When your ministry is centered around affair recovery, you have a lot of opportunity to talk to people who have been affected by pornography. One of the more shocking things we’ve come to understand is how few people in our world today know what the Bible says about pornography and marriage. What a difference it would make if we could learn to approach the subject of porn from a Biblical standpoint!
Why I’m Addressing Pornography and Marriage
I was originally inspired to write this article when a young lady on Facebook posted a prayer request one afternoon. Through a series of God-ordained events I ended up alongside this precious sister, attempting to speak truth into a shocking (at least to me) situation.
I sat at my computer reading a discussion among a large group of young women. They were debating whether or not pornography use should be tolerated in marriage. My heart broke to find that a large number of these women, who God made in His own image, have accepted such a cheap and degrading role in their marriages.
So many of them proudly professed to not only allow the use of pornography by their husbands, but participate in it themselves! Others mentioned feeling pressured to perform sexual acts that made them very uncomfortable, including bringing others into the relationship, but believed these things to be an unavoidable part of modern day marriage. There was almost no mention of what the Bible says about pornography!
I was stunned!
After spending quite a bit of time searching the Word and asking for wisdom in prayer, I’ve come to believe there are three key reasons young women have accepted the normalization of this perversion: Misinformation about pornography and marriage, a compromised view of themselves, and a misunderstanding of their husbands.
And I believe all three of these problems are rooted in a lack of Biblical perspective.
Creation and Marriage
A sad truth emerged that day, as I read through the thoughts of dozens of ladies. There seemed to be an acceptance that all men use pornography. As if there had been a collective shrugging of the shoulders, believing nothing more could be expected, and feminism had conceded the issue.
Not only does this mindset grossly demoralize men, it humiliates and objectifies women. We can do better. We were created to do better!
While I greatly advocate a thorough study of the Bible, you don’t even have to read further than the first chapter to see that human beings – both male and female – were created by God to be much more than mere animals. We were made in the image of Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! We were fearfully and wonderfully formed with complexity, value, and will!
Further, you don’t have to read beyond the second chapter to see that God designed marriage to be a sacred, unifying relationship between one man and one woman. He created Eve to satisfy the void that had been left open when He created Adam. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
After five days of creating and declaring His creation good, it was the first time God had said that something wasn’t good. There was something missing.
God could have created anything to complete His work. He could have created harems of women to satisfy what Adam lacked. But He didn’t. He created one woman, formed from a piece of the man. One woman designed to be just right for him.
Once the two were united God looked again and declared His creation complete. Now, like its Maker, it was good. It was the only time in history that a marriage was perfect. One man, one woman, and God.
Once sin entered the world things changed, but God’s standard never did. From the creation of marriage in Genesis through to Revelation, (When it will again be perfected as the church is eternally joined to Jesus Christ, our perfect bridegroom) our Heavenly Father demands mutual respect, unconditional love, and total fidelity from both bride and groom. And lest we wonder what He means by total fidelity, He clears it up for us in Matthew:
Matthew 5:27-28 – You have heard the commandment that says, “You must not commit adultery.” But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So if your eye – even your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
And if your hand – even your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Obviously, God takes our purity very seriously. He urges drastic action over complacency. I can only imagine what a disappointment it is to Him that we have made concession after concession to get to the state we’re in today.
What the Bible Says About Pornography and Self-Worth
Nonetheless, countless young women have believed the lie that they just aren’t enough. This fallen world has told us that men are going to lust after other women, and we have hung our heads in defeat and stepped aside to share the space in our husbands’ minds with a perversion.
All the while our Heavenly Father watches with sadness, longing to see us treated like the treasures He created. He tries to show us through His Word how He sees us, hoping that if we can see ourselves through His eyes, perhaps we’ll have the courage to stand against the sin of pornography, which so violates these truths.
Shouldn’t we at least listen to what He has to say? Let’s look together at a few verses with open minds. Let’s try to catch a glimpse of ourselves from His perfect perspective and understand what the Bible says about pornography based on these truths.
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
Deuteronomy 7:6 – For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.
Zephaniah 3:17 – For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
In 1 Peter we’re told that believers have been grafted into the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people. When that happened, we became heirs to all His past promises to His people. He chose us out of all the people in the world to be His Own special treasure!
Have you ever thought of yourself as God’s own special treasure? If you’re a believer, that’s exactly what you are and the Bible says He takes delight in you and rejoices over you!
Isaiah 43:4 – Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Romans 8:32 – What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?
Because you are precious to Him, God traded the life of His own precious Son for yours. Because He loves you!
So if He loves you so much that He didn’t even spare His Son to save you, do you think it’s okay with Him when anyone treats you as anything less? Do you think He is okay with the idea that we’re not enough to satisfy His design for marriage?
Friends, if the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies says we’re enough, if He says we are of great value and He treasures us, you better believe it bothers Him if a mere mortal decides to treat us as anything less!
What the Bible Says About Pornography and Marriage
In Malachi, the Lord addresses the men of Israel, who have done the very thing we’ve just discussed. They have compromised His standard for marriage and disrespected their wives. Later, in 1 Peter, the Lord again addresses the issue. He makes clear His distaste for men who don’t honor their wives as they deserve.
Malachi 2:14-15 – You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
1 Peter 3:7 – In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
Here’s the thing, God makes his standard clear and has the expectation of obedience. Marriage is precious to Him, and a godly wife is a treasure He doesn’t hand out to just anyone. When He gifts a man with such a rich jewel His expectation is that she be cherished.
Proverbs – 19:14 – Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife.
Proverbs 31:10 & 30-31 – Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies… Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise…
Proverbs 5:15-20 – Drink water from your own well – share your love only with your wife… Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman…
Hebrews 13:4 – Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
God doesn’t only give a standard for men though, he tells women to do something too. In Ephesians, He tells husbands to sacrificially love and care for (cherish) their wives, and He tells wives to respect their husbands.
Ephesians 5:28-33 – In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church…
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Respect, when defined as a verb, means to hold in esteem (favorable opinion or judgement) or honor (honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions). So in other words, if we are respecting our husbands, as the Bible commands us to, we are holding them to a high standard because we view them as worthy of that standard. To accept a compromise when it comes to sin is to disrespect them.
The Lord does not waver in His demand that we honor the purity of the marriage bed. He makes it clear that the standard of purity includes lustful thoughts, or looking with lust upon another. Pornography falls, without question, into that category. So, we can conclude that, according to the Bible, to acknowledge the use of pornography as anything less than a sin is to disrespect our husbands, which is sin.
Don’t Ever Settle for Less Than Obedience to God
Friend, if you are a God-follower, it is imperative that you learn to see things the way He sees them! If you’ve been restored to Him in salvation, you have the Holy Spirit of the Living God residing in your heart! You’re not just created in His image (which is no small thing) but you are also united to Him! I hope and pray you can see how very precious that makes you!
As His treasured child, don’t ever settle for anything less than His standard. Not for yourself, and not for the people you love. Don’t compromise. Be bold. Be courageous, and stand on the truth of Scripture. Sit down with your spouse today and have a talk about this issue. Open the Bible together and ask God to show you His truth and empower you to be obedient when it comes to what the Bible says about pornography and marriage.
Get help if you need it! Send me an email, and I’ll be happy to direct you to resources to help you. Pray, pray again, and pray some more. But whatever you do, don’t accept the lie that pornography is normal. Don’t EVER allow it into your bedroom! Respect yourself, respect your spouse, and above all else, respect the Lord!
True testimony, thanks
However, when you read the Old Testament, I can not recall any of God’s leaders who had but one wife. God even seems to be complicit in giving wives, 2 Sam 12:8. Since God is immutable and polygamy is unlawful, pornography gives my husband an outlet because I can not respond but 2-3 times a week. I know and he knows I know he sneaks a peek through out the week. You can say my man is a pig, but is your man sneakier than you think?
It makes me sad that you don’t believe your husband capable of the self-control needed to be faithful. If 2-3 times a week is what you are able to give him, then that is enough. I do not agree even a little bit with your evaluation of Scripture on this issue.