Forward with Faith: “When Pornography Hits Home” by Bethany

Jan 25, 2011 by

Stories of women married to porn addicts

Bethany and her husband made a decision together to share their story about his pornography addiction, how it has affected their lives, and how they are working toward healing. Bethany writes:

If you would have asked me before this actually happened, I would have said I would leave my marriage. I’d be crazy not to. But…[after I found out about my husband's addiction] the Spirit told me I needed to go home. I went home and we talked more in depth about the future of us. My husband was committed to making our marriage work…. That night we fell asleep in the same bed holding hands. It’s totally crazy to me, even now, but that’s how the night ended. That was the most open our marriage had been in a very long time and so it actually brought us closer together.

Bethany talks honestly about the difficulty of having trust in her marriage violated, about how the 12-step addiction recovery program has helped her, how she faces day-to-day life in the midst of this difficult trial, how she has learned to turn this over to the Lord, and how important it has been for her to draw boundaries so she can focus on her own healing rather than take on the responsibility for her husband’s recovery.

We encourage you to read the whole interview: “When Pornography Hits Home

(Photo used by permission.)

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For information about the LDS addiction recovery program, see the following links:

9 Comments

  1. Walter Nicholes

    In the article you say your husband was excommunicated. This astounded me. I have never heard of an excommunication for pornography or masturbation. Surely there must have been a greater transgression involved.

    It that were so it would shed more light on the depths and degree of your feelings.

    I recognize that it is probably not appropriate to be specific about his transgressions, but it might be helpful to note that his “acting out” led him to greater transgressions.

  2. Aaron

    Bethany, I really feel that what you are doing to your husband and your marriage by going public with this blog is going way too far and wrong. This is something that you need to keep between you, your husband and the Lord no one else. How dare you shame him in this way? What you are doing is equally damaging to the marriage and equally wrong. Repent of this sin you have committed and honor your marriage covenants by working this out with your husband in confidentiality and in love (not spite).

  3. Aaron,

    Please note that Bethany’s husband agreed to all of this. It was their choice, together, to have her share her story.

    If you read the whole interview, you will also see that this was not done in spite at all.

  4. Jane

    I enjoyed the article it was well written. The only thing I would maybe point out is that there had to have been something greater than porn addiction occurring here. That should be specified as well. My husband was addicted to pornography as well and when he told me of this I was totally disappointed yes, but I did not feel betrayed or like I needed any extra healing. I am not going to victimize myself or feel bad for myself. I was able to help him through his trial and I am happy to say he has not had a relapse in six years. But I will say that it bothers me so much when the women feel victimized based on there husband viewing pornography. We are women, we are strong, lets not make ourselves the victims of every thing that happens. We too have a choice. Do we let situations, emotions and other people influence our behavior or rise above it all. Lets try to be more vigilant about our own progression and not make ourselves out to be victims all the time. I hear it all the time poor me, why me. I love my husband he loves me and that is what is important. He always treated me with kindness and love even while he struggled with his addiction. So I will always do the same thing for him. “I am NOT a Victim.”

  5. Jane,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope that things will continue to be good for you and your husband.

    I just want to point out, though, that given all the stories I have read and heard, and all the research I have done over the past two years since starting to share stories like this here, your kind of story where the wife felt *no* impact and the husband easily got and stayed in recovery is the exception, and I think it’s important to make that clear, lest women feel that there is something wrong with them if it is hard. If you read any expert material on the subject, it’s very normal for women (or any family member) to feel traumatized by finding out about an addiction and the associated behaviors and attitudes that usually accompany it.

    I often think of these women when I read Jacob 2-3 — where Jacob pointed out the effect that even *thoughts* of infidelity or selfishness can have on wives and children. Usually, addiction affects the family system, not just the addict. And women aren’t bad or weak to feel that impact and seek help to work through its effects.

    The whole message of our series here is for those who do struggle (which, again, is most women in this situation), through the Atonement and with deliberate effort and seeking support toward recovery, hope and healing and peace can be found, no matter what a spouse or other loved one chooses to do. For most, finding this healing and peace is a process, and it’s a process that ultimately can and does strengthen women who seek to rely on Christ (and seek the support of others who have found healing) in their recovery.

  6. Jane

    Mormonwomen,
    Wow I did not expect a response, thank you. However, I am afraid you misunderstood my point dear. And despite the pessimistic tone, you can “hope” things go well, but my faith is stronger than hope, and one day yours will be too. I am totally in support of women talking to others and getting help in what ever way they think is necessary. The attitude of women feeling like something is wrong with them, is your reflection not mine. This is the exact attitude I am saying is not OK. Those feeling are not from God they are from Satan why would you allow that to destroy your progression. You are not hearing what I said, you still look at it from the “me me me” point of view. Even the Savior has taught that we should to make decisions based on true principles not on emotions, situations or even others behaviors. I too can give references. Proverbs 23:7 talks about the fact that, “As a man (or woman)thinks in his heart, so is he.” Do you understand? You can’t keep blaming everything on your husband, parents, grandparents, Adam, Eve whoever. Faithful members understand that they responsible for their actions and thoughts. They don’t blame circumstances, conditions, or others for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior.” Reactive people, an unfortunate quality of many victims in the world, on the other hand, are often affected by their circumstances; and use them as an excuse for their behavior. Are we to promote this? That is not what the Savior wants us to do that is not what he taught us. As Children of God we are told to be anxiously engaged in a good cause and “do many things of our own free will”. how can we do that if we are so focused on how others treat us and effect us. The Savior taught us through example that even when others hate us and treat us with no respect we still go on with faith and overcome. Why would you want me to feel bad for myself and think I am special cause my husband made poor decisions. That is called pride my dear, and we should avoid it as we would want our spouses to avoid the other evil, lust. Don’t “feel traumatized” or bad for yourself there is too much of that going on. Why would I ever encourage that. And, yes get all the help and support that is needed, I never said that was a bad idea. I am pointing out the fact that too many women in these situations don’t use the atonement and do not “seek to rely on Christ”. They want him to do all the work and carry them over their problems. This is a sad state. I too of course got support from the gospel and others. The best way I found support was by loving and serving others, not by selfishly putting me first. When I did this I forgot my own sorrows and tried to do what ever it took to come closer to Christ. That was my prayer each night for years. I didn’t pray that my husband changed or that I could get gain. I prayed for chances to come closer to the Savior. I am not perfect of course, but I do feel that this trial made me grow closer to the savior, and that didn’t happen by me feeling sorry for myself. Viktor Frankl, someone who suffered more than many people said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    Why can’t we embrace what the gospel has taught us and not make ourselves victims of the circumstances that come our way. This quote from “The Peacegiver”, a great book, I suggest you read it. “Being Mistreated is the most important condition of mortality, for eternity itself depends on how we view those who mistreat us.”
    “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” And Christ’s answer, “seventy times seven” This commandment was given to Peter (and all of us), so that as we try to be meek and humble and follow Christ, we will not sour our hearts with resentment and bitterness and thereby keep ourselves from receiving the reward of eternal life. Yes my reply is too long, but I know you did not understand the point. One last amazing quote. “Anything that makes me feel better (or worse) than another is darkness; anything that makes me feel one with others is divine. So the natural instinct to try to lift others by helping them to feel good about themselves relative to others is exactly the wrong way to help. True happiness is found not in a belief that I am better but in the obliteration of any need to be.” We should strive for that. I do not think of myself any different now than if I had a perfect husband or if he had abused me. It matters not what his behavior is only if mine reflects the gospel message.

  7. Jane,

    I think we may be talking past each other a bit, and in a sense, trying to get to the same truths a little differently.

    The way I see it, you are describing what, in this context, I’ll call “recovery principles” (which is the gospel at its core) as a starting point for facing a trial such as this (which is completely valid, if someone already is at a place where they can hit the ground running with such principles…and some can. Some instinctively have the gift of faith, and perhaps that is one of your spiritual gifts). I am simply saying that for many, it’s in going *through* the trials that they come to know and understand and experience and trust in such truths and *build* faith as they learn to let go of ‘natural (wo)man’ tendencies. This is really the purpose of mortality, so we shouldn’t be surprised when sometimes people struggle with it all.

    To acknowledge that process to me, however, is different than trying to uphold a false sense of ‘feeling good about themselves’ as a solution. That is not at all what I was trying to communicate, so apologies if I wasn’t clear. (In other words, I don’t disagree at all with that last quote, or with others quotes you have shared.)

    p.s. I am not the author of this post, btw, just in case that wasn’t clear, either. I’m the editor and compiler of the stories and resources here…which has given me an unexpected opportunity to come to know (at least “virtually”) many of these women who are walking this path. Yes, I’ve seen a few stuck in ‘victim’ mode, but I’ve also seen in many women great faith and good desires and have seen God working in many of their lives, line upon line. So even as for many it’s a messy journey, where there is some back-and-forth between faith and barriers to faith, the slope of the line is so often positive; the Atonement is working to help change and heal hearts and minds.

  8. CNC

    I have a few documented mental illnesses. My Bishop knew of them, visited me in the hospital when I had ECT treatment, which is the bottom of the mental illness barrel. Yet, two weeks after my mother died, he came to my home, told me that my entire family, including my dead mother, were spreadinging evil through the valley. He then went on to say that that my brain was no different than his brain. He continued on to tell me I was no ifferent than that of a masturbator or a porgnographer.

    CAN YOU IMAGINE THE HURT????

    Well, maybe when you see my name in the obits you’ll get a better idea. And don’t be fooled because my Bishop’s last name was
    Hinckley. They all make mistakes but someday, his mistke will cost me my life. My priesthood husband did NOTHING!!!! I have spent 50 some years denouncing the very things he was calling me. If I can go to THAT much trouble for The Lord and His commandments, yet I am just one big sexual sin – is God REALLY going to love me on the other side more than He does on this side?

    Not likely…

    I told my adult children of my suicide attempt and they said NOTHING! I think their only regret was they weren’t getting this phone call from the local morgue…

  9. CNC,
    We are so sorry for the pain you are experiencing. We tried to send you an email but the email address you left does not work.

    We know it feels right now like no one cares, but people DO care. We hope you will consider making a call to a suicide hotline or some other similar support network for your immediate sense of despair. There are people there 24/7 who are able to help and help you know that people DO care.

    1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
    1-800-784-2433

    And although we know sometimes people (including those at Church or in families) can do and say hurtful things, we also testify that God’s love is perfect. And the Atonement is there to help heal the hurt in your life. Start first by doing what you need to keep yourself safe. But then we hope that over time you can get the help and support from professionals, support groups or other resources and from the doctrines of the gospel that can bring a message of hope and healing to your life. God knows your heart and your life. We pray you will be able to find Him and His love through your struggles.

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