04-May-2016 18 FEB
Why I chose to stay with my husband and his pornography addiction
By Focus on the Family NZ
We are privileged to be able present this exclusive guest post from a Kiwi wife and mother about the serious harms of pornography & the important lessons that she and her husband have learned about fighting back.
After hearing about the number of relationships ending as a result of porn addiction, I went in search of resources for spouses who are suffering because of it. My total dissatisfaction at the lack of sound practical advice that my search yielded has led me to write this post to share my experiences of how I dealt with my husband's porn addiction. I hope it can inspire you to help someone in your life who may be going through the same struggle.
We were teenagers in love, but only six months passed before I first discovered that my future husband had an attraction to something else - porn.
I had my suspicions that this was being kept a secret from me but I needed to be sure, so when the opportunity arose I searched his internet history and it immediately became clear that we had a problem.
With rage and disgust I confronted him. His initial response was denial, and then came an apology and a promise that he wouldn’t do it again.
I trusted him and believed that our relationship was now back on track and that it would continue to thrive.
But, as it turned out this was not the only time that I would have to deal with this issue, and each time his secret came out into the light I faced the same lies and empty promises.
As the years went by my trust completely diminished. I was paranoid, confused and became obsessed - to the point where I would turn down social events because I knew that if I stayed home it would lessen the chance he would give in to this addiction.
By this point I felt unworthy, like I was just not satisfying enough for him. How could I get through this? How could I compete with this world of lies and fantasies that was completely out of control?
Enough was enough, and so one day I gave him an ultimatum, telling him that if he did it again I would be out of his life forever.
Time healed the pain, my trust returned, he proposed, and we subsequently married - professing to love each other 'for better or worse.'
Then when I was in the early stages of my first pregnancy I came home from work one day to find my husband in a really foul mood. I knew straight away that something was up.
The next day when he left the house I built up the courage to search the Internet history, and once again I was confronted with the stark reality of his porn addiction. I felt sick, and the pain and the anger immediately returned. How could he do this to me?
I was now pregnant so the thought of leaving wasn't an option. We were going to have to make this work.
Our baby was born and my love for my husband flourished as I watched him become a proud and loving father. When our baby was four months old I attended my christmas work function and I remember being nervous, for this would be my husband's first time looking after the baby without me being present.
Those nerves should have been for another reason however, as I later discovered that our baby had slept the whole time I was out, thus leaving my husband bored and with the opportunity to look at porn.
I was heartbroken.
I needed help, so out of desperation I began talking with friends about the problem. Some tried giving advice like; "you'll soon learn to get used to it, its the only thing you can do," or; "there's no point in staying with him - if it's an addiction you're screwed!"
I tried a Google search for advice, only to read the absurd suggestion that I should join in with him, because that way he wouldn’t feel the need to lie to me about it anymore.
After sleepless nights, heartache, and prayer, I decided to research more about addiction to pornography.
I learned about how becoming addicted to porn at the age my husband had first started viewing it can cause major effects on the brain's development, meaning that the urge to watch porn is similar to those addicted to drugs like heroin.
I then realised that I had been going about this all the wrong way.
My views quickly changed and my confusion turned into understanding. All of my fear, anger, stress and anxiety turned to a strength and determination to best support him in any way that I could.
We sat down and I told him it was okay, it wasn't his fault, and that we were not going to let this destroy our marriage and family.
This gave him the courage he needed to be honest about his addiction, and he shared with me about how bad it had really affected him in the past, to the point where the addiction would overcome him numerous times a day.
So, what have I learned about overcoming pornography as a result of this experience?
1. Without honesty there can be no success.
After opening up and being honest with me, my husband could then share with trusted friends and with other men in his prayer group about his struggle with pornography.
2. Keeping up our communication and sharing honestly with each other about how we are both coping is essential.
3. Attending church every week as a family is a non-negotiable.
It is there that we both receive the blessings and the strength from God that are necessary to continue to fight this addiction.
4. Limiting computer/phone/tablet usage is fundamental.
For my husband this meant leaving his phone in the kitchen and only using the computer if I was present.
As a result of these steps, I have noticed an incredible change in my husband. He has more respect for me, he is a lot more patient with anything that the world throws at him, and he is just more content with life in general.
I am more in love with my husband than ever before.
We now have two children, and my hope and prayer is that they too will grow up to show the same strength that my husband has shown in his fight against pornography. I am proud of his courage and determination, and I truly believe that he is a stronger man because of his commitment to this struggle.
If you, your spouse or someone else you know is struggling with pornography, then I really urge you to watch this video, and to encourage others to do the same, - fighting porn can be a tough and painful experience, but doing nothing and allowing it to overwhelm your life and relationships is a far worse prospect.