Sadly, Mr. Tiger Woods has seen a lot of Television coverage these days. I am going to write him a letter and ask him to watch Fireproof. For those of you who have not seen it, it is about a fireman and his wife, whose marriage is on the rocks. The man’s father suggests that he fight to keep the marriage together and gives him a book of advice. I’ll stop there so you can find out the rest when you watch it.
As Christians, we must really be committed to marriage. Marriage is an icon, or a picture of the relationship between Christ and his church. The man must love his wife. The wife must respect her husband. We men are somewhat fragile. We really need our wife’s respect. Our own self esteem is partly built on it. If the wife doesn’t respect her husband, the children will not either. If children see Mom respecting hubby (whether he deserves it or not), they will learn how they must respect Christ. Men too, must love their wife’s so the children can learn how Christ loves the church.
In these days there are many obstacles to successful marriage. One is our television programmes and movies either disparage marriage, or give us no examples, or bad examples. Divorced people and people having sex without being married abound on the small and large screen. Some popular music as well disparages sexual purity. Virginity as a normal condition before being married is disparaged. Even worse, 14 year old boys, whether they are fourteen or fifty or seventy tell us, they cannot resist, it is only natural. Christians though are not called to live in the natural. We are called to live in the supernatural (we should also not watch those programees and movies or listen to music which glorifies a non-Christina lifestyle. The Holy Spirit living within us gives us the power to conquer sin and death. Sexual sin in some ways is more serious than other sin, because when we have sex with another person, we are now one flesh with them. St. Paul talks of this clearly asking whether we should unite a prostitute (as in nonrepentant and practicing) to the church, the body of Christ.
The Bible tells us that we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure. Our problem is we often put ourselves in the path of temptation. Lots of married men ogle the good looking ladies. The Bible tells us that if we lust after someone in our heart, it is the same as committing adultery. The problem is that many men lust in their hearts and it becomes action.
So what to do? First stay away from pornography of any kind. Pornography is almost as addicting as heroin. Pornography gratifies us in a way which requires no commitment. It has no relationship to reality. It is a trap, plain and simple. If you have an addiction to pornography, you need to find an anachamra (a soul friend) or an accountability group. You pledge to always be honest to the person or group, and they will ask you periodically whether you are looking at pornography, and the last time you looked. As you are accountable to them, and of course being embarrassed that you have fallen into the trap, they will help you to stay off it. Also, as much pornography is computer driven, put your computer in a public place in the house. Computers should be in the living room, kitchen, or someplace where someone will be walking by. If you are really tempted, you can block off sites you know about. If it is really bad, you might just have to get rid of the computer. It is easy to fall, but God will give you the strength not to if you really want it. Other things that are helpful is to watch what you watch on TV, movies and listen to on the radio. Personally I like a steady diet of Christian radio. It help keeps me focused and on track.
Women, if you feel your husband is doing something he shouldn’t be, whether pornography or physical things, you should check your data first. Sometimes we are suspicious when nothing is happening. If it is true, talk to him one on one. Be honest about your feelings. If he does not admit wrong, then go to him with a witness who knows what is going on. If he still does not repent, then you should go to your pastor (or one of the elders or deacons) of your church and ask for their help. The point is to bring him to repentance, and to restore the marriage, not to make him feel bad for failing.
Both men and women, keep yourselves chaste. Submit your thoughts to Jesus. Whenever you have a tempting thought, just give it to Jesus then and there. Watch how you dress. We men are much more visual than women, and immodest clothing will get the wrong kind of attention from us. If you are married and go out with someone for lunch for business or whatever, make it a group meal, or if you can bring the spouse along. I have known pastors who refuse to ride with a woman if there was not another person, or if their wife was not present. We are to maintain holiness and not allow even the thought or idea of evil to come into our lives.
Also parents, watch what your children wear. Girls who dress like prostitutes will be treated as prostitutes especially around 14 year old group. Make your boys dress modestly as well. They may attract the kind of attention they do not want. Aside from chaste, watch out who you advertise for. Abercrombie and Fitch, and Calvin Klein have some very provocative adverting, so I would not want to promote them. It is also amazing how many girls wear Playboy bunnies. Don’t they know what it stands for. After all we don’t let our kids advertise drugs and alcohol. Should we let them advertise sex?
Keep the romance in your marriage. Everyone should strive to take their wife on a date once a week. Some women won’t want to leave the kids behind. Just remember, you won’t be spending the rest of your lives with them kids, but with your spouse.
It is important to communicate, pray (together and separately) and be on the same track. Study God’s word together, and do things together as well. Remember, adultery in the mind will lead to adultery in fact. Remember, God hates divorce.
By the way, if you like the movie Fireproof, you might like Not Easily Broken as well