January 29, 2014 - Marriage

Years ago, a friend approached Gwen with a horrible situation.

She explained that she and her husband had been verbally attacking each other for four weeks.

She couldn’t remember what started the fight, but it had long since become an aggressive battle between them—one that was causing damage to their relationship.

It soon became apparent that the problem ran deeper than having an argument. As bad as it was, it was the tip of the iceberg.

After twelve years of marriage, something was coming to the surface that threatened to destroy them. Each of them wanted to address it, but neither was willing to take that step. Instead, they hinted at this deep-seated problem with remarks and innuendos that only made matters worse.

It took us several weeks to get to the root of the problem—pornography. It had begun insidiously and then took over, occupying every moment of free time, and even during work hours. It crept into their home and formed a wedge between them, preventing honesty, intimacy, and kindness.

Strangely, however, it was she who was addicted. Although society is tolerant, it is not acceptable for anyone to be addicted to porn. But is seems particularly difficult to combat when it is a woman with this addiction.

Her husband felt all the same emotions I hear from women whose husbands are addicted to pornography—rejection, depression, feelings of worthlessness, anger, betrayal, and most of all—cheated.

As is the case with so many who are addicted to pornography, she found it difficult to stop, and even though she went through counseling, she eventually succumbed to its deceptions.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at the toll this deviance takes on a marriage and a family. Whether it’s the husband or the wife’s addiction, pornography is adultery. I am not saying its adultery because it leads to adultery—I am saying its adultery because it is adultery.

So what’s the solution? Of course, the best way to prevent addiction is to never start. But once it has taken root, it is difficult to kill.

Pornography dependency requires strong measures, including cold turkey quitting. There is no such thing as weaning off sin.

My pastor, Dr. David Platt has given a ‘weaning from sin’ analogy from the pulpit several times. He puts it something like this:

A bank robber gets saved. He comes to the pastor and says, “God has told me that robbing banks is sin. Last year I robbed 20 banks, so this year I am going to rob only 10. Next year I will cut that in half, and the year after, I won’t rob any!”

It may be a silly analogy, but it’s quite applicable. There is no weaning from sin. Repent, humble oneself, and turn away.

So what does that mean to the spouse? The most important thing the spouse can do is support them, pray for them, and continue to love them. But that does not mean they tolerate pornography. That is never acceptable.

Yes, the betrayal is real—but it’s possible to move beyond that out of devotion for one’s spouse, and be there for them. Fighting for your spouse is appropriate, honorable, and powerful. It is extremely difficult, but I have seen many marriages recover.