7 Things I Wish I Knew before I Found My Husband’s Porn

7 Things I Wish I Knew before I Found My Husband’s Porn

There was this weirdly satisfying, split-second moment when the URL popped up as I typed in the search bar on the shared computer. The page loaded and there, in front of my eyes, was one of my husband’s favorite porn sites. At first, I exhaled a sigh of relief: I wasn’t crazy.

That split second moment was the culmination of a year of wondering if he was looking at pornography behind my back (despite his repeated denials). There had been the stain on the cloth computer chair, the charge for the Pay-per-view show while I was out of town, and the quickly minimized windows when I’d walk into the room.

The relief that came with knowing was short-lived. If you’ve ever caught your spouse looking at porn, you may know what I’m talking about. Maybe like me, you were filled with was rage, intense hurt, and feelings of betrayal. Or maybe you went into denial, or maybe you just didn’t care. But for Craig and me, that day started a long journey of healing for both of us. Looking back, however, there are several things I wished I had known before I had found the “stash” that may have made our healing a little less rocky of a process.

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  • 1. A person can be addicted to porn.

    1. A person can be addicted to porn.


    To be upfront with you, there are some researchers who disagree with this statement, so let me be clear about what I mean by this: my husband compulsively looked at porn and could not stop on his own willpower, despite negative consequences associated with his use. (If you’d like to research more about sex addictions, here’s a good place to start.) What I most wish I had known before I found the porn is this: in Craig’s case, his addiction was born out of emotional wounds from his past and his repeated use had most likely caused changes in his brain function (i.e. neuro-pathways). It wasn’t until he discovered why he felt the overwhelming desire to look at porn, the triggers that made him more susceptible to viewing it, and developed a true, personal relationship with Jesus that he really started making progress in healing.

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  • 2. This isn’t my fault.

    2. This isn’t my fault.


    I tried losing weight, toning up, and spicing things up in the bedroom to try to lure him away from porn. None of these things were successful. Why? Because the porn was never about me. I don’t regret losing weight and getting healthy, but I did it all for the wrong reasons and spent a tremendous about of time shaming myself for not “being enough” to keep my husband from straying. I made a lot of assumptions at the beginning of this journey that only served to fuel my pain and anger instead of turning to God and asking Him about how He sees me. Besides, who has the time or energy to compete with photo-shopped porn stars? Not only is this fruitless, it’s harmful to your own soul. Not only does comparing and measuring yourself against other women distract you from your own purpose and worth, but it can also fuel hatred and bitterness towards people God has called us to love.

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  • 3. Treating him like a child will not be helpful.

    3. Treating him like a child will not be helpful.


    Because I didn’t realize the depth of this problem and because I believed that if he got “in trouble,” he’d cease this extra-marital activity, I treated him more like one of my children than I did my partner in life. I made up rules for him to follow. I policed his Internet activity. I purposely would try to catch him off-guard to see if he was obeying my commands. All this came across as very disrespectful and contributed to his feelings of shame and inadequacy.

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  • 4. Porn is really more about fantasy than it is about sex.

    4. Porn is really more about fantasy than it is about sex.


    In Craig’s case, he turned to porn because he longed for a place where he could act like a man without having to really be one. He wanted to enter a world where he wouldn’t be rejected, where it didn’t matter what he said or what he looked like. Yes, absolutely, there is a sexual component (and release) to porn use that impacts his hormones and brain response, but that wasn’t his primary reason for his drive towards it. He wanted a place where he couldn’t fail and that didn’t have the risks that are a part of real relationships. 

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  • 5. Talking about it lessens the shame.

    5. Talking about it lessens the shame.


    For years, we didn’t tell anyone about this problem in our marriage. He was ashamed because of the taboo nature of pornography and I desperately didn’t want people thinking I was a bad wife. No one else we knew seemed to struggle with it either. Turns out, they were trapped by the same shame! But the thing about shame is that it’s a tool of Satan. He is all about keeping things in the dark because he knows that when they are exposed to light, the power of the sin and shame lessens. Satan whispers to you not to reach out for help and community because he knows the power it has to bring freedom and healing.

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  • 6. Being a Christian doesn’t protect you from the power of porn.

    6. Being a Christian doesn’t protect you from the power of porn.


    You can be a Christian and use porn. In fact, research suggests that the number of Christian men viewing porn pretty much mirrors the national average. Craig had been a Christian since he was a boy, giving his life to Jesus when he was in the fifth grade, raised in the church, and was a church volunteer—and still used porn. It’s not the title of being a Christian or even the act of being saved that helps the fight against porn, but rather it’s a true relationship with Jesus, a good grasp on how and why He created you, and an understanding of the immensity of His love, grace, and place in your life. Many Christians have idols in their lives and porn is simply one kind of idol. Our idols usually start with a void that only Jesus is designed to fill.

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  • 7. Sin is sin.

    7. Sin is sin.


    I wish I had realized from the beginning that my judgmental and controlling nature was just as bad as Craig’s porn use in the eyes of God. The definition of sin is simply separation from God. For me to belittle Craig, to try to control him, and to take complete responsibility for his health and the health of our marriage, kept God out of my life. It wasn’t until I recognized my own shortcomings, my own addiction to control, that I was able to repent and begin to see Craig as more than just a porn addict. It was so easy to measure my sin on a scale and deem it less than Craig’s when in reality, we both needed to allow Jesus more space in our lives and hearts.

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    Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. She’s also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.