What Secretly Watching Porn Does to Your Woman (and how to fix it!)

 
I’ve talked about why it matters what we classify as a porn “addiction” in the past [read it here!] because I think the porn goes far beyond what we classify as an “addiction”. Calling it an addiction, or waiting for it to become so consuming that it can be classified as an addiction, excuses too many people from accepting and acknowledging it is a problem. It’s really quite simple- if you’re watching pornography behind your wife, fiance or girlfriend’s back because it would hurt her to know what you’re doing- it’s a problem. 
 
“Why doesn’t he look at me?”
“Is this why he’s suddenly disinterested in sex?”
“Is he using that for motivation to make love?” 
“Does he find me super attractive or think I'm only pretty?”
“What does he look at?”
“How far has it gone?”
“How many times?”
“Why am I not enough?"

A man doesn’t have to have a pornography addiction for porn to ruin his marriage. Sorry men, I’m talking to you today because this is a women’s ministry! (We know of course that either sex can have a pornography problem but let's be honest, it's predominently a male issue). 

Leah Grey Twitter

Click to Tweet: A man doesn't have to have a pornography addiction for porn to ruin his marriage. 

I’ve talked about why it matters what we classify as a porn “addiction” in the past [read it here!] because I think the porn goes far beyond what we classify as an “addiction”. Calling it an addiction, or waiting for it to become so consuming that it can be classified as an addiction, excuses too many people from accepting and acknowledging it is a problem. 

It’s really quite simple- if you’re watching pornography behind your wife, fiancee or girlfriend’s back because it would hurt her to know what you’re doing- it’s a problem. 

Blame it on growing up modestly, I could go on for days about all of my issues with our overly-sexualized culture and how it’s impacting our relationships, our children and our self-esteem but I won’t go into that today! What I want to talk about is the effect pornography has on a woman and offer up some suggestions for you, our men, to help "fix" it.  

I've broken this down into three ways secretly watching porn hurts your lady friend and under each one, how I (personally) think you should approach it in order to fix things (and good on you for reading this and trying to fix it! Kudos!). 

1. Porn hurts a woman’s core need for security 

In my course, Breaking Up with Bad Boundaries, I share with you something my husband and I learned at a marriage seminar with Dr. Grant Mullen [he’s great, check out his resources here! Be sure to sign up for the mailing list and access the video inventory.] 

He said everyone has these fundamental core needs that need to be met by God versus emotional needs that should be met by our spouse. Often, we look to our spouse to fulfill needs we should be having met by God and don't know what our role is in our relationships. 

It is your responsibility to have these needs met by God:

Everyone's Core Needs

  • Acceptance (a sense of belonging/feeling worthwhile)
  • Identity (who you really are/significance)
  • Security (secure in identity/feeling protected
  • Purpose (meaning for your life/eternal purpose)

Needs that should be met by your spouse:

A Woman's Emotional Needs

  • Security
  • Non-Sexual Affection
  • Communication
  • Leadership (1. Guiding children, 2. Romance, 3. Finances, 4. Spiritual)

A Man's Emotional Needs

  • Respect, Honour and Support
  • Sex
  • Fun and Friendship

Watching pornography attacks the first of the woman’s emotional needs: security. 

I think one of the things men really don’t understand is that a huge part of a woman’s feelings of security does not come from having a roof over her head, money in the bank or nice clothes to wear. Sure, those things are nice but they don’t make a woman feel all snug and secure in her relationship. This is why rich women can still have affairs- the “stuff” doesn’t mean anything to them. 



What does make a woman feel "taken care of" is emotional security.

Feeling loved and adored, being able to talk about her feelings, knowing you enjoy talking and spending time with her and feeling confident you will defend her behind her back are all variables in being emotionally secure. She needs to feel like she is the most important woman in your life and the only one you sexually desire and want to spend your life with. When you’re out in public, she’s the only one you see. She needs to feel like she can trust you because she can. 

Pornography kills all those feelings of emotional security. Once security has been damaged (as I'm sure you know), you have to work twice as hard to repair it. 

I’ll tell you from experience, one of the WORST reactions you can have is to retreat and ignore her.

You don’t want to deal with it? Trust me, you’re going to deal with it down the road. It’s going to keep coming back over and over again until it’s dealt with. It’s going to show up during your sports games, while you’re at work via text message, in the dinners you come home to, on the weekends in your “honey-do list”, it’s going to be there. Like a Robert Munch mud puddle, it’s going to grow and get bigger and bigger until everything is covered in mud. 

So you may as well face the music now, boys. 

First things first, you’re going to have to talk to her. More than once.

When talking, here are some tips for it to work and be effective:

  • Don’t get mad and do not defend yourself- even if you think she’s wrong about you.

Once upon a time you won this woman’s heart and made her feel like you were the most amazing man in the world. You didn’t do that by yelling at her and telling her how good you are. You showed her! Yelling at her is only going to make it worse. In fact, take it as a challenge- can you still woo her? Can you make her fall in love with you all over again? If you don’t, you better believe someone else can.

Luckily, you have the home court advantage- she’s already rooting for you (even if she's angry). 

  • Listen to what she’s saying and respond appropriately.

It’s better to say, “I love you and I want to say the right thing, but I don’t know what to say to make this better” than to say nothing at all. It’s better to apologize 100 times than to respond in silence, even if the apology makes her angry, “Sorry?! You’re sorry! I’m sorry I married you!” Yep. Keep saying it. 

Don't give up on her. 

Women hate being given up on. They want to be pursued. If you had a daughter, you would want her husband to adore her and do whatever he could to win her heart. If he hurt her, you wouldn’t want him to give up on her because she is so special. God feels the same way about your wife (girlfriend, whatever she is). God thinks your wife is beautiful, precious and special and she’s worth the effort.

Leah Grey Twitter.jpg

Click to Tweet: Has pornography hurt your marriage? One of the golden rules to repair it-> Don't give up on her.

  • Remember her core emotional needs; non-sexual affection is high on the list.

When you’re talking, don’t try to connect with her physically unless she wants you to. Don’t force hugs, make her kiss you or feel like you even have to touch her. Touch is a great way to show love when it’s wanted. Depending on how severe your loved one’s grief is (and yes, it’s real, full-fledged grief) she may not want you to touch her. Touching her may remind her of the times you touched yourself to someone else. Graphic, maybe but it’s the honest truth. Ask her if you're unsure. 

  • Talk as long as she needs to- do NOT end the conversation.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 3:00 a.m. and you have to work the next day. She matters more. Pray God gives you energy and strength for the next day but don’t make any signs you want to end the conversation. Remember the mud puddle. One night staying up until 3:00 a.m. is a lot better than three months of mud. 

2. Porn makes her feel ugly

Actually, you desiring anyone else runs the risk of making her feel ugly. If you have hurt your loved one by watching porn, it’s time to take an inventory of the beautiful women in your life. 

  • That tv show you watch with all the sexy women? Stop watching it. 
  • Are you following beautiful women or celebrities on Instagram? Unfollow them. 
  • Do you have pictures of old girlfriends on your computer? Delete them. 
  • Is there a beautiful mom at your child’s school function? Yeah, don’t talk to her. 
  • Want to take your wife out to dinner? Glue your eyes to her. Stick them. Smile :)

Before you accuse your wife of having low self-esteem, this has nothing to do with her self-esteem. This has to do with being yours. No woman wants to belong to a man (and when I say “belong” I mean you are “one” with one another, nothing else) who doesn’t want to belong to her. 

A relationship is mutual. Good relationships are exclusive. The thought of being in a relationship with a man who doesn’t desire her is devastatingly heartbreaking to a woman. Even the most confident woman will question her worth and beauty when she feels unwanted by the one who is supposed to have wanted her for life. 

I know this probably isn’t what you were thinking when you started watching pornography. Most likely you were straight-up horny (or bored?!) and needed a visual. Maybe you did it without thinking at all, but the fact is, it means a lot to her. 

Earlier I mentioned touch being a good way to show affection when it’s wanted. As the days go by, touch will be more appropriate. In fact, you may hurt her again if you don’t touch her. 

Remember, one of the woman’s core needs is non-sexual affection. 

Give her hugs. Kiss her when you walk by. Tell her she looks beautiful and give her butt a little pat! Send her a text in the middle of the day to let her know you were thinking about her. 

In this case, after some time has passed, sexual affection is also going to be very important! 

Did you have a sexy dream about her? Tell her! She’s been hurt about you fantasizing about other women. Let her know she is the star of your fantasies. Write her a letter. Wake her up and whisper it in her ear. Rub her leg when she talks to you. Just don’t push for it to go farther. Give the attention and then let her give you the signal to go to the next level. 

Are you not fantasizing about her? Pray about it, bud.

Ask God to fill you with an overwhelming desire for your wife. Satan has entrapped you into sin and there's an out for it. Step one: see your wife as the most beautiful, desirable, sexy creature on earth.

Another great thing to pray for is for you to see your wife the way God sees her. I used to pray God would fill me with love when I looked at my husband because I was so hurt by all the things he had done. I really didn't think I could get over it.

In time, the loving feelings returned (without his behaviour changing) and I grew to be much more compassionate and patient with him- because of love. It wasn't perfect but it was certainly better. 

3. Keeping secrets removes her from the relationship. 

Part of the reason porn kills a relationship is it removes the partner from the scenario.

The partnership is the relationship! Without your wifey, it's just you alone in a toxic relationship with Satan, sin and your computer screen. 

leah grey twitter.jpg

Click to Tweet: Part of the reason porn kills a relationship is it removes the partner from the scenario. The partnership is the relationship. Without your wifey, it's just you alone in a toxic relationship with Satan, sin and your computer screen. 

So if there are other secrets you have kept to yourself for fear of hurting your partner but things that she really would want to know, tell her now when she's finding things out already! Secrets always have a way of always finding themselves to the light. We can never trust a secret to stay hidden. So long as you have secrets, Satan will find a way to use them to destroy your relationship. 

If you truly cannot talk to her, find a Christian man to tell. Have you repeatedly tread dangerously close to the appropriate age gap while watching porn? Fond of man on man? Is it violent and very much ungodly? If you're struggling with something tough, take the shame out of it and seek support to stop it. I know it's awkward but don't hide your face from Jesus.

Don’t allow Satan to have anything on you that can come up later and hurt your relationship.

From my own experience, I think it's better to unload it all at once on her rather than have things come out later during the healing process. Remember, we want to get rid of the mud puddle. Letting out secrets later on when things are healing or she believes they've healed is a really bad idea.

Trust her a little more.

She’s stood by you thus far. Maybe she can “deal” with more than you’ve given her credit for. She doesn't think you are gross, she loves you! (Although, she may think what you did was gross but that's the action, not you personally). If you’re going to make the effort to fix it, fix it right.

God will honour you for doing what is difficult and virtuous. He will be proud of you for loving your wife the way He intended you to. You're going to do all of this with His support; He's got your back! In time, I can promise your wife will respect that you didn’t give up on her.

All of us sin. If you're a Christian, you have nothing to be ashamed of for doing what is good and right by your wife.

Unload the dirt. Wash it away. Stay out of the mud. 

"Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. 
If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 
Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good.”
-1 Peter 4:12-19 (CSB)