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Our Story With Porn & How We’re Kicking it to the Curb


I remember exactly where I was, sitting in that little pizza shop in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. I sat next to my husband, his hand holding mine, sobbing.

 

My husband has been a porn addict for most of his teenage to adult life. We knew this would be something we would have to walk through when we committed to marriage. It was something we had to work through in our dating season, and we had seen a lot of victory.

 

I also had experienced a 2½ year battle with porn myself years before I met him. I have been walking in freedom for a little over two years now, and it has given me an understanding and grace that I otherwise would not have.

 

Two months into our marriage, pornography reared its ugly head again.

 

The night before I had felt a nudging from the Holy Spirit to ask my husband how he had been doing with porn. I also had a strong urgency to pray for him a few hours before and wasn’t sure why. So, I prayed, and when I got home, and I asked him if he had struggled that day.

 

He said no and that maybe it was the Lord protecting Him from temptation. So, I blew it off and forgot about it.

 

That next day we were at a wedding and during the rehearsal he asked if I wanted to grab lunch before the ceremony. So, there we were in this little hole-in-the-wall pizza shop, sobbing.

 

He shared how he saw an ad on the computer and clicked on it, and one thing lead to another. How it took him off guard that I had asked him how it was going hours after, and so he lied.

 

He shared how sorry he was and that I didn’t deserve a husband like him. How he felt so guilty and unworthy. I had heard some of these things before when we were dating, and there were moments of struggle and it seemed much easier to forgive him. It was still painful back then, but this time was different.

 

There was a pain that overwhelmed me that is hard to express. It’s a rejection that slowly seeped into my throat, tightened everything, and then slowly settled into my gut. And then he said, “I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness, and you don’t have to forgive me right now.”

 

I could sense the guilt and shame settling in for him. This was a familiar path that he had walked – most times alone. Indulging in momentary sin to escape, then the bricks of guilt and shame that would soon pile on would be almost unbearable. I knew that feeling all too well.

 

I had a choice. I could allow his choice to look at an image instead of me to crush me. I could allow that rejection to eat at everything inside me. To speak the all too familiar lies of, “See! You’re not good enough. He doesn’t really think you’re beautiful. He doesn’t deserve your forgiveness. You can’t trust him.” I could put up a wall like I did in most situations where I felt rejected and hurt. I could be cold to him and shame him.

 

But then he spoke these words, “I really didn’t want to tell you. It was eating at me so much all night and all this morning, so I knew the Lord told me I needed to tell you.”

 

I can’t explain to you exactly what happened in that moment, but God melted my heart with those words. It hit me in such a personally powerful way. God told my husband to tell me. God wouldn’t allow my husband to lie to me. He was protecting my heart. It was almost like he was saying, “You can’t do that to my girl, son. I love her too much.”  

 

I felt an overwhelming sense of protection and love in that moment that empowered me to think – okay,  I can do this. I can forgive him.

 

“I forgive you.” I whispered to him.

 

I remember his tear-stained eyes closing and fresh, crocodile tears streamed down. We held each other close as I shared how what he did hurt me, but I wanted to push through and work through this. I started to speak over him the man of God he truly was and is; how I know that he didn’t want to look at those images and that’s not who he was anymore. It was one of the most healing moments for us as a couple.

 

We left feeling refreshed and supernaturally more in love than when we walked in to that place.

 

Marriage has come with other hard moments to walk through concerning purity, but this situation launched a foundation of how to combat lust together.

 

Combat Lust Together

We have learned that vulnerability is essential. We cannot walk victoriously in purity if we are not completely honest with one another. Ben and I have practiced the discipline of exposing the temptation immediately. When thoughts come, that add pops up, or that commercial comes on, we expose it. For us, it’s usually when we are apart, so he will text me and let me know so we can pray. 

 

Sometimes the desire to hide is too strong, and if that is the case, utilize Covenant Eyes’ program today.

 

Share Your Honest Feelings

This also means sharing being honest about how his actions hurt me. I must pray before I do this because there is part of me that wants to make him feel more guilt or shame for what he did. This is my own insecurity trying to take control. I have learned that I must give these to God. These insecurities will not help my husband overcome his struggle with porn, but will only magnify it. So, if I make time to first process with the Lord before having the hard conversation, I’m able to be honest about how he has hurt me without manipulating or condemning him with my emotions and without intentionally hurting him in the process.

 

Accountability

My husband has friends whom he can contact and process with as well. Sharing honestly and asking the hard questions. Male accountability is helpful and essential.

Knowing that someone you love will be alerted if you view pornography is also a huge deterrent. Utilize Covenant Eyes’ program for accountability and regaining trust.

 

Trust

Choosing to trust has been the hardest for me because I want to control. I want to make sure my husband is only looking at me. It’s not something that comes quickly after being hurt, nor is it meant to be, but it must be rebuilt in order to see healing. My jealousy and rejection issues want to rise up in those moments I know that porn has entered the story – but I have to give it to God and trust that my husband will choose me. And if he doesn’t, we work through it, because I know he wants to, and he is working hard to fight for me.

 

In the moments I have had a hard time trusting my husband, the Lord sweetly says, “You may not be able to trust him in this moment, but you can trust me.”

Wife Step: If your husband has opened up to you about pornography, maybe now is the time to thank him for his honesty. Honesty breeds connection, no matter how difficult. Share with him your hurt, but also share with him how you want to combat pornography together, and that you desire openness and honesty with him.

My name is Stephanie Warnock and my husband, Ben and I just celebrated our one year anniversary a couple months ago. I was exposed to pornography at a very early age. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started struggling with porn and masturbation. I started a journey of breaking free from porn through exposing my sin and having accountability in my life, and I have been free for over two years. Although our journeys look different, my husband and I have walked through guilt and shame in our struggles and have been able to walk in victory out of this destructive addiction. Our desire as a married couple is to see other couples and singles no longer walk in guilt, shame and fear of never seeing healing and freedom from pornography. We have been able to build a foundation and strategy of how we are able to continue in victory through the grace of God and accountability to each other. Our desire to is to work with those who see no way out from this addiction and to break the chains of lust and sexual confusion in this generation through the power of calling on Jesus, exposing our sin, and getting to the root of the addiction.

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