Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Dear Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-to-Be:
The topic of porn use is not often the subject of sermons. That is my point.
As a twice weekly church goer most of my life, in different churches over a span of 55 years, what I have predominantly witnessed is an hypocritical united stand against behaviors in the LGBTQ community, while the use of pornography, sex outside of marriage, and serial marriage go largely unaddressed. It’s the negligent or deliberate excusing of supposedly “lesser sins” that stinks.
(NOTE: My history is with Evangelical and Reformed churches. It is impossible for me to write knowledgeably about what goes on in mainline protestant or Catholic arenas. It is important to note the wide range of church disciplines and applications of scripture across the Evangelical and Reformed realms. I can only speak from my experience and perspective. ALSO: Wives sin too, this article is NOT intended as man-bashing. My focus is on Christian marriages and the effects on wives of porn use by husbands. )
Christian circles tend to embrace spiritual brothers who say they are sorry, especially if they cry. Tough truth is, Christian men who use porn may feel remorse and put on a show of regret, and stay unrepentant at the same time. (By unrepentant I mean unchanged). The harm caused to families is patched up with a swipe of the hands and an “All better!”
Follow-up with the confessor’s wife ranges from little to none at all. An insidious mindset prevails that a Christian wife is to be patient, forgiving, and available to her man no matter what. When she asks for counsel, a subset of ideas fuels the care she receives. This includes, if wives love their spouse well, he will not “need” porn.
This is not vastly different from the unchurched world, and that’s a problem. Christian husbands are called by Christ to a higher standard of love, a faithful love, a sacrificial love.
Christian men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church.* That is a lifestyle of unselfishness and setting aside the instant for the worth-waiting-for. Meanwhile, Christian men who watch porn live in make-believe, growing intolerant of the realness of their wives.
Unlike in fantasy where a man can be a totally selfish and everyone still wants him, his wife wants respect. Her heart longs for deep connection at every level. For my blogs that go into more detail on relationships, click these links: Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse and More on Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse.
Sadly, one Christian wife whose Christian husband chose divorce over giving up porn, said she believes there are two kinds of men in the world- those who use porn and those who admit it. Is she wrong?
Certainly, her ability to trust has been damaged. Husbands who take their role seriously do not make it difficult for wives to trust God, other people, and their spouse. Christian men are commanded to nurture, not destroy the inner being of the one God gave them. Love your wives as Christ loved the Church.
Matthew 5 tells us that if a man looks at a woman lustfully (obviously the foundation of porn use), he has committed adultery with her in his heart. A wife may recognize this is happening, however often is blamed, ignored, or told to be patient if she brings it up. She is held to a painful and impossible standard – be like the women in the movies. Be content with the affection an adulterous mate offers when he feels like it.
Yet still in modern times men who watch porn are excused in the church. Do you ever see the immoral brother cast out from the church until he repents? No, porn use is not considered bad enough for that. Immoral brothers include preachers, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, church planters, missionaries, ushers, elders, and deacons. What could motivate them to say, “enough!”
Instead, men form accountability groups, Bible studies, and write self-help books about every man’s battle. Maybe these efforts work. Yet a pastor once said, “Pornography is not sin, it is an addiction.” Where is the warrior who quakes at God’s Word and changes his ways completely? Who stands up for wives?
Let’s Get Real
Husbands tell their wives they struggle against pornography.
Men, no you don’t struggle against pornography. You love it. Your struggle is against righteousness. Your mind is focused on how difficult porn is to give up, how maybe if you cry out to God in sorrow and remorse he will forgive you and continue to use you in ministry.
Your love for pornography causes you to turn from the relationships you say you want. You are willing to give up right standing with God. You are willing to hurt your wife and steal from her the ability to trust. You are willing to bring sexual immorality into the home and fail to protect your children. No, you do not struggle against pornography. You struggle against righteousness.
You will drop righteous and healthy living at a moment’s notice because your eyes saw something you want, you experience body sensations, and your mind tells you lies. You don’t live the life of courage it takes to love your wife as Jesus loves the Church. Spiritual leadership over your family is easily sacrificed on the altar of fantasy and lust. You don’t struggle against porn; you struggle against righteousness.
It seems inconceivable that you could meet your wife’s need for faithfulness. It doesn’t seem fair that you have this libido and are expected to ignore billboards, scantily clad women, and TV commercials. You don’t believe you can be a man of God free of sexual immorality, so you rationalize. You beg your wife to understand, and to be patient and forgiving. “It has nothing to do with you” she is told. “I love you, pornography is a release- that’s all it is.”
You struggle against righteousness.
Today’s Helpful Word
You who love the LORD, hate evil!
COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
– pic from qualitystockphotos