So your husband wants you to be his accountability partner for his online activity. What does that actually mean? First of all, it does NOT mean that he is addicted to pornography or even looking at it at all. It just means that he wants you to know what he is doing online. This shows that he wants to keep his heart pure and his desires focused on you. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all fighting for the hearts of our men. Pornography is so powerful, and sadly, it is so much more accessible than it used to be. In one survey, 58% of men reported using porn once a week or more. In a different survey taken in 2000, those who call themselves “fundamentalists” were 91% more likely than others to say they looked at pornography. This may simply indicate that fundamentalists have a broader definition of pornography — that they choose to be more careful in what we allow ourselves to view. Whatever the reason, pornography has now become an issue that we need to wholeheartedly fight against with our men. Just because your husband asked you to become his accountability partner does not mean that he has been looking at pornography or is struggling with it, but if your husband did say he had trouble with avoiding pornography on the internet, what do you do now?
Recognize Your Emotions
Over 10 years ago, after I returned from a trip, my husband approached me about having trouble with self-control online while I had been away. I have to admit… I had quite a mix of emotions and thoughts. First of all, I was shocked. Did I really hear correctly? I also felt hurt and betrayed. How could he do this to me? At the same time I felt inadequate. Am I not good enough for him? You might have some of these same thoughts going through your mind, or maybe you are angry or afraid. These feelings are normal.
Don’t Freak Out!
I needed to keep in mind that he willingly brought the subject up with me. We weren’t having the discussion because I had caught him doing anything wrong. Instead, he was being totally transparent with me. It was extremely humbling for him to admit his situation, but he willingly and lovingly overcome the fear and humiliation so that we could have that conversation. Sure we had things to work through, but I was thankful that he came to me. Be careful not to let your thoughts and feelings control you here. Think clearly… By bringing up this subject, your husband has shown that he values your relationship. You are important to him, and he is asking for your help. Be thankful that your husband loves you enough to actually approach you about this.
Share Your Emotions
Next it was my turn to share my thoughts and feelings… calmly and openly. I shared with him my hurt, yet I let him know I still loved him and was willing to work with him to help him. Don’t keep your thoughts and emotions clammed up inside. Be sure to share them with your husband, remembering to stay calm. In other words, don’t be a clammer upper or a blower upper.
As a result of this conversation with my husband, I became his accountability partner concerning his online activities. I would regularly ask him if he was having any problems with viewing inappropriate material on the computer. It was not exactly the easiest topic to bring up, but I did it anyway. Then he would share with me how he was doing in that area. We both had our ups and down in doing our part, but we got through it together. We also drew closer together. Recently my husband asked some godly men from our church to also be his accountability partners. In addition, there is now an accountability software program which e-mails me and his other accountability partners about his daily online activity. Every day I get a report for each of the devices that he uses, and if there is ever any questionable activity, it will send me an immediate alert. Encourage your husband to have other godly men as accountability partners. They will be able to understand the potential dangers better than you will. It will relieve you of having to ask him the uncomfortable probing questions. You can continue to help him though by daily looking through the accountability reports that will be e-mailed to you. If you receive an alert, you can also ask him about that. Praying for your husband is another way of supporting him. I like to use the 31 Days of Praying for your Husband list by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Day 20 says:
Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Proverbs 27:12 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Pray that your husband will be the prudent man who sees the evil and hides. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul tells us, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Ask God to help your husband not to be a captive of his thoughts but to instead keep his thoughts under control and pleasing to God.
Again, please remember that just because your husband has asked you to be his accountability partner, that does not mean that he is involved in pornography. If however, your husband has admitted to viewing pornography, recognize your emotions, and don’t freak out. Keep your emotions under control. Be thankful that he was willing to talk to you about it. Calmly share your thoughts and emotions, and be his needed support. Encourage him to not only have you as an accountability partner, but also to find some godly men to be accountability partners. Remember to pray for him to stay strong. Also, please don’t forget to confirm your love for your husband. You’re a team, and you need each other to work through this. As a team, you can have a thriving, healthy marriage.