When Your Pastor-Husband Looks at Porn

If you discover your husband’s sin, you’ll feel like you’re sinking. In these moments, God’s Word is your lifeline.

Sister, I know you’re hurting, but remember how compassionate the Lord has been with you, and ask him to help you have compassion on your husband. If you truly desire to help him walk with the Lord and grow in holiness, then compassion will be a necessity. Pray for God to help you have godly sorrow, not only over how his sin affects you, but how it grieves God. The gospel strengthens you both to run to God’s throne of grace in your time of need (Heb 4:14–16).

 

Has your husband just confessed that he has been looking at pornography? Perhaps, even worse, did you catch him in the act? Do you feel anger? Sadness? Rejected? Disgusted? Disgusting? Or maybe you’ve caught him so many times you’ve grown disheartened and don’t care any more?

Sister, you are not alone.

The sting of pornography has struck many marriages. The way forward can feel confusing and demoralizing. But there’s hope. I’m writing primarily for pastors wives here, but much of what I will say applies to any wife in this situation.

To give you a little background, my husband—who’s also my pastor—has a history with the sin of lust, which has included a long history with pornography. Even as a young pastor, he secretly hid his sin. On our second date, he shared with me his entire history with this sin, so I could make a quick exit if I needed to. But I stayed, knowing this would likely be a battle we’d fight together the rest of our lives.

I’m not here to share 10 steps to handle your spouse’s porn problem. You can’t walk through this valley with pithy lessons. What I intend to do is share five truths that have helped me keep my eyes on Jesus while walking this path in the hope that you too will be freshly reminded of God’s amazing grace to us in his Son.

1.The body of Christ is a gift.

How do my husband and I move forward? Can we rebuild trust? How can I not sin in my anger? These are real questions. Don’t try to figure this out by yourself. You need others around you, and God has provided help in your local church.

First, lean on fellow sisters . Being a pastor’s wife can feel isolating, especially when you need to talk about issues you and your husband are facing. But you need a godly sister or two in whom you can confide. They need to be spiritually mature, they need to believe the gospel deeply, they need to take sin seriously, and they need to take grace even more seriously. Is there another elder’s wife who’s godly and humble? Is there an older saint who can listen to you and give you wise counsel? Or maybe a mature friend at another church? Pray for God to give you a good friend in whom you can confide.

Secondly, go with your husband to the elders . If your husband is repentant and desires help, you should bring his sin to the other elders of the church. They love your husband, and they love you. God has called them to care for your souls, and though they may not do so perfectly, God will use them to help you know the way forward.

Realize that your husband needs help from his fellow leaders in discerning whether he has disqualified himself from ministry and may need to step down. That may sound scary, but it will serve the long-term good of your marriage and the church, even if there are short-term costs. Also, see these articles for more help on the question of whether pornography disqualifies a man from the pastorate.

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