Sunday, March 24, 2013

Confessions of a Porn Addict's Wife


 Warning: Unlike the rest of the posts on my blog, the contents of this post are not G rated.

I realize this topic isn't exactly mommy and children related, but since porn affects 90% of the male population, that means it affects a very large majority of the wives out there too. I would like to think that by sharing my experiences it will help to encourage a few of my readers who are in or have been in the same situation.

My husband  recently wrote a blog post called Confessions of a Porn Addict which, by the way, is a must read for all men and women alike. It addresses porn addiction and all the hurt and heartbreak and bondage that goes along with it, from a man's perspective. I thought it would be helpful to also share it from a woman's perspective.

My confession: My husband's sin almost destroyed me.

I know an awful lot of people, both men and women, who deny the fact that porn is sin. Well I'm sorry people, but the Bible makes it very clear:

You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery". But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

There it is, straight from Jesus. Looking lustfully is cheating and cheating is sin. I'll try not to elaborate much further on the details of a man's porn experiences, but I think it's safe to say that most men don't visit porn websites, watch porn movies or buy porn magazines just for eye candy. They are doing more than looking. They are indulging in fantasies and fulfilling their sexual desires with a woman in sight and in mind who is not their wife. I'd say that's a pretty clear definition of cheating.

With that definition in mind, I will tell my story.

My husband first confessed his porn addiction to me while we were engaged. He was ashamed. He had a hard time choking the words out. When he finally told me, I remember thinking "Is that all? It's not THAT big of deal". You see, I was under the impression that once we were married and I was able to fulfill all of his wildest dreams and desires, the porn addiction would simply disappear. Yeah right. Back then, I had no understanding of the dangers of porn, how addicting it was for men and the reasons why. I honestly didn't give it a second thought.

My husband's first confession of our married lives came when we had been married 3 weeks. Yeah. Not 3 months, or 3 years. 3 weeks. We were still VERY MUCH in the "honeymoon phase" of our marriage. I was confused. And ashamed. And overcome with guilt that I wasn't good enough for him, that I wasn't fulfilling his needs.

I tried harder to be the perfect wife. Not just in the bedroom, but in every area of our marriage.

The porn confessions continued on a regular basis.

2 months after we were married, I got pregnant. Add body changes and extreme hormonal imbalances to the equation.

No amount of trying to be the perfect wife made any difference. Every time my husband confessed, I was a wreck. I knew I was a total failure.

My husband knew I felt that way. I always told him how I felt. That I wasn't good enough for him, that I was fat, ugly, gross, not fun enough, not sexy enough, I didn't cook good enough meals, I didn't keep up with the housework good enough, I didn't support him enough..I was constantly beating myself up about my failures and telling him about it.

The porn confessions continued.

This general feeling of failure escalated into low self esteem, depression, and eventually self hatred. I hated myself on every level. I could not think of one good thing about myself. I was ashamed even to talk to God, so I stopped talking to him. I was ashamed to talk to Ben, so I stopped talking to him too. I didn't think I mattered enough to share my feelings. I didn't think I mattered enough for my husband or God to care anything about me or my feelings or my problems.

This continued throughout our whole first year of marriage. A few weeks before our daughter was born, my husband started getting counciling from a pastor at our church. The porn confessions slowed down. Now there would be more like 4-6 months in between confessions. But the damage had been done. I was an emotional wreck. And every time I started to relax, think "maybe things aren't so terrible", start talking to God and start working on building up my self esteem, that's when the next confession would come. Every time, it hit me harder and the damage was worse.

During my second pregnancy, I started having suicidal thoughts. I would literally have visions of myself cutting my wrists with a knife and bleeding out. If I hadn't been so busy taking care of a toddler and hadn't had her best interest in mind, I would have become a cutter. I stayed strong for her, but I fantasized about cutting myself often. I had never understood cutters before. I've heard (in church circles) that people who cut themselves do it as a cry for help, or that they are trying to create physical pain to relieve the emotional pain they are experiencing. I can't speak for all cutters, but I can speak for myself. I wanted to hurt myself so bad because I thought I deserved it. I hated myself so much that I wanted to punish myself to the point of physical pain, and some days, even to the point of death. I did not feel like I deserved to be alive. I felt like I had failed my marriage and failed my husband. I even had days when I thought I'd be doing him a favor by killing myself so he could find a better wife.

And then...my second daughter was born. She was my gift from God. She was all the proof I needed that God did indeed care for me and love me enough to give her to me. I adored her. She adored me. We bonded beautifully. She was perfect. I was thankful. I started talking with God again. He restored my self esteem, my strength and my confidence.

One day, something clicked in my head and my heart, and suddenly I could see myself through God's eyes. All of these memories started flooding through my mind and it was as if God was showing me that I was a really good wife. All the burdens started lifting as I realized it wasn't my fault. And better yet, all the negative feelings I'd been having were vicious lies from Satan. I felt totally free...for about 3 seconds. Then all the hurt and anger and bitterness inside of me that I'd focused on myself was now directed towards my husband, because for the first time in 3 1/2 years I realized that the source of all of my low self esteem, depression, self-hatred and suicidal thoughts was his sin! Oh, I cannot accurately describe the level of hate I felt towards my husband that day. And that was only the beginning.

That day was the end of my self hatred and the beginning of my hatred towards my husband. I started planning on leaving him. Or making him move into the basement. I started thinking of what daycare my girls would go to and what kind of job I would get and where we would live. I just wanted to run away from this man who hurt me so bad for so long and knew he was hurting me with his addiction but didn't care enough about me to stop. I hated the man who just sat back and watched me hate myself and let me hate myself and didn't bother to step in and save me from myself, simply by quitting his addiction. He failed me. He let me down. I needed him to come through for me. I needed him to be my hero and protect me from the hurt. Instead, the man I was living with, in my mind, was a weak man. A failure. A porn addict. These too, were lies from Satan. Just like the lies he'd been telling me about myself, and every bit as dangerous. Satan was out to destroy my marriage.

I talked to God a lot about my feelings. I knew He wanted me to tell my husband how I felt. So I did, in a letter. I basically told him I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't love him, I didn't respect him, I didn't care about him, I didn't want to spend time with him, I didn't care what he thought about me, I was emotionally done with him. He responded with repentance. He said he was sorry for hurting me. He wanted to help me heal. He asked me for forgiveness and for one more chance. After a TON of prayer, God changed my heart and I was able to forgive my husband. Every day, I choose to love him. I choose to trust him. I choose to respect him. I choose to forget the hurt his sin caused me and forget that he wasn't strong enough to fight for me. Here's what I've learned since then:

Satan's attack on our marriage was brilliant. He attacked my husband with the temptation of porn, which he fell for. Satan attacked me by telling me lies about myself, which I fell for. Because I was so broken and hurt and full of self-hatred which ultimately was very selfish because all of my energy was focused on hating myself all the time, I was unable to stand by my husband's side and help him and encourage him and fight with him. And because he was so involved in his sin, he was too weak and broken and beat down and discouraged to come through for me as well. We were both wrong. We were both being attacked and defeated. We were both weak and neither of us came through for each other. I have since asked him to forgive me as well.

This is a long process. We are still fighting these battles. I still have negative thoughts about myself. I still have to choose to trust my husband each day and be vulnerable and not shut him out of my life. I have to choose to be honest with him and choose to believe him when he tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful. My husband has been faithful to me since he asked for forgiveness that day. But if he struggles with porn again in the future, I will be ready to help him. We will fight this battle together as a team.

If you are the wife of a porn addict, here are some steps you can take towards getting rid of the guilt and pain and helping your husband fight his spiritual battle.
 
What to do if your husband IS NOT willing to change:

Pray for him: Whether or not he realizes it, your husband is fighting a spiritual battle. You can pray for God to soften his heart, convict him of his sin, and have the strength to fight his battle and win.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
Ephesians 6:11-12

Pray for yourself: Satan attacks marriages with porn because he knows that is one of the most effective ways to attack both husband and wife at the same time so both partners are equally useless in helping each other grow closer to God and to each other.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 2 Peter 8-9

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Find your worth in God:

You are his child...the daughter of the king of the universe. That makes you a princess

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father". The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8 14-17

You are God's creation, His masterpiece! You were fearfully and wonderfully made!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
Psalms 139:13-14

God loves you. You are important to Him. You are valuable to God!

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Luke 12:7


 Read Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge: It is a wonderful book about being romanced by God and finding your worth in Him.

Read False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction by Harry W. Schaumburg.
It will help you understand where your husband is coming from and why this addiction is so hard for him to give up. It will also help to remind you that this is his sin and it is not your fault. 

Here's the hard part:

Forgive your husband: Even before he asks.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6: 14

Treat him with love and respect:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence in your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2

 Let go of your anger and bitterness: Holding onto it is a burden that will only hurt yourself!

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

These things can only be acheived through tons and tons of prayer.


 Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17


 What to do if your husband IS willing to change:

Follow the steps listed above.

Encourage him to go to counciling. This way he will be able to work out his issues with a professional councilor (I suggest finding a Christian councilor since some non-Christians do not consider porn a sin or a problem) or a pastor.

Encourage him to find an accountability parter. He will need someone to talk to on a regular basis to help keep him on the right track, and who he can confess to if he is being tempted.

Encourage him to be honest with you. If your husband knows that he is going to have to confess to you every time he falls into temptation, it will be extra motivation for him to fight against it. As much as Satan likes to try to tell us wives otherwise, it is important to remember that your husband is not looking at porn to try to hurt you.

Be his accountability partner at home. Help him to stay strong. Talk with him about ways to make it harder for him to have access to porn. It may be to create a password for the computer so he can only use it when you are around. Or moving the TV to the bedroom so he can't watch movies alone after you've gone to bed. Help him to create barriers so it's harder for him to fall into temptation.

Pray with him. This will be a wonderful bonding experience and a way to grow spiritually together as you pray against Satan and pray for strength to fight this battle together, as a team, as partners, as husband and wife.

Go to marriage counciling together if either of you find yourself struggling to overcome this battle, or if either of you are feeling overwhelmed.

I pray that through this post, a few wives out there may be one step closer to finding peace and healing in their lives and in their marriage.

No comments:

Post a Comment