Your men are blaming their wives for what is really their own issue—what can be done about it?

Every day, individuals, marriages, and families are being devoured—but it doesn’t have to stay that way—you can help stop it. | by The Conquer Series Team

In today’s sex-saturated culture, your parishioners and even your staff can easily become entangled in a web of destruction. Whether in a movie or a child’s television program, it’s easy to find content that is sexual in nature.

Today, teens are seeking out pornography to prepare themselves for intimate relationships. Couples are told that pornography will enhance their sexual experiences. The argument in favor of pornography is that the choice is personal, and no one is affected by an individual’s choices. Society has been primed to believe that this is normal and acceptable but such distorted views are harmful to individuals and destructive to the family. 

Being Led Astray

As leaders, we must first recognize that viewing pornography does have consequences. Repetitive behavior creates trails in the brain which lead to almost automatic responses. For example, have you ever found yourself opening the door of the fridge and not knowing why? Your brain is using a trail you’ve taught it, so you don’t have to think about it. This can be catastrophic with unhealthy behaviors surrounding pornography.

In short, pornography shapes a person’s brain and behaviors. Psychiatrist and certified master psychopharmacologist Dr. Tim Jennings explains, “It’s kind of like walking in a path through the field. You walk that path over and over again. It gets beaten down, and it’s easy to find that path, and it’s easy to go down that path or that trail. And in any type of behavior, whether it’s an addictive behavior or just a habit pattern, we will create trails in our brain that are just going to fire on an automatic sequence. And when we go to change behavior, we’ll be fighting against those old behaviors that are previously established.”

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With repetitive viewing of pornography, the brain gets so used to taking that path, individuals don’t realize they’re trapped until they’re unable to break free. They need help.

The Needs for Couples

Healing is needed for both members of a relationship, and both need support. For people who are married or in a committed relationship, they first have to acknowledge that their struggle has significantly impacted their partner. Their actions have opened the door for the enemy to begin speaking lies into their spouse’s life as well.

The viewing of pornography tells a wife that the husband isn’t happy with her in the bedroom and that she doesn’t live up to his desires.  She then begins to wonder why she is not enough and her self-esteem often plummets. This has the power to negatively impact her not only in the bedroom but her home life, her work life, and her relationship with God.

We have to keep in mind that people trapped in habitual pornography are not the only ones who have past baggage and wounds that they’ve allowed to steer the direction of their lives. Others around them may also be experiencing father or mother wounds, rejection, feelings of worthlessness, or may have endured some level of abuse. While one person is medicating the pain of life through viewing pornography, the other person in the relationship is having increased pain and torment because of those actions.

Often this causes a spouse to pull back from the pornographer, to isolate, and seek out unhealthy means of self-medicating. In some instances, spouses just give up entirely—no longer caring about their appearance or seeking a fulfilling life.

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For couples, they are in it together and there is no “I” in team. They have to be led into understanding the importance to pray for one another, advocate for one another, and believe in one another. One spouse cannot attack the other merely because their pain is shaped differently. For healing to take place, both need support.

The Negative Effect on the Family

Sexual sin causes pain and torment for the individual, for a couple, and also for children. Children pick up on cues and notice the rigidity, rather than love, between parents. With or without expressing it, children often worry about what is going to happen to them.

Children thrive in stability. Turmoil within the home creates doubt and uncertainty. The effects may be different for each child. Their reality and the adult’s perception of their reality may differ. Some of these effects may not be seen until years down the road.

With pornography addiction, the whole family is damaged. It’s important for children to be considered during the recovery process. Noticeable effects could include a decline in their grades, being angry, a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, or choosing isolation for themselves. At times, children can pick up the same behaviors that their parents exhibit. It’s likely that pornography has caused a parent to objectify the opposite gender so this same attitude might be seen in the child as well.

It’s also highly likely, and very common, that the child has found the secret stash or the porn sites viewed and has also started to spiral into addiction. Because they’ve seen their parents engage in this behavior, they may find it difficult to accept that what they are doing is wrong. Until someone stands up to break the cycle, these behaviors can continue from generation to generation.

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A child should not be excluded from the truth. It’s okay to tell kids that Mommy and Daddy are working through some things right now. Children should never be put in the middle or forced to choose between their parents, but continually provided with love, encouragement, and support. Each person needs the opportunity to heal. It’s best for a family to embark on the journey of healing together.

What To Do

  1. Realize that healing will take more than just prayer. As Christians, we can be lulled into believing that our initial prayer of salvation is all it will take for us to live a brand new life. Of course, we are a new creation in Christ and prayer is profoundly important, especially in recovery. But we have to recognize that just praying about a problem won’t always fix it. As men’s leader Ed Cole would say, “God is a miracle-worker, not a magician.”Overcoming a pornography habit needs constructive work and outside help. There’s a reason why step programs like those pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous have been so hugely successful over time.
  1. Follow the Bible’s direction to confess the sin. To be rid of sexual immorality, an individual will have to start by picking up the biggest weapon of all—the Bible. Then, they will have to confess to someone—whether it be a pastor, a prayer team member, a brother, or a trusted friend. They must admit to someone that they’ve been grappling in this area.
  2. Commit to a process to renew the mind. Old trails in the brain and mind have to be dug up and reset. This does not mean to say that a person has to work to earn God’s freely-given grace but that this is the outworking of salvation.For more than one million men caught in the pornography trap, their journey out started with the use of the Conquer Series.The Conquer Series is a powerful, biblically-based, cinematic study created to help men break free from pornography and sexual addiction. Each DVD features scientific research, proven principles and techniques, along with interviews from men who have been through the refining fire and came out on the other side. It’s unlike any other study. It does not solely deal with the issue of sexual sin but works to bring healing to the wounded soul.Churches have found the Conquer Series to be an effective and useful tool for their parishioners.
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  1. Do not isolate. You are mistaken to think people can try to wage war on the enemy in isolation and expect to win. James Craft, founder of the NOVUS Project and featured in the Conquer Series stated, “Isolation is the kiss of death. When you isolate, that’s when you medicate…even the Lone Ranger had a partner. You can’t be broken in one area of your life and not have it affect all the others.”After leading parishioners in a prayer of forgiveness, send them to a Conquer Group. Men in groups are there to come alongside the ones who are trapped to encourage them, pray for them, and hold them accountable to the choice that they’ve made to seek freedom. Then, with support all around them, they are in position to tackle their addiction.

Reclaiming Identity

A worker named Eric who helps people out of pornography addiction states, “During my work with single dads, I spoke with hundreds of men and many women. Pornography was a part of many of their lives. Whether it was before or after divorce, it was having a devastating effect in their thinking and was tearing them apart inside. The Conquer Series is the first and only program I’ve heard of that actually speaks to the problem and does not berate, belittle, or work out of false assumptions about the addiction and gives true, practical methods to come to an actual solution.”

Pastors and churches have found the Conquer Series helped to stop the devastation that devours individuals, marriages, and families. Pornography is in our society and our culture, but we don’t have to let it overcome us.

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