What to do about your husband’s addiction to porn

By Jodi Perez | Marriage

Aug 08
How to get your husband to stop watching porn

Should I be upset that my husband watches porn?

When someone on one of my online forums posted this question, I knew I had some intimate knowledge to share.    But limiting myself to a simple yes or no was the problem.   That question stirred up quite a debate.   Hundreds of women responded explaining why there was “nothing wrong with watching porn” or why “porn is the same as cheating”.

The problem with these answers is that the original poster wasn’t asking if porn was right or wrong.  What she really wanted to know was: Is it okay for me to be upset at my husband for watching porn.   She wanted someone to tell her that the way she was feeling was completely valid.

And it was.  I won’t debate the right or wrong issue here.  I have my opinion… but I’m not interested in sharing that.  I’m interested in helping you!   So what I will say is that there is NOTHING beneficial about watching porn, even if you are doing it “as a couple”.

That being said, I’m going to share something else with you that you may not like.

You can’t make your husband stop watching porn.

You can try.  You can give him an ultimatum.   You can lock down his access to the internet.  You can search through his phone. You can install software like covenant eyes, that watches his every move.  But you can’t make him stop.   

If he is addicted then he will find new ways.  He will get trickier and you will feel even worse.    Monitoring your husband’s porn addiction is a dangerous road and there is a good chance it will lead to the destruction of your marriage.

What you should NOT do

I tend to do life differently than other people.   My thought processes are usually the complete opposite of what the rest of the world thinks is “right.”   But thanks to that… my marriage has survived more than just a porn addiction.   You see, It took me a while to get it right… I was following all the typical advice available out there and in the end, that advice led to my husband’s affair.

Despite his affair and addiction, I was determined to make my marriage work.  And thanks to that determination, I have developed some strategies and techniques that have changed our marriage for the better.   Also, my husband rarely struggles with his addiction anymore.  It’s been a long road, but we are finally at a place where his determination to be a better man is more important to him than his desire for a cheap fix.

In order to REALLY deal with a porn issue… you’re going that have to accept a few things.

1. You can’t shouldn’t change him.

You may be able to persuade your husband to change by using some of the tactics we listed above.  You may even choose to withhold affection.  But if your husband is truly addicted, or if he is even slightly strong-willed, he will just find another way to hide it from you that will leave you feeling gullible and worthless when you eventually catch him.

And worse, the more you try to change him, the more he’ll resent you for it.  Because he will feel like you are his authority instead of his equal, he will stop feeling romantic love for you.  Losing that romantic love is the first step to losing your marriage.    He will no longer share his struggles with you as he would with a friend. He’ll start hiding his choices from you for fear of being lectured or limited.

2. It’s not your responsibility to catch him.

This concept is so hard to explain that I need to give you an example.  Let’s imagine for a moment that your parents helped you purchase your home.   You try hard to keep up with the home but your kids color on the walls and spill juice on the carpet.  No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to manage to keep it pristine like your mother’s home.

Every day, your parents stop by, unlock the door and come right in.   They complain about that stains on the carpet and the crayon that you couldn’t get off the wall.

In fact,  your mother talks about ALL the housekeeping mistakes your making.  Your father comments about how the whole house is just going to fall apart if you don’t take better care of it.  You believe him, but feel powerless to stop it.

Your marriage is like the house.  It WILL fall apart if you don’t take good care of it.   But just like “you” in the story above, your husband feels like it’s out of his control.  He is addicted… and if you’ve ever been addicted to something, you know that stopping feels impossible. As his spouse, it’s not your job to chase him down, telling him everything he’s doing wrong.   Instead, if you create the right atmosphere, he will come to you for support.

 

3. Your wounds are not his biggest problem… yet.

Finding out that your husband is looking at porn can be devastating.  You may feel gullible, stupid, angry, frustrated, disgusted, disgusting or depressed.   You may even feel ALL of this at the same time.   But if you want your husband to overcome an addiction, he can not focus on your wounds and helping you heal.   Right now, YOU are the strong one. YOU are the one who needs to be a support system, to help heal his wounds.  There will come a time when to two of you can work through your wounds together.  But by that time, you may find that you’ve already healed.

4. You are not to blame.

I’m sure you’ve already heard this… but let me help you BELIEVE it.

Have you ever had one of those days where you were just in a bad mood?  You’re irritable and annoyed at yourself for feeling that way.   You’re yelling at your kids  or your spouse and you don’t even know why.   Maybe they said something to set you off or maybe not.  Or maybe yelling isn’t your thing… maybe you binge eat, escape into a book, or go shopping for a little retail therapy.    Your behavior has literally NOTHING to do with anyone else.  Even if your children had been perfect angels today, you’d have yelled about their messy rooms or the spill on the counter.

Your mood, Your habits, and Your self-control determine how you act.  Not the way the people around you behave.   It’s not their job to walk on eggshells.  And it’s not your job to be a perfect, sexy, freak-in-the-sheets type of wife.  Your husband promised to love you… and he has to figure out how to do that, even if you’re having a disconnected day.

So how CAN you help him change?

When you married your spouse, you promised to love him and cherish him, in sickness and health, etc etc.  Nowhere in your marriage vows did you promise to keep him on the straight and narrow and to hold him accountable for his choices.

No, you promised to love him IN SPITE of a pornography addiction, the loss of his job,  or if he becomes a paraplegic.   That means loving him with your whole heart even when he isn’t loving you back.    Does that suck for you?   Yes.   But I assure you, it’s for your own good.

TELL HIM YOU’RE NOT OKAY WITH IT

Honestly, this will be the trickiest thing you have to do because you are running the risk of ruining your connection.   Although it’s important for him to understand that you would like him to stop, you also need to keep the lines of communication open for the future.

SPEAK LIFE INTO HIM

This is a biblical concept but it’s also something that has been scientifically proven.   Have you ever heard of cognitive dissonance?   When you tell yourself something is true enough times, you start believing it.

The great news is that this ALSO works for other people that you speak into.   Whenever I’m coaching people in my blogging communities, I make it a point to tell them how well they will do because I know that when they BELIEVE they will do well, they do well.  In the same way, you can speak life into your husband by saying things like  “You are such a good man.”  &  “You would never hurt me.”   “You’re so good at loving me.”

There are two benefits to this approach.  1)He will feel a responsibility to live up to your expectations. 2) He will start believing that he is the good man you say he is and will start lining up his behaviors with this belief.

BE HIS SUPPORT SYSTEM

By “support system”, I do not mean be his accountability partner.  BUT if he shares his battles with you, don’t flinch.  Be his support system.

Say things like “ugh sorry babe, I know it’s hard.”  or “Wow babe, that sucks. Anything I can do to help?”  For a while, your husband may believe that being intimate with you will help solve his issues.  He’s wrong. But let him figure that out on his own. A lack of intimacy in your marriage may play into his desires but it isn’t responsible for his choices.   He has to come to that realization on his own so that he stops holding YOU responsible for his failures.

As a side note:  When you are intimate, be invested in it.  Do it with fervor and don’t forget to speak life into him here too.  Tell him he’s amazing (and be detailed about it.) It’s not your responsibility to be better than the things he’s watching, but it IS your responsibility to love him well.  He needs to be affirmed in this area!

BE INVESTED IN YOUR LOVE LIFE

When you are intimate, be invested in it.  Do it with fervor and don’t forget to speak life into him here too.  Tell him he’s amazing (and be detailed about it.) It’s not your responsibility to be better than the things he’s watching, but it IS your responsibility to love him well.

He needs to be affirmed in this area!  This will be challenging because you will either want to completely withdraw or you’ll want to compete with the women that he’s watching.    But what you NEED to do is just be you.   Do your part.. love him well… and do not hold yourself responsible if that isn’t enough.  While he’s going through this, you WON’T be enough. Even if he were married to a porn star, she wouldn’t be enough for him. He’s craving isn’t for sex itself.  His craving is for something forbidden, for the rush that comes with getting away with it.   No matter how hard you try, the best you could offer is an illusion of secrecy.  If you can accept that fact now and move past it then it will hurt less in the moment.

FIND YOUR OWN HEALING

You can’t support him fully if you are can’t find healing yourself.  Look for Christian friends that will support you!   To be honest, this can be pretty difficult to find.  Most people will not support you when you love selflessly.  It’s become a pretty unacceptable concept in our culture. Because of this, it will be important to be confident in your decision to love selflessly.   Facebook is a good resource for this!  (SPECIAL NOTE: Wealthy N Wise is hoping to offer support groups in the near future.  If you’re interested in being a part of a support group… please contact me)

PRAY

I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.  Your husband is fighting an internal battle that you can’t control… but God can.   So the number one thing your spouse needs from you, is real, honest prayer time.   Be a prayer warrior and take charge of the situation.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

 

Feeling disconnected from your husband after baby?
Feeling disconnected from your spouse
Feeling disconnected from your spouse?
Should I be upset that my husband is addicted to porn

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small fee for anything purchased through a link (at no cost to you.)  I only promote products that I fully support. You can read my full disclosure HERE.

  • Wow, Jodi. This is such a tough topic to take on. Good for you! Porn addiction can certainly be debilitating for a marriage. While your advice is hard to stomach (what do you mean I can’t control my husband??), it’s really true. I think that the strategies you’ve outlined are really helpful, and I pray that couples struggling with this will receive the support and intervention they need.

    i found that taking a marriage course was a really helpful way to get all of these types of issues out on the table in a really non-threatening way. Of course, both partners need to be at a place where they feel such a course would benefit their marriage, but if they are, it’s a great avenue.

  • >

    Shopping cart

    Subtotal
    Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.
    Checkout