I would have to say that the single most difficult thing for my husband is openness. I think it is this way with most men who are addicted to pornography. This is because the men that hide porn do so out of guilt and shame. Therefore, their whole life is wrapped around secrecy. Their wives do not truly know them at all. What we know is actually a fake version of our husbands. That is until we find out the truth.
I’ll never forget the first time my husband actually admitted he had a struggle. Previously, he had admitted failure, but he quickly brushed it off. He tried to convince me of a miraculous healing where he never had a single lustful thought again. Believe me, I do accept God’s amazing healing powers. However, I am not going to be deceived. I know that when a man is addicted to pornography for most of his life and suddenly quits, there will be set-backs, at least in thought.
I was tormenting myself one night by thinking of what was really going on in my husband’s life. I just knew, deep in my heart, that he still struggled sometimes. I ended up searching the internet. That is when I first found the Covenant Eyes website. I found so many great articles about lust and how it is all so difficult for a man. I really was trying to get to a point where I could at least understand why this was such a part of my husband’s life. I also found many great e-books for husbands and wives. I remember printing out about ten different things. I wanted to show them to my husband and try to have a conversation with him. I just really wanted him to open up to me.
I was very nervous the whole next day waiting for him to get home. I knew he wouldn’t like this idea at all. He always got so upset anytime I mentioned anything to do with this struggle. However, I couldn’t take that anymore. If we were actually going to restore our marriage, we needed to be able to communicate.
After all the kids were in bed, I told him I wanted to show him some great articles I found about lust. He immediately said, “I don’t have a problem with that.” He even said, “I never lusted over a real woman, only on the computer.” I’m really quite surprised that I believed that for as long as I did. Eventually, I couldn’t accept that. I believe every man that is a porn user is lustful of women in real life.
So, the struggle was that I had to say things like, “I know you say that, but I just really think this will be helpful.” After getting him to agree, we read some articles to ourselves. He read an e-book for husbands and I read something about helping wives recover.
It was all really awkward. It’s hard to imagine that back then we really couldn’t talk about lust, pornography, or temptations comfortably. That is how I know God worked tremendously in our marriage. But, back then, we still had so much to grow.
After we finished reading, I asked my husband what he thought about it. I was really disappointed when he said, “It was really interesting, but I never really struggled with lust in real life at all. I don’t understand that. It was just a computer thing.” I feel really sad when I think of that statement. This is because later that summer, he ended up confessing to me the many things he did with “real women”. To remember how he carried that lie still hurts so deeply. Now I know that he was just petrified to tell me that truth. He wanted to keep me in a world where I thought his problems were all virtual because that feels a lot safer.
But, God was leading me to help my husband open up. So I had to get him to open up about something! I finally told him that every man is tempted sometimes and I just want to know one time you’ve been tempted on the computer since you stopped looking at porn. After, honestly, a great deal of persistence, my husband quietly told me that he had a hard time at work with the extra links on websites like CNN and ESPN. He gave an example of when they say something like “hottest bikini bodies”. In that moment, I was both crushed and relieved. I actually let out a sigh of relief. I was so crushed that my husband had been looking at all that secretly even though he told me so many times that it wasn’t a problem anymore. But I was so greatly relieved! It was the first time he ever told me something honestly, without being “caught”. Finally-this was what God wanted. I was so incredibly thankful.
I could visibly see how difficult it was for my husband to admit that to me. He looked petrified. I don’t think he had ever told anyone his whole life anything like this. Some days are just so hard, but I know God had a plan in this. God chose me to help my husband overcome this trial in his life. It was a trial he never thought he could tell anyone. And he certainly never thought it would go away.
So, on that night when he first opened up to me, I knew God could restore us. I knew that now I could help my husband. I could help him make a plan to overcome his temptation to use the computer to fulfill lust.