Divorcing a Persistent Porn Addict?

Divorcing a Persistent Porn Addict?

Gary Thomas wrote an article entitled Dear Church: It’s Time to Stop Enabling Abusive Men. He gives a few examples where divorce is the only option.

“Her husband is a persistent porn addict watching videos from websites similar to hdpornt com constantly. He has neglected her sexually except to fulfill his own increasingly bent desires. He keeps dangling divorce over her head, which makes her feel like a failure as a Christian. He presented her with a list of five things he wanted to do that he saw done in porn, and if she wasn’t willing, he was through with the marriage. She agreed to four of them, but just couldn’t do the fifth. And she feels guilty.”

Then Mr. Thomas states that divorce is the right thing to do. Is it according to the Bible? No. No, she shouldn’t have participated in anything that he asked if it was harmful to her, evil, or outside of the bounds of the marriage bed but divorce is not the answer. If he abandons her, she must let him go but she is not to abandon him for she sanctifies him when she is living with him (1 Corinthians 7:13, 14). As Christ suffered for her, she is willing to suffer under a disobedient husband in hopes of him repenting and believing in the Savior of his soul.

I know women who are suffering under the leadership of a disobedient husband but they are finding their strength in the Lord and being a witness to a watching world. If there is physical abuse, they call the authorities, but other than this, they find support and encouragement from other godly women.

Here’s another example Mr. Thomas gave us. “A young wife, barely in her 20s, held a baby in a blanket and looked at me with tears. Her husband has a huge temper problem. He’s made her get out of the car on a highway with her baby, twice. ‘But both times he came back for us,’ she said in his defense when I looked absolutely appalled. They were separated and she was living with her parents. She wanted to know if she should take him back because his psychiatrist supposedly said there wasn’t anything really wrong with him. Her husband doesn’t think he has a problem, that, in fact, the problem is with her ‘lack of forgiveness.'”

Again, the author says this young wife should divorce her husband. No, she should not. She may stay separated and live with her parents while hopefully he seeks help but a believer isn’t to divorce an unbeliever because of their anger. They’re not. She can still be kind and loving towards him when she sees him and pray for him but she shouldn’t divorce him.

The interesting thing about this article and many others like it is they leave out 1 Peter 3:1-6, the transforming power of the Lord, and the power of a transformed wife on a husband. How can a “Christian” site who proclaims to speak to Christians leave out important truths such as this when speaking about Christian’s divorcing? We are called to love our enemies, which includes loving disobedient husbands, forgiving 70 X 7 times which includes forgiving disobedient husbands, and then obeying 1 Corinthians 13 which is true biblical love, namely sacrificial. Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never fails.

If you are a women who is married to a mean man, if there is any type of physical abuse, please seek out help immediately. Read my post about abuse. Seek out help and encouragement from older and wiser women or elders in the church to confront him, if need be. Don’t try to do a difficult marriage on your own. Make sure you are seeking the Lord and becoming a godly wife that the Lord requires of you but if you are feeling mental or emotional anguish over your marriage never hesitate to get help. This is what the body of Christ is for: to help those in need. But God hates divorce. Read the book of Hosea. Remind yourself that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you and will give you strength for the battle. Your husband’s eternal soul is at stake.

I love what Dr. David Jeremiah had to say about covenant love. “What kind of love endures the unfaithfulness of a covenant partner and yet remains loyal forever? It’s God love, that’s what it is. It’s the kind of love that God extended to Israel in spite of her disloyalty.” (David Jeremiah) The world will never understand this type of love because they don’t love God.

And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
1 Corinthians 7:13, 14

***Further study: If you want to study what God says about suffering, read and study 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 2:18, 19 servants are told to subject themselves to difficult masters “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” Then we are told to be willing to suffer for Christ. “If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:20, 21). Then the next chapter begins with “Likewise…” As servants suffer under difficult masters and as Christ gave us an example of suffering, so wives will suffer under disobedient husband.

Then we are further encouraged in suffering for the name of Christ. “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled…For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (1 Peter 3:14, 17). “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:4). As you can see from these verses, suffering isn’t bad in the eyes of God.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:12-16, 19).

19 thoughts on “Divorcing a Persistent Porn Addict?

  1. In 1 cor. 7 we have this safety valve; “but, and if she depart.” God does not ask a woman to live under danger to her life or her children’s lives. Neither does she have to live in impurity. But separating with the goal of reconciling is not divorce. And divorce is not an option.

  2. Obviously this is not an easy issue, and Gary’s intent is to save the pain from some of these mistreated women. He reconciles their need to get out of the marriage based on God’s loving heart who would never want a woman to be treated as they are being treated.

    That said, Gary violates God’s Word in granting divorce on unbiblical grounds. This is not to say that a Christian woman may not choose divorce, which obviously many have done for lesser reasons, but it opens up the question, “Where, Gary, is the new found boundaries to your call for divorce? Will you now issue guidelines on the matter that God does not give us? Is looking at porn once a month, twice a month or once a year now grounds for divorce? How about for men? If a husband has not been allowed to have sex with his wife for six months is this now new grounds for righteous divorce? How about if she is in rebellion, consonantly puts her husband down and is moody with him, attacks him with words and even physically at times. Is he OK by God’s standards to divorce her?”

    I get what Gary desires to do for these women who are being tested to the limit of their faithfulness to their marriages, and if marriage was only about two people, and not about the children, God and society as a whole, I might agree with him. But marriage is set apart by God to be so precious an institution to His heart and to the heart of society, that if a spouse is being horribly treated by the other, let her/him separate until the other spouse repents and is restored. Until that time let her/him stay away from divorce, unless the other spouse breaks the bounds of marriage and leaves her/him.

    Let’s keep grounded firmly and completely in God’s Word and hold marriage sacred. After all, we did choose these spouses we are married to and our God can and does reward our faithfulness, even in times of suffering at the weaknesses of our spouse… the one we promised to love and cherish until death do us part. Even if we have to love them from distance why they get help.

    1. You made some great points! And who is supposed to be the one who decides when a husband crosses the line, the wife? It becomes a tangled web as we decide to make up our own rules apart from God’s unchanging Word.

  3. One can leave without getting a divorce, but there must be consequences for repeated, serious wrong behavior. A person will will not change if he/she knows their spouse will stay around and put up with porn, abuse, addiction etc.
    One of my co-workers has not lived with her husband for 12 years, but they are still legally married.

  4. I wouldn’t advise her to divorce, but she absolutely must never get out of the car on the interstate again. She’s putting herself and her baby in danger by complying with that.

    1. But, staying in the car may cause him to get more angry too. She cant control this, but maybe an action plan should be in place so if it happens again, she can get somewhere safe quickly. The other question is, what cause him to become angry in the first place? Can it be avoided? Can she talk to him when he is calm about the situation and work something out? Too many questions come to mind with that one.

  5. When we embrace the “D” word, we are “D”oomed. We did not model marriage to Christ.

    God Hates Divorce: So then why does most of the Christian Church allow divorce, even effectively promote it as an option? We have all heard that God hates divorce but we don’t really get. We just kinda go ‘Ah, what’s the big deal anyway?’ Everyone’s doing it.

    The big deal is that what God hates we will eventually pay the price of with His anger. Practically, divorce has played havoc on western civilization. By the time you add to all the divorce those conditions that avoid marriage, such as living together, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc. it may be 70% or more of sexual relationships that are at odds with God. That is the ugly state of marriage today. I’m not here to talk of the other sexual misconducts but I believe they have their roots in the spirit of divorce, in the church’s ‘legal’ divorce.

    Why divorce is against God’s Word:
    1) It breaks a vow
    2) The two remain one flesh until death
    3) God hates divorce
    4) Christ acknowledged that even the ‘exception’ of fornication was set up by Moses because of the “hardness of your heart.” So He is defining anyone who files for divorce [or is willingly a part of it], as a hard hearted person.
    5) it does not allow for or show the perseverance of the faith [taking up our cross …and following].
    6) it does not allow for God’s restorative power, key to knowing Him.
    7) “what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” – any marriage: formally recognized, lawful, vowed, and consummated. So anyone who breaks that – husband or wife or judge or pastor – is going directly against God. Are you that bold to take on God?

    Matt 19:8 “He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Divorce was not created by God and does not exist now either! This ‘law’ was ‘created’ to get the adulterous people to shut up in the ears of Moses; he was ‘suffering’ listening to them bellyache.

    If you originate divorce:
    you break a vow
    you bring forth God’s rage [You energize His hate],
    you separate what God has put together
    you still remain one flesh with your spouse, come what may
    you reject the perseverance of the faith
    you don’t allow the restorative power of God
    you demonstrate a hard heart
    you promote more divorce [simple statistics; we get more of what we subsidize]

    And hear about those that demonstrate [and promote?] ‘hardness of heart:
    “[Christ] rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart” Mark 16:14

    “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath” Rom 2:5

    “…he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” Prov 28:14b

    “And when He [Christ] had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts…” Mark 3:5a

    “…if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…” Heb 3:15

    Those that divorce [and promote divorce] EXHIBIT UNBELIEF, BRING GOD’S WRATH, CAUSE HIM TO GRIEVE, FALL INTO MISCHIEF, AND WILL NOT HEAR THE WORD OF GOD. No so good company.

    Real life: One woman, a while back, replied to a post here saying her pastor had preached with approval of the ‘adultery exception.’ This fed into her sliding toward divorce when her marriage became troubled. She secretly hoped her husband would commit adultery so she could ‘legally’ divorce him and remain a ‘saint.’ She saw an ‘out’ from trying to work it out. The “D” word also stands for Disease.

    Consider: If you marry you aren’t just winging, hoping, chancing it will work. You are claiming/stating God has put it together. You are claiming effective knowledge of the will of God. And you had better not put it asunder unless you want to fight God.

  6. Thank you for your post. My mother is a godly woman who submitted to her husband, my father. Even though she followed God’s Word, submitted to her husband, and raised us her children, my father left my mother for another woman. Since there is no divorce in my country, he had his marriage annulled, so he could marry his other woman. I pray to God everyday for my father’s soul ever since he and his other woman passed away. Divine justice can be swift to those who are have cruel and hard hearts, while Salvation is free and open to all who put their trust in the Lord

  7. Wife: My husband views porn

    Pastor (counselor): Mr. Smith, how long have you been viewing porn?

    Husband: Ever since she has been refusing me and being so disrespectful that I would rather not initiate sex with her. What’s your next question?

    1. I would add:

      Pastor: Husband, the wife is not responsible for your sinful choice to view porn. As you are not responsible for her sinful choice to neglect you. And, Why Husband, were you not the one to seek counseling with her first instead of seeking a prostitute (porn)?

  8. Mr. Smith: Pastor, you are the one that stands in the pulpit every Sunday and tells me what a lousy husband and father I am. That my wife is spiritually stronger and emotionally more mature than I am. That I do not live with her with understanding. That I spend too much time at work (wopping 45 hrs.), not enough time with the kids. I don’t do enough chores for her even though she is SAHM. I don’t volunteer enough for the church.

    The last time we counseled with you, you stated that pretty much anything wrong in our marriage is the husbands fault and that is how you perceive it unless circumstance dictates that it isn’t.

  9. AnonM,

    To which church do you recommend? I have yet to find a church that doesn’t pander to the feminine. Counseling with 4 pastors, 1 is now divorced, 1 had an affair due to the same problem (wife hung in there. This is a nationally recognized pastor known for his expository preaching.) The other 2 pastors told us they had the same problem in their marriage.

    Try to pass on the blame to the pastor or “her sin doesn’t absolve you of yours” is a cop out.

    Chrisitan men are living a pergatory or hell. We tell our kids (sons) to wait for sex in marriage, but which we condemns them to this. You do not hear mothers and fathers telling their daughters to have ample sex with their husbands for the life of their marriage. I have actually heard 2 women tell their daughters to with hold sex (for whatever reason). One of those marriages had the husband commit numerous acts of infidelity. I was extremely angry at him, but now I empathize for him and no longer resent him.

    1. Jeff,
      My comment was sarcastic. I really feel for your situation. I am sorry I cannot answer for your wife. Nor do I have all the answers.
      You are not alone. I see the pain in men’s faces everyday. One only has to walk thru a supermarket to see men with their wives with the most defeated of looks on their faces. It is a sad thing to see. And by the way the wives seem to carry themselves, they are oblivious. I was one of those wives. My mother put those ideas in my head. My grandmother believed that it’s only purpose was for procreation. The women in my family believe that it is possible to have rape in marriage. Which is totally unbiblical. I have even heard women joke in front of their husbands about regularly refusing them. When my husband tells his co workers he gets it whenever he wants, they think he is lying. Until he pushes the point. Many of the men he works with resort to viewing the most depraved of pornography just to release their frustration. One coworker will go to the local pub before going home, just so he can avoid his wife for a little bit longer.
      That being said, satan has a grip on your wife in this area. The only way I know how to defeaat it is to pray for her, pray for that area of your marriage, pray that a godly woman who has been there, tried that, found out it was devastating comes into your wifes life , love her, romance her. This may be enough to win her. But alas it may also not. She may not change. But she will be held accountable on the day of judgement for her choices. You will probably say ‘but ive tried all that, it hasnt done a thing’. Thats what satan would have you believe, because he wants you to give up. Dont give him the satisfaction. You may find it helpful to look at http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com
      I wish I had an answer for you, be encouraged, you are not alone. I pray that one day your lovely wife will see her error and change her ways. All the best Jeff.

  10. Divorce is acceptable under 2 circumstances and 2 circumstances alone: sexual immorality and abandonment by a non-believer (or a false Christian who claims to be a Christian but does not live a god-fearing lifestyle – he is to be treated as a non-believer).

    God himself divorced Israel for her many transgressions in the book of Jeremiah. In fact, he DOES ultimately end his covenant with adulterous Israel and THAT is how he was able to rightfully begin a new covenant with all the gentiles of the land through the death and resurrection of our Groom, Jesus Christ. The only covenant with Israel ALONE had to be rendered DEAD in order for God to rightfully start a covenant with all the nations on Earth. Otherwise, God himself would be committing adultery upon Israel – and He does not sin.

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