Has Pornography Caught Your Marriage Off Guard?
His name is John. John believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is married to an amazing and beautiful woman of God. He is an English teacher and former homeschooler. Before John married, he had seen several images of pornography in the form of videos and pictures. He knew it would go away after he was married. The pull of lust and pornography was so strong, he took a four-month fast from his personal computer before his wedding day. He thought he was strong enough to stay pure. He believed his fast would be just the safeguard he needed before marriage. He told his fiancé about his struggles and told her about his “fast.” He assured her everything would be alright after they were married. He believed he would never look at pornography again. He was wrong.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5.8
“Things will be fine once I am married,” John told himself. “After all, we can have sex whenever we want now.” He entered marriage with more selfishness than he realized. Marriage was about his satisfaction, his intimacy, and his pleasure. Love was not his first instinct with his wife. It was lust. John fed that lust by using his wife. His closeness to his wife was defined only in terms of sex. In marriage, John realized the pleasures of pornography were stronger than before marriage. He began to let his guard down even more. He saw the streets filled with alluring girls in all-too-tight clothing. He began to watch more movies, television, and computer video games with sexual images. The world seemed like one huge temptation. After four months of marriage, John used pornography again.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through
the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
they are again entailed therein and overcome,
the last state is worse with them than the first.
2 Peter 2.20
Having indulged in his pleasures, the feelings returned as well: guilt, shame, self-condemnation. Added to those feelings were lying, deception, secrecy, and betrayal. John could not stand all this pressure. He told his wife. She was devastated. All the love, trust, and intimacy they had worked so hard to build for the last four months was called into question, and the marriage was shaken to its very core. John did not know if his marriage would survive. He had killed it. He knew his wife had no scriptural ground for divorce. She could have walked out. She didn’t. Recall the words of Matthew 19.6.
The problem John had not only destroyed his relationship with his wife, it had also corrupted the image of Christ which was to be manifested in him. Satan had crushed his relationship with God as well. John tried to cover his shame with lies or half-truths, rather than seeking God to help remove his transgressions. He knew he did not have the power to master his lust without the power of Christ. Making excuses was not an option. It was not only time to come clean, it was time to be cleansed.
In John’s wife’s words, what John did hurt her: “When he told me he had been looking at pornography, I felt betrayed. He had been looking at other women with lust in his heart (Matthew 5.27-28). I was also confused, afraid, and angry. How could he do this? Why would he do this? What compelled him? Did he not understand I was his wife? My world flipped on its end and crumbled fast. This was too much. What am I going to do now? This cannot be happening to me - a woman, a Christian married to a Christian!
“John’s actions must have been my fault. I am not sexy anymore. I must be horrible. I am not beautiful to him anymore. He does not love me. That was the ‘truth’ I began to tell myself, but it was really all lies. My trust in my husband left like a tornado through a subdivision. It left behind so many pieces of my marriage. I did not know which piece to pick up first. I did not know if I wanted to pick up any pieces. Everything was shattered. I do not know how this happened. It must have been my faith in God I had held onto for so long. I looked John in the eyes and said, ‘I forgive you. I love you John.’ After that, John and I had the most eye-opening honest conversation we had ever had in our marriage. It lasted for hours. This was not a ‘his problem’ and not a ‘my problem’ event. This was ‘our problem.’ We both decided we were not going to let Satan take this marriage and soil it anymore with a lustful addiction. We wanted love to fill our relationship. The only one we knew to help us with that would be the One who created, defined, and sustained love - God.
“The first thing John and I committed to in our marriage was sexual honesty. Secrecy had filled John’s heart so long, but it became truth for him. It was not truth at all. Truth had to fill both our hearts. That does not mean it is easy to talk about this struggle. Honesty with each other without criticism, blame, or excuse would soon help us be respectful with love toward the desire each of us had for the other.
“The second thing is John asked us to be more accountable to each other. Asking him often about his day, what he saw, if he looked, or had he struggled, was a way to help him deal with this battle. It also helped me as his wife. It increased my trust in him as he worked to renew his dedication to our marriage and focus on me. He really did not want to do this again. John also knew his accountability to God was of greater importance. God knew everything and understood you cannot hide from God. John began to pray more. He prayed more with me. I heard his plea for God’s grace, strength, and help to be the man his wife married, not the lustful man he had become. He knew I could help only so much. God was the one to whom he was accountable to most. I could see the godly sorrow for what he had done (2 Corinthians 7.10). John and I were both beginning to see how much God wanted to help us fight this battle. With our submission to God, we would win. Our marriage was being cleansed one day at a time.”