Mowing my yard is a bit of an escape. If you ask my neighbors they would probably say I should “escape” more often. But mowing does provide a weird sort of solitude for me. It’s likely related to how the mower manages to drown out the noise of life for a little while. Couple that with the physicality of doing yard work and it’s a beautiful distraction.
“Should I stay or should I go…?” Those are the words to a catchy 80’s song but it’s also the question many women (and some men) grapple with in the wake of learning of their significant others secret forays with porn. In fact I was recently asked this very question by a young adult who decided it would be better to end a relationship after finding out about her boyfriend’s problem. Reflecting on things, she realized she was dealing with a lingering sense of guilt and doubt and wondered if she should have given him a chance. Based on what she told me I assured her that she made a wise decision.
So how do you know if it’s time to call it quits and move on? Do you hang around long enough for him to “wake up” while you endure an endless cycle of his white-knuckle resistance and inevitable relapses?
Here are 7 major signs that can help you know if you should stay or go:
#1 – He’s SORRY read 2 Cor. 7:10 (NLT) this sorrow is more than just an apology. It’s a depth of sorrow that indicates a true awareness of the impact of our sin. Addicts often live with the lie that their acting out only harms them. Real sorrow rejects that excuse and realizes the broader impact.
#2 – He’s REPENTANT read Matt. 3:8 (NLT) John the baptist skewers the religious leaders by implying that their religious vigor isn’t a real indicator that their lives have changed. Instead he says, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” If your guy’s change is the real deal you’ll see it not just in words but in action.
#3 – He’s BROKEN this involves a deep remorse, regret, and an utter disgust at one’s sin. This will be visible in his face, tone, and language he speaks with. It’s marked by a deep sense of how his sin is an offense to God. The best example is king David in 2 Sam. “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’”
#4 – He’s seeking RECONCILIATION 2 Cor. 2:5-10 (NIV) Porn has likely fractured other relationships so this means he’s intentionally pursuing the restoration of those relationships. Calling friends up and apologizing, and demonstrating authenticity and transparency are evidence he’s serious about this.
#5 – He’s CONSISTENT Luke 16:13 (ESV) if he’s on-again, off-again with intentional practices to get better then there’s a good chance he’s not serious. When he adjusts his schedule, prioritizes his group, counseling sessions, and dates with you then you know he’s a keeper!
#6 – He’s RESILIENT Phil. 3:14 (NIV) recovery will come with some relapses, missteps, and set-backs. But your guy shouldn’t stay down long. If he wants to be with you he’ll get back up and jump back into his recovery plan. No whining, excuses, or complaining just get back up!
#7 – He’s HUMBLE Phil. 2:3 (ESV) Humility is a powerful antidote. That’s why a guy will find himself in a place of deep brokenness (see #3). Humility literally means, “lowliness of mind”. If your guy is thinking less of himself and serving you and others more then plan on putting your trust in him once again.
I’m certain I haven’t covered every positive sign but theses are pretty major indicators. Pray for clarity, discernment and decide.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
My name is Matt and I’m part of the team at Ever Accountable. We offer tools designed to help people live above pornography and walk in the light through accountability.
Today I’m very excited to share some thoughts with you on the importance of accountability when it comes to winning the fight against pornography. Many thanks to pastor Bernie Anderson for letting speak to you from his blog – so let’s get into it!
When it comes to pornography, there’s one simple fact to be aware of: it’s a deed done in darkness. And why is it done in darkness? Because that’s where it thrives. If we find ourselves cornered and alone, that’s when pornography tries to tighten its grip. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us that two are better than one and because they can help each other up; naturally, our enemy seeks to tempt us when we are by ourselves, can’t be seen, and are therefore at our weakest.
So that’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: the Bible has an answer for how to have victory!
Ephesians 5:11 advises us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” In the original Hebrew language, the word reprove can be found to mean, “call to account” or “demand an explanation”. So, in other words – to be accountable for our actions! That, my friends, is a powerful key to success in the fight against pornography.
You see, accountability allows us to work together to overcome the temptation to view pornography. By sharing our deeds with a trusted friend, we are exposing them to the light and robbing pornography of its power over us. In this open relationship built upon a foundation of trust, we no longer enable the temptation of pornography to back us into a corner by ourselves. Without darkness and in an environment brightened by the light, pornography simply cannot survive.
The Bible counsels us to not go it alone and when it comes to taking advice, the Bible is one source I’ve learned not to question! So how do we incorporate accountability into our lives? First, we need to find at least one person we trust to who can serve as our accountability partner. This is the person we will open up to and look to for support. From there, we need to make sure that we leverage the tools available to us to make sure we are guarding the avenues to our soul – our eyes and ears.
One such tool is our Ever Accountable Android application for phones and tablets. Ever Accountable monitors internet browsing and application usage on mobile phones and tablets and sends clear weekly reports to the individual user’s accountability partners. We are also currently working to add an iOS version of our application along with supporting Windows PCs, those exciting developments are coming in the very near future.
In Romans 12:12, we read the following: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”
Friends, I encourage you to live above pornography and walk in the light through accountability. You won’t regret it!
All the best,
- Break up…with all those “fantasy” girlfriends you’ve been checking out online and dating in your mind. Make a clean break. Remember they really aren’t that into you. End it, and never turn back to their lies. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy either. Just walk away. Ignore any advances or even invitations to “hook up”. When you’re weak and lonely reach out to a real person who actually cares about you. “Take captive every thought…” 2 Cor. 10:5
- Boycott media…yeah there’s probably some stuff you shouldn’t watch or listen to! Probably a video game or two you should just totally get rid of for a time or even permanently. It’s likely you’re like me and play that game of, “well it really doesn’t effect me.” You and I know good and well that it does. Even if it’s something as “mild” as the recent edition of the SI swimsuit issue that you’ve managed to rationalize as not being “porn” it’s time to give it the snub. “If your right hand offends you cut it off…” Matthew 5:30
- Band together…it’s awkward I know but there’s just no other way to get free and stay free. We need others. So if you’ve been going it alone and wondering why that hasn’t worked the answer is you’ve got to acquire some allies quick. You may not want the world to know your problem but a small band of brothers needs to know about your problem. A live group is ideal but if you can’t swing that then sign up for an www.X3groups.com through www.xxxchurch.com. “Two are better than one…” Eccl. 4:9
- Buy resources…this issue is so prevalent that there’s ton’s of stuff out there. There’s awesome stuff that’s FREE but you may need to actually redirect the funds you’ve been spending on porn or massage parlors toward purchasing the best resources you can. Most dudes don’t want to take the time to read so get audio books and listen while you drive or work out. I highly recommend saving up the money or selling something to attend the Everyman’s Battle Workshop. It’s not cheap but the return on investment makes it well worth it. There’s also the 30 day online recovery workshop www.x3pure.com. “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…” Proverbs 14:8
- Bravely confess…it takes enormous courage to be this vulnerable but it is absolutely necessary. Why do you need to confess? Truth is you don’t. You can go on the way you have been, hiding, lying, pretending (I’ve been there) and you’ll never be free. Confession is our commitment to dealing with the reality of our situation. It is professing with our lips that we don’t have it all together. It speaks to transparency, authenticity and our refusal to live in denial. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper…” Proverbs 28:13
- Build barriers…or you could say “boundaries” here. However you want to put it the point is you’ve got to add some structure to your recovery. For instance, tons of guys are vulnerable in the shower, late at night in their rooms with a laptop, phone or other device. Strategize in advance on how to avoid the trap. Limit your showers to 5 minutes. Don’t turn it into a spa session where you have time to drift off to fantasy land and act out. As for devices commit to leaving them device(s) somewhere other than your room. Yes, you can do without them through the night.
- Believe truth…addicts are good at telling lies but far more damaging may be the lies we believe. Such as, “I’ll never be sober,” “you’re not hurting anyone else,” or my all time favorite, “you deserve it!”. It’s only when we start believing truth that we find freedom from the lies. Jesus clearly stated that he was the epitome of truth (Jn. 14:6) so we can believe Him and all that He said like, “If the son sets you free you are free indeed…”(Jn. 8:36) or “For God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16) and a very appropriate one for this discussion, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt. 2:17)“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
- Begin NOW…stop putting things off. Stop telling yourself you’ll start next week or next month! Make this day one of a life time of living free of porn. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Craig Gross, and the team at xxxchurch.com is offering an e-book version of Pure Eyes for FREE today! Craig Gross, and Steven Luff wrote this book to support guys that are struggling. Don’t miss this opportunity for a FREE resource that could get you unstuck!
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I hear from college students and young adults quite a bit on this. They’ve found Mr. or Ms. “right” and plan to spend the rest of their lives with the best thing since sliced bread. Then comes the awkward revelation either by confession or accidental discovery that the love of their life struggles (or has struggled) with sexual sin (porn, masturbation, sleeping around, fantasy etc.).
For some it’s a deal breaker and they walk away from the relationship in search of someone a bit less defiled. But others can’t, or won’t walk away from the relationship, and believe the one they’ve come to cherish can and will change before the big day. If you fall into the latter category here’s some guidance on just how to proceed…with caution…because I’m not convinced that you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater in all cases.
- Watch their actions don’t just take their words to heart. In the heat of a relationship that has progressed to the point of a proposal and an anticipated wedding date it’s easy to just take your struggling significant other for his or her word. Don’t do it. Look for significant, intentional actions he or she is taking to get better and achieve sobriety. Further don’t you be the one doing all the work for them. An identifying mark of someone who is pursuing purity is that they are in fact doing the pursuing! Remember that CONSISTENT action speaks louder than mere words.
- Don’t be afraid to put things in a holding pattern. The thing about being engaged is that it doesn’t have to be permanent! Marriage is a solemn vow to a lifelong commitment. So before things get to that point it’s wise to be certain you want to spend the rest of your life with a guy or girl who is dealing with their problem in the best way. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back and putting the wedding plans in a holding pattern. I know this is so hard for people because you have “plans”. Parents, relatives, venue, dresses, tuxedos, the limo, honeymoon, not to mention the minister who we just have to have perform the ceremony. All these things add pressure and potentially cost you money if things aren’t kept on schedule. I totally get that, but still, the damage is really minimal compared to the overwhelming cost of an unhealthy marriage. If he or she is unwilling to alter the schedule then that might be a good indication that it wasn’t meant to be anyway.
- Pray. I’m not just trying to fill space here. I can’t emphasize enough how important seeking God is when you’re contemplating marriage. It is especially important when you know your potential spouse is struggling sexually. So many young couples simply move forward assuming that things will just work out. Optimism is important for sure but the stakes are too high to rely on human intuition and wishful thinking. There’s a divine component to marriage that can’t be overlooked. If you’re a christian young man or woman truly seeking to have a God-honoring marriage then you’ll spend more time praying and less time making excuses for your potential mate. Anyone married anytime at all will tell you that there is nothing more painful than marital distress and chaos. Don’t get me wrong every marriage will have it’s share for sure. But out of the gate if you can have an edge it can make all the difference in the world down the road. Seek God out in prayer and make it your discipline through your courtship, engagement and marriage.
So, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is struggling it doesn’t mean you have to kick him or her to the curb (at least not right away). But don’t ignore it either. Watch what they do not just what they say. Don’t be afraid to press the pause button. Pray.
…self-deception is one of the chief characteristics of addiction.” -Michael John Cusick, Surfing for God