By Eddie Capparucci, MA, LPC
During a recent marriage counseling session, a young wife said this to me after I discovered the husband enjoyed viewing pornography.
“I don’t see the big deal,” said Candy. “I think it’s something all men do. Besides, that’s not the reason we’re here. As we said earlier, we are having troubling connecting and I feel he is being very distant.”
Candy, like many other women, buy into the myth that there is nothing they can do to stop their husbands from watching pornography. They have been conditioned to believe that watching porn is as natural to men as leaving the toilet seat up.
Yet, the complaint Candy had about her relationship – lack of emotional intimacy – is one seen in all marriages where men spend time watching pornography. Candy, like many other women, don’t understand pornography destroys emotional intimacy and connection. A man who views pornography develops a distorted view of relationships. He often mistakes emotionally intimacy for physical intimacy. He demonstrates and feels loved through physical touch. While sexual intimacy in a relationship is important, it should not be the predominant means for showing affection.
Then there is the point about “honoring.” How is watching pornography and becoming sexually aroused and stimulated by watching other people engage in sexual acts demonstrating respect for your wife or marriage?
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together.” 1 Peter 3:7 NLT
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.” Hebrews 13:4 NLT
Whether you agree or not, a large majority of women see pornography use by their husbands as a form of betrayal. They are offended and shamed that the men who say they love them enjoy viewing other women engaging in sexual activities.
Another reason to not ignore your husband’s pornography usage is that there is more going on than just lust. In nearly all cases, men utilize pornography as an escape from a more deeply-rooted emotional pain. Instead of confronting their emotional needs they instead learned that pornography serves an excellent distraction.
By ignoring his porn watching, you are enabling his efforts to not confront his emotional distress(es). And in turn you are playing a role in creating a divide in your relationship.
If you have turning a blinded-eye toward your husband’s use of pornography, I would encourage you to do research and see what pornography usage over time does to a man’s brain and the way he views women in general.
I would also ask you to spend some time seriously reflecting on the state of your marriage and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my marriage everything I dreamed it would be?
- Does he seek me out more to emotionally connect or to engage in sex?
- Do I feel as close to him today as I did the day we got married?
- Does he make me feel special and desired for more than my body?
- Has our sex life changed?
After answering these questions, perhaps you will find that you have been “settling” in your marriage and that you really want more from him. If so, the first place to start is evaluating what his pornography use is really doing to your marriage.