Parenting

Girl Porn

girlporn

Have you ever struggled with discontentment in your marriage?  I have.  My husband is amazing.  He’s gifted and generous and funny, an excellent provider and my best friend.  His big, geeky glasses and ability to quote movies better than anyone I know make my insides melt.  He loves me for exactly who I am and I feel total freedom to be myself around him.  I adore our crazy life.

That said, sure, I’ve totally struggled with hours or days or whole seasons of discontentment with my marriage.  Over the last few years, I’ve pinpointed one of the culprits that, for me, has beckoned my heart away from my husband.

Girl porn.

When you think of porn, what do you think of?  Those magazines on the bottom rack at the gas station check-out?  Those big-boobed pictures plastered on your Facebook account when someone hacks you?  The thousands and thousands of websites that threaten our men every day?  Boobs and thighs and ridiculous images that, if you’re like me, don’t seem enticing in the least.  Yep, most women just don’t understand the allure of pornography.  We pray protection for our men, but we ourselves aren’t susceptible to that kind of temptation.

Or are we?  I’ve become aware of a different kind of “porn” that gently takes me by the hand and leads me down a path away from my husband.  Romance.  Of course, romance can be beautiful and we all want a little more romance in our marriages.  Romance itself isn’t bad.  We watch the occasional boy-meets-girl movie, a sweet book about love conquering all, but…

When you find yourself reading book after book after book and entering a world of romantic love with which your husband, with the reality of jobs and mortgages and kids and dirty socks, can’t possibly compete…

When you get excited about the men of novels, the ones who will do anything for the girl, anything for her heart, for her safety, the ones who lay themselves down and serve the female lead in a way that you wish your husband would…

When you find yourself fantasizing about vampires or archers or Nordic demigods or whatever ideal makes your insides trembly…

When you watch romantic comedies and laugh and ooh and ahh as the perfect man pursues the perfect woman and they fall perfectly in love and he makes speeches about how amazing she is and you wish it was you…

When you read a perfectly harmless novel that just has that one scene that you’ll just skip over…but then you think you might have missed some important plot points, so you’ll go back and just skim it…but then you end up reading all kinds of words about thrusting and moaning and you get to the end of the chapter and think whoa, those were just words on a page, but I probably shouldn’t have read them…

Sometimes I wish I could have a brain enema to wash out all the crap that I’ve read or seen that’s poisoned my mind.

Last year, as I unplugged from my raging TV-addiction and God started breathing new life into my atrophied thinking, I became re-sensitized to the scenes and dialogues that I had let wash over me and wheedle discontentment into my marriage.  I didn’t notice the damage that had been done until I stepped back and saw the destructive comparisons that I had been making.

I’ve always been way more into the sci-fi and action genres than romance, but even in those movies I have to watch out for unintended Thor-love or a strange interest in a certain blue, half-vampire, half-Lycan.  My husband is the boom shaka laka of my life.  He can rock a deep-V like nobody’s business.  When he swivels to see all of his computer screens in his graphic design space module, he owns the room.  His fingers clickety clicking logos, websites, and die-cut origami annual reports into existence make me go “Oh baby, yeah, you’re the MAN.”  But how can even a man this scrumdiddleyumcious compete with the God of Thunder, who comes with his own personal trainer, thousands of years of legend, and Mjolnir?

If we feed ourselves a steady diet of unrealistic expectations met by men who don’t exist, what will that do to the expectations that we put on our husbands who are living in our real lives?  I would watch an innocuous romantic comedy or read a cute love story and find myself let down when my man walked into the room.  Oh, it’s you.  You need dinner and laundry and you didn’t spend your whole day thinking about ways to make me smile?  That’s what Imaginary Man did for Imaginary Woman in my Girl Porn book.

And if you’re not married but someday you’d like to be, then this applies to you, too.  How many single women are pumping their romance-spectations so high on movies and books that when a great guy comes along, he won’t make the cut?  We start this young, too.  As girls, we love to dream about perfect princes on white horses, then witty high school boys who burst into song and write us poetry, then vampires who climb into windows and stare lovingly at us without even thinking about ripping off our jammies.

As I’ve stepped back from romantic comedies and other people’s fake romantic lives, I’ve made an unexpected discovery: my husband is hotter.

Just like no woman wants a husband who’s junking up his mind with pictures of naked women, no man wants a wife who’s destroying a real marriage with escapism and fantasy.  With my mind clear and focused on the person in front of me, not the character in the book or movie, I begin to see him for who he is, not who he isn’t.  I begin to view his motivation differently.  I start to notice all the ways he serves me and our family.  I see the father that he is, the lover that he is, the protector that he is, the provider that he is.  I fall deeper in love, not with the idea of love or an ideal love, but with Alex, my Alex, my sweet, precious man who loves me with the sticking love, the staying love that lasts a lifetime.

Feeling convicted?  Or maybe a little pissy with me?  Me too, me too.  Maybe you just need a little tweak, or maybe you need some serious revamping of your Kindle or DVR.  Please hear me.  I love books and movies and am not calling for a boycott of all romantic story lines.  These books and movies aren’t necessarily the problem.  I’m concerned with my saturation level and how much my overindulgence affects my marriage.  I believe wholeheartedly in the work of the Holy Spirit, so I’m not going to tell you what you need to pull back on.  It’s different for everyone, so it’s between you and God.  Here are some questions to ask yourself.  Just have an honest conversation with God and see what happens.

1. What am I watching or reading that is drawing my heart away from my husband?

2. Are there any romantic fantasies that I let play out over and over in my head that could be hurting my marriage?

3. Do I compare my husband to anyone else, real or imaginary?

4. Would I rather spend time with my husband, or watch/read a romantic comedy/book about someone else’s man?

5. Do I watch or read the same movie or book again and again?

6. Do I feel a sense of loss when the story ends and I return to my actual life?

7. Do I need to cut back on the number of romantic books or movies that I’m consuming? (I count “thriller” books that are about murder and dead people, but also contain those scenes with the thrusting and moaning.)

8. Are there some books/movies that I need to get rid of altogether?

9. Are there some authors that I need to avoid completely?

10. Do I trust God to meet my need for love and emotional connection, even if my husband doesn’t right now?

11. Am I undermining intimacy with my husband by filling my heart with unattainable ideals?

12. How can I surrender those areas to God and move toward my husband, not away?

13. What are some ways that I can encourage my husband as the man that he IS, not the man I wish he was?

Lord, You are holy and sovereign and worthy of all praise.  You gave us the gift of marriage.  Thank You for my marriage.  Thank You for my husband, for all of his strengths and for all of his weaknesses.  Thank You for your grace raining down on me and thank You for giving me the strength to give my husband grace.  Lord, please protect him from the Enemy’s attacks.  Protect him from the lure of pornography.  And God, protect me, too, from the more socially “acceptable” forms of girl porn, the seemingly innocent books and movies that entice my affection away from the man that You gave me.  Forgive me for the ways that I have dishonored him and You.  Thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for Your grace.  I place my marriage and my needs and my desires into Your loving and capable hands.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”  

Romans 12:2

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