Morning friend,

I am currently traveling for both business and a bucket list trip to Israel. Instead of stressing out trying to write answers to three questions before I left, I thought I'd try something new.

In some of my private webinar teaching, I've done a Q & A at the end. I've chosen a few questions that I thought might be helpful to answer where you could either read the transcript or watch the video of my answer. The video is below.

Some of the most powerful feedback I've gotten on my blog is when people say it's so helpful to give examples of the ways you might say something. Each video and transcript you'll hear me give you many examples of ways you can say things around the problem asked.

Let me know if you like this format. If so, I will incorporate more vlogging in future blog posts.

Question: How do you begin to talk to your husband about potential porn use?

Answer: If you have evidence that he's watching porn, I think you can talk to him about your problem with it, not his problem with it. So, you might say, “I have a problem with your porn use. I don't like it. It makes me feel disrespected. It makes me feel creepy. It makes me feel unattracted to you. I can't fix your problem, but I'm letting you know that I have a problem with your problem.”

Because when you start talking to him about his problem, he might say, “It's not a problem for me. I don't mind watching porn, it's fine for me. I don't know why it bothers you, but it doesn't bother me. I don't have any conviction against it.” He may deny that he has a problem. So you have to think about what your problem is with his problem? See if he cares about that. And if he doesn't care that this is impacting your desirability for him, your feelings of closeness to him, your trust in him, if he doesn't care about that, then that tells you something about the broken trust.

If he says, “I know I have a problem. I need to get some help. I don't want to be that kind of man. It's embarrassing to even have you know that I did that and I want to get some accountability and help.” Great. Now let’s see if he gets that help.

When you say to someone, “You have a problem with porn,” or, “You have a problem with money management,” or a problem with your mouth or anger, they usually get defensive. [Tweet “Most people don't like to be accused or attacked, and so they're going to get defensive and reactive.”]

That’s why we want to say it differently:

“My problem is, I feel scared around you when you start yelling.”

“My problem is, I don't feel attracted to you anymore when I know you're watching porn, it's just a total turn off.”

“My problem is, I have no idea if you were to die tomorrow, how to get into our bank accounts and settle things financially because you don't let me have any of the passwords and I don't know what's going on. And I don't like that. I don't like feeling like a child in this marriage and I want that to be different.”

So now you're speaking about what you need and what you want and how you feel. And let's see if he cares about that. If he doesn't, now you know your marriage isn't reciprocal. It's not mutual. It's about you meeting his needs and him not caring about yours. Are you okay with that or are you not okay with that?

Friend, when have you tried to “reframe” an issue as your problem instead of “his problem? What was the outcome? What did that show you?

8 Comments

  1. Autumn on May 25, 2022 at 9:32 am

    In my opinion, you talk to him with one or two witnesses in attendance. Bring evidence to prove his behavior. Make all of it very public to an accountibilty group. Don’t let him keep his sick, dirty behavior, a secret. Set limits and consequences immediately.

    Need we discuss josh Duggar? Today is his sentencing hearing in Arkansas.

    • Tim on May 31, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      As a man who was addicted to and used pornography in marriage while being convicted of and ashamed of it, I agree with you, Autumn. In my case, I was using it to cope with pain in my life / marriage, but that was no excuse for betraying my wife sexually with pornography and mental fantasies.

      The one quibble I have is that the typical accountability group (from my experience) doesn’t help on its own. They tended to reinforce a feeling of shame and powerlessness in me – but when I found a structured group that made a huge difference in my life.

      I would also add that if you were betrayed by your spouse’s sexual addiction you can seek out and find support groups for healing from the pain you experienced and help in creating healthy boundaries and consequences for your specific situation. You don’t have to be alone in this – you have experienced real pain and your voice needs to be heard in a safe place.

      Pure Desire Ministries has groups focused specifically for betraying spouses and others for betrayed spouses. I would urge anyone betrayed to find a group like this for your own healing, regardless of whether your spouse pursues their own healing. Also, having read Leslie Vernick’s book, joining her group would be another way to pursue your own healing.

  2. Marc on May 26, 2022 at 9:36 am

    Would you offer the same advice if it were physical infidelity? “I have a problem with you visiting prostitutes for sex”?

    I feel like this is minimizing of porn use, which biblically is infidelity.

  3. Veronika on May 26, 2022 at 9:43 am

    Yeah that’s true I’ve had as well he was watching porn all the time and I was like what the heck you doing when I’m here with you and he said he wants to pleasure himself or maybe I’m busy etc.
    He’s getting defensive when I talked about porn .
    Is been a month that I broke up with him because he wasn’t even a good loyal fiance he wasn’t even a good dad at all with not knowing how to change our son nappies or to bath him. It was only me doing those things not his dad . I’ve gone to my mum with my son one day he asked me that he wants to take our son I said to him you don’t know how to change his nappies he’s gonna need his mum etc .My son is not yet talking fluently at all

  4. Deborah on May 26, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    When I discovered inappropriate photos on my 70 yr old narcissistic husband I was not snooping but actually putting in directions for him for a trip our family was taking. Anyway it of course really threw me off! I was dumbfounded but never confronted him because he was just lie and civet it up. We have not been intimate for 6 yrs or so now so he moved out of our bedroom on his own about 2 yrs ago. He has had ED for several years
    and when he head butted me about 6 yrs ago that was the topping on the cake so to speak for me. It was not the ED that stopped the intimacy it was his verbal and emotional and spiritual abuse. He used to tell me that he doesn’t even think of me anymore that he thinks of other women. The sites are also very personal photos of women breastfeeding their babies and How To Attract Older Women! He is Mr Charming with others of course. And I am in therapy. It is creepy to me but he definitely is a Wolf in Sheeps Clothibg.

  5. Beautifully Broken on May 27, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Sadly, when I take this approach with my husband, he still sees it as my problem and refuses to change. Or, he briefly changes and then goes back to whatever works for him. I have accepted this but it still hurts that he won’t do what he needs to to fix our marriage. My problem is that his addiction to his devices is ruining our marriage. I have done my work and continue to do so. The consequence is that when he is in his devices (I suspect soft porn use, but it is still devastating to a relationship), I do not interact with him. I know that my worth does not come from my marriage, but from my Heavenly Father.

  6. Beautifully Broken on May 27, 2022 at 7:24 am

    Sadly, when I take this approach with my husband, he still sees it as my problem and refuses to change. Or, he briefly changes and then goes back to whatever works for him. I have accepted this but it still hurts that he won’t do what he needs to to fix our marriage. My problem is that his addiction to his devices is ruining our marriage. I have done my work and continue to do so. The consequence is that when he is in his devices (I suspect soft porn use, but it is still devastating to a relationship), I do not interact with him. I know that my worth does not come from my marriage, but from my Heavenly Father.

  7. Nancy on June 28, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    Oh my goodness. That was my way of life – reframing his problem as my problem.

    I think that I was mixing truth and a lie together. The truth that I understood was that I could only change myself. The lie was that if I ‘owned’ his problem then I could change it.

    That’s a boundaries issue. His issues are between he and The Lord. My over-responsibility (or trying to own his problems) was in fact a trespass.

    It was manipulation on my part and terribly unGodly.

    I began to treat him as a man then had to step back to watch how he’d respond.

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