Is Pornography in Marriage Wrong?
*The following transcript has been slightly edited from the original audio text for readability purposes. All speakers’ original intent has been maintained to the best of our ability.
Kathy we want to deal today with a letter that came in from Wanda. She's asking "Is there anything wrong with me viewing pornography with my husband, as long as we do it in the privacy of our home?"
I get asked that question a lot and I always say the same thing - it is probably the worst thing that you can do to yourself and to your marriage, and I'm speaking from experience. I did get involved with pornography with my husband back in the old days when he was heavily addicted to pornography. He introduced the idea of us watching it together and his argument to me was that it would bring us closer together, I wouldn't have to worry about him going out with other women, etc., etc. In my broken, confused, weak state that's all I needed to hear - that this is something we could do together; it's going to keep him off the streets. "OK we'll do it." I did it and I paid such a heavy price emotionally, spiritually, physically; and ultimately it did no good. My husband still was out sneaking around with other women.
Is that usually why a woman would give over to something like this - the mindset that this is going to be the thing that will save her marriage?
A lot of women do it for that reason. I know that was my reason. I had no interest in pornography or looking at people having sex; but in our society today I'm finding a lot of women are very open to that with their husbands, not necessarily to control them or to keep them from going out on them, but just because they're interested in pornography now. There's a growing number of Christian women who don't think it's that big of a deal if you do it together.
You said it didn't ultimately help the situation as you saw it, but you also said that you paid a very high price. In what way?
Well you have to go through some mental gyrations to get yourself to do that kind of thing. I had to disregard my upbringing and the morals that were built into me through my family. I had to disregard the fact that I was a born-again Christian and I knew what the Bible said. I had to disregard my self-respect and any dignity that I had. It degraded me as a woman. I had to just give over to this loose kind of thinking that wasn't characteristic of me.
Obviously it didn't help your relationship with God.
No, I didn't have a relationship with God. I couldn't. I couldn't look God in the eye after that. One of the biggest problems I had was that I was more concerned about what my husband thought and I was more concerned about my marriage than God. That's why I was able to do the things I did because ultimately when the chips were down, the thing that was most important to me in my world was holding my marriage together, and that was fatal. That's fatal for anybody, whether your husband is in pornography or not. To put a marriage ahead of God is a huge mistake.
It's an issue of idolatry isn't it?
Yes, it is. Nothing is supposed to come before God - not our children, not our mates - nobody.
I thought it was interesting that you shared in your letter with her how this impacted your view of other people.
Once you've seen hardcore pornography, it's very hard then to walk away from that, go out into public and look at people the same way.
They become objects?
Yes, even for me. I wasn't 'pure-as-a-wind-driven-snow' by any stretch, but I was a decent girl. I wasn't out running around, any of that stuff. I had a good upbringing; but once I had given over to pornography with my husband, it was really hard for me not to look at women and men and wonder what was going on underneath. It was terrible. I hated it. This thing followed me like the plague and it was like there was nothing I could do to overcome it. I did eventually though. The Word of God really does wash us. It cleanses us. It changes the direction of our minds, and that's really what ultimately helped me - time, the Word of God, being in prayer, repenting, and forcing myself to look away from the lust that was still in my heart.
What ultimately did you tell Wanda to do in this situation?
My advice to any woman is she needs to pray. That's ultimately our first line of defense, every time. You have to know how to pray. I'm not talking about weepy, whiny prayers 'Oh God, save my...' Don't do that! Come to God in faith. He wants to rescue your husband. He wants it way more than you do and for all the right reasons. God has no selfish motives. He wants to rescue your husband. He wants to rescue you and your marriage. It's in His heart. The other thing is you need to put your foot down and absolutely resist the temptation, the argument, and the lie that your husband is proposing to you. My husband lied through his teeth to me that this would make things better. He was deceived and he was deceiving me. You just can't go there. You need to tell your husband that you are not going to become involved in his perversion with him, you're not going to become a partner in crime with him, you're not going to aid him in his insanity, you're not going to be that kind of wife. You need to be the kind of woman that stands - not against him - against the sin and this evil that is trying to take him.
Amen. Kathy Gallagher, thanks much.
Thank you, Mike.
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