A few days ago, someone sent me this. It’s a blog post, by a woman named Katelyn Carmen on Family Share, titled ’5 ways you are unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage.’ It provides some great advice and insights for women, so naturally it provoked a lot of outrage from the various camps of the Perpetually Offended, mostly because Katelyn dared suggest that wives shouldn’t spend too much money or constantly cop attitudes with their husbands.
Inspired by her terribly ‘hateful’ and ‘judgmental’ piece, I decided to write one for the fellas. Not because her post needs to be balanced out or made ‘fair’ by bringing the guys into it, but just because it made me think of some things we husbands ought to consider. I won’t bother with a ‘this could apply to women, too’ disclaimer, because if you can’t figure out that such things are always implied, I don’t know what to do with you.
Anyway, here are my own ideas for four ways husbands might be hurting their wives and killing their marriages (I’m doing four rather than five only because I’m long winded and it takes me 6,000 words to get through just one point, so buckle in):
There probably isn’t a more efficient way to make your wife feel betrayed, used, and violated than picking up a porn habit. Obviously adultery would also accomplish all of those things, but porn is adultery, so I’m just repeating myself. Porn is poison. There’s nothing harmless about it. Nothing innocent. Nothing fun. It’s prostitution by proxy. Speaking of which, I’ve always wondered why we draw a distinction between a prostitute and a porn star. The former is paid to have sex, the latter is paid to have sex. The only difference is who pays and how much. Same can be said for the Johns. A guy watching porn is paying to be sexually gratified by a (probably abused and drug addicted) young woman. Whether he pays through a subscription or pays just by clicking on the website and helping to drive revenue, he pays. The man with the hooker in the Motel 6 is also paying to be sexually gratified, but in a more direct manner. In some ways, you might say that the prostitute and the John are at least honest about what they’re doing. The porn star and the porn viewer hide behind screens and in front of cameras, but it’s all the same.
There are a lot of reason to hate pornography, but one of the reasons certainly has something to do with how delusional it makes us. Many married guys insist there’s nothing wrong with it, but I doubt they’d say there’s nothing wrong with sitting in the same room as a woman and watching her have sex. They might go to strip clubs, but they’d probably admit that it’s not a place a married men should be going, either. And whether they do it or not, they’d likely admit that they shouldn’t be sexting or flirting with other women. Yet spending hours viewing graphic sex on their laptop is substantively different from all of these things.. how? Because it’s a fantasy? No it isn’t. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s physically happening. The act is facilitated by modems and internet connections, but it’s happening.
This brings up a whole new conversation, I suppose. The experience of watching something on TV or doing something on the computer is so passive and effortless that we think it doesn’t ‘count.’ Imagine the cyber troll who types the most vicious and hateful things in the YouTube comment section, but would never dream of breathing a word of any of it to anyone in ‘real life.’ He thinks, perhaps subconsciously, that the internet is a moral no-man’s land. He rationalizes that what he does and says there won’t impact people, including himself, the same way it would in three dimensions. There’s no basis for this rationalization. It makes no sense, yet we all fool ourselves into thinking it, for one reason or another. Still, despite the lies we tell ourselves, a woman who discovers porn on her husband’s computer will feel just like a woman who finds out about her husband’s affair. And that feeling will only be made worse by the fact that her husband will claim it’s ‘no big deal,’ and much of society will echo those sentiments.
This says nothing of what porn does to us as men. It becomes an addiction just like any other. It lessens us. It pulls us away from our families, away from our wives, away from God. It makes us liars and hypocrites. I think any man’s porn compulsion comes wrapped in a thick layer of guilt, but that must especially be the case for men with daughters. It might be a cliche to say ‘that’s somebody’s daughter’ but she is somebody’s daughter, and that does mean something. I cringe particularly when I think of older fathers who look at porn involving women the same age as their own children. It’s perverse and disgusting. These men are not bad people, but they are doing a bad thing — a bad thing that, to make matters worse, has been dressed up as innocent and playful.
It’s definitely not an easy time to be a virtuous man. Everywhere we look there are words and images trying to grab our attention and send us into a spiral of lust and sexual greed. You really can’t even scroll down a Facebook newsfeed anymore without seeing blatant or borderline pornography. The entire world, it seems, is out to exploit our weaknesses. It’s easy to give in, but we have to fight it. We owe ourselves that much, and more importantly we owe our wives. Porn is adultery. Porn will wreck your marriage, guaranteed.