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The Missing Link to Solving the Porn Epidemic: Enlist the Support of Women

A wife can never be her husband’s accountability partner; that would make the wife the police. Yet without her full understanding and support, many men never even get an accountability partner!

I speak at a lot of churches, and pastors often have me come in to do a pastoral interview on my findings as the sermon time on Sunday morning. One week, a pastor and I had just briefly touched on the fact that men are visual, and afterward a man came up to talk to me. He said he had struggled with Internet porn on and off for years, and that he wanted to attend the church’s Saturday morning men’s group to get help and accountability, and finally get free of it. But when he told his wife he’d like to join the group, she got alarmed, like, “What are you saying?! Are you saying you’re attracted to other women?! What are you saying?!” All he could do was play it off and say, “No, no, never mind, it’s fine.” He wanted help, but he didn’t want to upset or hurt his wife.

I was so sad for this guy. He wasn’t trying to hide it, he wanted to address it, but he didn’t know how to help his wife understand. So he was still feeling trapped. That was when I started to realize the need for this effort. That is when I started studying it much more in-depth. And those findings are why Craig Gross, the founder of xxxchurch.com, and I have teamed up to research and write Through a Man’s Eyes to equip women with this knowledge.

Just to be clear, it is never a woman’s fault that the man is trapped  Whether or not she understands, he is the one who is solely responsible for his choices. But as you know, there are many men who hate this struggle and hate that they make the wrong choices. And if a man wants to install filtering software on the household computers, for example, how is he supposed to do that if his wife is appalled and upset that he’d even be tempted? Or if a mom finds her 12-year-old son Googling “big boobs” and flips out, will that young man feel able to open up about his very real visual temptations?

The understanding and support of women is not a panacea. Men will always continue to have a choice, and some will make the wrong choices. Many men will not want their wife to know anything about their visual nature because they want to continue to make the wrong choices!

But from the research I’ve done with tens of thousands of men and women over the years, I’m convinced that most men in the church do hate this temptation and want to be free of it. Although many men have told me they would never want to talk about this with their wives, it was only because “she would never understand” and “I know it would hurt her.” When I have asked, “What if you were sure your wife could completely understand you, without any condemnation, and be firmly on your team?” I haven’t found a single man who wouldn’t want that.

Imagine what would happen if every mom knew how to help prevent porn from ensnaring her son. Imagine what would happen if every beautiful young woman knew how to avoid putting a stumbling block in the way of a man who didn’t want that temptation. Imagine what would happen if every wife knew how to be on her husband’s side in the battle. I think that then we could see a sea change on this issue in the Body of Christ.  

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Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-trained social researcher, popular speaker and best-selling author of For Women Only, For Men Only and The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, which have sold more than 2 million copies in 22 languages worldwide. Her research is regularly featured in media as diverse as The New York Times and Focus on the Family, Cosmopolitan Magazine and The Today Show. With The Good News About Marriage, Shaunti is eager to support leaders in moving marriages from discouragement to hope. Get updates at www.goodnewsmarriage.com.