The Hurt That Keeps on Giving
My husband is a porn addict. In many ways, I’m very fortunate. He never picked up hookers, never cheated on me physically, never looked at child porn. But he did get arrested for harassment because he was out trying to shoot up women’s dresses with a small camera. He lost his job a few weeks later, pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
We had both already begun therapy months before the hearing, but he was instructed to continue therapy for six more months, although we would be doing that even if that had not been in the court ruling. He has been through one 12-step program and is in another one currently. We are making strides (well, for me, baby steps) in healing our marriage. It seems so unfair that there is help and support out the ears for men addicted to porn, but there’s not a great deal for wives of men addicted to porn. Our local 12-step program has many men who are recovering sexual addicts, but the wives don’t show for the women’s program. I’m a bit of a freak in that respect. And that is difficult.
My life was turned on its ear when my husband was arrested. We have gone from a very comfortable life to bare bones budget, which we will not be able to support indefinitely. The hurt of finding out he was still addicted to porn and escalating at a time when it seemed our marriage was getting better and we were enjoying each other more was devastating. I have felt anger, rage, self-pity, stupid, unlovable, betrayed and pathetic. That’s not a great experience for someone who was already struggling with low self-esteem from childhood hurts.
Most of my problems are my own fault. I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years, but had never resolved the question of whether I was included in God’s unconditional love and forgiveness for me. I read my Bible some, went to church until my kids were grown and gone, and prayed short little bursts of pray. I don’t ever recall asking God to remake my heart and give me wisdom, peace and strength until after my husband’s arrest.
It became obvious very quickly that I needed one-on-one counseling as much as my husband and our marriage did. It has been a painfully slow process, and I’m not a patient person. Although my therapist and husband say they can see changes in me, I do not see any great change and that is frustrating.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this blog. I do want other wives to know that Christian couples everywhere are mired in this problem. Statistics for porn addiction are pretty much the same for Christians and non-Christians. Between 50 and 60% of men are looking at porn at least once a week, the majority more than that.
It’s excruciating when a wife finds out. It kicks her self-esteem in the teeth. Don’t try to figure it out from a sexual point-of-view; you’ll drive yourself crazy. There’s almost always a bigger issue going on behind the scenes. But you need to run to a therapist or counselor–there’s a caveat here; if you go to your pastor or other counselor that tries to make this your fault because you don’t engage in intimacy with your husband “as much as you should,” leave before they finish the sentence. Many pastors don’t want to confront this issue. Don’t stay with a counselor who won’t tackle the tough issues, but instead wants to pat you on the head and say, “there, there.”
Porn is a wicked problem. The internet has made it so easily accessible. And the reality is that even the major networks are overloaded with sexual situations and partial nudity. Then there are the ads using scantily glad women acting in a sexual manner over a hamburger.
We are poisoning our children’s minds. Boys are learning that a “hot” girl should be their grandest desire and our girls are learning that they must be provocative if they want any attention.
God created sex and He created it not just for procreation, but for the mutual pleasure of husband and wife. We have twisted it into something that is rarely sacred anymore.
I am in my six month of therapy for what the misuse of sexual desire by someone else has done to my life. The only upside to this is that I am now seeking and searching to know and do God’s will for my life, and to work through the lies I have been told of who He is and how He loves me. My husband has wholeheartedly embraced dealing with his addiction.
I am praying that I live to see the day when God brings glory through all of the anguish and heartache.