A personal testimony submitted by an NRC member
Shortly after we were married, I discovered porn on the computer that shattered my world. The adrenaline kicked in, I started shaking in disbelief and anger; then I was left feeling alone and trapped in a relationship that I had not signed up for.
Maybe we should use an internet filter, but, I reasoned, he didn’t really need a filter, he said he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. But, as addictions do, it kept resurfacing, and there was an unspoken tension about how to approach this issue in our marriage. He certainly wasn’t taking initiative to install a filter on his phone and I didn’t know how far to push. We were also overwhelmed by the different options out there and how to even install one. My advice now is to just choose one! You can always change it if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, but any filter is better than none at all!
The last time he told me about the incident before I had discovered it on the report made such a difference! Instead of dealing with all those strong emotions of betrayal, I felt so relieved that he was telling me about his struggle that I even gave him a hug! Porn makes a wife feel pretty used, cheap and a total failure as a person, but the lying, manipulation, and lack of trust is what really hurts intimacy and destroys the relationship. Sexual sins thrive in secrecy. It was a few years into our marriage before we told anyone and finally felt like we were going in the correct direction. I would encourage anyone in this situation to find a safe person to tell, if you cannot think of anyone, contact an Elim member.
Initially I blamed myself, but I’ve come to learn that this was not about my weaknesses or deficiencies as a wife. It was about my husband’s struggle with an addiction that started in his youth. Porn is used as a medication to escape emotions and conflict, which in turn, creates other undesired behaviors and false beliefs. Consistent accountability and guidance are needed for those affected, and perhaps even professional counseling, especially in the cases of the heavily addicted. The betrayal trauma a wife experiences must not be minimized, as they would benefit from help for their own healing as well. He is responsible for his own behavior, but yet we can set boundaries on how we will be treated. This following presentation is geared toward betrayed spouses and covers what healthy boundaries are and gives specific examples of reasonable boundaries that can be set. https://vimeo.com/129060884
For our situation, reading marriage books together has educated us on God’s design for marriage and what healthy relationships are. It also helps put our thoughts into words, especially when the differences between men and women come up. Above all, we need to beg the Lord to help us in our marriages. He alone can work the change in the heart. Prayer is indispensable.