Pornography and Marriage in a Millennial World – Part One
Know Who You Are. Know Why It Matters
A few weeks ago, I had an experience that has rocked me to my core. Since that day I have been overwhelmed with a burden for the generation of women who identify as millennials. Many in this young group of ladies are entering the early years of marriage. My eyes have been opened to an issue they’re dealing with that breaks my heart. An issue that sends me to my knees.
It comes as no surprise to me that the world at large has turned a blind eye to the life-shattering dangers of pornography, but I was stunned to find that even among “moral” young people, there is an acceptance (albeit an uncomfortable one) of its presence and use in their homes. I am beyond disturbed by this fact and want to plead with these ladies to open their eyes to the truth. I hurt for their futures. I know the pain that lies ahead.
Why I’m Addressing Pornography
This all started when a young lady on Facebook posted a prayer request one afternoon. Through a series of God-ordained events I ended up alongside this precious sister, attempting to speak truth into a shocking (at least to me) situation.
I sat at my computer reading a discussion among a large group of young women. They were debating whether or not pornography use should be tolerated in marriage. My heart broke to find that a large number of these priceless treasures – women God made in His own image – have accepted such a cheap and degrading role. So many of them proudly professed to not only allow the use of pornography by their husbands, but participate in it themselves! Others mentioned feeling pressured to perform sexual acts that made them very uncomfortable, including bringing others into the relationship, but believed these things to be an inevitable part of modern day marriage. I was stunned!
After spending time searching the Word and asking for wisdom in prayer, I believe there are three key reasons young women have accepted the normalization of this perversion: Misinformation about pornography, a compromised view of themselves, and a misunderstanding of their husbands.
This week I will address the second two reasons and speak from a Biblical standpoint about who we each are in Christ, and who our husbands are too. This post is aimed at young women, (really all women) who claim the name of Christ. Next week I will post an article aimed more towards informing women of the facts surrounding the use of pornography. It is my prayer that God will use these pieces to change minds and raise up a generation of knowledgeable young ladies who stand with dignity and respect upon Truth.
Creation and Marriage
A sad truth emerged that day, as I read through the thoughts of dozens of ladies. There seemed to be an acceptance that all men use pornography. A collective shrugging of the shoulders, as if nothing more could be expected and feminism had conceded the issue. Not only does this mindset grossly demoralize men, but it humiliates women. We can do better. We were created to do better!There's been an acceptance among millennial women that all men use pornography. A collective shrugging of the shoulders, as if nothing more could be expected. Not only does this mindset grossly demoralize men, but it humiliates… Click To Tweet
While I greatly advocate a thorough study of the Bible, you don’t even have to read further than the first chapter to see that human beings – both male and female – were created by God to be much more than mere animals. We were made in the image of Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Fearfully and wonderfully formed with complexity and value!
Further, you don’t have to read beyond the second chapter to see that God designed marriage to be a sacred, unifying relationship between one man and one woman. He created Eve to satisfy the void that had been left open when He created Adam. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
After five days of creating and declaring His creation good, it was the first time God had said that something wasn’t good. There was something missing.
God could have created anything to complete His work. He could have created harems of women to satisfy what Adam lacked. But He didn’t. He created one woman, formed from a piece of the man. One woman designed to be just right for him. Once the two were united God looked again and declared His creation complete. Now, like its Maker, it was good. It was the only time in history that a marriage was perfect. One man, one woman, and God.
Once sin entered the world things changed, but God’s standard never did. From the creation of marriage in Genesis through to Revelation, (When it will again be perfected as the church is eternally joined to Jesus Christ, our perfect bridegroom) our Heavenly Father demands mutual respect, unconditional love, and total fidelity from both bride and groom. And lest we wonder what He means by total fidelity, He clears it up for us in Matthew:
Matthew 5:27-28 – You have heard the commandment that says, “You must not commit adultery.” But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye – even your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand – even your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Obviously, God takes our purity very seriously. He urges drastic action over complacency. I can only imagine what a disappointment it is to Him that we have made concession after concession to get to the state we’re in today.
Know Your Worth
Nonetheless, countless young women have believed the lie that they just aren’t enough. This fallen world has told us that men are going to lust after other women, and we have hung our heads in defeat and stepped aside to share the space in our husbands’ minds with a perversion.
All the while our Heavenly Father watches with sadness, longing to see us treated like the treasures He created. He tries to show us through His Word how He sees us, hoping that if we can see ourselves through His eyes, perhaps we’ll have the courage to stand against the sin that threatens to tear us apart.
Shouldn’t we at least listen to what He has to say? Let’s look together at a few verses with open minds. Let’s try to catch a glimpse of ourselves from His perfect perspective.
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
Deuteronomy 7:6 – For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.
Zephaniah 3:17 – For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
In 1 Peter we’re told that believers have been grafted into the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people. When that happened, we became heirs to all His past promises to His people. He chose us out of all the people in the world to be His Own special treasure! Have you ever thought of yourself as God’s own special treasure? If you’re a believer, dear sister, then that’s exactly what you are! The Bible says that He takes delight in you and rejoices over you!
Isaiah 43:4 – Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Romans 8:32 – What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?
Because you are precious to Him, God traded the life of His own precious Son for yours. Because He loves you! So if He loves you so much that He didn’t even spare His Son to save you, do you think it’s okay with Him when anyone treats you as anything less? When anyone treats you like you’re not enough? Ladies, if the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies says we’re enough, if He says we are of great value and He treasures us, you better believe it bothers Him if a mere mortal decides to treat us as anything less!If the Lord God of Heaven's Armies says we're of great value, and that we're enough for our husbands, you better believe it bothers Him if mere mortals disrespect us as anything less! Click To Tweet
Respect Your Husband
In fact, in Malachi the Lord addresses the men of Israel, who have done that exact thing. They have compromised His standard for marriage and disrespected their wives. Later, in 1 Peter, the Lord again addresses the issue. He makes clear His distaste for men who don’t honor their wives (His dearly loved daughters) as they deserve.
Malachi 2:14-15 – You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
1 Peter 3:7 – In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
Here’s the thing, God makes his standard clear, and has the expectation of obedience. Marriage is precious to Him, and a godly wife is a treasure He doesn’t hand out to just anyone. When He gifts a man with such a rich jewel His expectation is that she be cherished.
Proverbs – 19:14 – Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife.
Proverbs 31:10 & 30-31 – Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies… Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise…
Proverbs 5:15-20 – Drink water from your own well – share your love only with your wife… Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman…
Hebrews 13:4 – Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
God doesn’t only give a standard for men though, he tells women to do something too. In Ephesians, He tells husbands to sacrificially love and care for (cherish) their wives, and He tells wives to respect their husbands.
Ephesians 5:28-33 – In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church… Soagain I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Respect, when defined as a verb, means to hold in esteem (favorable opinion or judgement) or honor. (honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions) So in other words, if we are respecting our husbands, as the Bible commands us to, we are holding them to a high standard because we view them as worthy of that standard. To accept a compromise when it comes to sin is to disrespect them.
The Lord does not waver in His demand that we honor the purity of the marriage bed. He makes it clear that the standard of purity includes lustful thoughts, or looking with lust upon another. Pornography falls, without question, into that category. So, we can conclude that, according to the Bible, to acknowledge the use of pornography as anything less than a sin is to disrespect our husbands, which is sin.
Don’t Ever Settle for Less Than Obedience to God
Dear sister, if you are a God-follower, (You have recognized your sinfulness and turned to God, accepting the forgiveness He offers through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.) then it is imperative that you learn to see things the way He sees them! If you’ve been restored to Him in salvation, you have the Holy Spirit of the Living God residing in your heart! You’re not just created in His image (which is no small thing) but you are also united to Him! I hope and pray you can see how very precious that makes you!
As His treasured, dearly loved daughter, don’t ever settle for anything less than His standard. Not for yourself, and not for the people you love. Don’t compromise. Be bold. Be courageous, and stand on the truth of Scripture. Sit down with your husband today and have a talk about this issue. Open the Bible together and ask God to show you His truth and empower you to be obedient.
Get help if you need it! Send me an email, and I’ll be happy to direct you to resources to help you. Pray, pray again, and pray some more. But whatever you do, don’t accept the lie that pornography is normal. Don’t EVER allow it into your bedroom! Respect yourself, respect your husband, and above all else, respect the Lord!
*Post republished from October, 2017
*How about you? Have you struggled to find the right lines with pornography and marriage? What do you think is at the root of the issue for you?
***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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