Q. I've recently become a Christian and now I'm praying that my husband will, too. We've had a rocky marriage, but the most stable part of it has been our sex life. Unfortunately, our sex life was pretty adventurous, involving toys and some porn. Now I'm trying to get up the nerve to tell him I don't want to do those things anymore. I'm afraid it'll make him resent my faith and that it'll take away the one point of connection that's been really good for us. What should I do? Are those sexual "helps" really so bad?
A. Louis: I've often wondered what percentage of adult men became Christians because of the love and prayers of a woman. It was true for my own father. After about 35 years of Mom's patient acceptance and persistent prayers, he finally responded to God's Spirit and her love. I'm glad you're praying for your husband and assume that maintaining and improving your marriage is going to remain a high priority for you.
Many newly converted Christian wives have to live with all sorts of "pre-Christian" behaviors as part of their relationship and to win their husbands to the Lord. I know that the pain of being "unequally yoked with an unbeliever" can be consuming. It's hard to balance your own obedience with Paul's admonition for a wife to remain faithful and by her manner to attract her husband to Jesus (1 Cor. 7:11-14).
Let me affirm your instinctive reaction that sexual toys and porn have no place in the believer's sex life. The practice of using sex toys and porn to enhance eroticism is not ideal and is not without definite dangers. In our counseling practice, Melissa and I are seeing increasing numbers of individuals of both sexes who have become seriously addicted to pornographic stimulation. This tends to erode marital intimacy, create mistrust and a sense of betrayal, and often leads to a broader exploration of sex—including even extramarital encounters. These possibilities are emotionally and relationally destructive, eroding your self-respect and your mutual trust and pleasure. They are also physically destructive. These days, sexually transmitted diseases have reached epidemic proportions. HIV, human papilloma virus, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect about 50 percent of adults in the U.S. and even greater percentages in many other countries. Condoms do not (I repeat, do not) provide reliable protection.1