What’s the harm? No one will know…
He secretly flirts. He thinks, what is the harm in just one peek? No one will know about the X rated video rented from the small rental store on the other side of town. No one is up at 3:00 A.M., when the internet is secretive, where 1 billion people go to pornography sites daily. Then, unaware of its presence, lust sneaks up and runs over him. Finally, he wakes up one day under the weight of metal and rubber, reeling in addiction.
I really believe pornography is quickly becoming the number one marriage killer. Why does it have such a devastating effect on the marriage? It is pure deception. Not only are the subjects deceptive to men, but in turn, the husband is deceptive to his wife, family, and ultimately to God. The industry has admitted the pictures are altered to make the subjects look like man’s greatest fantasy. No woman could ever look that flawless in the flesh. Quite frankly, if she even had the capabilities of looking that perfect, everyday life keeps women too busy to put that much work into the upkeep. Men don’t realize that the women in the magazines are purely self-absorbed, seeking only the self-gratification of adoration for their outward beauty: While inside, there is only deep empty darkness. Most don’t realize the girl in front of the camera is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s future wife, somebody’s future mother.
Why would pornography, whether magazine or movie, matter to a man’s wife? What harm is there in the husband looking at other women? After all, he isn’t actually touching, is he? Coming from the wife’s perspective, I can say, the harm runs emotionally deep in ways you can’t imagine. Trust is destroyed with the realization that he is no longer “one” with only you. Sex was created by God himself…and it is beautiful. Abuse through exploitation only distorts God’s creation.
Before he even realizes there is a problem, subtle changes start taking place in his desires. His wife’s appearance doesn’t satisfy his needs. She usually takes his dissatisfaction personally, feeling like there is something inadequate in her, feeling not only used and ugly on the outside, but the inside as well. If she were normally a self-secure person, she might recognize the problem is not her. But most women do not have a good self-image to begin with, especially with the images the media encourages of how a woman is expected to look by our society. Our husbands are supposed to be the one to whom we can trust to love us just as we are, even with no make-up and baggy sweats. When the wife feels she can’t satisfy him, she feels devalued, that she is not good enough for him. The love is non-existent. Eventually she will give up trying to please him and search for her self-worth elsewhere. That’s when the friction starts, and a vicious cycle begins.
This addiction takes time…time sneaking away from the family, sneaking away from his wife, and sneaking away from God. When my ex finally admitted his deep porn addiction, I told him I really thought he had a girlfriend because of his continual unknown whereabouts and his disgust for me. He replied, “In reality, I don’t have one girlfriend, I have hundreds.” Why equate lust to having a girlfriend? Because of the way man is designed. Jesus said, “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” A man’s sexual satisfaction is physical, while a woman’s satisfaction is emotional. Women tend to be drawn to romance novels and soap-operas. For a man to give himself to another it will be through the physical. His eyes pop out when she walks into the room. The husband will physically work for the family through his career. He is the muscle who moves the furniture when the wife feels the need to redecorate. He takes out the trash and changes the oil. So when a man lusts after another physical being, he is exchanging the entire life that belongs to his wife.
Ultimately women feel rejected, replaced, and betrayed. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Some may argue he was referring only to money, but I believe he was referring to every area of our lives, especially relationships.
What are we committed to? Where are our loyalties? If you are not committed to your marriage, you are flirting with adultery and divorce. Men, do you not realize that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Women, do you not realize one woman’s knockoff is another woman’s designer wardrobe! If you treasure your marriage, your whole heart will be in it. You will protect it. You will love, support, and accept your spouse for the beautiful creation which God entrusted you.
How does the wife handle her husband’s pornography addiction? The wife learns to accept herself the way the Lord loves and accepts her. He gave his life for her. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Her fulfillment does not come through her husband, but through the Lord. Isaiah 54:6 says the Lord is her husband, even when the husband chooses not to cleave to her only. Let the Lord be her identity. Only then will she have the security she desperately desires.
The condition of the heart is at the root of pornography addiction, not the physical appearance. You know the saying, “looking for love in all the wrong places.” There is a deep place in every man’s (and woman’s) heart only the Lord can fill. Only the Living Water can fill and satisfy those desires. God can take away any addiction, only if the addicted allow Him to fill those dark places with the light of his Holy Spirit. Dwell on Psalm 51 and let the Spirit of Restoration in your heart.
Hope through study in God’s word:
Our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, he answered each time with scripture:
- Satan tempted with the Lust of the Flesh; Jesus answered with Deuteronomy 8:3, live by God’s word.
- Satan tempted with the Pride of Life, Satan twisted scripture around at him, miss-quoting Psalm 91:11-12; Jesus answered with Deuteronomy 6:16, do not test the Lord.
- Satan tempted with the Lust of the Eye; Jesus answered with Deuteronomy 6:13, worship God only.
We fight evil with good. We fight the lies of Satan with the truth of God’s word.
We counter act the lies with God’s love, meditating on His word. We are to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. Dwell on 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5:11-33, and Matthew 19:1-12. We need to immerse ourselves with the commitment of bonded marriage. Not a chain of strangulation and limitation, but of life and of God’s love; the only love that truly satisfies our heart’s desires.