If you have discovered that your husband is addicted to pornography, the sense of betrayal you feel may be devastating. (See this article at Covenant Eyes for more on this.) How do you rebuild your trust in your husband? How do you open yourself up again to sexual and emotional intimacy?
Today’s post comes from Robi Smith, who writes at Hopeful Wife Today. She shares about her journey from the discovery of porn toward a healing marriage.
Guest Post by Robi Smith at Hopefulwifetoday.com
After ten years of marriage, I discovered that my husband had a secret addiction to pornography. I was completely clueless about this addiction. After knowing that I wanted to stay married to him, I knew we had a lot of work to do in our marriage. Before this discovery I realized that we were living in a fake relationship. In other words, we were two broken people that kept our true selves hidden. We thought we were in love and that we had a wonderful marriage. However, underneath this, we were both suffering.
My husband’s problem with pornography obviously seems like the worst sin of our marriage. This may or may not be the case. I am not the one to judge our sins. Only Jesus can do that. The severity of our individual sins does not have meaning to our marriage. We are committed to following God’s will for our life and restoring our relationship to each other. We have decided to move ahead and not focus on the past hurts.
I hurt my husband in many ways also. God has shown me that I was never truly intimate with my husband. I kept myself closed off from him. I knew I loved God and my children with all my heart. Yet, with my own husband, I kept myself distant. I could never even count the amount of times that I denied him of sexual intimacy. I looked at spending time with him as a miserable chore. I was so busy and I could always think of ten more useful to things to do with my time. I clearly remember being relieved to have completed that chore.
It’s awful to think that I was that person. I was a woman that hated being sexually intimate. I just couldn’t find it in myself to trust another person in that deep way. The truth is that I never trusted my husband emotionally either. I never wanted to risk sharing my true heart and self with him. It just seemed to be too much.
In the same way, my husband could not bring himself to share who he really was with me. I saw him as a happy, confident, Godly man. Inside, he was deeply hurting and stuck in sin. He brought his pornography addiction into our marriage. It was something that had long been a part of his life. Something that he tried so hard to beat, but never could. He knew he could not tell me who he really was. He knew I would be disgusted and disappointed that he was such a weak man. He knew I would be crushed to find out he lusted over other women.
Then, God interceded. God opened my eyes to who my husband truly was. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. Only through God’s grace and love did I get through it. I admit that I could have stayed “stuck” in that pain forever. But, God didn’t want me there. He lovingly opened my eyes to the ways I had treated my husband and caused him pain. As my husband fully opened his life to me, I began to trust him. When I saw that he was a real person, who struggled and was vulnerable, it made me more willing to trust him. I was able to open my heart to him. As that happened, I started to look forward to and enjoy sexual intimacy. God was working miracles in our marriage.
Rebuilding trust has been a long path. We decided that we wanted to give it our all. My husband and I sat down and made a plan for what we needed to do in order to restore our marriage. The number one thing that we do is our nightly time together to talk, read, and pray. We never had this before in our marriage. Now, we consider it essential to do every day. This is a time that we spend twenty minutes together at the table. First, we talk about our day. We share the things that went great and the things that were disappointing. I am also free to ask him any questions that I need to ask. Second, we read the Bible and an inspirational book together. This is usually a devotional or Christian marriage book. Third, we come to God in prayer. We pray over our marriage and the things that we need from each other. This time has helped us to rebuild trust immensely.
Having an internet filter has helped me to trust my husband again. Not just having the filter, but also the fact that my husband has found other activities to do besides internet browsing. We agreed that aimless internet browsing was not good for our marriage. Therefore, we limit internet time to work related issues. Any extra things on the internet that we need to do are mostly done together. Also, my husband has openly shared all passwords and accounts with me.
Going to bed at the same time was very important for our marriage. I wish I had valued this always. I never realized that it could be tempting for a man to be up late hours at night with full, anonymous access to the internet. Now, I know how important it is to go to sleep at the same time. My husband viewed most of pornography late at night. Taking away that free time was an enormous help for him to overcome his addiction. Our marriage has also been blessed from this! When we go to bed together, we have time to talk and be with each other.
Spending time together has helped grow our marriage. We were drifting very far apart from each other. We had stopped having fun together. Now, we take time out to have fun. We share our activities instead of having only separate hobbies. We are truly being together for the first time.
The Bible says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
We believe this with all our hearts. Not only is God making us new people individually, but He is making our marriage something new. And it’s something beautiful.
Robi Smith is a wife and mother to four wonderful children. She has been married for thirteen years. Robi has a Master of Counseling in Counseling Psychology and is the founder of Hopefulwifetoday.com. She aims to bring God’s hope and healing to hurting wives from their husband’s pornography use and unfaithfulness. She is continuing to see God’s restoring power every day in her life and in her own marriage.
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