Sorry, Marriage Doesn’t Make It Go Away
Some of the language in this note will be straightforward at times. Not trying to be graphic or offensive. Just don’t want any questions or confusion regarding my point.
“Pastor, I thought that once I got married the lust would go away. But it didn’t. Not really. I still masturbate at times. I even still look at porn sometimes. What’s wrong with me?”
I wish I could tell you that the question is uncommon. But it’s not. During my 2 decades as a pastor I was frequently asked that question. Now, you have to understand that these were good men. I wasn’t sitting across the desk from the dregs of society. I wasn’t in the midst of conducting prison ministry. In fact, on numerous occasions these were fellow ministers. That’s right, you read that last sentence correctly… fellow ministers. Like I said, these were good men, men who honestly loved their wives, their families, and God. But yet, in spite of all their good intentions, they were still struggling in this one critical area.
At some point in their lives they had come face-to-face with every man’s battle, the struggle against lust. Many had wrestled for years in the private recesses of their own hearts. (It’s really tragic that so many share the same struggle but so few are willing to be open and honest about the problem.) As their adolescence gave way to manhood they began to desperately embrace the hope that marriage would be a cure-all for their problem. Surely, the opportunity to have sex within the confines of a godly marriage would put to death the dragon that dwelt within. But as the bliss of the honeymoon began to wear thin they had quickly realized that their old opponent had not been vanquished. Lust had just been waiting for an opportune time.
As I reflect back upon those all too familiar conversations, I am reminded of a number of things. I remember the tears. I remember the anguish on their faces. I recall my own hurt as I watched my brothers struggle to find the words to voice their confession and confusion. Most men regard their marriages in very high esteem. Of that I am convinced. For a man, finding the strength and courage to admit their own struggles with lust is never easy. But most of all I remember that moment when the burden of guilt and shame was released, when through their own transparency and vulnerability they realized that they were not alone in their struggles, that there was indeed a very real hope for both forgiveness and lasting freedom.
If you are reading this right now and shaking your head in agreement, I hope you fully understood that last sentence. There is forgiveness. And you can know lasting freedom. Lust, masturbation, and porn do not have to control your life. God did not design or intend for His children to be victims or slaves to sin. I am sure that by now you have fully realized what so many men have also come to discover. Sex within the confines of a godly marriage is a wonderful experience. But it will never solve the problem of lust. Many are the men who lost their marriages because the issue of sexual lust was never fully addressed. Don’t let your name be added to that list.
The answer begins with honesty. Be willing to admit your own struggle. You are not alone in your problem. You are neither unique or a freak. Many, many men have wrestled with this same issue. Confess it to God (1 John 1:9). He understands and longs to forgive and restore you. Confess your struggle to a trusted friend or mentor. Men who link arms in the fight against lust are the ones who generally win the battle. In addition to honesty, you also need to be intentional. You have to make some real decisions about safeguards and boundaries. My advice has been consistent for over 2 decades. Get rid of anything and everything that opens the doorway to temptation. I know. Sounds drastic, maybe even overly dramatic. But which would you rather lose? Your wife? Or those few trinkets and treasures that are really trivial in comparison? Be intentional and do whatever it takes to protect your marriage.
I could say more but time and space don’t permit. Let me encourage you to check out the “Lessons On Purity” series that I wrote last year (the link is at the bottom of this blog). You will find some very valuable information in that collection of blogs. But most importantly, let me encourage you to not give up. Don’t quit. Don’t throw in the towel. No, marriage doesn’t make it go away. But it doesn’t have to make your marriage go away. Purity is possible. And victory is His promise.
Wanting to read more on this topic? Here is the link for some more devotionals about purity: