If we understand that pornography is extremely prevalent in our society, and our husbands and sons and friends and brothers will face it, we must ask ourselves, “How can we help?”
WAYS TO HELP MEN IN GENERAL
Here are a few things that will HELP the men we love in their fight against pornography and its power. Apply the first list, and avoid the second one.
Ways to Help Our Husbands:
- Love them—as men. Do not hate or harp on the fact that they are male. Remember that God made them that way.
- Pray for them—to deal with temptation well. Realize that trying to keep every temptation away is impossible in our culture and just results in living in constant stress.
- When he struggles, be your husband’s best friend for that moment—listening and wanting to help (rather than being the wife who lets her emotions respond).
- Ask how we can help them fight—some suggestions might be accountability with a godly male friend, filters on the internet, not asking them to compare us to other women walking by, etc.
HOW TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR MEN
Here are a few things that will NOT HELP:
- Group harping/Public or general condemnation
Women getting together and going on about how awful it is make it hard for men to admit to the struggle and for their wives to get the compassion and support of those around them.
- Freaking out
Men are much more vulnerable than we women tend to think. To admit a struggle is a big deal for them, so if we react strongly in a negative way the moment they open up, they will shut down and be that much more hesitant to ever reveal themselves again. As hard as it is, if they are admitting a struggle, that is one time you do not want to push them away.
- Making it about us
I think this is the hardest. For wives especially, finding out a husband is struggling with a temptation to porn feels like a personal rejection in a major way. We feel hurt, betrayed, and sinned against—all are very real. They do need to be addressed; however, if I may humbly suggest it, save that for a separate time. This point goes back to point #2 above, about him being vulnerable and our reaction determining how he will approach it with us in the future. (Again, I am not talking about a husband who is regularly giving in to the sin—I am addressing the concept of the struggle itself.)
- Deciding it is their problem only
I know of a woman who emphatically claims she will wear whatever she wants to church and guys need to just deal with it. They are accountable for their own thoughts, after all. That is in part true, but just as they are accountable for their thoughts and actions, we are accountable for ours. Thinking of that, why on earth would we willingly make a very hard temptation even harder? If we are followers of Christ, that is just plain unbiblical. Yes, we have liberty, but we are supposed to be very ready to give up that liberty to help a brother keep from sin (Romans 14). If we do not want this, the problem is our hearts even more than our clothing.
- Wearing clothing that draws attention to our bodies
I know, it is hard to find clothes that are modest without being frumpy or unflattering. It will take some effort, but it can be done. When trying to determine what is appropriate and what is not, do not ask another woman! Ask your husband, or if you are not married, ask your father or a brother. (If you are trying to help a guy avoid this temptation—an effort fraught with danger in and of itself–do not ask him to look at your body and tell you if your outfit draws attention to it!). I admit to being surprised sometimes when I try on an outfit and show it to my husband. Sometimes he points out something I had never thought of that makes it immodest. Other times I am not sure and he says it is fine. In the end, I have not quite figured that all out, so getting his viewpoint (literally) really helps.
DO NOT TRY TO COMPETE WITH THOSE WOMEN
One more thought: very few (if any) of us reading this look like those women in the magazines. Even those women do not look like those women, since they are airbrushed and photoshopped.
So it feels like we cannot compete. If you read about me and the donuts in Part 1, you know I am not allowed to have donuts, no matter how gooey or appealing they are. After I wrote that post, ironically, I was struggling with how much I really, really wanted a donut. Since I cannot have them, I decided a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate would be great instead. I told my husband; instead of berating me on my lack of self-control or saying I should not feel the way I did, that man got his coat on and went to the store and bought some hot chocolate for me. I probably do not need to tell you how that made me feel about him, and I will let you figure out how that little incident makes a good analogy for this subject.
I once heard a quote that helps a lot when you are tempted to compare yourself to other impossibly attractive women. “If you are the only naked woman in the room, you are a million bucks!” Remember, if you are his wife, you are the one person in the entire word he is allowed to look at, to think of in a sexual way, and to enjoy. He chose you. That means a lot. Do not let fear over some fake woman keep you from enjoying that.
That is all I have for now. Feel free to add your thoughts and ideas, especially if you are a guy and I missed something!
Originally published here on January 22, 2014. Adapted for Thrive.
Question to consider: Feel free to add your thoughts and ideas, especially if you’re a guy and I missed something!