For a Pastor's Wife - Husband and P*rn
Background: I'm a pw in my mid-40s, I'm actually on ministry track to be an official co-pastor with my husband. My husband is also in his mid-40s, and the senior pastor of a small church (<70) in a small, geographically isolated town. We've been here about 8 years. My husband is a wonderful, humble and compassionate man of God, but he has his faults, as we all do. We have been married a long time (25 yrs), he's a great dad and a good husband. We've been together since we were teenagers. He is well liked and respected in our church and community. I want you to hear these positives - really the overall sum of him as a good man - before the negatives, which are just some difficult patches here and there.
This week something told me to check his web browsing history on his phone. I did, and my heart sank. P*rn sites. I confronted him and he denied going to them. Recently his laptop has been glitchy.
Reasons why I want to believe his innocence: we found a program on his laptop (all his devices are connected) that we believe came from a game one of our kids downloaded - Google research shows this program can infect your computers with ads, spam, etc. He also went to a "free movie" site and they are notorious for adware and malware.
Reasons I doubt his innocence: P*rn shows up in history because those sites were visited, that's just how it is 99% of the time as I understand it. About 12 years ago when my husband was going through a weak and depressed time he ordered some p*rn movies via pay-per-view. There has not been any issue between now and then that I know of. He was sorrowful and fully repented of that long ago sin. About 3 years ago he told me that he no longer felt the need to totally abstain from alcohol, I agreed and he has an occasionally a few beers, and I a glass of wine, maybe 2 or 3x a year, like when we're on vacation. But - he/we went through a stressful time with our then teenage child, and my husband began to drink daily for one summer, and sometimes sneakily. I confronted him, he denied the actual amount he was drinking. However it was noticeable to me and even to our teen, who questioned me a few times about it. After several confrontations and discussions he finally stopped. The most recent drinking problem was over a year ago, we were away for a weekend, he enjoyed a few beers in our room as we relaxed one evening. I had 2 glasses of wine. He said I'm going to the hotel lobby bar to watch the game on a big screen (he's a big sports fan). I said ok, I was tired and wanted to sleep. He came in later and I awoke because of some clumsy noise he made. I suspected then he was tipsy, but went back to sleep. In the morning I found his receipt from the bar. I added up the # of beers he had at the bar and what he had in our room. 14. I chose a calm time to speak with him and told him the number of beers he had and that he was clearly drunk and there was a reason for concern. He denied the number of beers until I showed him his own receipt. Then it was clear he drank excessively. He genuinely seems to have stopped since that talk.
So why bring that past stuff up now? In my thinking, those past incidents show a moral failure that is a red flag for a pastor. This is not the first time there has been some trouble and that makes it difficult to give the benefit of the doubt regarding the web browsing history that I discovered this week. My husband tends to be very stubborn and resistant toward seeing his own faults, but then finally comes around. I want my husband to get the help and care he needs. I don't want this to affect his ministry and reputation.
But I hurt. I don't know whether or not to believe him. I am treating him with utter fairness and respect, not reacting in anger. I do badly want to believe him. I feel very sad and stressed. I am trying to be calm and rational. I am asking for The Lord to give me help, wisdom & insight. I feel alone. I'm not sure how to proceed.