Sheila Wray Gregoire is tackling a painful subject in marriage today: porn. It is an epidemic. Statistics show that even in Christian marriage where we know better, it is just as prevalent as it is in the rest of the culture. I invite you to read her posts. Before you do, I want to arm you with the arsenal of God. If you are suffering under the effects of this scourge in your marriage, I want to offer you two weapons to combat it: prayer and fasting.
Yesterday I posted about fasting and prayer and today I am posting about it again. This post is more specific to the love of your life and your family.
First, let me be clear, the love of your life is not your husband (a shocking thought). The love of your life is Love, Himself. He is the center and epitome of all you are. From cleaning up a sticky spill from a dropped bottle to quelling your temper when interrupted for the 53rd time by a colicky baby, all that you do is in service to Him who has breathed life and love into your very bones. You are His in order that you may be the hands and feet who serve the people He has brought into your life. Do not let your outrage and pain of discovering porn use in your marriage stop you from serving your Lord through your kindness to His child, your husband.
Please note that I have purposely given examples of motherhood and not wifehood in the above paragraph because we can readily see how we serve God through our children. It is more difficult for us, as enculturated as we are, to see how we also serve God through our spouses. Modern men and women have been taught that spouses are to serve us and our feelings, when in fact, true happiness lies in a life of service to others. Take for your example your Savior who came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). All that talk of marriage being a two way street means that you are very likely headed in opposite directions, each of you growing more selfish instead of growing towards each other and God. Christopher West (author, speaker and authority on Pope John Paul II's work on the Theology of the Body) in describing spousal love, says that the love between man and woman, fueled by the sexual urge, is designed by God to launch us to Heaven. That sexual attraction and energy of spousal love is like...
the fuel of a rocket that's meant to launch us towards eternal bliss with him. But what would happen if those rocket engines became inverted, no longer pointing us towards that stars, but only back upon ourselves? Set that rocket off and the only possible result is a massive blast of self-destruction. (link to Christopher West)
Porn is our self-indulgent and self-centered modern American life expressed sexually. It is all about the observer, without the slightest concern about the social and personal problems infesting the porn industry: the rate of disease and drug abuse in the industry, the sex slave trade fueling it, the continuation of childhood sexual abuse that many of the actors are acting out. In fact, the actors are merely the meat of the dish. Literally, they are just bodies for the camera to film. No one cares about their story lines. It's all about the satisfaction of the observer, without the complications of any other personality. Spiritually porn use is merely a step along the way to the utter self-centeredness and desolation of Hell. It is a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.
We have gotten it so wrong that we can't even see that selfishness, the cult of me, myself and I, is the disease. We are all infected. So infected, in fact, that we can not even see the cure as a good anymore. Selflessness and service are so foreign to our way of thinking that even mentioning it brings on a barrage of criticism and ridicule.
I don't care. Call me oppressed. Call me an anti-feminist. Call me what you like. I am a Christian and I know this: the cross. It is my duty and my honor to serve and suffer there with my Lord. I am to pick it up for my fellow man, especially that fellow my Lord allowed me to particularly serve, so...
As the Lord has said that some things will not be cured except by prayer and fasting, I will tell you from personal experience that you can do something about a porn addiction: you can pray hard and you can fast often. Fast from part of a meal. Fast from one meal one day. Fast from eating one day, one time. Fast once a week. Even just once a month. Fasting is voluntarily putting yourself up on the cross for another. Do you not believe that Christ will bless that?
Remember that fasting is a process, an act in response to the faith you have received. It will not be any more perfect than any other thing you do. It is not a failure to fail at an all day fast. It is not a failure to be unable to sustain a fast for more than a few hours. It takes practice to get to the point where you can decide, "Today I will eat only one small meal." Not many people make it to that point. Instead, you can say, "I fast from those last five bites on my plate," or "I fast from any sugar or sweetener this week," or even, "I fast from saying any hurtful words during this fight."
Offer these moments of denial as a prayer that includes your very body to invite God to heal your husband's sins of the body. Stay prayerful and stay strong. In God's time, miracles happen.