After ten years of marriage, I accidentally discovered my husband’s addiction to pornography. It has been three years of a very long and trying journey. In this article, I would like to share the most helpful ways that our marriage overcame this terrible addiction.
The first and most important step was bringing the addiction to pornography and lust into the light. Once this secret was out and in the open, God could start working on our marriage. Before I knew anything about the pornography, this evil was in full control of my husband. He could not fight it on his own. However, having his wife know of his worst brought about such deep shame and guilt that this crucial step brought about most of the change. I felt as if I was meeting my husband for the first time. There was now so much about him that I did not know. I had a new man in front of me. Someone with real struggles and problems instead of a false superhero.
Next, my husband and I set some clear boundaries and goals. I actually made a list of the most important things we needed to do for my heart to heal, my trust to grow, and our marriage to work. The top items on this list were:
Reading the Bible and praying daily
Discussing our day and all important events
Becoming completely open and honest about our feelings, struggles, and temptations
Placing an accountability program on all internet browsers and phones
Another important thing we did was increase our time together. We started talking more and becoming friends again. Life had become so busy that we were drifting apart. Now it was too late to avoid destruction because destruction had found its way in. So now we started our relationship again by just being together. My husband talked a lot about his past and described his upbringing in a way I never knew. He explained how pornography was always available to him, even as a young boy. This helped me greatly because even though I was in such deep pain, I felt sorrow for the little boy who was exposed to such terrible sin. Sin that would go into his marriage and ruin the love with his wife. Yet, that sin was accepted in his family. I started to see that he did not have a choice as that young boy. I also became proud of him because now he had a huge choice and he was making the right one this time. This time, he knew how much I was depending on him.
A crucial thing that my husband and I did was develop strong personal Bible and prayer time. My husband increased my trust by starting a pattern of praying on his knees every single morning before he left the house. He took that moment to read scripture, pray for our marriage, and pray for God’s protection against lust. From this I knew that I could trust in God against anything that might come our way to temp my husband into lust and me into hurt and anger.
We also enrolled in the free on-line program called Setting Captives Free. My husband took the course on sexual sin and I took the course for wives of husbands in sexual sin. This course taught my husband about the Holy Spirit and exactly how the Holy Spirit guides a person throughout their life.
As time continued, we worked so hard to bring trust back into our marriage. My husband understood that he had to work hard and give up some things to have our marriage grow. Each individual will have different areas that are looked at and rearranged. For me, I felt some specific things that would make me trust my husband more. Some examples are:
We always go to sleep at the same time
We turn off all commercials in our home during television programs
My husband does not spend any time alone with women or go out of his way to talk to a woman
When my husband is away from home, he only uses the Internet for work related things. Even though his computer has an accountability filter, there are so many “acceptable” websites that have terrible adds and tempting information on them. Therefore any browsing that is done for fun is done right at home on our kitchen table.
Every marriage that tries to overcome the addiction to pornography will be different. These were the most essential things that have helped our marriage move beyond the pain and lack of trust.
Please add to this list any ways or ideas that have been helpful to your situation.