6 Ways to Love a Friend When Her Husband Has Confessed Porn Addiction

blog-to-love-a-friendWe recently received this email from someone whose friend’s husband just confessed porn addiction:

“My friend just told me that her husband has been addicted to porn throughout their entire marriage. I have just listened to her and empathized with her, telling her I cannot imagine how she must be feeling, etc.

We are Christians so it has been helpful seeking the Lord on how to respond, but I also do not want to give a “pat Christian answer” as those usually are not helpful. I was wondering if you have any advice on how I can be a supportive friend in this process? I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you have on this.”

This person’s desire to not give a “pat Christian answer” is a wise one – it’s so often what we do, right?

Why do we do that anyway?

It seems that something inside of most of us is not capable of dealing with the unresolvable tensions and suffering that are the hallmark of the human experience. One of the most common ways we try to resolve that tension is by giving our friends advice they didn’t necessarily ask for.

But since advice here has been requested, here’s my best shot at six ways to love your friend after her husband confessed porn addiction:

1) Understand that there are no victims here.

Yes, people can be hurt, and that sometimes that hurt requires some sort of action that puts space between people – but the truth is that we’re all hurting. Porn addiction is one way of dealing with a specific hurt that has been within a person for a long, long time. If you label your friend the victim and her husband the criminal, that will not help bring healing.

Instead, know that they both have a sacred path to walk, and that it is meant for their transformation as well. Do your best to see the long road behind your friend along with the longer one in front of her and know that God is with her there.

2) Learn just to sit with her.

The practice of being present with another person allows for what Martin Buber described as “The Eternal Thou” to be present between you. When we are silent and do not grab the reins of control in a situation, we invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in that place between us and the other person and then, perhaps, the answers that come will be helpful and healing. Be still and breathe deeply.

Be aware of your own internal experience. There will be time for words later.

recover-org-inline3) Trust the art of healing touch.

Our hugs and touch can communicate rescue or they can communicate presence in very powerful, nonverbal ways. If you are present, then the Spirit of God can be in your touch.

4) Understand that suffering is part of how it works.

There are two forces that come from God and are at work to redeem the world: creativity and entropy.

Breaking down is crucial for building up.

You need not rob (or rescue) your friend of her suffering, because that can change her, too – this is part of what Jesus was talking about when he said that if we seek to save our lives, we’ll lose them. But if we seek to lose our lives, we find life in all its abundance.

Your friend’s suffering is larger than just some concept of victimhood, so ask her what she needs from you and restrain yourself from putting a happy face on things.

5) Some well-timed, sugar-laced concoction can be nice.

No need to place orders… she’s your friend and you know what she loves. Provide some nonverbal comfort in the form of a small treat.

6) Connect her with others in similar struggles.

There’s nothing quite like hearing that someone else is going through the same thing that you are. Recover.org is a new place for women who need help recovering from sexual betrayal. Share this resource with your friend and let her draw strength from other women who have been in exactly the same place.

True friendship is an art. And we were given to each other to walk this sacred path of death and rebirth together. Blessings to you as you learn to be present in the eye of your friend’s storm. 


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