You’ve learned your husband is viewing pornography. However you learned of his sexual sin, the news is devastating. Questions abound as you try and figure out where you have gone wrong, and how you could have prevented it or missed it.
The question is, now what do you do? How do you deal with this? I want to help you, Christian wife and woman, to see this sin through the eyes of the Lord and the Gospel.
Dealing with it begins with the Gospel. How does God see his sin? First, it is a sin against a holy God. Because he has first sinned against God, the Gospel must be applied. There is nothing within him spiritually that would prevent him from doing these things (Eph. 2:1). What you can do in this case is live the Gospel, and help him to see there is help and hope in Christ. You must forgive, but we will talk about that a little later on…
If he is a Christian, he must be reminded that because of the cross and because of Christ he can be and is forgiven by God. He may be so bogged down by his sin that he believes he is truly beyond help and hope. This is where you, loving wife, must set aside your own pain, betrayal, outrage and desires and minister to your brother in Christ. You must be able to see his sin for the worship disorder it really is. Your husband is worshiping his desire for pleasure rather than worshiping God.
Please resist the urge to rant and rail at him. Please resist the urge to threaten and strike back because you are so deeply hurt and angry. I asked you last time to take a deep, deep breath and pray that God would by His grace help you to settle down and look at this through His eyes. I am hoping you have done that and have come back today for some good counsel from the Word of God about this.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Galatians 6:1 (NASB)
Your husband is in trouble. He needs your prayer, your godly strength, your wisdom and Biblical intervention. If he does not know you know about his sin, you must tell him that you do. I understand the urge will be to clobber him with this news, but I beg of you not to do that. Sin hates exposure- especially sexual sin, especially in a married man. The usual method of confrontation is to blast away and accuse him, angrily tell him what you found and rant and rage.
I would suggest that you begin by telling him of your concern for him, that you suspect that because of some things you found on the internet, or movies, or receipts or whatever you “evidence” is, that he is in trouble with some kind of sexual sin (name it) and that you want to help.
Then ask him questions. Questions will prick his conscience. If you begin to accuse and make statements he will quickly switch to a position of defense and shut you down. Your attitude and demeanor mean everything right now. I assure you, he will respond much better to a gentle wife’s probing questions than he will to a ranting irate one. As you ask questions about who, and how long get enough details that you are satisfied and then ask him to please go to the Pastor with you. Remind him that you are his ally in this, not his enemy and that you want to save your marriage. It is important to ask him if he does too. As him if he actually wants to stop this behavior and get free of whatever he is involved in.
If it is pornography, ask him to get it all out, whatever he has and help him to bag it up and throw it away, or burn it, or something. Getting rid of what he brings out does not mean there is no more, or that he won’t get more. Before these desires for illicit sex will stop being acted on his heart must be changed. (I have written extensively about this on this blog and in a book that we carry at our counseling center.)
Truthfully, he may not know what he wants to do. Sin confuses people, especially sexual sin because it brings such powerful physical sensations and emotions along with it. Pleasure is addicting and a man involved in immoral sex has been spending much of his time feeding that pleasure sensor in his flesh and his heart.
If he indicates he wants to repent and restore your marriage, you must urge him to get the help of a good Biblical Counselor who can help him to see God’s plan for change. You may also benefit from some intensive discipleship from a woman who can help you to work through this biblically.
There are many issues to be dealt with here. Trust has been shattered, anger, fear, anxiety, all these issues and more are often present in a wife when she learns of her husbands infidelity. Please understand these reactions are normal; however God does not want you to live in this place emotionally or spiritually. If you attempt to ignore these issues, thinking it is somehow spiritual to do so you will regret it. These do not just disappear on their own, they have to be worked through biblically. If you don’t handle this now I promise it will come back to hurt you and him and frustrate any plans of reconciliation.