When it comes to porn use, there are some who argue that men don’t need help to escape sexual temptation and porn addiction.
They argue that through the strength of the human will, men are able to think about the women around them at all times with nothing but purity, integrity, and sexual neutrality.
Almost as if porn use and sexual addiction is an uncommon thing; something done only by the rare creep who can’t control himself, living on the fringe of society in his mother’s basement; not something common to mankind.
But for those of us who know better, we know that sexual temptation is commonplace, and that it’s an expectable phenomenon due to our fallen and sinful human natures… and we know we need help. We need someone, a partner, to hold us accountable for our activities.
But who can help? The great debate: who makes for the best accountability partner?
Should your wife be your accountability partner? Should your pastor be your accountability partner? Should your friend be your accountability partner?
You have a lot of choices, so let’s examine the options.
Your male friend should not be your accountability partner.
Let’s start in reverse order; with your male friend. It’s extremely likely that your male friend watches porn, or has been addicted to porn in the past.
That’s a problem. Why?
Because he is able to relate to your struggles. When you tell him about your failures, he is reminded of his own. He is unable to judge your actions from a perspective that is completely pure and innocent.
You’ll get the reaffirming hand on the shoulder. The “I understand brother” reassurance. Reassurance, that no matter how much you fail, sexual temptation is just a fact of life that all men will perpetually deal with.
You’ll be reassured that your porn use is something common to man, that it doesn’t necessarily make you a failure, just a man.
That may not be what your friend is trying to convey, and it may not necessarily be true, but it is often a side effect of having male accountability partners.
Sure you’ll likely be pointed towards redemption in Christ and told that there is freedom in Him, but I ask you…
How long have you been using male accountability partners? And has it truly been effective in breaking your addictions? Or do you go back week after week to an accountability group of brothers in Christ, only to report that you had yet another “shortcoming”?
Your pastor is a step up, but still not the best accountability partner.
Why is your pastor a step up from a male friend? Probably because he is [hopefully] cleaner and even more steadfast than you and the average layperson in the church.
As a pastor, he has an obligation to lead the church by example. Hopefully that means that he is leading a pure life, and hopefully too that means that he knows the best guidance to give when it comes to your struggles.
BUT, as a man, your pastor is still just a man; a man who most likely has struggled with porn use himself in the past, and perhaps still struggles with porn use in the present.
(According to Covenant Eyes, 51% of pastors say that porn use is a “possible temptation”)
A couple of years ago, while I was using accountability software for internet use, my pastor received an internet usage report every two weeks.
One thing that came to light was that as a man, when my pastor saw the websites I was visiting, and the content I was looking at, he fell a few times himself, and explored what I had been viewing.
Pastors aren’t above porn use, and your struggles might cause even the best of them to stumble, especially if they’re receiving online accountability reports with detailed site descriptions or search terms.
Pastors are just men after all. They are just a [hopefully] more spiritual version of your male friends. Men should not be your accountability partners, unless they’re willing to take drastic actions with you; like taking your computer’s plug in cord, or fasting with you for weeks.
But since neither party is normally willing to do things like that, let’s examine a highly effective solution that might help you as well as it has helped me.
Should your wife be your accountability partner? Absolutely Yes!
What is the major thing that distinguishes your wife from your male friends and your pastor(s)? She’s a she; she’s a woman. And as a woman, her accountability is going to be dramatically different than that of a male.
Well for one, she’s likely never been addicted to pornography.
(Again, according to Covenant Eyes, men are 543% more likely to look at porn than women.)
Has your wife likely struggled with sexual temptation at some point? Yes, but we know that when it comes to sexual temptation, women are dramatically different than men.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus was talking specifically to men when he said in Matthew 5:28: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
When you confess your sexual sins and porn use to your wife, you’re telling someone who, when it comes to porn, is [hopefully] completely pure: innocent and unable to understand and relate to your problem.
In essence, your wife should be your accountability partner, because it’s as if pure and innocent light is shining upon the darkness of sin. She is able to judge you and condemn your sins in a way that your male friends can not.
With your wife, it’s like light judging darkness. With your male friends or pastor, it’s more like darkness judging darkness.
Secondly, aside from God, your wife is the primary person your sinning against. When you confess your sexual sins to your male friends or pastor(s), your confessing to them sins that you ultimately committed against an absent party, your wife.
When you confess to your wife, you’re exposing your sins to the very person you’ve been sinning against. And that’s going to cause deep pain in that individual.
The pain and sorrow in your wife’s eyes during a moment of confession may be the perfect antidote to your sexual sin; at least it has been for me, and many others.
In fact, the two fold condemnation of light judging darkness and personal grievance, has been enough to cripple the effects of porn in my life. So much so that I actually seek it out and have instituted it in the marriage.
After the original confession of porn use to my wife a few months into our marriage, I loved the devastation it wrought on my secrets so much, that I encouraged my wife to ask me regularly if I have been looking at porn.
Regular and loving (not nagging) inquisition from my wife has been the perfect accountability to keep me from looking at porn sites.
It’s very difficult to look at porn sites when you know that your wife is going to ask you in a few days time if you have failed.
For those who want their wives to be their accountability partners and are very addicted to porn, make sure your wife asks you every day or two. For those who are doing better, encourage her to ask you at least every week or two, and watch the chains of porn’s bondage fall off before your very eyes.
Should your wife be your accountability partner? I know my wife should be my accountability partner, and she is, and it’s been wonderful. God bless, and let ChristianManliness.com know how it goes.”
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