Can Our Marriage Survive Porn?

 Mark B. Kastleman, BCC, BCPC

Stephen Moore, LCSW, CSAT 

 

 

Every couple that successfully travels the very difficult and sometimes treacherous path of recovery and healing, questions how they can possibly make it through. The journey is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, successes and failures, great joys and deep sorrows, triumphs and tragedies. Hovering over all of it is the intensifying influence of addiction and betrayal trauma. There are times when the burdens exceed a couple’s capacity to bear them; when they are tempted to throw in the towel, call it quits and go their separate ways. 

 

If you have doubts and fears about the future of your marriage, you are not alone. Successfully navigating what can at times be a marital minefield is a challenge for any couple. But add to that landscape the explosive devastation of pornography and sexual addiction, and the challenge is magnified to a whole new level. 

 

There is Great Hope! 

As frightening and hopeless as this journey might seem at times, take assurance in the success of others who have been where you are now. There is great hope for all couples, no matter how severe or long-lasting the addiction or broken the relationship. There is a path to healing your marriage, including forgiveness, reconciliation and lasting happiness together. It will not be easy; in fact, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do together. The reality is, many have done it and so can you. The question is: How? 

This "how" is the topic for an entire book, but within the limited space of this article, here’s a brief overview of some bedrock principles. They provide the foundation to rebuild, unify and fortify your marriage, while simultaneously working on overcoming porn addiction, and healing betrayal trauma. Take time as a couple to ponder and openly discuss these powerful principles: 

1.  Place Jesus at the Center of Your Marriage: 

Individually and as a couple, you cannot successfully navigate the path of recovery and healing without a LOT of help. The journey is intense, difficult and at times completely overwhelming. The most important, overarching and undergirding source of your power, strength, guidance and support flows from the grace of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You must literally bind yourselves to Him and place Him at the center of your marriage. You must constantly rely and call upon His grace.

 

He will enable and empower you as a husband to persistently pursue and succeed in your recovery. His grace and tender compassion will enhance and strengthen your natural capacity as a wife to keep loving, forgiving and supporting your husband, even in the midst of your own very real and legitimate feelings of pain, fear, anger, betrayal and fatigue. He will lovingly help you move through these difficult emotions and gently bring you to a place of healing. 

2. Be Willing to Travel Your Own Individual Paths of Healing: 

As a husband suffering from porn and sexual addiction you must be ready and willing to do the consistent, daily hard work of recovery in order for there to be any chance of healing your marriage relationship. You will stumble along the way, but you must never abandon the path and keep pressing forward in recovery for as long as it takes, no matter what!

 

At the same time, it’s vital that as a wife, you also receive the Betrayal Trauma support and healing you need. Centered on Jesus, enabled and empowered by His grace, you will each travel your own individual paths of healing, giving your marriage the greatest chance to not only survive, but to thrive. 

3. See Each Other with Spiritual Glasses: 

As a woman and wife, because your husband has betrayed you through his sexual addiction behaviors, it is natural and understandable for you to see him through the filter of some very valid and intensely negative feelings. This filter can be a significant barrier to you actively supporting him in his recovery. An application of grace that you can call upon to remove this barrier is asking Jesus to give you the gift of seeing your husband through His eyes; to look beyond the addict behaviors to his eternal soul. 

 

As a husband, you can also petition Jesus to help you see your beloved companion through equally spiritual glasses. This approach will aid you both in looking through the façade of this mortal flesh and seeing each other for who you truly are. This will help you find the faith, hope and charity needed for the really tough times.

  

4. These Things Shall Give Thee Experience: 

In James 1:12 we read: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. And in Galatians 6:9 we’re counseled: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Throughout scripture God continually promises us that He can turn all our trials and tribulations for our good. In your current turmoil, this may be a hard pill to swallow. How can the 'hell" of sexual addiction possibly be for your good?

 

If you will cling to Jesus and each other, and engage in the hard work and sacrifice of recovery and healing, you will emerge from that crucible experience welded together with a mighty bond that cannot be severed! Truly, God can find a way to transform all of it for your good. Of course there are circumstances where a marriage does not survive, yet even then God can turn it all into valuable experience. 

5. Seek Outside Help: 

Too often when it comes to navigating the labyrinth of sexual addiction, couples may attempt to go it alone. There is no valid reason to bear this impossible burden. Explore and take full advantage of the many readily available resources. These include: working with your religious leader;  Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) 12-Step support groups; seeking help from professionals who specialize in sexual addiction and betrayal trauma; seeking support from other individuals and couples.