This story was submitted by a preacher and his wife who have asked to remain anonymous, but who hope their story can help other marriages struggling with pornography. We hope so too!
Unaware of the Danger
My husband and I were teenagers when the Internet first entered our homes. Social media, digital images, and live streaming were not yet accessible. We were young and so very foolish. I remember when my family got “America Online” and I tried it out for the first time with the painfully slow dial-up connection. I entered a chat room that looked interesting and struck up a conversation. That first conversation turned out to be with a 40 year old man that was seriously shocked and offended when he found out he was chatting with a girl that was barely 14. I didn’t understand his reaction, after all—weren’t we just talking? We were playing with fire and didn’t know it.
- 89% of all sexual solicitations of youth are made in chat rooms
Our parents didn’t know it either. There were no conversations about what we should and should not do on the internet. It was so new that good Christian families only thought of it as a useful educational tool and did not know about Satan’s evil world lurking just a few clicks away. They did not know that by bringing the Internet into their home and giving unrestricted access, they had just done the equivalent of setting a stack of Playboy magazines on the coffee table for their teenagers to browse. When it comes to that kind of temptation, the statistics show that it does not take more than a chance encounter to seize the heart of a curious teenage boy and create a porn addict.
I think it might be helpful to explain exactly what I mean by the terms “pornography” and “porn addiction”. When I refer to pornography, I am talking about sexually explicit images. I think it is actually harmful to try to distinguish between “hard core porn” and “soft porn” because it doesn’t matter how mild it is, if the picture is sensual in nature, it is intended to cause people to lust, and if he or she succumbs to the temptation, they commit adultery within their own heart. (Matthew 5:28) I thank God that my husband never got into the vile, hard core porn out there, but he was still addicted, enslaved to the habit.
Porn became a habit for my husband before I even met him, but the desire and lust didn’t begin with the Internet. Sensual images are all around us, and for him, it started with magazine covers, girls at school, television shows, etc… The Internet just gave him easy access to porn whenever he wanted. He struggled in his heart knowing that it was wrong, but was never able to break free from its grasp. Like many young men, he thought it wouldn’t be a problem anymore once he got married and had an outlet for his sexual desires. He was wrong.
- 11 years old is the average age of first Internet exposure to pornography
- 90% of 8-16 year olds boys having viewed porn online (most while doing homework)
Marriage Doesn’t Solve the Problem
Marriage only makes the problem worse. Porn addiction has very little to do with sex. The desire is not for the wholesome sexual relationship God designed to be between a husband and wife, but for a self-serving chemical “high” in the brain triggered by sensual images. The desires in my husband’s heart were not desires that I, as a wife, was able to fulfill.
The first three years of our marriage were years of blissful ignorance for me. We had our share of challenges and disagreements, as would any newly married couple, but I never suspected my husband was hiding such a dark, sinful secret. In every other way, he was a faithful Christian.
The week of our third anniversary, my husband had to go out of town for three weeks for a research project. We had never been apart for such a long time. I missed him terribly and we stayed in touch with phone calls, but I couldn’t wait for him to come home. A couple of days before he was supposed to come home, I was on the Internet looking for a website I had forgotten to bookmark. I looked it up on the web history and I was shocked by what else I saw there. Those horrible pictures are still burned into my mind. I was reeling, absolutely disgusted by what I saw.
When I called my husband I told him what I had found he confessed that he had been looking at pictures like those for years. He apologized over and over again and I just sat listening numbly. He later told me that while it was terrible that I found out, he was relieved not to be keeping this terrible, dark secret from me anymore. But my heart was broken to pieces, deeply pained by the betrayal and lies from the person I loved and trusted more than anyone else in this world.
“You are sexually pure when no sexual gratification comes from anyone or anything but your wife.”
(This is the second post in a series of posts about pornography. The third post will be published on Friday, April 20th, 2012. To read the previous post, check out Pornography: Removing the Veil & Shining the Light on the Beast.)