FamilyLife Blog

Getting Porn Out of Your Life and Marriage

by | Jul 8, 2020 | Marriage, Sex

When the NHL shut down, COVID-19 started to take over our world. The dominoes began to fall in the days to come with a decline in commerce, entertainment, and any sense of normalcy we thought we had. Not everything declined though. Fear skyrocketed and toilet paper sales went through the roof. Oh, and one other thing — the daily count of emails I was receiving.

I help people overcome porn addictions, and the past two months have been busy.

Messages have landed in my inbox from Finland, the USA, and all over Canada.

“I need help!”

“I want to divorce my husband over porn.”

“My wife thinks my porn problem is worse than it actually is…”

Husbands and wives are hurting all over the world, searching for answers to break free from porn. COVID-19 has given people a prime opportunity to either sink further into the trap of addiction or to take a stand against it and finally get free. I hope, if you struggle, that you choose the latter.

The foundational understanding that we must have in getting free from porn is that getting free from porn is not the goal. You’ve got to hear me out on this one.

1 Peter 4:1 says, “Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude (as Christ) because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”

Instead of focusing on getting sin out of our marriages, let’s focus on making Christ’s way of thinking the default setting in our minds. Let’s study how Jesus reacts to situations and spend time with Him in prayer so that His attitude can become our own. By doing this, we’ll see porn use fall by the wayside, as Peter says in the verse above.

Porn use reveals a lot of things — often without us even noticing. We get so caught up in the shame of our behaviour, or the betrayal of our spouse’s, that we forget to take a look beneath the surface. I have a personal assessment that I go through in my first coaching session with people. It covers a wide variety of topics like trauma, family dynamics, satisfaction at work, response to life situations, fantasies, spiritual disciplines, and more. All of these factors contribute to a person’s porn use and they reveal perspectives that need to be shifted to align more with how Jesus thinks.

With the new normal that COVID-19 has ushered into our lives, I encourage you to establish a new normal in your thinking by seeking the Lord and asking Him to show you things you may not be aware of. Approach God with audacity and transparency like King David did: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 23-24

One cause of porn addiction that the Lord often reveals is emotional wounds in relationship to our earthly fathers. The vast majority of porn users have father wounds to some degree, but many don’t realize it. Here’s a true story of one man that you may be able to relate to on some level.

Joe didn’t think he had a father wound because he and his father are close. However, in prayer, God brought to mind a memory of his father dismissing his opinion while building something when he was nine. Joe lived the next 20 years keeping silent around authority figures, convinced they wouldn’t want to hear his ideas. He felt inadequate and unable to do anything worthwhile, so he didn’t really see a point in quitting porn. Growing up, his family didn’t talk about sex, or anything deep for that matter, so he never learned how to express himself. The attitude Christ has for Joe is that Joe has extremely good things to say. His dad was likely trying to show him the best way to use a hammer so that he wouldn’t get hurt and his dad loves Joe’s ideas. God has plans for Joe and has always been patiently developing him for a great impact. Jesus wants Joe to recognize his family’s error in communication so that he can learn to forgive and establish new, positive patterns with his own wife and kids.

When Joe learned Christ’s thoughts towards him, he was transformed by consistently renewing his mind. Because he started focusing more on what God had for him, rather than on how inadequate he thought he was, he became less dependent on pornography for comfort and pleasure. Today, Joe has been free from porn for over six years.

Of course each story is different, but the principle remains the same. Whether you’ve suffered through horrible abuse, disappointments, or you just got hooked on porn and it became how you experience pleasure, God wants to establish His way of thinking in you.

Wives, being married to someone hooked on porn can be very hard to come to terms with. You are right to take a stand against it. However, the same application applies to you. How can you establish Christ’s attitude for your own healing and also in your interactions with your husband?

FamilyLife’s Alberta director, Braden Hafner, and I interviewed a couple for an upcoming Pure Victory Podcast episode. The wife’s perspective on her role in her husband’s healing was so Christ-like, even though she had every reason for it not to be. This woman had been abused in every way and then married a man with a secret porn addiction. An angry reaction to his confession would have been justified. However, this is what she said:

“His problems are my problems and my problems are his. I didn’t love him, I wanted to divorce him and we slept in separate beds for weeks. However, I begged the Lord for help and He answered me. I knew I couldn’t let my feelings determine how I treated my husband and I went to a lot of counselling to learn how to do this. The Lord wanted me to help him recover because he had things in his past to heal from. I only stayed in our marriage because I was being obedient to God. Every morning we came out of our separate rooms and did our devotions together. A couple that prays together really does stay together. Who he was when he watched porn wasn’t the real him. Today, he is porn free and we are in love making an impact for Christ.”

Wives, talk to someone to process your own hurt and feelings of betrayal. Find a pastor, counsellor, or a level-headed friend who won’t just bash your husband. Get Christ’s perspective on your feelings and remember to ask God to help you be a support for the man you married. Healthy marriages are one of the most powerful forces in the kingdom of God, so don’t let a porn addiction take your marriage out.

I pray that this helps you start your journey to freedom today!

Our Off The Rooftop Challenge is free for men of all ages. You will get equipped by incredible Christian leaders to get porn out of your life forever.