“Why am I not enough for him?” This is a question that I’ve heard from every wife I’ve counseled whose husband is involved with pornography. Some of these wives knew about the porn before marriage, but naively believed that they could change their husbands. It’s common for a struggling couple to believe that their love for one another will help the porn addict overcome his temptations as he is ravished in his wife’s love. But then it happens… she discovers the website he’s been viewing and she is devastated!
“What’s wrong with me that he wants someone else, a fantasy no less? Why isn’t he satisfied with our love?” And from those questions come a barrage of self-incriminations about being too fat, not pretty enough, too this or that, unable to “do it” like the girls on the screen. The wife of a porn addict quickly buys into the lie that it is somehow her fault! And many of those husbands are quite satisfied to lay the blame right at her feet!
Help for Wives When Pornography Invades
When a wife struggles after discovering that her husband is involved with pornography, it is helpful for her to know she is not alone in asking those awful, but common, questions. He is not really so different from every other man addicted to pornography in the way he treats her, and she is not so different in the way she responds to him and that knowledge. We as humans are more alike than we are different. Through the ages and across cultures, the human heart hasn’t changed much… we are still created in the image of God, but marred by sin, which changed everything! Yet sin has a certain predictable pattern it follows once the “sin of choice” is established in an individual’s life. That’s what Scripture means when it says we become a slave to sin… we no longer control it, but it controls us and we follow its course in a downward spiral until we allow Christ to intervene by changing who our Master is (Romans 6-8).
How do we help the wife who struggles with believing she is somehow responsible for HIS choices? She must believe God’s Word; that each of us is individually responsible for the choices we make. No one, including the devil, can make a true follower of Christ sin. We may set a stage making it easier for another to choose to sin, but they are still individually responsible for their decision to act out on the temptation. They are still individually responsible to cry out to the Lord for His help (1 Corinthians 10:13-14) and to claim the victory promised to believers (Romans 8:37-39).
Our next goal is to help that wife find her true identity in Christ alone. She needs to be fortified in her own walk with the Lord, confident in who she is as an individual known and loved by God, forgiven and approved by her Heavenly Father. As she grows vertically in her relationship with the Lord and is satisfied in His love, she can better evaluate all of her horizontal relationships to see what, if anything, needs to change to honor the Lord. She will then be less vulnerable to believe every lie she hears (either in her head or from her husband) about blaming herself for his sin because she isn’t good enough. Daily she grows stronger by walking with her Lord (Matthew 11:28-30) and believing His evaluation of her (Ephesians 1-3).
Hope for the Marriage
Sue’s husband was caught again… he viewed pornography and said it was her fault because she didn’t give him what he wanted. She had all the “normal” questions… what did she do wrong to make him struggle so in lust?
No, she hadn’t been a perfect wife, yet she tried to honor and serve him in all the proper ways, including being his sexual companion and lover. She regularly made love to him, but refused when he began to ask her to do “kinky things” he had learned from his pornography. He then lashed out in anger with a barrage of accusations she couldn’t imagine. She had always thought their relationship had been pretty good. Now he blamed her for his struggle since she wasn’t “with him” in his sexual desires, so he “had to look elsewhere to feel like a real man.”
He admitted to Sue and to his counselor that he had struggled since his teens and thought marriage would cure his problem. Now he was blaming her that he still struggled. Sue bought into his blame game until they looked at biblical truth. She began her road to healing, and encouraged him as he got help to renew his mind in God’s Word and began changing for God’s glory (Romans 12:1,2, Ephesians 4:17-24). Each worked individually with a biblical counselor, and also together as a couple.
It wasn’t an overnight change for either of them, but it was the beginning of a satisfying marriage with two vertically committed partners dependent on the Lord for strength and wisdom to walk in victory. When both saw the Lord as “Enough” for them as individuals, each then was free to love the other as God intended in marriage.
Join the Conversation
What principles from this post about responsibility in marital relationships can you apply to your life and ministry?
Note: This article was originally posted at the Biblical Counseling Center’s site. It is reproduced here with permission. You can read the original at Why Am I Not Enough for Him?