His Porn, Our Problem
My husband has been looking at porn for years and it’s taking a toll. We have children, and I do not want this obscenity in my home. I do whatever he wants when he wants and it makes no difference, so I am now even more upset because they are things I would not do.
I am a practicing Muslim and I am trying to bring my children up in a strong Muslim household, but unfortunately not all marriages are fairy tales. He is a good provider but does not pray regularly – this also bothers me. Please help (I have talked to him many times and he promises to stop, but I always catch him out one way or another).
Name of Counsellor`Abdul-Lateef Abdullah
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. May He bestow His peace and blessings on His messenger, Muhammad, his family, Companions, and all of those who follow them sincerely.
As salamu ‘alaykum,
Dear sister, the problem that you have shared is by no means rare. The issue of pornography in Muslim homes is growing from our perspective. It is, therefore, important that you understand why perhaps your husband is having so much trouble following through on his promise to give up porn.
Let me start by saying that pornography is haram, and it is also highly addictive. Clearly, from the way you describe your husband, he is addicted to porn and it is controlling his life. He must be approached the way one would approach a drug addict or one with an alcohol addiction. David Morgan, consultant clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who counsels men with a history of sexual violence states:
“… the more time you spend in this fantasy world, the more difficult it becomes to make the transition to reality. Just like drugs, pornography provides a quick fix, a masturbatory universe people can get stuck in. This can result in their not being able to involve anyone else” because sex is viewed as something that you can do not being a part of a relationship.”
People – and Muslims in particular – need to know how detrimental and destructive pornography is to our spiritual and social lives and how serious a problem it can become, such as in your husband’s case. In fact, this is one of the tricky things about pornography – as David Morgan says above, it creates a world where one is able to please him or herself – outside of any relationship.
Don’t assume that your husband doesn’t love you or his family because he hasn’t been able to stop this habit. Don’t even assume that he is a bad husband! If it weren’t for this habit, he may just have the potential to be a great husband. You and the rest of the family have to help him realize that he is destroying himself through this seemingly harmless pastime. Like I said, it has to be viewed as one would view any other type of addiction. It’s powerful, and it becomes more difficult to stop the more it one engages in it.
“Extended exposure to pornography can have a whole raft of effects. By the time Nick Samuels had reached his mid-20s, it was altering his view of what he wanted from a sexual relationship. “I used to watch porn with one of my girlfriends, and I started to want to try things I’d seen in the films…” Married for 15 years, he admits he has carried the same sexual expectations into the marital bedroom. “There’s been real friction over this: my wife simply isn’t that kind of person. And it’s only now, after all these years, that I’m beginning to move on from it. Porn is like alcoholism: it clings to you like a leech” – Edward Marriot.
The last line says it all. Porn is like alcoholism. You have an addict living in your home, and he needs to accept and realize that he is an addict. There will be no healing in this situation unless he comes to this realization. He might lose his wife and his children due to this problem. He needs to hear this from someone else who is authoritative and can help him to understand the seriousness of the issue. Perhaps you might tell the imam from your local mosque (assuming you have one) about the situation and how dire it has become. Ask the imam to speak with your husband, perhaps, but only if you do not fear it resulting in a violent reaction from your husband. Your husband has to learn to live for Allah, for that is what is missing in his life. This can only come about through knowledge and the company of those that can teach this to him. The void of intimacy he feels is due to his lack of intimacy with Allah.
Until you husband understands and realizes how serious this problem is, he will not change. Acceptance of the problem is the first step in getting him to change his ways. Try to find ways to get him to understand the seriousness of this problem. Do your homework using Internet, library and others to first understand the nature of the problem that pornography is and proceed from there by calling on Allah for help. Use those around you as resources – family members, friends, others – to help you as well. Your husband needs to first understand how this issue is impacting you and the family. Make use of family members and others that are influential in his life to help him change his beliefs and behaviors. It is very difficult to do it alone.