Few things capture my attention like a risk-taking, honest-speaking, soul-baring comment from anyone, but this one set the bar pretty high yesterday. It was not my intent to discuss pornography, nor to compare our quest for a discussion on “What is feminine behavior?” and “Have we lost femininity?” with the behavior of porn stars – and I’m so thankful that not one of you misread my intent on yesterday’s blog…
I could have easily been misunderstood on that, and am richly blessed and thankful it didn’t happen.
I will tell you that a woman is NOT responsible for her husband’s sin, and this comment from a man named, Scott, on yesterday’s blog, nails the concept of pornography well – and I admire the living tar out of this man for being so brutally honest with us and himself.
Today I pray for all of us held captive by sin… We don’t like to call it that, but nonetheless, we all struggle with it. May we see God’s leading everywhere – He is ever present, it’s just, “Are we listening?” I guess the Bible is not a relevant document for many people, but for me, as a Christian, it is more than just a “tradition” or “history” of the faith. It’s alive. If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings, or the Chronicles of Narnia, or Star Wars, it’s more than the ring, Aslan, or the force. And I’m either a completely delusional nut job, or I literally have a supernatural experience with the Creator of the Universe – a real relationship with a Being Who is omniscient. We could spend hours debating the Greco-Roman house codes and the legitimacy of the text as it applies today, or we can open our hearts and minds to the possibility that the book is timeless and trust the relationship. It’s bigger and better than any magic could ever possibly be. And those of us that know Him, know the power in His Word – those that don’t want to explain away the parts we don’t like.
I’ve been in both spots.
And I’m thankful to know Him and know that I’m known.
Those of us that know Him (and might I humbly suggest that even the deepest of relationship with Him is but a mere pinprick of comprehension of what is possible?) understand that “respect,” “submission,” “companion,” “helper,” “daughter,” “warrior,” “princess,” “friend,” “child,” “sister,” and “beloved,” are all part of our unique opportunities in marriage, and that we ARE equal, NOT less-than, and thankful to have the opportunity to commune with Him, learn from Him, and be a dwelling place for His Spirit and we share His great love for His people by obeying His teachings.
But I’m getting a lot off topic… but what we believe about the Bible and God impacts our marriage, as we’ve discussed previously.
At any rate, this is the comment that blew me away from Scott yesterday:
My wife was following this thread and asked me last week for my definition of femininity. At that time, being the sarcastic clod that I am, I simply said “of or relating to being a woman”. It was both an attempt at superficial humor and also an attempt to obscure the truth that I really didn’t have a good answer (very scary when I take great pride in always having a good answer for everything).
So I’ve spent some time over the past week actually thinking about “what does it really mean for a woman to be feminine?”, and since the post this morning – “captivating.” That Nina started the post with a quote about porn addiction threw me for a bit of a loop…
I was immediately struck by that quote at the beginning, as it seemed at first that Nina was attempting to find a golden nugget of wisdom and truth in the cesspool of porn addiction (I breathed a sigh of relief as I read the rest of the post and interpreted that not to be the case). But I was more struck by it because I too was addicted to pornography for nearly 30 years and for all of that time would have said the same thing – that pornography was attractive and extremely difficult to give up because the “women were so demure, attractive, and …captivating.” This reasoning of course carries the implicit assumption that “real life women” are the opposite – aggressive, ugly, and uninteresting – hence the preference for pornographic women. However I discovered through the process of Jesus dragging me out of that particular swamp that, like all of Satan’s schemes, it was a LIE. What really makes pornography addictive and difficult to break free from is that it very powerfully feeds a man’s inherent selfishness – a desire to meet a physical need for sexual gratification with no strings attached. To get what you want and not have to give anything back. To have total control over all the parameters of the relationship. It has nothing to do with the “attractiveness” of the women in the magazines and videos – it has everything to do with the selfishness of the man consuming it – and that is exactly what a man does with pornography – he CONSUMES it. He eats it and then goes back for more, with an endless smorgasbord of new options to choose from, and an endless stream of excrement in his wake.
Pornographic fantasy women are “captivating” in this way precisely because they are not real. They allowed (even enabled and empowered) me to continue to be selfish and become more selfish still. They didn’t tell me how hard it was to deal with the kids that day while I was safe at the office. They didn’t gripe if I wanted to watch endless hours of TV instead of helping with the laundry. I didn’t have to pay for their food and clothes. I didn’t have to take care of them when they were sick. They didn’t care if I got bored with them and went looking for a new thrill elsewhere. They let me get my physical jollies and then left me alone until I wanted them again. I was able to consume them and move on to the next one, just like a key lime pie (another issue of mine for another day)… But another thing I learned from Jesus on the way out of the swamp was that even what I thought was so fulfilling about my pornographic women was also a lie. Someone else was consuming ME – very cleverly using a false fulfillment to lead me to the place of ultimate unfulfillment, suffering, and death.
I also learned on the way out of the swamp that the first place to go when looking for the Truth was the Bible – and if the answer can be found there, I need not look elsewhere. Much has been written about “Biblical Womanhood”, “Biblical Femininity”, or whatever term you wish to call it – I will boil it down to this, which can be gleaned from the first two chapters of the very first book – “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18). There are two parts to God’s reasoning for creating woman – man needs a companion because it is not good to be alone, and man needs a helper (for usually obvious reasons) – so a truly feminine, attractive, and captivating woman is the one who purposes at being a companion and helper. It is also often useful to examine what something IS in terms of what it is NOT – in this case the opposite of companion and helper can best be described as “antagonist” and/or “competitor”. Other passages give some examples of ways that women can be helpful companions, and examples of ways how not to be competitive antagonists, but there is nothing in the text to indicate that these lists are exhaustive or exclusive. There can be much latitude here, and each relationship is likely to be unique.
This ended up way longer than originally intended, so I’ll wrap it up with this observation from my own marriage…
In the (now much rarer) occasions where I see my wife as an antagonist or competitor, my natural response is to be more selfish – to “fight” for my own way, to defend my own sinful behavior, or to just withdraw and pursue something else as a distraction.
In the (now much more frequent) occasions where I see my wife as a companion and helper, my supernatural response (a la Holy Spirit) is to be less selfish – to put her needs above mine, to give of myself in ways I didn’t before, can I even dare to say – be more Christlike?
Porn women aren’t (and can never be) captivating – they’re “captive making”.
My wife encourages and motivates me to be more Christlike… now THAT is captivating femininity!
Many thanks to Scott for his comment.
So what do you think about what he said? Are you encouraged by what God has done in his life? How does femininity play into this? What about the “roles” of men and women in marriage? How are you doing in the “companion” and “helper” department? Is there a difference between “enabling” and “helping?”
Know we are praying for those held captive and consumed by porn or other bondages. Glad YOU are here as part of the dialogue today! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Love to you,