Expert Answer Forum

Obligations of the wife QUESTION from MM May 7, 2000 Dear Father,
If sin has entered the home through the Web...in order not to get the home out of the proper order, how should a wife handle it?
Forgiveness.. respecting and upholding the position of the husband, comes first... and then what? A filter was immediately placed on the computer which caused much anger from the spouse. (We are also dealing with free will here.)
If there are children in the home and the computer is also used for schooling, should the wife:
a) subscribe to an ISP that automatically filters all such porn? and then there is no worry about a pass word, etc.
b) do away with the net completely?
What does the church teach about the duties of the wife in cases like this? She does not want this to be a control issue; because it is not. She wants the home to be at peace and fee from sin.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on June 9, 2000 Dear Mrs. MM:
This is a really difficult question.
You can find an ISP that filters pornography, and put filters on the computer, but if your husband does not want these things I am not sure it is wise to counter his wishes on this to the point of causing major friction in the marriage. Beside, as you say, free will is the issue. He must be responsible for his decisions. You cannot do that for him and if you try then you are enabling his problem of not accepting the problem himself and taking responsibility for it.
This is a problem similar to alcoholism and you REALLY need to look at it that way. Pornography has the addictive-ness of crack cocaine. This is likely an addiction.
As it is with alcohol addicts you may have to practise tough love.
That is, saying,Honey, I love you and God loves you, the kids love you, but this addiction to pornography is hurting you, it is hurting me, and it is hurting the children. Your involvement in this could cause our children to be in bondage to pornography themselves for the rest of their lives. We, as parents, cannot allow that to happen. We, as husband and wife, have a responsibility to each other to keep ourselves only to ourselves. This hurts our marriage. Thus, honey, you must accept help for this addiction, you must accept these measures that can help such as a filter and an ISP that filters. If you don't accept this, you must leave this house until you will accept responsibility for your actions and start acting responsibly.
I am NOT saying that YOU do this. I am saying that this is one possibility that must be considered.
There is help for your husband. In addition to the filtering techniques, other strategies is to be sure the computer is kept in a PUBLIC place like the livingroom and not in a private den or study where your husband or any of the kids could be on in the room alone with the door shut with the computer.
In addition, this website as a support group for those with addiction to pornography. That might help.
And finally, this problem is most likely affected by chemical imbalances in the brain that cause compulsive behavior. Often medication that is given to those with compulsive-obsessive disorder will also resolve these compulsions to pornography.
There is also the healing effect of the Sacrament of Confession.
There is help. Your husband needs to know this. He is NOT alone.
But he MUST accept responsibility for this. That could require drastic tough-love techniques on your part.
We will be in prayer for him, you, and your whole family.
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