Awhile ago I was asked to speak at a gathering of men. I left the crowd with a very unpopular conclusion: We are ineffective and broken people due to our addictions and compulsions, abdication of our responsibilities, and how we disrespect each other.
Addressing the men, I was pretty direct. Pornography and masturbation are destructive for married men and damaging to their relationships. It doesn't take rocket science or a degree in theology to understand this. If a man is busy pleasing himself and viewing other women in the process, certainly his own wife becomes less necessary and less attractive in his eyes. No real woman can compare to the airbrushed images found on line or in magazines. Additionally, very few wives are willing subjects to a game where every fantasy is fulfilled for her spouse while she disregards her own desires or dignity.
Instead of the focus on building a good and healthy relationship, many men take the easy way out instead of being truthful with their spouse about their needs. Preferring immediate pleasure all the while creating a prison of their own making, men become ensnared without intending to do so. No man I know wants to admit this, yet privately in my office, many have spoken of this trap they cannot seem to break free from. Ultimately this self destructive cycle creates hopelessness, bondage, and a sense of being of little worth.
In a case of "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?", many men begin to abdicate responsibilities at home. The current state of our communities verifies this to be true. There is an epidemic of single and divorced mothers with children, sometimes from multiple men, who have abandoned them. While many men hold firm to the commitments made at the marriage altar, just as many are choosing lives of selfishness, succumbing to the desire to remain teenagers forever. Affairs, addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, and many other things show that a life of self-centeredness and ambition is replacing the sacrifice needed for enduring marriages and healthy families. We must break free and change the cycle!
Here's the rub: Jesus promised freedom- but only to those who were willing to give up their lives for His purposes. This means serving the people around them by reflecting God heart and doing so from a heart that realizes its state of being lost without its creator as focus.
Marriage is the ultimate expression of God's love for his true followers. Jesus himself said he would never leave us or forsake us. In the book to the Ephesians in chapter five, the Apostle Paul clearly explains marriage is the real life expression of the bond between Jesus and those who are devoted to loving and pursuing Him. No wonder the American Christian church is weak! We look just like the world around us, mirroring patterns of selfishness, abuse, bondage and unforgiveness- especially in our marriages.
Is there hope? Of course. Yet the first step is admitting there is a problem. Then, what next? So I ask you, where will you go to get help? The God of the universe who made you and who knows how you are designed is waiting for you to call out to Him. And Jesus will never refuse those who call on His name.