Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thoughts to Husbands About Pornography

It has long been accepted that churches now are full of men who struggle with addictions to porn. I am proud of the way churches are stepping up to walk with these men and to hold them accountable - the community of men holding one another accountable is a beautiful thing. But one thing that I see lacking is the voice of the women affected by this destructive thing living and breathing among us. I feel the need to share my heart - not for condemnation or to add guilt - but to give our men a perspective that they might not have. These are my sisters in Christ and this is what they are saying.

The number one comment I hear from women is: "I am not enough for my husband." How devastating for a woman to hear that the man who has pursued you and asked to marry you has another lover. And she is the epitome of the world's standard for beauty. We cannot compete with this. As women we struggle with feelings of inadequacy all the time. Am I attractive? Am I too fat? Too skinny? We have been rejected for another lover - one who isn't even available, but who is "perfect". And we are left in shambles. No, our identities should not be in our husbands. Our identity should be in Christ alone. But, husband, you are deceiving yourselves if you think you can say "Honey, there isn't anything wrong with you, it's just me." We may want to believe your words, but your actions are choosing this woman over us every time you look at porn.

Our desire is to be loved physically by our husbands. We NEED that physical connection. God designed the act of sex to bond and connect men and women in a way that is emotional and psychological as well as physical. If you take that physical bond away from us we become less and less connected to you emotionally. And the same is true for you as well. If you are not having sex with your wife, but are engaging in fantasies with another woman, you are bonding yourself to her and not to your wife! You may think that you are only experiencing a physical reaction to a beautiful woman, but it is replacing a physical, emotional, and spiritual bonding with the woman that God gave you to love and care for. It is a betrayal of your wife's trust and devotion. Without that physical bond your wife will desire you less and less physically... this is the way God designed it.

Also, I think that it is important that you know that your wife is isolated in her ability to process the affects of porn. She cannot do this in community unless you enable her to. Men meet together in groups - but groups that remain anonymous to the outside. It is a fine line for a wife to speak of her husband's addiction - she cannot betray his trust and confidence. Therefore, she has to seek help from online/distant resources or through impersonal books. I urge you men, to give your wives permission to speak to a friend (maybe even one that you suggest) about this issue. Allow her to meet with someone to pray. Give her an outlet to grieve something that affects her personal identity greatly. This will require vulnerability on your part. I know what I am asking of you - I know what it will cost you - but I KNOW the benefit of having a well-chosen mentor speak the gospel into pain and hurt. You are not walking this alone, I beg you not to ask her to do the same.

Finally, don't let shame or guilt isolate you from your wife. You need to communicate with her about this. She has fears and doubts that only you can answer. We do not want to be your accountability partners, but we need to know how you are processing this. You may think you can handle it on your own, or with your group. But the reality is, we are there with you through all of this. And we are affected as well. Let us pray for you - out loud. Give us space to share our hearts - our hurts. Hear our perspective. We don't need all the details but we do need to be included in the process.

In the end, your wife needs to know that you do have her best interest at heart. When you sit down and fill your vision with those images, you are making a choice between two lovers - and you are not choosing your wife. She knows this and feels it deeply. Please, open your heart to her to win her heart back.

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