Outwardly, Phil and Bobi Naukam looked like a happy couple. With others, Phil seemed kind and friendly, but alone with Bobi and their three children, he was sarcastic, abusive, and full of rage. The underlying reason: his 40-year addiction to pornography since age 13. As a young man, Phil served in the military, where porn was considered macho. He recalls that when he married Bobi, “I didn’t know what marriage was about. Playboy taught me about relationships and intimacy.” Bobi thought the problem was solved when she told him to get rid of those magazines – but secretly, he remained heavily addicted for 33 years of their marriage. Keeping such a big secret from those closest to him caused Phil to become increasingly withdrawn and emotionally absent from the family.
Bobi says that The 700 Club was her mainstay during those turbulent years. When she had nowhere else to turn, she called The 700 Club Prayer Center for help. “Whenever I had a crisis, I would call,” she says. “Our daughter had seven surgeries, including a cancer diagnosis before age 15. Phil didn’t go with me for the surgeries. When I was in the hospital waiting room, I’d call CBN’s toll-free prayer line. Sometimes they would call me, and I would give them 27 requests! They were my mentors.”
Although he never committed physical adultery, Phil admits, “I had lots of emotional affairs.” He was unwilling to deal with their problems through marriage counseling, and the couple separated. Only then did Phil finally confess his addiction to Bobi – but was still unwilling to give it up.
During their seven-year separation, Bobi came alone to a conference at CBN, where her heart was stirred by renewed faith in Jesus Christ. She recalls, “The question God answered that weekend for me was that I would make it – joyfully – no matter what happened with Phil. If my marriage was never healed, I could go forward with Christ.” When Pat Robertson asked for testimonies, she sensed God prompting her to share her new-found hope. In front of the gathering, Bobi revealed the pain in her marriage caused by Phil’s addiction to porn, saying, “My only hope is that Jesus is my husband, and He’s in control, so I can obey Him without fear.” As Pat prayed for her, she felt God’s power. Later, Bobi tried to sneak away from the conference, embarrassed that everyone now knew her dark and shameful secret. However, she found herself surrounded by other women – who thanked her and confided that their husbands, too, struggled with pornography!
Soon after, Phil finally recognized what a terrible toll this “harmless” activity was taking on himself, his wife, his children, and his relationship with the Lord. He cried out to God: “I don’t want to be like this. Help me get out!” His prayer was answered through a Christian ministry to porn addicts, where he found a deeper relationship with Christ and learned the importance of yielding to God and being transparent with others. After the decades it took to reach a breaking point and finally be ready to surrender to God, Phil achieved a total victory over his lifelong obsession in just a matter of weeks.
In 2002, Phil and Bobi renewed their wedding vows, and today they minister to others who want to break their addiction to porn. Bobi eventually made a return trip to CBN – this time, with Phil. She introduced her husband, saying joyfully, “I brought my miracle with me!”
Phil and Bobi have found true freedom in Christ – and you can, too!
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