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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Should I Be Upset That My Husband Watches Porn?


Pornography use is on the rise. I wish we didn’t have to contend with this massive problem in our Christian communities, but it’s a real struggle for many. What might start as a casual glance can rapidly become a serious addiction.

People gloss over this problem and downplay it. It’s not something to minimize. The consequences of this habit are extremely destructive to a family. Being upset if your husband watches porn is understandable, and we will discuss some of the reasons why.

Why Am I So Upset?

There are many legitimate reasons why you are concerned about this habit. Pornography use is very disruptive to a marriage and a family. You know the road is a slippery one, which is why it bothers you immensely. You are rightfully concerned about the health of your marriage and family.

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) is one of God’s Ten Commandments. While your spouse might not be cheating on you with an actual person, it feels the same, and I would argue it is cheating. It is not drawing you closer together, which is a problem. Watchers of pornography tend to get frustrated with their real relationships and can become irritated and depressed. Long-term users can develop feelings of emptiness and loneliness.

Pornography is highly addicting. While your spouse might not put it in the same category as drug and alcohol addiction, the reality is that the effects on the brain are similar, and recovery is challenging. Over time, consistent use can alter brain chemistry, making the addiction even harder to break.

We all require intimacy and connection. When you are married, you get to connect with your spouse emotionally. Watching pornography creates an artificial bond with a fake world. As time passes, your husband could lose the ability to bond with real people.

How Did This Happen?

Why are so many couples dealing with this destructive habit? Pornography is ridiculously easy to find. Movies and TV shows are basically soft porn. It’s hard to get away from the sultry body images you find everywhere! Billboards, advertisements, television, movies, the internet. It only takes a click of a button.

I’m not letting your spouse off the hook; I’m saying the porn industry is going after them. With algorithms on the computer and phones, once you start looking at something, that category will appear repeatedly. If I am shopping for a woman’s bathing suit, all of a sudden, advertisements will appear on my phone for women’s suits. It’s distressing on our end but absolutely intentional on theirs.

The value of the pornography industry is somewhere between $6 and $15 billion. These companies are interested in making money; they are not worried about how their product destroys families. They are going after your husbands and children in their marketing efforts.

Moms have told me stories about their young sons who were not even looking for porn and somehow stumbled upon it by clicking the wrong thing. It’s so easy to find. You must work hard not to be sucked in.

The American Psychological Association states that pornography affects the brain’s reward pathways, affecting a neurotransmitter called dopamine that plays a role in pleasure and cravings. What might start as casual browsing could quickly turn into a problem as the desire for the pleasure sensations return.

What Can I Do?

While your husband is ultimately in control of stopping this habit, marriage is a partnership, and this impacts both of you. If something is coming between you, it’s wise to work together and eliminate the barrier.

You can voice your displeasure with this activity respectfully and lovingly. If you yell at or shame him, it will probably increase the divide between you. Share facts about the destructive nature of this activity. Let him know how it’s impacting your marriage.

Encourage your husband to find a band of brothers within the Christian community. I think every man needs, at minimum, a few Christian male friends who are not afraid to be real and keep each other on the straight and narrow. If your husband has these friends, notify them of the situation so they can support him. Hopefully, your husband has already spoken with them. All men have dealt with this temptation at some point or multiple points in their lives. No one can help him if it’s kept a secret.

If your husband needs help with a pornography addiction, take action now. Visit with your pastor or a Christian counselor. A lot of people chalk it up as “no big deal.” It is a big deal. It is estimated that forty million Americans visit porn sites regularly on the internet. I would estimate that since Covid, the number has increased.

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Our loving Father hears your prayers. Get on your knees and ask him for help. He is the only one who can change hearts. Pray for your husband and with your husband.

How Can I Keep My Marriage Healthy?

While you cannot control your husband, and it will not go well with you if you try, there are things you can do to keep your marriage healthy. Let’s be clear, even if you are doing everything “right” in your marriage, there is always a chance pornography could become a problem.

Sin is real, and everywhere in our world. We are a bunch of sinners. Thankfully Jesus came and died for our sins; we don’t have to carry them around. Our Christian journey is to fight against the propensity to sin. When we mess up, we return to our heavenly Father, ask for forgiveness, and try again.

Ensure you are making time for your husband. Under God, he should come next on your priority list. This can become challenging as kids come along and demand your attention. I know I have struggled with this. Kids, work, or other responsibilities tend to be at the forefront. It’s easy to push off your husband, but this has consequences. Your relationship will suffer.

Intimacy is important. God created sex to be enjoyed between a man and his wife. Most men are very physical, and they feel connected to their wives through this intimate act. Women tend to feel connected through conversation. Both needs are real and should be acknowledged and addressed. Are you always going to feel like being intimate with your spouse? No. However, this act will help increase the bond of trust between the two of you, making for a healthier marriage.

How Can We Guard Our Marriages?

Philippians 4:4-8 gives us guidance on how we can protect our hearts and mind. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This verse is a great litmus test for what things we should consume.

Pornography is as addictive as drugs, and yet it’s accessible within seconds. The movies will not stop making sex scenes; you and your husband need to put boundaries on what you consume. As Philippians says, fix your mind on things of purity that are lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Try to be intentional about what you and your spouse watch. Guard your eyes against scenes that may linger in your or your husband’s brain and create a false reality. Spend time together and make time for intimacy.

Have an open line of communication within your marriage. Don’t be ashamed to bring up hard topics like pornography. Bring them to the light and discuss them. Find out if it’s a problem for your husband and figure out how you can support him. What guardrails can you put in place so he doesn’t have the opportunity to be tempted? If he works from home, can you put his computer in a high-traffic area facing out?

The devil works in the dark. He loves when we hide our sins from others. Don’t let him get a hold of your marriage.

There Is Hope

Whether your husband has been battling a porn addiction for years or you just found out the other day, the emotions you are feeling are real. Your conscience is being pricked because you know this problem is deadly to your marriage.

The good news is there is help. There are faithful pastors, skilled counselors, and other Christians who would love to help you through this. Most importantly, there is a loving Father who wants the best for you and your husband. Cry out to Him. (Psalm 34:17) Tell Him your burdens and ask for His help. Pray faithfully, read your Bible, and let God work in your life, drawing you closer to Him.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PeopleImages

Katie Kennedy headshotKatie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, VA. She is married to a wonderful husband Jonathan and they have three girls. She is a writer, blogger, and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love of writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook, and dream.  She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram or Facebook.





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