I learned about relationships from television and movies. I took notes on kissing from the soap operas the women in my life watched daily.
And I read romance novels. They certainly appealed to my blooming curiosity.
After a while they became quite predictable. Girl meets boy, they flirt, they fall in love, and everything is happily ever after. I was so enamored with that.
Every girl imagines finding the man of their dreams! And romance novels stirred my "knight in shining armor" desires and set me up with unrealistic expectations.
As I "matured," so did my taste in romance novels. And they became racier and racier as you can imagine.
My real life wasn't going so well then. My relationship with my new husband was shaky at best. I knew the Lord, but I wasn't in relationship with Him. And I was just coming to terms with the ramifications of childhood sexual abuse. There was a lot of turmoil. It's safe to say I was quite unhappy in my life and in my marriage.
Betrayal had shattered my trust of men. I started using fantasy as an escape — imagining in my mind the perfect life with an adoring and affectionate mate that would always chose me over anything else that happened to be going on. It was a welcome respite from the chaos and emotions of my real life.
I thought nothing of it then. But many years later, as my marriage relationship improved and we began the long road of healing from my husband's infidelity and sexual addiction, I realized what I was doing was wrong, too.
If my husband was going to be accountable for his lustful actions, so should I. And reading romance novels and fantasizing about Mr. Right in my mind were not honoring my spouse.
As much as I wanted to downplay it, explicit romance novels are a form of pornography (check out the definition). Although we may turn to romance novels, fantasizing, or other forms of pornography to find "fulfillment," all they serve to do is make you dissatisfied, especially with your spouse.
I believe pornography can be a struggle for women. And I have met women, even some in good marriages, that fight the urge to fantasize. If you can relate, please know you aren't alone.
I have not read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and I don't intend to. Call me a prude, but I don't want to get caught up in author EL James' personal fantasies.
My husband has worked so hard to protect himself, why shouldn't I?
In the same way that I want to be the focus of my husband's affections, I need to focus my affections on him.
So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. (Matthew 18:8)If you're confused about the role pornography may play in your marriage, read this article from Covenant Eyes.
Be honest with your spouse. You are teammates fighting for your marriage. Help each other, encourage each other, and try to avoid situations that lead to temptation.
And if you cannot avoid it, protect yourself from it. Do not allow yourself to be drawn back in. Stop the thoughts before they take you down a road you do not want to take.
The catalyst for me was experiencing true intimacy with my husband, both physically and emotionally. At that point, I no longer felt the need to escape because the real life we were working to build together was much better than anything I could dream up.