Extra Virgin :: The Unmentionables Part 4
On Extra Virgin this month I’ll be posting a series about The Unmentionables: things of a sexual nature that we find especially difficult to discuss. Because the subject matter is both sexual and sometimes explicit, I recommend this series for adult women only.
When Someone You Love Is Addicted to Porn
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, nearly every person is directly or indirectly affected by porn. For most women, porn affects them because of the addiction of someone they love. If this is what you face, here are three things that can help you walk this painful journey with godliness and grace ::
Remember the cross
If your husband is addicted to pornography, no matter how many times he tells you otherwise, it will feel very personal to you. And for good reason. When a man has sex with anyone besides you (with himself or another person), it is an offense against your relationship and against you. You may feel betrayed, vulnerable, vengeful or wounded. You may feel a strong urge to communicate to him the depth of your pain, to see him bear the consequences of his actions, to make him suffer for the suffering he has caused. And you may feel supremely conflicted, because the person you want to suffer is someone you love deeply.
These feelings and thoughts are important, because God agrees with you. He understands that there must be consequences, restitution, an understanding of the pain inflicted. And he takes all of that pain and suffering, and places it on Jesus on the cross.
God is forever working to reverse the effects of sin. He knows how much sin destroys relationships, that relationships cannot endure with the presence of sin. He recognizes the need for judgement, as well as the inability of anyone to actually make up for the sin he has done. He eats up all that sin that’s between you and your husband so that the only thing that remains is your love for each other. He doesn’t want sin to be a factor in your relationship. Only love.
Remember that you’re a sinner, too
Jesus is adamant about this. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.) All of us who are Christians should be profoundly aware of our own need for mercy, and ready to dish it out generously. If you find it difficult to extend mercy and forgiveness to someone who has wronged you, then you may not have a complete understanding of how much mercy Jesus has lavished on you.
Immerse yourself in Jesus’ words, spend time thinking about what the Gospel means for you, bravely confront your own sin so that you might better understand what Jesus has done for you (and us all). Do this until, when you pray, you sound much more like this guy than this guy.
Remember that warning against sin is merciful
If your husband is sinning, the kindest thing you can do is confront and warn him about his sin. (Of course, it’s only kind if you have already forgiven him, if you do it not out of judgment, but with a firm understanding of your own sin.) As much as his sin may harm you, it is doing the most harm to his soul, his relationships and his life.
Let your marriage be a safe place where you can both come clean about your sins—even your deepest, darkest sins. Point each other to the cross. Extend the love and forgiveness to each other that Jesus has shown to you. This
may probably will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But we either believe the Gospel or we don’t. And just like we experience renewed intimacy with God because of the cross, when you live out the gospel in your marriage, you will both experience a depth of intimacy and tenderness that will exceed anything you have ever felt before.
Resources :: couples counseling, individual counseling, sharing your story with a trusted friend or mentor. Sadly, I haven’t found many resources that I like for women who love someone addicted to porn. Please share any books, courses or articles you have found helpful! You can email me at aannagreer(at)gmail(dot)com.
(Photo via Cuyana)