Marriage Monday: Advice for When Pornography Hits Home

87794857 (3)You know me…I believe in honesty. Getting all the cards out on the table.  Talking about whatever needs to be talked about.  Today the topic is pornography.

Mark and I have shared openly in our ABC’s of a Healthy Marriage seminars and in my Is There Really Sex After Kids? book about how pornography has affected our marriage in the past. It robs intimacy, breaks trust, and causes feelings of betrayal in the relationship.

Today I want you to hear from the heart of a Hearts at Home conference attendee who has written a book on the subject.  Vicki Tiede lives in Rochester, Minnesota and has a heart for women whose hearts are broken by pornography.  She is the author of When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart, a step-by-step road to healing for you as well as a game plan for what to do. You can visit her on the web.

I asked her about her journey so I could share it with you today:

JS: Vicki, why are you passionate about this topic?
VT: The health of a marriage can serve as a temperature gauge for the health and strength of a family. So what’s a mom to do when pornography is rampaging her family? This is a terrible, evil, reality that is impacting 50-70% of families and I believe we need to take this very seriously.  My personal experience with this issue came out of my first marriage. You can hear my story in a YouTube video here.


JS: Why did you write a book about this subject?

VT: I wrote When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography because I want women to have a resource that specifically addresses the healing that only God can provide for her broken heart in the wake of sexual betrayal. There are other great resources that will educate a woman about her husband’s addiction and how she can help him. My book is not a fix-it manual for husbands, rather, it targets the healing of her heart.

JS: What if you have recently discovered that your husband is struggling with pornography?
VT: Before I answer that, I want to say that I sincerely hope your husband chose to tell you about his struggle and that you didn’t discover it for yourself. When a wife discovers it the hard way, she tends to wonder if her husband is really sorry, or if he’s only sorry he got caught.  If you’ve experienced that, you need to know you’re not alone.

I also hope your husband is struggling with the addiction. Please know that even the good guys struggle. Everyone else just does it and sees nothing wrong with it and mainstream culture goes so far as to promote it.

When the truth is unveiled about a husband’s addiction to lust, self-gratification, and pornography you need to take time to grieve your losses, of which there are many. Topping the list of losses is trust. You trusted your husband enough to share everything with him—your heart, mind, and body— and that’s been betrayed.

Many women also lose financial security and health. When most people grieve losses (i.e. in the case of a death), they are able to share their pain with friends and family who are aware of their suffering. Grief resulting from betrayal is unfortunately usually very private, covered in secrecy and shame. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. I wrote the book to help equip you to choose safe, healthy support networks.

It’s also very normal for the wife of a porn addict to feel suffocated by feelings of fear, need for control, guilt, anger, and dependence on your husband for your happiness and sense of self-worth. I walk women through the process of surrendering those feelings and replacing them with healthy alternatives grounded in Scripture.

JS:What happens to the sexual relationship in the marriage?
VT: It stands to reason that when a man chooses to burn the midnight oil looking at computer-enhanced images and engaging in self-gratification rather than enjoying real intimacy with his wife, there are going to be significant repercussions in the marriage bed. Consequently, much healing is necessary in the area of sexual intimacy.

JS: What do you want women to know who are dealing with pornography issues in their
marriage?
VT: Please believe me when I tell you that this is NOT your fault. Your husband’s choice to act out and engage with pornography is not about you. Yes, you both probably have some work to do in the area of how you share intimacy (emotional connection), but nothing you have said or done (or not said or done) caused him to turn to pornography. In the end, you can only control yourself and your choices.

JS: Any final encouragement you want to leave us with?
VT: I am confident that God can and will take the broken pieces of a woman’s heart and make something beautiful. (Psalm 147:3)  He’s done it in mine and I know He can do it in yours.

If pornography has hit home in your family, you are not alone.  May you find hope and help from other women who have been there.

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3 Responses to Marriage Monday: Advice for When Pornography Hits Home

  1. Katie says:

    We always talk about men being the ones addicted to porn, but what about women? We look at porn too. (not every woman, of course, but you get what I’m saying) We’re not immune to it. I know couples who the woman struggles with porn and the man doesn’t. Maybe it’s time to change the stereotype?

    And also, I do think it’s possible to look at porn without being addicted to it. Either way, it’s not a good thing. But maybe we don’t have to make every person who looks at porn out to be an “addict.” I think it’s possible to be prone to slip-ups… like having a big pizza for dinner when you’re on a diet, or making a purchase on your credit card when combatting debt.

    The older I get, the more I learn that “sins” are not black and white… they can’t be defined, they can’t be categorized, and NOBODY’S immune to any given sin. While many of them are easily definable, like murder or theft, it’s STILL more complicated than that… I think rather than looking at the sin and trying to cut off the sin (as if it were a weed in the grass), we need to take a deeper look… deep into the heart of each person. What are the reasons for them acting out in unhealthy ways? How can I help them to heal their deep wounds that bring sin into their life?

    Because I fear if we define someone by their sin (and in this case viewing pornography), they only see themselves as a sinner, rather than a human who struggles with human moments. And we’re only trimming the weeds rather than pulling up the roots.

    I’m all for breaking stereotypes and looking at the heart and situation of each individual! 🙂

    • JillSavage says:

      Katie, I agree with you. However, by talking about pornography doesn’t make it any worse than any other sin…it just addresses the specific challenges this one carries with it. We also talk about other sin like pride, lust, and judgment here on this blog…they aren’t worse or better than pornography…but they do have specific challenges as well.

  2. Cheri says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am a co-leader of a support group at our church for women dealing with this issue. I’m so thankful for another resource!!

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