Tag Archives: adultery

“Help, Church Leaders Don’t Want Me to Divorce Husband with Porn Addiction”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

In April, the following message came using the contact form on this website. (printed by permission)

“Thanks. Your articles were helpful. My Google search that led to your page was – ‘help church leaders don’t want me to divorce husband with porn addiction’.  We separated, with the elders wanting that time to be for us to work towards reconciliation. I still see abusive attitudes that are so tied up in the porn use. They see [his] tears and ‘repentance’. They haven’t spent time with me or the kids – only him. The emotional abuse is so HEAVY. That is what I feel most compelled to run from – someone who plays the victim while he is abusing himself, his wife, kids, and those used to make the content he has indulged in. I think this is the part where wives and kids need help – after YEARS/DECADES of this cycle (sin comes to light/tears and repentance and new accountability partners/ etc.) – when is it finally enough? Their argument is that he seems genuine this time – so who am I to not give him another year? These guys haven’t even chatted with me. That happens too often. And if we say, “but that seems unsafe to me” – we are told we’re being unsubmissive. I wonder how many people have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse. I hope you are able to help others still love God and trust Him, but navigate through these murky waters. Thanks again.”

The writer’s articulate description of the cycle of cheap grace hopefully draws you in, dear reader. Perhaps you’ve lived it, or are seeing her point of view for the first time. 

Cheap grace 

1) Sin comes to light. 

2) Tears and repentance

3)New accountability partners

4) Sin continues

This wife’s story draws tears to my eyes because she, her children, other watching families, and the testimony of Christ are twice hurt.  Both the husband’s sins and the church’s short-sighted response to pornography in Christian families have emptied grace of its beauty and power.  Along with her, I ask, when is it finally enough? How many observers have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse?

Here’s the thing, dear reader.  In my experience, most believers and followers of Christ want to do what is right. There will always be power-hungry leaders among us, however they are relatively few. The rest of us make these mistakes based on lack of knowledge. 

Christ’s grace

1) We all sin and fall short of God’s holy nature (Romans 3:23)

2) People return to sin like a dog returns to its vomit  (2 Peter 2:21-22)

3) Our “righteousness” is as pure as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

4) Enter Jesus. He lives the life we cannot – one without sin (Hebrews 4:15)

5) He pays the blood-price for our forgiveness (1 John 1:7)

6) We confess our sins and turn away from them with his strength (Romans 8:5-9)

7) We become more and more like him, loving others as he did (Philippians 2:5)

8) In marriages, we lay down our selfish ambitions and pursue loving each other as Christ loved his church, and gave himself for her, submitting to each other as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-21)

Where does adultery, lust, and addiction fit in this picture? Where is the false repentance (that is actually only remorse) in God’s story? Did not Esau sell his soul for a pot of porridge? And though he begged for forgiveness with tears, he could not receive it. That is because his tears were remorseful, not repentant. (Hebrews 12:15-17)

True repentance is observable

Repentance accompanies  deep, honest and humble confession,  true understanding of the pain one has caused others and God,  long-lasting change (with the family as the star witness, not tears),  continuous humility,  and a blame-the-victim, blame-society, and blame-God ceasefire. By the way,  “I can’t help it” is blaming God. 

Cheap grace sounds as the wife in this story describes it (Romans 6:1-3).  When is enough?  In my opinion, it is easier to accept someone’s tears than to do the hard work of exploring their heart. At the very least,  I wish her church leaders would chat with her and the children!

There are common misunderstandings

  • Forgiveness and trust are confused
  • Submission as unto the Lord is diminished into enabling and endorsing sin
  • Separation and divorce are equaled with remarriage
  • We are unwilling to do as God did – allow divorce due to the hardness of mens’ hearts
  • There is little concept of the connection between porn and adultery, or porn and abuse
  • There is little respect for the death sentence emotional abuse hands down to victims 
  • Legalism trumps holiness. 

Thank you for reading today’s blog, and I pray you are encouraged by the truth written here. Let’s do our best to understand wisdom, and to love these families harmed so deeply by pornography.

Related Posts:  Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse pt 1, pt 2;   Series on Emotional Abuse in Christian Marriages pt 1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4, pt 5and An Open Letter About Porn to Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-to-be

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.


NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*help sign and typing pic from kozzi.com

Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   Nancy Virden (c)2013

Sometimes I see that a certain search landed someone on this site. The title of this blog is a question asked on Google or another search engine. Hopefully, the one who asked will find this post.caught!

Is watching porn emotional abuse?

YES   How so? Emotional abuse is taking advantage of another person’s emotional vulnerability. It can be crazy-making for the abused because wounds are not visible, and the abuse is often masked by lies and a pretence all is well. Those involved may be steeped in denial, and outside supports have trouble believing what they do not see or understand.

There are five groups of people who are emotionally and/or sexually abused by the one who engages in watching porn.

1) The spouse or partner disturbed by this activity. If no means no, then taking advantage of who is hurt by our actions is abuse. Likely, a wife (it can go both ways, but most often porn use is by men) will feel embarrassed. Why am I not enough? Does he love me for me? Does he wish I were someone else? What’s wrong with me? 

As the wife grows older and the models remain young, she may doubt she is still wanted. Spiritually, she might have trouble understanding where God is in all this. Perhaps she feels used and degraded as her core needs go unmet. She may withdraw in emotional self-defense. Her husband can try to use her reaction as rationalization for porn use, but whether she accepts blame, the problem lies with the abuser. He is not protecting her heart, the one he promised to cherish forever.

Watching porn is also adultery.  I heard a pastor say, “It is not adultery, it is an addiction.” Seriously??  With all due respect, if becoming addicted to a sin makes it ultimately OK, then let’s party!  He went on to say, “It just feels like adultery to the wife.” Notice there is no acceptance of female wisdom in his patronizing comments. My translation of this pastor’s words is this: Silly women get upset over this not-so-bad habit guys have. 

The definition of adultery by Webster’s and the Bible, is seeking sexual pleasure outside of marriage even if from lust alone. I might add, if it feels like adultery to the wife, it is emotionally abusive.

2) Women.  I’ve heard men say they do not see the insult to women in most of our media. Perhaps they do not see it because it is no longer offensive to them. The repeated downgrading of women to the shape of their bodies is obvious on TV, in magazines, in songs, movies, and on social media.

Here’s a challenge to scoffers. The next time you watch a “harmless” TV show or movie, be mindful of nudity or semi-nudity which will most likely be the female actors. Look out for violence perpetrated against beautiful and often barely clad women. Listen for comments about a woman’s looks; hear a rating system of girls’ value. Notice fantasies male characters joke about, and harsh judgments. Consider that the less-than-perfect looking actors are most likely men. Just observe. That next song you hear on the radio – what are the lyrics?

Do you see the parallel decline in our society’s treatment of women? Degradation of women has always been with us. Due to its modern-day availability, porn viewing entices  more bosses, husbands, teachers, therapists, pastors, government leaders, law enforcement officers, sons, students, employees, dads, and many others a woman or girl would like to believe respect her and have her best interests at heart.

Do we actually want to believe our society is not affected by this? Even if this man is outwardly respectful, inwardly his ability to control his thoughts as he relates to women is compromised.

Perhaps you are not sure you agree. When we value a point of view, we tend to defend it, yes? This is true in our thought patterns as well. If a man values women as sex objects (and he does if porn is enticing to him, even if he is not limiting women to that) he will mentally “defend” that position in situations where he finds himself tested. Will it show up in his treatment of women? I say, ultimately it will.  

3) Children.  People too young to process what is going on around them are exposed to pornography. ALL pornography. They see orgies, human on animal sex, rape, violence, incest, and every sexual possibility. When children stumble on these things on the internet, they do not forget what they saw.  It affects them. Boys and girls see and learn their supposed roles in sexual relationships.

This has a name – covert sexual abuse. It may not seem so obvious, but is harmful. Sexualized children include, and are not limited to, little girls whose moms bought them padded bras, daddies telling their daughters they look sexy, children stumbling across grandpa’s porn magazine collection, little boys copying their dad as he follows women with his eyes, and adults talking  about sexual exploits in the presence of children. Each of these actions and more, sexualize and damage children. 

4) The models/actors.  This may surprise you, but not all of them want in the business. There are those actors, desperate for work, who hear porn will kick off a career. Some came to believe early in life that this is all they are worth. Children and young adults are sold into the sex trade against their will. Why is there such a world that will steal a life to momentarily please another?

We have this world because it is a thriving business. The nature of porn is dehumanization, so why not destroy a person for money? Customers decide if a trade is bustling or not. We are responsible for what we promote with our money. As a collective, porn users emotionally and sexually abuse the models and actors.

5) The viewer.  Porn warps reality for the ones who lean on it for a sexual high or release of stress. They cannot have healthy relationships to the extent possible because their brains  adjust to a make-believe world. They become wired over time to react to pretend, not relationships. Why do we have the stereotype of the man hiding out in his house alone, watching porn movies in the dark? Because porn takes the viewer out of real life.

A person lost in a fantasy world where other people exist to satisfy the viewer’s sexual desires, will have trouble relating to reality. Dissatisfaction with life grows as his or her behavior becomes more demanding, distant, or secretive. Porn viewing is progressive, too. One has to dive deeper into fetishes, and search for more variety and experiences, to feel satisfied. 

Porn is emotionally abusive to an entire world of people. Am I saying porn watchers are victims? No, I’m saying porn’s existence has hurt us all.

Just as the wind is invisible but we know it is there, pornography is stealthily setting spouses, women, children, models, and viewers up for a terrifying fall. As internet generations grow up, we will see more results of childhood exposure to uninhibited and public sexual activity via porn.

As self-respect becomes more of an illusion for our girls, and masculine power and control tempts our boys,  we will no longer be able to deny how much this emotional abuse has damaged our world.

More on ‘Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse?’


NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from Qualitystockphotos.com