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What Happens to the Family When a Parent Struggles With Porn?

By Kayla Sullivan

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In today’s sex-saturated culture, one can easily become entangled in the web of destruction created by the enemy. Whether it’s in a movie or a child’s television show, you’ll likely find content that is sexual in nature. Society is being primed to believe that this is normal and acceptable. Sadly, these distorted views are doing more harm than good – though it may not be recognized immediately.  Not only are these lies harmful to oneself, but they prove to be destructive to the family.

Being Led Astray

One of the biggest myths today is in regards to viewing pornography. Teens are seeking it out to prepare themselves for intimate relationships. Couples are told that it will enhance their sexual experiences. And then there is the argument that the choice is personal, and no one is being affected by those choices.

We must understand that viewing pornography does, in fact, have consequences. It begins to shape our brain and behaviors. Repetitive behavior begins to create trails in our brain which lead to almost automatic responses. Have you ever found yourself opening the door of the fridge and not knowing why? Your brain is using these trails so you don’t have to think about it. This can be catastrophic with unhealthy behaviors like viewing pornography.

As Dr Tim Jennings explains,

“It’s kind of like walking in a path through the field. You walk that path over and over again. It gets beaten down, and it’s easy to find that path, and it’s easy to go down that path or that trail. And in any type of behavior, whether it’s an addictive behavior or just a habit pattern, we will create trails in our brain that are just going to fire on an automatic sequence. And when we go to change behavior, we’ll be fighting against those old behaviors that are previously established.”

In other words, you get so used to taking that path, you do not realize that you’re now trapped – you feel unable to break free. You need help!

It’ll Take More Than Prayer

As Christians, we can fall into the trap of believing our initial prayer seeking salvation is all it will take for us to live a brand new life. Don’t mistake what we’re saying, prayer is profoundly important in recovery. But just praying this problem away won’t fix it.

Praying a prayer for salvation but then entering back into the world never to seek after God again in your life is like ordering a steak dinner but never picking up the fork to eat it.

To rid yourself of sexual immorality, you’re going to have to pick up the biggest weapon of all – the Bible. You’re going to have to confess to someone – whether it be a pastor, a prayer team member, a brother, or a trusted friend, that you’ve been grappling in this area. You cannot wage war on the enemy in isolation and expect to win. This does not mean you are working for God’s freely given Grace, but it is the outworking of our salvation.

Why You Cannot Isolate and What to Do Next

James Craft, founder of the NOVUS Project and featured in the Conquer Series stated,

“Isolation is the kiss of death. When you isolate, that’s when you medicate…even the Lone Ranger had a partner. You can’t be broken in one area of your life and not have it affect all the others.”

You’ll need to commit yourselves to a process of renewing the mind. For more than one million men, their journey started with the use of the Conquer Series.

The Conquer Series is a powerful, biblically based, cinematic study created to help men break free from pornography and sexual addiction. Each DVD features scientific research, proven principles and techniques, along with interviews from men who have been through the refining fire and came out on the other side. It’s unlike any other study.  It does not solely deal with the issue of sexual sin, but works to bring healing to the wounded soul.

Start by seeking forgiveness, and follow up by joining a Conquer Group. Allow these men to come alongside you, encourage you, pray for you, and hold you accountable to the choice that you’ve made to seek freedom.

How to Seek Restoration for a Broken Marriage

If you’re married or in a committed relationship, understand that your struggle has significantly impacted your partner. Whether you choose to believe it or not, your actions have opened the door for the enemy to begin speaking lies into their life as well.

The viewing of pornography will tell your wife that you aren’t happy with her in the bedroom and that she doesn’t live up to your desires.  She will now begin to wonder why she is not enough, and her self-esteem will likely plummet. This will have the power to negatively impact not only your bedroom, but your home life, her work life, and her relationship with God.

Remember, you’re not the only one who has past baggage and wounds that you’ve allowed to steer the direction of your life. Women can also experience father or mother wounds, rejection, feelings of worthlessness, or may have endured some level of abuse. While you’re medicating the pain in your life through the viewing of pornography, you’re actually contributing to her pain and torment.

This could cause her to pull back from you, isolate, and seek out unhealthy means of medicating for herself. In some instances, women have been known to give up entirely – no longer caring about their appearance or seeking to keep the home fire burning.

You’re a couple, and as you’ve undoubtedly heard, there is no ‘I’ in team. Pray for one another, advocate for one another, and believe in one another. Refrain from attacking your spouse merely because their pain is shaped differently than yours. If healing is to take place, you’ll both need support.

The Negative Effect on the Family

Now, to the parents. Though you may not believe it, your struggle with sexual sin likely caused pain and torment to your children. They have likely taken notice to the rigidity between their parents. With or without expressing it, they could be inwardly stressing about what is going to happen in their lives.

Children thrive in stability, and right now the turmoil within the home has left a lot of doubt and uncertainty. You may not realize the effects of this until years down the road, but it’s important to remain attentive to these things. Noticeable effects could include a decline in their grades, being angry, a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, or choosing isolation for themselves.  At times, kids can pick up the same behaviors that their parents have exhibited. It’s likely that pornography use has caused you to objectify the opposite gender, so you may notice this begin to take flight in your child as well.

And though it may be difficult to believe, it’s possible that your child found your secret stash and has now started their own downward spiral into addiction. Because they’ve seen their parents engage in this behavior, they may find it difficult to accept that what they are doing is wrong. This tends to be common for teens and adult children. Until someone stands up to break the cycle, it will likely continue from generation to generation.

While a child should not live a fairy tale, they should not be excluded from the truth. It’s okay to tell your kids that mommy and daddy are working through some things right now. Do not put them in the middle, forcing them to choose between their parents. Instead, continually provide them with love, encouragement, and support.

Reclaiming Your Identity, Your Marriage, and Your Family

Remember, the whole family has been damaged. Each person is going to need the opportunity to heal. And remember, especially when dealing with kids, that the effects may be different for each child. Their reality and your perception of their reality may differ. Choose to embark on this journey of healing together.

Eric shares,

“During my work with single dads, I spoke with hundreds of men and many women. Pornography was a part of many of their lives. Whether it was before or after divorce, it was having a devastating effect in their thinking and was tearing them apart inside…The Conquer Series is the first and only program I’ve heard of that actually speaks to the problem and does not berate, belittle, or work out of false assumptions about the addiction and gives true, practical methods to come to an actual solution.”

Right now, Satan is getting the last laugh as he seeks to devour individuals, marriages, and families. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Order the Conquer Series today, and enter into the battle that you can win through the power of Christ at work in your life!


The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic 12-disc DVD series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.


Get started, and order the Conquer Series today.


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