The other night my husband and I did a Pre-Marriage Inventory Session with an engaged couple. We absolutely love working with engaged couples and helping them prepare to for the beautiful Sacrament of Matrimony. We typically find that the couples are open to this process and really do want to get the tools that will help them to move into a successful marriage. This particular couple was more of a “challenge” as they were open, but yet very set in their ways. This was our second session with them, so a relationship had been established and we knew that we had some very difficult conversations to have. There was one conversation that we had that has not left my mind. I’ve been playing the conversation over and over wishing that it could have gone differently. The statement we were discussing was, “I believe pornography is harmful to marriage!”
The future wife agreed, and the future husband disagreed with the statement. Thus, began our conversation.
The wife began by sharing how hurt she is when he looks at pornography and sadly, he was so callous to her words. He responded by saying, “That is just who I am and what I do…I have needs! Dan and I gripped each other’s hands and knew we were in for a battle. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the conversation, but in the end, the future wife started to defend his actions. She stated, “He has a high sex drive, and I cannot meet it!” She essentially gave him permission to view pornography and my heart broke.
We shared with them all the statistics and brought up the beauty of the marital embrace, but nothing we shared seemed to affect his heart. We were not going to sway him to even think of the possibility that pornography could be detrimental to their future marriage. (For this particular couple we placed the ball back into the hands of our parish priest who was responsible for preparing them for marriage.)
As I prayed for this couple later that evening, I remember words I had heard from Matt Frad, “Don’t rip sex out of its obvious relational context, turn it into a commodity, and then expect individuals, families, and society to flourish!” What has our world done to the beautiful gift of sexuality given to us by God? Why has society let Satan win and what can we do to stop him?
Satan wants us to believe that pornography is “normal!” He wants us to mainstream it into our lives and our marriages. He has fed us a lie that it can even help our marriages by spicing up our intimacy. The truth, however, is that pornography is evil no matter the circumstances. It is always about lust and never about love! Marriage is meant to be self-giving and never self-serving and when pornography is brought into marriage it cheapens the Sacrament and makes it selfish. Pornography always makes us lustful and lust in marriage turns our love into moments of self-gratification instead of self-sacrifice.
I wanted that couple to know and believe that the Sacrament of marriage would fulfill their lives more than any false intimacy on a computer or a phone. I wanted that couple to trust that if they let Jesus bless them that the intimacy, they would receive would give them far more than some cheap thrills, watching fake people pretend to be falsely intimate with one another. My heart hurt for them knowing that pornography is guaranteed to make their marriage more difficult and less beautiful than God intends it to be…but our words could not convince them because Satan had already gotten his grips on them.
Friends, we have a mission…A mission to spread the beauty and pure joy of a good, holy marriages. I beg you to join me in this mission and by our actions and our prayers help St. Michael win this fight against pornography. Remember the words of our beloved St. John Paul the Great, “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial!” Help us deny ourselves in order that marriages wins this war!