Satisfaction Guaranteed

One of the subtle realities of pornography, affairs, strip clubs and/or prostitutes is guaranteed satisfaction. Sure, we all know that in the aftermath of acting out there is zero satisfaction. But in the moment, the fix is real and never lets us down.

To explain further, remember that sexual acting out isn’t about sex. It’s about the emotional charge, the escape from reality and the offset to the longings of our soul. Where we feel overwhelmed we feel peace for a moment, where disconnected we feel a sense of belonging, where feeling criticized we feel appreciated, where minimized like we matter, helpless – powerful, failure – accomplishment. You get the picture. With a click of a button, a swipe of a screen, an email or a phone call we can instantly inject enough morphine into our system to numb the unpleasant present reality. Guaranteed. For a few moments.

But the real antidote to acting out is intimacy. There is actually a 1-for-1 offset that doesn’t often get spoken of. When you have a couple people (besides your spouse) in your life who you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be there for you, there is a direct offset to the sexual acting out. Will porn ever reject you at 2am? Nope. Is there someone you are 100% confident will answer your call if you ring them at 2am? If the answer is no, you’ll consistently revert back to the guaranteed hit.

Taking it a step further, sexual acting out provides a false sense of security. We know, even without thinking about it, we just “know” that it’ll be there for us. It’s been proven. Tested. Tried. There is no question. That sense of guarantee, where you know that you know that you know, that’s called security. Porn (for example) provides security. That’s kind of sick to think, isn’t it? Say it out loud and give it a test drive; see how it sits with you when you say: “Porn provides me security”. “Strip clubs provide me security”. “Masturbating gives me security”. Weird, right?

We need men in our lives who we know, that we know, that we know have our best interest at heart and will be there for us absolutely any time we need them. Hands down. They are on vacation…they’ll answer our call. Middle of a meeting at work…answer our call if its an emergency. 2am…groggy and halitosis, they’ll drive to the ends of the earth to help us.

Cultivate that, and I can almost guarantee you won’t need acting out anymore.

What Not to Say

This is a super quick post to address a simple but particularly infuriating issue. If you are in the process of healing and restoration with a significant other there are inevitably moments where that other can’t see progress. Some conversations just feel like nothing has been accomplished and zero forward momentum can be found. When that happens, and the hopelessness sets in, some men will try to manufacture a sense of hope and progress by comparing what they are doing now to what they could be doing wrong now or what they used to do wrong in the past.

Examples of what not to say-

  • I used to lust after almost every woman I saw (but now I’m not)
  • I could be looking at porn every day when I’m at work (but I don’t)
  • If I wanted to sleep with my assistant I could (but I’m not)
  • I could lie and completely get away with it (but I’m not)
  • I could still be deleting texts from my phone and you’d never know (but I’m not)
  • If I wanted to get around the internet filter I could (but I don’t)
  • I used to flirt with women at church all the time (but I’m not now)

Hopefully you get the point. It’s never helpful to measure today’s progress against what you aren’t doing or could be doing that is worse. We talked about this a little bit in the Measuring Up blog post here. It is neither comforting nor reassuring to for a wife/significant other to hear how bad things could be or used to be, as a way of seeing progress in the present.

Practically, when you feel hopelessness because progress seems elusive, focus on the future rather than the past. Invite the person you’re wooing back to you to hang on and watch another day. To give you another week. To reassess on Friday. Whatever the timeline, give them something to cling to, rather than something to try to throw as far as they can see.

 

Dignity

This week while I was on New Life Live Radio the overwhelming theme was dignity. Or, better said, the lack, degradation and thievery there of. I want to spend a few minutes here talking about dignity.

Here’s the definition: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

For too many men, we’ve diminished our dignity through our involvement with pornography, prostitution, affairs and other sexual escapades. We’ve jettisoned our own sense of honor and respect. I don’t know about you, but in my addiction I hated seeing myself in the mirror. I just didn’t like the man looking back at me.

Likewise, many wives have diminished their dignity by being willing to accept their husbands’ wanton disregard for them. On radio, we talked with several wives who’ve resigned themselves to marriages fraught with sexual, spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. They’ve mistaken love for license, and in so doing have lost respect and honor for themselves. Many of those wives seemed to believe that they don’t deserve to be treated with honor and respect.

We are all men and women of worth, simply because God handcrafted us in his image. Neither the things we’ve done nor the things done to us have tarnished our true worth and dignity, it only informed our perception of it as rusty and dilapidated. Those things put blinders of shame on us to see ourselves through a foggy, dysfunctional and errant lens.

Part of our (Shelley and I) healing journey has been to recapture our sense of God-given dignity. I had to decide that I’m worth an intimate relationship with another human being, not just relegated to a fraudulent, empty life of sexual fantasy.

I had to decide, through God’s help, that the women I was engaging with, both online and off, were created in His image and, as such, they were women of worth and dignity. My abuse of them was in fact spitting in God’s face and giving him the bird.

Shelley had to decide that she was worth more than lies, secrets and settling for second best. She had to come to the conclusion that what God said about her is more important than what I was saying about her. She also had to decide that her self-respect and the respect of God was more important than anyone else’s respect on the planet.

I hope today you’ll also recapture your sense of dignity. You worthwhile and honorable, deserving of respect simply as a function of God having breathed life into you.