Several years ago I met Pete in a men's Bible study. One day, in a moment of candor, Pete admitted that he struggled with pornography. His wife, Jenny, had confronted him after discovering a stash of magazines. At first he dismissed her accusations. "This is no big deal," he said. "Why are you upset?"
"Because we're married," Jenny calmly explained through her tears. "I love you. I'm here for you. You don't need these other women."
"But they're just pictures!" he protested. "They mean nothing to me."
"Then give them up," Jenny pleaded.
But my friend didn't. Pete simply did a better job of hiding the evidence. Once I became aware of his struggle, I occasionally asked him how he was doing, and every time he would say he had the problem under control. But gradually I saw him less and less frequently as he stopped attending the men's group.
Pete's wife was right to be concerned, for over time her husband's problems increased. He started calling 900 numbers and visiting strip clubs. When Jenny discovered the evidence on credit card bills, they had a far greater confrontation. Despite her evidence, Pete refused to admit he had a problem or get help.
So what did Jenny do? She picked a fight.
The Model for Marriage
If we're serious about having a Christian marriage, then sometimes the best thing we can do is fight. After all, it's God's way. If that sounds strange, perhaps it's because we forget that God is married. He calls himself a husband to Israel. He refers to the church as the Bride of Christ. God has remained faithful to his marriage vows despite centuries of heartache. But that doesn't mean he's been complacent. He has fought hard for his beloved.1