A Common Problem

The Husband’s Story

My wife and I have been married for fifteen years. I am on staff at a local church. We are a Christian family; we love our three children, and my wife home schools.

About a year and a half ago my wife discovered my Internet pornography problem. It devastated her, but in the following months so much more came out— frequent masturbation, an emotional affair with a woman at church, lusting over women. I looked up a woman I once believed I would marry and re-established a relationship with her on the Internet. Obviously, for my already heartbroken wife, that added significantly to the hurt, the pain, and the uncertainty for our future.

Throughout all of our married life I’ve been a very selfish man. My wife has never had my heart and in our sexual relationship she often feels treated like an object. Given such a poor relational history there’s so little for my wife to look back to as a basis upon which begin to rebuild our marriage.

I’ve not been very supportive as we have begun to struggle through this mess. At times I’ve dragged my heels about going for counseling and asking for help, and then I continued to lie to her and denied there was a problem. I have tried in my foolishness to get her to see that it is her problem because what I’m doing is not a big deal and that she just needs to get over it. When we did go for counseling at her insistence, it was pretty much pointless. I have attended some popular seminars on sexual addiction and read some books, but little has changed.

Last night we agreed that I should move out. This morning, for some reason, she’s agreed to try again.

The Wife’s Perspective

We have never had a good marriage. He has treated me like a sex object, kept me out of his life, isn’t a spiritual leader in our home and is pretty self-centered. I caught him looking at Internet pornography about a year and a half ago. I was crushed, but had no idea of the depth of the problem. Several months later I realized he was lusting at women, even in church.

I can’t get straight answers to my questions, and he makes me feel like I don’t even have the right to ask them. On the other hand, not knowing everything he’s doing is killing me on the inside. He told me he didn’t have a problem, that all the problems in our sexual relationship and marriage were my fault. It’s so easy for him to defend his actions and not care about me. He has repeatedly looked me in the eye and lied to me about his pornography problem. He constantly masturbates, has tried to have an affair and even looked up his old high school girlfriend on the Internet. I’m scared to death that there is more. He tells me that he hasn’t had sexual relations with anyone since we married, but I’m not sure that I believe him. He tells me he loves me and is sorry. I don’t know what is true or untrue.
We tried counseling and he has attended a seminar for men who struggle with sexual addiction but nothing is working.

I hate the thought of divorcing, but I also can’t bear the thought of living like this any longer. One minute I’m doing okay, and the next minute I’m bawling my eyes out and trying to hide from the kids so they don’t ask what’s wrong.

1 The above article is a true to life situation typical of hundreds of couples who have come to Stone Gate in the last sixteen years. It is a composite of a real situation and any resemblance to people living or dead is coincidental.