Telling Your Spouse about your Porn Habit

June 20, 2012 — 5 Comments

“Do I have to?”

 Telling Your Spouse about your Porn Habit

Your Marriage is Worth It

I can hear the objections already. If you’ve confessed to God that you’ve been involved with porn and want to stop, that’s a fantastic first step. The next step (if you’re married) is to tell your spouse. Why?

  • You’ve been sinning against them. God provided you with a spouse as the source of your sexual fulfillment. That does not mean that they are required to be available 24 hours a day to carry out your every fantasy. That simply means that you’re involved in a sexual relationship with them and only them. Period.

I don’t know how much you read the Bible, but it’s more practical than you may think. Proverbs 5 is a great reminder of the kind of purity God expects us to maintain in the marriage relationship.

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer —
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

Who knew the Bible was so explicit? And helpful? God gives us some straight-up wisdom here. The fountain of sex should be kept private, between you and your spouse. It seems simple, but I’ve watched a lot of people get this wrong, and pay a high price for it. It’s time to start guarding that spring. Don’t let anyone else in, either in person or electronically.

“But I’m not married.”

Yet. And don’t forget, the people featured in porn are victims of visual adultery. You wouldn’t want someone gawking at your daughter or wife, would you?

So here’s a few tips toward coming clean with your spouse:

  • Choose the time and place. This is a serious matter, and needs to be handled face-to-face, not by text or facebook. Sit down with your spouse and give them your undivided attention. Then do what’s hard but necessary. Tell them the truth.
  • Tell them it’s been a struggle for you, but don’t go into extraordinary detail. It’s unnecessary and can cause more harm than good.
  • Expect them to be angry and hurt. Feelings of betrayal are appropriate for your spouse. They will need time to process, and most likely will not understand. This resource may help them.
  • Ask them for forgiveness, and accountability. Tell them you’ll be adding them to the new accountability software you’re installing on your computer and smartphone.

If you take this step, you’ve truly committed to recovery. Hang in there. The next step is coming.

Read the Whole Series:

  1. Porn by the Numbers
  2. Why Porn is Killing You
  3. Telling God about your Porn Habit
  4. Telling your Spouse about your Porn Habit
  5. Telling your Trusted Friend about your Porn Habit
  6. How to Get Help: Quitting Porn for Good

Joe Wickman

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Joe is a husband and father of 4 girls who gets to be a pastor at the church he grew up in. He has a desire to share what he's learned from the mistakes he's made so far in life.

5 responses to Telling Your Spouse about your Porn Habit

  1. What would you tell someone whose spouse no longer wants sex and has actually suggested that they “find a discreet mistress?”

    • Great question. It’s one I’ve encountered before. There’s no pat-answer, and knowing nothing about your situation, let me just say this:

      Sex was intended by God to be a mutually-fulfilling part of the marriage relationship. That said, there are multiple reasons for the sexual aspect of a relationship to be strained or to cease temporarily.

      Health concerns that make intercourse unpleasant or even painful are sometimes a factor. In that case, I suggest that the spouse in pain see a doctor. Emotional pain stemming from past or present trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, can also contribute the the shutdown of someone’s desire for physical intimacy. In that case, it’s time to get your spouse the professional counseling they need in order to experience healing. Finally, relational strain between husband and wife can also dry up the desire for sex. If you’re not getting along during the day, don’t expect fireworks at night. Sometimes paying attention to the fundamentals of healthy marriage can set the occasion for the renewal of fulfilling sex.

      Whatever the case, if your spouse is indicating they’d rather have you sleep with someone else, it’s time to get help. Like yesterday. You should not entertain the idea of a “discreet mistress” as this would doom your hopes of future health in your relationship. The guilt an and emotional complication would dissolve what’s left of your marriage. It would be like drinking acid to cure an ulcer. Not to mention, it would be sinning against God, yourself, the mistress, and your wife, (even if it was her idea).

      Incidentally, a lot of people engage with porn in an effort to feed a sexual desire that their spouse can’t or won’t fulfill. The trouble with that is that appetites are never satisfied. If we ate every food we thought we looked yummy, we’d all be fat. Many of us are. We know we shouldn’t, but we overindulge, then hate the results. I do it all the time. The truth about viewing porn, which is often coupled with masturbation, is that is does not satisfy in any lasting way. If anything, it only fuels the growing dissatisfaction we have with our real-life sexual relationship with our spouse.

      I know this is difficult, and I’m sorry you’re having to walk through it, but I would suggest rejecting your spouse’s suggestion, and telling them why. Tell them you’re committed only to them, and that you desire to work on whatever it is that’s broken in order to restore your relationship to fully functioning. If you need to, see a doctor, counselor, pastor or trusted friend. But get help.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Telling God about your Porn Habit « Joe Wickman - August 31, 2012

    [...] Telling your Spouse about your Porn Habit [...]

  2. Why Porn is Killing You « Joe Wickman - August 31, 2012

    [...] Telling your Spouse about your Porn Habit [...]

  3. How to Get Help: Quitting Porn for Good « Joe Wickman - August 31, 2012

    [...] Telling your Spouse about your Porn Habit [...]

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