The next few posts will be spent unraveling the depth that is sexual sin and its far reaching consequences. Common questions I hear from men struggling to reconcile with their wives will be tackled such as:

~ I stopped watching porn, what else does she want from me?

~ I said I was sorry, what else does she want from me?

~ Things are worse since I stopped watching porn. Why hasn’t she forgiven me?

~ Why is she trying to change who I am and why is who I am not good enough?

Defining the real problem….

When a wife finds out her husband has a secret life filled with sexual sin, one of her first responses is to want to remove any and all access points for porn and block all virtual ways that support adultery. A noble and justified reaction. As the dust settles and she gains her bearings on her new reality though, she begins to realize that porn is only one of many problems in her marriage.

The truth is, to save a marriage rocked to its core by pornography, you have to stop watching porn. The other truth is that the act of not watching pornography alone won’t save your marriage or help heal her broken heart.

The reason no longer watching porn won’t save the marriage decimated by pornography is that pornography isn’t actually the problem. That is a hard sentence for me to write and may sound like insanity if you knew me personally. I am the one who works for a company built on guarding integrity online, has ‘porn kills love’ stickers on her laptop and t-shirts bearing the same slogan, the one who on a daily basis utters the words “I hate porn” to colleagues and friends. I hate porn. I really do. Porn isn’t the problem though, sin is. Porn is nothing more than a very destructive display of a condition of the heart; sin. The sin of adultery, (a.k.a. pornography) brings a whole army of helper sins right along with it. Most wives of those caught up in pornography will tell you it is the other effects that come along with porn that hurt the most. The lying, the manipulating, the selfishness, the rage, the hard heartedness, the dismissal of our pain, the lack of humility and ownership; those are really the things that cut us to the bone.

King David’s story in 2 Samuel shows just how far the effects of sexual sin reach. David didn’t just take another mans’ wife and then have that man killed. The betrayals, lies, manipulations, and all around evil doings had a much greater reach, all to hide one sin. David was only in a position to sexually sin with Bathsheba because of whatever sin it was that kept him from doing his job as King, being in the battlefield where Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband was. King David originally called to inquire about Bathsheba’s marital status, presumably with the intent of seeing if he could have her as a wife. When he learned she had a husband, he took her anyway. Not as a wife but purely for his own sexual desire. He betrayed one of his own men, Uriah, and he defiled Bathsheba. With his first glimpses at the consequences when she became pregnant, he did what us humans are so good at doing, he made it worse by not taking responsibility and owning up to his sin. Covering sin with sin, hoping it all just goes away.

Much like the addict who watches porn and when his wife asks why they are not having sex anymore, he tries to cover up his sin by saying she has gained weight. Or like the wife who finds a receipt from a jewelry store and when she questions her husband, instead of repenting of his affair, blames her for ruining his surprise and storms out of the house, appearing to be deeply wounded that he would be accused of an affair when he really goes to buy his wife a necklace to cover the sin of the earrings he bought his girlfriend. Sin on top of sin.

David plotted to bring Uriah home, assuming Uriah would have sexual relations with his wife Bathsheba and the little problem of David’s child growing in another mans’ wife’s’ body would be solved. Uriah proved he was a great man of honor and did what Kind David himself couldn’t do, Uriah remained loyal and dedicated to his King and his mission and instead of going home to the comforts of his wife, slept on the footsteps of the King’s home. He humbled himself and honored what he was fighting for, foiling David’s plans to cover David’s sin. The volumes of manipulation and humiliation that David had intended to do here could their own post. He was content to fool Uriah into raising Bathsheba’s son as his own, knowing full well it was his child. Had the story played out as David had planned, there would have been maybe decades of betrayals and manipulations here.

Much like the husband who develops a new habit of waking up at 5 in the morning and spends years guilting his wife for not joining him until she finally really starts to believe a good wife would wake up at 5 a.m. Only to find out that he started this habit when he got his new girlfriend. Turns out he used that time to text the other woman and when she wasn’t available, that is when he would watch porn, safe from being caught. See how these sins are just piling up? Are you getting the feeling of just how deep this one act of betrayal and sexual sin go?

King David had betrayed, further abused his authority and deliberately put Uriah in a position to be killed. He may as well have murdered Uriah himself. He ordered Joab to put Uriah in a position to be killed, which had to have been an unwise military move to obtain the results and Uriah was in fact killed, along with other valiant men. Joab would have to live with the guilt of following King David’s order and causing the death of honorable men. He obeyed his King, that was his job but in doing so, a seasoned commander would know he had carried out the death sentence ordered by King David. Joab had to live with and account for his sin of shedding innocent blood but he would have never been in that position had his King’s heart been right with God.

Much like the wife who goes against her beliefs and appeases her husband’s complaints of her prudishness and begins watching porn with him. Or the wife who does things sexually that are not in her moral compass because she really wants to please her husband.

David tried to spin this horrible situation into making himself look like a noble and honorable man. He encouraged Joab in the loss of his men, and he married the poor widowed Bathsheba. His plot gets thicker and thicker as the sins just keep piling up. Countless stories are told by wives of husbands making grand gestures and acts of kindness and love, proving how wonderful they are when in reality those acts are nothing more than acts to cover their sexual sin and secret life. Pure, unadulterated smoke screens. The hypocrisy is astounding and cuts so deep to the wives.

Much like the addict who goes to meetings and screams his sobriety on the rooftops when the wife questions his extended time in the bathroom and he gets angry she is still accusing him when he has been sober a full 2 months (insert eye roll honestly). When in reality he has never been sober at all she finds out. The addict who gives up all technology and cries he must now be believed because look at how inconvenienced he is for her safety when in reality he has a secret burn phone stored in the garage he watches porn on.

The parallels to this story are really uncanny. With his marriage to Bathsheba, David thought he was golden. Luke 8:17 and Matthew 10:26 warn us of the truth though, the truth that was as true for David as it is for us, everything hidden will be brought to light.

You cannot hide your sin from your creator.

As David’s example shows us, sexual sin runs deeper than “just” the actual sexual sin. The consequences touch many areas of life and affect many people. The old lie that it isn’t hurting anyone if they don’t know is a lie. David had to have a change of heart. That really is the meat and bones of repentance, a change of heart that leads to changed actions. You cannot have one without the other in genuine repentance. Not just “not doing” that sin anymore but a life transformation that allows the healing that can only come from the cross change us. The reality is, as my Pastor put it, without fully grasping our depravity, we don’t know how glorious Jesus is.

Without seeing just how depraved sexual sin is, true freedom isn’t really found. Without genuine repentance, which is a way deeper process than just not watching porn, you are guaranteed to repeat the very behaviors that landed you here. Sobriety is good and noble but sobriety isn’t the cure for sexual addictions because sexual addictions are about so much more than compulsive sexual activities outside the marriage that your wife was excluded from. Not watching porn after inflicting betrayal trauma on your bride and expecting the marriage to be all better just because you no longer watch porn is akin to ripping open her flesh with a knife and as she hemorrhages, you put a band aid on it and stand back waiting for things to improve.

Not watching porn will not save your marriage because porn wasn’t the problem. Sin was the problem and repentance is the key to victory and a restored marriage. Anything less will result in failure, there is no way around it.

The next few posts we will dive into a deeper look at how genuine, Godly repentance does and displays itself in a man recovering from sexual sin.

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