If you are the wife of a pornography user/addict, I understand the pain you’re experiencing. Discovering your husband’s pornography use has deeply hurt you. It’s as serious as an extramarital affair. You feel betrayed. Marital trust has been broken. You may feel you don’t even know their husband because of the dark, secret life he has kept. You might even feel like fool for ever trusting your husband. Some women feel their marriages have been damaged beyond repair.
If you feel this way, please know that this is normal and healthy. It is okay to feel angry, hurt, betrayed, sad and hopeless. However, there is hope for healing. God has a special plan to bring healing and wholeness to wounded spouses and marriages. With proper help, the deep wounds that you and your marriage have sustained can be healed.
First, I urge you to seek help for yourself. Many women are deeply traumatized by their husband’s pornography use. Along with feeling betrayed, a wife may feel rejected by her husband, believing he would rather be with the women in pornography than with her. Many wives feel that their lives have become unmanageable. Some react by trying to control every aspect of their husband’s lives to prevent future porn use. This can include checking internet use, emails, text messages, phone bills, calling him at any moment of the day to check on him, etc. Some believe they must be hypersexual with their husbands to prevent future porn use. However, all of this only leads to more helplessness and despair.
For your healing, I recommend individual counseling and attending a support group. The therapist must understand the deep wounds wives sustain and be able to treat them. The support group I recommend is S-Anon. This is a group for wives and family members of sex addicts. There you will learn that you are not alone. You will meet other wives who have been through what you are going through now. You will learn how they have been able to find healing for themselves and their marriages. Having a group of people who care about you and want to help you is extremely healing.
I also recommend marital therapy. This provides an environment where your husband can come to truly understand how his pornography use has hurt you. It is also a safe place where he can disclose all of his online sexual activity and answer any questions you might have. You will then be able to process this information with the therapist. Although learning all about your husband’s online activity may be difficult at first, most couples are relieved when it is all done. Husbands are relieved because there are no more secrets in their lives. They can be totally open and honest with their wives. Wives are relieved because they are no longer guessing about their husband’s online activity.
In marital therapy forgiveness and trust are also worked on. It’s important to note that it may take a long time to be able to forgive and trust again. However, therapy can provide the tools to begin the process.
It’s important to remember that your husband’s pornography use has nothing to do with him wanting the other women instead of you. It has nothing to do with your beauty or sexual desirability. I realize this may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Pornography is an addictive substance, like drugs or alcohol. It is used to deal with deep emotional pain. It’s the drug men use to self-medicate. It’s important to recognize pornography addiction as a disease, like alcoholism and treat it as such.
Faith plays a large role in the recovery process. God understands your pain and wants to heal you, your husband and your marriage. Prayer is important for grace and strength. Every day offer your pain to the Lord for healing. The sacraments are extremely helpful, especially the Eucharist. Many women also find weekly confession helpful in reducing their anger. Spiritual direction can be very helpful in growing closer to the Lord. I have found that couples that pray together experience healing faster. Even saying just one decade of the rosary together daily for your marriage can be powerful.
Here are some tips that can help you and your husband in the recovery process:
- Daily ask the Lord for compassion toward your husband and the ability to forgive him.
- Daily ask the Lord to help you grow in trust.
- Provide moral support. Encourage your husband in recovery.
- Insist on total honesty and transparency.
- Don’t try to be your husband’s accountability partner. He should have other men for that.
- Don’t remind him when his counseling sessions or support group meetings are. He needs to be responsible for his own recovery.
- Work on your own recovery through counseling and support group attendance.
- Insist on marital therapy to heal the marital relationship.
- Pray with your husband for individual and marital healing.
- Read books on pornography/sex addiction together and discuss them.
Although things may seem hopeless right now, please don’t despair. Healing is possible. Just remember that healing doesn’t mean going back to the way your marriage was before you discovered his pornography use. That was not a healthy marriage. Through the recovery process, you and you husband will be creating a new marriage that is healthy. With God in the process, you and your husband can have a marriage that is better than you ever dreamed of!
If you are deeply hurt by your husband’s pornography use and are ready to get help, please click here for more information. The healing process can begin today!