“I don’t know what you are so upset about. Every guy watches porn. It’s no big deal so why don’t you just leave it alone.”
I am blown away by the number of men I meet in my counseling practice who have uttered those words to their wives to justify their pornography addiction. In fact, many men believe watching pornography is as harmless as watching football. In their minds, since “every guy watches porn,” then it’s a harmless activity.
But they’re wrong.
Viewing pornography is far from harmless, especially to the emotional well-being of our wives. When we watch porn, we are sending extremely hurtful messages to our spouses.
While we may not intend to communicate these self-worth eroding messages, nevertheless these messages are coming through loud and clear. Here are three of them.
1) I don’t need you to achieve sexual gratification.
Sex was designed by God as a gift for married men and women to enjoy. How do we know this? Here’s a clue, from the book of Proverbs:
”May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in your young wife – a loving doe, a graceful deer; may her breasts satisfy you at all times, may you be captivated by her love always.” Proverbs 5:18-19
When we engage with pornography and masturbation, we are indirectly communicating to our wives that they are not needed when it comes to fulfilling our sexual needs. The sexual images we salivated over are more than adequate and always readily available. Our selfishness is a punch in the stomach and a blow to their self-worth.
2) I find other women more sexually stimulating.
“He has no idea how I die inside when I see the images he has been lusting over. I can’t compete with those women. They are perfect-looking. It destroys me to know he prefers them over me.”
Similar words are uttered by wives who spend countless hours comparing themselves to the pornographic images their husbands have viewed. They feel defeated and demoralized, believing their husbands are unsatisfied not just with their sex lives but with them as women.
Pornography dishonors our wives and sends a message that we no longer desire them sexually, but prefer to engage with others for our sexual desires. Instead, our wives need to believe our eyes—and our desires—are focused solely on them. They deserve to feel special and unique, but more importantly they should feel secure in knowing our hearts belong are dedicated to them.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
There is nothing Christ-like about choosing pornography over our wives.
3) You’re a prude.
There is seemingly no end to the variety of sexual practices you can find in pornography. At its extreme, it can range from bizarre to degrading. And when our wives stumble across disturbing images and videos the message they receive is: “you bore me when it comes to sex.”
There is nothing I find more troubling in my counseling practice than when a wife describes how she allowed herself to engage in humiliating sexual scenarios that were similar to those her husband had been watching through porn. She is fearful if she doesn’t submit then he will eventually find someone else to play out his twisted fantasy. However, now she is left her filled with shame and guilt for allowing her body to be used in a degrading manner.
The continuous use of pornography will ultimately result in a need to escalate the types of sexual practices viewed in order for a man to continue to be stimulated. Unfortunately, the longer the addiction continues, the more demeaning and bizarre the images can become. It is objectifying at best, degrading and humiliating at its worst. And that is far from how God envision sex would be enjoyed between two married adults.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4
You may not realize it, but your use of pornography is sending very negative and damaging messages to your wife. You may think that every guy watches porn, but “every guy” isn’t married to your wife. You are. It’s time to change the line of communication and that begins by making the commitment to honor, respect, and love her.
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