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5 Tips to Maintain a Porn-Free Marriage

Last Updated: May 12, 2021

Elaine Mingus
Elaine Mingus

Elaine Mingus is a happily married homeschooling mom of seven. Her number one passion is to see Christ glorified, followed closely with protecting children. She is the creator of Radical Christian Woman, a blog that seeks to bring life and wisdom to Christian women across the globe.

A note from the Editor: If you or your spouse are struggling with pornography, many aspects of this post will not be “applicable” to you. If your marriage is headed downhill due to porn, there are various steps that you should take to restore your relationship, find freedom, and create boundaries. I encourage you to check out this post instead. Remember, every marriage is different, and each struggle is unique!

We’ve all been there. Popcorn and beverage in hand. Comfy couch, warm blanket and a remote. You settle in with the spouse for a movie. Cue intro music, when, suddenly, a hot, heavy, lust-filled scene fills the screen.

Maybe both of you lunge for the remote to fast-forward. Or maybe you both sit in awkward silence and pray the scene ends quickly. Or you glance at your spouse to see whether or not they are enjoying what they see. Either way, you’ve both experienced a full-frontal attack of our current culture’s mass acceptance of sex.

As the movie continues, you are left wondering how you can combat our overly sexualized culture. Should you stop watching TV-MA or rated R movies? Or worse, you find yourself longing for more of what you saw!

So, how can your marriage keep clear of porn issues when it seems like it’s everywhere our society?

While you can’t avoid every situation, here are five tips to keep healthy marriages porn-free.

1. Make a plan.

We’ve all heard the old adage, “If you FAIL to plan, you PLAN to fail.”

Nothing could be truer when it comes to keeping your marriage porn-free.

Have a plan in place, both for you personally, and as a couple. Agree together to practice looking away (instead of gawking) when you see sensitive images. Have a conversation about what types of movies and content you will allow yourselves to intake. What will you do or say when your friends or co-workers steer the conversation in a sexually negative direction?

Make a plan for when your plan isn’t working, too! If you find that a new issue you didn’t realize existed, make sure you have a way to reassess and revamp your current plan together.

2. Recognize the lies of our culture.

Many times we fall into sin because we failed to understand the lies being told to us through our culture and even within our own minds.

So let’s say you get into a fight with your spouse. He or she says something hurtful. Quickly the lie that enters into your mind is “they don’t care about me.” You might allow the lie to fester. The lie then turns into “if they don’t care about me, I’ll care about myself.”

You might be tempted to turn to porn in order to “take care of yourself.”

It’s also important to realize that our overly sexualized culture is sending us lying messages all the time. Movies tell us that sex looks and sounds a certain way. Lie! Advertisements sell sex as a way to get ultimate fulfillment. Another lie! Books teach us that any type of sex is healthy and permissible. Wrong again!

Related: 10 Lies Pop Culture Teaches About Sex

Praying for understanding and having watchful wisdom over what you see, hear, and think will help you combat the lies that so easily entangle us into a pornographic trap.

3. Understand your commitment.

Did you know that the definition of commitment actually means “an obligation that restricts freedom of action?” In a culture that thrives on the idea that freedom means to do whatever you want, commitment (i.e. the marriage bond) is in stark contrast to that concept! Your commitment to your marriage was a voluntary redaction of your freedom.

The Bible goes even a step further, saying that your body is not your own and actually belongs to the other person, and visa versa.

Having the correct view of commitment is a core essential truth that will guide you when you are together or alone. Understanding you don’t get to watch, read, or do things that our culture deems appropriate, but go against the nature of your commitment, is a key ingredient to keeping your marriage porn-free.

4. Laugh…a lot.

The Bible says “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Laughter and light-heartedness is akin to taking a pill to get rid of a headache. It’s easy to let bitterness come between a husband and a wife, but harboring unforgiveness creates negative space in your spirit. That negative spaces creates a vacuum for the sin of porn to take root and grow. Being unhappy is a playground where sexual images and scenarios can tempt you into thinking they will bring you happiness (Newsflash: they don’t).

Laughter and smiling is an outward sign that you are enjoying life. Ask yourself if you are laughing and smiling enough with your spouse? If you are having issues that are keeping you from laughing and smiling, resolve them as quickly as possible and truly let them go. When you do, you are actively creating a barrier between your marriage and the temptation of porn.

5. Make time for intimacy.

When someone is occupying a certain chair, another person is forced to find another seat, right? People who are full aren’t usually tempted to eat again. Porn can be viewed similarly. If you are regularly having sex with your spouse, sexual images, books, and thoughts have a hard time competing for a place at the table.

Personally, as a homeschooling mom of seven, I know having sex regularly isn’t always easy. So, for most of our 17 year marriage we’ve implemented a sex schedule. For my husband, it helps him forgo any temptations he might have during the week because he knows he can expect sex on certain days. For me, it helps me mentally and physically prepare to make space in my busy life to rekindle romance with my husband.

Obviously you don’t have to schedule sex, but having sex regularly (and having a conversation about what “regular” sex means) is an important step to keeping your healthy marriage porn-free.

Related: Three Cheers for Real Sex!

Porn-Free marriages DO exist.

It is possible for couples to keep clear of porn issues and protect themselves from an overly sexualized culture. Whether you’ve experienced it or not, porn is an easy trap to fall into. Above all, accountability and honesty are integral for a healthy marriage, but these five steps are great tools to continue down the path of a porn-free marriage.

  • Comments on: 5 Tips to Maintain a Porn-Free Marriage
    1. Danielle on

      Yes, porn-free marriages do exist, and making time for intimacy in a marriage is important, but shame on the author for insinuating that having regular sex with your spouse will prevent them from using porn. This is a misconception, as countless research has shown, and a guest columnist to CE should be educated and informed regarding porn use and sensitive to the women and wives reading her column. The onus is on the husband to choose not to use porn, it is not a wife’s responsibility to prevent it, or fault if he does. This is victim blaming, and is insensitive and injurious to the countless women who have suffered as a result of their husband’s porn use.

      Reply
      • Anonymous on

        I absolutely agree with this comment. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Shame on Covenant Eyes for publishing this article!

      • Moriah Bowman on

        Hi friend!

        I apologize if some of the content in this article was read the wrong way. I know the author and do believe that her point about sex in marriage was not an implication that having sex will eliminate porn in your marriage. I have heard many stories of couples who are having regular sex, but their spouse is still watching porn.

        However, I have also received stories from men who are tempted to turn to porn because their wife refuses to have sex with them. At Covenant Eyes, we believe in the importance of sexual intimacy within marriage. So for some, denial of sex may cause the spouse to turn to porn.

        Sex doesn’t guarantee a porn-free marriage. But, establishing intimacy with your spouse is a great step towards growing your relationship and keeping porn out of the picture.
        I hope this clears things up! Feel free to comment again if you have more thoughts or questions!
        Blessings,
        Moriah

    2. Anonymous on

      I agree! Shame on Covenant Eyes for publishing this article! The root of a porn addiction is not because of lack of sex or intimacy being offered by the wife, nor is more sex/intimacy a cure!
      The temptation of men is not to be blamed on wives.
      There is a deep seeded issue with a partner that prefers porn to intamacy you with his/her pattern. An addict being brave enough to get to the bottom of this is the answer.
      This article is very triggering to me as a partner of a sex addict. We cannot forget that partners of sex addicts are almost always victims to psychological abuse.
      This article needs to be commented on by CE staff and experts.
      I am extremely turned off and disappointed that this article is still on this website.

      Reply
      • Moriah Bowman on

        Hi friend!

        Although I am not the author of this article, I do manage the Covenant Eyes blog and wanted to address a few of your concerns!

        First, I want to make note that the title is about “maintaining” a porn-free marriage. The author’s spouse is not addicted to pornography, and thus the article isn’t meant to address marriages battling porn addiction. Rather, it’s one woman’s recommendation for keeping her marriage porn-free. The list of 5 tips have worked for her marriage, but like it says in the disclaimer, it most certainly won’t apply to all, especially those who are in the throes of addiction.

        If you’re the partner of a sex addict, this post is not for you. Intead, we recommend this blog post!

        I am sorry for any damage this post has caused and I hope that you will still read our content for spouses. I hope you know that our intent in publishing this blog post was to share wisdom and encouragement with those who are NOT battling addiction.
        Blessings,
        Moriah

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