Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Discussing Pornography

So an issue that we feel strongly about is the detrimental affects that pornography has on marriages. I think that it's helpful to understand that pornography is often a curiosity, that turns into a liking, that turns into a habit, that turns into an addiction. And it can become a very destructive addiction. I would wager that most men and many women have looked at porn, whether on the internet or in print and so we all need some practical, Biblical advice on how to treat porn, what to do with it, and if it's a problem, how to stop. We dealt with this issue when dating and know countless friends and family who have also painfully struggled with this particular problem.

I am reading a book by Beth Moore called, "So Long Insecurity." And while I don't endorse everything within the book, I have to say her chapters that deal with pornography are great. I would like to simply share an excerpt from her book as she puts things better than I think I could. One very important thing to keep in mind is that men and women who struggle with porn are God's children just like the rest of us. We all need to be treated with love, respect, and compassion, as we all have our own different struggles. And now Mrs. Moore:

(Paraphrased) "Anything that keeps our relational lives in a whimsical world and requires absolutely nothing from us but further self-absorption is a severe detriment to our security. The human psyche was designed for real relationships and cannot flourish amid nothing but fantasy. The plan to keep pornography at bay and not allow it to affect relationships is a bigger fantasy than the one on the screen or page. Countless pornography addicts reach a point where they can no longer have sexual intimacy with a spouse.

A pornography addiction...cannot get enough. It constantly demands something more. Something deeper....[It] also turns the lock ever so quietly on the cell of solitary confinement. The irony is that it promises company but ultimately leaves its victim with all the psychological fulfillment of caressing a ghost. Contrary to the claims of our sensual culture, we were not created merely for sexual gratification. We were created for affection, and that requires another person.

If you are in this position, the first thing I want to tell you is this: there really is life after pornography for many couples. I am pro-marriage, pro-forgiveness, and pro-doing what it takes to work things out.....I believe that with God's help and centrality a couple can move through almost anything and flourish once again. To state the obvious, however, doing nothing will never accomplish anything.

The second thing I want to tell you is to seek face-to-face counsel from someone you know to be wise and discreet. No book can ever take the place of good, solid, sound-minded counseling, because it lacks the framework of individuality and accountability. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that you need to find a safe place to tell the secret, or you'll never get your ankle out of the trap. If the two of you could fix it by yourselves, you probably already would have. Get help for yourself whether or not your spose or fiance accompanies you. The third thing I beg you to hear is that you are not doing your man [or woman struggling with pornography] any favors by letting [them] continue to get away with something so destructive to [them] and your relationship.

Here's some advice from Rob Jackson, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in intimacy disorders like these: 'You confront because you care. Armed with knowledge that your spouse is acting out sexually, you have no other responsible option. Your information may be incomplete, but any verifiable evidence of illicit sex is enough. This could include but is not limited to viewing pornographic materials, visiting sexually explicit chat rooms, browsing adult bookstores or going to strip clubs, frequenting prostitues, engaging in voyeurism, exhibitionism, or sexual behavior with others. Indecisiveness won't do - not if you hope to save your marriage. When done correctly and motivated by love, confrontation becomes an act of profound compassion. Frankly, it's easier in the short run to look the other way. If you intend, however, for your marriage to overcome adultery of any type, you must confront if your spouse fails to confess. To quote Dr. Dobson, "love must be tough" - and consistant. In addition to love, confrontation must be centered on principle. The dialogue should never degenerate into who is right, but what is right.'

To stand back and watch a spouse spin further and further out of control without ever attempting to confront, set a boundary, or permit consequences is not in [their] or your best interests." - .pgs 250-255 "So Long Insecurity"

Food for thought from Beth Moore. I hope her words are as challenging, compassionate, and practical to you all as I have found them.

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.