Dear sisters, please don’t settle!
It kills love, intimacy, and relationships. Sometimes it even kills people. Literally, a friend of mine almost died while on the receiving end of someone’s pornographic fantasy.
I pray that you never let it kill you physically or spiritually. However, if you let pornography into your life, even via a relationship with someone who is enslaved to it, it will begin to do exactly that. Do Not Date the Undatable
For the longest time, I could not give of myself in the way I needed to, because I was enslaved. I used the reality of my early exposure to pornography as an excuse for why I was so deeply attached to the desire to look at it, even though many times I was repulsed with my choices to do so. “I deserve to unwind,” “Just one more time,” “I could be doing worse things,” and other excuses continuously bubbled forth. Meanwhile, I’d consent to Satan, pound nails into the hands of feet of Jesus Christ on the Cross and say with my choices “I see your suffering, but in this moment, I don’t care.” I would accept the lie that I had no other option and would fall to the grievous sin of presumption – giving myself “permission” to crucify our Lord because He would forgive me anyway. I would turn inwards and dwell in shame and withdraw from people who could help me grow as a man. Instead, I grew older and older, but was still a boy.
I was undatable.
Seeing with New Eyes
For the longest time, I thought I could just suppress my desires to look at porn. I didn’t yet realize those desires were symptoms of something deeper. For the longest time, I thought that the deeper root was that I struggled to manage my frustrations and was caught in the cycle of living in a pity-party because life wasn’t turning out how I hoped, based on some wild expectations I had which were both unrealistic and bolstered by what I saw in pornographic images and videos. Now, however, I can see that the deeper root was that I was running from responsibility.
I’d make excuse after excuse for falling back into it, but the truth was that I didn’t want Jesus Christ enough. I didn’t want to love Him like I ought. I had become friends with the devil and was comfortable with him because he and his ways were familiar. Sure, I did a lot of Catholic-looking things, but behaviors alone do not point to a virtuous heart. That’s where I had it backwards: Catholic-looking behaviors do not necessitate a virtuous heart, but a virtuous heart will necessarily (eventually) bring about Catholic-looking behaviors.
Again, I was undatable.
I was blind to the idea that I was not ready for a relationship, even though I was clearly not able to give of myself in a way befitting of future spousalship. As I ran from my responsibility to love and lead as I ought, in the ways of faith and of spiritual protection for myself and a future family, I projected my disappointment that people wouldn’t conform to my fantasies. Anyone who was less than pornographically-perfect was never good enough, according to my then idealist, “perfectionist,” and hyper-distorted understanding of relationships.
I was indeed, undatable. Ladies, please take my advice. Even though I was Rosary in-hand, and accessing the Sacraments, I was still in bondage. All of the Catholic-looking behaviors in the world could never counter the effect of the then-unhealed wounds which influenced me to hate myself (and my future family) enough to use pornography and turn away from God’s call to chastity and holiness.
However, thank God for restoration.
Cooperation with God’s grace has brought contrition of heart, true repentance, and ongoing conversion. Most importantly, it has brought me to accept responsibility for my own actions. It helped me prioritize holy friendships and increased accountability with other men. It has helped me prioritize the will of God above the pursuit of comfort, which has brought about the healing of wounds, and an increased desire to conform my heart to Christ on the Cross.
Porn counters this in every way.
Ladies, do not settle.
Hudson Byblow is a Catholic speaker, author, and consultant who lives in the Midwest where he has a career in education. He has presented at National and International conferences in the United States and Canada and also presents to clergy, schools, and parishes. Additionally, Hudson serves as a consultant to various Catholic agencies, speakers, and educators. His website is www.hudsonbyblow.com and he can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.