Communication Sex and Intimacy

When Should I Talk to My Spouse About Their Porn Habit?

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I’m a pretty direct person; if I discovered my husband was looking at pornography, I would talk to him immediately.  Other wives and husbands that I work with don’t take such a direct approach: they feel hurt and betrayed, and, as a result, they shut down, pretend nothing is going on and hide what they’ve discovered.  In truth, it can be very difficult, especially if you have a seemingly healthy marriage, to understand how your loving, supportive, Christian spouse could also be diving into the dark world of Internet pornography.

Unfortunately, if you do discover your spouse is looking at pornography, hoping they will end their porn habit on their own rarely works.  Like all addictions and sin, we can only begin to experience real healing and transformation when that sin comes out of the dark and into the light.  It’s important to understand that pornography is incredibly addictive, and even small things, like a stressful day at work, a short skirt at the office, or an advertisement or article on a news site can trigger someone to look at pornography.

346x396-recover-inline2Masturbation/self-stimulation and pornography can become a seemingly easy stress release, and I often talk to individuals whose pornography use escalated rapidly from their first exposure, so much so that they feel they need to look at pornography daily and even multiple times per day.  A porn habit left unchecked can quickly transform into a full-blown, life-impacting addiction.

So, it’s important to tackle the problem as early as possible.  It’s highly likely that your spouse knows that their behavior is wrong, and they probably don’t want to be someone who looks at pornography.  It’s likely that they feel ashamed and have regret after they look at pornography, but they have probably convinced themselves that “today will be the last day”.  When you approach them, it’s OK to express how hurt you feel and that you feel betrayed, but taking a compassionate, open-eared approach tends to work best.

Try not to immediately blame or shame them.  Ask them when the behavior started.  Remind yourself that pornography struggles are rampant in our society—both in the church and out.  You are not alone, and your husband or wife is not alone in this struggle either.  Ask what you can do to help them walk in purity.  Are you making time to connect sexually with your spouse?  Are you prioritizing your marriage?

Install filters and accountability software on ALL Internet-enabled devices.  Consider changing your media diets—the movies you watch (like rated-R movies), the magazines around your house (like Victoria’s Secret, Marie Claire, People Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, etc.), the gaming programs (many multiplayer games are filled with sexual content)—to help.

Also, it will be important for your spouse to seek support through a weekly accountability group—men or women that they can be 100% honest with, who will encourage and challenge them towards purity, and whom they can call/reach out to anytime they are feeling tempted.  If the habit has developed real roots, encourage your spouse towards professional help and counseling.  You might also need to seek support and accountability to avoid becoming an enabler and to receive your own healing.


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 This article was originally published here and is used with permission.

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