Porn: The Silent Marriage Killer

At 21, I was convinced I was marrying the man of my dreams and that all my romantic ideas I had for a happily ever after were going to be fulfilled. I knew marriage was going to be work. I knew that there would be highs and lows. But no one warned me of the silent marriage killer I was going to experience in the years to come.



My husband and I met in my 2nd year of Bible College and in less than two years, we were married. After a few moves, and a life-changing accident which resulted in my husband losing the use of his legs, we settled into our life in Steinbach. I thought we had come through the biggest life-changing event and survived to tell about it. I was even to the point of being able to thank God for the accident because it had grown us closer to God and to each other.


Little did I know that long before I had met my husband, he had become entangled in an addiction I knew nothing about.


Pornography.


For the first five or six years of our marriage, I was blissfully unaware of this growing addiction that would eventually end up causing a crack in our otherwise strong marriage. We were, in my mind, the “model” Christian couple. We had survived Keith’s accident and come out stronger for it, we were involved in regular church ministries, and we had a marriage, or so I thought, that was an example to everyone around us. I thought we had it all…


Until the day I discovered the web history on our home computer.


At first, I was convinced it couldn’t be what I thought it was. I tried to convince myself that there had to be some explanation why these websites would be in our browser history. I felt sick. I was frozen in front of the screen. I was paralyzed by the reality of what I had just discovered. I was terrified. I questioned everything about my marriage. I questioned everything about myself. I questioned if I even knew who my husband was.


This was the first of several discoveries of my husband’s addiction over the course of 20 years.


Each time I discovered it, there were many promises of change. A couple of the times Keith even started seeing a counselor and attending a self-help group. Each time there were many tears and lots of hurt. Each time, I believed that things had changed - that with God’s help and all the other things Keith was doing, Keith had overcome his addiction.


And it did change. For a while. Yet, each of the times, there was a relapse and he’d hide the fact that he had fallen back into old habits. Each time the promises of change were made, I believed him. Not necessarily immediately, but over time, I believed “this” was the last time. He was doing all the right things, saying what I wanted to hear, but ultimately still not addressing the root issue of his addiction.


At one point, we had even separated for a month with promises that if it ever happened again, he knew our marriage would be over. I soon realized I was trapped within the cycle of his addiction.



Two winters ago, our marriage was at an all time low. It had been a couple years earlier that we had separated and reunited, and for a while things had gone amazingly. I thought we had claimed victory. But things were still not right. Things slowly started to decline again.


Our marriage was for all intents and purposes, a coexistence. We were parenting our children together and living in the same house, but on completely opposite pages. We were constantly arguing. We were pulling further and further away from each other. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn. I was begging God to intervene. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what that looked like, but I just needed something to change.


I started seeing a counselor again and was realizing that beyond wanting Keith to change, I needed to start making changes in my own life. I realized I could not rely on Keith for my emotional stability. I needed to be strong for myself. I couldn’t rely on him to encourage me spiritually. That needed to be a relationship motivated by a desire to be closer to God. And so, I started focusing on the thing that I could change. And that was me.


It was also during that time that I again started begging God to show me what was going on in our marriage.


One Sunday, I spent the night struggling with God. Praying that He would show me what the problem was. If it was me, show me! I prayed. I cried. I begged. And at 5 o’clock in the morning, God, as clear as any sign I’d ever read on a billboard, told me that Keith was back into pornography. I had no reason to suspect it because the last time it had happened, he had promised that he would move out permanently if he ever fell back into the addiction. But when that word came to me that Sunday night, I knew. It was true.


The next morning, I didn’t tell Keith what I had heard from God. I didn’t know quite what to do. I also didn’t go hunting on computers or phones. I wanted to take the time to search out whether this really was from God. And so, I prayed. The peace that had flooded over me the night before, continued to envelop me in the following days. So I made the decision to confront Keith.


And Keith admitted he had gotten involved in his addiction yet again. Several weeks later, Keith moved out.


During this incredibly difficult time, God brought so many amazing things into place. The peace that I felt was indescribable. There was no reason for it, other than it being from God. I felt joy like I had never felt before. I felt free like I hadn’t in years. I didn’t know where this would all end up, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was in control. I knew that if I was on my own for the rest of my life, it would be okay. My kids would also be okay.


Keith enrolled in a program called The Path to Freedom at a local church. He started to see that pornography was what had been keeping him from a true relationship with God, long before he and I had even met. He started to see the damage that his pornography had done to our marriage, to his relationship with our children, and to his relationship with so many others around him.


Over the next several months, Keith began to make changes. I saw things in Keith that I had never seen before. I saw a transparency that I had never seen. I saw a relationship developing with God that I had never seen before. But I still didn’t trust him. I had seen changes before.


We went through a variety of counseling sessions. I read. I spent time alone. I spent time with God. I vented. I cried. But I still did not see a way through the mistrust. And then I prayed that if I indeed was supposed to have Keith move back home, I would somehow know. For many months, I didn’t have that peace. I just couldn’t do it. But God continued to work and heal and after more than six months, I felt that God was calling me to take a leap and trust Him. This wasn’t about forgiving Keith. I had done that long before. This was about trusting Keith. This was about trusting God to take care of me.



When Keith moved back home, we were all a little cautious. There was no way that Keith could make any more promises to us that would magically make us trust him. There was no way that we could erase the pain and agony that had been caused over the years. And truthfully, those wounds are still there. They will always be there. But I took a leap and chose to trust again. To trust Keith and to trust God to protect us.


Things are not perfect in our marriage. I don’t know that they ever will be. There have been years of hurt and mistrust that don’t just go away because I made a decision to trust. But I do believe that God will honor that decision.


I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I cannot tell you with 100% certainty that Keith won’t fall back into old habits. It is, after all, an addiction. And that is something that never goes away. But I can tell you that Keith is doing whatever he can to keep himself clean. I can tell you that he is not keeping himself clean for me nor for the kids. He is doing it because that is what God wants for him - that if he is putting his relationship with God first, then he will keep himself clean. He knows that a relapse is not about the kids and me, it’s about his relationship with God.


Here are some truths I have learned through my journey:


1. Pornography is an addiction that needs to be dealt with like any other addiction.


2. There is nothing a wife can say or do to “make” her husband stop. This is his battle and his alone. We can support our husbands in this journey, but we cannot keep them from their addiction.


3. This is not the woman’s fault. That is not to say that we each cannot make changes to better our marriages and who we are. But this is not something we as wives have caused. This their decision.


4. Pornography IS adultery. Matthew 5:27-28 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;' but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."


5. A husband can change if he realizes that the sin of pornography is a sin against God. If he is truthful about his relationship with God, he will realize that while he is hiding his sin from his wife, the church, and others, his sin is not hidden from God.


6. THERE IS HOPE! If a husband is willing to be open and honest and face his addiction, there is hope.



Today Keith & I are together. I do not want anyone reading this to assume that this is the right decision for them. What you have read today is OUR journey. And your journey will look different. I truly believe that Keith and I needed to be apart for him to realize the depth of his addiction. I also believe that being apart made him realize just how far away from God he was. If Keith had not taken his addiction seriously, I am not sure where we would be today.


If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to be open, honest and truthful. With yourself, with your spouse, and most of all with God. If you are open with Him, He WILL show you what to do. And that doesn’t mean it’s going to look like what He showed me to do. Because after all, this is YOUR journey. If you are searching for His direction, He WILL give it to you – in His time.


If you would like to chat further about our journey through the addiction of pornography, or your journey through it, feel free to contact me. I would love to uphold you in prayer. I know that Keith would also love to do this for your husband. Please feel free to email either of us. Sharon: sharonk@mymts.net or Keith: kmklaassen@hotmail.com .


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