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What to Do if Your Wife Reacts Violently to Your Addiction?

September 15, 2009



We have received several emails from men who are struggling with sexual addiction, and their wives were having a hard time dealing with it. Wives get very angry when they find out about the secret things their husbands have been doing. Sometimes they leave. Sometimes they get very irrational in the ways they deal with the “big reveal”.

We understand. So many of us have gone through the same thing. Here are some thoughts from Marsha and myself:

1.  You’re situation is not hopeless, and neither is your marriage – It looks like your wife was trying to cope with it and felt at some point that it was hopeless and left. But your situation is not even near impossible. Lots of wives leave for a while. Some marriages are able to get back together when both parties are committed to working on it. They right think to do is to have people pray for you and your wife that God will give you hope.

acting_masks2.  Your wife’s reaction is pretty common – That doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Many wives are devastated with a sense that their husband broke trust. It means a lot more to the woman that a husband looked at online porn. To them there is no difference. They feel betrayed. They feel cheated on. Many wives think it’s their fault. They don’t feel like they look pretty enough. They interpret the husband’s problem by looking at their own sense of worth.

3.  Our wives have probably given us a lot of chances alreadyI deceived my wife for a long time, and thought I could handle it. I was much worse than I realized. And my wife and I didn’t know how to talk about this area of our marriage. We swept it under the rug. Only now, in our 12th year of marriage and in my second year of recovery are we beginning to talk in a healthy way about sexual things.

Undercurrent4.  You have an undercurrent of hurts, wounds, and unmet needs that you brought into your marriage – So did we. So do most people. We all have baggage and junk. And we often don’t know how to handle them in a real relationship, so we medicate them and escape with porn.

5.  You are not responsible for how your wife reacted to your stuff – You are responsible for your stuff. Your wife is responsible for hers. She reacted in a way that doesn’t seem helpful to you, but hurtful. It is God’s job to help her realize that, and to eventually come alongside you.

under_construction6.  It’s important for you to work on your stuff, and let your wife work on hers – God can bring deep healing and restoration to both of you. Your most immediate task is to work on getting better. With your counselor, with a support group, with a pastor, with trusted friends. Go find them. Take every step possible to work deeply on this. If your wife works on hers, God will open her eyes to see your diligent work and your calling out to others for help.

7.  Your counselor’s office is a good place to be – Skilled hands. We need skilled hands helping us through this. People who understand and/or have been through it themselves. You need a good counselor, a good support group, and good friends who understand.


Many people have written to share their struggles, stories, and victories with us. We pray for those that write us and try to answer back quickly with our encouragement and connections to resources.

If you need a place to share your story email us privately at

One Comment
  1. September 17, 2009 3:00 pm

    Priceless first picture.
    Or you could have used this one:

    Thanks for this post, Jeff.

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