Ann Voskamp wrote an article in praise of "boring" men that has been viral on my Facebook feed this week.
Basic premise: a lifetime of dedication together is better than the over-the-top romantic/sexual brouhaha you'll find in various forms on the internet.
She gives this advice to her sons:
"And a man begins being romantic years before any ring - romance begins with only having eyes for one woman now - so you don't go giving your eyes away to cheap porn."
She talks about how her husband has only ever had eyes for her.
But--you knew it was coming--***asterisk.
GIANT, HUMONGOUS, ASTEROID-SIZED ***ASTERISK.
Some women get to have that "I only have eyes for you" guy, which is great for them.
But what about the rest of us?
***About half of women my age (40 something) are dealing with a situation that is significantly less than optimal when it comes to that particular standard.
***As for younger women? Probably 80% of college women are going to end up with a guy who's had significant pornography exposure.
The stats vary, but they go something like this:
80% of teens. 47% of Christian homes. 53% of Promise Keepers. All viewing porn. Starting about age 10 these days.
We've spent several decades hoping that guys would figure this out. I don't see it happening.
God said in the Garden, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him." (Genesis 2:18)
I love this: God sees a man in trouble, he sends a woman in to help.
Let's start helping.
Women before us have been queens and judges and prophets and warriors. We can do it, too.
To get battle-ready, we need to understand a few things:
1. God redeems.
Many of us have worked hard to have the ideal marriage. When that ideal fails, we fear it's all over.
And that is just not true. When the perfect ship has sailed, and we are out of options, God still works.
Andy and me? This is our story: God redeems.
God doesn't redeem because our life is a chocolate sundae and He just needs to stick the cherry on top. God redeems because we are in deep trouble, and His redemption is essential to the next breath we take.
I may be out of options, but God is not. He redeems. That's his job.
2. Sometimes perfection is just not all that perfect.
As one of my battle-ready friends wisely said yesterday, "Doing things the right way can actually be a way of avoiding emotional intimacy."
It was painful and scary, for sure.
But it was an opportunity to be honest, to get real, to be vulnerable and connected with each other like we never were when we were "perfect."
And guess what.
I would not trade away the life I have now for a pornography-free past.
True story: I am grateful. For everything.
3. Get connected to resources.
Get your internet filtered, using a good resource like Covenant Eyes. I love CE because it's internet-based; if it gets uninstalled, if the settings get changed, we get a message. I would not feel secure with a "parent-controlled" filter.
Get help: individual therapy, Celebrate Recovery, a 12-Step group. The offender needs to own the problem and work on it, to restore trust by being trustworthy. The injured person needs a safe place to feel emotions, work on boundaries, and move toward forgiveness and healing.
4. You are not alone.
Look at the statistics! You are NOT the only one dealing with this.
Almost every single time I tell my story in a new setting, somebody lets me know that they are struggling too. That's one of the incredible joys of telling my story: the community that gets built.
We can fight through this together, as a band of sisters.
Wish your guy was more "boring"?
Wish Al Gore had never invented the *^$###!! internet?
I hear ya.
But listen to me now, because this is what I know:
God's redemption is way better than my perfection.
And all of us together can be on the side of that redemption, strong and courageous.
Even though our romantic ideal has failed, God never fails.