Since my husband’s pornography addiction has reared its’ ugly head again, I have reached out to others for encouragement because this is something you do not want to face alone. Well, not all the encouragement has been positive or even nice. Some people, even Christians, just don’t know how to comfort someone who is facing this problem. Well, to start here are some things not to say. Yes, these things have been said to me by Christians and non-Christians alike.
7 Things You Should Never Say to the Wife of a Pornography Addict
- At least he is not physically sleeping with someone else. Yes, my husband didn’t physically sleep with someone else. Pornography is a heart issue. According to the Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In God’s eyes and in a wife’s, a person looking at pornography has committed adultery. My husband lusted after other women.
- Maybe you should make more effort in bed with him. My husband’s addiction happened way before I met him. I have no part in his addiction. Saying anything to this effect alludes that I have part of the blame in my husband’s addiction. You wouldn’t say, you should make better tea to a wife whose husband has a drinking problem.
- Maybe you should pay more attention to your appearance. My husband is attracted to me. Pornography is not about sexual attraction. Pornography addiction is about a chemical reaction and sin nature. During sexual process, the brain begins narrowing its focus as it releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other neurochemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin. These “natural drugs” produce a tremendous rush or high. When they are released during pornography use and other sexual addiction behaviors, we call them “the fearsome four” due to the severe addiction and many negative consequences they produce in the brain and nervous system(source). A porn addict is after the high, not the attractiveness of the person.
- Divorce is never the answer. Actually according to the Bible, adultery is grounds for divorce. Jesus said, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery,” (Matt. 19:9). The word in Greek for immorality is porneia from which we get the word pornography. Sexual immorality, i.e., adultery, is a grounds for divorce according to Jesus. (source) I am not saying divorce is the answer all the time, but if a husband refuses to acknowledge his sin then maybe it should be considered. I am excited that my husband is acknowledging his sin, getting biblical counseling, and working through his addiction. Just like God can give grace, so can a wife offer grace and forgiveness.
- Watch it with him, you might like it. Looking at another with lust is sin, how would the addition of a wife sinning add to the healing of the husband’s addiction? Even my husband knows this is wrong. When I first found out about my husband’s addiction, I tried it because that is what people suggested. Guess what? It didn’t fix the problem.
- Why should you care about what gets him excited, as along as he comes back home to you. See explanation for thing #1.
- It is no big deal. Yes it is!! Intimacy in marriage is very important to God. Intimacy is the foundation of the marriage. It is in the intimate relationship with my husband that I reveal myself, show my insecurities, and become closer to my husband. Pornography destroys trust and intimacy. It can be rebuilt though, and I am trusting God to make that happen.
Now that I that I shared what you shouldn’t say. You are probably wondering what you can say. Here are 3 things I have loved hearing as a wife whose husband is battling a pornography addiction.
- Let’s Pray. Please offer to pray for me and my husband. God is the only person who can heal my heart. God is the only person who can free my husband from his addiction.
- I can listen. I need someone who will listen to me. I am hurt, I am heartbroken. You don’t need to offer advice unless asked.
- Let’s go out for Coffee. Sometimes I just need a distraction. Whether it is working, going out with friends, or church. I don’t need to be dwelling on the problem all time. Life is meant to be lived with joy!
Resources that help:
- Every Heart Restored Workbook: A Wife’s Guide to Healing in the Wake of Every Man’s Battle (The Every Man Series)
- When His Secret Sin Breaks Your Heart: Letters to Hurting Wives
- When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart