The Potato Sack Race and the Porn Problem

potato sackWhen two people commit to one another to covenantal marriage they are no longer just two people, but two people becoming one.  What happens to one person affects the other from “I do” until death.  Babies, failed finances, job promotions, moves, cancer, moral failure, and whatever else two people face in marriage lands in the lap of one spouse as well as the other.  There is no escaping life together.

Marriage is like a partnered potato sack race in this way.  When one falls, the other falls with him/her.  Sometimes the air is cool, the breeze blows gently and your marriage is bright and almost easy.  You laugh together and enjoy one another.  There are no secrets in your shared existence.  But then trouble comes.  The stress load rises, and one of you stumbles.  Maybe the other notices, or maybe he/she is too busy trying to keep moving…trying to keep believing that you are really going to make it.

My heart goes out to every woman who has ever been cheated on, or whose husband struggles with porn.  I cannot write from experience, and I do not pretend to understand what you are going through, but I want to address every wife who is fighting for her marriage.  And that is all of us.

Because you see, most men are entrapped or have at one point struggled with porn.  It is available and free.  And you actually have to try to not find it.  Some of the most random web searches lead to nude images, and then the temptation is served.  It seems so innocent.  Not a big deal.  Just some pictures on the web.  And it’s a secret that no one knows about, but him.  It’s his little hobby.  His escape from the pressure of real life.  And this is happening under the roofs of Christian homes.

So what is a wife to do about it?

You are in a potato sack with this man.  In marriage there are no double lives.  Everything is on the table, out in the open.  There are no secrets.  Nothing to hide.  But what if he is hiding something?

  1. Ask him.

Be gentle in your approach, not accusatory, and share that you are not looking for a problem but that you want to genuinely know if porn is something that he is currently struggling with.  Ask him the last time he viewed porn.  Remind him of God’s forgiveness and that you are in this with him and want to help him get the help he needs.  (Sidebar.  There are so many women’s groups and women’s ministries….we need more men’s groups where guys can have support through this stuff.  Baffles me how not just men, but how all of us can hide in church.  Men, go after the other men in your church.  Do not let them hide.  Invite them into community and accountability.)

2.  Pray for him.

Even if you believe that your husband is walking in purity and is remaining loyal to you, pray for him daily.  Our husbands are CONSTANTLY under assault.  Pray for him to surrender his thought life to the Lord, to keep his eyes on what is pure.  Pray this for him:  Father, help my husband to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and whatever is excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil 4:8)

3.  No private screen time.

Smartphones make this a bit of a challenge, but keep computers in a common area.  Laptops cannot be used in a private space.  Get a filter- check out Covenant Eyes.

4.  Pursue Intimacy

Porn is not the wife’s fault.  It is a sin problem.  Intimacy takes work, and it involves a shared life, not two lives running alongside one another.  Marriage is a potato sack.  Instead of hiding from pain, fear, disappointment, and all of the bad feels, communicate them TO YOUR SPOUSE.  And wives, men do not do this well because they usually do not know how to.  Help them.  They are good learners if they listen.  Connect in every way often.  The more disconnected you are the farther apart you will become and the double life, the affair, the addictions come with it.  It is not the wife’s fault for the husband’s moral failure.  Us women play the blame game.  “If only I did this more or stopped doing that or paid attention to this that and the other then maybe I could have stopped him or could have saved our marriage.”  No.  He did this.  Pointing fingers solves nothing, and a quick way to shut up the blaming is for both the wife and husband to admit that they both fail.  We all do.  One sinner getting into the potato sack with another sinner.  But for the grace of God marriage is doomed.  It’s just a nightmare waiting to happen if Christ is not ruling it.

Let Christ rule the marriage.  He must rule.  Marriage is never easy and there will always be temptations, you can count on it.  But don’t let the temptations master your marriage.  Seek accountability.  Get counseling.  Work hard at your marriage and don’t quit tending to it like garden.  Pull out the weeds.  Wreck them.  Let your love flourish.  Let it evolve.  Mature.  Our children need good marriages to model theirs after.  Let us give them great ones!  And at the end of the race when the potato sack is tethered, and our toes are bleeding through its seams, while we smile at each other, our very life, we can say, “We made it!”

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