Dear Dr. Elia,
My husband has been addicted to pornography for over 40 years. He was addicted before we were married, and tried to get me interested in sharing it with him and acting out together. I refused, and he has felt angry and rejected ever since. We have been to Church counseling, and the advice seemed to be get a divorce. Outside counseling aggravated the problem to the extent that our marriage has collapsed entirely, except for the fact we still live together and operate a small business–purely for financial reasons. I have been shattered by the realization that our marriage was always a sham–spiritually we were totally dead, although we were married in the temple–unworthily, I might add, due to heavy petting. We live with no contact, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. He has severe chronic depression and still views pornography infrequently. We attend LDS services, hold minor positions, and temple recommends. I attend the temple with friends, he does not. My question is: shouldn’t he have confessed this addiction during the temple worthiness interview? But my real question which really bothers me, is what will happen if he dies without resolving this problem? And where will I be as his wife? Is our temple marriage nullified in regard to the next world?
In terms of your husband’s life-long addiction to pornography, it is a sad state of affairs! The forty years of acting out have completely destroyed any kind of spirituality he might have had. The fact that he’s depressed is not surprising at all. If he lives another 40 years without a major life change, he will continue to feel empty, depressed angry and downright miserable. Sadly, the chances of him changing after all this time are diminishing…You guys are not only thriving in your marriage, but barely surviving. Is this the life you want?
Your business account might have something in it…but your love and spiritual account is facing bankruptcy! Why are you still in it then? What do you get out of this marriage and don’t you deserve something better? I’m just posing the questions…I hope you take time to ponder them…
You raise several important questions as to the eternal aspects of your marriage. Clearly this is outside my level of comfort in terms of giving you advice. The best course of actions would be to visit, at length I might add, with your ecclesiastical leader (stake president.) Let me ask you one last question…Let’s say you never divorce him but he also never changes in this lifetime…If you knew that you would be given a chance to decide on the other side if you want him forever or not, what would your decision be then??? The answer might help you in this lifetime more that you can imagine.
Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.