Pornography. Big topic, but one that I think we ladies need to get real about. I am going out on a limb again, with my husband's permission, to share his--which has become our--story in hopes that by talking about it, we might help others.
Let me jump straight to the tough stuff, Mama. I've been encouraging you to talk to each other and to your man about sex. Let me ask you, have you ever asked your man about pornography? Have you ever had an honest conversation with him about it? Do you know if he's ever viewed it? Do you know if he wrestles with the temptation to take a peek?
I'm asking if you've ever really talked about this with your man because...well, guys are guys. They typically are visual and love sex. It's just the way they are wired. The internet makes viewing pornography easily accessible and often times free. It's everywhere. The ads on TV, the pictures in the magazines and even on the billboards as we drive by are practically pornographic. Shoot, sometimes the women in public have left nothing to a man's imagination. It's everywhere and since men are visual it's often a constant struggle for them to keep their mind on what it really should be on. Our men are inundated.
I'm not really sure how long ago it was or how it happened, but I began to notice that my man notices other women. It's not that he's drooling over other women in an obvious way, but I began to pick up on it by listening to his words. For some reason, I was oblivious up until this point, believing that he only had eyes for me. I began to notice by the comments he'd make about what a woman was wearing or that she was "stacked" (or something of that sort).
At first I was offended, but then I decided to ask him about it. I put my hurt feelings aside in an effort to learn something about my man. This is when my eyes were opened to the visual struggle my man has and this lead to talking about him viewing pornography. And I'm confident that he is not alone. Yes, at the time my man was a traveling man which lead to easy unaccounted access and yes, he is a late-night guy that often works after I've gone to bed, but I do still believe that he is not alone. Men who are tempted to view pornography will find ways to do it regardless of their circumstances. And yes, there are some men out there that this really doesn't bother them, BUT I am going to be bold enough to say that I believe most men have this struggle. And we women choose to live in oblivion because we don't want to face it. I know I didn't. But I decided to tackle this issue and I don't regret it. It opened up a line of communication with my man that allows his temptation with pornography to become our struggle that we fight together.
You see, I had to come to a place where I understood that my husband's struggle with pornography is not personal. It is an area of sin in which he struggles, just like I struggle to indulge myself in too much food. In fact, his temptation to view it strangely parallels my struggle with food. First, he needs accountability to stay away from it, just like I do. Second, when life gets stressful the tempation is greater to indulge in it, just like me. Third, when he is satisfied sexually in our relationship the temptation is not even there, just like me and food. When he is "full," he has no desire for more. When I am full, I have no need to eat anything more. I am thankful God gave me this insight into my husband's temptation because it has given me a greater understanding of what he is going through.
Now here are a few things I must state that also relate to my parallelling example. First, by no means am I responsible for my husband's tempation. By this I mean that, yes, he does not wrestle with pornography when he is satisfied sexually with me, but this does not place full responsiblity on me. If I have truly done the best that I can do to satisfy my man and he still stumbles and views pornography--that is NOT my fault. Just like I must choose to not eat that ice cream when I am not hungry, he too must choose to not view pornography. My sin is not his fault and neither is his mine. I am merely walking alongside him in this journey and doing my part to help.
Second, just like I do not have the strength to face temptation on my own strength, neither does my man. When he is tempted, he must choose to turn to the Lord to do what is right and walk away. He has a relationship with the Lord and is accountable to the Lord for his actions, as am I. I also must clarify that having the temptation to view pornography is not the problem. The problem is when my man steps over the line and engages in the act of viewing it. There is a difference. So please don't go about spreading foolish rumors that my husband has a problem with viewing pornography all the time. That would be far from the truth.
My man is a man, and being surrounded by easy access to his temptation, we established together a few things that have helped him overcome the temptation to view pornography. First off, we have very open conversations about it. He has given me permission to ask him about it anytime I want. Randomly, I will ask him, "Have you viewed any pornography lately?" I also will randomly check the history on his computer. He has given me permission to do that and leaves it there on purpose. Once I have checked it, I will tell him and then he will delete it until I randomly check again.
During different seasons, we have also had a filter on our computers and the weekly report was e-mailed to me and another friend. He and that friend have been holding each other accountable in regards to this for years. They randomly check in with each other to see how each other is doing.
Just like my temptation with indulging in too much food is mostly mastered, (but yet will never fully leave me for the rest of my life), my husband is in the same place with pornography. Just like I have had times of backsliding, so has he. We are two imperfect people walking this journey called life together. Sometimes imperfect things happen.
I'll never forget the time that even with all of these "safeguards" in place, my man came to me and confessed that he had figured out a way around the filter and had been viewing "soft porn", basically viewing images of women on lingerie sites, to fill the need. He knew he had lied to me when I'd randomly asked him about his viewing and he knew he'd better reconcile it or he'd lose my trust. I have to admit that it was not easy to hear his confession, but I am grateful to have a man that can admit his mistakes because trust in this area is not easily repaired. It was important to him that he not lose that.
So I need to ask you again...have you ever asked your husband if he has a struggle with viewing pornography? I know it's scary to ask. Who wants to find out that her husband is enjoying looking at other women? But here's the thing. Pornography is one of those things that no one wants to admit to viewing and your man might be caught in a web of viewing it that he can't get out of alone. Who better is there to walk alongside him and give him a helping hand out than you?
I think that too many of us ladies would like to avoid this question and continue to coast along like all is fine. We want to pretend that denying sexual relations with our husband is not a big deal. "It really doesn't affect MY husband," you say. I can hear you thinking that your man would NEVER partake in such a thing. I hate to say this, but chances are good that if your man seems satisfied that you only have sex once in awhile or maybe doesn't even seem interested in you at all--he very likely might be getting his needs met somewhere else. Oh maybe he's not physically having sex with another woman, but he might be in his mind, every time he turns on his computer when nobody is looking.
I beg you from a woman who has walked this road to stop living in denial, get real and ask your man about his viewing habits. Being real with my man, and he with me, has provided a healing in our relationship that was much needed. It has bonded us together because we are sharing our greatest temptations with one another and helping each other in a way that we can with no other.