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What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:00 pm
by AkMike
I've been thinking about this, lately, and I'm interested in what would therapy, restoration, accountability, etc., look like if a Christian wife is caught in long-term porn use.

I've been doing quite a bit of research over the past few months, and I've actually been stunned to read the stats that porn use among Christian women is not only on the rise, but is alarmingly high even now. According to the results of multiple surveys--quoted among Christian ministries--one in three visitors to online porn sites is a woman, with Christian women comprising a large percentage of these. These numbers are likely even higher in reality, since many women porn users, Christian and otherwise, won't admit to being users/addicts.

Ministries like "Dirty Girls Come Clean" and "Beggar's Daughter" largely exist to help women out of the porn maze, and these ministries basically say that women are coming out of the shadows in droves, admitting to a porn habit or porn addiction. Many of these women are born-again Christians struggling with years-long porn usage. For the married women, their husbands usually have no idea of their wives' sin.

So, from a married perspective, if a wife is discovered by her husband using porn, especially long-term, how would he proceed with restoration, etc.? Christian husbands admitting to or caught struggling with porn are often put on a 90-day masturbation fast, along with being excluded from having sex with their wives until such time as the wife's trust is rebuilt. Unless there is hardness of heart and an attitude of unrepentance on the husband's part, I personally don't believe there is biblical warrant for insisting upon either. And I can only imagine the pain a Christian woman would feel if her husband refused lovemaking with her because of her sin. The shame of discovery of her sin on top of exclusion from the marriage bed would be crushing to her.

There is no issue in my marriage like this right now, but I've already decided that, should my wife fall in this way, I would continue to love her sexually and comfort her in her repentance.

Anyway, in Christian marriage, what is the prescribed course for a wife caught in porn use?

No PMs please. Although she knows I've got an account here, my wife doesn't particularly like that I'm on TMB and since we have the same email account, I think it irritates her for me to get PM notifications. So,I don't bring TMB topics up to her anymore. I tried many times engaging her with TMB discussions and she's just not interested. Anyway, us not discussing the TMB website keeps the peace. I do my talking on these boards.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:56 am
by FoxluvsBunnyDFC
Well, in all respect, reading this and your wife's perspective, and that you don't have an issue like this in your marriage, i'm a bit curious as to why you are thinking this through so deeply? Do you suspect something or is it totally out of the blue? Maybe that might hurt your wife to speculate about an issue that isn't even an issue. For instance, if I started researching and worrying about what to do and how to respond and restore our marriage if i found my husband was deeply involved in drugs, but it wasn't an issue at all, i suspect it might hurt him and make him and make him confused and think i don't trust him.

AkMike wrote:should my wife fall in this way, I would continue to love her sexually and comfort her in her repentance.

For speculation sake, i think your proposed approach sounds good for anyone in this situation. It seems that in marriage, the selfless, forgiving way is the best in any situation you are faced with :)

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:26 pm
by hifromme67
Curious as to why you are even researching this is it isn't a problem YET. Is there a problem and you are embarrassed to say?

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Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:57 pm
by neilethere
Hmmmmm, I would be thinking Ak is simply putting some thought into a general issue that will undoubtedly become more of a problem in the near future.

You know ...... thinking ahead.

When I read this I was reminded of one of our lady nurses on here (can't remember who .... sorry) mentioning that (ohh, I hope I get this right) women present with different symptoms for heart attack than men. And, of course, most (all?) training revolves around male symptoms.

It seems to me the things which move females towards porn are likely different to male ones, and it may well be the help needed to extricate people from this particular sin may also be different.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:31 pm
by Vanna
If someone comes along who is struggling with this in their marriage, I'll be happy to answer their questions and share my experience.

I find that the discussion is most fruitful when the specific situations and struggles can be more clearly described.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:01 am
by Job29Man
You can go into your account settings and turn OFF the option to get email notifications of PMs. That's actually a feature you had to select when you set your account up in the first place because default is that you do not get email notifications. So you must've wanted it at one time. Anyway, you can remove that minor annoyance pretty easily.


PS -- I sent you a PM recently.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:03 am
by Job29Man

Thanks for setting me straight on the Men At Work song lyrics... "where women glow and men plunder." (in your profile) I'm one of those who has been singing "thunder" for decades. :lol:


Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:37 am
by AkMike
Sorry for the long delay in responding. I've been extremely busy the last few days selling my stuff at a local fair.

Foxlovesbunny, no, really, there's no issue. I'm a researcher by nature, and a writer by profession, so I examine all manner of issues. It's funny in some respects, because sometimes my wife will pass by behind me when I'm on the computer and check out the topic, and metaphorically stand with hands on hips and give me "the eye". For instance, in research for a novel about a husband who disappears (still working on it), my wife sarcastically mentioned, "So, are you planning to disappear from this marriage?"

Now, obviously, if that was my thinking, I sure wouldn't be doing the research right in the same room with her.

As for the women/porn issue, it was actually a rabbit trail that I hadn't intended to explore, but because I knew literally nothing about the issue, and my curiosity took me into researching it.

It's interesting (in a sad way) that women, and even younger girls, are seemingly being taught that sexual exploration outside marriage is the norm, and that there are no boundaries to that exploration, moral or otherwise. I've actually seen lately (never have before) women holding each other around the waist or touching each other's buttocks, etc. in what I can only assume was in an erotic way. I also read how porn use among Christian men is at an all-time high, and noticed that there is no support group for men trapped in this sin this in the church I attend. I began wondering just how many men in my church might be into porn (if any), then the rabbit trail about women and porn came up during my research and I was stunned to see that so many women in the church have a similar problem. I never knew women had lust issues like that. You only ever hear in the church that porn is a man's sin. That led to me wondering about restoration for women caught in the porn maze, which is made all the more difficult because many women feel completely alone in their sin, thinking that porn is only a man's problem and that they shouldn't have lust issues. Expecting only condemnation, they never come forward to get help.

So, anyway, there's my thinking processes.

And thanks, Job, for the heads-up. I should probably do that.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:59 am
by Leah
The church says a lot of things that really aren't true. Women have sex drives. Women have pain. Women who would never think of using drugs or alcohol might turn to porn as a way to medicate pain. Pornography produces the same spike in dopamine levels as video games or cocaine. I think this is why God teaches us to work hard and stay in the word to keep away from sin. Exercise and hard work produce endorphins which make us feel good.

I am pretty sure restoration should include some sort of fast from the actual behavior, so a media and masturbation fast would be appropriate. There should be some sort of accountability as well. The using spouse is accountable for his/her behavior. The Bible says we should bear one another's burdens and confess our sins to each other. I think these form the basis for accountability. If media is really a problem, then perhaps a change to a simpler phone and internet with strong parental controls might be an option. The point is not to control the person, but to set a boundary that household resources will not be used to promote sin and laziness.

I don't think fasting from the full expectation of family relationships should happen unless the user goes to a therapeutic in-patient facility. Sex should be taking place, and regular family responsibilities should be expected. There might be a case where there is some abuse in the sexual background or current relationship that might call for some supervision by a professional. It's not always the case, but a full airing of the issue would bring that to light.

It really helps if the whole family participates in recovery on some level. Addictions rarely happen in a vacuum. There are often underlying issues in the family of origin or in some other relationships that left pain in their wakes, and I think a full examination of those issues is in order. Often a user does not know how to do that alone, and there is a great deal of anger and resentment stored in the heart and mind. Cloud and Townsend talk about the role of grief in forgiveness and healing. A professional counselor or a group for codependents can be very helpful.

These are just thoughts off the top of my head.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:03 am
by AkMike
Wow, that's good, Leah. Thank you. Lots of good information here.

Thinking about it some more, are there signs that a wife might be using porn? Something that a husband wouldn't really pick up on? Again, just wondering out loud.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:13 am
by Leah
I don't think I can say specifically what might be evidence a wife is into porn. I think there have been stories here about wives who secretly masturbate to avoid sex with their husbands. Whether they use porn doesn't seem to a consistent part of the story. Personal use of porn is not a part of my story, so I would leave that for some of the members here for whom it is part of the story.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:30 am
by AkMike
Thanks again, Leah.

I have just now been doing some internet searching using the specific words "Wife Uses Porn", and I keep coming up with hits like "How to Tell Your Wife about Your Porn Use", and "Husband's Porn Use Damages Marriage", etc., that kind of thing. About one hit in thirty made mention of wife's porn use. No wonder women caught in the porn maze can't find their way out. Almost everything out there references porn use as a man problem. It's as if porn use among women is widely regarded as a myth.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:47 am
by Leah
It's not a man's problem. It's the problem of whoever is drawn to it. Recovery is different depending on what leads a user to use.

If a man uses to masturbate due to severe, chronic, ongoing refusal, then get him clean and address the sexual issues in the marriage.

If a person uses as a means to medicate pain, then both spouses need to be in some kind of recovery. I think a group might not be all that's needed. After the infamous paper towel incident, I played the, "You have 30 days to talk to a counselor, or you will be talking to an attorney," card. He saw a counselor from church who put Jake through a program that required homework dealing with FOO issues. For some, it may require group(s), counseling, plus additional accountability.

After living with this for years, what I think does not work is for the clean spouse to control the user. This never gets to the heart of the problem. The user has to be seeking recovery with the intent to live clean and sober and avoid triggers. Spouses can support that effort by watching the children or maintaining passwords, and maybe a little more sex, but they should not try to control the user. The Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is self control, so the goal should be for both spouses to exercise self control and demonstrate love, understanding, and paitience.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:26 am
by beautyfromashes
I think these are good questions to ask. I'm one with a history of porn use. I have a lot to say, but today is a crazy day. I'll try to get back and answer some of your questions later tonight.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:41 am
by hifromme67
I would love to know your story Leah. I have not been around long enough to follow.

Re: What would Restoration look like?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:02 pm
by Leah
The thumbnail sketch can be found here.

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