What women need men to know about pornography…

1. It hurts us.
More than you will ever know. More than we can articulate.

2. It IS about us.
I’m not sure what twisted part of your male psyche allows you to think it isn’t about us, and maybe for you that’s true, but we won’t be convinced. You looking in lust at another woman, is very offensive to us, and we DO take it personally.

3. 8. We know its everywhere.
That’s not an excuse. We realize this makes it harder to not be assaulted by the images, but love transcends temptation… Or it should. True love would.

4. We don’t feel like we can measure up.
When we see what you look at, we see our bodies and know they aren’t the same, they don’t measure up. We can’t be airbrushed. Our stretch marks should speak louder and look sexier than their tramp stamps.

5. We don’t want to be a replacement.
You see, we aren’t sure you see us at all. We aren’t sure that when we are lying there, exposing our bodies and souls to you and longing to be cherished, you aren’t thinking of someone perkier, tanner, skinnier, or more voluptuous… Someone you’ll never meet.

6. It’s unfair.
Nothing about it is, but – We are faulted for every perceived flirtation, every look we give, and every appreciative glance in our direction, but you can spend hours ogling women in a world where no one sees, no one judges, and no one can point you out.

7. It’s adultery.
You can gloss over it. You can tell yourself no one is harmed by it, but the truth is, you are harmed, your marriage is harmed and your children will reap the consequences.

8. We aren’t just a hole.
You can’t use our bodies to fulfill your fantasies. We have a heart and a soul, and we have a desire for love that isn’t made up of the faces and bodies of strangers.

9. You remind us of our past predators.
Our past misuse, abuse, and assault come roaring back into our lives, and the lies that we are something to be used and discarded, unworthy of love and affection, and easily replaced become truths to our hurt hearts, which means Daddy God has to reach deeper to heal those places.

10. It damages our trust in you.
If you will do this in secret, what and who will it take to entice you for good? Who will you leave us for? And when, if ever, will we be enough? How do you see our friends, our sisters, our daughters? Can we trust you to stay at home alone with them? Will you take advantage of them if we aren’t there to be used?

11. You cease to be our hero.
This is a hard reality. You cease to be the Prince Charming we believed you to be, you no longer seem like a knight in shining armor, and you no longer resemble our protector. This is as painful to us as it is for you to hear it.

12. Pornography to us is more than a hobby, a simple attraction, an appreciation of sexuality. It is a blaring, painful, aggressive cancer that eats at all we believe and hoped for in love. And, to many of us, it is the nail in a fragile coffin of insecurities.

13. We can forgive you.
Forgiveness is easier to do than forgetting… So holding a grudge or keeping a record of wrongs isn’t our way of rubbing it in, it is the struggle we face to forget we’ve been hurt.

*This list is based on multiple conversations I’ve had with women who face this daily in their relationships, ranging from men who “casually indulge” in pornography to those that are addicted. Some of these couples are walking in victory because of the grace of Jesus Christ and a lot of hard work, but many women and men still seek healing from the thoughts listed above along with serial mistrust and destructive addiction. Pray for them.

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Another Look at Proverbs Thirty One

From the time I was pronounced as a bride, I have been admonished to live up to the character of this woman. Not that that is a bad thing, but it can be quite intimidating and daunting a task, even for a woman that feels guilty for resting. One of the most peaceful words of advice I have ever received regarding this woman, and by a mother of 4 and consummate wife, were these: “It’s important for us to remember, that this was over her lifetime, not in the course of one day.” Sighhhh. Can I tell you what a relief that was to a mom that was stressed to the limit trying to make every day look like a “successful” day as it lined up with that woman!

 

Then, yesterday, I was reading the Proverb again. Try as I might it always convicts me to be better, to do more, to give more, to love deeper. Only, as I was soaking in the gargantuan challenges, God whispered to my ear, “This is a look at My Bride.”

 

So I read it again, this time not as woman failing, but as the Bride of Christ striving to make my Groom proud. I challenge you to read it and do the same:

 

 

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
 She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

 

I’ve heard a lot of attitude about service lately. Some of us are of the mind that it doesn’t matter, that it shouldn’t drive our actions, and the smallest offering we give should be enough. We don’t want to be bothered in our selfishness to actually “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And, we don’t want to be treated as we treat others. I challenge us to think past ourselves. To see our “husband at the gates” as our Father in Heaven, our eternal Groom. Is He bragging on us? Is He, like with His beloved Job, able to point us out and say, “Look at him/her! Look how well they love me, how obedient they are to reach out to others, to serve with their whole hearts.”

 

Can He trust us with the work? Can He be assured that we are taking care of the affairs of the home while He is away? Do our actions and words prove that He is a good Father, a loving God, a generous and gracious Groom? I pray so. And, that is what I am living my life for…not to gain respect or admiration or the praise of others, but so that He is praised and respected and worshipped for the amazing One that He is!

 

I will do my best to live up to the character of the Proverbs 31 woman as a wife and mother, but I will give my all to be the Bride of Christ that is worth far more eternally than the accolades of any human being, because what I do in this life needs to mean more, do more, and inspire more to find the Groom that so desperately loves us all. My effort is not to gain His love, I have that without trying, my desire is to kneel at His feet with arms full of crowns that I did not attain on my own and hear the words, “Well done….enter your rest.”

The GOOD, the BAD, and the indecisive…

I was talking with a friend the other day, and she was sharing about a friend of hers and her parenting techniques. Honestly, I have to keep from rolling my eyes in the midst of these conversations, but then she said, “Everything comes back to this, ‘Are you making GOOD choices?’” Huh. She had me. I don’t know that I have ever asked my children that, and when you think about the empowerment that acknowledging the significance of choice gives, it really is amazing! Because we discount it, push it aside, ignore it – UNTIL we make a BAD choice.

Because I’m a daydreamer, I faded off and I began to imagine the significance that would make as they grew up, as they started dating (or chose not to), as they developed friendships, as they went off to college, and then as they chose a mate. Then I stopped. What a lovely picture! Imagine good choices in marriage – of choosing to forgive instead of holding a grudge, of choosing not to be unfaithful when your needs aren’t being met, of choosing to act in love instead of anger!

I had the opportunity to review a new book by Gary and Norma Smalley called “Four Days to a Forever Marriage: Choosing Love or Anger.” This is the exact premise of that book. As spouses we are so content to just be, to deal, to settle with what we have, we don’t want to choose to make it better. We use excuses like “I’m too tired to work on my marriage, I’m just trying to get through the day.” Or, “I read a book once, it didn’t help so I haven’t bought another one.” Or, “I know the Bible says to submit to your husband and stuff, but look at our culture, it’s just not the same.” I know these excuses pretty well; I’ve used them. But this book takes you through the day in the life of a couple, their struggles and their fears and in four short days you gain the understanding that it’s all about the choices we make…and making GOOD choices.

If you think about it, it’s not doing anything more but paying attention to what we are doing! The Smalleys walk you through those daily choices and questions, and you are forced to take a good look at the bad choices we unconsciously make. Like a good friend says, “Not to choose is still a choice.”

I can choose not to talk to Brian when I am angry, but what am I communicating in my body language, in my actions? Most likely I am fighting him without saying a word, and he feels it. A GOOD choice is swallowing my resentment and saying, “I am ticked, but I’m willing to share with you why I feel this way in the hopes that we can make it right.”

I can choose to put others first. The Smalleys point out that we often do this without realizing. Anyone in ministry knows that this is a hard one. I would never tell Brian, ”I love strangers more than I love you.” But, when I consistently choose to reschedule dates or leave after the kids go to bed, to mentor and to minister others, subconsciously that is what I am saying. A GOOD choice would be to put firm lines or boundaries between ministering to others and time with my spouse that says, “You are important enough to me that I am making sure that we have time together.” That speaks love and respect.

Lord knows, I’m not perfect. My marriage isn’t perfect, and I’m not gonna even attempt to write a book about how imperfect a parent I am, and chances are GOOD that my home-life and relationships look like any of yours. But, this book begged me to ask the question, the same question that wise and learned parent asks of her kids every day, the question that I often hear from Daddy God, “Are you making GOOD choices?” If I’m one hundred percent truthful (which I try to be) I answer, “Not usually,” but it’s not too late to start. And my first GOOD choice was investing 4 days into reading that book. (Did you notice that it’s only for 4 days? I’ve done no carb diets for longer with less long-lasting effects!) I only wish it had been around BEFORE I got married, twelve years in it might have saved us some pain from making some really BAD choices.