Dear Dr. Elia,
One of my biggest problems is rationalizing my use of pornography and
the other problems that go along with it. I say to myself: “my wife
rejected me, or hurt me, so it is okay to do this to get revenge”.
Sometimes I rationalize due to her sins prior to marriage. She never had
intercourse with a person, but she engaged in other issues. We tried
working with a bishop, and he counseled me to forgive her. In some ways
I haven’t, and I use those feelings of anger to rationalize pornography
use. I tell myself: “she hurt me, so it is okay”.
My question is, can you recommend any reading or provide any suggestions
for dealing with rejection because this seems to be a huge trigger for me.
You certainly have enough insight as to what triggers your
pornography habit. Usually I would refer people to an addiction recovery
book or the latest best-selling self-help book. In your situation
however, the only reading materials I would recommend are the
scriptures. You have been given sound advice and counsel from a bishop:
forgive your wife! Yet you have chosen not to follow it and continue to
indulge in this self-destructive behavior.
Perhaps it is you that needs to ask your wife for forgiveness. You are
the one that needs to make amends in your marriage. What behaviors your
wife engaged in before is ever met you are not really an issue.
Hopefully she took care of all that with her ecclesiastical leaders and
found forgiveness in the Savior. The betrayal within the marriage falls
on you. So unless she’s doing something to hurt and undermine your
marriage (which you don’t state in your question), the ball is in your
Start by meeting with your current bishop. He can certainly help keep
you accountable as you work towards complete forgiveness. Begin
attending the church addiction-recovery meetings in your area. If
additional help is required, seek to work with an expert in the field of
pornography addiction. If you are serious about overcoming it once and
for all, have the courage and take the necessary steps required.
Finally, I want you to understand that the ultimate rejection is not
coming from your wife. It’s is coming from you…the “natural man” is
rejecting the “spiritual man” within you!
Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.