My Husband is Addicted to Porn . . . Now What? Facing Your First Emotions

October 12th, 2018 by posted in Marriage and Family

There is probably an unending range of emotions when we get kicked in the gut with a confession of porn, or when we find the evidence for ourselves. Of course you’re hurt and confused, trying to make sense of things.  Maybe you’re boiling inside like a volcano ready to erupt on the next person to enter the room. Maybe you’re so sorrowful that all you can do is scream into your pillow and dry heave into the toilet. Maybe your idea of a solution is to make him spend the night in the backyard, under the running sprinkler, in the dead cold of February! The unpleasant reality you’re discovering right now is that, although pornography is probably more culturally wide-spread than gluten intolerance, and although the latest sitcoms make it out to be a joke, when porn creeps into your own family, it hurts. Really bad.

Betrayal of the darkest sort

By comparison, maybe it’s not so bad to be thrown under the bus by a coworker or to be snubbed by a neighbor. But when the wound of betrayal is inflicted by the one person who has promised to love, honor and cherish you until the day they die, it’s a pretty big deal. David, in Psalm 55:12-13 says this:

“For it is not an enemy who taunts me –

then I could bear it;

It is not an adversary who deals insolently with me –

then I could hide from him.

But it is you, a man, my equal,

my companion, my familiar friend.”

 

David’s pain was real, and he didn’t try to hide that. Earlier in the same Psalm (v. 4-8), David vividly describes his emotions:

“My heart is in anguish within me;

The terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling come upon me,

and horror overwhelms me.

And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest;

yes, I would wander far away;

I would lodge in the wilderness;

I would hurry to find a shelter

from the raging wind and tempest.”

 

Can you relate? Would you rather just fly away from it all and hide from the hurt?

If you read this entire Psalm, you’ll notice that David is speaking all of these words to God. Does that surprise you? At these times of turmoil and anguish, is it really ok to candidly talk to God about it? Yes, it certainly is. These words of David’s were inspired by God himself and carefully preserved throughout countless generations so that the Spirit can use them – right this minute – to speak comfort to your soul.

Sometimes we think of God as a sort of bossy and mean dictator who lives really far away. But that’s not the kind of God we read about in the Bible! Forsake the god in your imagination, and be comforted to know that the true God, the one who’s revealed himself so we can know him, gets it. He truly understands you. He’s not as far away as you think. In fact, he came so close that he was seen with eyes, heard with ears, and touched by hands. God sent his son Jesus so that people just like us, with pain and trouble just like ours, could know him! Don’t you wish you could be there? Wouldn’t it be nice to meet him for coffee and tell him all about your husband, your marriage, your pain and your fears? You can! (Well, sort-of . . . maybe without the coffee part.) Jesus himself has felt betrayal. Judas was one of the people who knew Jesus best. He’d spent years sitting under Jesus’ teaching, witnessing miracles, eating meals with him, toiling side by side in ministry. But in the end, Judas sold Jesus out, literally, for a little bit of silver. Jesus’ life for a small bag of money. That’s the type of betrayal that hurts. Jesus understands your pain because he’s felt pain like that himself. So this God, who we sometimes think doesn’t really get it and is so far away there’s no way he could understand us, is a God who knows our pain. The author of Hebrews writes these words in 4:15-16:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus, the one who speaks to God for us, is not unable (meaning that he iscompletelyable) to sympathize with us. So when we cry out to him, like David, telling him of our pain and begging him to hear us, we can know he gets it. He’s not a bully-king on a fancy throne that we find at the end of a long, terrifying walk through an echoing marble hallway. No, he’s near. And we don’t have to fear that with one point of his scepter, he’ll banish us to the dungeon. No, he sympathizes, and he mercifully grants grace to help in our time of greatest need.

Is there any hope for us?

Absolutely, yes! Although it might not come in the way you’re thinking. Maybe you think that if you were prettier, he might not have this problem. Maybe if you could punish him badly enough or shame him deeply enough, that’ll convince him to stop. Maybe if you hold threats over his head, that’ll ensure this problem doesn’t come back in the future. Or maybe you’re thinking that if you could get rid of his smart phone, his friends, the tv, your busy schedules, etc., then things would get better. I’m sorry to tell you that none of those things will provide a real solution. The real problem isn’t in his circumstances, his sex drive, or something within your power to control. The problem is in his heart. And while that might seem cryptic and intangible, the good news is that our God is a heart expert! God made us, understands our hearts, knows just what is wrong, knows exactly how to fix it, and has told us all about it in his Word!

God has given us the Gospel, which is the good news of Christ. This is the hope for you, your husband, and your marriage. God made the whole world way back in Genesis 1. It was designed just the way he intended it to be. There was no sin, no betrayal, no fear, and God called it all good. That’s not what our world is like now, is it? Now it’s all messed up and broken, full of sin and the pain that comes with it. It all got ruined the day Adam and Eve chose to disobey God to follow after their own ambitions instead. They doubted God, believed a lie, and the whole world has been cursed ever since. From that moment on, all people who have ever been born have been born with hearts that want to disobey God. Just like Adam and Eve, we throw out God’s ideas in order to chase after things we think will make us happy. You know what I’m talking about – you’ve experienced this in your own home and in your own heart. The Bible describes people without Christ as being dead in their sins, slaves to obeying whatever their bodies and minds think might be best, completely without hope (See Ephesians 2:1-3, 12). God is perfectly holy, righteous and just, and he hates sin. His justice demanded a punishment of death for everybody who sins. That’s bad news for people who are hopelessly enslaved to sin! But in his love, God provided another way. He sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfectly obedient life. Jesus showed people what God is really like and taught them how to obey him. And then he died as a sacrifice for us. Because Jesus had never sinned, his death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and his sacrifice was enough to cover over the sins of anyone who believes in him. All of God’s wrath against sin was poured out on Christ so that for anyone who confesses their sin to God, repents of their rebellious ways and trusts in Jesus, there is not a speck of wrath left! They are forgiven! But just wait, it gets better! After dying, Jesus was buried just like a regular dead guy. But because Jesus was notjust another regular dead guy — he’s God! – he came back to life! He was raised with power and authority, and the same power that raised him from the dead brings life to those who were dead in their sins, freedom to those who were enslaved to the sinful desires of their bodies and minds, and eternal security and joy to those with no other hope!

Believing this Gospel not only saves us from our death sentence, it also enables us to move away from our sin and toward Christ-likeness. This salvation is a grace of God that teaches us to say “no” to our old way of thinking in sin and to say “yes” to God’s way (Titus 2:11-12). What about someone like your husband? Could he really be transformed? In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul writes about a whole list of the types of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God, including the sexually immoral and adulterers. In verse 11, he continues with, “And such were some of you. [as in, not anymore!] But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” There is hope for those enslaved to sin, and that hope is Jesus! Even the sexually immoral can be healed.

Do you hear these words through ears numbed by searing emotions? Does hope for your husband’s healing leave you feeling ignored by God and left all alone to your tears? Maybe you don’t like thinking that God might forgive him for the sins he’s committed against you. Don’t think for a minute that this Gospel isn’t for you too. It offers a hope that has nothing to do with his repentance or change, because (although it’s difficult to hear this) your biggest problem isn’t your husband’s sin – it’s yours. Our holy, perfect God has given a standard that none of us can pull off. Remember that list of Paul’s in 1 Corinthians? The one with all the types of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God? It includes idolaters (anyone who loves someone or something more than they love God) and the greedy. Have you ever selfishly wanted all the good things for yourself? Have you ever wanted your own way more than you’ve wanted God’s way?

Yeah, me too. Every single time I sin. What now? On my own, I can’t be good enough, and I can’t be at peace with God. Here’s where the Gospel is for us. I have a Savior who is my righteousness! Jesus, who understands and who gladly helps me, stands as my advocate before the Father. And I am forgiven! “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). He’s faithful to forgive. And he’s just – not because I deserve forgiveness, but because Jesus has already taken the punishment for me. And for you. Does that truth impact you now? Does the eternal hope that we can be rescued from hell and placed on friendship terms with God forever bring comfort to you? Does the pain of your present situation dim at all when you look ahead to the glory and rest to come?

It just hurts

I know it does. Right now, you are in pain, and you are suffering. Maybe you don’t like me talking so much about the hope for change because no matter where you look, all you can see is how hurt you are and how confused you are about how to move forward. Or if you even can. And there’s not an article in the world that will offer you the instant soothing balm you’re probably hoping for. God didn’t make many things in this life instant. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “the Gospel’s nice and all, but my marriage is a disaster! Tell me how to fix that!” If so, think that through a little bit. What does all of this Gospel talk really have to do with your marriage? Your husband? You? Why did I spend so much time clattering away on my keyboard about the Gospel in this article that I wrote for you to read on the day you discover your husband’s porn problem?

The road in front of you and your family will likely be a bumpy one, filled with new fears, new hurts, new temptations to sinful responses every day. But it doesn’t have to be a road toward a hopeless end. Consider the hope of the Gospel and how Jesus gives us peace with God. Let that thought fuel your day. In believing the Gospel, you can know that although your husband may have betrayed you, God never will. You may long for a love that is faithful and satisfying, and you can have that in Christ! Your broken heart aches to be soothed and repaired, and you have a Savior who is with you in the midst of your pain. You probably can’t even see straight at those times when remembered words or imagined scenarios attack your mind and crush your spirit.  Consider David’s instruction toward the end of his psalm of betrayal (v. 22): “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Further help

You’re not in an easy spot right now. Take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands your pain. Tell him about your burden and ask him to sustain you. This is a good time to look for a pastor or Biblical counselor to hear you, understand you and help lead you to hope and life in the Lord through his Word.


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