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I am having a hard time moving forward and forgiving my husband. He has been secretively been viewing porn and lusting after women in his day to day life for the last 10 years and I found out a couple of months ago. I believe that he is sincerely sorry and is moving away from this behavior and I know I need to forgive him but I am so stubborn and hurt I am can't get myself to do it. The negative memories from the past when I thought that this was going on and he denied it are all coming back. I don't know how to just forgive and forget all the hurt and lies that I have experienced.

Has anyone been in this situation or have any advice for me? thanks :(

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Hi MIP,

To me there is no greater principle in the gospel then that of forgiveness. I would recommend you read a book called the The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell.

I don't know how to just forgive and forget all the hurt and lies that I have experienced.

This book will provide a path to healing it will just be up to you to take it.

Here is a quote from Dallin H. Oaks who was speaking about marriage and divorce that might be helpful.

There can be times when one spouse falls short and the other is wounded and feels pain. When that happens, the one who is wronged should balance current disappointments against the good of the past and the brighter prospects of the future.

Don’t treasure up past wrongs, reprocessing them again and again. In a marriage relationship, festering is destructive; forgiving is divine (see D&C 64:9–10). Plead for the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord to forgive wrongs , to overcome faults, and to strengthen relationships.

I like how he uses the word, "treasure up". He didn't use "horde" or "collect". I can see at times where forgiving almost can feel like giving away treasure.

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If you want to stay married you need to forgive. Unconditionally. I cannot comment on the gravity of his "sin" or make a determination as to if you are making a mountain out of a mole hill without further information. However, that does in no way change how you feel right now. As mortal men and women, we are required to forgive. If you love your husband and want to be with him you need to make a conscious decision to forgive. That means you will not hold it over his head, you will not mash it in his face when he has another failing. He is still the person you married and you married him for good reasons. What were those reasons? Does what he did undo all of that?

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Marraigeinprogress, I have not been in your situation, but I do have a forgiveness problem...so to speak.

Often we talk about forgiveness as if it should be an overnight process. I think that is unrealistic. Sis. Okazaki once gave a wonderful talk about healing from sexual abuse and she said on average it can take a survivior up to 15 yrs to forgive.

I know your situation is different, but your trust has been betrayed and that is not something you can overcome over night. I don't even think you should try to forgive that quickly. In a sense you have been wounded and you need to give yourself time to heal. Yes, forgiveness is important, but it takes time too.

In her talk about healing from sexual abuse, Sis. Okazaki said something that I think applies to your situation as well.

Let me borrow an image from a sensitive bishop who works hard to help members of his ward who have been sexually abused. He urges leaders, family, and friends to realize that their loved one, a ward member, has been injured, just as if he or she had broken a leg that had never been set properly. Even though the person can walk . . .true healing and true strength cannot return until the injury is acknowledged, the bone rebroken, and the leg set correctly. Please recognize and realize that someone who has been sexually abused has been deprived of part of her or his free agency. The individual cannot get it back except through the long and difficult process of healing from sexual abuse. If you are willing to make a commitment to be a friend during this process, make a long-term commitment. Often when we acknowledge a problem, we want it fixed quickly. We think a few visits to a therapist, a few priesthood blessings, a few tears shed, a few hugs should make everything all right. Not so.

Chieko Okazaki's "Healing from Sexual Abuse" |

Again, your wounds will not heal overnight. A few visits to the Bishop or a marraige counselor, a few hugs are not going to make everything all right.

Give yourself time. From your post, it seems you want to forgive, and that tells me your heart is in the right place. Take your time.

The Atonement can help, and here is a wonderful talk from Elder Bednar about how that works:

The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality - Liahona Apr. 2012 - liahona)

Once again, this is not a race. Healing takes time; forgiveness takes time. Don't rush it.

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LDS Addiction Recovery Program

You can attend support groups and he can attend a group to overcome. The main problem is going to be for him to admit he has a problem and wants to overcome it. It's like alcoholics anonymous with a 12 step process. I am so sorry about this. I am dealing with a similar issue. Feel free to message me anytime and I'll write you back.

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Hi Marriageinprogress.

Let me start with a huge hug. Finding out about your husband's porn problem must have been devastating for you. It was for me when I first discovered my husband had been using and lying for years of our marriage. It felt like a tornado swept through my whole life. I was hurt and confused ..... and I got a ton of pressure to forgive and to forgive fast. He pressured me. His father did. And my bishop too. I was told that if I didn't forgive, I didn't deserve my temple recommend. And that was before he even started recovery! I said "BUNK!" to that then and I say "BUNK" to that now.

You just had a personal sized hiroshima hit your heart. You are still in shock! How could you possibly be expected to forgive completely when you are still trying to understand what happened? It's ok that you can't forgive yet. The fact that you are worried about it says enough about your character to satisfy any loving God. Give yourself a huge dose of patience and compassion. Forgiveness is a process with different parts and different stages. And I think it's different for everyone. I think you are exactly where you should be in your process and I have faith that God knows exactly where you are and exactly what you need. Hand the forgiveness to Him for now. Forgiveness is often a gift from heaven anyway. He'll help your heart and spirit to heal. And when that is complete enough, you'll feel the forgiveness ebb out of your heart. it might be an event. It might happen a bit at a time. But it can and will happen. But not yet. It's just too soon.

I'm wondering, dear sister, if you might be confusing forgiveness with trust. I know that I had to figure out the difference. I thought that if I didn't trust him that I wasn't forgiving. I know now that the two are mutually exclusive. I look back and forgiveness has actually been easier than trusting again. I became so used to lies and manipulations. So used to being blindsided by the next horrifying discovery. And at the same time, I loved him and had so much compassion for how he got stuck and why he stayed stuck in such a difficult predicament.

Remember you have experienced a trauma. Your brain is trying to protect you the same way mine did for me. By scanning for danger and putting up walls. That doesn't mean you aren't a forgiving person. It doesn't mean you don't have faith or a loving heart. It means you have been hurt and that the safety in your marriage has been blown apart.

As your husband learns to stop hiding and to tell the truth.....as he learns how to show restitution by being transparent with his actions and emotions......you will learn how to trust again. If he doesn't do this work, there is no expectation that you should trust any sooner than is appropriate. Remember that this is HE made the mess and now he has to clean it up. He has to earn back that trust. He needs to earn it back to restore his own integrity and self respect. So expecting that is a loving thing.

And know that as you develop an understanding of what porn addiction is and isn't... and as you develop compassion for your husband's maladaptive ways of coping, that forgiveness and grace will come to you.

Trust the healing process. Trust your brain. It knows how to mourn losses and how to guide you to healing. And trust Father in Heaven. Your needs are known. And there is no need or expectation from heaven that you run faster than you have strength. God does things by processes......long long processes. He took millions of years to make the earth. I don't think He is too scared if forgiveness takes longer than 2 months. :)

Blessings be with you, my dear. You are not alone. And neither is your husband. May healing and forgiveness come to you both.

Two books you might find helpful:

"Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How partners cope and Heal" by Barbara Stephens

"How Can I Forgive You? The courage to forgive, the freedom not to" by Janis Abrahms Spring

Edited by Misshalfway

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