Porn Addiction has devastating effects.
It destroys health, families, careers, and marriages.
But it doesn’t have to.
If you or your spouse has battled porn, you may ask, “Can my marriage be saved after porn addiction?
I’m living proof. My addiction to porn and sex almost destroyed my marriage. I was unfaithful to my wife (literally and figuratively) more times that I wish to count. I broke my marriage vows many times.
Yet, even after all the heartache, the lies, the relapses, and the betrayal, we found healing in our marriage. We even renewed our marriage vows on our tenth wedding anniversary!
I understand not every marriage will survive what we came through. Sometimes the damage is too great to overcome. But I do believe that it is possible to not only save your marriage, but renew your commitment and even thrive after overcoming porn and sex addiction.
Fixing my marriage took a lot of hard work on my part. I had to dedicate myself to recovery, be completely open and honest, and confess ALL the things I had done.
But my wife also had some work to do as well. She had to forgive me (a whole lot easier said than done,) work through the grief and heartache, then be able to help me in my journey to freedom.
If you want to restore your marriage after porn addiction, there are some things both spouses must understand.
1. Porn Addiction Has Nothing To Do With Sex
That statement seems crazy, I know. But it’s true. It is often very hard for wives to understand porn addiction. Many women blame themselves. They think if only they were skinnier, or prettier, or had bigger breasts, then their husband wouldn’t look at porn.
But men don’t get addicted to porn just because they have an insatiable sexual appetite. They’re not just hornier than normal. Porn addiction is a drug addiction. Men get addicted to the dopamine rush they get from watching porn. Their brain demands more and more to get the same “high”. It works just like any other drug or alcohol addiction. Porn is simply the drug of choice.
Porn use becomes about seeking release from stress, avoiding emotions, and failure to cope with pain. Men use porn as an “escape”. They never learned to deal with negative emotions in a healthy way, and instead learned they could make all the problems go away for a while by watching porn and masturbating. They then get hooked on the dopamine.
There is some sort of pain in the man’s life that he’s just not able to cope with. It could be something major like abuse, divorce, or grief. It could be something that hides beneath the surface like fear of failure, rejection, or not feeling good enough. Now, when something triggers him, those emotions come forward and the only way he knows how to handle them is to run to porn to escape.
Once both the husband and wife are able to understand that the man is addicted to porn because he doesn’t know how to deal with pain in his life, not because she isn’t pretty enough, it opens the door to healing for both of them.
2. Encourage Not Punish
If a marriage is to be restored after porn addiction, there must be an atmosphere of encouragement and not punishment. The man needs to be given positive encouragement and support if he is to stay sober from his addiction.
Now, before you jump all over me, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be consequences for the actions and decisions that he has made. But for healing and restoration to take place, there must be forgiveness.
A man needs his wife to help him overcome the addiction. If he’s going to face his demons and address the deep seated issues that caused his addiction in the first place, he’s going to need love and support. He’s going to need his wife to encourage him when he’s feeling low and push him to keep fighting.
A marriage cannot be restored if a wife chooses to continually punish her husband for his addiction.
3. You Should Have Sex
Having sex with someone who has hurt you by watching other people have sex,or actually having sex with other people is probably the last thing that a wife wants to do. And there may be a time period where there is too much pain for there to be sexual intimacy. However, having sex is one of the best things a couple who is trying to heal can do.
Nothing bonds a married couple together like sex. Having regular sex brings a couple closer together. It unites them in the intimacy that God intended marriage to be. Husbands and wives need to be intimate to be healthy.
A wife should never withhold sex for any significant amount of time as punishment for the man’s addiction. This helps no one.
In fact, Scripture says that married couples are NOT to withhold sex from each other.
1 Corinthians 7:5
“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Husbands and wives are supposed to have regular sex. It is how marriage was designed. Read through the Song of Solomon. Its description of the man and woman’s intimate relationship reads like a kinky romance novel.
If a couple is going to heal, they need to have regular sex. Sex alone won’t save a broken marriage, but it sure as hell won’t hurt it either.
4. There Must Be Communication
One of the main reasons many men get addicted to porn is because they don’t know how to express or cope with their emotions. So they bottle them up until they eventually boil over and act out through porn and sex for escape and relief.
A husband and wife must learn to communicate properly. A man must learn healthy ways to communicate and process the wounds in his life that are causing his addiction. The wife must be willing to express her hurt and also work through the process of forgiveness.
There are three types of communication that must take place: Husband to Man, Wife to Woman, and Husband to Wife.
In my book, Living Porn Free: 10 Steps To Recovery, Redemption and Renewal, I discuss the importance of every man having a “Nathan” to be his support partner on his journey to recovery from porn addiction. Only another man can guide a man and keep him accountable.
In the same way, every wife who has been betrayed needs someone she can go to in order to express her feelings, work through the pain, and rebuild.
Lastly, the husband and wife need to communicate together. They must be able to properly express their feelings, desires, and emotions to each other in a healthy way without fighting and discord.
A marriage that doesn’t communicate, is a marriage that will never heal.
It may at first seem impossible for a marriage to be healed and restored after a betrayal. But it IS possible.
Too often, people think divorce is the only option after a betrayal. But that’s simply not true. Marriages can be healed. My marriage is a perfect example.
Yes, Jesus listed adultery as an allowable justification for divorce in his sermon on the mount, but that doesn’t mean that the marriage must automatically be thrown away because adultery has occurred.
God intended marriage to be for life. Even if he allows divorce in certain circumstances, that doesn’t mean every attempt shouldn’t be made to repair and save the marriage.
Fight for your marriage just as hard and you fight for your freedom from addiction.
In fact, fight together. My wife joined me on my journey to freedom. I don’t know that I would have ever defeated my addiction without my wife’s support. Fighting that battle together as one brought us closer to one other. We grew, healed, and renewed our lives together.
So if you or your spouse is battling porn addiction, don’t give up. You can heal. You can restore your marriage. You can live in happiness and in love.
Marriage CAN be saved after porn addiction.
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If at any point you feel like you need a brother to come alongside you and support you, I’ll be there. I’d be happy to get on a call with you to provide personal guidance to create a plan to fight your addiction and accountability to keep you on track. I’ve already helped dozens of men overcome their addictions; all who thought they were helpless. I’ve discovered that every battle with porn shares the same few threads that, once unraveled, release you from the chains of addiction. I’d love for you to be the next success story!