There is no doubt that the wives of porn addicts suffer a great deal through the confession and recovery process. One researcher actually equated the emotional trauma that a wife goes through when finding out her husband has been using porn to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, in this process I have found that wives start believing things about themselves or their husband that are not true.
Here are 4 lies wives of porn addicts believe:
Lie #1: I should have been more sexy.
This is the big one that I see wives thinking of themselves and, even worse, what some who are trying to help the situation give as advice to curing the problem. Let me be perfectly clear, this is not your fault! I have said it once and I will say it again, wives did not cause it, they can’t control it, and they can’t cure it. Their husband’s addiction is exactly that, their husband’s addiction and they are responsible for their own behavior.
If you think that simply having more sex with your husband will cure this or even keep him from it you are wrong. Porn addiction has nothing to do with sex and has everything to do with medicating a pain in his life.
If you think that recreating porn scenes, changing yourself to be more like a porn star, or using porn in the bedroom will solve this you are wrong. There is simply no way to keep up with the newest trends in internet pornography and using porn as tool to keep your husband interested perverts what God intended sex to be and could actually make the problem worse.
Don’t believe the lie that if only you had been sexier this thing wouldn’t have happened. This is not your fault.
Lie #2: If he loved me enough, he would change.
This is an interesting thought and while I do agree that loving my wife does help me in my daily battle with temptation, we have made it clear in our relationship that this is not the end goal. When we are old and wrinkly what matters most is not the amount of love we have towards each other but rather is the other going to heaven. In our marriage all things come back to this because if the only reason why I am getting clean is my love for her, what happens (God forbid) if she is no longer around. Even without her in my life she would still want me to keep my sobriety so it cannot solely depend on my love for her and her love for me.
I know it doesn’t seem like it but in my experience the husband’s I work with love their wives very much. Loving their wives is almost never the issue. The issue is that they have some pain, some trauma, in their lives that they are masking. That’s what causes them to isolate. That’s what causes them to believe the lie of porn. And that’s what an intimacy disorder looks like.
Lie #3: I can’t tell anyone (or No one would understand).
Shame is one of the driving factors for porn addiction. Addicts feel as if they are completely unlovable if people knew who they really were. This shame has a tendency to bleed over on to the wife as well. Shame for what their marriage has become. Feelings of inadequacy or just plain embarrassment. being afraid of what people might think of you or your husband, all feeds into the fear of telling people. If you let this fear or shame consume you then the lies that Satan tells your husband are the same lies that you will start to believe.
The first thing I do when I help a married man is I tell them to have their wife get in contact with mine. Alicia has done this so many times and it truly helps just to have someone who has been there to listen to your story and know what it means. This is so important, so as much as your husband might not want you talking about his struggle, if he is in a program that is promoting openness and honesty then that means openness and honesty for you too. And just as much as the husband will need a support system for him to recover, so does the wife. To learn about the addiction herself and to have someone to lean on in days, weeks, and months to come in the recovery process will be invaluable in the long run.
So, wives, find someone you can trust and talk about it. Talk about what you can do to help your husband and try to steer clear conversation that tears him down.
Lie #4: I’ll never be able to trust him again.
As the angel said to the virgin Mary so I say to you, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Whether you have just found out, have been suspecting for a while, or have been on this road to healing your marriage for some time, the trust can be rebuilt. As you look at your marriage and it might be in shambles right now, it can be rebuilt. With the help of recovery programs, a loving community of openness and honesty, and with God as the foundation, you can have the marriage you so badly desire because that’s what God wants for every marriage.
Start on the road to recovery, find a good program, and rebuild your marriage one day at a time. It can be done. How do I know? Because my marriage is living proof. Not only were we able to rebuild but we are now at the point that we are glad it all happened. We are thankful for the rocky road that our relationship has taken because without it we wouldn’t be as informed, we wouldn’t communicate at the level we do now, and we wouldn’t be able to help others in the same way we can today.
If you and your husband need help please reach out! If you need another wife who has been there to talk to please email us here.
1 - http://wyso.org/post/ptsd-partners-sex-addicts