For the first time ever my husband opens up about his pornography addiction and the effect it had on our marriage. Here’s his testimony:
“There’s nothing wrong with looking, as long I don’t touch”. That’s what I used to tell myself. See, for most of my life I was addicted to porn and didn’t really understand what that meant. I remember as a kid my friends and cousins and I would sneak and watch porn together. We were all pretty young. To us this was something that was cool to do, and of course being young boys nearing adolescence it filled a hedonistic urge to explore sex and sexuality. I know that a lot of young men are introduced to sex through porn. In a large way it shapes our perceptions of sexuality and it can also shape our perception of the way we think women should be treated. Youth, often times, is a viable excuse for ignorance but the danger lies when we carry these perceptions beyond our youth and they continue to shape who we are as adults. The Bible tells us “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Tim 2:22.
I never gave up the evil desires of my youth until those desires had already wreaked havoc on my life and on my marriage. My wife would often times tell me how disrespected she felt when I would look at other women when we were out in public. I would tell her that it was only natural for men to look at other women. Really, I knew that what I was doing (lusting after other women) was not right. I understand that in the flesh a man will have wandering eyes, but we are not bound by the flesh and we don’t have to be slaves to our evil desires. I really believe that a lot of men out there tell themselves the same lies I told myself for years about the dangers of porn and other forms of sexual imagery. I think we can become really creative in convincing ourselves that what we are doing isn’t that bad. I also think as men we are prideful by nature and it can be hard for us to admit a weakness. To men an addiction, something we have to admit controls us, is a weakness. We won’t admit to that lightly or easily. Porn, for many men is exactly that though, an addiction, and a weakness. There is no shame in admitting that. The first person that you have to come clean to is yourself. Only through acknowledging that there is a problem can we begin to take actions to overcome the addiction.
I remember vividly when I realized that I had an addiction to porn. I always felt satisfied in the moment when I was watching porn but always felt equally convicted after the fact. It wasn’t until after I confessed to my wife everything that I had done with my acts of infidelity that I realized I had a problem. I had hit rock bottom and I had cried out to God that I surrendered my marriage to him because I knew that without him that I couldn’t make my marriage work. I went to my wife that day and told her that I wanted to pray with her for our marriage. It was the first time that I had ever prayed out loud with my wife. I remember being so broken and so vulnerable. After I prayed for our marriage not long after I found myself watching porn and I felt more convicted this time watching porn than I ever had in my whole life. It was almost like a “light bulb” moment. I just made a decision right then that I was going to try to abstain from porn (in that moment I was thinking it would be temporary) for a while and see how it affected my marriage. I hadn’t talked to Rachel about any of this. I hadn’t told her that I decided to quit watching porn.
I was amazed at the difference it made in my marriage. I began to realize that my addiction to porn was at the root cause of a lot of the issues that contributed to my share of the problems I created in our marriage. As a kid I could have never imagined that watching porn could snow ball into so many problems as an adult man. I began to realize that I was staring and lusting after those other women because I had become used to objectifying women as instruments of sex because that is what porn is. I had become used to looking at other women in a sexual manner because that is what you do when you watch porn. I looked back and realized that when things were going bad in my marriage I resulted to having an affair partly due to evil desires of my youth. These were the negative things about myself that I became privy to and had to accept. Although, I had to deal with these truths about myself, I also was educated to a few other positive truths. I learned that by abstaining from watching porn and trying to obtain sexual satisfaction through those immoral ways, I began to have a deeper and stronger intimacy with my wife. When you only look to your wife to fulfill your sexual needs it is amazing the closeness and intimacy you gain with her. There is no substitute for it! I learned that when I abstain from watching porn I am not eager to look at other women out of lust in public. I learned by abstaining from porn I was able to have a greater respect for all women including my wife.
Men, I encourage you to be honest with yourselves if you have the same problem I once had. I encourage you to pray for those chains to be broken. Freedom of this addiction is so valuable to you and your marriage. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Rom 8:6. I can’t begin to tell you how true that passage is in all things not just lust or addiction. The mind is a battlefield and we have to come equipped with the word of God every day prepared to do battle because the enemy is always ready to attack. If you continue to lie to yourselves you strip yourself of the necessary equipment to do battle. To this day I have to be careful with what I watch even if it isn’t porn because I know certain things can be a trigger for me. I have to fast forward some scenes in certain tv shows and movies I watch because I know it can be a trigger. I have to abstain from watching certain things altogether. Realize that just because it isn’t porn doesn’t mean that it is something that you need to partake in.
I will be praying for you men and women out there that are struggling with this issue. I hope that my testimony helps to encourage some of you to take action.
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