5 Things You Must Do if Your Spouse is Hooked on Porn

xxxchurch - 5 Things You Must Do if Your Spouse is Hooked on PornA husband’s compulsive pornography use is rarely disclosed voluntarily. Most men addicted to pornography experience deep shame and hide their choices, but despite well-crafted, guilt-ridden lies that mask their behavior, the truth emerges. Regardless how the wife finds out about the pornography addiction, the discovery is devastating for everyone involved.

After this discovery, wives often feel caught in a whirlwind of disillusionment, distress, and relational damage. In the bewildering moments that follow such a traumatic event, women rightfully ask themselves, what do I do now?

Here are 5 guidelines for moving forward:

1. Get Support. Wives in this situation often feel isolated and alone. Some of them may have a trustworthy friend, but their husband may resent them for sharing such personal information. Finding a supportive group in a confidential setting is fundamental. Finding a group that sees the wives’ experience as “trauma,” not a “codependency” issue, will be essential.

2. Avoid Minimizing. Many people in our culture shrug off the use of pornography as “normal” male behavior. While the “temptation” to view pornography is normal, its excessive use is not. Regardless of moral reasons to avoid pornography, porn is highly addictive and excessive viewing has negative effects on the brain.

Recovery from pornography addiction can be more difficult than from drug or alcohol addictions. Pornography addiction is serious. The trauma that wives experience is also serious. 

recover-org-inline3. Go Easier On Yourself. Self-compassion is an effective tool for those suffering from trauma and emotional pain. Evidence has shown self-compassion to decrease anxiety and depression.

Practicing self-compassion through self-care is essential for women suffering from such betrayal.

4. Avoid Shaming Language. Though left feeling disgusted and hurt by their husband’s addiction, it is important women avoid language that degrades.

Since addiction is fueled by shame, belittling words only make the situation worse.

5. Seek Knowledgeable Help. Depending on the depth and duration of the addiction, men can find help from a support group (like X3groups), therapy with a skilled clinician, or even in-patient or outpatient programs.

Wives often want their husbands to “get fixed,” while neglecting their own relational wounds. Finding help that is knowledgeable in both addiction and trauma is necessary in order for both partners to heal.

While these 5 guidelines won’t solve everything, they will provide a framework to help you move forward as you recover from the devastating discovery. Also, check out Recover.org for more resources.

logoguide1There is hope and healing for women who have been hurt by sexual betrayal. Recover.org is a brand new program launching this fall just for women who need to find restoration and peace after the damage done to them by a spouse’s infidelity.

Find out more today!

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3 Messages You Send Your Wife When You Say “Every Guy Watches Porn”

xxxchurch - 3 Messages You Send Your Wife When You Say -Every Guy Watches Porn-“I don’t know what you are so upset about. Every guy watches porn. It’s no big deal so why don’t you just leave it alone.”

I am blown away by the number of men I meet in my counseling practice who have uttered those words to their wives to justify their pornography addiction. In fact, many men believe watching pornography is as harmless as watching football. In their minds, since “every guy watches porn,” then it’s a harmless activity.

But they’re wrong.

Viewing pornography is far from harmless, especially to the emotional well-being of our wives. When we watch porn, we are sending extremely hurtful messages to our spouses.

While we may not intend to communicate these self-worth eroding messages, nevertheless these messages are coming through loud and clear. Here are three of them.

1) I don’t need you to achieve sexual gratification.

Sex was designed by God as a gift for married men and women to enjoy. How do we know this? Here’s a clue, from the book of Proverbs:

”May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in your young wife – a loving doe, a graceful deer; may her breasts satisfy you at all times, may you be captivated by her love always.” Proverbs 5:18-19

When we engage with pornography and masturbation, we are indirectly communicating to our wives that they are not needed when it comes to fulfilling our sexual needs. The sexual images we salivated over are more than adequate and always readily available. Our selfishness is a punch in the stomach and a blow to their self-worth.

2) I find other women more sexually stimulating.

“He has no idea how I die inside when I see the images he has been lusting over. I can’t compete with those women. They are perfect-looking. It destroys me to know he prefers them over me.”

Similar words are uttered by wives who spend countless hours comparing themselves to the pornographic images their husbands have viewed. They feel defeated and demoralized, believing their husbands are unsatisfied not just with their sex lives but with them as women.

Pornography dishonors our wives and sends a message that we no longer desire them sexually, but prefer to engage with others for our sexual desires. Instead, our wives need to believe our eyes—and our desires—are focused solely on them. They deserve to feel special and unique, but more importantly they should feel secure in knowing our hearts belong are dedicated to them.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

There is nothing Christ-like about choosing pornography over our wives.

3) You’re a prude.

There is seemingly no end to the variety of sexual practices you can find in pornography. At its extreme, it can range from bizarre to degrading. And when our wives stumble across disturbing images and videos the message they receive is: “you bore me when it comes to sex.”

There is nothing I find more troubling in my counseling practice than when a wife describes how she allowed herself to engage in humiliating sexual scenarios that were similar to those her husband had been watching through porn. She is fearful if she doesn’t submit then he will eventually find someone else to play out his twisted fantasy. However, now she is left her filled with shame and guilt for allowing her body to be used in a degrading manner.

The continuous use of pornography will ultimately result in a need to escalate the types of sexual practices viewed in order for a man to continue to be stimulated. Unfortunately, the longer the addiction continues, the more demeaning and bizarre the images can become. It is objectifying at best, degrading and humiliating at its worst. And that is far from how God envision sex would be enjoyed between two married adults.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4

You may not realize it, but your use of pornography is sending very negative and damaging messages to your wife. You may think that every guy watches porn, but “every guy” isn’t married to your wife. You are. It’s time to change the line of communication and that begins by making the commitment to honor, respect, and love her.

Pilgrimage-logo-zoomTired of feeling like freedom from pornography or sex addiction is impossible? That it’s an endless “battle?” Check out MyPilgrimage.com and discover that freedom from addiction is possible and something you can really experience.

Start Your Pilgrimage

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3 Reasons Sex Is Better Without Porn

xxxchurch - 3 Reasons Sex Is Better Without PornLet’s talk about sex and intimacy in marriage. Have you ever thought that your sex life could be better and your intimacy level could be deeper? How about the thought of using porn to try to achieve those things? My husband and I thought that porn was okay at one point, but it didn’t work. Pornography is out of the picture and our sex life and intimacy couldn’t be better. Because sex is better without porn. Here are three reasons why:

1) Freedom

When pornography takes hold of your life, it becomes a locked cage in terms of what you think sex should be. I had a set thinking about sex because of porn, where I used to think I had to look and act a certain way to have good sex. Porn gave me a performance mindset that put pressure on the way we had sex, and that mindset became worse over time.

Pornography desensitizes you to where you always feel you must be doing more in order to satisfy your spouse. I remember getting to the point of trying my best to imitate the flavor of the week. I didn’t enjoy it. I felt nothing but shame. But I did it because I thought that was what my husband wanted.

Now that we have chosen recovery, God, and each other, there is freedom in the bedroom. I can breathe! I’m able to be myself. I don’t feel the pressure of performance or standards and my confidence has had a huge boost. I don’t have to worry that my husband won’t love me if I don’t perform like a porn star – he loves me just the way I am.

I also know that he enjoys the sex more now because he’s not comparing. He is able to bask in the glory of something that is uniquely ours. Because of all of that, I am able to just let go and purely enjoy the moment, which obviously makes for better sex.

recover-org-inline2) Selflessness

Porn is selfish in nature. Think about it; why do you look at porn? Plain and simple: instant gratification. Gratification that is gained through no means of sacrifice or compromise, just selfishness.

When my husband was watching porn, there was definite selfishness in the bedroom. Having sex was more about how to please him and less about how to please each other. I felt used. I began to resent every time that we would have sex. Even worse, I began to resent my husband. It was awful. There was no feeling of love or mutual gain – it was just selfish.

With porn no longer in our lives, sex has become more about the both of us. We are both wanting to be intimate with one another. I cannot get enough of my husband! There is less selfishness and more selflessness. We put each other first. Sex is no longer about taking, it’s about giving.  

We don’t expect perfection. We don’t expect imitation; it is just us, as we are, wanting to show our love for each other. There is no better sex than when both people are serving each other.

3) Real Connection

Porn seemed to suck the life out of our intimate connection. When it came to sex, I didn’t feel like he could even see me. I felt like an object. I built up a wall that wouldn’t allow me to connect. I constantly wondered whom he was comparing me to. Eventually, I stopped feeling anything at all. Now that was horrible sex. Who wants to have sex with someone who is so lifeless, so dull?

Since we kicked porn to the curb, we have this authentic vulnerability. We have grown closer through having sex. Now that is an awesome feeling! I no longer yearn for deeper connection; now we see each other. All the fakeness that pornography infringed upon us is gone. We’re able to talk to one another about what is working and what’s not. (Which, duh, learning what the other person likes makes sex a whole lot better!) We are able to be open with one another. There is no embarrassment if something silly happens; we just laugh. There is no shame. No shame at all. Sex without shame and embarrassment is incredible! It is the sex life that God intended.

Our culture lies when it comes to porn. Porn is selfish. Your sex life doesn’t have to be. Don’t buy into the lies – sex is better without porn. If you want to have a deeper connection, selflessness, and freedom in the bedroom, kick porn out! My husband and I did and the outcome is enormous joy. We had no idea what we were missing. I couldn’t ask for a better spouse or a better sex life.

logoguide1There is hope and healing for women who have been hurt by sexual betrayal. Recover.org is a brand new program launching this fall just for women who need to find restoration and peace after the damage done to them by a spouse’s infidelity.

Find out more today!

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Is Looking At Porn The Same Thing As Cheating?

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating“I don’t understand,” Tim said to his wife as they sat across from me during their first counseling session. “I didn’t sleep with anyone. I was watching porn. Since when is that considered adultery?”

He shot me a look seeking my support in confirming his belief that Cheryl was overreacting to his behavior.

Unfortunately for Tim, such support was not to be found, at least not in my counseling office.

Just as I asked Tim to do, let’s take a moment and look at what’s involved with pornography and what could be the rationale that leaves Cheryl and many other women to believe it’s a form of cheating.

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating?

Let’s think about three things we’re really doing when we’re watching porn:

1) We’re lusting.

We are becoming aroused as we watch other individuals engaging in sexual acts. When we commit adultery what are we engaging in? Lust. When we make a commitment to another person to be involved in a serious relationship or marry, we are promising to not lust after others.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil?” Job 31:1-3

We accept the duty to honor our partner by not allowing our sexual desires to wander beyond the relationship. When we view pornography, we are wandering sexually and dishonoring our partner.

2) We’re planting seeds of doubt in our partner’s mind.

In a large majority of cases, when a woman discovers her partner watching pornography – whether she expresses it or not – she feels a sense of unworthiness. Our pornography use crushes their self-worth. She believes she can’t compete or measure up to the fantasy women we lust after, and it creates a sense of shame within her. The women we betray begin comparing themselves to the graphic images and feel they are “not enough for us.” Our pornography usage creates self-doubt in their ability to mentally and physically satisfy us. This ultimately creates a wedge in our relationship.

3) We’re engaging in solo sex.

There is no denying masturbation is heavily involved with pornography watching.

But when we do that, we are robbing our wives and our relationships of the opportunity for both emotional and physical intimacy.

Our bodies are not our own, and our desire to engage in sexual pleasure was meant to be shared with our wives and not in isolation.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

Chronic masturbation also can lead to sexual dysfunctional issues including impotency, leaky erections, or retarded ejaculation. All of these conditions can cause tension and stress in a marital relationship.

We can attempt to justify our pornography use by claiming it’s harmless and that we can do what we wish with our own bodies.

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating? The truth is: pornography is a betrayal that objectifies and dishonors women, so yes, it’s a form of cheating. And our partners deserve better than that from us.

Pilgrimage-logo-zoomTired of feeling like freedom from pornography or sex addiction is impossible? That it’s an endless “battle?” Check out MyPilgrimage.com and discover that freedom from addiction is possible and something you can really experience.

Start Your Pilgrimage

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3 Ways to Love Your Spouse through Recovery

350photo-1416348316427-9ebac5dfef01Your spouse confessed to watching porn. Now what? I know my first reaction was a ball of feelings including anger, frustration, hurt, and insecurity. I wanted to kick my husband out and not deal with any of it. Undoubtedly, your instincts are the same. But if your spouse is choosing recovery, then choose to go against your instincts. Instead, choose to love your spouse through recovery. Here are three tangible ways how:

1) Trust

I know that trusting your spouse right now seems like the exact opposite thing that you should do. Trusting my husband at that moment seemed impossible. However, he had fessed up and chosen to get help, so he needed to feel that he was capable of my trust again. Complete trust in your relationship is not going to happen overnight. It is going to be a long road. But, in order to start building trust again, you need to intentionally choose to trust your spouse every single day.

It took everything I had to choose to trust my husband instead of constantly questioning him. But, with the help of X3watch, our pastor, and a trustworthy accountability partner for my husband, I was able to concentrate on building trust back into our relationship.

I will never forget what our pastor told me. He said “You have to choose to trust your husband. If you don’t, there will be no reconciliation in your marriage.” I wanted to reconcile; to save our marriage. I chose to trust. There were instances when I would want to go through my husband’s phone and computer, but instead, I prayed and trusted that the Lord was working in him. I can now see that choosing to trust him made it easier for him to work towards recovery without shame. Now, we have a great mutual trust.

recover-org-inline2) Intimacy

After I found out my husband had been watching porn, the last thing I wanted to do was be intimate with him. You may feel the same way. In fact, you may want to completely withhold sex and intimacy altogether. After I found out, I cringed at the thought of having sex with my husband. I didn’t want him to even touch me. But withholding from your spouse can only increase the distance between you. Withholding sex will not fix the problem.

Let me be clear here, I am not telling you to “grin and bear” it or to “take one for the team.” I know that is how I felt when people would tell me to have sex with my husband at that point.

What I am saying is that intimacy is an incredibly important part of marriage and you should work together to create the closest intimacy possible. That includes having sex. Pray together before having sex and then have sex.

This part is going to be super difficult, push through anyway. The first couple of months after finding out, I didn’t think that I could or would enjoy sex at all. I began resenting the thought of making myself available to him. But then, I started to pray before we would have sex. By bringing God to the center and putting my husband (and our marriage) first, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved having sex with my husband! It got better each time.

Trust me, work through it together, putting each other first and honoring each other every step of the way. If you do, you will have a level of intimacy you have only dreamed of!

3) Prayer

Praying is a vital step when you want to love your spouse through recovery. Pray for your spouse, pray for yourself, and pray together every day. My husband and I learned quickly that praying helped us put each other first. We learned that God changes hearts, and changed hearts means changed behavior. When we are able to change our behavior, recovery, healing and joy can and will happen.

I can tell you that my husband’s heart is totally changed. He has become a man who loves the Lord and in turn, a man who tries to love like the Lord loves. My heart has also changed. I am more capable of trust, forgiveness, and grace. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a lifelong process. But praying consistently and constantly will drastically increase your ability to trust, heal, and move on. Prayer will drastically increase your spouse’s ability to fight temptation, heal, and move on as well.

These three steps may feel contradictory to what you feel – I know they did to me – but do them anyway. Your spouse is not the enemy, the addiction is. Actively choose to love your spouse. Work together through prayer, trust, and intimacy. It is going to be challenging work (believe me, I know!) but it will be worth it. Watch God take your darkest hour and turn it into something beautiful like he did for me and my husband. Don’t give up. Show up.

logoguide1There is hope and healing for women who have been hurt by sexual betrayal. Recover.org is a brand new program launching this fall just for women who need to find restoration and peace after the damage done to them by a spouse’s infidelity.

Find out more today!

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