“I’m getting married, so I don’t need Internet Accountability anymore.”
I can’t say the number of times we’ve heard this over the years. For a lot of guys, being single is a real struggle: years of loneliness and sexual frustration have made Internet porn all the more alluring. But, they believe, all of that will change once they get married.
What I’m about to say will sound very self-serving. As an employee of Covenant Eyes, you expect me to give you a sales pitch about why you need Internet protection on your computer. If you need to take what I say with a grain of salt, go ahead. But take what I say to heart, all the same.
Here are five things to consider.
1. Marriage does not make sexual temptations go away.
For Ryan Booz, he thought he had put pornography behind him after his wedding day. But then life got busy: more time online for work, a new home, and a wife on bed-rest because of a difficult pregnancy. This is when he relapsed into porn.
I know: you’re the exception to the rule, right? Where other guys have failed, you will hold the line. Your wedding night will give you immunity to all the filth the world can throw at you.
Of course, marriage significantly changes the landscape of your life. One of the great blessings of marriage is that you can now experience sexual intimacy with someone you love. Isn’t marriage one of God’s gifts to us—an aid in the battle against sexual temptations? Absolutely.
But as a man about to get married, here are some things to keep in mind…
First, one of the reasons why pornography is alluring is because it is sinful, not just because it is sexual. Porn will not seem any less forbidden once you are married. Your heart does not cease to be sinful because you are married. Marriage can satisfy your sex drive, but not your sin drive. Sinful hearts are always temptable.
Second, real sex will not look the same as your ungodly sexual fantasies. Throughout your single life you have built up a pattern of sexual arousal based on fantasy. Porn enabled you to selfishly experience sexual pleasure. Porn trains us to believe that sex is life. When you felt the urge, you were able to retreat to your computer where millions of clickable women were waiting to please you.
After you get married you will be establishing all new patterns of intimacy, and your flesh-and-blood wife will not be so clickable. Real sex is not made-to-order, on-demand, or have-it-your-way. Your wife’s body will not be as customizable as an endless stream of 30-second porn teasers and a catalog of sexual positions. But the sad reality is, even in mature Christians, part of us still wants it to be that way. For that reason porn will always be a possible temptation.
As a married man, Kyle Reed continues using Internet Accountability because he knows married life is not a cure for sin. “Marriage does not stave off cravings for pornography. Sadly, no amount of sexual pleasure could make the temptations of pornography unappealing.” A married man’s struggle with porn, he writes, “is solely the result of the man’s sinful desires—which are present in every man, and which must be aggressively quelled.”
2. Knowing the possibility of temptation, many husbands use Internet Accountability as a layer of protection.
Even mature Christian leaders without a history of porn addiction use Internet Accountability.
“I chose Covenant Eyes to be an added layer of accountability in my life,” says Ron Hunter, CEO of Randall House. “Why? Because I am a man. Because I am a husband, a father, a leader, and most of all a Christ-follower. I need to build in layers of protection.”
“I have strong affections for Jesus, but there are still rules in my life I live by,” says Pastor Matt Chandler. “I can, before you and before the Lord, tell you I don’t have a pornography problem, but I have Covenant Eyes on every one of my devices. Why? Because porn is available.”
3. Knowing the potential for pride, many husbands use Internet Accountability to keep them humble.
Jennifer Fountain‘s husband has used Covenant Eyes for years, and he didn’t stop the day he got married. “David chooses to continue this service because he recognizes how quickly sin can take root. He refuses to allow himself to become complacent or to think he’s ‘arrived.’ As his wife, this is so beneficial in helping me to trust him.”
For some, marriage can offer a false sense of security. Living with your wife will come with new built-in accountability measures, and this is a great blessing. But on the occasions we find ourselves alone, for many men the old familiar temptations rush back in like a flood.
“Covenant Eyes offers a safeguard against this temptation to sin,” Jennifer writes. Internet Accountability reminds her husband he is still vulnerable. “Tools like Covenant Eyes provide active and immediate accountability for the weakest, quietest moments wherever we are.”
4. Many wives appreciate Internet Accountability as a tool to maintain openness.
For Erin Baxter, a pre-marital counselor, the weekly reports from Covenant Eyes help remind her to ask her husband about any temptations and to pray for him regularly. She knows porn thrives in secrecy. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Covenant Eyes keeps the silence broken, and this has truly helped our marriage, quite possibly saving it before it was really in trouble.”
“I’m grateful for Covenant Eyes,” she writes, “and so thankful for a wonderful husband who is willing to do whatever he needs to do to stay pure before me and before the Lord.”
5. Marriage means you have a lot more to lose.
Watching porn is just as sinful before you are married as it is after. But experience has taught us, wives tend to see post-wedding porn in a different light—and they should.
Imagine for a moment a typical scenario of temptation. Imagine yourself sneaking off to be alone at your computer. Imagine all the self-justifying thoughts that typically go through your head. Your hand moves to click on the web browser. Instead this time, when you look down at your hand, something is different: there’s a wedding ring on your finger.
That ring symbolizes something new that wasn’t in your life before your wedding: a pledge to have and to hold one woman, forsaking all others. Your wife will take that pledge seriously. I trust you will take that pledge seriously.
In light of that pledge, can you afford not to guard your heart with any tool at your disposal?
Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/