Last week Gary Thomas wrote a great article entitled Pornography: The Digital Assault on Marriage.
Gary starts by affirming that it’s “a legitimate and realistic desire for a wife to be married to a man who doesn’t look at pornography.” He also says something I’ve said before, that your husband’s porn use is not about you.
What I want to focus on is this: “Most all of the experts agreed, however, that the wife’s initial response to her husband’s use is crucial […] A too-soft response could lead to re-occurrence, or the husband not taking the struggle seriously enough. A too-harsh response could lead the husband to shame and to start hiding, eventually making the problem worse.“
This is the exact thing I’ve heard from experts, and it’s what I have learned by talking to men who have been caught with porn or have confessed porn use to their wife. I don’t mean to put it on the wife, but the reality is how a woman reacts either significantly improves or greatly reduced the chances of her husband dealing with the issue and getting free of porn. Yes, it’s on him, but your first reaction is going to make a huge difference.
The best approach is full of love and grace while still drawing a hard line. Porn is not acceptable. Porn is sexual sin. Sexual sin is the one reason Jesus said a person could divorce and remarry. Tell him you won’t put up with it. You will do whatever you can to help, but he needs to find a way to end it because if he doesn’t it will end your marriage.
If a man knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that ongoing porn use will end his marriage, he tends to find a way to stop. No amount of anger, shame, hurt, complaining, or saying no to sex can do the same thing. Saying “Stop or I leave” is both right and effective. Anything else is less effective and far more questionable from a biblical standpoint.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m going to catch it for this post, but right is right.