Help! My Husband Watches Porn! (Here’s How to Respond)

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

How to Respond to a Husband Who Watches Pornography

Is it possible your husband watches porn?

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance he is.

An incredible 47 percent of Christians say pornography is a major problem in their home, according to an article by Family Safe Media.

And by “major problem,” these families don’t mean “the husband watches porn occasionally and the wife finds it kind of annoying.”

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for additional information. 

 

No, according to a special report released by Covenant Eyes:

  • Among men ages 18-30: 79 percent view pornography at least once a month and 63 percent view pornography several times a week.
  • Among men ages 31-49: 67 percent view pornography at least once a month and 38 percent view pornography several times a week.
  • Among men ages 50-68: 49 percent view pornography at least once a month and 25 percent view pornography several times a week.

That’s a lot!!

 

And it isn’t just non-Christian men who are watching porn either.

According to the same report by Covenant Eyes, 64 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women view pornography at least once a month, and of these, 39 percent of Christian men and 13 percent of Christian women would classify their use of pornography as “excessive.”

Clearly, the church has a pornography problem on its hands.

 

And yet, when you discover porn on your husband’s computer, phone or TV, you don’t really care what the rest of the church is dealing with. Your own situation is all you can think about right then.

You feel hurt, betrayed, angry and hollow. You wonder if you’re overreacting, but you can’t help it. It hurts.

 

So how do you respond when you find out that your husband watches porn — and not just once, but regularly?

Here’s what I would recommend…

 

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Should I Be Upset that My Husband Watches Porn?

 

Yes, you have every right to be upset if you find out that your husband watches porn.

Just because porn use is incredibly common these days does not mean that it’s okay. Not only is it completely disrespectful of you (whether he means to be disrespectful or not) and completely against what the Bible teaches, it can also damage your relationship and both of your sexual health.

 

In fact, the use of pornography frequently leads to:

Your marriage deserves more than that.

 

Your Brain on Porn

Husband isn’t convinced porn is bad for your marriage?

You might want to download and read “Your Brain on Porn” together.

This free report by Covenant Eyes spells out very clearly five ways porn rewires your brain, such as decreasing your sexual satisfaction, lowering one’s view of women and desensitizes viewers to cruelty.

You’ll also learn how you or a loved one can find true FREEDOM from this awful addiction with the help of the Gospel.

It’s definitely worth a try, right?

 

You can get a copy absolutely free by going here: Your Brain on Porn Report

 

 

How to Respond When Your Husband Watches Porn

 

p.s. Men are absolutely not the only ones who struggle with pornography–plenty of women do too. That simply isn’t the focus of this particular article. If you are a woman who struggles with pornography, I strongly encourage you to check out the blog, Beggar’s Daughter

 

1. Avoid Overreacting

 

When you first find out your husband watches porn, it’s easy to overreact. To think he’s disgusting, to worry if he even finds you attractive anymore, to worry if your marriage is in trouble, to wonder “why does my husband watch porn” or to wonder what else he might be hiding

Resist the temptation.

His lust problem has nothing to do with you and how you look, and your husband probably isn’t a pervert. He’s a normal human being who has real struggles, just like the rest of us. He’s not perfect, and neither are you.

I don’t mean to minimize it, of course. Because, yes, porn is a big deal and it should be dealt with, but it’s also incredibly common and NOT the end of the world.

Marriage is full of struggles and challenges. If it’s not porn, then it’s something else. And now that you know it is porn, you can start to take steps to get through it together. Sure, it just might take some time and a great Screen Accountability program like Covenant Eyes, but you CAN find hope and healing.

 

2. Pray — For Him and You

 

Once you’ve managed to calm down a bit, it’s time to start praying like crazy. 

Pray that God would give you wisdom to know how to deal with the situation, and that you would handle it with grace and love. Pray that God would help you see your husband as God sees him, that He would help protect your heart and that you would still be able to love and respect your husband — even if he’s being a jerk.

Then, pray for your husband. Pray that he would stop watching porn, of course, but don’t stop there. Pray that God would convict your husband, and that he would soften his heart toward you. Pray that God would give your husband the strength to stand up in the face of great temptation, and that he would have a passion for God that would exceed any worldly pleasures.

Pray, pray, pray!

 

Related: Five Powerful Prayers Every Wife Should Pray Over Her Husband

 

3. Confront Your Husband — In Love

 

Like so many other sins, porn use thrives on secrecy. That’s why – if your husband watches porn – you have to bring his porn use to light and confront him about it.

Now, let me be clear: You are not your husband’s holy spirit. You are not responsible for him or in charge of him, and you can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. That’s not your job.

But you absolutely should tell him that you know, calmly tell him how much it hurts you, and ask that he stop.

 

Do NOT attack or accuse. Do not criticize, condemn or judge. Simply open the lines of communication, find out what’s going on, and find out if there is anything you can do to help.

This may be an ongoing conversation that takes place over several days. It’s completely common for people to feel angry and defensive when their sins are brought to light, so if your husband watches porn, chances are high he isn’t going to be excited for you to bring it up and want to talk about it.

But don’t give up.

Mention your concerns and your feelings to your husband, make it clear that you’d like him to stop, then take your requests to God in prayer and let HIM (God) change your husband’s heart.

 

**By the way, “How to Fight Your Husband’s Porn Addiction” — an interview with Jen Ferguson, author of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: One Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography (video below) — is a GREAT resource to watch before you confront him!

 

 

Related: 5 Things You and Your Spouse Should Talk About — But Don’t

 

4. Stand Your Ground — Even When It’s Tough

 

Is your husband insisting that his porn use is “no big deal?” Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Porn use IS a big deal, and while opinions differ on the matter, I personally consider it cheating/adultery.

After all, sex should be between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage. If you or your husband are going to anyone else (real or fantasy) to meet needs that the other should be meeting, that’s wrong. If your husband watches porn — it’s wrong. And it has the potential to be disastrous to your marriage.

(Revisit “Should I Be Upset that My Husband Watches Porn?” above to see why)

 

Porn is NOT a place to get Christian sex tips. And it’s not a handy substitute in case one of you is never in the mood for sex. Those are lies some Christian women (and men!) believe about sex — don’t fall for them!

 

5. Set Boundaries — Together

 

Hopefully your talk with your husband will go well, he’ll be terribly sorry, and promise to work hard never to look at porn again. If this is the case, you may want to sit down and work on setting some boundaries together.

What actions and behaviors are okay and not okay? Are there any places he needs to go or not go, habits he needs to quit or friends he needs to stop hanging out with? What needs to happen to help ease his struggle?

 

But even if the conversation does not go well, you still need to put some boundaries in place personally.

What will you accept and not accept? How much progress do you expect? At what point will you extend grace and at what point do you need to say “Enough is enough?” What will you do then?

 

One resource that is REALLY helpful in setting and keeping appropriate boundaries is the book “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

It does a really great job of explaining what your responsibility is, what others’ responsibilities are, and how you can peacefully and Biblically draw a firm line where it needs to be.

Super helpful!

 

You can find Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life on Amazon or pretty much wherever books are sold. (It’s very good!)

 

6. Find Accountability

 

Of course, setting boundaries is one thing; keeping them in the face of real temptation is another matter altogether. This is why your husband likely needs some form of accountability to help him resist temptation.

For most men, this would ideally be another man who understands the struggle, cares enough to get involved, and isn’t afraid to hold your husband accountable. Someone like a brother, close friend or fellow church member.

Another great option if your husband watches porn is to sign up for a service like CovenantEyes. This screen accountability software is a great, unobtrusive way for your husband to stay accountable on track with the person of his choosing.

 

Is this a situation you’ve had to face in real life? How did you respond when you found our your husband watches porn?

 

  1. I was just reading this stats somewhere else today. Though we haven’t had to deal with this issue ourselves, we have counselled others who have one great resource I would recommend is Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage where he digs into spiritual roots and the scientific issues that porn or even masturbation causes in the brain. Very enlightening and a great tool.

  2. My husband online activities started a while back I’m not exactly sure of the timeline he talks to other women he says he does it because he has low self-esteem he won’t stop we’ve been married for 35 yrs I told him to choose he would rather text and look at pictures than have a physical relationship with me I told him to hit the road.

  3. You need to understand addiction. Addiction is a brain disease, not necessarily a moral failure. If you insist he never do it again or you’ll leave, then you might as well pack your bags – relapse is inevitable, giving up is going to take years of hard work. Wives, you view it as him being unfaithful, but I suspect you have never understood male sexuality. To him, it may well be just dots of light on a computer screen, or ink on a page. He doesn’t necessarily want to do those things to that woman at all, he’s just chasing a dopamine high. There may even be reasons why he thinks it is better for him to view porn than to require you to satisfy his sexual needs; it’s complicated but in a twisted sort of logic he might be trying to be good to you, if he grew up in a family where male sexuality was considered disgusting. Oh, and ladies, there is such a thing as romance addiction (another twisted emphasis on the normal male/female relationship) – what books are you reading at the moment?

    1. I agree with most of what you say, but you almost make it sound like he can’t possibly help it or it’s absolutely impossible to change. Yes, it will be hard. But the truth is that every human being – and particularly every Christian human being – ultimately has a choice. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” — that includes breaking free from addictions too. It can only be done with God’s help, but it CAN be done.

      1. I did say that it was going to take years of hard work, not that it can’t be done. I’m just saying, if you catch him today and give him an immediate ultimatum, that’s not going to work.

        Most Christian men who are addicted to porn feel shame and guilt, and from time to time they determine that they are going to stop. They destroy or throw away all their porn, and try with all their hearts to stop looking at it. A few days later, or maybe just a few hours, they fail, and look at porn. Demoralized and feeling a failure, they give up.

        Months later they try again, and the outcome is the same. The cycle repeats. Trying harder doesn’t work. Eventually, they stop believing that they can ever be free of it.

        Giving a man in that position an ultimatum will end your marriage; it won’t end your husband’s addiction. He needs help.

        He’s probably a good man. He probably loves you with all his heart. He probably hates his sin. He needs your help, and the help of a Christian counsellor who understands addiction.

        I just want Christian wives to understand the man’s side of it. I want to urge you to be committed to the man you married (“for better or for worse”) and to your marriage. He’s not doing it to hurt you, and he doesn’t want to be unfaithful to you.

        There is a way out, but Satan is lying to your husband, and telling him there’s no hope. He needs his wife, and he needs a good Christian counsellor.

  4. My husband and I are 63 & 61 – seems kinda old for this issue, but I guess not . . . Yesterday I came home early from work to find my husband watching porn and masturbating. This has been a problem (every few months to 1 year) during our 22 year marriage. The last time I said, “That’s it 1 more time and I’m gone.” I truly, truly can’t believe it. I’m sickened, saddened, betrayed, etc. In looking back I think he has always preferred masturbation to sex with me. We haven’t had sex in approx 3 years. (His choice.) He’s otherwise a wonderful, loving, thoughtful Christian man, which makes it more unacceptable in a way, because I feel now like I really don’t know him at all. Until yesterday I didn’t feel like he was cheating on me, but now it’s quite obvious that he prefers porn over me. Any advice would be appreciated. Also prayers for us and our marriage.

    1. Wow I am sorry. I found out recently that my husband is still viewing porn. I do not feel like I know this man at all either. So disturbing. I wish I could help but we are really struggling and seeking marriage counseling. I do not know if it is going to help. My husband is not very remorseful about it.

    2. Aww, Teresa, I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 That’s not okay. Have you spoken to your pastor or trusted Godly friend about it? While there is definitely lots of time and space for forgiveness and grace, there does come a point when the loving thing to do is say “enough is enough” and not allow the behavior to continue anymore. I’m so sorry you’re going through this 🙁

  5. Porn is unfortunately damaging the lives of many Christian men and women and sadly many of us don’t even know we are addicted until it’s too late. Porn changes way our minds view sex and can seriously damage our real life relationships. Thank you, Brittany, for being brave enough to tackle this very important topic! The good news is we don’t have to do it alone. Prayer along with guided help can help make change a little easier. Accountability software like Covenant Eyes as well as testimonials and information from other Christians can be of great help & give us the inspiration that we need to keep fighting. The even better news is that we have a loving and forgiving God! Meet him in adoration, him and confession, meet him in the Eucharist and lay your burdens at his feet!

  6. My husband has been absent as a father and husband for years. Porn is the tip of the iceberg in our marriage. A life of Constance lies. Denial that it is an addiction. No interaction with our children who are young adults now. I asked him to leave because what I found in the searches. I love the Lord and believe in marriage but he has broken all trust for years. I wish I could feel as you do, to support my husband but I have been alone in this marriage for years.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 There is a huge difference between someone who falls into sin a time or two, feels guilty and repents, and someone who does it for years and refuses to change. Have you spoken to your pastor or a very godly Christian mentor about this? Sometimes love is hanging in there, but sometimes love is knowing when to say “Enough is enough, and I’m not going to let you behave this way any longer.”

  7. Hi Brittany…
    2 years ago, I confronted my husband when I found out he was looking at porn. We talked, he apologized, said he would not do it anymore. We prayed about it and I have prayed for him everyday since. A few times (knowing he was still looking) I asked him if he was struggling or still wanting to look at porn…he denies it every time. I have proof he is still looking…bare butts, breasts etc. he does not know I know but I know.
    He is 58…we have a great relationship… do lots of things together and we have a great sex life. We are Christians and both very involved in our church.
    I have prayed and prayed…I have cried out to God…I just don’t know what to do at this point. What do I do and how do I cope with this? I love him very much and he loves me. why do good Christian men with attractive wives with great sex lives engage in porn? I’ve read and read articles but I just do not understand it. I appreciate any help you can give me.

    1. Sounds like he is refusing to change? (and refusing to be honest on top of that) Prayer is awesome so I’m glad you’re starting there and following up with him. I actually JUST updated this article with a few more resources that might be helpful to you. Specifically the ebook “Your Brain on Porn” (which you could talk about with him if he’d be willing) and definitely the book “Boundaries.” I think it would really help. (I’m listening to it right now and it’s very good).

      It is absolutely awesome to be forgiving and understanding. BUT you don’t want to get to the point where you’re basically just enabling him in his sin by protecting him from the consequences of his sin.

  8. Hey everyone,

    So i was married at 18 and found out after being married six months my husband struggled with poen. I didnt know how to handle it. I was hurt of course and felt betrayed but he was unremourseful saying honey i dont love her. I love you and only you. Which frankly meant nothing to me. How can you say you love anyone but yourself when i’m laying in your bed and you’re in the office watching porn? Anyway God healed me from the pain and rejection. My husband the. Two years later cheated on me and though i tried to go to counseling (he never showed) and desperately prayed to God that He would work a miracle we were divorced after three years (i was 21).

    Fast forward to now i’m 31. Tons of healing and change of mindset. I don’t see porn as a personal rejection but rather a symptom of a heart condition that God needs to heal.

    A month ago i met a truly wonderful Godly man. We’ve been talking and getting to know each other with the intention of marriage in mind (not casual chitty chat). I just found out he has struggeled with porn and prior to meeting me has attended celebrate revovery and made an effort to stop and get help. He is very remourseful and wept when he told me that he’d done it. He apologized for hurting me.

    My question is do i continue in a relationship with him. I feel like i can trust him. I want
    To support my boyfriend. I feel like ive changed and even if he continued to look at porn i wouldnt feel like it had anything to do with me (feel betrayed or personally rejected). But i dont want to be in denial. I know porn effected my sex life with my ex husband and i dont want that to happen to me again.

    For a long time i said i’d never settle and find myself in a marriage like my last one again. I’d rather be single and ansitinant for the rest of my life then live through that hell again. I dont want to compare Jesse to my ex husband. I want to be fair and do the right thing. Am I crazy for considering this?

    1. I imagine that’s a question that only you can answer. It definitely IS possible, but then knowing what a touchy subject it is for you, it could also be inviting trouble. I would definitely speak with your pastor together as a couple before you even think about getting married so you can openly and honestly address anything in your life that might hold you back spiritually. Sin thrives in secrecy. When you can get everything out in the open, it helps a lot.

  9. My husband isn’t a Christian but I am and when I found out my husband watched porn I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. I got so upset as I looked through the history of his phone. I could tell something was different by the way we made love. So my suspicions were correct and my heart sank to my stomach. I felt betrayed, I felt ugly, all these bad feelings flooded my mind. Was I enough? Now I was bigger and pregnant maybe I was losing my appeal. I worried for weeks. I had become withdrawn and distant in our marriage. I tried to occupy myself by cleaning, then re-cleaning the whole house. I would look in the mirror and find all my flaws, my confidence was shot! Before I met him, I was a confident, beautiful, free-spirited, strong and independent young woman. Since finishing work and getting fatter and more hormonal I was experiencing a whole new feeling in life. I hated being pregnant! I was jealous of women who loved their pregnancies and had beautiful photoshoots with their husbands during it. I felt like a slave who stayed home cleaned and cooked and wasn’t appreciated anymore. After about 2 months of knowing, I decided to confront him after, we were in the truck and I just said “My darling, I need to tell you something” he looked worried and waited for me to continue. I said “I looked through your phone and found porn in your history browser” he automatically became very offended and angry that I went “snooping” through his phone, he said “and what?” my heart dropped and tears came falling from my eyes, “and what?” I continued to just let it ALL out! I told him “do you know how that makes me feel! I’m not exactly my skinny self anymore, am I not enough? Is that it? Do you want a beautiful skinny girl?!” he grabs me into his arms and said “no it’s not you it’s me” he continued to explain how he had always watched it so often it became like a normal thing, now he was married he didn’t think it would be a big deal. He didn’t know if it would hurt me. But now that he knows he promised he would stop watching it. So, 5 years later and he still watches it, I’m writing this because I’ve now become apart of the problem, a few of my friends advised perhaps I should start watching it with him, so I did. Despite my furious jealousy throughout the whole ordeal I started watching it with him. For about a year now. Not all the time, maybe once every two months. Mostly when I feel like he gets bored of me, I’ll try and be sexy again and put on a sexy number. Every single time after I feel so unloved, unwanted, I feel dirty. I feel despicable. There are no words. I feel like I cheated on Jesus by being so full of sin. It gets so bad halfway through the night I get up to shower and try wash all of it away and just cry asking God to forgive me. I really want to stop doing it, I want us both too. But how do I do that now when I’ve pretty much encouraged and taken on this new sin? I’ve read heaps of posts and advice, I’ve started working out and keeping my children and home in mint condition as well as myself so he loves coming home to see us, I’ve stopped nagging about everything, I’m really happy in myself, but whenever he’s around I just feel so small and so insignificant. He likes to smoke marijuana as well after work, he doesn’t drink or anything but he smokes cigarettes and marijuana together in a bong once the children are in bed, he goes in his mancave. I use to argue with him about this but it got us no where, so I just let him find out in his own time. When he’s ready. I’ve left him twice in the last 5 years, I always need some time to think how I can help. So I try and be selfless and supportive despite everything! It use to hurt but now I find if I focus on my fitness, health, children and of course God, I can overcome the feelings. But everyonce in a while I will break down and cry and need time to myself to reassess things. He loves me I know he does, and I love him more than most things. But how do I stop us from doing this and how do I get back on track of a somewhat normal marriage and life? It feels so weird now, Sometimes I feel like I’m sleepwalking through my life. Like what’s real anymore besides love. Yet what is love, if not God’s love. My love for our children is real. And when I take a holiday without my husband I know I love him. Lol, yet I feel like there are bigger problems in the world if I just look outside of this little marriage bubble. The good times with my family, like the really fun good exciting times with my hubby and kids is the best place in the world, and it makes all the struggles worthwhile.

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