How to Heal From the Effects of Porn In Your Marriage: Part 2

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Porn wells up feelings of resentment, destroys confidence, and places just one more societal standard on men and women both to be like, look like, and act like something that societal standards says they should. In this series, we want to share how Jesus can teach through His example that we can forgive, that we can find worth, that we can be brave and talk through hard conversations, and that we can find community when we share our experiences. (Read Part 1 in the series here)

It’s our hope that in sharing the following stories from some brave people in our community and their friends that have also been affected by this issue that you will find hope, help, and the strength through Jesus’s redemptive work in their lives and see how He will help you, too. Perhaps now you can start the process of opening up with your partner and letting Jesus into your conversations and your hurts as well. 


My husband and I separated nine months ago due to his porn addiction. We’re moving forward, going through counseling, and will hopefully take the step to move back in together in the next few months. But let me go back to the beginning.

My husband and I started dating during my senior year of college. I knew he was the one when I let him kiss me on our first date. That was big deal for me because I had a personal rule not to kiss a guy until we actually started dating. Two months into our relationship, he admitted he had a porn addiction. We took a walk and ended up on a park bench overlooking a ball field. He admitted, with tears in his eyes, that he watched porn every day, and that he had watched it for a long time.

As odd as it might sound, the moment I looked in his eyes, I knew I loved him. God had surrounded us with so much grace. The next day, however, his confession hit me full force, and I was upset. Moments like these, where I was angry at what happened, occurred often throughout our relationship. But those moments of grace came just as often. We continued to date, and because he was a semester ahead, he graduated, and we suddenly spent most of our time Skyping each other. He would tell me often, and I asked, about his attempts to get away from porn, and the resulting failures, which led him to guilt and shame.

Somewhere during this time, he realized he was addicted. He wanted so badly to quit, but couldn’t. We tried all the books and programs we could get our hands on, and some things worked, but many didn’t. At the time, we moved forward the best we knew how, and we made progress. But then, one day, my dad called, and we were talking about marriage. I mentioned that some of my husband’s behaviors had increased, and my dad was extremely upset. I realized I’d felt for a while that something needed to change, but I was at a loss.

For the first time in three years, I was angry with my husband. We spent the next six months in turmoil, constantly arguing. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just stop. I had read all the research, and I knew, logically, that he was addicted and it wasn’t about me. But it still hurt. Throughout our marriage, I had asked my husband to go to counseling, but he never wanted to, and I let it go. I honestly thought we were handling it okay on our own. But his increasing behavior was stirring up a desperation to finally change something.

Around that time, we moved to a new town, and God put people in my life who listened to our story and told me what I needed to hear. After sharing about what my husband and I were going through, one woman pointed out to me all of the unhealthy patterns and behaviors in our relationship. Outside of porn, we had a great marriage (we worked hard to love each other well), but because of porn, he was mistreating me emotionally. In my desire to help him and to know what was going on, I became his dumping ground. I often chose to pick him up and help him cope after he watched porn, but I didn’t realize I was breaking down in the process. The woman told me that the best thing for us to do was temporarily separate. She said that in all her years of helping people, she had never told anyone to do this, but it was what she felt was best. After praying, I realized she was right.

The other thing she said that impacted me was that, in our case, divorce was an option. I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out. During one of our earlier meetings, I had told her that divorce was not an option; that I would fight through this. She said my statement struck her as wrong, and she wasn’t sure why, since she absolutely doesn’t condone divorce. But then she realized that Biblically, adultery is the only allowance God makes for divorce. When she told me this, I felt like I’d been set free. Suddenly, it wasn’t up to me to hold everything together. I would continue to fight for our marriage, but if he refused to change, I could let go and be okay. I wasn’t stuck.

Two days later, I packed up and left. I went home to live with my parents, and I cried almost the whole drive. For the record, I would never tell anyone to leave a marriage in order to manipulate their spouse. I left because I felt that if I stayed, I would break and never recover. In our case, my leaving was for my personal health, and ended up as the action that revealed to him the seriousness of our situation.

That day began a month-by-month process of grief and growth. I’ve wondered many times why we didn’t work through this issue before marriage. But I know that what God is doing in both of us now far exceeds any of the pain. Don’t get me wrong, the pain is real, and frankly, I’ve hated this whole season. I’ve grieved, and shouted, and I finally understand pain in a way I never did. But I also know that God is healing the broken parts in both of us. I know that he’s pursuing us and wooing us in ways we might not have seen had we not been so desperate. God never causes us pain, but He often uses that pain to bring something greater.

My husband finally decided to go to counseling, and since then, we’ve both had individual sessions, and recently began attended sessions together. Ultimately, however, the choice is my husband’s. He can choose to let God heal him or he can choose to let addiction run his life. As my husband allows it, God is healing his heart of the wounds that led to porn, and teaching him to cope with stress and fear in a healthy way. God is showing my husband his identity, that he is a child of God, one who is loved, cherished, chosen.

God is love. He is good. We’re not out of this season yet, but God is bringing us through it, one day at a time.