teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

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teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:27 am

Hello, I am new to this or any forum online for this matter. I need some perspective/guidance. My 17 homeschooled daughter was surfing on DH's phone and found porn. Unfortunately she discovered this in front of her 15 year old brother, 20 year old sister and 13 year old sister. She came to me shaking and very upset with the phone. She pointed out that the phone was on private browsing. She feels very betrayed and says her Dad is a liar plus she feels sick that he is a couple's Biblestudy Leader in our church. She also has struggled with her physical perception of herself and said she always tells herself not to worry about it because when she eventually gets married her husband will "think she is beautiful and be turned on by her". Now she says she doesn't have a chance because she cannot compare to porn stars.

The betrayal feelings come because 6 months ago her 15 year old brother caught DH playing a sim game which involved "dating and getting to physical bases". Both of them were very upset and came to me. DH assured them it was an isolated event of weakness- (as we are all sinful). Since then, they have struggled with not trusting him; there have been times in which they say he has acted weird and they've thought something was going on but DH has said they are over reacting and over stepping their bounds. I have told them this is not their position or role and this is between DH and me. Now of course my DD says they were right all along and DH is a liar.

So those are the basic facts. I am obviously very hurt; I feel numb with regard to myself and DH's relationship but I feel absolutely sickened about how he has damaged his relationship with some of his children (we have 9 children) I feel very lost how to help them and preserve their relationship with him. As for DH, I told him what dd said and that I do not know how to help this situation but it is really his to fix. He is a quiet passive guy so I imagine this will go nowhere and he will allow time to seemingly cover things over but I am worried that our children might need this to be addressed. But this is our problem not theirs. So anyone with Godly counsel would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:51 am

This sounds like a prime opportunity to start creating a gospel culture in your home. :D Don't let your kids go into the world, putting others on a pedestal of perfection, and then being devastated and destroyed when they find out they are sinners :shock: . Dad is wrong, and how you deal with this will be crucial on how they handle their own sin and struggles and how they handle it when their own spouses or children screw up. What if son has his own struggle with porn, he's watching and judging whether you and the family is a safe place to seek help.

This is a great opportunity to show the power of sin...not just in dads situation, but potentially in the idoltry of those who think dad was perfect, or the pride, or the lack of forgiveness, or placing ones worth in the hands of others, or self-righteousness, etc, etc.... we can know something is wrong, and do it anyway, that shows the power of sin. Only Christ can defeat that, and we each need Him, and then take your family to the cross. Help them see the nails in His feet and hands, the lashes and ripped flesh, the thorns on His head, the blood flowing....the price that was paid for their sin and for dads. Help them walk in the grace and forgiveness...and to not be stone throwers. And this is a need for each of our sins, we are all guilty and we all need that grace and mercy.
Last edited by SeekingChange on Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:00 am

I want to also say.... my husband has a history of a porn addiction. It's something he is very open about and it's part of his testimony. To hide something in the dark because of shame, has no benefit to anyone. Bring it to the light, dad can humble himself and walk this out in front of the family, struggles and victories alike, as an example of the work of gospel.

I have had two sons have their own struggle with finding porn and watching... my husband's story didn't prevent their lust and falling into it, but where it made a huge difference is when they both were convicted and needed help, it was us they came to, it was us they trusted. We are the ones who get to walk beside them and be fellow warriors in their battle, and as parents there's no greater privilege.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:42 am

Thank you SeekingChange. Through my fog, I can see this can be a very useful to teach our children truths about sin. That is so encouraging to me because I trust this can draw them closer to Christ. Thanks for sharing about your husband. We definitely want our children to to view us as warriors against sin along side them. So do I just talk with the three that know or do I draw in others who are also of age- the 13 year old is a twin but her twin sister is MUCH more sensitive than she is.

I have not said much to DH other than to tell him the reactions of the kids. He remained silent. I feel like there are two battle fronts here. One being the children and how we handle this as a family and the other being our personal relationship. I feel like our relationship has to be dealt with first but there is urgency about the feelings of the children. I am not sure how lead the kids when truly I do not know the depth of what is going on. Additionally can wives ever really know that, do they need to know that and should they even know that? Additionally shouldn't my husband be taking the lead with both of these fronts? I cannot change him only pray. This has to be a work Christ does within him.

Lastly, should I take initiative and switch his smart phone to a non-smart phone and sign up for something like Covenant Eyes on the computers. It seems a little pointless to me since with enough effort, most safeguards can be worked around. Also I worry that it puts me in the position of authority over my DH in the eyes of my children. But on the other hand maybe they will see it as protection and action to avoid sin. Thoughts?

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:09 am

You can start addressing your kids' attitudes immediately. How they view others and treat them has nothing to do with the others behavior. Even if your husband is not repentant and continued to do it openly, your children can learn to look at it through spiritual eyes, and through the message of the gospel and seeing the sinner and the power of sin and the need for a Savior. When we see sinners in need of a Savior, it removes the "me" factor and the personal offense... because it's truly not about us and we need to quit making it about us...it becomes about that person and God. They then can learn to pray and do their own spiritual warfare for another, but also be aware of the power sin could have ahold of in their own life and their own need for a Savior, not just for eternal salvation but a daily Savior for every trial and temptation.

You should talk to your husband ASAP. Help him see this whole thing in the light of the gospel. Encourage him to be an example to your family (the whole family, not just the ones who saw) by confessing and repenting to God and to them, he needs to seek their forgiveness, and if his plan and desire is to do the will of the Father and to break this bondage, have him bring the family in to fight this with him. He can ask the family to pray for him, or if they find an encouragement in Scripture or elsewhere, to share it with him. Us as parents, are the best examples to our kids on what out relationship with the Lord should and can look like. If they can see that mom and dad sin, but when they do they confess it, repent and are forgiven, then our kids can know that is what they should do and that they too are loved and forgiven. They need to witness us humbling ourselves before the Lord.

When do you feel the most loved? When you've done everything right, or when you have messed up and God or others still loves you? Usually it's when we've messed up and we realize they love us anyway. It's very humbling. Here is the same opportunity, to show you truly love him, and that each of your children will receive that same love, even when they stumble and fall.

Taking the initiative... my opinion is no. He is not your child, he is your husband, who is the head, placed there by God Himself, and he should be leading. Don't undermine his authority, continue to show him respect. Bring up the idea to him, but let that be his decision. He has to own it and see the need for it, for it to do any good anyways. This is a heart issue, outward management of sin does nothing to change the heart. Be his fellow warrior, fight beside him, build him up, lift him up and support him...don't try to control him.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:21 am

SeekingChange, your words ring true with Scripture. Thank you for pointing out the correct direction as we know the way is narrow.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:28 am

I have been praying for you throughout this morning and will continue to. Your job won't be easy because guess where the forgiveness needs to start...with you. You have to be able to view your husband and forgive just as we want our children to. Really, that's an act of the Spirit, but He will be your power to do it and He will pour abundant grace on you to act, we just have to humble ourselves.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:45 am

So I will be having a lot of conversations today . . . thank you so much for standing with me before the Lord today.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:54 am

I have been interceding for you and your family.... anything new or specific you want covered?
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby Job29Man » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:46 am

Dear Brokenheart,

Your screen name says it all. I'm sad for you and will pray for your family today.

Your husband is a Bible Study leader. Is he also participating in any men's group at church? Does your church or community have a men's accountability group? He needs another man, or men, to whom he becomes accountable every week. Seeing as this is a recurring thing, and that he has been lying and covering up his sin, in my opinion he should not be leading a couple's Bible study. He should focus his time and energy instead on restoring his broken fellowship with Christ and with his wife and children. He should replace the couple's study with a men's study and should confide in at least 2 men ALL of what's been going on.

I think that accountability software on his phone is a part of the solution. Yes people can do workarounds, but this is at least one of those "keep honest people honest" kind of locks that you see on lockers or sheds; all can be defeated with bolt cutters, but there is a psychological barrier to that.

I also believe that a discussion with the affected kids, face-to-face, is in order. It should include both you and your husband, as well as any child who knows. Depending on ages, it may make sense to have an "older kid meeting" and a separate "younger kid meeting."

I'm a Pastor, and father of 10 children, about half girls, half boys. We homeschooled them all. Most are grown and gone from the house now, some still at home. We probably have a lot in common with your family. We've had ups and downs in all kinds of ways. I've also counseled several men and wives with regards to the devastation that a husband/father's use of porn and especially the lies/coverups can bring. I'm very sensitive to the sense of betrayal that children feel when they see Daddy fall in this way.

This is absolutely the kind of thing that can turn children away from Christ, away from the Church, even away from men in general, and it can damage or ruin family relationships forever. On the other hand, if handled well, it can actually become something that strengthens the family IF they see a humility in Dad, and total transparency and honesty.

I'd be happy to talk privately with your husband on Private Messaging on this site, or on an email account I keep for TMB.

Let me know what questions you have or how I can help.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:14 pm

Thank you to all who have been praying for our family. So DH and I have not had much time to talk as he has a large project due tonight. He works from home so work can be all day and all night. He does agree that he needs to come up with a plan of action and we need to have a family meeting with the older children. He did say this has been going on for over 10 years which I was completely SHOCKED. He is very sad, embarrassed, sorry and worried how this will affect me and the children.

I did however spend the day yesterday talking with the 15ds and 17dd that discovered the porn along the lines of what SeekingChange advised. It took awhile but was VERY helpful to take a long look at how we put parents on pedestals and the concept of idolatry. Also I had to address that unbeknownst to me these two were "checking up" (another story but 1st indication of this problem 6months ago- I was still trusting and blind) on their dad which is not right even though sin came to light. It was surprisingly sweet to talk about how we all are sinners at the foot of the cross and our need for a savior. Their anger seemed to turn toward compassion.

Today I did not do as well in that anger really set in and I had trouble keeping tears at bay (worrying to the children since we have not talked with them yet.) I finally sought out my mother in law who is a wonderful Godly woman. She held me while I wept and prayed and spoke words of truth from Scripture. I think having to wait for DH's plan and wondering if he really is going to take initiative is killing me. I also do not know very much yet and the mind can go to crazy places. I am not sure even what questions I should be asking. Right now what scares me the most is from what I read, it seems the man has to take the lead in changing his life- i.e. accountability men, support groups, technology protection and most of all seeking the Lord. This type of planned out action is not my husband's strength. I am the planner, organizer, forward big picture thinker but I do not want to do ANY of that for him. I feel like the way I will know if he is serious is by his actions. I am not even sure if that is fair.

Job29man, thanks for your comments. We also homeschool and have 9 children 6 girls and 3 boys. Two of the boys are young but the other boy is 15. He has a dear heart for the Lord and is very committed to protecting his eyes. This has really rocked his world. The 17dd is an intense girl whose heart is very spiritually tender. She struggles with body perception as some girls do and she vocalized "if her dad does this then who would ever find her attractive". I feel sickened that this happened during some of their formative years- it make me keenly aware of the importance of our example. On the other hand I feel rage that the children know and were the ones to discover it.

I know my husband is gravely concerned for them. I am sure he feels a little lost and overwhelmed. I will mention your offer to my husband. He might like some counsel as to how to talk with them. As for leading a group at church, we obviously are going to step down. Our church has a Celebrate Recovery Program; I wondered if that would be helpful. Also I wonder when we should talk with one of the pastors. This feels sooo very personal.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby Job29Man » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:53 am

brokenhearted wrote:...I am not sure even what questions I should be asking. Right now what scares me the most is from what I read, it seems the man has to take the lead in changing his life- i.e. accountability men, support groups, technology protection and most of all seeking the Lord. This type of planned out action is not my husband's strength. I am the planner, organizer, forward big picture thinker...
This is where you can stand alongside him and bring your expertise in organization to help him. I'm very conservative, very H/S in our marriage model, roles, and behavior, but there is a time in marriage when a wife needs to be strong and stand up to a misbehaving husband, or one who is going through a time of weakness. I need and expect this from my own wife if ever I stumble or am lost.

brokenhearted wrote:..but I do not want to do ANY of that for him. I feel like the way I will know if he is serious is by his actions. I am not even sure if that is fair.
I don't blame you for not wanting to do any of that for him. You could give him a week to come up with a plan, and then insist on a sit down meeting with him and review his plan. He should put it in writing and give you a copy. At that meeting you are not there to "rubber stamp" his plan, but to review, consult, contribute and edit with him. It should include, at the very least the names of the men to whom he will be accountable and how and when he will be meeting with them. I also believe that the two of you should meet with a pastor once a quarter or so as a couple. You have every right to this, but more than that, you should do this because he NEEDS you to.

brokenhearted wrote:Our church has a Celebrate Recovery Program; I wondered if that would be helpful. Also I wonder when we should talk with one of the pastors. This feels sooo very personal.
I say yes to all of this. Also, read the thread that I just put up in the pornography section about the TEDx talk on how internet pornography harms the physical structure of the male brain. If you have any question about it, let me know and I can help explain some of the terms or concepts.
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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby doug-h » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:47 am

Brokenhearted,

First, my heart goes out to all of you. I was a long time porn user, and I did a lot of damage to my wife and my marriage, not to mention the damage I did to myself. I have a special place in my heart for all those wounded by it.

You have received some wonderful counsel already, and I'm not sure I can add much to that. There are some amazing Ladies here and I know that you are in good hands, so I will let them lift you up.

I do think I understand some of what your husband is going thru tho. I have an adult son, who I am trying to build a relationship with. It can be difficult to humble myself at times. It can also be hard to speak truth when it needs to be heard, when he is making poor choices, because he knows the man I was before. It will be a hard thing to rebuild that trust, or in my case, to build it to begin with.

I will say that you are blessed to belong to a Church that cares enough to have the CR ministry. I have been attending CR for about 2 years now, and I am part of the Ministry team. It has been life changing for me, and I can not recommend it strongly enough. It can be terrifying at first, but it is such a powerful ministry.

I will echo Jobs offer that if your husband would like to talk with someone, I would consider it an honor and a privilege. I have no doubt that there is a lot that I could learn from him as well.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:58 am

Job29man, Yes I had already found that Tedx- amazingly interesting! I watched it with my DH the morning after I found out. He missed his deadline last night so still is working.

Doug-h, Thank you so much for the CR confirmation. Yes we are tremendously blessed to have our church (I just didn't think we would need the church in this way). I know DH is probably very scared about going to CR. It feels VERY public and we are known in our church because of the unusual family size. I am hoping he will be open in talking with both/either of you because it seems like a good first step in which he keeps his anonymity before going to the church and accountability partners.

To both of you- more than you can ever know, it means so much that there are Godly men who want to stand with my husband even when you do not know him.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby ledgemoor » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:20 pm

So sorry you are going thru this.

brokenheart wrote:She also has struggled with her physical perception of herself and said she always tells herself not to worry about it because when she eventually gets married her husband will "think she is beautiful and be turned on by her". Now she says she doesn't have a chance because she cannot compare to porn stars.
Please assure your daughter that there are many men who marry a woman because of her personality and character, and love her body and is turned on by it because it's hers, not because it has porn-star or supermodel proportions. You can read the posts here on TMB by talking about their wives appearance. Once in a while you will come across a donkey who wants his wife to get a boob job, but the vast majority are very satisfied with their wife's appearance. If your daughter appreciates the natural beauty that God has given her, she will transmit that to the men she comes in contact with, and they will be enamored by her.

Even men married to supermodels are tempted to look at pornography. It isn't that the women in the pictures are prettier than their wives. They are just different, and men receive pleasure from looking at them.
Everything you ever wanted in life is just outside your comfort zone (Jamie Lee Curtis)

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby doug-h » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:06 pm

brokenheart wrote:
Doug-h, Thank you so much for the CR confirmation. Yes we are tremendously blessed to have our church (I just didn't think we would need the church in this way). I know DH is probably very scared about going to CR. It feels VERY public and we are known in our church because of the unusual family size. I am hoping he will be open in talking with both/either of you because it seems like a good first step in which he keeps his anonymity before going to the church and accountability partners.


I say this with all love and sincerity. Every person in your church knows that your husband, and you also, for that matter, has sin in their lives. So does everyone else who attends your church. Admitting our struggles allows us to heal from them. The minute your husband admits his struggle, there will be a few who will turn their backs on him, but if it is a Church worth attending, there will be a multitude standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

When I attended my first CR meeting, I was fully prepared to make the appearance, and never return. The acceptance I felt there, despite my failings, took all my objections, and shredded them. I expected to be surrouinded by alcoholics and addicts, and I thought there was no way I would have anything in common with them. I was right about the first part, I was surrounded. I was wrong about the second part, because I learned they were all exactly the same as I am, only with different struggles. They are my closest friends now.

My church went try a time when almost every week, someone would get up and five their testimony before the message was given. In almost every man's testimony. There was some sexual sin from the past. Many of these men are our associate pastors. Your husband will need to have courage to seek support, but that could be just the thing to show other frightened men that it is ok. It couuld easily be more powerful than the Bible Study he currently leads.

I'm not trying to pressure, just share my own experience.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby brokenheart » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:00 pm

Praise be to God for all of those praying for my family.

DH finally finished his project very late Saturday night. Emotionally it was VERY hard waiting to discuss this but I knew discussing my hurt/anger or his depth of sin/status of his heart could effect his work quality on his project. Instead of pushing him to talk, I bought some flourescent post-it notes and started copying the scripture with which I was crying out to the the Lord. I told my children that the mind can be a really hard place and the only thing that could help me/us right now was prayer and God's living and breathing Word. I only record this things for help of others finding themselves in the same place.

I did not want to share a bed with him but considered the cost to my children by leaving it because they would certainly know. We live in a small house for 11 people. I settled on- each of us would have our own blanket but share our bed. This sounds so silly but the pain is shockingly deep. When he came to bed late Saturday night and was silent for the fourth night since this happened, I needed space. So I left with my Bible. The only way I could sleep was to recite Ps 25:16-17 "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses." over and over and over. In the night I heard "You have value" and I was able to sleep.

The next morning I was up before the children. DH came to me and said my post-it notes were a great encouragement to him (I wrote them for only me not thinking about the potential effect on him.) and that he thought we need to install protection software on all of our devices to help him and I could get the reports. I said I could not get the reports as I could not handle the stress of "policing" and suggested we need to find an accountability partner- he agreed. I told him what Job29man said about "keeping honest people honest" and he totally agreed and was relieved I understood what he was saying. DH coming to me with his own idea how to help felt like a monumental step and an answer to my prayers. It gave me hope and strength to go to church together without weeping or anger.

Late Sunday night we were finally able to talk. He is a broken man who is devastated seeing my pain (I am kind of a no nonsense strong woman). I read this thread to him and he cried with me. To connect so deeply emotionally was very healing to me. He is not a big communicator but now more that ever I need his words (with Christ of course) to help me know we are together in this. This will be a big challenge for him. I think he is open to chatting with men on these boards as it is very hard to think about going to the church. I am meeting with the head of women's ministries on Tuesday for counsel and also direction with whom he should speak. There are so many details to work out. We still have not talked with the children together but I have been talking with them a lot. We just want to be able to give them a plan of action. Plus my DH is slow to words and needs to think about what to say to them.

To those who are praying: Thank You and I praise God for you.

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby SeekingChange » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:11 pm

Thank you for sharing because it is encouraging and faith building, for us all, to witness specific prayers be answered. I have been praying and believe that this will be a place in the road where things have shifted and change direction for the good, for each of you as individuals and for your family as a whole.

If you ever find yourself in need of prayer or support, please just ask, you are welcome to PM me.
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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby ItsJustUs » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:40 pm

It is good to hear things are going as well as they are. Keep going and keep trusting Him!

One thing. If going to your own church is too hard now, is there another church that has a counseling ministry he could go to?

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Re: teenage children found porn on Dad's iPhone

Postby Job29Man » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:46 pm

Brokenhearted,

So, he knows there are men here who will talk to him? Great!
Glad you two are working it out.

Job
Wanting to become like Job, as described in the Bible, the book of Job chapter 29. Hence the screen name.


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