healing after pornography in your marriage
Brace yourself. This is a heavy one. But I don’t want to be accused of tip-toeing around the hard topics and pornography is one of them. Pornography affects so many families. I’m grateful for my friend and fellow writer, Natalia, Drumm, faithfully taking on the topic of pornography in marriage. To read more from Natalia check out her website nataliadrumm.com.
How to start healing after pornography in your marriage.
The word pornography makes my stomach turn—literally. For all it entails, for that which it destroys, and all the tears it causes.
I could offer lists and statistics, but I don’t want this to be about data. I want to discuss healing. Marriages, in and outside of the church, are searching for a solution to this heartbreaking problem.
My husband and I minister to married couples through our church. We hear story after story about the destruction of intimacy because of pornography. Though I’m typically across the table from a crying wife. Wives, too, are susceptible to the trap of pornography.
But as a wife, how do you heal from discovering your husband involved in pornography? Overwhelmed with waves of anger, panic, insecurity, and betrayal within the same moment, leaves one desperate for answers.
While each conversation I had with my girlfriends on this issue was heartbreaking, God began to reveal constant themes in Scripture leading to healing.
1- Healing requires TIME.
In a culture where everything comes quickly and a drive thru has an order ready in 90 seconds, it’s hard for many of us to remember hurts aren’t healed at super speed. When we feel wounded, we want an instant solution or magic pill to make everything better. Restoring relationships and overcoming addictions happen one day at a time.
Consider the story of Noah and the Great Flood. Did you realize the Earth wasn’t flooded with water for 40 day and 40 nights and suddenly reestablished to beautiful land and life as normal? No, in fact, Noah spent a lot of time on the ark following the 40 days of rain. Genesis 8 tells us water receded for 150 days, the ark finds the top of Mt. Ararat and sits for another 3 months while water continues to dry up, and then 40 days later, Noah starts releasing doves. The Earth had been damaged and healing took time. Time. Even the very Earth needed time to heal, what makes us think we can heal immediately?
How much time do I need? That’s where it gets tricky. There’s no 6-8 week healing prognosis like medical surgery. Some people achieve healing and restoration quicker than others. Yet, acknowledging the necessary time it takes to heal allows us to give ourselves grace that we’re not ok right away, and that is ok.
The truth is that we will continuously be healing from this issue and many issues in our marriage for the rest of our lives. Two imperfect people in a marriage will continuously sin against the other. Healing is always part of the marriage dynamic. Time is a gift in the healing process. Time alone doesn’t heal all wounds, but time allows God to heal our wounds as we walk closely to Him.
2- Healing takes TRUTH.
The wake of pornography can leave a woman feeling as if her world is upside down. It seems everything she knows, thinks, and believes is undone. One of the most frequent lines I hear from women during conversations about pornography is “I don’t know why I’m not enough for him.” It’s heartbreaking. The truth is you are enough.
Satan rapidly achieves his goal of destruction through pornography in marriage because it not only damages so much of a man, but also devastates so much of a woman. For this reason the Truth of Scripture in our lives is absolutely crucial!
Soaking our souls in the truth of Scripture, and applying the truth to our lives enables us to withstand the arrows of deception from the enemy. Knowing our worth as women in the eyes of Christ, viewing our own sin as wretched, seeking and extending grace, searching for God’s wisdom, as well as hearing His word daily in our minds and hearts keeps us rooted in His love.
God is in the business of restoration. What Satan seeks to destroy, through pornography, or any other manner, can be restored when surrendered to the care of our Great Healer. While there are consequences for our sin, we must hold tightly to the knowledge that God is an expert in restoring brokenness. How we respond to our husbands can be crucial in their healing and restoration process.
Viewing our pain from pornography in light of the goal of restoration keeps our heart and minds focused on God’s will and not our present pain.
3- Healing takes TACTICAL WARFARE
Ephesians 6 makes clear much of what we face must be fought in the spiritual realm. For years in my marriage I fought for and against my husband in the physical realm, but failed to fight in the spiritual realm. When I began to come before the throne of grace in prayer and petition for my husband, so many areas of our marriage shifted. As I gave my girlfriends this same advice, and we began to pray for specific areas of healing and restoration in their marriages it was amazing to see God’s fingerprints as He worked on healing marriages.
Satan’s goal in pornography is destruction. Provoking women to feel as if they are simply victims and without power to fight keeps everyone in bondage. While we as wives cannot control the response and actions of our husbands, it does not mean we sit back and allow pornography to ruin the intimacy, love, respect and unity in our marriages.
As wives we have power in our marriages and homes to first, pray, and second, put safeguards into practice. When we become offensive players as well as defensive players we cover more territory. Explore restrictions on Internet devices, counseling, encouragement from spiritual mentors, and other actions you deem necessary in order to protect your marriage.
Realizing the healing process is not an instantaneous event but a long-term process changes our approach to restoration.
I wish this conversation wasn’t one shared via blog post, but rather face to face with a hot coffee and warm sticky bun. I most sincerely wish this wasn’t a conversation we needed to have, but sadly it is. All the more sad, is the knowledge this conversation isn’t shared enough with women who need to hear it.
Pornography by its nature brings shame. Countless women are shamed and scared to discuss this issue with their girlfriends. My hope in sharing my story is to combat the sin of our world with His truth, and allow hope to prevail where sin has derailed our marriages. My desire is you will allow these tips to be a spring-board to start the process of restoration. God so desires strong sexually healthy marriages, for from them we build healthy families.
5 comments found
Good reading, sorry we have to think about these things.
It is unfortunate but not talking about it doesn’t make the problem go away. I am so grateful for women who are willing to share their stories in order to encourage someone else.
I agree there is hope, but it takes time, praying and talking about the shame and fear. In Celebrate Recovery it is the number 1 reason for the men who come.
It is heart warming to see them receive their 30, 60, 90 day chips. Sooner or later the spouses will come and join the women’s group. We have time to talk, listen and pray with them. The support system they receive and realizing they are not alone seems to help. They share and support each other. It is such a blessing to see God work miracles in their lives!