Christian porn addiction help – Should I tell my wife?

My first response is ‘yes’. My second response is ‘maybe’. My third response is ‘never’. Learn what Dr. Steve, Doctor of Christian Counseling, has to say for Christian men considering: “Should I tell my wife about porn addiction?”

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Christian porn addiction help – should I tell my wife?

My first response is ‘yes’.
My second response is ‘maybe’.
My third response is ‘never’.

Christian marriage as described in Genesis

Please let me explain.  A Christian marriage is supposed to be a loving, co-participating, and supportive union of two becoming one. My guess is that if you are having a porn addiction problem, then your marriage isn’t where it needs to be and not the way God intended. In the garden of Eden, the Bible describes Adam and Eve’s relationship in Genesis 2:24-25.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Forgiveness is part of deep intimacy.  God ‘s intention for us has always been a deep, unrestricted intimacy with Him and each other, with no walls between us. The reference above describes man and woman as one, no walls up, knowing and sharing all things with one another. When we screw up, we are to address our mistakes toward one another and inject the concept of forgiveness and continue to grow together.  If we are truly accountable to our marriage, there would be no secrets, no shame (hidden past) would exist within the hidden fiber of our beings.

Divorce and average Christian marriages

Now, let’s face the reality of our times and look at an average Christian marriage relationship. The divorce rate is very high in America. Much evidence shows that Christian relationships end in about the same rate as non-Christians. However, frequent attending church goers have a better chance of staying married, than do the occasional church goers.

Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. The probability within… the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%… Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent.

Women see pornography = an affair

Understanding that is hard enough to survive in a marriage, it would probably be helpful to know that for many women the idea of pornography is just as bad as having an affair. The deception, despair, and devastation of this kind of news is demeaning, embarrassing and debasing. Trust will be a huge issue to address and overcome for the future for the sake of the relationship. Giving the wife a platform to express her emotions may be vital for healing to take place within the marriage. Professional help is advised.

Get guidance before confessing to your wife

My suggestion is to confront the issue of porn addiction with wisdom. From a counseling standpoint, I would rather have a client come in and address the addiction and ask for guidance than to first confront the wife with the raw facts that might blow her out of the water. It is not my intention to be the judge and jury for any man, but from my experience, spouses handle news very differently. Before addressing such issues, I believe It is important to consider the guidance of other Christians to gain wisdom from the Word on approaching this whole issue.

If a wife has shown verbal abuse or a lack of forgiveness abilities toward her husband in the past, then a careful approach is warranted. Depending on the state of the marriage and the family situation this kind of information could add additional elements to consider. The marriage might not survive without having a third party (counselor) to mediate the confession.

If a wife has shown a past history of being able to forgive and move on, then a straight forward confession might be best. If a husband is comfortable to follow the principles of the Bible (When you have wronged one another, go quickly to resolve and ask forgiveness, confessing your sins), then telling the wife in this scenario might be the best approach. Together, they can work through the struggles and plan a strategy to restore the husband, his addiction and their marriage.

Strengthen marriage with openness

A few years ago, I advised a client to bring in his wife and we would address the pornography issues. He refused to follow my advice. His fear of shame was too great for him to face. Eventually his wife found out everything on her own, and felt very deceived. She didn’t want anything to do with him or counseling, especially after he confessed seeking counseling and did not tell her. He lied week after week about where he was going, so she concluded he had been lying during their whole 12 years of marriage (which was true). She soon filed for divorce.

Without the kind of nakedness (openness) described in Genesis, any couple will struggle to develop a marriage to the level of intimacy that God intended.

At the beginning of this article, I said yes, maybe, and never to telling a wife about a pornography addiction. I say it depends on each individual situation. Things to consider are:

• Do you want the best God has for you for your marriage?

• Are you willing to address the issues and become naked and not ashamed?

• How will she respond when she finds out and you didn’t tell her?

• Do you truly need help from a counselor to address the addiction and confession?

I would love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment below.  Next time I’ll will address 7 Christian strategies to prevent pornography addiction.

Reference sources:
[1] —Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005
About the author
Dr. Jackson received his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Omega Bible Institute and Seminary in 2009. He developed the Christian recovery treatment programs for Calvary Rehab Center and the Genesis Center for Recovery. He has trained and practiced Christian Counseling in all areas of drug/alcohol/gambling/sex and relationship addictions. He currently has his own web based online program called 12 Day Rehab Systems, designed for those who can work on recovery while maintaining career and family obligations. Dr. Jackson has been clean and sober since 1984. Learn more about Recovery with Dr. Steve.
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