thinner, or tanner, or sexier, or better in bed, that your husband wouldn’t have made the choices he has.

While we ARE responsible to fulfill our wifely role and to not cause our husbands temptation through neglect or disrespect, we are NOT responsible for their sin.

When our husbands have a stronghold in their lives, the one and ONLY person who can break that bondage is Christ. Cling to Jesus, for He is “the author and perfecter of our faith” ( Hebrews 12:2). Do not give into fear, sweet sisters, for our precious Lord reminds us, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

It was a year ago today that I faced the most devastating battle of my life and marriage. The countless tears I have cried the past year from a heartbreak I sometimes questioned being able to survive, have given me a perspective I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Although I prayed for many years that Jesus would strip away the strongholds in my life, I never thought He would do it all at once – and while fighting for dear life to just survive another day and not give into feelings of hopelessness. But I have learned so much about the beauty of forgiveness and the power of prayer in the past 365 days and, although I would never want another human being to have to endure what I have, I know that there are countless others out there who are facing this same battle. Please know that you are not alone.

Although we will be subject to all kinds of pain and suffering in this life, we serve a faithful and merciful God who desire to use our trials to accomplish His greatest will in us, if we let Him.

In the spirit of thankfulness, I want to share with you the GOOD that God has brought out of this most painful and heartbreaking time in my life:

1. I was brought to April’s blog and am growing leaps and bounds in areas of respect I needed to improve on in my marriage. I am a gentle yet passionate woman married to a leader-type. Although I don’t fit the typical description of the type of wives she started PW to minister to, I am learning more about being a Biblical wife every day!

2. I have learned the importance of a modest attitude and how to be feminine and beautiful, not merely through my attire, but mostly through my heart toward others.

3. I have learned that I can truly trust my Jesus with my whole heart, even when the world around me comes crashing down. He held my heart together when it was broken and is turning the shattered pieces of it into something more beautiful than it was to begin with.

4. I have learned that we respect and submit to our husbands, not because they deserve it or have earned it, but because we desire to obey God.

5. I have learned how to be more selfless. How to pray more. How to praise more. I am becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like “me”. I am learning that we can and should have hope in all situations, realizing that although our circumstances change, our God never does. He is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

My relationship with Christ has deepened in ways I never could have imagined since last year. I think of myself as holding on to the bottom of Jesus’ robe for dear life as He whisks my heart away to the secret place and covers me with His tenderness and love. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in all this is that joy is not a feeling, but a choice.

I call myself TheJoyFilledWife, not because of what I am, but because of what I am becoming. And all by the grace of God.

By the grace of God, my husband is a success story and he has told me countless times what a gift my prayers and patience have been through this. Although he still battles his habits and earthly temptations, we have a great deal of transparency now (about many other areas of sin too) and are rebuilding trust every day.

And now, I leave you with the lyrics of a song that ministered to my heart when I began this painful journey a year ago. Our God is so faithful, sisters. Will you grab on to the bottom of His robe with me as we travel this road together? You are cherished and deeply loved. Yes, you.

 

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?

What if the trials of this life – the rain, the storms, the hardest nights –

Are your mercies in disguise?”

 

(“Blessings” by Laura Story”)

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SHARE:

Has God taught you priceless treasures about Himself as you faced your husband’s sin of some type? You are welcome to share about what you have learned and the blessings that have come through that trial. Or, if you are in a trial and you need some prayer support, love, encouragement and godly wisdom, you are welcome to share and I know that many wives will surround you with the love of Christ here.

RELATED:

John Piper www.desiringgod.org – search “porn”

www.brentriggs.com – click on “books.” He has an e-book about overcoming porn that is helpful for husbands who are involved in porn as well as wives whose husbands are using porn from a Christian perspective.

www.xxxchurch.org has Christian resources for people who need help with pornography addiction

Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel has an entire chapter on how a believing wife can extend grace to a husband who has fallen into the sin of pornography. I think it is excellent.

127 thoughts on “When Blessings Come Through Raindrops – by TheJoyFilledWife

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. What courage and faith you are displaying. Praying for you and your husband!

  2. Thank you
    I needed to see this
    I have been there, still am
    I need prayer please and will pray for you
    Oh how to trust my husband again???
    Only through God

    1. Stephanie,

      It is truly only by the grace of our Holy God. Immerse yourself in the Word, dedicate yourself to continual prayer, and never cease worshiping. It’s only by focusing on the goodness of God, meditating on the Word day and night, and crying out to Him in our suffering that we will gain His perspective and truly be a vessel that the Lord uses to help our husbands overcome their addiction. Love your husband, Stephanie, in word and in deed. Even when he doesn’t deserve it or you feel you can’t trust him. Ask the Lord to give you strength to do what’s right, even when he is doing wrong.

      You can do this, sweet sister. We serve a mighty God who is not unfamiliar with suffering. He endured far more pain than we could ever imagine in our lifetime. Hugging you from over here on the West Coast.

  3. TheJoyFilledWife,

    Your joy and peace shines through in all that you wrote. This blessed me today. Thank you! God bless you more, dear sister. That lyrics of that song were wonderful! I will be one with you in this journey, grabbing onto the bottom of Jesus’ Robe too. 🙂

    <3

    Nikka

  4. Beautiful story! Though, I wish to know how the things did turned out. Did you confronted your husband TheJoyFilledWife? How did you do that and did he repent?

    Sometimes it is so hard to address a wrong thing that our husband does, even a little one, and know how to continue to respect him in this situation. Yesterday night before going to bed, my husband said he had a problem with internet. I sometimes am able to help. I didn’t realized that I rushed to him without saying anything. He kind started to hide His phone from me even if he wasn’t doing something wrong.

    And he was very brutal in his reaction as he is time to time. I told him I wanted to help him and he was rejecting me. He didn’t say anything. I went to bed and try to sleep but couldn’t. After a long while he came to bed as well and was surprised I wasn’t sleeping. This time is the most important of my day cause this is the cuddle time and there is only once a day usually. So he tried to cuddle little bit and asked me if I was angry. I told him he was very rude with me and he said I should have offered him some help instead of just show up and look at his emails.

    I wasn’t really upset but I wanted to let him know that sometimes, he has very rude reactions, and he does treat me wrong. So I said it” sometimes you treat me badly”. Oops! He said ” treat you badly ..” like if I was saying a non sense and turned away on his side of the bed.

    I don’t know, I start to think that maybe it is better to not address any of his wrong doing (even if he does it daily with me) and let the Holy Spirit convict him. The only thing is despite many prayers, he still didn’t repent or change. I don’t know if he is aware of the problem and ignore it or if he does know about it and try to change or if he is totally blind. When he treats me wrong or start to yell at me because he is stressed, I decided to leave the room if I can and stay in silent until he calms down and talk to me normally. I hope God will address this problem in his life but in His time. Meanwhile, I guess I just have to deal with it. Not always easy but my hope is in the Lord. Any tips girls?

    1. Hi sonadewonderful! 🙂

      Dear sister, from my experience, the only time I really saw the changes in my husband was when I stopped focusing on the changes in him. When the Lord convicted me and renewed me, the only person I was focused on was ME. I let go, let God… and totally lifted to God in prayer my husband.

      It is a snare and a great temptation to be self-righteous or discouraged to always go check on one’s husband to see if the Lord is working on him. That totally puts you off-balance and makes you sort of peek into God’s “progress” at changing your husband. 🙂

      My tip for you would be to focus on YOUR OWN WALK WITH CHRIST, and that alone. All else, including a change in your husband’s heart, behavior and speech is but icing on the cake. It can happen, it might happen (just not maybe on your own time line), but that is not for you to determine just when it will happen. Be wary of falling off-track by waiting for that to happen. The one thing you can and must do is to wait on God, and be content now, no matter what the circumstance. (Phil 4:12)

      The prize is Jesus. He alone is sufficient.

      2 Cor 12:9

      Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

      God bless you, sister. I pray that you be conformed more and more to Christ through the imperfections in your husband. We are all works in progress. Our husbands’ weaknesses allow us to develop virtues we wouldn’t otherwise acquire, if they were “perfect” which is impossible since we are all but human. 🙂

      <3

      Nikka

      1. Hi ‘Saint’ Nikka,

        I know your comment was addressed to sonadewonderful -but I gleaned from your advice. I love this blog -even though it is geared for women. I am thankful to see things from women who are seeking God first. It is sad and amazing to see how badly ‘the old man’ can – or try to – ruin relationships.
        You and April have been a blessing to soo many women AND MEN TOO!!! I do remember April saying that God might use your mate as a tool to mold you (Ok, I’m being lazy and DID’NT look up what April said EXACTLY – just paraphrasing).

        Who is like the Lord? No one!!!! 😀

          1. Yes!!! It’s me – Raphael (aka Blog librarian),

            I was hoping that my wife might want to look at the blog…one day. I didn’t want her to know I was on this blog in case it made matters worse. Now, I won’t allow that to be an issue because I am only looking for Godly advice from Godly women in regards to seeing things from a Godly woman’s perspective. I did use ‘ChrushedMale’ or ‘CrushedMale’ at one point. I am a new creature in Christ 🙂 🙂 😀 !!!!! He soo <3 's us! Nothing can separated us from His <3 !!!
            Thanks for the 'emoticons101' lesson!

            May God be continually glorified thru your blog and RH & PW's blogs!!!!

          2. Oh, sorry for unintentionally “outing” you, brother! 😛 I pray that you continue to be blessed by the community here, as you hurdle your trials. May God bless your wife too.

            0:)

            Nikka

        1. Thank God for His Wisdom! Don’t you just love it when words come out of your mouth and you read them afterwards, and are blessed by what “you yourself” said?!?

          It’s totally God working through and in us… I am awed by the Wisdom He so generously gives to us, His Children, especially since God Himself has told us to ask for this precious Gift…

          “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (1 James 1:15)

      2. Thank you Nikka for your advice. Well, I will continue to pray for him to change but will try to focus only in me. It’s just so hard when he treats me bad but I know he suffers also from my weaknesses. Thanks for the reminder. Big hug

    2. sonadewonderful,
      I highly recommend the book crucial conversations, especially if you are leaning towards thinking silence might be the only answer. It’s not! This book is so helpful to understand when and why conversations turn bad and to not fall into that trap. Typically it goes bad because the person we are talking to does not feel safe in the conversation, oh how I can relate to that (and how past conversations has at times even created “touchy” subjects). I struggle with how to speak respect, and I’ve read a ton of books on respect but the words are just elusive to me. This book has helped tremendously to identify the issue in the conversation right away and be able to respond in a loving, respectful way and get a response back. Using this method prevents the silence and violence (aka anger) reaction.

      I agree that you must focus on you and not your husband’s change. Keep seeking the Lord’s direction in your life and allow him to reveal the areas he needs you to focus on. Change takes time; I bless you with patience and the ability to see your husband as God sees him. I pray the Lord will reveal to you your character flaws he wants to refine and that you allow Him to work in you and I pray the Lord helps you to remove your hands from your husband and allow Him to work in his life, yet wrapping you in peace and love and the knowledge that He has got your relationship in His hand, let His influence be noticeable to your husband.

      1. Thanks SpeakingTruthinLove for the tip for the book and the advice. Though, I felt led by God more than a year ago to stay in silence when he treats me bad, critics me or yell at me. If I say something, he’s going to reply and it’s going to be worse. When he tells me I’m crazy or stupid, I tell him I am not or doesn’t say anything and I break silently those words of cursing. But I do need to know how to speak more respectfully.

    3. sonadewonderful,

      April added a paragraph to my post to give everyone a little glimpse of how things are now, 1 year later. My husband was so humiliated about his addiction that he burst into tears when I asked him. My husband is a very strong and tough man, not given to being highly emotional. I could see that he was showing me the shame he felt inside and I so desperately wanted to be a safe place to land for him in his struggle, in spite of how humiliated and devastated I felt.

      Pornography has many unwelcome sins that can accompany it. For my husband, he became angry, irritable, and controlling. It didn’t even have to be a big situation that would spark it. The Bible says that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). My husband was very angry with his lack of control in this area and he expressed it outwardly. Our wonderful counselors have been such a blessing in helping him in this area, and encouraging me to really lean into my Savior during this time, especially since I was denied sexually a lot during his time of addiction and it caused a lot of temptations for me.

      You’ve asked some great questions, sister, and I could write you a novel with all the things I’ve learned. Certainly Nikka offered some great advice as well about focusing on changing ourselves first. I think that is excellent advice and something that I absolutely did and continue to do. We cannot control what our husbands do (no matter how hard we may try!), but we CAN control ourselves and work on the area of our life that we are sinning. I struggled a lot with unforgiveness before I found out about my husband’s addiction and the Lord used this to work on me in that area. I’ve grown so much in that area.

      I wish I could say that I have only responded to my husband with grace and patience throughout this trial, but that would be lying and definitely wouldn’t honor the Lord. I can think of two times in the past year when I, more or less, “freaked out” when I allowed my thoughts and fears about his sin to consume me. When I confronted my husband that morning, I did not freak out. I prayed a great deal beforehand that the Lord would help me to confront my husband in a loving, but concerned way. I prepared myself ahead of time. <– That is an extremely important step to responding to situations in a Godly way. You need to prepare and make the decision AHEAD OF TIME how you will respond when a sin issue comes up. If we just leave it to our sinful nature to respond in the emotion of the moment, we will likely sin in our response. I wish I had taken a cue from my own preparedness when I first confronted my husband and had made sure to do that constantly. We can't afford to let the enemy catch us off-guard.

      Although, for the most part, I handled the trial in the way I believe honored the Lord, if I were to do it all over again, I would have focused a lot more on controlling my thoughts. I was so consumed by his sin that I thought about it almost every minute of the day. I did not heed Philippians 4:8, which says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." Remember that our thoughts will find a way to express themselves verbally, if not physically. If we don't control what we meditate on, it will control and ultimately consume on us. That's why it's so important to memorize Scripture. Write applicable verses on note cards and memorize, memorize, memorize. Say them out loud over and over again whenever you are tempted to focus on your husband's sin. Remember that love keeps no record of wrongs.

      1. Thank you so much. Wow! What a tremendous maturity and words do knowledge. I definitively need more. I didn’t realize that I was keeping a record of wrong. Actually, I pray for our couple every day and yes, so many things needs desperately to change. I know too well the fact of being sexually neglected and so many others things. I do need to pray for my husband and let it go but it’s so hard of not focusing of what he does wrong. Sometimes it’s so unfair :-/ Philippians is a great verse. Thanks for your feedback. I ‘ll pray for you and your husband. It’s so great to be able to share our pains, but also our progress and not feel so alone in this journey. Big hug to all

        1. Sonadewonderful,

          I am praying for you! You may want to search my home page for “Why Do I Have to Change First?” I think that post may bless you, my precious sister.

          Much love to you!

          1. Thanks April. Right now, I am so discouraged that it takes such a long time to change my attitudes and I do fall in the same pitfall. But one day (hopefully sooner than better) I will win this battle. Thanks for your prayer April. Big hug. Sonia

      2. JoyFilled Wife:

        Thank you so much for sharing what happened with you and your husband.

        The fact that your husband burst into tears when you brought up the subject is very encouraging. His heart is fully with you. He is devastated at the very thought. This is the fruit of your loving and supporting him, in spite of how devastated you felt about it.

        And thank you for sharing how you felt during this entire process. This kind of information is very helpful to us men who desperately want to live clean lives. This will provide additional strength to me in the daily battles of life when one day I remarry.

        Jim

  5. Thank you for your story. Praying for you and your husband. So happy to hear that you were able to see the blessings during the storm!

  6. April, thank you for posting this. Quite often men don’t realize how devastating it is to a wife to discover that her husband is addicted to porn.

    Sometimes a man is addicted to porn, and he cannot easily break free. If his wife will patiently and lovingly help him through it, I believe he can break free. In fact, because of her love and compassion toward him, he will desperately want to be free. However, if her words and actions reinforce the feelings of failure that consume him after an episode of porn, he will be locked in even tighter. I’m not in any way blaming the woman here, I’m just pointing out how she can help him get free.

    At least in her mind she can take some consolation in the fact that he doesn’t love her any less because of the porn, but rather he is addicted and can’t easily stop.

    1. Jim,

      I appreciate that your suggestion for wives to be loving and compassionate with their husbands in this struggle may indeed help many husbands. But it is akin to expecting husbands to demonstrate the same love and compassion toward their wives if their wives have an “addiction” to sleeping with other men. If your wife were doing this, imagine the horrendous pain, heartbreak, and anger it would cause! Yes, you might decide to forgive her and work on your marriage–and pray non-stop for God’s help–but you can also imagine the supreme near-miracle it would take to exercise compassion in this scenario. When women are able to love and show compassion to their husbands after repeated unfaithfulness, it is nothing short of a MIRACLE from God, given the devastation and shipwreck of trust their unfaithfulness causes.

      In no way should a husband’s addiction to pornography be considered any less serious than a wife repeatedly sleeping with multiple men, and sometimes “slipping up” and sleeping with yet another man as she tries to maintain faithfulness to her husband again. A man’s use of pornography is no different than this. I felt the need to state this clearly, lest anyone consider the use of pornography as any less serious than any other type of sexual unfaithfulness. That being said, a mate may choose to forgive and try to heal with God’s help, but even in this instance it is a horrendous experience to endure, even though every trial does have the potential for positive personal and spiritual growth. We should always remember this and strive to be faithful to our mates and never treat them treacherously.

      1. Elizabeth,

        Pornography is certainly sin. Ugly sin. It destroys many marriages and it dishonors God. And it greatly hurts wives when husbands view porn. I completely get that and totally agree.

        But – I cannot agree that pornography use is the same exact thing as a person physically having sex with another person.

        Yes, it is lust and adultery in the heart, as Jesus described. That is terrible sin. We need the blood of Christ to cover that sin and we need His power to deliver us.

        But, to equate a sin in the mind with a sin that is acted out as having the same consequences and weight would mean then that if I am angry with someone and hate them in my heart what I have done is equally as bad as actually murdering someone. Yes, God states in I John that if I hate my brother, I am a murderer. Spiritually, I am a murderer. But the earthly consequences for hating a person in my heart should probably not be as severe as the consequences if I actually literally killed a person.
        All sin is sin. All sin grieves God’s heart. But there are differing levels of consequences on earth depending on the sin.

        God desires to give us victory over all sin and He can and will do that as we fully submit to Him as Lord and allow His Spirit to control us.

        Thanks so much for the comment!

        1. Hello April,
          I very much agree with you on the degree of sin here. While all sin, big or small, offends God, I feel there is a world of difference between looking at images (real easy to do) and meeting someone in person to sin. A lot more work has to go into the latter and thus there are far more opportunities to re-think it and repent before it happens. I realize this can be an addiction too.
          With porn, one search and click and you’ve got it. Or, if you’ve kept a stash, just browse there and you’ve got it.
          I realize this may be hard to fathom for some women.
          Say you have a favourite fattening food and you’re on a diet. Say it’s doritos potato chips (which I love!). Everywhere you go, there are tables set up with big bowls of fresh doritos. Everywhere you go. Everywhere. You have to walk past them to get where-ever you are going. They are everywhere and they are free for the taking. If doritos aren’t your thing and donuts are, imagine that fresh donuts were available everywhere you went. Also, you’re very hungry and your next meal is hours away. To eat any would be a violation of your diet, not to mention spoiling your next meal. I realize it’s a poor analogy but it may be helpful.

          I should also mention that it’s very encouraging that some wives are willing to forgive and help repair the relationship. I grew up in a household with lots of judgement and little or no forgiveness. Many grudges are still held to this day for stuff that happened decades ago!

          Thanks April for your blog.

          1. Eric V,
            I appreciate your willingness to share your perspective.

            I really wish everyone would keep their Doritos (or donuts) in their own house. It would make life a lot easier, wouldn’t it? 🙂

            The thing that struck me the most about Dr. Tim Keller’s book, Grace Filled Marriage, in the chapter about a husband who was involved with porn and a wife who was devastated was this:

            Bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment are actually greater marriage killers than porn is.

            God is able to bring healing after porn addiction and after affairs, even. God is able to forgive and restore us from any sin. The blood of Jesus is completely adequate to cover our sin and He is able to empower us to find victory over our sins – which we could never do on our own. I’m so thankful that God provided a way for us to receive mercy, grace and forgiveness.

            Dr. Keller addressed the importance of a wife showing grace in a situation where the husband repented of his porn use. He helped walk a wife step by step through the process. I think that would be an incredible resource for wives who are seeking to honor God but struggling with forgiving their husbands and who want to be free of all the bitterness and unforgiveness.

            Bitterness and unforgiveness can kill any relationship and any marriage. That is some toxic stuff. I used to hold on to bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, grudges, pride and self-righteousness myself. Bitterness may start as a little root, but it grows into a large poisonous tree, sometimes even into a large toxic forest.

            God is so good. He doesn’t want us to have any sin in our hearts. He wants us to be holy by His Spirit living in us and if we are willing to let go of our sin, He can make us whole.

            I appreciate your thoughts!

        2. April,

          I reread my comment and can see I wasn’t truly clear: I was referring to the seriousness of both forms of unfaithfulness (physical adultery and pornography use), not the precise nature of both being exactly alike. I totally agree that mental sins don’t always carry the same earthly consequences as physical ones do. One will never be imprisoned for thinking a bad thought–thank goodness–or we would all be there! Where I must respectfully disagree is that pornography use is only a mental sin. It involves viewing and hearing another person for sexual thrills and satisfaction and frequently is accompanied by masturbation. Yes, it results in a rush of dopamine, a feel-good drug for the brain–but so does the thrill of extramarital affairs. One Christian likened pornography use to being right next to physical adultery in seriousness on “the spectrum of adultery,” yet not the same thing. Many say it definitely is, and others truly struggle to make the distinction.

          Perhaps this uncertainty results from the fact that Internet use wasn’t in existence in early Christian times, any more than electronic banking was. Should we conclude that digital/online theft is not as serious as physical breaking-and-entering to steal because the nature of the two forms of stealing is different? One robs by means of a computer, the other by physically breaking in and removing cash, yet the result to the person stolen from is the same: their assets have been taken unlawfully. The relationship of pornography use to physical adultery is very, very similar to that of online stealing to physical theft: it’s much easier to accomplish and is totally hidden from observers unless one discovers the online activity, and for these reasons both are more tempting and more pervasive in our culture. Yet in both online theft and pornography use, something is stolen from the innocent. Criminals steal money and/or personal identities in the first instance, and innocent mates suffer the loss of their mate’s loyalty and faithfulness in the latter case. The victim of theft would never agree that the online theft is less serious to him or her than someone physically robbing their money would be. Something valuable has been illegally and immorally taken from them.

          We all have bad thoughts occasionally, but have the choice to either dismiss them or act on them. Actually using pornography involves more than just struggling with a bad thought. Going to a website and spending time viewing and hearing sexually arousing material at length is not much different than going to someone physically to be sexually satisfied–and, it is not just being tempted, but ACTING ON the temptation to be sexually aroused and “thrilled” by someone outside the marriage bond. The result to one’s mate is the same: heartache, and loss of trust and sexual faithfulness. Impregnating another woman and contracting STDs (physical consequences) are not possible in the early stages of pornography use but are often a reality in the later stages, when extended use of pornography often results in the use of prostitutes.

          On the website covenanteyes.com, the writer explains that monogamy to men is often thought of as only physical, whereas monogamy to women is often largely mental, which may explain why so many men downplay the significance of what they consider merely a “mental” activity, but a woman is devastated by it. To them a lack of physical contact minimizes the seriousness of pornography use.

          However, Jesus set the matter straight when he said that whoever looked at a woman with lust committed adultery in his heart. Since actually using pornography goes so much further than a mere thought and causes so much pain and destruction in a relationship, I believe if Christ were here to utter an opinion today that he would condemn it as serious sin and unfaithfulness in no uncertain terms–even if the exact nature of the sin is lacking the physical component of a sexual partner. While one can hate another without causing that person to lose their life, one cannot be unfaithful to one’s wife in either manner without violating trust and breaking one’s marriage vow to be faithful.

          In this matter as well as many others, I know that my perspective is not inspired and that we can all reason differently and not perfectly agree on many issues, so if we still disagree, that’s okay with me, April. I just wanted to clarify what I said and explain my perspective, and deeply appreciate having the opportunity to do that. I hope many, many women will find comfort in the testimony of this dear wife who did indeed experience the beauty of God’s peace and many other positive outcomes that arose from the ashes of betrayal. She is a beautiful example of forgiveness and the power that has to move our husbands to love God and to love us. Thank you for listening. . . .

          1. Kathy,
            He does say that it is adultery in the heart. Yes. But I don’t recall Him saying that people should be stoned to death for it. Thankfully, He even gave grace to the woman caught in the act of physical adultery. Then He instructed her to go and sin no more.

            That is my desire and prayer, that we each find that we can live in total submission to Christ and by His power working in us, live in victory over every sin. 🙂

          2. Hello Kathy,

            Let’s keep in mind that the woman who is the object of the observer’s lust isn’t committing adultery here. Jesus said ‘adultery with her in his heart’. He is the one sinning. The woman may be totally unaware of his attention.
            While there may be no STD’s involved etc, he is having a relationship with the woman in his mind. I know I’d like to minimize that, having stumbled this way myself, but realistically, we shouldn’t. I prefer to think of it as anything he ‘gives’ to this woman is something he’s taken away from his wife, something that rightfully belongs to her.

            As for women (and men) who pose for pictures, are they committing adultery? Perhaps. Are they sinning? Tough question. I don’t know.

            Should every relationship damaged by porn or end in divorce? I think not. Let’s not be in a rush to end marriages that could be healed.

      2. Elizabeth, I really appreciate your thoughts here. Sounds like you’ve been hurt badly by your husband being addicted to porn.

        I in no way want to minimize your pain and suffering. The only thing I want to do is tell what it is like for a guy who is addicted to porn.

        It is clear to me that this is very different for men and women.

        Here is the male perspective and experience. (I fully realize that the female perspective is very different on this issue.) — For men, there is a difference between “anonymous” porn and an actual illicit relationship with a real person. With “anonymous” porn, he hasn’t had an affair with anyone, and he hasn’t emotionally connected with anyone; all he has had is a physical sexual rush or high. And it is such a huge rush or high that it is difficult for him not to indulge. In fact, if there are a lot of anxieties in his life, the “quick fix” of porn, with the resultant rush or high, gives him a temporary relief from all of the anxieties of life.

        What then happens for the Christian man is that he feels lots of shame and anxiety from having indulged. He feels like a failure. And the only relief he can find is to indulge again.

        Chances are, he is afraid to discuss it with his wife, knowing how hurt she will be, and knowing that she absolutely will not understand how difficult of a struggle it is for him. But if he felt that he could go to his wife and get compassion and love from her in this struggle, I’m quite sure that he would do that (if he was brave), and I’m quite sure that her embrace (as opposed to her rejection) would greatly motivate him to get it out of his life.

        I never got that sort of compassion or embrace from my ex-wife. I’m sure that if I had, that would have helped me to overcome the addiction. I would have desperately wanted to do it for her.

        Elizabeth, this is the male perspective. I know it is not the female perspective. But I really believe deep down inside that love and forgiveness is God’s way, especially if the husband really wants to overcome.

        1. Jim,

          Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comment and explain more fully a man’s perspective. I really appreciate that. I just wrote a response to April above and hope you will read it to better understand my perspective. If we don’t agree that’s okay, because I know we all love God and are trying to serve him and do his will in our own situations and lives in the best way we can.

          You are right, my deceased husband and someone with whom I had a serious relationship thereafter both used pornography. My deceased husband never told me, and I never knew until I found a stash of it deep in the closet after he suffered a serious stroke a year and a half before he died. Because the stroke left him with dementia and he didn’t even know who I was, I was left to agonize over WHY this happened, without ever finding resolution because of course he couldn’t relate to me then as a husband. I only knew I felt exactly like thejoyfilledwife–completely betrayed. Over time I’ve been able to find peace, after praying repeatedly to God and remembering all the wonderful qualities of my deceased husband. Faithfulness and loyalty are primarily qualities of the mind and heart, as Jesus pointed out, and yet we are all a combination of being made in God’s image, yet sinning as well–falling short of his perfect standard of righteousness.

          Having said that, I know how deeply I myself need forgiveness and love to cover my own imperfections and want to love others the way God loves me. I totally agree that in many cases, a man or wife can draw their spouse even closer and forge a stronger relationship when there is forgiveness and compassion. Yet if this pain and heartache and scarring could all be avoided, oh how much better for both! Once again, Jim, thank you for helping me see things through your eyes, and I pray that God will give you peace, insight, and comfort through his holy spirit.

          1. Elizabeth, I am so sorry that you found your husband’s pornography after he had a stroke, and he was incapable of giving any sort of apology or explanation. I know that that had to be extremely difficult for you, for a very long time.

            I also thank you for your posting of June 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm, because it really made it clear to me how devastating the use of pornography by a husband is to a wife. We men need that sort of information. It is very helpful to everyone if we men can know how devastated our wives will be if we indulge in pornography.

            I know that both the men and the women have learned a tremendous amount of very helpful information from this blog. Thank you so much, April, for covering this topic and for allowing the men to contribute.

          2. Elizabeth,
            I am so very, very sorry for your pain and that you were not able to discuss things with your husband and find resolution. How I long for the body of Christ to be set free from the snare of pornography and truly, from every addiction and every sin.

          3. Thank you, April. I too long for the day when snares to our obedience to God and loving relationships with others won’t be everywhere. What a fight it is, but one well worth the effort.

          4. Elizabeth, my heart broke to hear your story, but I am so glad to hear that you’ve found peace through prayer and remembering the wonderful qualities of your deceased husband. The pain you must have experienced is something I’m sure most people can’t fathom (the betrayal coupled with the devastating loss of a loved one). Thank you for allowing God to use you and your story to encourage and bless so many! God is doing great things in you and through you!

    2. Jim,
      This is a very important point for the concerned wives to note. It’s very important that you understand that the man may be using porn as an immature form of escape but then ends up addicted. Now if he’s caused more stress and the one person who should offer him shelter from the storm rejects him, then he may end up “sheltering” in the wrong place (porn).

      This is a very tricky thing in that women feel very threatened when a lewd or skimpily dressed woman is in hers and her husband’s presence. Even a skimpily dressed woman on the street can immediately cause insecurity and disrespect to her husband who by the way may not have even seen the woman in question!

      So ladies this takes courage but you we must recognize the real enemy here and it’s not the woman on the computer screen. It’s the addiction in your husband. If you can recognize this, and you will need God’s strength to do so, this situation can be resolved in a much shorter time.

      Note however that the addict will only recover when he/ she acknowledges that they have a problem and is willing to stop. you cannot stop the addiction. You can only be there for support and your support is so so so so very crucial!

    3. Jim,

      It is extremely devastating to a wife to feel the pain of her husband’s porn use. It feels to us just as painful as if our husband were physically cheating on us.

      I am so thankful that we can all find grace, mercy and forgiveness in Christ. We are all sinful and we all need Jesus so very much.

      I pray that wives might experience the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ for themselves and realize just how much we owe Jesus ourselves. And then we will have the power of God to help us extend that same grace, mercy and forgiveness to our husbands, even when they fall in ways that may not be as tempting for us. We all have our own weaknesses and temptations and sin that destroys our walk with God and destroys our relationships with others.

      It was very helpful for me to realize that my sins – pride, disrespect, idolatry, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness and gossip were equally as destructive and heinous as sins I condemned in others that I didn’t believe were temptations for me.

      When I could see that my husband and I were equally sinful and I was able to humble myself and see that we both needed Jesus just as desperately, even though maybe our sin issues weren’t the same exactly, it was very freeing for me.

    4. Jim and Nick,
      It is so hard for a woman to understand that a husband can separate his love and attraction for his wife and his desire for her from his porn addiction. Wives often feel that it is their fault, they aren’t good enough or thin enough or sexy enough for their husbands.

      Every man I have heard from on this issue, and it has been quite a few in the past 2 years, has said the same things both of you have said, that a man’s porn use or addiction doesn’t diminish his love for his wife and is separate from that and that it is an escape men to to sometimes when they are stressed, upset or feeling weak.

      I do long for wives to know that a porn addiction works exactly the same way as an illicit drug addiction in the brain. The same neurochemical, dopamine, is involved, just like when a drug addict gets a hit of heroine or crack.

      I pray that wives can learn to see through their husband’s eyes a bit and can understand the nature of this addiction and how best to help their husbands as they also find help and healing for themselves. I also pray that husbands will be able to try to understand their wives’ perspective and the pain that a husband’s porn addiction causes a wife.

      Praying for every couple here who is dealing with this snare that the strongholds of the enemy and sin might be broken and that each couple might find healing and freedom and victory in Christ and find the resources that will be most helpful for them. This is an extremely common issue. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are the only ones facing this pain.

      1. April, you have a very balanced perspective on this issue.

        I believe that if the wife will do her very best to be understanding and compassionate; and if the husband will do his very best to understand how devastating it is to the wife, and will do his very best to live clean; then healing can come.

        Speaking as a man, he may want to stop indulging very badly, but just can’t seem to shake it from his life. If his wife will be involved with him in the fight, I believe he can win. And the only way he will let her in to help him in the fight is if he believes she will be supportive and not harsh.

        I know that this is a really tough one for both the husband and the wife. But if they both don’t fight this fight, the enemy can use it to greatly damage marriages.

        I really appreciate your allowing discussion on this very critical issue, April. I personally didn’t really understand how devastating this is to the wife till I read yours and Nina’s information on the subject.

        Men need to know this, but without being told by women how it devastates women, they won’t really understand.

        Women also need to know how powerless a man can be in the face of the evil of pornography, and it has nothing to do with his love for his wife; and I think the only way they will understand this is if a woman like yourself tells them.

        1. Jim – I can agree with much of this. As a wife walking through this struggle, the effects of my husband’s sin run deep. I feel unloved, unwanted and undesirable. He hears me say those things, but the struggle is still there. I’m trying to keep my eyes on the cross and focus on the only source of worth, Christ.

          Emotionally, it’s just hard because I feel like I’m competing with “perfect” women. They aren’t ever disrespectful, their bodies are photoshopped and they are always available.

          That said, I am trying to with through this with him. If he had been in an affair this long without change, we would not still be married. But, in that regard and that regard only, I see porn as a lesser evil. (I don’t see divorce as an answer up everything – I just believe that it would be biblically justifiable for an affair that spanned years without an end). My husband is repentant and has been seeking to change, so I am here by his side and I’m trying to learn to support him. It’s still do very hard, but I know it’s where God has me for now.

          1. Lucy, thank you so much for hanging in there with your husband. He appreciates it more than you will ever know.

            And I’m really sorry that you have to go through this.

          2. Lucy,
            I am so glad you are seeking to support him and help your husband find victory over this addiction. I am praying for you both and for God’s victory and His glory in your lives!

    5. Jim,

      Thanks for your comment and offering a man’s perspective. I have read many books on this subject and heard a lot of responses from men that explained it in the same way.

      April added a paragraph to my post that gives a sort of “update” to how things are now. The reason I encouraged wives who are facing this to lean into the Lord and draw strength from Him so that they can respond to their husbands with compassion and forgiveness is because that has played a big part in my husband overcoming his addiction. He has told me countless times how much it means to him that I have been here beside him through it all, even through the sometimes unbearable pain I experienced and how hard the side effects of his addiction have been to live with. Just a couple of hours ago we were driving home and passed a billboard that had recently been changed. It had previously had an inappropriately dressed woman on it advertising for a business and it’s on the way home. I commented how happy I was to see such a nice add up there now supporting our local firefighters after the horrible fires we had here recently. 🙂 He agreed and asked me a minute later, “Is it hard for you whenever you see us passing an inappropriately dressed woman? Does it bring back a flood of emotions and pain?” I told him honestly, “Yes. In many ways, we truly are in this battle together. Just as you battle temptation when we pass those women, I battle temptation as well…to surrender it all to the Lord and not allow myself to give into fear. It still hurts, but I am trying to lean on Him during those times.”

      After I was done talking, my husband grabbed my hand and said, “You don’t know what it means to me that you’ve been here by my side through it all. I know that many women would not have done that and I am blessed to have such an amazing wife. I love you so much.” I got a pretty nice kiss after that comment too. 🙂

      Jim, I have not been a perfect wife throughout the past year and I wish I would have said and responded differently in some instances, but I didn’t know then what I know now and my hope is that the Lord will use what I know now to bless and encourage other wives who are struggling with how to face this battle and still bring honor to the Lord.

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply, JoyFilled Wife.

        Thank you for the great love and compassion that you show to your husband. I know that it is extremely difficult for you to do that. All I can say is that I know how much it would have meant to me had I been able to be honest with my wife and then had her be fully supportive me. Knowing the pain that it caused her, and knowing that she fully supported me in my battle would have meant more than the world to me, and I would have desperately sought to live clean so she wouldn’t have to endure any more pain.

        I hope you weren’t driving when he gave you the kiss!

  7. Oops sorry about that. The way you see your addicted husband matters a great deal.

    Now imagine your husband was addicted to crack crack cocaine, would you feel the same way? Would you feel that he’s cheating on you?

    A porn addict is not happy about his addiction and they’re not trying to replace you. As hard as it seems, you must try to think less about what he’s looking at and more about what’s in his mind. Ask yourself if an addict can be happy about his addiction.

    A porn addict always experiences shame afterwards. EVERYTIME! I know I’ve been there. An addict is a slave nothing more nothing less. What would you feel if you were lead down the street naked with a chain around your neck? Would you feel pride?

    What’s more it affects how you relate to your mate. If you’re getting your sexual needs met through other channels, it may affect your emotional connections with your wife. This because sex is an important way men connect with a woman.

    So what exactly is porn? Because men are so visual, porn becomes an option for fulfilling sexual, romantic fantasies.
    So the key point here is not the visual part of it. The visual is just a vehicle for fantasies. A heroin addict doesn’t love his needle or his drugs. The needle is just the instrument he uses.

    I remember April posting something about this in comparison to women watching romantic movies/dramas/ novels. The woman doing this doesn’t LOVE the book or the actors it’s the emotional high she gets from it. She still loves her husband but the fact that he can’t give her the same high will cause strife in her marriage.

    So in conclusion, porn is a serious problem not just for the addicts mate but an even more serious problem for the addict. It warps their view of reality and makes it difficult to live a normal life without it. As such, it would be wonderful if we extend mercy and grace an look at this from the perspective of the addict. Important point: It’s not fun being a slave.

  8. Joyfilledwife,
    Wow, so much wisdom and encouragement in this post! Thank you for sharing!

    I love this:
    “Peace amidst trials is nonsense to the world…”

    Until you have experienced the deep peace and joy that comes from Christ alone in the midst of tragedy, it makes NO sense!!

    The sweetest and most wonderful communion with the Lord came when I was facing my own tragedy due to my husband’s sin. Even other believers could not understand how I carried on with my life with such peace and joy. (not that it was always easy, of course 🙂

    God taught me SO many things about Himself during that time but perhaps the greatest thing I learned was the vast treasure that can be found in Him and His Word. There is nothing earthly that can compare with it! Even facing rejection from my husband was so much more bearable because I remembered how precious I am in the sight of the Lord! The Psalms say “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”… (Psalm 17)
    How treasured we to God! Praise Him!!

  9. Dear TJFL, Thank you for sharing your story. It’s always so encouraging to hear how Christ walks with us when our nightmares become reality. Praise God He is your strength and joy. Praying for you and your marriage today.

  10. I really appreciate the men who were willing to share on this issue today.

    Sometimes I wish that we wives could literally put ourselves in our husbands’ minds and eyes and hearts for about a week, and that they could switch places with us, too. I have a feeling we would be shocked to know how very differently men and women think, feel and perceive the world. I also think we would be amazed at how different our temptations can be and we might be able to have more empathy with one another.

    The book that helped me most to understand men in general was Shaunti Feldhahn’s For Women Only. I was amazed to get a peek into the world of masculinity and to read about the men’s perspectives and struggles. It helped me understand my own husband better and gave us a great place to start some important discussions about what it is like to be a man, what it means to be visual, how I can best support my husband and how I can be on his team.

    I will admit that some women get very freaked out by what they read and about hearing what visual struggles some men have. There is a continuum on the scale for men and how much they struggle with visual temptation. Just like there is a continuum for women and how much we struggle with PMS or with control or eating too much chocolate cake to comfort ourselves when we are upset.

    Some women know they can’t be in the same room as a chocolate cake. Some women know they need to be on the other side of the room from a cake. Some women can stand beside a chocolate cake and realize that it looks and smells delicious but not be too tempted to eat it.

    One man described visual temptation from women as being similar to the temptation to eat chocolate cake. And he said that in our culture today, it is like being in a house where every flat surface has a chocolate cake in it. It is extremely hard to avoid seeing the temptation.

    I know that wives today can’t control the temptations that our husbands see, but we can realize that our husbands are not our enemy and that there may be things we can do to make this struggle easier and to bless our husbands and walk with them toward victory over the sin of lust and even porn.

    We need our husband’s support in our weak areas – often that is especially when we are hormonal and irritable. We need more grace and understanding at times because our hormones make us more prone to certain sins – losing our temper, snapping at people, being unforgiving, etc…

    Our husbands need our support in their weak areas.

    I want to see us work together as a team to face the real enemy and to experience God’s victory over all sin.

    1. April, my city has a professional basketball team, but I don’t go to the games, because all around the arena are huge TV screens, and most of the game the “cheerleaders” (scantily-clad dancing girls) are shown in living color, prancing around sensually.

      I avoid the games, because I can’t avoid seeing the dancing girls when I go.

      This is an example of what we men face continually.

      I’m not making any excuses, I’m just letting you know what we face.

      Wives, every day you should pray for your husband that he can resist the temptations that continually are before his eyes. Don’t even ask him how he is doing (you may not like what you hear, and he may feel ashamed to talk about it), just keep him covered in prayer.

      1. Jim,
        I definitely understand what Christian men face today and how constant the temptation is. Our men need our prayers and support more than ever before. The enemy knew exactly what he was doing with the whole porn thing – he hits men where they are weakest, and when husbands stumble in this way, that also hits wives where they are most vulnerable. Then it becomes this awful downward death spiral where each spouse’s sin feeds the other person’a vulnerabilities and sinful tendencies and it tears marriages apart. It is the perfect storm. I am thankful that we serve a powerful God who is stronger than the enemy and stronger than any temptation and who is able to empower us all to walk in holiness for His glory.

  11. Comparing the shameful ‘high’ from pornography to the socially acceptable ‘high’ some women get in romance novels is reasonable. I’ve had to give these things up myself for lots of reasons. I don’t think anyone denies any addiction is difficult for the one enslaved. But I found that I could wallow for hours in my own pity party, looking at life through my own pain and completely miss how I was hurting other people. My life changed when I saw what pain I was unintentionally causing my loved ones, not when I was wishing ‘if only the world could see what I’m going through and help me’. That spiritual bondage enabled me to blame others for my own mistakes, and find numerous ways to escape.

    If a man doesn’t see and accept the catastrophic pain he is truly causing, he easily justifies his behavior and simply calls his wife irrational. It is not a holy thing to enable his sickness. She has just been shot by the one who was supposed to protect her and she is left to bandage her own bleeding heart while finding the strength to help stop the bleeding of the one who pulled the trigger…knowing he may do it again and again.

    We are so vulnerable in our marriages. We never expect that so much pain could be inflicted upon us by the one who promised to love us. But we are called to love, even our enemies. Jesus set the bar high and loved us in our sinful state to the point of death on that cross. It is my choice to learn how to say, “Babe, you let me down…here is what I need from you” v. “You’re a monster and I must leave”

    We are all sick and we are all weak. When I’ve got victory in one area there’s another one ready to tackle right behind it. The women who endure with compassion for their husbands should be greatly honored as much as the men who continue to adore their wives even with severe disrespect.

    1. Refined, Thank you for so eloquently stating the pain that pornography causes for wives.

      I can only speak for myself — I never justified my own behavior when I was addicted to porn. I tried desperately to get free, because I knew that it was a sin. But in all honesty, I didn’t know how much pain it would cause a wife to know that her husband was addicted to pornography. I am getting the message very clearly by reading what you and others are saying so eloquently.

      I don’t believe my wife ever knew that I was addicted to porn. I hid it very well. So it never entered my mind that it might have been causing her pain, because she was unaware that I was indulging in it. I believe it would have devastated me if I had known that she knew, and especially if I had known how bad it hurt her. I have no desire to hurt any woman, especially my wife, in any way.

      1. Jim, I’ve never spoken that bluntly about pornography. Perhaps I said too much… Your response is what I wish I could’ve heard from my own spouse when I walked in on him late at night years ago. This was during very happy years, no hint of disrespect. I trusted him completely then. I simply had no training for handling that crash and his seeming lack of remorse. After my meltdown, he never touched it again, truly. We went to our pastor and he learned to ‘dart his eyes’ per “Everyman’s Battle”. But there was no reassurance of his love, no apology, no acknowledgement of my pain. He became more distant; I became more anxious because of my new issues of betrayal and abandonment. I remember wishing I, too, had never walked in that night. I wanted so desperately to know that he loved me and to put things back the way they were. He seemed angry at me for now seeing the real him, not the prince on his pedestal. I couldn’t understand why I was being treated so horribly when I wasn’t the one who inflicted this great injury. He wasn’t prepared for me to see that hidden side of him.

        Pornography has not been a problem for us for years but the overall issues linger. His father escaped into pornography and alcohol. He does not want to be his father. I’m learning to handle another person’s sin and humanity along with my own.

        Thank you for acknowledging what a nightmare this is for everyone. I never bring it up to my husband. That would be slapping him in the face with his past failure. I don’t want to do that because I am honestly proud of the man he’s becoming. But I must still deal with those fears he let into our home and make my mind up to look forward long after he’s moved on.

        1. Refined, if my wife had caught me looking at porn, I would have been on my knees, begging for her forgiveness. I believe it is that way with many Christian men, but I wouldn’t have any idea of the percentage.

          I know the friends I have, and most of them are just like me in this matter.

          You did not say too much. I really want to be educated on this topic. The problem is, men and women simply don’t understand what each other goes through with porn.

          But truly it is of the devil, because when a husband gets addicted, it is very hard to stop, and it totally devastates his wife.

          I thank God every day that I am free from that curse; and I pray every day that I will not fall into it again. I live alone now (my wife left me and divorced me), so sometimes it is really hard for me. But thank God, I am really free!

          1. April, please use whatever you think may be helpful. It has not been fun to recall those experiences but therapeutic to ensure they are truly laid at the feet of Jesus. I have been so blessed by hearing how other women have overcome in this.

  12. Kudos to you, TJFW. I have no doubt whatsoever that your husband sees your prayers and patience as a huge gift and that, as a result of your attitude, the two of you have greater transparency now and are rebuilding trust. If my ex-wife had been able to manifest some of that maturity — which really boils down to trust in God — perhaps we wouldn’t be divorced now. (Yesterday would have been our 32nd anniversary.) Instead, I was on my own in the fight and really, ultimately, whether I ever won the fight never really mattered — she was already looking for a way out, and she eventually took it, 7 years after my last use of porn. Bless you for writing a different story in your marriage.

  13. I believe where we as women get tripped up so easily about the porn issue is that (if we are not “visual”) we don’t think that way and we don’t understand how men think and how a man’s visual system works. Most of us assume our men think just like we do. It’s easy to try to figure out what we as women would have to be thinking for us to turn to porn. And, quite honestly, for women who aren’t visual and who haven’t used porn – we just cannot fathom what could ever drive us to use porn. It is just not a temptation. It is so hard for a woman to wrap her mind around why this would be a temptation for anyone if it is not a temptation for us. Then, we are tempted to think that we are morally/spiritually superior to our husbands because we would NEVER commit that sin. That sets up a horrible cycle of the wife looking down on her husband and labeling him a “worse sinner” than she is and justifying any sin she might be tempted to commit in response to his sin.

    Unfortunately, there is an increasingly large number of women who are using porn today, as well. So, maybe they have a different perspective on this issue. I would assume they would. I also am aware of many women who fall into the snare of porn end up with new visual temptations – same sex attractions, for instance. Sometimes women get into porn because their husbands want them to watch with them. Sometimes they get into it because the younger generation is so plugged into the internet, and it is so easy to access porn, women can get sucked into the world of pornography now in a similar way that men do – even in middle or high school.

    A lot of women don’t realize that visual temptation is a significant issue for almost every man. We don’t do much teaching about modesty these days and I think most women assume that only a few “weird” men are “perverts.” A wife can easily assume that lust, visual temptations and porn aren’t an issue for her husband or for “godly” men – if she has never studied about it or talked with her husband about it candidly. So it can be particularly shocking if a wife discovers her husband has fallen to this temptation when she thought he was “above” lust and porn.

    This discovery changes the way a wife sees her husband. She loses that implicit trust that was there before. And, unfortunately, when a wife feels insecure and unable to trust, her sexual desire can plummet to zero. She will most likely emotionally withdraw from him. A woman’s sexual response requires her to be able to feel completely safe, to feel emotionally connected and to know her husband is trustworthy. Suddenly, he looks like a stranger to her. She pictures him at the computer and what he was doing and from then on, it brings her pain to look at his eyes, his hands, the computer, the phone, the chair where he sat or even things he has done for her around the house. Suddenly, it seems to her that there is no love and that everything she thought she knew about this man she loved and trusted was a lie.

    It can take quite a bit of processing, help and godly guidance for a wife to recover from this.

    I love the conversation that Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn share about the topic of how different they think about visual temptation. Jeff was trying to explain how men think visually to Shaunti, his wife, and he said, “If you saw a movie that had a scene of Tom Cruise taking off his shirt, how many times would you think about that image the next day?” And Shaunti said, “None. I wouldn’t think about it.” Then Jeff said, “I don’t think you understand the question I am asking,” and he tried to word it a different way. Shaunti said, “Zero times. It just doesn’t happen.” And Jeff said, “Wow.”

    Greg and I have talked about these issues many times. I love to hear from him and to get to know his world and his perspective better. He doesn’t seem to be as visual as some men are, but these are some of our most precious conversations to me – where he explains his world to me. We were talking about it this week, actually. He asked me about when women dress in a sexy way, what is their goal? What do they think men will do? I told him I am sure some women purposely do it because they know what it does to men. But, many women truly don’t know what men think when they look at them when they are dressed in a sexy way. Many women just think they are dressing in a “cute” or “fashionable” way. They know they are getting more male attention, but I really doubt that most young girls and even some grown women realize what goes through a man’s mind when they show a lot of skin and curves. I don’t think they would continue to dress in a provocative way if they did. That is hard for a lot of men to imagine, that women don’t know what they are doing to men when they dress provocatively. But many women truly do not know.

    I told Greg that seeing a handsome man on TV without his shirt does nothing to me. I mean, I see that he is attractive. Just like I see that a beautiful woman is beautiful. But I don’t think about him ever again. I am not tempted by him. But, if there is a romantic comedy or romantic story with a lot of emotional closeness or a guy in real life begins to be flirtatious with me – then I need to have my guard up. I actually don’t watch romantic movies or read romantic books anymore. Temptation for me would be more about what a man says to me or his personality or about words.

    I think it is so helpful to have these kinds of conversations so that husbands and wives can learn to understand each other’s perspectives better and battle this thing hand in hand. The enemy wants to turn us on ourselves – that is his goal, to steal, kill and destroy each of us and our marriages.

    1. April, this post has more valuable information than I have ever found in one place. Particularly the paragraph which starts with “This discovery changes the way a wife sees her husband.”

      Also, when you said, ” if there is a romantic comedy or romantic story with a lot of emotional closeness or a guy in real life begins to be flirtatious with me – then I need to have my guard up.” I have always known that I need to watch how much I say complimentary things to married women. But your statement really clarifies for me why I need to watch what I say to married women.

      This whole discussion is highly valuable and has been needed for a very long time.

      1. Jim,
        You are most welcome. I think it is important for men and women to get a glimpse into how the other thinks and is impacted. My prayer is that this may be a fruitful discussion.

    2. I realize this post is a few days old, but I have just come across it and could really use some advise and words of wisdom. My husband is sadly into watching porn. It makes me feel sick inside to think about it. Like you said, April, once you know your husband uses porn, all you can do is imagine him doing it. I can’t look at the computer or his phone or even our bed the way I used to. I have even had to sleep on the couch a few times because just the thought of laying on the bed brought me to tears. I have opened myself up to God and I pray daily that He will give me the strength to handle this situation. I have talked to my husband about it and calmly explained to him how I feel and he admitted to me that he knows watching porn is wrong and sinful. He knows how much it hurts me and causes me pain, but what he told me causes me even more pain. He said that he didn’t care how I felt about it. He said I need to stop talking about it and that he was never going to stop using porn. Ouch!! All I could do was to ask him to please respect my feelings, know that I was here for him and always praying for him, and walk away. I am just at a loss here. I’m constantly praying that God will help to know what to do. Can anyone else give me any advise on what to do in this situation? I do know some extra prayers are needed. I love my husband very much and I do not want to lose him or push him away. I am working toward being a more godly wife and I have noticed changes within me already from when I started this journey about 2 months ago. I know this is going to be a long journey and I am ready to take on any challenges that come my way. I could just use some advice and support from everyone. Thank you so much 🙂

      1. Nzirkle,

        Oh no! How my heart hurts for you both.

        Is he a believer in Christ?

        What is your relationship with Christ?

        How often is he using porn? How long has he been addicted?

        When did you find about about his porn use?

        What resources have you used? Do you have a godly mentor?

        I wish I could hug your neck!!!!

        With love
        April

      2. nzirkle717:

        My heart deeply goes out to you.

        Your husband has no clue how much he hurts you by indulging in porn. (In my understanding, very few men really understand how hurtful this is to their wives.) What is most hurtful, however, is that he refuses to listen to you when you try to explain it to him. I cannot imagine a husband being that way. If my then-wife had caught me looking at porn, and had spoken to me in the respectful way that you spoke with your husband, I would have been on my knees begging for her forgiveness and coveting her prayers.

        He may be so addicted to porn that he feels like he can’t quit; he may feel that it is hopeless to even try. In reality, for many men, the huge physical rush that they get from looking at porn is very addictive, like a drug, and they struggle unsuccessfully to quit. (I know, because I’ve been there.) But if he is ashamed to admit his powerlessness, then this may be why he said the hurtful things to you.

        One slight consolation in all of this: he has no emotional attraction to the porn; it is 100% physical. Also, he is not having an affair with anyone. I hope that my saying this eases your pain, rather than causing you more pain.

        Is your husband a Christian? If he is, then you could tell him that you know that he is addicted to porn, and that you are praying for him that he can overcome it. If in fact he is addicted and feels powerless to stop, you might get through to him in that way.

        But if he simply will not listen to you, then at some point, it may be time to involve someone else in the process. Please read Matthew 18:15-17. Jesus tells what to do in a situation like yours. You have done step 1 — you have told your husband privately about his sin against you. But he hasn’t listened. If he continues not to listen, then step 2 would be to involve one or two other people, who can confront your husband with you. If he won’t listen to them, then step 3 would be to go to your pastor.

        Only you have the right to decide how far you want to go with this process, or even if you want to do the process at all. But it is a possible avenue for you.

        You said that you don’t want to lose your husband or push him away. If you follow the Matthew 18 process, it is possible that you will push him away, if he chooses not to repent.

        I wish I had an answer for you. And I am really sorry about your situation.

        Jim

        1. April and Jim,

          Thank you for your comments and kind words. My husband does believe in God and has read the Bible a couple of times. He knows what he is doing is wrong, he just doesn’t want to stop. Even after talking to him calmly and pouring my heart out to him, he just tunes me out. He started his porn use as a young teenager and claims that he is not addicted. He said that he doesn’t do it that often so it shouldn’t be a problem and that I need to just let it go. I just recently found out about it, about 2 months ago. I knew he watched it every now and then while we were dating, but I just assumed he stopped when we got married almost 4 years ago. He kept it hidden very well. Like I said, I found out about it about 2 months ago when I just had this feeling that something was wrong with our marriage. That’s when I found the porn in the history on the computer and on his phone. It wasn’t a lot and he really doesn’t view it that often, but the fact that it was there at all just broke my heart. I let my emotions get in the way and said some very hurtful things to him and nearly pushed him away at that point. He threatened to leave me, but I promised I would calm down so we could work through the situation. He stayed, thankfully, and that’s when I was led to this blog. God opened my eyes to my poor, sinful behavior and I have asked Him for forgiveness and apologized for how I had been acting. I have given God all of me and I have already noticed changes within myself, positive changes. I am just praying that God will do the same for my husband. I pray for him daily, multiple times a day actually. And, I feel like I need to just sort of back away from the situation for awhile. God cannot work on my husband and help him be the man, husband, and leader He created him to be while I am standing in the way. I am trying to be patient and be still and let God do His job. That is one of my negative habits…I like to take control of situations and when things don’t go my way, I get very upset. But, I know better now, thanks to God. And I am ready to step out of the way, let go of my husband, and just pray, pray, pray that everything will work out and God will show my husband, and myself, the plans He has for us. I truly feel God brought my husband to me. Perhaps God is having us go through this rough patch so that I will let down my guard completely and let God in. And when my husband sees the changes God is making in me and how He is working in me, he will let his guard down as well. I sure hope so. But, like I said, for now I am just going to sit back and completely submit myself to our Heavenly Father and continue to pray for my husband. I told my husband as well that I was backing off and letting him and God deal with this situation and that I would pray for him to make the right choices and to not be tempted by sin. I hope it’s enough. I completely trust God and know that He will help us and get us through this tough time. Thank you again and please keep us in your prayers as well. The power of prayer and trust in The Lord will get us through this mess and hopefully make us a stronger husband and wife.

          Also, Jim, I loved your comment about the fact that my husband has no emotional attraction to porn. It really is just a physical thing.He has told me he doesn’t really look at the people in the videos, he is watching the act of what they are doing if that makes any sense. After he is done with it, he has said he doesn’t even remember what the women looked like and doesn’t continue to think about it. He has also said that he just does it for the “quick fix” it gives him, especially after a stressful night at work (he works a third shift job). He does it and that’s it, he’s done for the time being. He doesn’t compare me to the women in the videos and is still very intimate with me. Like, I said, he’s been watching porn for as long as we have been together, which is just over 7 years, and I didn’t really know about it because he was always so intimate with me. And, I have told myself over and over that at least it is just porn. He is not going out and physically being with another person. That I don’t think I could handle at all. This is hard enough, but it could always be worse. I don’t think he means to hurt me. I think that he just doesn’t want to fully face how much he really is addicted to porn. He just sort of shuts down when I just mention it which kind of leads me to believe he is ashamed of what he is doing and the pain it’s causing me, but just can’t get himself to stop. So he shuts me out and tells me to just drop it. That’s easier for him than to admit he really does have a problem. Thanks again for the comments, and as I said above, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

          1. Nzirkle,
            I certainly pray for God to heal you both, to draw you both to Himself and to heal your marriage for His glory. I’m glad you are seeking to trust Him!!! 🙂

          2. nzirkle717:

            Thank you for sharing your experiences.

            I’d like to start out by saying that Jesus understands what you are going through. Isaiah 53:3-4 tells us that Jesus was “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” and that “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” He understands all of our sorrows and griefs, because He experienced them Himself! Also, II Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us that God is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I was in an abusive marriage for over 20 years; finally, my wife left me and then divorced me. Sometimes it hurts so bad; but I am learning to look to the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, and to Jesus who bore my griefs and carried my sorrows. And as I am comforted, I can comfort others.

            It sounds like your husband knows that it is sinful to indulge in porn; it also sounds like he is addicted to it, but is ashamed to admit it to you or to himself. Therefore, I would advise that you use few words when discussing the subject with him; and let the words you do use be supportive of him. I am very sure that that will be hard for you to do. But it is the best thing you can do to begin to free him from the porn. If you are supportive, the first thing that will happen will be that he will finally acknowledge that he has a problem. (It may take a while to get to that point.) The second thing that will happen will be that he will make an honest effort to get it out of his life. At some point he will come to understand how hurtful his use of porn is to you. But I can’t stress enough that in order to achieve these things, you will need to use few words, and you will need to make him feel that you support him.

            If you nag him about it (I’m sure that is exactly what you would like to do, and he definitely deserves it), this will add to his feelings of shame, and it will be even more difficult for him to shake it out of his life. Sadly, his feelings of shame cause him to want to dip at the quick-fix high of porn, to relieve his feelings of shame; but it is only a quick-fix, because very soon after he indulges in it, he feels ashamed all over again about indulging in porn, and his new feelings of shame will cause him to want another quick-fix. It is truly a vicious cycle.

            If you are supportive of him, he will at some point realize what a treasure you are to him, and he will then feel really bad about how it is hurting you; at that point, he will become desperate to get it out of his life FOR YOU.

            This will be a very painful process for you. In effect, you will be carrying his sin so as to free him from it. If you think about it, that is exactly what Jesus has done for each one of us — carried our sin so that we can be free from it.

            There is no absolute guarantee that this will be successful, but I believe that it is your best chance of seeing your husband delivered from the curse of pornography.

            Keep him covered in prayer (but don’t tell him that you are praying), so that he can be victorious whenever any sort of temptation comes his way.

            Job stress can definitely cause him to be more susceptible to the temptation of porn. What you can do is to do your very best to make his home life as stress-free and enjoyable for him as possible. When he realizes that you are doing that (and it won’t take him long to catch on), you will win his heart.

            Here is something that will really give him a boost, especially since it will come from you: Anytime you notice that he is fulfilling his responsibilities as a man (providing for you, doing the heavy lifting so that you don’t have to, shielding you from the pains of life, etc), let him know that that’s what real men do, and that he is a real man in your eyes. Be specific as to why you are saying it — give examples. That will do more to remove stress from him and make his home life pleasant than anything you can do. The reason for this is that, from the time a man is born till the time he dies, EVERYONE tells him that he must fulfill his responsibilities as a man. If he honestly believes that you are proud of him and that you see him as a real man because he is fulfulling his manly responsibilities to you; if he honestly believes that he scores high in your eyes in the area of manly responsibilities; you will completely capture his heart. You will give him a huge motivation, a huge boost, to get the porn out of his life, and it will be because he so appreciates your high opinion of him. If he is like most men with a porn addiction, this may be just the boost he needs to help him get it out of his life.

            I know that this is a very unpleasant situation for you, and I am truly sorry that you are going through this.

            Jim

          3. Thank you, April, for letting me hang out here.

            In truth, I am really hurting tonight. One of the reasons I pour my heart out here on your blogs is because I am hurting. And I know that if I help someone, God will bless me for it.

            He truly is the Father of Mercies and the God of all Comfort. And Jesus truly understands all that we suffer, because He suffered EVERYTHING for us. He truly carried all of our griefs and sorrows.

            We’re all in it together, and we all need to lift each other up.

          4. Jim,
            Thanks for sharing. I’m so very sorry to hear how much pain you are in. I wish I could make it all disappear. But I sure can’t. So – I will pray for you. And my deepest prayer is that not one drop of this pain might be wasted, but that it might all accomplish God’s purposes and His good in your life and His glory. Praying for healing for your soul, my brother.

  14. The following scenario involves a Christian husband and wife who both desire to live for Jesus.

    A Christian wife finds out that her Christian husband is addicted to pornography. It devastates her and totally breaks her heart.

    > How does Jesus feel when His people sin against Him?

    She confronts him, telling him briefly how much pain and devastation this causes her. She then pulls him to her, embracing him, and telling him that together they will get through this, that she will support him all the way in his battle over pornography. In a sense, she will be carrying this sin for him, for the purpose of redeeming him from it. It will be very painful for her to do this, but it will also be the ultimate expression of her love for him.

    > Jesus carried ALL of our sins to the cross. Think of how painful that was for Him — we cannot imagine the pain He carried to the cross when He died for our sins.

    Her husband will be extremely grateful to her for carrying his sin for him so as to redeem him from it. She will totally have his heart FOREVER, and he will be extremely motivated to get it out of his life out of his huge gratitude toward his wife for carrying his sin so painfully and lovingly for him.

    > Think of how grateful you are to Jesus for carrying ALL of your sins. You love him with all your heart, and you want to live clean out of gratitude to him. When the wife carries her husband’s sin in this way, he gets that message up-close and loud-and-clear.

  15. Okay, so I am thankful I don’t have this issue in my marriage, but it still bothers me a great deal. How can I explain this? I guess I have two questions. First, even if a man doesn’t go looking for it, it really is everywhere. As a mother of sons, I am constantly turning around the magazines in the checkout lines because they are far too graphic. Anyway, I don’t get the whole “men are visual but they still love you” thing. If they love you – WHY are they looking? If they love you – even if they can’t help but see the girl walk by – WHY do they need to think about it again? Basically, what you are saying is – we live in a world full of smut, so there’s no avoiding it, so there’s nothing you can do, so no man can possibly love his wife alone. I don’t get it. If men truly loved their wives – they would not be so visually tempted. The love would be stronger, wouldn’t it? I’m really not trying to be difficult here, I can NOT wrap my brain around this. I feel, if I were prettier, or thinner (and I’m not fat and ugly – just an average mom) – THEN my husband wouldn’t notice? What does it take? My heart absolutely BREAKS for women whose husbands use porn. It would be simply devastating. I really, really cannot understand. So while porn isn’t the issue in my marriage – what is hard for us is – if a scantily clad girl walks by and my husband takes notice – how can I believe he loves me? How can I believe him when he says he wants to be with ME, when everything I read (even Christian) tells me men cannot get those thoughts out of their minds? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

    And why do women do this? WHY would anyone want to be the tramp that causes husbands to think of people other than their wives? It’s cruel and what do these women want – everyone’s husband to lust after them? We even had a pregnant Sunday School teacher from our church show up to the church picnic in a bikini! I am not kidding. EVERYONE noticed. How could you not? And how are the other wives supposed to just not care and let it go? It’s just easier to believe no man can truly love his wife than to try and compete with every single image in the world. I can’t keep up. It drives my husband crazy that I won’t believe him if he tells me I’m beautiful – but if we look around and be honest – it’s just a losing battle.

    I guess what I struggle with is when you read all this stuff, and “they” say – find your true worth in Christ – BUT – your husbands can’t help but fantasize about all the scantily clad women out there – HUH? It’s too many mixed messages.

    In my husband’s defense, he does try to avert his eyes, and I love him for that. But if it’s shoved in his face by the world, and from what I’m reading men can’t help but be tempted, then I’m in a losing battle. Why even try?

    Sorry for being a drag, but thank you for listening to me rant.

    1. Becca:

      Thank you for your comments. It is very enlightening and helpful to hear a woman’s perspective on this.

      I am glad you are thankful that this issue is not in your marriage. In fact, your husband tries to avert his eyes, which is excellent. This means that his heart is totally for you, and he does everything he can to keep it that way.

      I understand that it makes no sense to you that men are visually tempted in a way that women are not. But for whatever reason, God wired men and women differently. Please trust me and the other men who post here — men are visually stimulated (and tempted) in a sexual way.

      The reason the pull can be so strong is because it gives a man such a huge rush when he gives in to it. It has absolutely nothing to do with any emotional connection; it is 100% physical. Just like a drug is. I know; I used drugs a long time ago.

      The devil knows this, and so he literally floods our society with sexual images. He knows that if he can hook the man in this way, not only will he destroy the man with a sinful addiction, but he will devastate the man’s wife if she finds out about it. And he will likely destroy their marriage in the process.

      If your husband is making a valiant effort to avert his eyes (and it sounds like that is exactly what he is doing), you should be very thankful to God that you have a husband who is so devoted and faithful to you. Please pray for him daily that God would help him to stay 100% faithful to you in every way in this area.

      You may not understand this, but please trust me on it.

      And please continue to post. What you say is very helpful to me and to the other men who post here.

      Jim

      1. Jim,
        Thanks for sharing a masculine perspective with Becca. This is VERY, VERY difficult for us S women to understand. I pray that this dialogue may bring a greater understanding and unity to many marriages.

        1. I personally really appreciate Becca sharing her perspective. I learn a lot of very helpful information from reading her posts.

          1. Jim,
            I agree – I pray that these discussions might help to bridge the chasm that has grown between men and women, that we might understand each other better and learn how to best pray for and support one another in a way that brings great honor and glory to God.

    2. Becca,

      What I am saying is, we live in a world of smut. Your husband DOES love you and you can be on his team to help him face the battle he faces as a man. I don’t think anyone her has said no man can love his wife alone. I think most men do just love their wives alone. Loving their wives has nothing to do with the fact that they face visual temptation in our culture.

      A hundred and fifty years ago, women dressed modestly. There was no porn. If they wanted to see above a woman’s ankle, they had to go to the raunchy part of town and pay money to see that stuff. God designed men to be visual and that is a blessing and a gift in marriage. If society maintained standards of modesty and there was no porn, there wouldn’t be many issues. A man would be able to focus on the images he has stored up in his mind of his wife and cherish those.

      The problem is not that men are visual, the problem is that the world is saturated with temptation and sin. That can lead to a man allowing himself to be pulled away by an evil desire and enticed to lust. That is a problem, then.

      Men will notice beautiful women, yes. But that does not mean they automatically fantasize or lust.

      I notice beautiful women, all day every day. I don’t lust after them. Noticing a woman is beautiful is not the same thing as lusting after her.

      And yes, how I wish every woman dressed modestly, that would sure help things a lot!

      It sounds like you have an amazing guy who loves you and does his best to honor you. Praise a God! I hope you can learn to understand how his mind works more accurately. Because right now, I think you are still a bit confused about how men think.

      This is a difficult subject for us as women to “get” because our brains are wired very differently and we have different hormones.

      I hope you might be able to assume the best about your husband, that he loves you and thinks you are beautiful. I doubt that he thinks of you as having to “compete” with anyone. He only wants you.

      He is with you and honoring you because he loves you. I pray you can rest in that.

      And please do remember that temptation is not the same thing as sin.

      Seeing a chocolate cake on the table and noticing it looks delicious is not the same thing as eating the cake.

      I am sorry this subject is so confusing. I wish we could all experience some time in a men’s brain so we could better understand. I hope maybe some of the men can explain more accurately. I know one husband said a few weeks ago that husbands have “wife goggles” – that other women can’t compete with their wives because they love them so much and have so many memories together.

      Praying for greater clarity for you!

    3. Becca,

      Also, please notice, even husbands of models get involved in lust or porn or affairs. Visual temptation for a husband isn’t about his wife at all. It is just about the way his brain is wired. You cannot keep him from facing visual temptation. You cannot keep him from sinning in his thoughts. Just like he can’t protect you from temptation to be resentful or bitter or unforgiving. He can’t control your thoughts. But it sounds like you have such a respectful, loving husband. I do hope you will accept his compliments and enjoy the fact that he loves and adores you and finds you to be so beautiful.

      1. Becca,

        I am replying to you under April’s response because she said something in response to your comment that I think needs to be touched on further. I sincerely hope that you are able to see that my heart is in no way prideful about what I am about to say. But you brought something up and I think it’s important to answer in even more depth, since I believe that there are many other women out there who feel the same way you do, yet have not articulated it.

        By the world’s standards, I am considered “model material”. I’m frequently stopped and asked if I am a movie star or a model. I could not care less about those things. I simply fit the profile of tall, slim, long flowing hair, feminine, soft facial features, etc. I do not dress immodestly and I never have. So they aren’t asking because I’m walking around in crop tops and shorty shorts and acting like I’m one. I am fully and femininely clothed and I do not act provocative in any way. I am very careful about my interaction with others and the first sentence out of my mouth always include something about my husband. Visually, I would meet the world’s standards of an attractive female. STILL my husband viewed pornography.

        Let’s take this a step further because I know that there may be women out there who think that perhaps the wife is pretty but she’s not “sexy enough” or “good enough in bed” and that’s why her husband “isn’t satisfied with her”.

        I will put this plainly without going into unnecessary detail: My husband has NEVER been in want sexually in all 5 years of our marriage. Even through two pregnancies where I was nauseous for all 9 months both times, I never once told my husband “no” when he wanted to have sex. Not a single time, even if I was still feeling upset or hurt about something he said or did. The day I found out he was viewing pornography, I didn’t reject him even then. I also know that no husband wants to feel like his wife is just pacifying him, so I have always made sure I am expressing my desire for him during intimate times and not just being passive and indifferent. My husband knows, to this day, that he never needs to fear being sexually rejected by me. I understand how important this part of marriage is to men and I would never want to emasculate or disrespect him by neglecting him in this area. Although there have been many times when I was exhausted or didn’t feel like being intimate, I have always taken 1 Corinthians 7:5 to heart about not depriving your spouse sexually, lest they become tempted. STILL he viewed pornography.

        I am going to bring up one last point because it is the essence of what this blog is about. Some women may think, “Well, sure, the wife is pretty and fulfills him sexually, but maybe she is very disrespectful or neglectful in other areas and that made him look elsewhere for validation.”

        I am married to a strong leader-type. He is very opinionated, very strong in his ideas, and he has absolutely no problem dishing out correction. He is never shy about making his wishes known and I never have to guess where he stands on anything. He is a man who has an opinion about almost everything in our life. He has even told me specific ways he really likes me to do my eye makeup. Most men don’t even have a clue about that kind of stuff. He doesn’t “demand” that I wear my makeup a certain way, but he has definitely taken a strong stance with my hair. He likes it very long. He said he thinks I look like royalty with my hair that way and I have honored that request.

        Our home is kept immaculate because I know that he feels chaotic if our home is a mess (I also like things very clean myself). Although I strongly dislike cooking, I cook him fresh, healthy meals every night and make sure I serve it to him hot whenever possible. Our 3 year old daughter is very articulate and kind and has a passion for Jesus that humbles me daily. I homeschool her, as well as taking care of our now 5 month old baby girl. Even though estrogen far outnumbers testosterone in our home, no one has ever wondered who the head of our household is. I am gentle and sensitive, but deeply passionate and loving. My husband doesn’t have a doormat for a wife, nor does he have a woman who is hard to live with. He is complimented many times a day, thanked for providing, given affection, prayed for, surprised with little gifts or acts of kindness, texted sweet things while he’s away (he loves this) and I assist him in running our business. Although I have areas I am constantly working to be more respectful and cooperative toward him in all areas, my highly opinionated man, when asked what I could do to bless him more, 9 times out of 10 will tell me that he honestly can’t think of anything. STILL he became addicted to pornography.

        You see, my sweet Becca, our husbands are enticed toward sin, not because we aren’t good enough, but because they are sinners. The same is true with us. We, as women, are often bent toward unforgiveness, bitterness, gossip, and jealousy, not because our husbands or the people around us aren’t perfect, but because we are sinners. You could have the perfect body and most beautiful face you could imagine and, yet, your husband will still be tempted. You could serve your husband, honor him behind closed doors and in front of others, and he will still be tempted. It’s not about us, sweet sister. It’s about the trappings that accompany living in a fallen world. There are things about men that we may never comprehend because we are so very different from them. I wrestle with some of the questions you do, sister. But this I have come to know, and now understand it fully…that this is truly not about us. But I know that that fact doesn’t diminish the pain and rejection we feel when we face this kind of betrayal in our marriages. We long for our husbands to only have eyes for us and it is devastating when they don’t. Trust me, I know exactly how you feel.

        My husband had his first exposure to pornographic images as a young boy. He was heavily addicted to pornography as an unbelieving adult and then gradually slipped back into it as a believer once he realized that his 4 accountability partners were no longer taking the time to view his online reports and hold him accountable.

        How I pray that the Lord will give us strength, as wives, to lean on Him as we face the certain pain of being sinners who are married to sinners. My dear sister, you are truly beautiful. If your husband tells you that, he means it. And please know that your worth and your value as a wife is not diminished by your husband’s struggle. You are a daughter of the King. I have learned the importance of viewing myself through the eyes of my Lord and not the world. What does it matter what the world thinks or how the sinful world views beauty? A wife who is clothed with strength and dignity is far more rare a woman. May we strive to be THAT woman, and not conform – or try to compete – with the patterns of this world.

        Much love to you, dear sister. I hope my heart came through in all of this. <3

        1. Thejoyfilledwife,

          Wow. THANK YOU for sharing this with Becca! You were able to articulate things so clearly. I believe this will bless Becca and many, many other women.

          Exactly! Our husbands are tempted because they are sinners. A wife can do everything “right” but a husband can still be tempted – particularly when he was addicted to porn way before even knowing his wife.

          And a wife can be tempted to be unforgiving, bitter, resentful, prideful and self-righteous, even if she has a godly, loving husband. If I had been married to Billy Graham, I would have still had these same sins to deal with and I would have probably tried to control him! What comes out of us comes from our own hearts. It is about our character, not what the other person does. That is why this journey to become a godly wife is all about my walk with Jesus, and really not much at all to do with my husband. It is about His Spirit being in control of me instead of my old sinful nature.

          Much love to you! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

          1. Sure, if you really think it will help other wives. Just to be clear, though, my husband is not into porn, these feelings of insecurity are my issues. I have issues even with things that are completely out of his control, like women walking by in a restaurant. But yes, the struggles still make me insane. So if you think the question will help,then yes, you may use it. Thank you for your help!

          2. Thanks so much, Becca. I think a lot of women have these exact same questions, struggles and concerns.

            I hope maybe we can hash through some of this together and work on a healthy and godly way of approaching these difficult issues!

  16. Becca,

    I think of it this way: we are just not all the same, and we are not all tempted in the same way.

    Just because a man is TEMPTED in a certain way, does not mean he doesn’t love his wife.

    Temptation doesn’t equal a lack of love.

    Jesus was tempted enough to pray for God to take the cup away from Him – does that mean He didn’t truly love us? Not at all! He still died on that cross for all of us.

    But the men who are not filling themselves with the Holy Spirit do not have that same strength from God’s power to avoid the temptation. That doesn’t mean the love for their wives is diminished in any way.

    It simply means they are human, and capable of sin, in a different way that we are. They need the strength of the Holy Spirit as much as we do, just in a different capacity.

    As a side note – please, please, when your husband tells you that you’re beautiful, BELIEVE HIM! He has no reason to lie to you! If you weren’t beautiful to him, he probably wouldn’t say anything at all. Give him the gift of gratitude by accepting his compliment, and maybe return the favor by telling him something you admire about his physique. 😉

      1. I’d like to say thank you to everyone for your input and encouragement. I almost didn’t post, because I don’t want to drag other people down. I understand my point of view can be depressing, but this has bothered me forever. I guess I could pray to understand it, but it’s really hard.
        Jim, I’m encouraged that my point of view helps you. I don’t want to be a burden on other readers. It is helpful to be able to discuss these things, to be able to express my feelings. My husband is willing to talk and to listen, but he grows frustrated with my lack of understanding. I do struggle so with believing he finds me beautiful.
        I also don’t understand how you can love someone, truly, and be sexually attracted to someone else. It seems unfair. It seems wrong.
        I need to take some time and reread these comments, and pray. I am starting to believe my husband loves me. I guess I’ve always known he loves me, but I have always had a hard time understanding why. It doesn’t help that he comes from a family that doesn’t talk or communicate well. They talk about the weather – literally. We are working on all of this and growing in these areas together. For that I am very grateful, and I thank God for the husband He has given me.
        Thank you all for listening.

        1. Becca,

          I wonder if you are assuming that men have an emotional connection if they feel attraction? They don’t have to do that.

          Feeling attracted visually is a reflexive thing. But then the man can choose what to do with that and can choose not to feed the attraction or dwell on it or allow it to become lust.

          With his wife, a husband feels visually attracted AND has precious emotional and spiritual bonds with her that he shares with no one else in the world.

          I am a pharmacist, so I think in terms of hormones and how they affect the brain. Men have testosterone, and a different brain structure – that causes them to be set up to think and respond a certain way. The visual gift they have – can bring extra temptation now that sin is in the world. So they have to be aware that they are more prone to certain temptations and seek to avoid them.

          As women, we have estrogen and PMS many times. I am sure that PMS is difficult for men to understand. Does that mean that women can sin and it’s ok? Is it alright for us to be bitter, unforgiving, angry, irritable, snappy, short-tempered, etc… when we are hormonal with PMS or pregnancy or menopause? No. We are still accountable to God for our sin. Just like men are still accountable to God for their sin. But we need to be aware of things that will cause us to be more sensitive to temptation and have a plan to deal with it and not just cave in and say, “Oh, well, I can treat people however I want to because I am hormonal today.”

          Not sure if that helps.

          You are sexually attracted as a woman because you feel emotionally connected and “in love.” For men, the process is often the reverse – your husband probably decided to approach you because he was visually attracted to you first. See, the visual attraction was a good thing! After the visual attraction, then men are interested in developing an emotional and spiritual connection. This is a very over simplified explanation. But – God made men and women different. His design is good. Sin destroys God’s good design. But we can find victory over sin through Christ and God is totally able to use our lives and marriages to bring Him great glory.

          Maybe you have some wounds from the past and some assumptions that are destructive and untrue? I am praying for you to break free from any lies or misunderstanding and learn to explore the mysterious, beautiful, powerful world of masculinity and learn to enjoy God and your husband. 🙂 Much love!

        2. Becca,
          Many women have the same confusion you do and have the same questions. This is not dragging anyone down – it will hopefully be healing and therapeutic for you and many others. 🙂

  17. Hi – I wanted to weigh in with a couple thoughts. First, I have heard many times that pornography addiction is about far more than sexual satisfaction. There are many who are in fulfilling sexual relationships who still struggle with lust. There are power and control desires – the woman on the screen who can become anything that he desires – and this can fill a very big hole in men’s hearts. it’s not about what I am lacking but what he is gaining. Albeit wrongly so. For me, that was a helpful way to not take it so personally.

    Second, I have had a husband who had had a pornography addiction as well as one who has had a physical adulterous affair. One who has not experienced both of these may have their own opinions, but from one who has “been there, done that” they are waaaaay different.

    A pornography addiction is deceitful and betraying and is extremely devastating. The reality of physical sexual affair was far worse. It’s not to say that the effects of the pornography weren’t bad – they really were. But the devastation and betrayal done with the most intimate act with a flesh human is far worse.

    So to those who think it’s “the same” I assure you it’s not. That’s not to say it’s not painful – it surely is and my heart goes out to all who continue this battle. It’s just not the same.

    1. Redeemedbygrace,

      I am so thankful that you shared – even though I am sure it must be extremely painful to think about these experiences. I appreciate your perspective and what you learned about how men think that helped you begin to move toward healing.

      I think this message is very helpful for us to consider. Much love to you! I pray for your continued healing.

    2. Redeemedbygrace,

      Thank you for your courage to chime in. You don’t know how valuable your perspective is and how cherished your vulnerability to share honestly. My prayers go out for you and your husband. May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand and bless you for your courage to stand.

      1. TJFW- you are welcome. Let’s just say these admissions are still decently shameful… I’m a regular here but I changed my handle as it’s not fun to have all the dirty laundry aired 🙂 even though no one here really knows me and even though God has redeemed a lot, it’s still carries shame. It’s hard to have an extremely powerful testimony but not to feel too comfortable sharing it except anonymously. I still feel like people, even strong Christians, would question why I am still in my marriage. God knows. I have much peace. And I share tidbits as I feel led.

        I appreciate your prayers and I can say that God can and does do amazing things. I’m so thankful for your testimony to show that as well. Things are by far not perfect in our marriage but I am so thankful to have the testimony that God really has brought us through so much yuck. we are happier and so much stronger today. God is extremely gracious and merciful. I chose my handle because God truly has redeemed us. And he continues too…!

        1. Amen, sister! I am humbled that you chose to share your heartbreak. I know that it cuts to the very core of us as women and is often a blow to our pride. I’m so encouraged by the growth you are describing, but will remain in prayer for you as I know, even a year later, that I still have times that I cry over it all. Wounds this deep don’t heal overnight. Isn’t God so faithful to be here for us, even when we feel like no one else understands the pain we feel on the other side? I have heard that often it takes longer for the spouse to heal than for the addicted one to, once they’ve been delivered. I can see how that makes sense, especially being that we are women and have a tendency to process things emotionally.

          I want to add that I am blessed to hear that you are working things out in your marriage through this all. A dear friend of mine faced adultery in her marriage and they have a very powerful testimony today as they counsel other couples. Their book has inspired me greatly and I’ve been able to draw strength from the wife’s humble example. I know that adultery is a permissible reason for divorcing in the Bible, but I do believe that the Lord desires healing instead, if we are willing to lean on Him. Double hugs to you, sister!

          1. Yes please keep praying. As hubby and I have come together thru it all we are able to still commiserate thru struggles, even though our struggles are different. We process together and are able to talk openly about all that’s happened. It’s amazing to see how God really does make beauty from ashes.

            We could’ve have split…we actually were only a few signatures short of a divorce, but I’ve felt since before we were even married that God had a plan and a purpose for us together. Few people know the whole story while a bunch have different snippets. I’ve joked we should write a book…it would totally need to be ghost written though!

            And we continue to trust Gods word that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And as Joseph said what [the enemy] meant to destroy us, God is using for his glory and the saving of lives (or something like that!) 😊

            In any event, thanks for your encouragement and support!

  18. April you really hit the nail on the head when you said, “This discovery changes the way a wife sees her husband. She loses that implicit trust that was there before. And, unfortunately, when a wife feels insecure and unable to trust, her sexual desire can plummet to zero. She will most likely emotionally withdraw from him. A woman’s sexual response requires her to be able to feel completely safe, to feel emotionally connected and to know her husband is trustworthy. Suddenly, he looks like a stranger to her. She pictures him at the computer and what he was doing and from then on, it brings her pain to look at his eyes, his hands, the computer, the phone, the chair where he sat or even things he has done for her around the house. Suddenly, it seems to her that there is no love and that everything she thought she knew about this man she loved and trusted was a lie.” My husband of almost 8 years is exactly that to me now – a stranger, a roommate and it hurts so bad.

    I want to chime in and share of a wonderful resource that is helping me. It is a L.I.F.E. recovery group for spouses. My church offers a support group and many churches offer them too. I highly recommend anyone that has or is going through the painful process of a husband’s sexual unfaithfulness (either through porn or a physical affair) look into it.

    http://www.freedomeveryday.org/store_cm/details.php?prodID=3

  19. April, I think I ought to warn that I am about to discuss porn without minimizing it and that the content may be somewhat disturbing and even triggering for some. I’ve not been graphic or too explicit but it is just a gross subject.

    This comment is very late as this discussion was some months ago. However in my opinion I think pornography is incredibly dangerous stuff. If I had children in my home and my husband was using porn, I would insist that the computer be removed from the house, as well as any pornographic reading materials, or I would remove myself and the children from the house. I would not do it without mercy or a desire for things to be changed, but I think its something akin to agreeing to let the devil sit at your kitchen table as long as he agrees to go no farther into your home. Do you think he will honor that agreement? I would refuse to cohabit with such direct evil. If the kind of porn involved children, I would notify the police as well as my pastor. Porn comes in different levels. Why do I think this?

    Because for one thing, porn is not normal healthy sexuality. Nor is it a minor addiction problem like overspending or cigarette addiction. It has the effect of slowly warping those who view it. It can and often does involve some sort of exploitation, sometimes forced, although there are many who in the industry for the money too. So he or she who consumes porn consumes their fellow human beings. It is also like a drug. Like any drug, you start off with stuff that is somewhat mild but it takes increasingly stiffer jolts to achieve the same effect. I lived in a home where my father was addicted to porn. At first it was standard stuff like playboy, your standard nude layout. Then it graduated to stuff like Hustler, a magazine whose content became increasingly perverse and sometimes featured animals and other sick fantasy materials. Some of the women were made up to look like very young girls. Then he was reading erotic novels, one which featured a high school teacher having sex with his students, one of whom was eleven. This is just what I know about. I think he was also viewing strippers and the like. The thought processes of the main characters in his novels were base and extremely hillbilly, which meant that these fellows could rationalize and even justify some pretty evil and selfish behaviour and make it sound like it was normal for things to go that way and in fact the women were to blame for their behaviour.

    Porn normalizes a very sick way of looking at other human beings. Eventually it had the effect of eroding any moral boundaries my father had, and he became less and less a man and more animalistic in his ability to control himself. He eventually made some inappropriate moves on very young girls; one because she was sitting in such a way that her underwear was showing while we watched TV during a sleepover. His mind, which had by now been saturated with at least ten years of porn viewing, saw things in such a sexualized and distorted way that he actually read her underclothing showing as a come on, as if she wouldn’t have sat that way without knowing “what it meant”. In fact of course she wasn’t even aware her underthings were showing and wouldn’t have understood that as a sexual thing because she was a child. Porn trains men to see women and even young girls as “wanting it” all the time. How did I know what he was reading you may ask? Well, I lived in the house and eventually found his reading materials while in the fourth grade. That’s right. I was a fourth grade little girl exposed to her father’s reading materials. This was before the internet made viewing porn readily available. Before the net, you had to go to a corner store to buy a dirty magazine, get a subscription or go to an x rated book store or theatre to view the stuff. That evil material was so seared into my mind that even today I can recall word for word some of the content. Uggh.

    When people talk about being patient in dealing with a husband’s sin, I understand where they are coming from, but I do not agree with it if it means allowing porn to continue to be present and consumed in your home until he decides to repent. Porn is raw spiritual sewage. This is a situation where your pastor and elders should be immediately involved. Under no circumstances should you allow this sort of thing to run on indefinitely. You are basically saving someone drowning in a septic tank; you must of course have compassion and not be sanctimonious, holier than thou ( you pervert, how could you sort of thing) but at the same time, you must not underestimate the dangerous evil and filthiness of what you are dealing with. Esp. if there are children in the home. Porn is not a neutral thing and a guy/gal cannot consume it, without it eventually consuming them, and changing who they are on a deep level. It is not the same thing as noticing a pretty woman or hunky man and momentarily wondering what it would be like to make love to them/be made love to by them. It’s more serious than that and more dangerous. Don’t underestimate it . Just my opinion but I have some darn good reasons for thinking this way. My father might have been saved from actions that destroyed him and others had someone much earlier taken this issue seriously.

    1. Patricia,
      I completely agree, porn is extremely serious and very sinful and destructive and it is a progressive addiction that is often a gateway to other things. It does fact the brain exactly like a drug, giving a hit of dopamine just like cocaine would.

      Thank you for sharing and for the warning at the beginning!

      1. Patricia,

        My friend showed me her dad’s Playboy magazines when I was 6 years old. 🙁 how awful that children would ever be exposed to this pure filth. I didn’t even realize I never told my parents about it until about 4 years ago, so they had no idea. I can still remember every picture. I am broken hearted that you found this awful stuff your dad had. I hate sin! It hurts the sinner. It hurts everyone around him/her and it grieves God’s heart.

        Thank you so much for your warning. How I pray many might learn from your father’s example of what not to do and how far sin left unchecked can go.

        Praise God there is healing, grace, mercy and forgiveness available in Christ as we turn from every sin and turn in faith to Him!!!!

  20. “When blessings come through raindrops” is the song we chose last week for my step son’s memorial, he died 2 weeks ago yesterday. 34 years old. I just began reading your blog over the summer and by the time Chris died, my marriage to his father Eddie was getting stronger. My Eddie is so grateful for the grace and strength I was able to show as Ed and his ex buried their son. Now is the hard part, prayers are so needed. My husband feels survival guilt and is broken at the death of his child. Ed is very angry with God at taking his son. I pray and stand quietly by my husband’s side as he grieves, I remind him that God loves him and he will see his son again. I really could use advice as to the best thing I can do. I get to go to work, My husband is retired. I am a travelling nurse, Ed is with me with no desire to return to our home near our families 1300 miles away. (We flew home when Chris died and stayed until his funeral.) Advice and prayers, please. Lizzie

  21. Beautiful! Thank Yah for Yeshua our Savoir , we wives have a ground to stand on and pray for our husbands. Porn is the path way to adultery…its already a spiritual adultery that legaly opens the door to emotional, physical illicit relationship. But thank Yah for the answered prayers!! God bless u sis….

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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