4 minute read

Fighting the Dragon of Porn: Brandon’s Story

Last Updated: April 29, 2022

Brandon Clark
Brandon Clark

Brandon Clark is a Church Marketing Specialist for Covenant Eyes. In addition to co-hosting the Covenant Eyes podcast and coordinating materials and events for churches, Brandon focuses on growing awareness and engagement surrounding the topic of pornography in the church. He resides on a hobby farm in Minnesota with his wife Tonia and daughter Isabella.

John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart writes: “In the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” 

I first read these words as a college student, thrusting my fist into the air, exclaiming, “Yes! Exactly!” Continuing deeper into the initial pages, energy welled up inside me as Eldredge talked about how men are made to go into the unknown and conquer it and how men will storm the castle and slay the dragon for a beautiful woman. I again exclaimed, “Yes! That’s me!” 

After a few more pages I closed the book, feeling triumphant, like a warrior just coming from the battlefront after a big victory. There really was no victory here, except that I felt rejuvenated and was ready to sit down and work on a paper I had been putting off until the last minute. 

The Rest of the Story

The problem is, I never opened that book again, even to this day. I never received as Paul Harvey put it, “The rest of the story.” I did not know Eldredge would go on to talk about how men carry deep wounds. I did not know he would go on to talk about how men are called to go to battle with the things that are trying to sabotage their souls and defeat them. Those sure would have been helpful arrows to have in my quiver. 

But that has really been the story of much of my life. Begin the book, read a few chapters, and then move on without ever finishing it. This theme plagued me repeatedly, especially when it came to my addiction to pornography. Time after time I would begin the fight, battle hard for a few weeks, and then fall, never truly engaging in the fight by surrendering it to Christ. 

This would come back to haunt me as I carried this cannon into my marriage. I was not ready for a battle to fight or an adventure to live. I certainly was not going to be rescuing a beautiful woman. For the first four years of my marriage, I would pull my wife Tonia out of her innocence and try to drown her in the moat of infidelity, anger, and manipulation.

God’s Presence in Our Storm 

I was willing to storm the castle and woo her to win her heart, but that is where the effort stopped. The dragon of pornography and masturbation was too much for me, and, before long, I was offering Tonia and our marriage up to him as a sacrifice. 

One month after saying, “I do,” I said, “I don’t,” as I fell for the first time as a married man. I still remember that moment as I shared with her that I had betrayed our vows. She was crushed. How could I do that to her? I was to be only hers for the rest of my life.  

That would be the beginning of several years of fire exploding from that dragon’s mouth, incinerating our marriage in the process. 

After four years of torment, intense pain, and betrayal, Tonia gave me the ultimatum, “Either get help, or get out.” It was then that I knew what people meant when they talked about hitting rock bottom. The breath in my lungs escaped. The room started to spin. I was reeling, begging Tonia to take it back and apologizing profusely. She would not because I had pushed her to the breaking point. 

What would follow would be nothing short of Divine Intervention. God reached deep into my soul and spoke these words directly to my heart, “It’s my turn. You’ve tried it your way for too long.” He was right. 

To say Tonia and I have been through hell and back would be an accurate description of our seven years of married life. Yet, through it all one truth has always remained: God has never once abandoned us. 

He was there as objects flew across the room in the heat of one of our fights. He was there another night when the police officers drove up because a hotel manager knew our fight was out of hand. He was there the night I was given the ultimatum. And He was there three years into our healing journey, the day we held a positive pregnancy test in our hands after battling six years of infertility. 

An Invitation to Our Story

This is why we wanted to bring our story to you through “Restored Vows.” We want you to know that no matter what you are going through in your marriage, especially with pornography and the betrayal that comes with it, God will not abandon you. 

Tonia and I want to invite you to journey with us through this free, 14-day video series and offer you hope that healing, forgiveness, and renewal are possible if you are willing to do the work and surrender everything completely into God’s hands. 

It took me four years to realize that I still had a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. Pornography deadened my senses and prevented me from living out true masculinity. My selfishness led me to be conquered by that dragon and to leave my wife stranded in the castle tower. 

I had to ask myself if my marriage was worth saving. Was Tonia worth the fight and the battle scars that would come with it? Was she worth the pain of the healing process no matter how long it would take? 

For me, the answer was yes, completely. I was finally ready, ONLY by God’s grace and strength, to go into the unknown, conquer the dragon, stop the sabotage, and win my wife’s heart back. 

What is your answer? Is your marriage worth it?