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Couples Therapists:  Marriage and Pornography

Part 1 of 2

Couples Therapists Naples Preface:  The source for this article came from Leadership Journal, a publication of Christianity Today, the Fall 1982 and Winter 1988 issues. Leadership journal was a publication specifically written for Christian leaders, both in the church and outside of it. The following article (notes Couples Therapists Fort Myers and Couples Therapists Bonita Springs) identifies one Christian leader’s struggle with pornography and guilt, including the impact it had on his marriage. Keep in mind, this all occurs prior to the age of the internet. 

It All Started When . . . Tom, a Christian conference speaker and leader, a married man, was away from his wife, sitting alone in his motel room. Flipping through the city’s entertainment guide, he repeatedly found himself turning back to the advertisement of an exotic dancer, a past Miss Peach Bowl winner.At first, he dismissed her show as out of bounds. But the longer he sat around watching TV, the more the image of this strip-tease dancer played upon his mind. “Why not?” he asked himself. A variety of rationalizations bolstered his resolve to go. Before long, Tom found himself in the back seat of a cab headed for the seamy side of town.

The taxi driver dropped him off several blocks from the bar. Given his reputation back home as a Christian leader and happily married family man, Tom wanted to play it safe. Even though he was a stranger in town, he glanced nervously over his shoulder as he walked closer to his destination, and then entered quickly. (This is what is often observed in his practice, says Couples Therapist Cape Coral. Many friends of clients of Couples Therapists Estero as well as Couples therapists Ft Myers FL would have any idea that the couple is experiencing marriage problems behind closed doors).

Miss Peach Bowl was everything the ad claimed she would be. Tom was captivated as she went through her routine. When he exited the establishment a couple of hours later, everything was same and yet everything had changed. He had crossed a line previously out of bounds. He was still the same person but his perception was now somehow different. And it wasn’t long after that he wanted more. He started to regularly frequent strip joints, purchase Playboy and other sexually oriented magazines, was the patronize adult movie theaters, and view live peep shows.

Down the Winding Road

As the seasons came and went, Tom unhappily learned that lust does not fulfill, it “stirs up.” (Couples Therapy Naples FL as well as Couples Therapist Cape Coral FL has long observed this is the case with addictions of various kind). It points in one direction only, downward. There is no returning to a previous level and remaining content. One always wants more. “I no longer wonder how deviants can get into child molesting, masochism, and other abnormalities,” he reflected. …Although such acts are incomprehensible to me, I remember well that where I ended up was also incomprehensible to me when I started.”

Though he had attempted to break the habit time and again, he found that he could not go a month or two before he yielded once more. Self-hatred, despair, and guilt grew. Over time, an invisible barrier began to develop between him and his wife, Susan, even in the privacy of their bedroom. (Their marriage suffered noted Couples Therapists Bonita Springs FL). Tom’s sexual relations with his wife could not compare to the technicolor fantasies into which he had so thoroughly immersed his mind. Tom was like a man craving for salt while dying of thirst.

A Dead End

Finally, after years had passed, two unanticipated events occurred which had a dramatic impact. On previous occasions, when trips brought him to New England, Tom would become invigorated by walks along the coast. He loved the smell of the ocean wind and the sound of the waves breaking upon the rocks. But on this particular occasion, the experience produced no feelings at all. Tom felt dead inside. The seedy images of pornography had become more real to him than life itself. He had reason to look at his life in a way he never did before. (This is the underreported side of pornography and sex addictions says both Naples FL Couples Therapists and Cape Coral Couples Therapists).

Secondly, just three days later, Tom had the opportunity to visit with his friend, Steve, a Christian leader and pastor of a very large church and a man he greatly respected. Tom felt he had to reveal his burden to someone. Steve was a man he trusted. After a hesitating start, Tom shared the secret side of his life.

Steve’s response was totally unanticipated. After Tom finished his story, Steve broke out in an uncontrollable sob. When he finally recovered, Tom learned that his friend was not crying for him, but for himself. Steve was where Tom had been five years earlier and had taken lust to its logical conclusion. Tom reveals, “I will not dwell on sordid details, but my friend had tried it all… He reached inside his vest pocket and pulled out a pad of paper showing the prescriptions he took to fight the venereal disease and… infections he had picked up along the way… I worried about cognitive dissonance; he brooded on suicide. I read about deviance; he performed it. I winced at subtle fissures in my marriage; he was in divorce litigation.”

Tom was shocked but recognized that his friend ended up where his own obsession would likely lead him. Fear gripped him. He desperately wanted out of the downward spiral.

End of Part 1

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If there are tensions in your marriage, you and your spouse may want to seek out help before things spiral out of control. If you live in Southwest Florida (SWFL), Dr. Ken Newberger, Ph.D., Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary, stands ready to help. A former pastor, he has worked with many Christian couples over the years. To learn more about his effective alternative to the approach of traditional couples therapists, view his process at www.MarriageCounselingAlt.com. Then call to briefly discuss you situation

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