Husband’s Porn Addiction: What Are the BEST Resources to Help a Wife Heal?

The other day I received an email from a reader who is trying to break his porn addiction.

As is the case in many marriages, his struggle with looking at porn has had a devastating effect on his wife.

They want their marriage to work, and he is taking the steps to break his addiction and stop the on-slaught of damage to his marriage.

His request, though, was with regard to resources for his wife.

He pointed out something that is often true among resources that tackle porn addiction, especially Christian resources — with regard to the wounded spouse, such resources can tend to have a high focus on “you have to simply forgive” and “do all you can to be sexually available to your husband.”

In and of themselves, these are good and necessary points.  I hear what the husband who wrote to me is saying though.

Some resources over-simplify the depth of a wife’s pain.

Please know that I’m not here to knock any resource, because there are many out there that are helping couples heal from this horrendous addiction.

What I am asking, though, of you my readers, is if you can recommend resources that are particularly good at acknowledging the wife’s pain.

What resources give validation to her justified anger and hurt, but at the same time encourage her to not get stuck in those places?

If you know of a resource that is very effective in this regard, can you please put it in the comment section?

(I have to approve all comments because I get blasted with so much spam, but I will approve quickly).

If we could come up with at least 10 resources, I think that would be fabulous. If we come up with more, that’s even better.  THANK YOU!

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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30 thoughts on “Husband’s Porn Addiction: What Are the BEST Resources to Help a Wife Heal?

  1. Sexy Christian Wife says:

    “Holding on to heaven while your husband goes through hell” by Connie Neal. This is the best book I’ve found for these kind of difficult situations, it got me through some tough times and helped me to let go of a lot of pain. Connie’s husband has something to do with the start-up of promise keeper’s I think.

  2. Suzanne B says:

    My husband’s porn addiction was DEEP and it eventually led him straight into an even deeper sex addiction, to the tune of 30 people outside of our marriage but DURING our marriage….
    Where I personally have found the most peaceful refuge is Wives in the Battle, through New Life Ministries….
    Even after a year after discovery, I’m still struggling, and fighting my way toward forgiveness. It’s not as easy as one would think.

  3. Sheila Wray Gregoire says:

    What a great question! I’ll be watching the answers to this one, Julie, because I’d love people to have those resources, too!

    I will say this, as I said in an email to someone yesterday after she read my post about how to deal with your husband’s porn addiction, that after everything comes out in the light, that’s when things get the worst. Before you knew, you may have suspected something was wrong, but you were on an even keel. Now you’re in turmoil. And the devil doesn’t like light being brought onto anything. He likes things being kept in the dark.

    The message? Just because things are rocky doesn’t mean that your marriage is bad or even worse. It means that your marriage is finally healing, because you have to go through that turmoil to get to the other side. And now Satan has lost your husband; don’t let him get you instead.

    But I’d love to see that list of resources!

  4. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you everyone for comments and resources!!! And thank you Sheila for the link to your post!!!!

    So good that this dialogue is happening.

  5. Andrew says:

    Many Christian women (including my wife) have found tremendous support, peace and perspective in S-Anon (http://sanon.org). It’s a 12 Step group for people whose live have been negatively impacted by someone’s sex addiction. Their literature is fabulous. They help members understand powerlessness and truly turning their lives over to the care of God.

  6. Normie says:

    I honestly feel that if wives were more understanding, obliging and generous when it comes to nourishing their husbands in this regard, then porn would be much less a pervasive issue.

  7. Normie says:

    Sorry, I forgot to add – Next to God (the healer), a mans wife will be the very best resource a man can have to winning over a porn addiction.

  8. Tom says:

    “I honestly feel that if wives were more understanding, obliging and generous when it comes to nourishing their husbands in this regard, then porn would be much less a pervasive issue.”

    Bingo. Women will criticize porn, saying it conditions men to expect physical perfection or any number of degrading acts from their wives, and so forth.

    You want to know the *true* appeal of porn for married men? It shows women who act like they *really enjoy* having sex with their partners… something that many, many married men desperately want from their wives, but never get.

  9. UK Fred says:

    I haven’t been there, but I suspect the best resource would be another man who has already gone through the same problem as an accountabilty partner, who would have, probably remote, access to the computer to be able to check such items as the index.dat files from the router, where you cannot hide behind ‘private browsing’ as it is called on mozilla firefox. If I had to give another Christian access to such files on my machine, it is not just porn site visits that would be evident but s/he would see everywhere I have been.

    I understand that the IT manager for a Christian charity, where there were adolescent boys living on site stopped it pretty quickly by simply posting on the notice board the analysis from the router of which computer had visited which site on the internet. Obviously mothers and fathers understood which computer was in their accommodation and had words with the relevant offspring. I gather some lads did not show their faces around the site for a few days.

  10. RandomDH says:

    @Normie and Tom

    This is the husband who sent the Email. While I recognize that in many cases the wife either refuses to be intimate, may refuse “reasonable” requests for new aspects of their intimacy, or has a bad attitude and doesn’t enjoy it that is not always the case. My wife has always enjoyed sex and been willing to try most new things. Porn was something that had been in my past and despite her very good attitude, her attractiveness, and willingness to experiment I still fell back into the trap. I don’t believe there is anything she could have done differently that would have kept the lure of porn away.

    I don’t know you’re experiences and if porn is something you’ve dealt with but I believe the greater problem is men bringing past or current porn use into the marriage. We end up craving the very different rush porn gives rather than being happy with being intimate with our wife. One of the things my wife and I are sorting out is what are the desires I have that really stem from me and what stems from porn. Even if a husband isn’t currently using porn when he gets married the images, desires from past porn use effect him in the marriage.

    Are there wives who sexually refuse their husbands leading to frustration? Yes there are. But in my case and I believe a lot or a majority of cases the blame for porn lies squarely on us husbands.

    I thank God for bloggers like Julie trying to address this area of sexual intimacy in marriage that the church has for the most part ignored. While my wife has always been good in this area but I do know there are plenty of women, and men too, in the church who don’t have a healthy perspective on sex.

  11. Suzanne B says:

    I am DEEPLY offended by Normie suggestion that porn addiction is in any way a wife’s fault. Even if a man in a sex-5-times-a-week marriage, you have to CHOOSE to be a man of integrity.
    In my case, I was at home, completely willing, literally BEGGING, while my husband satisfied himself, first alone and then with others.
    In no way did I deny him. I would have done ANYTHING. I’m no prude. And I resent the implication that if we wives would just “put out” more than men would be stronger.
    The onus is on men to BE men.

  12. Normie says:

    Suzanne B,

    I will make no apologies or concessions. Your offense is your issue and I will not be tempted to take it on board.

    There is a deep principle at play here. Most men are weak in this area – even for men of integrity. Real men of integrity will admit they fall in this area.

    When men are refused, most will fall into temptation, The fortress that offers protection that can only be provided by a wife has been denied – and the enemy can storm in.

    The scriptures are clear in this regard:

    1 Cor 7: “2 But sexual sin is a danger, so each man should enjoy his own wife, and each woman should enjoy her own husband. 3 The husband should give his wife what she deserves as his wife. And the wife should give her husband what he deserves as her husband. 4 The wife does not have power over her own body. Her husband has the power over her body. And the husband does not have power over his own body. His wife has the power over his body. 5 Don’t refuse to give your bodies to each other. But you might both agree to stay away from sex for a while so that you can give your time to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not be able to tempt you in your weakness”.

    A faithful wife will be wise in this regard.

  13. David S. says:

    Normie may have a valid point, and it IS true that some men stumble into porn because their wives are refusers or treat sex as a chore. However, it ALSO is true that as Suzanne said, many women are incredibly generous, yet their husbands are still in bondage to this. Let’s not minimize the pain of the wives in either category. Generalizations are not particularly helpful here.

    As Julie noted, there are lots of resources for men battling this besetting sin. Yet the roadmap for their wives is far less clear. I am definitely happy to see the other side get a moment in the sun.

    For my part, thought it is not specifically about porn, “Boundaries In Marriage” is an important foundational book for both husbands and wives, and has been of much help to wives with porn-addicted husbands (either battling or complacent). Highly recommended.

  14. uk Fred says:

    Julie, I would like to addressNormie on this post.

    Normie, it sounds to me that the logical extrapolation of your views is that it is OK for a single male to be looking at, and getting hooked on porn. I do not think that this is OK and I am thankful that the internet was not in full swing when I was in my teens and twenties, because I can see where I could have gone. There is published research which clearly demonstrates that porn does have an effect on the dopamine pathways of the brain and as such can prevent normal functioning for a considerable time afterwards. RandonDH is quite correct when he says -if he pardons the paraphrase – that it being a man of integrity as a choice.

  15. Normie says:

    uK Fred – that is

    I did not say, nor infer that (looking at porn) is either OK or justifiable. Rather it is understanable as to how a man can more easily fall to temptation in in this regard.

    Sin is never condonable. Sexual integrity is a noble persuit.

    However a man who does not have the protection offered by a wife through active marital fidelity is disadvantaged.

    It is like sending a lone soldier without a shield to fight against an an enemy who is well trained, well warmed and large in numbers.

    It is little wonder that porn is an issue for even the most Godly men in the Church.

  16. Wife of Random DH says:

    I am the wife referenced in Julie’s original post (my husband wrote the original e-mail). Normie, I have to say that your attitude is exactly what I am battling against and what spurred my husband’s original e-mail to Julie. Nothing in my life prepared me for the pain of my husband’s revelation of a ten-year porn addiction. In looking for some help in navigating a course of healing, I have been reading the popular Christian books and websites that deal with sexual addiction and male purity. These are mainstream, widely-lauded and often recommended resources. What I have read at some point states or strongly insinuates that: I am codependent; I am emotionally unstable and therefore unable to handle my husband being completely truthful with me; if I didn’t already know about my husband’s addiction he shouldn’t reveal it to me until AFTER he’s conquered it; I have a responsibility to model godliness in the home, therefore I should “kiss and forget”; or I am a prude that obviously needs to put out more. None of these are true of me. Reading such things from books and websites that are considered trusted authorities is just piling hurt on top of hurt. Normie, your quick dismissal of Suzanne’s offense as “her issue” is emblematic of something else that I did not expect to encounter–a disregard for the depth of my pain. My pastor was eager to meet with my husband. He hammered out a plan of action, gave him a book to read, assigned him accountability partners, said, “I have you back, let’s DO this!” It never occurred to him to involve me in the plan. When my husband asked our pastor about resources or help for me, he was met with a blank stare. So, having read Julie’s blog for a few months my husband decided to e-mail her and that’s how this thread came about. I would like to turn the thread back to the original question: what resources are there for a hurting WIFE? Something that doesn’t state, insinuate, or imply that my husband’s addiction is my fault–because it’s NOT.

    To those who have already posted helpful resources–thank you. I have already taken a look at some of the websites and I am looking into finding the books. To Shelia Gregoire, the blog post you linked to was wonderful. It was so affirming to hear the “agreeing husband” poster and yourself state what I have felt and believed through this process. I think I am going to print it out and read it every day. And Julie, thank you for this blog and for creating a place where I can be encouraged, learn some things, explore a new perspective occasionally, and–right now–get some help. I so appreciate what you do.

  17. Tammy Lewis says:

    My husband and I went through a program in our church called Living In Freedom Every Day (L.I.F.E.) Two separate programs for the men and the woman. Also there is a website called xxxchurch.com that has lot of good information

  18. Thomas says:

    I appreciate your outreach and resources for addicts. I am a recovering addict myself and spent so much time confused as to why and how I got the point I was at. I appreciate the tools offered by you and others like you. I have created a website to reach out to those in need. I would appreciate it if you would add my link to your site. Thank you again.

    My link: addiction recovery guide

  19. A wife moving in the right direction says:

    There aren’t a lot of resources out there or support for the wives but one I found helpful is a book called When Good Men are Tempted. It is a book for men in helping them but the author Bill Perkins encourages wives to read it. It does not excuse men for what they have done but it gives great insight and understanding of men and how they think. So from a personal view I would definitely recommend this book to women (along with other resources that you may find helpful) because it did help me.

  20. Honesty says:

    To Tom and Normie, could you please explain your reasons for ever getting married. And although I have known about my husband’s addiction for going on eight years, I can tell these women that you can read every single book and article and sight on the internet and counseling and it still will invade your thoughts by the little things that you encounter on an everyday basis on tv, computer, advertising ect. It just takes time to focus on other concerns in your life. Also to Random DH and wife, I so wish I could talk to you both privately. I feel you both told the truth and I thank you for that.

  21. anonymous says:

    My husband and I are in our 60’s, but have been married only3 years – After 8 months of bliss, I discovered he had viewed porn while I was visiting family for a couple of days. The devastation was crushing. I am still dealing with the insecurities, etc. FamilyLife Ministries was/is a big help to me. FamilyLife.com is their link.

  22. Darrell Brazell says:

    Ladies, please take a few minutes to listen to my “Apology To Women” that was presented at the Women of Virtue Conference in Kansas City last year. I was addicted to pornography from the time I was eleven until I was thirty-four but by God’s grace have now been clean for fourteen years. From my journey the Father has put it on my heart to both speak to and fight for the hearts of women who are being pummeled through this insidious attack of the enemy. Video is at the top of http://www.newhope4si.com. I also have a section of free audio files specifically for wives of men who struggle in this arena. Just scroll down to the “For Wives” section.

  23. Jacqueline says:

    Don’t have time to read this whole blog before I answer Normie. That ancient bologna about if he was getting it at home he wouldn’t be into porn just is not true. It’s which came first the chicken or the egg. Studies have proven that porn actually numbs a man to intimacy with his wife because she just isn’t looking like those young “photo shopped” bodies. Let’s lay blame where it belongs right in the lap of the addict.

  24. Daniel says:

    Has a man who has eaten his fill of his wife’s delicious cooking ever left the table in order to go to the nearest buffet?

    I haven’t.

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