As a Christian artist, it’s fortunate that we’re able to use Jason’s life to encourage and influence marriages from a spiritual perspective…
As a Christian artist, it’s fortunate that we’re able to use Jason’s life to encourage and influence marriages from a spiritual perspective…
Trying to overcome pornography addiction can feel like an impossible task. No matter how determined and pure your intentions are, the lure of porn can be unbearable.
Men and women who struggle with pornography will know the overwhelming sense of enslavement that comes with this battle. The power of porn seems to prevail over even the most genuine commitment to your spouse, and you begin to wonder if it’s even possible to overcome it.
You will probably experience lapses on the way, that’s normal. But overcoming pornography addiction is possible. Here are five steps you need to take:
Addiction is a liar.
It says ‘you are alone’.
It tells you ‘If anyone knew, they’d be disgusted and reject you’.
This is a lie women are especially vulnerable to believing. The silence surrounding women and pornography leads them to believe they struggle with a ‘guys issue’, and any disclosure would result in judgment.
Male or female, you need to tell someone if you struggle with porn. This may be a friend, mentor or professional counsellor. Make sure you confide in someone face to face, not only online or anonymously. This is your first, and most powerful step to overcoming pornography addiction.
When you keep your issues secret, they grow in power. In the isolation of your mind, shame and self-resentment can thrive. By sharing your struggle, you open a space where truth and healing can be spoken. When you share with someone and receive love and acceptance, it is a taste of the grace of God, which is where true healing lies. Plus, it’s more than likely you’ll be met with the response ‘Me, too! I thought I was the only one!’.
There has to come a point where you know you can’t beat this on your own. Invite others in.
The power of porn seems to prevail over even the most genuine commitment to your spouse, and you begin to wonder if it’s even possible to overcome it.
When you’re dieting, the Golden Rule is to only buy healthy groceries, and rid the house of junk food. This means when the temptation to binge inevitably arises, you simply can’t satisfy it. You must restrict your access to the foods that encumber you from reaching your goal.
The same goes for online addiction. Easy access to adult content is what hinders your recovery. If you want to reach your goal of overcoming pornography addiction, restrict your online access by any means necessary while you’re in a positive headspace.
Make it impossible to break through your restrictions and access inappropriate content when the temptation arises (which it will!). Download filtering software such as X3Watch, Covenant Eyes K9 or Safe Surfer which have blocking and reporting features.Trying to overcome pornography addiction can feel like an impossible task. No matter how determined and pure your intentions are, the lure of porn can be unbearable.Click To Tweet
If you need greater defense, turn your attention to the devices themselves. Switch your smartphone for an older model, replace laptops with desktop computers in shared spaces or even forego internet for a time. You can always tune into public Wi-Fi when you need it.
If your struggle isn’t digital, find ways to restrict access to your vice, and employ the help of a friend of mentor to do so.
The key to overcoming pornography addiction is accountability.
You simply cannot do this on your own. If you could, you would have already.
It’s not enough to simply share with someone and leave it at that. You need to continue sharing struggles and victories on a regular basis. This can be done one on one, or in a small group. Choose wise and caring people of the same sex. Having this support will get you through the hardest parts of recovery, and these people will be your first point of contact in times of temptation.
You need to choose at least one person you can text, call or video chat at any time when temptation strikes. You need someone on the outside to speak clarity when your brain is on porn-auto-pilot. You need someone to remind you ‘Hey, you don’t actually want this, remember?!’ in those clouded moments of lust.
Accountability means brutal honesty and vulnerability. It’s not easy, but it means you will find freedom.
Overcoming pornography addiction requires more than just tweaking behaviors. You must reflect on what causes you to seek comfort in porn, and deal with this.
Picture yourself as an apple tree. The fruit is the behavior you exhibit. In this case, it’s compulsive pornography use. What caused that fruit to grow? What experiences, feelings and history are in the roots of the apple tree? These can span back to childhood.
▸ Could Covenant Eyes help you? Find out
Of course, when it comes to pornography, there is the simple magnetic draw of nudity and sex. It taps into our biological desires and puts our brain (and other organs) on hyperdrive, regardless of gender. We want to see more. We are particularly prone to satisfying this curiosity when bored, lonely or a little down.
Not all porn addicts have their roots in trauma or abuse, but many do, and most will find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of grieving ruptured intimacy, feelings of pain, loss, abandonment or inadequacy. Porn has become ‘medication’ for the pain. It is a fantasy world of faux intimacy with no risk of rejection and no need to be vulnerable.
Whatever the reason behind using pornography, everyone has triggers. Identifying these will empower you to put a strategy in place, and gain insight into your struggle. Without identifying and dealing with the root issues, you’ll never heal the fruit.
It can help to delve into these matters with a professional therapist or mentor, or by using recovery material and journaling. Delving into your deepest ‘why’s and needs is no easy task, but it is worth it for your healing.
Recovering from addiction isn’t all about restricting, it’s about adding to your life!
To overcome pornography addiction, you need to start restoring intimacy.
If you have a spouse, work on restoring intimacy with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically, but work on showing kindness and building up your friendship and trust. Be vulnerable and love deeply.
It is equally as important to restore intimacy with other people. Many porn addicts find themselves isolating themselves out of fear of discovery and self-loathing. Not to mention, the more often you’re alone, the more often you can view porn!
Take small steps to leave isolation and connect with people. This will look different for each individual but may look like picking up a hobby or sport, recommitting to church or simply making sure you catch up with friends on a regular basis. Have fun and engage with community again, and you’ll feel life and hope coursing through your veins.
▸ Do you have a sex addiction? Take the SAST Sexual Addiction Screening Test
Rekindling intimacy with God can feel a little trickier since you can’t really schedule in coffee with the Lord and chat to him face to face. But ultimately, he is your most intimate connection. He is the only one who completely knows you, and completely loves you. Connect with Him however you need. Sing, dance, yell, run, read theology books, pray, paint, swear or do whatever works for you. Remember He is big enough to handle your pain, anger, questions and struggles, and he wants to connect.
Overcoming pornography addiction may be one of the hardest things you do, but it is entirely possible. By following these five steps, you can give yourself the best chance of healing. This isn’t going to be a simple journey, in fact, it may even take years, but don’t let that dishearten you. Take every day one at a time and notice the daily victories. Every step makes you stronger and wiser, and there is no limit to how God can use your journey for good.
I am an editor by trade and by natural bent. That means I have spent most of my adult life noticing and trying to correct mistakes. My husband, Robert, says I can spot an error on a billboard while speeding by at eighty-five miles per hour. My ability to open a three-hundred-page book and spot the solitary typo is legendary. But while that skill is useful when it comes to proofreading, it’s not particularly helpful in relationships, least of all in marriage. If I’m not careful, I am prone to notice and point out the one thing that’s wrong (in my view) and much slower to identify the ninety-nine things that are right.
On occasion, Robert has said, “I feel like you’re editing me.” Ouch. I know that in those moments he feels I’m not pulling for him. What he needs in those moments is an encourager, not an editor. So I’ve made it my prayer and aim to build Robert up and to be a means of grace in his life.
From what I hear from other women, I know I’m not alone in my “editing” tendencies. And I know that focusing on our husbands’ faults and failures can be highly toxic in a marriage relationship.
Does that mean you should never point out needs in each other’s lives? By no means. We all need honest input from those who know us best and can help us see blind spots we may be oblivious to. But our ability to give humble, helpful critique and have it be well received is in direct proportion to the effort we make to give the gift of encouragement.
Our ability to give humble, helpful critique and have it be well-received is in direct proportion to the effort we make to give the gift of encouragement.
Knowing how important (and neglected) this gift is in a marriage, I have often urged wives to take what I call the “30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.” The challenge has two parts.
First, for the next thirty days, don’t say anything negative about your husband—to him, or to anyone else about him. That doesn’t mean he won’t do anything negative. It doesn’t mean there won’t be anything you could say. It just means you’re not going to say it. You’re going to choose not to think about or focus on those things.
Then comes the second part, the positive one, which is equally important:
Every day for the next thirty days, encourage your husband by expressing something you admire or appreciate about him. Say it to him and say it to someone else about him. Tell your children. Tell your mother. Tell his mother. Each day think of something good about your husband and tell him about it, then tell someone else.
Now you may be thinking, I can’t think of thirty things I appreciate about my husband! Well, then, just think of one thing and repeat it every day for thirty days!
In the years that I’ve been offering this challenge, I’ve seen marriages change in a way that has been nothing short of amazing. Here is just one of thousands of responses I’ve received from women who have taken this challenge:
I was at my wits’ end with my husband. We have only been married a little over a year and have had some awful knock-down, drag-out verbal fights. It has been a serious struggle to keep from walking out the door and writing off this marriage.
Begrudgingly, I began my campaign of encouragement toward my husband. I started leaving him notes in his truck, in his wallet, on his computer, taped to the mirror, but I did it with bitterness, anger, and hate in my heart. Right off the bat, my hard-hearted husband tried squashing my efforts, pouring out anger and frustration with me. I was hurt and about to quit what I’d started, but something made me keep going.
Throughout the day, every time a thought would come to my mind about something we had been fighting about, I began to look for the positive things instead of the negative things and would send him a text or email or leave a note for him.
This has been going on for over a week now. When I come home, the first thing I do is grab him and kiss him rather than just mumbling hello and going and changing my clothes.
Last night my hard-hearted, closed-off, non-communicative husband broke down, opened up, listened instead of barking orders, and sat on the couch with me. He said, “This is the best week I’ve ever had! To just be here holding my wife in my arms is the best way to end a day!” In just one week, my marriage is on the path to being mended! My husband and I had a absolutely romantic evening together this week that we haven’t had since our wedding!
On a scale of one to ten, your relationship with your husband may be at a negative two right now. And this little challenge is probably not going to give your marriage an overhaul overnight. But if you persist for the full thirty days, I believe it will change you. It will give you a different perspective. And in time, as you water the soil of your husband’s heart with affirmation, appreciation, and admiration, you may see him change as well. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
You and I know women who would give anything just to have a husband to encourage. My mother, widowed at the age of forty, is one of those women. Throughout her married life, she was a wonderful example of what it looks like to love your husband. She was just nineteen when she married my dad (he was thirty-two). And almost from that moment, their lives, hands, and days were filled to the brim—raising a large family, launching a successful business, and being actively involved in many different kinds of ministry. Mother could easily have resented the busyness and the intrusion on their relationship. But she and my dad were in this together. They were friends. They enjoyed each other’s company and loved doing life as a team. And the difficult times (devastating business losses, a brain tumor that could have taken her life, a fire that destroyed our home) only drew them closer.
As does every human being, my dad had his share of preferences and habits some women might have allowed to become a source of irritation. But my mother adored him. She admired and affirmed him. She didn’t make issues out of things that didn’t matter in the big picture. Amazingly, to this day, I don’t recall ever hearing my mom say a negative, critical word about my dad.
It’s not that she mindlessly agreed with everything he said or did. She is a smart, capable woman with strong views, and my dad solicited and valued her input even when she disagreed with him. But in the course of giving that input, she still showed him honor and respect. And whenever she talked about him to outsiders, she could be counted on to uphold and enhance his reputation.
Just two weeks before my dad died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of fifty-three, my mother wrote in a letter to an assistant he had just hired: “After twenty-one years of living with this man, I truly believe I am the most uniquely blessed woman in the world.” Her husband knew she felt that way.
I want my husband to know I feel that way about him too.
Adapted from Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth (©2017). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. MoodyPublishers.com.
My wife’s mother and I don’t get along. Frankly, I don’t like her. She meddles in our affairs, has poor boundaries, and is toxic to our marriage. Yet, my wife won’t take sides. I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions?
I have not been able to share my hurt; Growthtrac is the only place I can unburden myself. Robin from Connecticut