Marriage Monday: Where do men struggle?

Posted in Marriage Monday with 9 comments

This is a difficult post to make. It is one that touches me deep within and one that will continue to impact me until the day I die and there is no more sin in this world. I know you’re wondering why I’m talking about my feelings when I said this is a struggle of men. Well, as much as it is WHERE men struggle, it is a problem and a hurt where we all struggle and if we do not now, then we should.

In my last post I mentioned that Matt and I were sharing part of our testimony at The Clearing last week. We did, and it went well. One couple (that we know of) was impacted and that is all we need. The testimony that we shared was that for several years, Matt struggled with pornography. This was a surprise to me that I found out about 5 years into our relationship, just a few short months before we were married. While in pre-marital classes, we had a great mentor couple that really impacted us by telling their own story of broken trust and broken hearts. After hearing their stories we had a very quiet ride back to Matt’s apartment where, while still in the car, he broke down and told me of the struggle that he had kept buried inside for years. The Holy Spirit worked through us both that night in incredible ways. Forgiveness and assurance in who I was in Christ were made new to me that night in a way that never could have before. God brought the darkness into the light and helped Matt break free from the hold that sin had on him. Although the struggle against lust will be a constant battle, God has given Matt great victory and strength against it. While this was (and is) one of the hardest things we have ever faced individually and by far the hardest thing we face as a couple, God is bigger.

It took us awhile to share that story. While Matt first shared it to select people like friends and his parents, it wasn’t for a few years that he (and we) began to share with our lifegroups and others around us. If you’ve never shared your story before, and what the Lord has brought you through and done in you, I highly recommend it. Satan has power in silence, and by sharing, that power is broken and God can work. And boy does He work! Not only in your own life but in the lives of those who are hearing your story.

We see God work every time that we share our story. When Matt shares of his struggle, it has been a great encouragement to other men who have struggled with it, either currently or in the past. In fact, it turns out that most men struggle with it in one way or another, whether it is actually looking up porn online or just thinking lustful thoughts from time to time. It really is a struggle that ALL men have in some way. This was a hard concept for me to understand 5 years ago, but the more I have learned through my Bachelor’s in Psychology and my (almost) Master’s degree in Counseling, the more I understand and see how the male brain works and the complex struggle that this is.

A book that was of great help to me was this:

I was actually able to review this book, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William M. Struthers, for the publisher through an opportunity with one of my professors and I gained so much from the wisdom that it brought. I highly recommend it for both men and women for the bio/psycho/social contributions to the addictions and struggles of porn.

I also recommend reading the statistics found on Covenant Eyes to educate yourself on the prevalence of porn in our world:  http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/01/06/updated-pornography-statistics/

**Just a quick note that some of these statistics may include facts about women. I do realize that this is becoming more and more of an issue with women but numbers wise, it is a much greater struggle for men and their reasons for seeking out pornography are most often much different than women’s. I am focusing this post on Men’s biggest struggle in relation to marriage and what can force a marriage apart due to a man’s choice the most. Stay tuned next week for how women can most often hurt their marriages!

So what do we do? I don’t want to make this post even longer by discussing the horrible consequences that pornography has including a decrease in intimacy of any relationship, false expectations, violence, unemployment, and the list goes on…But what should we do to stop it?

Men:

  • Find community NOW! I cannot tell you how important this was for Matt. Sharing your story, as I mentioned before, takes more power away from the evil one and gives it back to the Lord. Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
  • Protect yourself! Stay away from those that are engaging in porn and who would or are encouraging you to join them. Install protective software on your computer, Covenant Eyes (www.Covenanteyes.com)  has been huge for us..it sends out weekly reports for the sites you have visited to whoever you choose for it to go to. It brings on great….
  • Accountability! Find men who you trust and ask them to keep you accountable to these struggles. It’s a long and hard journey and if you are doing it on your own, you will fail.
  • PRAY! God is bigger. Nothing else to it. Get in the Word and seek HIm.

Remember, while this will always be a struggle in our world there is hope. We serve a God who can restore all things and who is over all things. He is willing and waiting to carry you through this.

Women:

  • Protect your brothers in Christ! While pornography is not any woman’s fault, nor a man’s choice to be involved in it, we must be considerate of the issue at hand. Be modest. In words, in deeds, and in CLOTHING. It is so easy for a man to be led astray by what you wear. Please be thoughtful.
  • PRAY! Pray for the men in your life, and for those that take part in the pornography business. It is all about the money and these people make BILLIONS a year. Pray that they will be turned to the Lord and break free of the wickedness they are involved in.
  • Community! Keep one another accountable for how you are doing in the areas of leading men astray..flirting, dress..keep one another in check! Have sisters in Christ that you can talk to if the man in your life is struggling in this area. It brings everyone down with it and the woman needs as much support as the man in this area.
  • Love- If you find your husband is in this struggle, love him do not judge him. Seek help and guidance, do not let it be swept under the rug, but remember the baggage and mistakes that you yourself have. No one person is better than another.

This is a heavy topic, I know. For some there is nothing new here, for others this is shocking stuff. Please feel free to contact Matt or I if you ever need someone to talk to, have questions, or just need to vent. It is yucky stuff and can ruin your marriage. Don’t let Satan take you down with it.

To close, let me share some of the Lords words on this issue (P.S. He has many words on lust and sexual immorality):

Matthew 5:28- But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

But more importantly, what the Lord says about US:

2 Corinthians 5:17- This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Praise the Lord! He takes that which is in the darkness and exposes it to the light. All things can be made new. Praise the Lord…

~Written by Erin

Edited and Contributed to by Matt :)

So thankful for my amazing husband and his desire to strive for the Lord’s best in his life!


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9 Comments

  1. Ashley

    Amazing post tonight, Erin. Thank you for being bold enough to share your story with others. It is an INCREDIBLE testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness and power. Can’t wait for next week’s post!!

    Reply
  2. Luke Gilkerson

    Great post! If you’re interested, I’d love it if you would like to write a guest post for the Covenant Eyes blog. We’re always looking for testimonies about how our service has changed lives! E-mail me and let me know.

    Luke Gilkerson
    CovenantEyes.com

    Reply
  3. Brittany Immink

    Umm. I love this post.
    You guys are amazing, thanks for sharing this. We have a simalar story, and it was just so encouraging to hear your heart about this. Thanks so much for being obedient and loving Jesus so much! Hope everything is going well down in Texas!
    Miss you guys!

    Reply
  4. Ann

    Dear Erin,
    Thanks so much for this blog – I can’t begin to tell you what a God-send it is. My fiancé confessed to me two weeks ago that he has watched pornographic videos twice during our 10 month courtship. I had asked him about this before, but he denied having done it while we were together. The news has absolutely devastated me, and I have been so confused about what I should do. On the one hand, I feel like he cheated on me and I should leave before I make a terrible mistake and marry him. On the other hand, he has downloaded Covenant Eyes, met with a pastor, joined a recovery group, and we both have been going to pre-marital counseling even before this happened. It seems like he’s really trying but I still don’t know if I should leave or not. I’ve been praying for direction, but I don’t know who I can go to for godly wisdom regarding this issue. I read your story and thought, if anyone could relate to what I’m going through it would be you. If you have a moment in the future, I would SO appreciate an email! Blessings to you.

    Reply
  5. Darryl

    This is truly an awesome article. Thank you, Matt and Erin, for sharing something so personal, yet so empowering! Confession brings darkness to LIGHT! John 3:19. I have a Men’s group that I facilitate and I will be sharing your testimony (along with my own) as an ice-breaker. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thank you so much, Darryl! We have loved seeing how God has used our own sins and struggles for his glory. I will be writing another blog post for Covenant Eyes in the next few weeks so stayed tuned for more on this topic! God bless! ~Erin

      Reply