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Porn and Future Marriage

*Editor’s Note: This was #10 on our Top Posts of 2012.

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***WARNING: Certain aspects of this post may be considered graphic in nature

Indulgence in pornography is not a problem that only young, unmarried boys face. It’s an epidemic that stretches into the realm of men who are married and women of all kinds (young or old, married or not). However, this post is aimed particularly toward young, unmarried men. The reason I am speaking to this particular group is because I know from firsthand experience the complications that this addiction causes for young men and their future marriage.

The temptation is unavoidable. Half-naked women are plastered on Facebook advertisements. Billboards don the supposed “class” of the dancers at the club the next exit over. Heck, a pretty woman in a parka and sweatpants can cause many men problems. The carrot is constantly dangling in front of you, drawing you in like a starving child lost in the desert.

Paul exhorts the Philippians:

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

– Philippians 4:8

There are several verses that refer to fornication, lustful thoughts, and worldly passions (Matt. 5:28; 1 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 5:16; Col. 3:5) but I want to hone in on what these activities do to the mind. The mind is a powerful thing as are the memories it keeps. This is why the aforementioned verse in Philippians has been more helpful to me than any passage on lust (not to discount such passages, of course). At the height of my issues, I worked in a kiosk at the mall and my mind was perpetually bouncing from one woman to the next. I was an easy target for Satan and my own fleshly weaknesses. I was severely addicted to women and I knew all the Bible verses about “youthful desires” and “passions of the flesh” but only sought self-gratification. I was no boy scout in regards to females that I dated and saw them as no better or more important than the women I watched on my computer screen. I wouldn’t agree with that statement then, but it was true. I was thinking of me. I was thinking of my sexual desires. And truthfully, it didn’t matter who fulfilled them or how it happened, as long as I was satisfied. In person or in a movie.

What I did not anticipate was how it would affect my future marriage. I committed many sins in this area, but I assumed that marriage would fix that desire and erase those memories. Unfortunately, my enslavement to sex and pornography dug so deep into my subconscious that I was left with remnants that may last until my final breath. I wish I would have spent much more time thinking on the things of God, as Paul exhorts, but I did not. I am left with baggage that thankfully Jesus has forgiven and is redeeming daily.

There are several destructive aspects of the porn industry, but here are two battles that I have found particularly challenging to my relationship with my now beautiful, godly wife. Young men, I am pleading with you to trust me:

  1. Porn damages your ability to be a confident leader in your marriage – For me, my pornography-laden past has caused a fracture in my assurance as a husband. There are times that I feel unworthy of her due to my past sins. There are times that I feel unsure of my ability to please her both in the bedroom and outside. In the bedroom, there’s no editing or perfect lighting and you will not always (or ever) be a rock star lover; the bedroom consists of two people that God has joined together, often imperfectly enjoying a great gift that he has given. Pornography does not reflect this truth. Sex was not only designed for procreation, yet it was never designed to be treated as an extracurricular sport. Porn actors are not to be mimicked or modeled. Period. Love your wife the way she wants and needs to be loved – the way that God calls you to love her – and let that be enough.
  2. Porn places unfair expectations on your wife – Pornography is professionally done, in a sense. The producers, directors, and stars know what men like to see just like any other film production. There is a false sense of purely carnal excitement and intrigue. You will start to believe that women will do whatever you want and will be excited about hours of endless sexual activity. Then, when you and your wife engage in such marital activities, your mind convinces you that your wife should be a compassionless toy like those portrayed in the movies you watched. In reality, your wife has insecurities, fears, and preferences that are mixed with her foundational desire to be loved and nurtured rather than driven like a Ferrari. These images and ideas that are seared into your mind are physical, mental, and spiritual wars that are not meant to be fought. Let your future wife be your standard of beauty by not cramming more and more images into your head.

There is tremendously good news for those who have struggled with pornography. There is a man named Jesus who lived a perfect, sinless life who was hung on a cross to wipe away the very sins that you commit and will commit. You cannot change your past, but Christ can offer you a new life and a better future. Chase him. Cling to him. Let him be your standard of character and flee the temptation to fix your eyes on anything other than him. Your future wife may come along, as God sees fit to provide her, and you will either understand what I am talking about or you will be thankful that you do not have to know. Brothers, think on these things. Keep your mind, your heart, your soul, and your strength fixed on God.

When you are married, let Christ’s sacrifice be the reason that you are a confident leader. The more like Jesus you are, the better husband and leader you are for your wife. If you’ve struggled with lust in various forms, you will be frustrated with yourself and you may have to fight tooth and nail to avoid slipping into old habits. Deal with sin as drastically and seriously as possible. The Holy Spirit will empower you to do so. Jesus is worth it. Your wife will be worth it.

Above all, know this: The gospel is enough. The war has been won, so go into the trenches confidently.