Years ago, a friend approached Gwen with a horrible situation.
She explained that she and her husband had been verbally attacking each other for weeks.
She couldn’t remember what started the fight, but it had long since become an aggressive battle between them—one that was damaging their relationship.
The problem ran deeper than the argument, which was the tip of the iceberg.
Something surfaced that threatened to destroy them. They wanted to address it, but neither was willing. Instead, they hinted at this deep-seated problem with remarks that made matters worse.
Finally the root of the problem surfaced—pornography. It had taken over, occupying every moment of free time, and even occurred during work hours. It crept into their home and formed a wedge between them, preventing honesty, intimacy, and kindness.
Strangely, it was she who had succumbed to this subtle addiction. Although society is tolerant, it is not acceptable for anyone to be addicted to porn. But it seems particularly difficult to combat when a woman is involved.
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 agreed to counseling, she eventually succumbed to it.
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.
What’s the solution? Of course, the best way to prevent addiction is to never start. But once it has taken root, it’s difficult to kill.
Pornography dependence 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 seem a silly analogy, but it applies. There’s no weaning from sin. Repent, humble oneself, turn from sin and seek God’s face.
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.
The betrayal is real—but it’s possible to move beyond that out of devotion for one’s spouse. Fighting for them is appropriate, honorable, and powerful. It is extremely difficult, but I have seen many marriages recover.