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The Marriage Podcast for Smart People

How to Confront Your Husband About His Pornography Addiction

Reasonably often, we get inquiries from a wife whose husband is addicted to pornography and he won’t do anything about it. In this article we want to help you prepare for that first serious confrontation where you have a very deliberate conversation about this problem and how it is impacting you as his wife.

Understanding Denial

It’s almost inevitable that you are going to run into some level of denial in a conversation like this, so let’s begin by talking about denial. It would be easy to run into this and throw your hands up in the air and give up. However, it is important to understand that denial is a common response to addiction. It is a feature of addiction. And addicts are typically in denial of the negative consequences of their addiction.[1]

One important piece to understand is that the part of the brain that craves or desires something has no direct neural connection to the part of the brain that holds the consequence for engaging in what you desire. One relatable example is a second piece of dessert: the idea of that second piece is always significantly more attractive when you’re about to start into it than the experience of it when you’re through it and starting to feel gross.

If someone were to stop you before that fork bite and say, “No, you should not do this! You’ll feel gross” your automatic response would be, “Get out of my way or you’ll be wearing this fork! I want it anyway!” Now, that is a somewhat trivial example, but it illustrates the power of denial in addiction to the point where a person can ignore the evidence that their choices are harmful.[2]

Nevertheless, it’s still important that the addict is confronted with the consequences of the addiction. We’d just like you to understand that the addict will be in denial and we want to help you prepare so that you can present your evidence, your complaints and concerns in a way that you can motivate him to seek help.

Prepare Yourself First

As we’ve mentioned in other episodes, we are born-again Christians who are not perfect but are trying to live lives that reflect the values of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. All of that to say, we come at this issue with a moral belief that pornography is not helpful to marriage. 

We also recognize that we have a lot of listeners who don’t share this belief system and so you’ll approach this issue differently.  So, we’re going to offer a range of questions that you should consider as you prepare for this conversation. Depending on your own beliefs and values, some of these questions will be more relevant than others. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions: we just want to think through all that might be going on for you as you approach a confrontation like this with your husband.

Consider your motives for having this conversation:What are you hoping to accomplish?Is it to reassure yourself that you are enough?Are you angry and looking to express this?Is it a conviction against his use of pornography?Consider the basis of your objection:Is it moral?Is it based on general beliefs that you have about pornography?Is it the fact that your spouse is lying or hiding to cover it up?Is it other behaviors that come with the addiction, such as gaslighting?Being clear on exactly what you are objecting to will help you make yourself clear to your spouse.Consider the consequences:What impact has his pornography use had on you?What needs and fears are you carrying into this conversation?Pay attention to what your body has been telling you, what your thoughts have been, what you feel in your heart about pornography and describe its impact on you as thoughtfully and precisely as you can. Your husband needs to know the negative effects this has had on you.[3]Know what you are willing to accept and be prepared to state boundaries that you will consider implementing in order to create emotional and relational safety for yourself. 

When Your Husband Wont Face His Pornography Addiction...
The Marriage Podcast for Smart People


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