SALT LAKE CITY — While our first year of marriage was as sweet and sappy as any other, my husband and I faced plenty of challenges — including three miscarriages. We felt we had waited so long to find each other, and now had the gift of an amazing marriage. Yet with one miscarriage after another, we longed to be parents and still felt a stewardship of this gift of family we had received.
This led us to two decisions. One was to become foster parents now, so that we could begin to fulfill the calling to be parents and support families through friendship, ministry and example. The other was to seek out a specialist to find out the cause of the miscarriages and identify any available treatment options.
We did not know that both of these experiences, in the context of truly trying to choose the right, without even doing anything wrong, would directly expose us both to pornography. We were shocked to see that some of the homes of families we began working with had pornography, even out in the living room in front of the children. When we had our appointments at the fertility center for some testing, we were surprised that pornography was an assumed and acceptable part of the process.
"We were shocked to see that some of the homes of families we began working with had pornography, even out in the living room in front of the children. When we had our appointments at the fertility center for some testing, we were surprised that pornography was an assumed and acceptable part of the process."
We both have encountered pornography in the work setting, but this family exposure was a new experience for us. My work as a therapist has brought up pornography as a clinical issue, and I have had to help with the treatments we usually recommend: addiction recovery, combating pornography, and Candeo. My husband's work writing musicals has meant setting boundaries in regards to sexually explicit language, content and topics that are not always popular in the secular world, even when that resulted in the loss of projects or limited venues.
However, in all of these experiences, we were already prepared before we encountered each scenario. We had already made covenants with God and each other regarding our purity and fidelity. We had already together agreed on our standards, including the game plan of what to do when (not if) we encounter pornography. We knew not to seek it out, but we also were prepared what to do when it found us.
Some things we do are preventative, like filters on our phone and computers (K-9 works for us). We also have schedule and time limits on the Internet, even for neutral or work activities. We follow prophetic counsel to share our passwords, use computers only in public times and places in the house, and interact appropriately and positively with others publicly online (no private emotional attachments or inappropriate conversations).
"Some things we do are preventative, like filters on our phone and computers. We also have schedule and time limits on the Internet, even for neutral or work activities."
Some things we do are proactive by default. We so much enjoy active family outings, like gatherings and hikes and gardening and other adventures, that we don’t have time to waste on the time-sucking side of technology. We also spend our free time consciously building our relationship with ballroom dancing, nature photography dates, and community theater and music events. Any personal free time is devoted to our individual writing projects, so much that we do not even have television.
Some things are protective of our relationship dynamics beyond just the harm that could come from such danger. We have already made the agreement to talk together immediately when (not if) one of us were exposed to pornography, no matter what. It is so much easier to seek support, debrief and behave ourselves wisely as a team when something first comes up than later over time when there are walls of divisive secrets. We understand we have been brought together to learn together, to progress together and to overcome together.
United with each other by open communication and deep friendship built through prayer and study and prophetic counsel, this preparation has protected us. When confronted with pornography as an assumed and acceptable part of the medical process, we could politely decline without even a curious glance.
When mentoring others, we can testify of the dangers and impact of such addictive behaviors while modeling the blessings of freedom and peace and harmony that come from simple obedience to God and faithfulness to each other.
Emily Christensen, Ph.D., lives with her husband in Oklahoma. Her Ph.D. is in marriage and family therapy, and she is pursuing a second degree in Hebrew & Jewish studies. Her blog is www.housewifeclass.com, and her email is email@example.com.