Question: About To Marry a Porn Addict



Two anons asked:

– Hi! I enjoy reading your blog and I know you have battled a porn addiction. I have a few questions. How do you feel about people who are battling against a porn addiction while dating? Do you think that person could have a genuinely Christ-centered, Godly and healthy relationship? Or is it bound to fail? Would it be okay for the guy to take a break so he figures things out for himself? What is the role of the girl in this? Is she able to do anything at all?

– I’m engaged to someone who claims to be Christian but I’m starting to feel as though he is not. We agree on almost everything except for the issue on whether watching porn is okay … He just wants me to be okay with it, that way he doesn’t feel guilty. So my question is, is watching porn wrong? …What biblical evidence is there that I can give him? I really pray that he would want to change but if not I don’t think I can marry someone with this problem.

 

If you would’ve asked me this question a few years ago, I would’ve said:

“What are you thinking, ladies? Dump that dude right now! Any man who can’t give up something for you ain’t no man at all.”

To some degree, I still agree with this. If it’s not serious or you just started dating, then please do NOT feel obligated to stay.  You deserve better. If you’re looking for an excuse to stay with this guy because he’s cute in the face or you’re afraid to be alone: then you already know that won’t be enough down the line. 

But in my growing compassion for people, I know how difficult it is to defeat porn in an over-sexualized culture.  I know how screwed up we are to think that “porn is the norm.” 

As much as I sound like a cranky old man, today sex is like shaking hands and human trafficking is barely blinked at.  This is our world now: a culture of deep apathy that is unavoidably ingrained.

While this doesn’t absolve any man’s destructive behavior, it does give me more of a heart to work with them and resolve the root issues.  It helps explain why men shrug it off.

 

Maybe you’ve been told to dump the guy on the spot, and that could be good advice — but battling porn is a lifelong struggle for all men today.  It’s unrealistic to think you’ll meet some guy who has never struggled with it. 

I also know how hard it is to just break up with someone if you’re engaged or it’s very serious.  Certainly we should never be afraid to break off a relationship that is abusive or a deadbeat, but porn is something you both could overcome together with patience and persistence.  It’s not always a deal-breaker.

While you might find the perfect porn-less guy, I think we can realistically say: Every woman will now have to openly, honestly, aggressively talk about lust with their future husbands in an era where porn is so freely available.  This has to be a daily truthful dialogue where the man must be able to freely express himself without shame or a fear of retaliation.

But first, let’s talk about what will happen if the guy says, “I just want you to be okay with my porn.”

 

1) If you’re planning on marrying this guy one day, you will probably have kids.  Your future husband will be awkward around your daughter when she turns thirteen because porn has turned his view of women into objectification.  He’ll also be awkward around your daughter’s friends. 

Out of guilt, he’ll try to avoid your daughter or will be plain uncomfortable — and she’ll feel alienated, rejected, and lacking in a father’s love, sending her down a spiral of seeking fulfillment and acting out.  You might think this is crazy talk, but I’ve heard of this happening way too much.

 

2) Even if you both have a son, then your husband will be awkward around your son’s future girlfriend.  That’s not going anywhere good.

 

3) Porn has a way of destroying self-control that bleeds into other areas, like finances, health, cheating, lying, and being able to spend sacrificial time with other people.

 

4) However society feels about porn and however much they accept it, if a guy is not willing to give that up for you: that already says a ton about who he is.  Also, secular circles are catching up and now realizing how harmful it really is.  All the research is showing: long-term use of porn leads to erectile dysfunction, even in teens.  I would laugh if it wasn’t so sad.

 

5) Almost all porn is made from human trafficking and sex slavery. It is NOT from girls who are willing, as they’re so often portrayed. So using porn (even “free porn”) is directly supporting a horrific multi-million dollar industry of rape, torture, abuse, and under-aged coercion.  This is one of the main reasons I decided to quit porn.  I couldn’t live with myself knowing I was endorsing the institutionalized rape of young women.  Reading some of the stories nearly made me puke.

 

Now all that to say: I don’t think a relationship with a porn-using guy is necessarily bound to fail, but you absolutely must have a heart-to-heart eye-to-eye discussion with him.  You’ll really need to dig at the root of his motives, to see if he is willing to be honest with himself, and see if he really cares to change.  The evidence is undeniable: if he can’t quit, he can’t be the kind of husband or father that’s worthy of you.

I mean you’re potentially entrusting this guy to take care of you, to be faithful, be stable, be constant, be a leader, and to take care of your children that will pop out of you — and you are sharing your life with him until the day you die.  Women: it’s a very scary thing to marry a man and to entrust him with such a lifetime commitment.  It’s even harder if you’re beginning from a deficit of stubborn refusal.

So ask the hard questions.  Why won’t he give up the porn?  What advantages are there to it?  Does he really need a magical Bible verse to stop him?  If the Bible never said a word on it, would porn ever honor God?  Is it okay to support an industry that enslaves young women?  Can’t he give this up for you?

This might take many conversations.  You can refer him to counseling or to seek a men’s group or to check out the research.  I hope he is open to this.  I hope he comes around to the truth.  But if he completely refuses to quit or doesn’t try at all: then you’re going to have to consider a tough decision. 

I’ll definitely throw you a prayer.  My heart is with you, dear friends.  When it comes down to it: please be willing to put your foot down and to never settle for less.  There are still godly men out there who are definitely not perfect, but more than willing to move the moon for you.

— J.S.

 

For my recent podcast episodes on porn addiction, click here

10 thoughts on “Question: About To Marry a Porn Addict

  1. Fantastic response!!

    Having gone down this road, I wish I had known 20 years ago so I could have made a conscious choice. My advice to your 2 followers: You have been given a gift by glimpsing into who he really is. If you need more- go to his computer’s history and see for yourself what he is. If he has told you that he is fine with it and it is not a problem Run, run as fast as you can!

    The pain from the breakup is nothing compared to what you and your future kids will suffer. He won’t heal if he doesn’t see he has a problem. Take the warning and be grateful!

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    1. Thank you. Sometimes “love” does make us stupid, or we’re afraid to be lonely, so we settle for less … but I hope every woman finds the courage to break it off when they see multiple unchanging red flags.

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  2. I don’t know. I think much of what is written above is true. I think pornography depersonalises the person. I think it builds on itself. But we live in a world of images. I think you definitely need a discussion. My suspicion is that he will not be able to make love properly in the end. The amount of porn now is mind boggling. It seems to be everywhere. I think it is important for him to set a route back from porn to erotic. From merely physical acts back towards touch, care, love. And a lot of talking. I am assuming he told you….in that context, there is a start. If you caught him out that is different, but maybe an opportunity.

    But I would be a hypocrite if I did not also say that I have watched it myself. I have. It does bother me though. And the strange thing is, I made pictures myself….and for some reason, I watch a lot less of it now…. good luck, we all have also our own values and limits…..so if this is helpful good, but if not, feel free just to delete it….I do not want to offend. 🙂

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    1. Hey there, not offended at all. I understand that we all have different viewpoints on the issue. Some say it’s harmless while others say it’s poison. I don’t think porn is even the main issue, but a symptom of a much larger skewed view on sexuality. I appreciate you adding to the discussion.

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      1. Yes, a skewed view….that is the problem indeed….but where to next, I wonder? Thank you for that kind comment….it is sensitive I know.

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  3. Another great post. This issue affects us all- and it’s time it came out if the shadows and into the light of Godly discussion. If a man will not give up porn for a woman he loves or for God, that porn has become an idol. We all have to give up things when we become Christians or get married but we are blessed for doing so. A man unwilling to give up or work on his porn addiction might not be your best option.

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  4. The Bible has a statement: “Let he who is perfect cast the first stone”. To which I add, if the woman is perfect, then only can she expect perfection from a guy in all respects.

    Sex to a man is what Romance is to a woman. Ever think of asking a woman to dump Romance?

    Almost all men are into porn, even some of the clergy. And they are into porn not for the heck of it; it has a hold on them because their bodies need sex, and porn and masturbation was an alternative until they could get married. I encourage all women to find a porn-free guy, but by the time you find him, you may not be marriageable anymore, and if you do find him, a guy without enough drive for sex and porn, is most likely to leave you unsatisfied in the sack.

    Some parts of this article are incorrect: “Porn ….that bleeds into other areas, like finances, health, cheating, lying….”. I can attest that this statement is false.

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  5. As a Christian woman who’s leaving a sex addict after 13 years together and three kids, save yourself the heartache now. It’s a lifelong affliction and there’s only one way to overcome it before it destroys your family — to recognize the addiction, cling to God for liberation, create a support network and address the underlying issues. If he is looking for you to “just accept” his porn viewing, you should RUN the other way.

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