I’m always concerned when I hear wives relate to me their experiences with their husbands and the church regarding his sexual addiction. It’s not easy for the church to deal with the pandemic that is pornography and sexual addiction. First it takes the acceptance that there is a real problem. Let’s face it the two topics we shy away from the most in the church are sex and money. All denial aside, I can’t imagine what it’s like for the wife who finally has the courage to sit down with the Pastor and talk about what the real problem is with the marriage. Far and away the two most common things wives relate to me that they are being told after they take this huge step are as follows:
1. “The lingerie Cure” – Here’s how this plays out most often. A wife will sit down with a Pastor or Elder and express her displeasure with her husband’s use of porn or even physical infidelity in the marriage. The husband relates that “it was only a one time things and that it mean nothing.” In the case of pornography it’s “only 2 to 3 times a week” and that it’s “better that he do that than have an affair” (we all know when men say 2 to 3 times a week it’s really a lot more). Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that this is not the correct mindset we are to have as Christians. Putting all biblical knowledge aside and once again playing into the stereotype that men are weak and can’t control themselves, the Pastor/Elder looks at her and with a gentle voice tells her in not so many words that it’s her fault that her husband looks at porn. Never mind that she feels rejected and unattractive, never mind that no real woman could ever compete with the fake pseudo-women on the screen, and never mind that he is wanting to connect for selfish reasons. She is told that if she makes the bedroom so enticing her husband won’t want to look at porn. Maybe if she went out and bought some sexy lingerie she could fix the problem. Sounds appalling but I hear it all the time. If you’re a Pastor or an elder reading this please don’t ever say this to a wife. What would it look like if we were transparent as a church? What if we held each other accountable? What if we said Yes, this is a struggle a lot of men have and we as a church are going to talk about it. What if the men in the church finally starting leading and took a stand and hold each other accountable. Let’s get away from the overused phrase “we all have our part”. It’s not relevant here. Nothing my spouse does or does not do justifies me looking at porn or engaging in an emotional of physical affair. Nothing….
2. The second injustice starts with the phrase “The bible says” it’s usually followed by some interpretation of the bible that provides a supporting argument in order to prove a point. In college I learned there is only one correct way to read the bible and that is through the use of hermeneutics. Biblical hermeneutics is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible. Let reset the scenario. A distraught wife comes in to see her Pastor or an elder. After listening to her they pull out the bible and flip to 1 Corinthians 7. This verse is possible one of the most misunderstood bible verses ever. Men love this verse because they interpret it as “My wife is to have sex with me anytime I want.” Wrong. The Christians in Corinth wrote to Paul asking him about celibacy in the context of a marriage since the presence of sexual immorality in Corinth was everywhere at the time. The fear of sexual immorality was so great because they saw what was happening in Corinth so they took things to an extreme. Husbands and wives made a decision not to have sex with one another. Many married couples abstained from sex out of fear. The question they were asking was if was ok for a husband and wife to have each other in a sexual sense. They feared sexual immorality that much! This was not a case of wife denying her husband because she had a headache. Also, early Christians in Corinth were prone to practice asceticism (extreme self-denial or adherence to religious laws). Paul addresses the men first, not the women. He also adds that this is a concession not a command since he knew asceticism was a problem in Corinth. My heart breaks when I think of wives giving themselves to their husbands because of an inaccurate interpretation of the bible. This breeds resentment and distrust.
Men face more challenges than ever today and I believe the enemy is using pornography, and sexual addiction to isolate us and destroy everything we hold dear. If you or someone you know is struggling please reach out to me at www.caribouministries.com. I encourage church leaders and men everywhere to being having open dialogue about the dangers of porn and set up a support system within the church for those who are struggling. I pray for the day when we as a church can have open an discussion on this and so many other topics regarding sex, sexual immorality, and the transparency of the church. Men, put on the whole armor of God every morning and get in the fight!