Advice from the Wife of a Porn Addict

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It has been wonderful in the last few years to see how people have shared their experiences with pornography addiction and the healing that they found through Jesus Christ.  It is easier to not feel alone.  It is easier to find help.

As the amount of information grows we need to be more discerning about what we take to heart.  Not all the coping skills and processing methods you hear, even from those with firsthand experience, are healthy.

My husband has been a pornography addict for decades.  Everything to follow has been tried and tested by me personally, but what it has really taught me is that the gospel of Jesus Christ really works.  It really works.  I don’t have a typical happy ending . . . yet, but I have truly found happiness as a wife of a porn addict.

Here are some of the things that helped me most, along with some temptations that may come:

1. You Can Be Happy

wife of a porn addict is still happy
Your happiness does not depend on your spouse’s behavior

You can be happy even if you are the wife of a porn addict.

Stand in holy places and be not moved.  Although the sealing power gives us the opportunity to be together forever, it is up to each individual to do their part to reach exaltation.  I am the one that gets to choose if I do my part or not.

Having a loved one with a pornography addiction can be uncomfortable, or embarrassing, or even detrimental to your health, but none of that actually affects your salvation unless you let it.

Our agency protects us from the evil things that surround us and presents us with the opportunity to learn.  If it doesn’t have to affect your exaltation, it doesn’t have to affect your happiness.

TEMPTATION:  “It is my job to punish them for the pain they have caused me.”

They are already hurting far worse than you are ever capable of making them feel.  That’s part of the spiral of addiction, they hurt so they partake further to get that numb feeling.  When we shift our focus to their misery we invite Satan to knock us out of our holy place.
Focus on being their cheerleader in the healing, not a pursuer of the pain.

2. Agency is Absolute

Women Looking in the mirror
Trying to control what you can’t is a recipe for frustration and disappointment

Use your agency to focus on what you can control, and not what you can’t.

You can’t control their addiction, you can’t make them stop, but you can exhaust yourself trying.

I used to spend hours snooping around trying to find “evidence.”  If I found something, all my worst fears were confirmed. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t think “everything must be okay then,” I would think “I must not have looked hard enough, he’s getting better at hiding it!”

It was a lust that was never satisfied no matter how much I searched.  Don’t feed the beast.

There are no boundaries or restrictions watertight enough that can prevent them from using their agency.  This kind of attempt at agency control is exactly what Satan tried to propose in the premortal council, and we rejected it then.  Reject it now!

We cannot use Satan’s plan to enforce Heavenly Father’s!  Jesus Christ already promised to carry the burden of our agency.  Have faith that He can, and is, performing that task far more completely than you ever could.

TEMPTATION : “If I don’t monitor their pornography addiction they will think I’m okay with it.”

Guess what, they know how you feel.  They won’t think you’ve changed your mind.  Constantly reminding them of your opinion often makes it more difficult for them to talk to you about it and can be damaging to a healthy relationship in the future.

The way you live your life is enough to express your opinion on the topic.

3. Focus on Your Spiritual Self

Wife of Porn Addict in front of temple
When faced with any adversity we should turn to the Lord

The best way to help is to spiritually strengthen yourself!

The more spiritual strength you have the more prepared you are for what lies ahead.   Thoughts of any sort that you may feel to halt or delay your spiritual progress while your loved one struggles are unrighteous in origin!

Wallowing in the mud with them is not a healthy expression of love.

When you read the scriptures don’t read for them, read for you.  When you go to church don’t listen for them, listen for you.  Pray for them, love them, be available to help them, but your learning should be for you.

TEMPTATION: “They are a lost sheep and we need to leave the 99 to find them!”

There is a difference between a sheep who is lost and a sheep who knows where the heard is and doesn’t want to come back to the fold.

If your sheep is legitimately lost, teaching the gospel may be what you are guided to do.  If your sheep knows where the fold is and for whatever reason no longer wants to be there we just need to be loving and willing to accept their return if/when it comes.

4. Don’t Force Trust

Sad Woman
It is okay to not trust a spouse that has not earned trust

Don’t worry too much about rebuilding trust with your loved one after betrayal, work on building a trusting relationship with God.

Trying to force yourself to trust someone prematurely can be so damaging.  Please don’t let this be a stumbling block on your road to recovery!  Set this piece aside, and work on building faithful relationship with God.

When you have faith in the promptings He gives you, you will have the strength to act in confidence in whatever He asks you to do knowing that it will give all the parties involved the best opportunity for eternal success.

TEMPTATION: “We are supposed to be one, am I abandoning them if we are doing different things?”

With eternal perspective we can see the working towards the eternal goal only helps you both even if it leads you different directions for a time, though the exaltation of your loved one is ultimately not your responsibility.  Focusing on eternity will give you opportunity to grow even closer together.

Even marriages with healthy relationships are still counseled to put God first.

5. You Can Do This!

Woman overcomes
God has promised you can be successful

There is no a single soul placed on this earth that is doomed to fail from the onset.  You can be eternally successful even if you feel surrounded by a giant mortal mess.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  You can learn incredible things.  You can achieve amazing feats.

You really, truly, honestly, can do this!  Hold your head up high and know that you are a child of a divine being who is willing to send down the powers of heaven to help you succeed.

Amy Nelson is a married stay at home mom with two boys. She likes to eat a lot, and so she loves to run a lot and has completed a handful of marathons and a bunch of half marathons, but her favorite distance is the 5k. She is a huge housework procrastinator and finds Pinterest terrifying. She loves to read, mostly fiction books with happy endings, but devours books from gospel scholars as well. She currently teaches early morning seminary and is an accomplished pianist and accompanist.