Are you or your spouse regularly viewing pornography? Have you invited pornography into your marriage for honorable reasons like rebuilding intimacy? If so, keep reading to see the effects of pornography in your marriage, how-to overcome them, and find satisfaction in your spouse. Let’s have a candid conversation about an issue that is rarely discussed as a concern in marriage. Let me start with our story.
Porn In Our Marriage
We hadn’t been married long before our marriage began to deteriorate. Between the arguments behind closed doors, over the phone, on work breaks, and any other time we could fit them in, our intimacy began to suffer. As a result, we did what we have seen a lot of couples do, bring pornography into the relationship. We believed that because we were married, it was OK. We went to the adult store together, subjected ourselves to viewing pornography both together and apart. We believed that it was a tool for us to rebuild our intimacy. We thought it would help, we were very wrong!
Porn’s Opposite Result
At first, it was exciting. But it failed to provide us the long lasting intimacy we were both hoping for. Our relationship continued to break down. We were both hurting and the images we sought for renewal failed us. Pornography had the opposite result than what we were hoping for. It divided us even further.
After some time, I noticed that what excited Ben was further and further away from what I was in reality. It started to wear on me. My self esteem dropped out and resulted in me feeling less attractive and desirable. I was hurting from the struggles of life and the images made me feel even less value.
A Different Type of Porn?
I thought I could escape the feelings of worthlessness by reading romance novels. A very popular romance novel was released around this time. I found myself repulsed at the book; yet, unable to put it down. Once I finished the first of a three-part series, I had had enough. I felt so horrible. Not long after, I bailed out and removed every outlet of pornography I had access to. I couldn’t be apart of it anymore.
Effects of Porn on Him
Pornography was having an equally negative impact on Ben. He saw that something we decided together was acceptable in our marriage was causing pain. This was confusing to him. He wanted it to rebuild our intimacy as well and it was not. In addition, he began to feel insecure and embarrassed because he no longer had my support or participation. Therefore, he continued to view in secret.
When Pornography No Longer Satisfies
After some time, his self esteem also began to lessen as well. He was struggling in life as well and the lack of intimacy between us plus the effect of the images on his self esteem created an unhealthy combination. Continued viewing caused him to become more and more desensitized. He recalls that saying yes to the temptation to view pornography groomed him to say yes to the temptation of another woman.
Purging Pornographic Materials
In healing our marriage from the pit, we learned that real intimacy does not include anything outside of the two of us. We purged our lives of everything that could lead us astray.
Ben still struggles with the temptation when his desires go unfulfilled. Moving away from his desire and temptation has never been easy and neither of us are perfect at it, but it got easier as we fought for our marriage together. Now, we are able to talk about it and have a plan so neither of us stumble and fall into that trap again.
Pornography in the Bible?!
You may be surprised to hear that pornography is addressed in the bible:
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman (another) with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her (or him) in his (or her) heart (Notations mine).
Background: These are the words of Jesus. He is addressing a huge crowd of people. Some of whom are his disciples, others are religious leaders, and others are regular folk like you and me who have come to see Jesus. Word has spread around of the miracles He performed and the message He shares of forgiveness of sins. As the crowds grew around Him, He sat down on a hill and addressed them in His Sermon on the Mount. In this passage, Jesus is correcting the wrongly interpreted view of the 7th commandment “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). The religious leaders of Jesus’ time loosely held the belief that only the act of extramarital sex constituted a breaking of this commandment. Jesus, as we can see in this passage, is also concerned with the inner heart of man being pure not only his outward portrayal and behavior.
What is Porn Exactly?
“Sexual immorality,” also called “immorality” in the bible is the word “Porneia” in Greek.
So combining the Greek root “porne” with an “-ography” suffix and you have sexual immorality in print, or what we refer to today as pornography. This can equal images, videos, and text in physical print or digital print.
Let’s then define what sexual immorality in print is. Sexual immorality defined by the bible includes (not exhaustive for the purposes of our topic):
Adultery: married and intercourse with someone other than your spouse
Fornication:having sex outside of marriage, promiscuous or boyfriend/girlfriend
Committing adultery in mental attitude
Unlawful lust or desire after either sex
Idolatry: worship of images
Unchastity: sexual impurity (another way of saying sexual relations outside of the marriage relationship
Harlotry/Prostitution (act of adultery, fornication, and incest)
Therefore, any of this reflected in a visual/print form is pornography.
The New Testament also written in Greek has the word “Porneia” mentioned in 26 verses!*
6 times in reference to abstaining from or banning it.
3 times it is referred to as adultery
3 times it relates to an idol/idolatry
3 times it reveals the desire comes from the heart of man as the result of evil thoughts and a desire of the flesh (or heart)
5 times it references a Babylonian lifestyle
* multiple times in some verses
Hope for the Marriage Infiltrated by Pornography
8 times it gives hope for the one caught in the grips of sexual immorality:
we are born of God as our Father,
our body is the Lord’s and should not be defiled,
can be confessed, repented of, and forgiven,
and the one man, one woman marriage is the only sexual relationship that lies outside of sexual immorality.
Pornography has no room in marriage. Not only the lusting after images as we have so readily accessible to us today but also that of lusting after any one we set our eyes upon. In the context of our verse, there was no internet porn or mail delivery services for the feasting of the eyes in that day. However, the issue was still the same. Longing and desiring someone who is not your spouse. Thankfully, there is grace offered to us through Jesus and God meets us where we are with grace to cover us and overcome.
So, what can be done for someone in the grip of pornography?
Examine and uncover any forms of pornography you have indulged in before. Uncover the thoughts and feelings you have both before and after indulging.
Admit your pornography use and share it with your spouse and God.
Confess: tell the truth about it.
Repent: this sounds like a scary word, but it means simply to turn away from one thing (pornography) and turn to another, specifically God in Christ Jesus.
Seek forgiveness: your spouse certainly will have been hurt by this even if they do not readily admit it.
Remove all pornography outlets and put up barriers for when the desire comes upon you again.
4. Tell someone when tempted
When we are weak our spouse can be strong for us. They cannot help if they do not know. Reach out!
5. You can be satisfied in your marriage
Your marriage can be fully satisfying. Your spouse and you can work together to provide for each other’s needs. Do not hear me say we must give in to each other’s every whim, temptation or desire all the time. There must be a balance and communication.
We hope that this helps you find healing and begin to rebuild the intimacy bond in your marriage in the same it has for us.
Begin today with this guide to help you and your spouse overcome pornography in your marriage. Included is your discussion guide and action plan.
Free Couple’s Guide HERE:
THANK YOU for taking the time to read. It is our prayer that this material enriches and encourages you and your marriage. If this touched you or put someone you know on your heart, please SHARE THIS with them so we can improve their marriage too!
Share your comments!
What do you believe is the biggest reason for pornography in marriage?
What the biggest impacts you know of the pornography causes in a marriage?
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