Forgive me, but I used to think that only bad people were addicted to porn. I used to think that it was something you had to really, and I mean really search desperately for. Then one afternoon when I was about nine, I wanted some new ideas on how to do my hair. My nine year old self searched “girls” into the search bar thinking that I was sure to get loads of inspiration if I could just see how other girls did their hair. You know where this is going. What popped up had nothing to do with hair, and was absolutely in every way pornography. I remember being completely shocked, then disgusted, then immediately thought i was going to be D.E.A.D. in the eyes of my parents, so I slammed the laptop shut and ran out of the kitchen. Incredible how fast Satan works… “Quick, hide this, you’re a terrible person now.” Such a slime ball.
I can still see that image in my mind 17 years later. Thankfully, my nine year old self never went back and searched for more. But oh, I was so tempted. FOR WEEKS!!! Satan would not leave me alone. I understand the seemingly unbreakable pull the adversary uses to make good people fall. How come I could resist? I don’t know. But I do recall a very mature thought for a nine year old: “I wonder if there are more pictures like that… I don’t know if I would be able to escape them…” Then I realized the magnetic pull that was suddenly in my mind just after seeing one image. Scary. So temptation after temptation, nine year old me chose to avoid it. I’m grateful to her.
I have grown up a little since then, and if I haven’t grown up, I’m at least 17 years older with a little more life experience. I now know that you aren’t a bad person if you have seen pornography. I also now know that you are not a bad person if you are addicted to pornography. I distinctly recall the chains I felt from the temptation to go back and look at more that afternoon. Although that moment didn’t lead to addiction for me, I totally understand the adversary’s sick temptation and how unbelievably strong it is. That part, I did feel. If you are struggling, I want you to know this: You are loved. You are important. You are a child of God. With the help of the Savior, you are stronger than pornography.
I now know that being addicted to pornography doesn’t make you a bad person, but heartbreakingly, in many cases that doesn’t matter because pornography still does terrible things to wonderful people.
I do know that pornography can and does ruin happy marriages. I know that pornography is too often the seed planted that leads to child abuse, infidelity, divorce, suicide, sexual abuse, anger, dishonesty and much more. A while back I wrote this surprisingly well-liked post on distraction and how it’s one of the adversary’s favorite tools. Porn is another top tactic in the devil’s arsenal against the human race. It tears apart the family and without strong families, individuals and societies become lost, distracted and distanced from Christ.
When I married Aaron, I remember thinking (as I’m sure every soon to be married couple does) that no two people in the world could be better for us than each other. I also had a gut feeling that if our marriage were to fail, it would be because of pornography. We just got along too easy. If it fails, it will be because one of us falls to pornography.
So this fear helped us quickly wage war. Along with daily prayer and scripture study together the moment we got engaged, we added these three things to our “anti-porn” system that we feel we need to share with you. With everyone. It has helped us avoid situations that could have led to addiction. We sincerely hope this helps!
Random Check Up’s
The key word here is random. We like to be guided by the spirit with this in the sense that any time it pops into our head to ask the other if they are struggling with pornography, we ask. The hard part is asking. We trust each other completely, but are still dead afraid that someday the answer will be “Yes.” It’s tempting to push the thought aside for fear of the “what if?” Don’t do it! The spirit knows best. Ask the question. The randomness of this also allows you to gauge your spouse’s true reaction to the question. If you have a planned check-up, then you or your spouse has time to plan a cover-up. Random is key to prevention. As well as honesty.
Go to Bed TOGETHER Each Night
When I was growing up, my parents were steadfast and immovable with their curfew rules. And boy did I struggle with curfew. It was always 11:30PM unless I was allowed to go to a premier movie with my friends. When I would complain about my 11:30 curfew, which happened… always… my mom would say, “Shanae, there is nothing “good” to be doing late at night.” I would always roll my eyes because, hello! Like I was a trouble causer!Well I’ll tell you what. The experience I had in college where a date went south and I was extremely uncomfortable, was when I didn’t have a parental curfew and I was out later than 11:30. Dang it, mom was right. In high school, a few unexpected, ill judged and unwarranted make out sessions that could have led to trouble were all late at night. Dang it mom. The few times hanging out with friends, conversation got unfiltered and too coarse was when I was out later than my parents had recommended.
Fast forward to married life, I get to make out whenever I dang well please… but stay up later than my spouse? That is a recipe for disaster. Late is no longer the issue here. Being alone is. Things too easily move towards “exploring” Netflix, “surfing” the internet, “scrolling” our newsfeed or searching hashtags on IG unsupervised. Satan likes digital. He lives in our phones, our TV’s and on the Internet, not Hell. Satan has too much power late at night and too easily serves us pornography on a
silver electronic platter when we are up later than our spouse is sawing logs in the next room. Do your marriage a favor and go to bed at the same time as your spouse. Sounds simple. Often hard to do. But it can save your marriage.
Immediately Tell Your Spouse When You’ve Seen Pornography
I remember about our second or third year of marriage, I got a pornographic popup while doing homework on my laptop. It bothered me all day. When Aaron got home from work, I told him exactly what had happened while we were eating dinner. I was afraid he would be critical of me, perhaps make me sleep on the couch. But instead it was the greatest relief I had. His reaction was calm. He checked on me the next few days to make sure I was doing ok and we prayed together for help and relief from the memory of that image. If I had not told him about it, we could not have united in prayer. Prayer is such a healing force, and a couple kneeled in prayer for help is a force to be reckoned with.
These three things are easy habits to adopt. They are also so simple that they are just as easily tossed aside. Strive hard to be diligent and disciplined and you will find greater strength in the situations where you are exposed to pornography. Because you will be. Again and again.
(PC: Rachel Garrett Photography)
It’s not if we will fight, it’s how we will fight. No one else will protect your marriage for you. It has to be YOU, your spouse and the Lord together!
- If you want to see some mind boggling stats, click here.
- If you are interested in something to help you monitor electronics in your house, there are some filters that are free. You can find those here (at the bottom of the page).
- If you need help deciphering the different kinds of filtering services and technology available, this site is awesome.
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***Right now on the blog we have a Free 4 Day Family Finance Workbook to help you sort out your crazy. Finances don’t make a marriage happy, but they can also sure ruin one if you’re not careful. We LOVE sharing what’s helped us! Thanks for your support dear friends! ***