Browsing online forums and Facebook mother pages I see a common trend. When a woman questions whether or not she should be upset about her husband watching porn the general reply is “It’s a guy thing.” Women are made to believe that if their husbands are viewing pornography that they are at fault, not their husbands. They are told that they aren’t pleasing their husbands enough or that they need to be more creative in their sex lives. One of the greatest lies is when they are told that they must have low self esteem because they feel degraded by their husbands viewing of porn. Often other women suggest that they need to go to a therapist because they are the ones who have the problem. Pornography affects our husbands, our sons, our daughters, and ourselves. How should a Christian woman handle society’s acceptance of porn?
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mathew 5:28 NIV
First we must realize that a man viewing another woman and lusting after her is a sin. It does not matter if it is a woman on the street, a picture in a magazine, or a video. There is no way that it can be excused. If the woman he is viewing is someone other than his wife it is a sin. In fact it is considered adultery with her in his heart. This is the same if a woman views another man and lusts after him.
Christian men and women need to be careful that they are not caught by this trap. Pornography can be tempting to even the most godly of people. We are surrounded by it in our everyday lives. Why do I also include women in this? Because even we are tempted at times. These temptations are often more a literary basis, but still cause us to lust after someone other than our husbands. How many of us are attracted to romance novels? I know I have been.
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4 NIV
So if lusting after another person is the same as adultery, then it is also sexually immoral. It defiles the marriage bed. When you bring another person or persons into your sex life you are not honoring your spouse.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Not only are we sinning against our spouse, but also against our own bodies. Pornography creates unrealistic expectations, unhealthy habits, and sets a person in a downward spiral. After watching so much of the same thing a person becomes desensitized to it. They need to search for something more to get that arousal. They can become unsatisfied in their relationship with their spouse. Sometimes they find their arousal in cheating on their spouse, sometimes just by delving deeper into the pornography industry. Either way it begins to destroy the relationship and place it on crumbling ground.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
Don’t be ashamed if you have to put parental controls on your web browser to prevent accidental viewing of inappropriate images that may tempt you to look further. These are especially essential in any household with children. Many computers offer parental control settings free, and there are many free programs you can install that do an even better job.
When you find yourself tempted, remove yourself from the situation and pray. Praying as you are sitting on the computer at the search engine is not going to be a guarantee that you won’t sin. You need to actively fight against the temptation. “He will also provide you a way out so you can endure it.” That way out is to turn off the computer and leave. Find something else far away to do. If your spouse is around, spend time with them. Replace the unwanted behavior with the wanted. Always pray, with a willing and open heart.
Find someone you trust to be accountable to. Another man (or for the ladies, woman) who shares similar beliefs is ideal. Spend time with them, discuss your struggles, your life, and your interests. Realize that when you are falling prey to temptation they will confront you.
Talk to your spouse. Let them know that you want to honor them and that you believe this behavior is not doing that. I would expect that they would often offer you support. Spend more time with them. Find activities to do together that keep you away from the temptation.
Remember that a relationship is not all about the sex. Sex is a wonderful thing, and a healthy, abundant sex life is great. But pornography often puts sex in the center of relationships. It becomes the only focus. Remember that an evening watching a movie, or going out and doing a fun activity without the expectation of sex later on, is also a great thing. A good relationship does not rely only on sex as a determining factor. There is so much more to rely on and work towards.