In “The State of the Nation Report: Fractured Families” from December 2006, Appendix 5, Pornography, sexual infidelity and family breakdown, it reads: “A fundamental building block of most stable family relationships, and an explicit promise of marriage, is that of sexual exclusiveness and fidelity. When the assumption or promise of fidelity is breached, the subsequent loss of trust between individuals is highly damaging, and frequently terminal for the relationship.”
It is followed by various alarming statistics which show the impact of the Internet on marriages. Divorce attorneys state of all their divorces over the past year, in 62% “Internet had been a significant factor in divorces.”
Improper use of the Internet and addiction to pornography do so much more damage than break up a marriage. It can cause a myriad of problems, many of which take a lifetime to recover from, if at all. Some of these include:
- Diminished trust in spouse
- Developing cynical attitudes about love
- Believing marriage is sexually confining
- Believing that raising children and having a family is an unattractive prospect
- Developing tolerance toward sexually explicit material, thereby requiring more novel or bizarre material to achieve the same level of arousal or interest
In order to protect a marriage from being burdened by the harsh realities of pornography addiction, it is vital to have open communication about the subject as soon as possible, preferably before marriage. Full disclosure and honesty are an important part of any marriage, but when safeguarding against things such as pornography and infidelity overall, it is important both parties are completely transparent and be willing to set and accept boundaries.
Sadly, I know too many people who have an addiction to pornography, and it hurts everyone involved. It eats at the soul of both the offender and the spouse, and is usually the root cause of many other marital issues. Additionally, when there is contention and discord amongst the parents, there is no way the children can escape unscathed. Taking the necessary steps to recover from such an addiction are far more difficult than taking the steps to prevent it from happening. It is well worth the time setting up blocks on the internet, discussing sexuality openly, and being honest with one another should any problems surface.
When discussing the reasons pornography is such a problem, Victor Cline, a psychologist specializing in treating such addictions states, “Love is presented as a physical thing and nothing more. Movies legitimize adultery, infidelity, and immorality because ‘the physical attraction is so beautiful.’ All they are doing is justifying irresponsibility, telling us that passion overwhelms and justifies all. Well, in my view this is an antisocial message, destructive and Satanic in impact. It degrades love, and it is destructive of human personality and male-female relationships.”
This makes me wonder if pornography has become such a problem because of a lack of education. If people were to understand that showing love is not the same as having sex, and learn how to show love in an appropriate manner, they would likely be more fulfilled and less likely to seek out satisfaction in damaging ways. My hope is that this chain is broken with us. We should regularly discuss the gross and obscene things we see in the media, and there are many, which degrade women by objectifying them, and concentrate on showing love in a way that would pleasing unto the Lord.
Those who are married and take part in or have problems with pornography would be wise to remember what President Ezra Taft Benson taught. He suggested to ask ourselves when we are without our partners, “Would my spouse be pleased if he or she knew I was doing this?” Since we are bound as one though marriage, it is important to realize the acts of one spouse directly affect the other. When both are not living in a way that would bring them closer to Heavenly Father, it makes progression as a couple nearly impossible.
I believe learning and progression are two of the main reasons we are commanded to be married. In April 2016 General Conference, we were taught the importance of having regular family councils, one of which consists of a husband and a wife discussing their relationship, how to make it better and helps to understand one another. Having these regular councils are one way to make a marriage more intimate. Intimacy in a marriage is not only sexual, it should be deeply emotional. Learning how to love and be intimate emotionally will likely ensure a healthy sexual relationship, which brings people even closer together.