Land said that in today’s culture pornography is so prevalent that often it’s hard for a woman to notice warning signs that her husband is keeping the secret from her.

"Sometimes what will happen is maybe the husband stays up later and is on the computer or he goes upstairs to his study and the rest of the family is downstairs," she said. "But that wouldn’t necessarily tell you a thing.

"Sometimes you’ll see clues on the surface like maybe it seems like a guy has an eye for women, like he goes to a football game and he’s watching the cheerleaders or he seems to look too long at waitresses, something that tells you there’s an issue there," Land added.

Once a woman realizes that her husband is using pornography and once she gets her own head together, Land said the next step is to confront the husband -- something that will take different forms for different personalities. And if a husband wants to stop his addiction, he must first tell his wife, she said.

"There is no way to start the process of working on that and your wife not know about it," Land said. "But that’s a difficult thing because you know there’s a real possibility that that’s going to blow things open and she’s not going to be too happy with you."

An exception, she said, would be if a woman had been sexually abused as a child and such knowledge of her husband would reopen wounds.

"But in general, he would need to be aboveboard about that and show her the steps that he was going to take and involve her in the process of him overcoming that," she said. "Ideally, if that was dealt with well, they could grow through that just like anything else.

"A lot of times I think when things hit the fan in a marriage, the potential is if they work through whatever it is, the relationship will be stronger than it ever has been because something was wrong that it got to the place where whatever it is happened," Land told BP. "So it was an illusion that they were happy and everything was OK. Everything wasn’t OK."

Some steps toward healing that a couple can take include contacting their pastor and asking him to recommend a reliable Christian therapist. The couple doesn’t even have to tell the pastor what the problem is, Land said, and the therapist can then refer the couple to someone who may specialize in the field of pornography addiction if that therapist does not feel qualified to take them on as patients. By that point, the couple’s names don’t even have to be mentioned, Land said.

From there, a Christian therapist can help the couple walk down the road to recovery. Also, Land recommended two resources couples could consult. The first is a book for women by Marsha Means called "Living with Your Husband’s Secret Wars," and the second is a workbook for men by Mark Laaser titled "Faithful and True: Sexual Integrity in a Fallen World."

The bottom line in guarding a marriage against pornography, Land said, is open and honest communication between a husband and wife.

"Very often it’s the nature of this kind of thing to be secret. So if you had a marriage where it felt safe to be vulnerable or safe to acknowledge what was going on with you or struggles that you were having, that would be ideal," Land said.

It also wouldn’t hurt for a husband to do all he can to avoid images that could cause him to lust, she added, because today’s culture is saturated with sensuality.

"It’s a matter of having a filter on your computer, not watching certain programs, not going to certain movies and not thinking that you’re not susceptible to it," Land said.

© 2006  Baptist Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.