If You're a Married Man, You Should Have This On Your Phone
If you’re a married man and you do not have porn-blocking software on your phone and computer, one question to ask yourself is this: why?
“Because I don’t struggle with porn, so I don’t need porn-blockers.” 9 times out of 10, that statement is a lie. This is not to say that men are doomed to inevitably struggle with viewing pornography; it is to say, however, that for the vast majority of men, porn consumption is a problem that, if unchecked, will eat them alive.
I heard it humorously stated this way: 90 percent of men admit to struggling with pornography. The other 10 percent are just lying about it. While this is an exaggerated and likely false statistic, I would not be surprised if there were some truth to it. The fact of the matter is that over 50% of divorces involve one partner’s use of pornography.
Porn creates unrealistic expectations in the minds of men, which their partners cannot reproduce. As a result, the sexual fulfillment that comes from viewing porn takes the place of the sexual fulfillment that should come from the wife. It replaces loving intimacy with explicit imagery. Porn is a parasite that will eat away at the foundations of a healthy marriage.
So, how do you break ties with the temptation of viewing porn? The best way to go about it is in practical ways: installing porn blockers on your devices.
Accountability within a marriage is a helpful way to eradicate sinful temptations. Porn blocking software, such as NetNanny, Covenant Eyes, Forcefield, or Bsecure Online, are useful tools to prevent the ability to access pornography. Browser extensions exist as well, such as BlockSite for Google Chrome, which are able to be password protected, and can block adult websites.
“But you should have 100% trust within a marriage; the fact that your partner needs porn blockers suggests that you can’t trust him, right?” While it is true that trust is vital to a healthy marriage, eradicating sin-habits from one’s life is also vital. The fact of the matter is that most men go into marriages having struggled with porn earlier on in their lives. As a result, they have a difficult time breaking the habit, and try to hide it from their wife for as long as possible. The right way to approach a porn habit within a marriage is to be completely open and accountable on the front end. Be honest with your partner that this is something you have struggled with in the past, and need practical boundaries in place to prevent it from creeping into the marriage. This is where porn blockers come into play.
In fact, establishing a preventative measure such as this is a way to build trust. For a wife never to have to wonder what her husband is looking at online is a beautiful thing.
I would also add here that if your wife does not know your phone passcode for the sheer reason that you won’t let her, that is another problem. Marriages require complete openness and honesty, even with seemingly trivial things such as phone access. It is sad to see how many relationships suffer because one man is viewing things, talking to people, or even liking photos on social media, which he has no business doing. These are common reasons men refuse to allow their wives to “go through” their phones. Providing open access to each other’s devices from the start will eliminate this tendency. There is a freedom that exists in having complete openness with one another.
Struggling with porn consumption is not uncommon; however, that is not an excuse to allow the habit to persist or abound.
There is a common illustration associated with habits: imagine you are sitting on the couch, and on the coffee table right in front of you is a bowl full of your favorite candy. What is the first thing you are going to reach for when you sit down on that couch? A piece of the candy (or several pieces). Why? Because you desire it, and it is directly within your reach.
However, suppose you were to move the bowl over to the kitchen counter. It is a bit more inconvenient to access, so you will probably not consume as many pieces of candy. Now, imagine you take the bowl of candy, cover it, and lock it away in a cabinet that is out-of-reach. What is the likelihood that you are going to eat the candy? Very small. Finally, and most obviously, if you throw out the candy completely, you will not eat any of it, let alone think about it.
Temptations are the same way; we should be taking active measures to make them as inaccessible as possible, as not to give the enemy a foothold, making it easy for us to give in.
One pastor said this about porn struggles: whenever you give into the temptation, instead of feeling guilty or trying harder, simply thank God for His grace which covers your sin. His point in saying this was to suggest that our focus on God’s grace will motivate us to resist sin, having relished in the goodness of salvation. And I understand his reasoning. However, I believe Scripture makes abundantly clear that we should be actively trying to break sin habits, even if it takes seemingly extreme measures. Besides, the grace-only way of approaching the topic could lead to a mentality that is dangerously close to what Paul warns us of: using grace as an excuse to continue sinning (Romans 6:1-2).
Take Jesus’s words in Matthew, for example:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:27-30).
Notice the context of his teaching: he is speaking specifically about the concept of lust! He then goes on to say cut off your own hand in order to resist sin. These words are hyperbolic, but paint a vivid picture of the severity of sin-specifically lust, in this situation.
Needless to say, we are expected to actively pursue Jesus and turn from sin. What else does Scripture say about this?
James tells us to resist the devil, and he will flee (James 4:7). He also says blessed is the one who resists or endures temptation (James 1:12), suggesting that the reason we sin is because we are “dragged away” and enticed by our own desires (James 1:14). Paul tells us that whenever we are tempted, God provides a way of escape, so that we can bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
In conclusion, every sin has consequences. Jesus made clear that lusting after other people is adultery. So, men must destroy the urge to look to pornography for sexual fulfillment. Otherwise, you or your marriage will be destroyed by it.
For more information on pornography, its effects, and how to beat it, read my book, Monsters in the Closet: Exposing Real Threats to Children and Teenagers Within the Home.