What is a Woman to do if Her Husband is Using Pornography?
- Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Resources to help men deal with pornography addictions are common, but how should a woman deal with the devastating pain of knowing her husband has been ensnared in one of Satan’s most lethal traps?
Dr. Rebekah Land, a Southern Baptist psychotherapist in private practice in Nashville, Tenn., told Baptist Press that Internet pornography is considered the "crack cocaine" of pornography these days because it’s so addicting and easily accessible. Pastors are not immune to its deceitful allure, tearing apart families every day.
"It used to be that if a guy wanted to look at pornography he’d have to go to some seedy, XXX theater and watch awful B-grade or C-grade films," Land said.
But today, the most common pornography users wouldn’t dare go to a theater or creepy bookstore; the average man can be swept up and his marriage shattered without even leaving his office.
In this kind of environment, it’s all the more necessary that wives become armed with the knowledge of how to react to such potential infidelity before they’re taken down by despair.
"A lot of times the first thing that happens when a wife finds out, they’re just devastated," Land said. "Before they can even get to what they need to do as far as their husband is concerned, they need to deal with it themselves. They have to deal with the hurt, the devastation, the embarrassment, the anger. It feels like a betrayal, it feels like he’s had an affair. Probably the first thing they have to do is try to get their own head together and identify their feelings and what it means to them."
Land said pornography use is not an instant justification for divorce because God says in His Word to forgive no matter how hard it seems. Situations vary, she said, and something a woman needs to consider is the reason why her husband has turned to pornography.
If the husband’s sin is an indiscretion, Land said, that’s different than if it’s an indication of a pattern of addiction. Some men simply fall into the trap of lusting after multiple women, while for others their addiction is the result of a deeper, lifelong pattern of sin, she said.
"If you uncovered what looked like maybe a lifelong pattern, it would be a little harder to accept that he’s going to get over it because that’s one of the issues," Land said. "The behavior has to stop. So if you realize that he’s got maybe multiple addictions and you didn’t realize he did, if it looks like a pattern that’s been there for years and years -- I’m not saying that justifies you leaving, it’s just realistically you may have a whole lot bigger mountain to climb than somebody else."
Women almost automatically think that if their husbands use pornography it’s because the wife doesn’t measure up physically. But Land said that’s not always the case.
"That may not be what he’s saying. The problem with Internet stuff or just print pornography, what happens is it’s easier to do that than to work at a relationship with your wife," she said. "It’s not necessarily that it’s more satisfying than she is, that may not be what he’s saying. It’s more convenient, a picture doesn’t talk back to you."
One factor that can lead men into pornography use as adults is if they were exposed to it at an early age, Land said.
"If he finds a stack of magazines that his dad has under the bed or in the closet or something, what can happen is that awakens sexual feelings and attaches them to a picture as opposed to a person," she said. "That is a very difficult thing to pry loose."
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