Skip to main content
AddictionBetrayalMarriage

5 Marriage Choices To Help Survive Porn Use

By April 28, 2023May 4th, 2023No Comments
survive-porn-use

Many women like you ask, “Can my marriage survive my husband’s porn use?”

The quick answer is, “Yes.”

Dave and I faced this crossroads over 15 years ago.

At the time of our crisis, I wasn’t sure we could survive his porn use struggle. Nor was I sure I wanted to.

I felt I had biblical grounds to leave the marriage, even though I hated the thought of divorce. His porn use violated our marriage covenant, yet did it constitute grounds for divorce according to the Bible?

I used to believe it did.

I still believe that porn use damages the marital bond and relationship, but it is recoverable.

In Luke Gilkerson’s article, “Porn Use as Grounds for Divorce: How My Opinion Changed,” he wrestles through the biblical grounds for divorce when porn enters the picture. If you want to read the article, I encourage you to do so. It is a scholarly and lengthy treatise.

While working through our recovery from this betrayal trauma, we learned that our attitude toward porn and the subsequent relational damage had much to do with our recovery. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

We had choices to make for our marriage relationship to survive the porn use.

1. Admit porn caused harm or excuse its use away.

Dave often tells others he believed, like many others, that his online porn use didn’t hurt anyone. But he had a choice when confronted with the reality of the damage to our relationship. Did porn use of any kind hurt our relationship? I’m so grateful he chose to admit the damage.

2. Admit my need to recover from his porn use or deny it.

In shock, I quickly denied that I needed to recover from his porn use. My reasoning stated that it was his problem, and he needed to deal with it. It wasn’t my issue. I knew I felt anger, betrayal, and other emotions, but I put those on Dave. Until a counselor confronted me. When Rob put words to the rage boiling in me, I had to make a choice. By God’s grace, I recognized I had to recover as well.

3. Admit we needed help or maintain secrecy to protect our reputation.

This discovery carries guilt and shame for the struggler and the spouse. The temptation remains strong to keep quiet and deal with it alone. But as anyone who’s ever struggled with addictive behavior knows, your best option is to seek professional help. Thankfully, we agreed to get help right away. That pivotal decision started our healing journey individually and together.

4. Commit to the healing process, or try to cherry-pick what you will do.

The healing process requires commitment in several areas. Getting professional help requires financial resources. What would we spend to get healthy individually and together?

There’s a considerable time investment. After the initial counselor meeting, we understood that recovery would take months or even years.

Recovery takes hard work. Therefore, several things need to be set aside temporarily to create space in our capacity to heal. Our restoration team of coaches confronted us with this at our first meeting. We chose to suspend involvement in anything besides work, church, and recovery-related activities to focus all our energies on recovery. This decision proved to be life-changing.

5. Evaluate every aspect of our relationship or focus on self-preservation.

To recover from the devastation caused by porn use within a marriage, we had to talk about everything honestly. I realized I responded negatively to Dave based on unresolved past issues, and he did the same to me. We had self-image and self-worth issues that precluded us from authenticity with each other. When each issue surfaced, we could risk exposing our true selves to the other or preserve our external image. By God’s grace, we chose to fight through the issues and for our relationship.

Can your marriage relationship survive porn use?

Yes, if both of you commit to making the necessary changes. The porn use struggler takes responsibility for the damage caused to the spouse and chooses to do the personal work to overcome the porn struggle. The affected spouse admits the betrayal trauma and works to forgive the struggler. None of these choices happen without prayer and a deep commitment to healing the relationship.

Dave and I maintain this healing journey today. Using the tools we’ve learned, we continue to strengthen the comprehensive intimacy of our relationship. I believe you can do the same thing. It’s your choice.

Need help knowing where to start? Please schedule a free 30-minute session. I promise to listen to your heart, help you discover your next step, and walk with you along the journey if that is your choice.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

    View all posts