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Should My Boyfriend's Porn Addiction Be a Relationship Deal-Breaker?

Lindsey Wagstaffe

Lindsey Wagstaffe | 07.22.13
Twitter: @Lindzelia

42 comments

Already married and dealing with your husband's porn addiction? Catch Pam and Tony Vuke's story, "Rebuilding After Pornography," today through Thursday on Revive Our Hearts.

When I was a little girl, I heard a frightening parable about an Indian who had been displaced from his land. The new settlers told him he could choose one cornfield on the reservation to make his own. So the Indian walked the length of the reservation all day, examining each cornfield individually—and finding something to be dissatisfied about with each plot of land.

By the time the sun set, he had reached the outer limits of the reservation—but he still had not made his choice. He turned around to go back and choose, but all the cornfields had already been taken, and there was nothing left for him and his family. When I grew up, I thought I was the Indian and marriage was a cornfield.

The lesson from the parable had been as plain as it was haunting: Don't be too selective, or you'll be left with nothing. Both my great-aunts died as old maids. I heard they had been given ample opportunities to marry—but they were said to be proud women who simply never found a man "good enough" for them. I was chilled.

No one is perfect but Jesus. I'll be the first to remind myself and other single women that we need to take all our expectations and dreams about marriage and lay them at Jesus' feet, saying, "Not what I will, but what You will. Let my will be Yours." We desperately need God to make us women full of grace, viewing ourselves and others from the angle of humility.

And yet, dear friend, choosing a husband is still nothing like choosing a cornfield. I say this as a single woman who deeply desires to marry and raise a family who loves Jesus. I also say this as a woman who has been given opportunities to marry and has chosen No through many tears. I understand the aching fear that settles in late at night when you wonder again if your hope was unrealistic. What if you've passed by the best love from a man that you'll ever be given?

Single men who are pursuing Jesus with abandon are not extinct. But compared against the plethora of available Christian men, they're certainly less common. And in our sex-saturated culture, the virtues of faithfulness and chastity do not tend to thrive in the heart of man who is not pursuing Jesus with abandon.

Enter pornography, one of the most common addictions within the church.

John Piper Answers My Question about Pornography

"For nearly every man who regularly views pornography, there is likely a wife or girlfriend experiencing the fallout resulting from his choices." –Vicki Tiede

Porn is the new normal. Although the effects of a husband's addiction to pornography are broad and devastating, this is the sobering refrain I've heard shattered girlfriends repeat:

"Every Christian man fails here. I think it's just something we have to understand and accept."

Marriage is a sacred covenant, designed by God to be a breathtaking portrait of the gospel (Ephesians 5). If He calls us to marry men who have sinned with pornography in the past, it will be our privilege to drench them with the same grace God has drenched us with—and it will be our joy to recognize the power of God to restore what has been broken. As we think through this topic biblically, we need to understand that we all stand on equal ground at the foot of the cross. We have all been forgiven much (Luke 7:36–50), and those of us who do not have a history with porn are not better than those of us who do. If the gospel is true, then there is no room for self-righteousness in this conversation.

If He calls us to marry men who have sinned with pornography in the past, it will be our privilege to drench them with the same grace God has drenched us with.

But when the man you're thinking about marrying has a current, habitual lust/porn problem, there's a ball in your court. It isn't in the past yet. You aren't his wife. You have a choice.

Although I'm currently single, I want to be well-prepared to approach this difficult choice compassionately when it arises in my own life or in the lives of women God brings to me for counsel. So I emailed Pastor John Piper with the following question, speaking on behalf of many other single women who desire to navigate the dating years ahead with both grace and realistic wisdom:

Should the present presence of pornography in a man's life be a marriage deal-breaker for single women like me?

Pastor John answered my question with power, discernment, and hope. His answer made me cry toward the end, and I believe that you will be similarly encouraged by his answer.

The full audio is well worth your time.

Click here to listen




I've written a recap of his response below:

What is pornography?

  • Pornography is looking at or fantasizing about nude women other than your wife.

Why is it wrong?

  • To use pornography is to hate women and enjoy their degradation. It is unloving.
  • Pornography endorses, helps, and approves of behaviors that destroy men and women.
  • Pornography is adulterous. It pursues physical pleasures designed by God for marriage.
  • Pornography is destructive to a man's capacity to love a woman purely, for herself rather than for her body.
  • Pornography trains a man's mind and body to be less content with the body of the real woman God gives him.
  • Pornography withers trust. A woman needs to be able to trust her husband, and pornography profoundly compromises that trust.
  • Pornography is destructive to a man's soul. His capacity to see and worship God in His glory is shriveled.
  • While he is in bondage to this sin, he cannot see God, delight in God, and treasure God the way God should be seen, delighted in, and treasured.

Can a man have regular triumph over pornography?

  • Yes. We've set our expectations for men too low.
  • Christian men are not victims or dogs in heat. They are created in the image of God and they have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, and self-control. The word for self-control in Galatians 5:22–23 usually refers to sexuality.

If he doesn't have regular triumph, should this be a deal-breaker?

  • When Jesus is a man's treasure—not just a doctrine, but Lord and Friend and Savior—he will not continually demean and hate women and confirm their destruction through his choices.
  • He will not continually shrink his soul's ability to savor God.
  • He will not continually defile his capacity to love his present or future wife.
  • He will not be continually committing adultery in his heart.
  • Yes, this should be a deal-breaker. A man who is walking closely with Jesus cannot simultaneously be in bondage to lust. Don't lower the bar.

Thank you so much, Pastor John, for your discernment and encouragement.

Friends, let's press close into Christ's love. And if marriage is His desire for our lives, let's trust God to be in the process of purifying the hearts and minds of the men we someday choose to marry.

Will you be narrowing your options if you choose not to marry unless it is to a man who is walking closely with Jesus? Yes. But—unlike the story of the Indian and the cornfield, where he was left with nothing after rejecting perfectly good plots of land—we will never be left with nothing. Married or single, we have the unmatchable promise of God Himself as our "portion." When we look to Him to fulfill our heart's deepest longings, we will never be disappointed. Instead, our hearts can leap in agreement with David in Psalm 16:

"The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
"I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
"Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (vv. 5–11)

Topics: Relationships with Others

Comments

  1. Thank You!
    maryannhowitson.com
    posted by Mary Ann
    on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 9:28 am
  2. One of the most painful moments in my life was when I had to break off an engagement because the Christian man I had known for years and was now planning to marry confessed that he was currently addicted to pornography. He refused to seek counseling, refused to postpone the wedding. He seemed to think that since he told me and a few other men in his life who would "hold him accountable" that we could just press on with a wedding a few months from that time. It was so devastating to find this out, but I am so thankful that he told me and that the Lord gave me the strength to choose to walk away from someone who was still in the clutches of porn addiction. I have since married someone else and have two children. My prayers for my ex-fiancée have always been that he would overcome porn thru the power of Christ and go on to live a Godly life.
    posted by charity
    on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm
  3. I am so glad you're tackling this question. I've mentored a young woman on this particular issue and counseled her in the same direction -- the response to the present influences the decision when a past commitment has not been made. I'll be sharing this post with others!
    http://www.moretobe.com
    posted by Elisa
    on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm
  4. I believe an untreated pornography addiction should be a deal breaker for marriage. However, a humble penitent Christian man who is willing to do whatever it takes to break a pornography addiction can recover fully, but not without much effort and much help from God and others.

    If a man demonstrates commitment to healing by seeking help every day, then he can overcome the addiction and make a great husband and father. Evidence of humbly seeking healing is vital. He should be seeking both professional and pastoral help. I've found the following to be helpful as I've helped people overcome pornography problems:

    12-step programs help but tend to have a high relapse rate.
    Cognitive behavior programs, such as Power Over Pornography, work well with lower relapse rates.
    Christian counseling helps.
    http://www.amazon.com/Power-Over-Pornography-Overcoming-ebook/dp/B008RCDDCA
    posted by Brian
    on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm
  5. I am in a relationship with a man who has in the past struggled with porn. When we first started getting to know each other he was still struggling with this addiction, but for the past 6th months there have been no occurrences. In the last couple of weeks there have been 2 or 3 more loses. He admits that it's wrong, and is seeking guidance/counseling for it. (He has been for years now even before we met). He has handed his computer over to his mentors for a time. He knows that it is wrong, and tells me that I deserve better. We have talked about getting married this summer, but is this a deal-breaker? He has been and is seeking freedom from this for years now, and this year he is finally receiving some victory from it. I honestly love him, but following the Lord is my priority. What is your advice?
    posted by Elyse
    on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12:31 am
  6. @Elyse...I know this is a heart-breaking situation. I would encourage you to continue on with right-thinking. Don't follow your heart on this one; but follow wisdom from the Lord. It might well be painful, but the consequences of going your own way could well bring a lifetime of heartache.

    Listen to the audio link above. Then prayerfully go before the Lord with each point Lindsey has posted. God will lead you; He promises to do so in Psalm 32:8-- "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."

    I am praying for you, Elyse, that God will give you strength and wisdom. Thank you for asking for input in your life.
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm
  7. Thank you so much for writing this. Young women will most definitely face this issue and there is still not enough guidance or discussion in church about this. Please take it from me and from many many other women who I know who have been married or who are still married to men who insist on pornography - You are drawing the right conclusion. I have seen and heard about many women's struggles to convince their husbands that their self-worth and feelings on this subject matter and they are only responded to with disregard and being put down. Women deal with a decreasing confidence and self-worth when their husbands insist that it's the woman's problem to deal with. Some women even end up struggling with PTSD symptoms as they lose trust and feel always vulnerable, suspicious and in a state of worry after stumbling across this when they don't expect to find it. I married a Christian man. We had discussed pornography prior to marriage. He said we were both on the same page with it. I found porn several years in and was soon told that he just said we were on the same page before marriage because he wanted to marry me but he never believed it was wrong. He said I had an insecurity problem and needed to get over it and that he had been watching all along and that it was none of my business. He ended up divorcing me just because of porn, even after all that we had been through. When I looked back over the years, so many things made sense to me then. He had become critical of how I looked, did things in bed that I didn't understand why as they were on the verge of violent and demeaning. He kept telling me that I should look a certain way for him. And all of these things had been chipping at my esteem because I felt like he was not happy with me as I was. I realize now all these requests came from porn. I wish I had a better outlook for you, but I tell my nieces, and truly mean it, that the years of repair it is taking for my esteem and confidence due to this convinces me that I would definitely rather be single and living as the full person I was intended to be than to be married to a man with even a slightest interest in porn. I've seen so many women become a shell of who they were meant to be because of it. The more frequently that women can stand up for what they need and what is right, is the only way that society might reconsider promoting porn the way it does. I encourage more women to talk about this and to be vocal about it and to not just look the other way. This does not even have to be a religious issue. It is about treating women with equal respect as men. We are not things, as society is trying to convince everyone that we are.
    posted by Kim
    on Friday, December 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm
  8. Kim,

    I wish all could see how painful porn is to everyone involved. Thank you for sharing your experience so others can learn from it.

    Noel
    posted by noel
    on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm
  9. Hi. I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 8 months. We are both Christians and love the Lord. I love him so much. We just recently looked at wedding rings recently. Life had been good until he confessed he had kept something from me. After making it through that conversation, yesterday he showed up at my apt to tell me that he had something else he wasn't honest about. About a month into us dating he told me he'd had a problem with porn but that he would not do it anymore. I expressed how I was not ok with that at all and would not stand for that to continue while we were together. Yesterday, he tells me up until a month ago he had been looking it off and on. He apologized over and over saying that was the last time. I forgave him and I prayed for him. He's ready to move on and I'm left here with hurt, disappointment, diminished trust. Because her did it while we were dating, even kissing him to a point turns me off somewhat. I don't know what to do. :/ I trust God has a plan for us but not sure how to handle this in the meantime. Even though he says a month ago was the last time, I know how addiction work. Advice?
    posted by Sarah
    on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 8:30 am
  10. @Sarah …My heart goes out to you. Looking at rings with a young man indeed shows that you have both begun to commit your hearts to each other. But, let me remind you—you are not too far in this relationship to reconsider where you want to place your heart and what you want to do about the life-long commitment of marriage that you would make.

    I will say to you as I did to Elyse above—as heart-breaking as it would be to re-consider whether to stay in the relationship, you must do just that. Don't follow your heart on this one; but follow wisdom from the Lord. Knowing the way this has hurt you in a dating relationship, recognize how painful it would be in a marriage relationship—where you have made a covenant for a life-long relationship.

    Did you have opportunity to listen to the audio by John Piper above? It will be very helpful to you. Listen to the link. Then prayerfully go before the Lord. Open your heart to hear His voice. He will direct you, Sarah. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) At the least, should you decide to stay, put your wedding plans far enough in the future that you will be able to know if there is a pattern of victory and a heart set on a deepening relationship with the Lord that gives that victory.

    I consider it a privilege to pray for you tonight, Sarah. I pray you will have clear direction and peace as you seek the Lord and search for His heart on what you should do. Blessings to you; may you know a more intimate relationship with Jesus because of your pressing hard into Him at this time. “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Ps 91:4)
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 9:13 pm
  11. Hello, tonight I found myself in a nearly similar situation as Sarah. While we have not gone ring shopping, he made his intentions clear that we would be dating for marriage and that he wanted a Christ-centered relationship. We are both Christians, but I wouldn't say our relationship has been Christ-centered. His heart seems contrite. He acknowleges that pornography is wrong, feels terrible after the fact, and acknowledges that he needs God's and my help to overcome this addiction.

    Thank you so much for your post and feedback. Would you please pray for me as well--for discernment and that God's grace would envelop he and I as we move forward in our relationship, truly making it Christ centered as we work together for victory? I apologize in advance. This is not my best writing. It's almost 3am and my thoughts are racing.
    posted by Erin
    on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 3:48 am
  12. @ Erin: It’s been my honor to pray for you today, Erin. I know how devastating it can be to hear that someone we love is addicted to porn. I encourage you to step back, slow down, evaluate what is going on and follow God’s leading in this relationship. Your boyfriend needs the accountability of another godly man as he works to overcome his addiction. There are internet filters available to put on his computer that will alert his accountability partner of what he is viewing online. He can be actively working to overcome this sin. I encourage you to share John Piper’s podcast in this blog with him as a means to open the conversation and discuss what he needs to do to overcome. He certainly does need God’s help and also your prayers for him. But he also needs another godly man’s accountability - someone whose emotions aren’t invested and can ask him the hard questions that he needs.

    I’ve asked God to give you clear direction and the ability to work together to keep Christ the center of not only your relationship but also your lives. Nothing is too hard for God (Jer. 32:17). He is able to do far more than we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). May He work a miracle in your boyfriend’s life and may He pour out His grace on both of you as you seek to honor Him above all else.

    Standing in His Grace,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm
  13. Hello,
    I have watched the video and read a lot of the posts above and find myself in a situation I was not prepared to be in. My fiance told me yesterday that he is addicted to porn and/or masturbation. (I am not sure exactly what the difference would be?) We are both Christians and have been seeking to center our relationship on the Lord throughout our relationship. We had a conversation before where he told me that he watched porn periodically, but not often and I made my opinion about this very clear. It has not come up again since, until yesterday.

    Honestly I'm not sure what to do or think. It doesnt help that he is in the military and overseas so we are unable to really talk deeply about this.

    He has told me that only one or two people are aware of his addiction and that it is a sin he has struggled with for a long time, first being exposed to video porn when he was in the 7th grade.

    I am torn. I feel lied to and at the same time I understand how difficult it can be to admit to a sin, especially if it is a continued struggle. I myself have a past that is far less than perfect and in no way want to find myself being judgemental or inconsiderate of his situation.

    Please, I really just needed a place to vent and to ask for some prayers! I don't feel like this is something I am ready to talk about with anyone and appreciate any advice or encouragment you may have.
    posted by Liz
    on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm
  14. Dear Liz.

    My heart hurts for you and for your boyfriend this morning, Liz. Sin brings such destruction and devastation to the life of joy and beauty the Savior purchased for us as His children. I understand a bit of the devastation you’re feeling as you've learned of your boyfriend’s addiction.

    Because of Jesus it is possible to experience freedom from pornography. But that freedom will be gained through a journey of choices that this young man will need to make over the next several years. You might encourage him to connect with Pure Life Ministries (http://www.purelifeministries.org). Though written for wives, I think you would find help and greater understanding through the articles and resources on their site under “Helping Hurting Wives”.

    This 3 minute clip may also be helpful to you, Liz (http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/why-pornography-robs-a-man-of-his-humanness).

    I am praying for you both this morning, precious friend.

    I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand. Do not fear. I will help you; though you stumble you will not fall for I the Lord uphold you with my hand. So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed or anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Is. 41:13; Ps. 37:24; Is 41:10).

    Grace and peace,
    Carrie
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 11:54 am
  15. I met my boyfriend around year ago and never felt such a connection with an individual. We both strive to walk closely with Christ and stay true to each other in the relationship. Things have gotten pretty serious, and we were discussing a future together.
    Around two weeks ago, he confessed that a two times he has come very close to watching porn. I prayed with him and encouraged him to seek help. Tonight he has confessed out of nowhere that he was not completely honest with me and said the "close calls" had occurred multiple times within the last month. I am heartbroken. I am fighting Satan's lies that the only reason he watched porn was because I was not good enough (a hard thing to fight).
    Basically, what do I do? I know to pray and use the wisdom of the Lord. My boyfriend seems to be actively seeking help, but it is so difficult to wait for someone who has betrayed you.
    It is almost not him watching porn that has me so disturbed, but the lying that has taken place. I understand that there is an amount of shame, but I would rather not keep randomly finding things out. Sorry this is so long, I just do not know what to do..
    posted by Emily
    on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 11:36 pm
  16. Emily,

    It took great courage for your boyfriend to confess his sin to you and then to come back again and honestly tell you the magnitude of his sin. It sounds like he is getting the help he needs to begin to fight this fight. Overcoming a sexual addiction is not an easy thing to do. I encourage you to share with him how you feel and what you need from him - in relation to being honest and transparent in this battle with you. You need to choose to forgive him of this sin and then, if God leads, you can choose to travel on in reestablishing trust with him. That trust will build over time as you experience his honesty and as you see him making headway in his battle with porn. Shame may have led him to lie, but he needs to know how vital his honesty and your ability to trust him to tell the truth is in your relationship going forward.

    You are wise to battle the lies of the enemy. Stay in the Word, my friend! Your boyfriend’s battle with porn has nothing to do with you or your being good enough. If you see a future ahead of you with this man, I encourage you and your boyfriend to find an older godly couple and ask them to walk with you through this trial in your relationship. They need to know what you are struggling with and what your hopes and dreams are for the future. They can meet with you, pray with you, encourage you and ask you the hard questions as you go forward. Will you pray about this and talk together with your boyfriend about doing this? It may be difficult at first, but bringing your struggles out into the light and having the support of another couple in these difficult days will be a huge blessing to your relationship in the long run.

    I’m praying for you today and asking God to guide you and give you the desire to forgive and the wisdom and discernment you need going forward. I’ve asked Him that if this relationship is to continue that He will do far more than we can ask and think in the healing and restoration of the trust you need between you. I’ve prayed for your boyfriend for continued healing from this and I encourage you to continue to pray for him as well.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
  17. I just recently ended my relationship for a few different reasons, porn being the main one. My boyfriend was publicly following many pornography accounts on social media. When I confronted him he didn't think it was a big deal and could not give me the answers I was looking for. I also broke up with him because while we were together I didn't feel like he was the right guy for me . He is a nice guy but the porn is a deal breaker for me , especially when he doesn't actively seek help or try to help himself. He has experienced tragic loss in his like and I can't help but hurt for him. I don't know what else I can do for him besides pray. Even though I believe he's not right for me, my heart still hurts for him. I know how widespread this issue is and coming from a family of divorce, I'm trying hard to continue to be hopeful and trusting that ther Lord has someone out there for me. Any advice?
    posted by Lee
    on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm
  18. Dear Lee,

    Though I’m sure it was painful to end this relationship, you did the right thing. I’m proud of you, Lee.

    Yes, continue to pray that this young man will be set free from the captivity of this sin. And press in hard to the Lord in these days. Saturate your heart and mind in His precious Word. He will bring healing and wholeness to your broken heart.

    If you’re interested in working through the book of Philippians I’d be happy to send you a copy of a Bible Study I wrote entitled Joy In the Midst. I think you’ll find it helpful to you in this season. You may email me at info@reviveourhearts.com with your contact information to receive this resource.

    Grace and peace to you today, Lee ~
    Carrie
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm
  19. My heart is breaking as I listen to the podcast (thank you so much for posing that question... I needed to hear such wise and kind counsel) and as I read through the many tear-laden comments left here. I am in the same situation as many. A few years back, I broke off an engagement to a man that I'd dated for many years after he confessed that he couldn't claim God and this faith for himself, but only to the extent that it would allow him to remain with me. With great sorrow, I ended things with him and later found the man that I am with now. We've been together for four years, having grown together, changed together, and seen each other through the best and the worst of times. About a year ago, he confessed his problem with watching pornography, lusting after other women, and making regular visits to strip clubs and massage parlors. For a year, I've been his main accountability partner, having prayed for him, forgiven him time and time again, and even installed software into his computer that would disallow him from hiding his browsing history. I believe there is real repentance each time he confesses, but it has been nearly a year since he confessed and we are now at the point (and age) where we feel we need to reconsider our relationship in light of his besetting habits. We are now in the middle of a period of separation, during which we promised to intentionally and prayerfully seek His will for our relationship. I am deeply grateful that he sees the destructiveness of it and does not attempt to underestimate the gravity of this sin, but I am torn. Should I remain with a man who shows deep regret and desire to heal and claim victory over this sin, yet falls time and time again? Or do I make the hard decision and leave him because each instance threatens to shatter the image, identity, and safety I have for my heart in the love of God? Much as I know that God brought him to my life for a season, I can't imagine that He would want me to marry a man who exposes me to such hurt and insecurity, even if he is deeply sorrowful about it. I've been praying and praying for nearly a month, trying to discern His will - should I stay or should I leave? - and I'm fighting the fear that I have with either option. Please, please pray for me!
    posted by Jane
    on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 9:55 pm
  20. Jane,

    How our hearts break to hear of the pain you are going through! We are thankful that God brought you to our blog and allowed you to hear the godly wisdom shared by John Piper. It has been our honor to pray for you and for your friend today.

    While we cannot tell you what to do, it comforts us to know that God is faithful and He will lead you in the way that He would have you go. There is a way through this and we are thankful to know that God is walking with you each step of the way (Is. 43:1-3a). Your friend needs help as sexual addictions are very difficult to break in our own strength. He needs a godly man to be his accountability partner. Men are able to ask the hard questions and hold each other accountable in ways that our emotions don’t allow us to as women. Would you consider sharing with him these websites? http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com and http://www.purelifeministries.org/. If he is serious about overcoming this sin, he can find help at these sites.

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss interviewed Dr. Ed Welch on a program about addictions. You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/q8bvgem. We are praying that God will use the information in this series as He guides you in your next steps.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:43 am
  21. I found this posting after scouring the web for comfort and answers to my loneliness and overall distrust in my boyfriend of three years. He told me a few months ago that he had been struggling with porn and that he was really trying to stop. I've never cried so hard in front of him and he told me that seeing me hurt was enough for him to stop. For some reason I don't believe him. I don't trust that I am enough for him to stop because I know that sin can only be defeated by the love of Christ. This man loves God and fears Him. But this is a sin that I'm afraid will consume our relationship until I can be healed and can trust my boyfriend again. There are so many nights where I toss and turn hoping that he is not going through the motions again. I don't want to make him feel condemned or judged so I've stopped asking him how he's doing with his struggle. It's been a few months since we've talked about it but I've been inside my head so much that I'm ready to give him an ultimatum and end things if he doesn't change. Thinking that way makes me feel guilty for being judgmental or ungracious. But I can't deal with it. I know in my heart that I would never be able to deal with it if we got married. It would destroy us. I don't know where to go from here. I don't know how to help him and when enough is enough. How do I keep us honest?
    posted by Lindsey
    on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 3:57 am
  22. Lindsey,

    It is difficult for a woman to hold a man accountable in the area of porn because our emotions are so much a part of who we are. That’s how God created us. It is important for your boyfriend to find an older godly man who can meet with him, encourage him and hold him accountable by asking the hard questions that he needs to hear.

    We appreciate his desire to stop viewing porn, but sexual sins are difficult to overcome by an act of will. Often outside help is needed. Since it’s been a few months since you have talked, it might warrant having another heart-to-heart with him. Pray about this and ask God to provide the opportunity for you to talk when you can be open and honest but also have your emotions under control.

    Share how this knowledge has affected you, your emotions, your ability to sleep, your peace of mind. Ask him how he is doing. Then if he acknowledges that he is still struggling, let him know that until he gets help, you need to take a time of separation in your relationship. Assure him of your care for him and your continued prayers, but that you care enough for him that you are willing to step back from your relationship until he gets the help he needs to overcome this addiction.

    This is going to call for some tough love, Lindsey. From your comment, it sounds like your heart is in the right place. You care for him and his struggles and your heart is for him to get the help he needs so your relationship can be healed and restored. God is bigger than his addiction (1 Jn. 4:4) and God does always provide a way out of temptation (1 Cor.10:13). Nothing is too hard for God (Jer. 32:17-19). I’m praying for you and your boyfriend and asking God to work a miracle and provide victory as you both turn to Him for your direction, guidance and peace.

    You might find some guidance and encouragement by listening to Dr. Ed Welch talk about addictions in a series on Revive Our Hearts. You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/q8bvgem.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 11:57 am
  23. I feel so bad right now. I never thought that my fiancé will have a problem with porn. I new he sometimes watched but I didn't think this like a big problem until now. We are both Christians. We had a mission trip in cambodia. I know that cambodia is struggling with sex trafficking, I choose this place because those girls move my heart. And im sure even the heart of my fiance. But .... after 2 days we came back I saw the history of the computer browser and he had wrote "Cambodia hot girls" now I just want to die. I don't have any one to tell this. Im discussed and confused. I have 5 days I don't speak to him. He cried in front of my he said I ask God forgiveness I let my curiosity became a sin. But I don't belive him anymore. Even if he feels sorry and he will never doit again how can I trust him again. I want it to go to cambodia for long mission after we get married, but how can we go now :(
    posted by Maria
    on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm
  24. Maria,

    I am so sorry. My heart aches for the pain you're going through. I understand! I too had planned to do overseas missions with the man I was going to marry.

    It doesn't sound like your fiancé has experienced enough healing to be involved in the fight against sex trafficking. Pornography is, in and of itself, closely related to (and often overlaps with) sex trafficking. It would be dangerous for him to be involved in a ministry of that nature at this point.

    I believe it would be unwise to simply receive a promise of "I'll never do it again". What measures has he taken to fight it? Who is providing discipleship for him, and holding him accountable? Marriage is established on trust, and trust is not blind; it requires evidence of trustworthiness. Has he consistently displayed repentance and evidence of trustworthiness? I would never advise anyone to enter marriage without knowing that their fiancé was trustworthy, and that he had established a track record of faithfulness to the covenant of marriage by taking drastic measures to protect his eyes and fight lust in his heart.

    Please consider confiding in a mentor who shares the same high standards John Piper described in his answer to me.

    I have asked God to give you courage, Maria! He is your Portion, and He will carry you through this trial. (Psalm 73:26) James 1:5 promises that He will give wisdom generously to all those who ask. Ask Him for wisdom, Maria! He will show you what to do.

    With love,
    Lindsey
    posted by Lindsey W
    on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm
  25. I'm not an adult I'm only 16 but I have this problem too. I have a boyfriend, both of us are Christians and we have been together over a year after being friends for a while. A few months after we got together he admitted to me he was only about 11 or 12. He cried while my shell-shocked self tried to comfort him. I had never been more mind-blown or shattered. I never saw it coming. I couldn't break up with him, not after seeing him so helpless and realizing he was still the same person; I just now saw the real flaw of this person. But honestly it kills me I do love him but it sort of this tortuous thing where when I don't think about it everything is fine but when I do I'm up all night on the verge of tears. I can't talk to anyone for a mixture of embarrassment and a promise I made to not tell anyone his secret. Whenever the topic comes up he becomes distant, frustrated, and I catch tears rolling down his face. He claims he has tried to stop but gets discouraged every time he caves. I become afraid to approach the topic because it instantly sobers any kind of happiness and I feel terrible for ruining a perfectly good day by remind him of it. He honestly believes he can't move forward and I don't know what to do! I'm only a kid but I still have feeling as strong as anyone! And honestly this just tears me apart when I begin to think about it. How do I keep him from giving up? How do deal with this myself?
    posted by Marie
    on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm
  26. Ah Lindsey!

    We can't talk with anyone about this problem because in the country we live this is a very big shame. Even if I break up wirh him is a big shame for my family toi because my fiancé has a good testimoni and I can't say I broke up with him because he as e sex problem.. He is one of the liders of his church also. In this situation is just me and him. We planed to get married on may but I will wait more. all my life I though I have a call on mission, an my fiancé too, this is the reason why I choose him but now I don't understand why God gave me peace when I was praying for him and know happe. We can't tell to others even to pray for us because I'm ashamed. I have two choices to break up with him or to help him before we get married but I don't even know how.

    Thank you very much.
    you haven't idea how good make me feel you answer

    God bless you on this mission you have
    posted by Maria
    on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 2:32 am
  27. @Marie...I am sorry to hear you are having to deal with such heartache at such a young age. You are right; you are just a kid and have feelings, and this is too much for you. You are not going to like what I have to say, but you must tell an adult--even though you promised not to tell his secret. There are some things that don't fit right in the story, and you need a mature person, preferably your mom and/or dad, to help you bring this relationship to a close. Girls are generally more mature than guys at your age, and boys his age are generally less mature. Get some help in dealing with this.

    His crying when you talk with him so that you quiet the conversation, is immaturity at best, and manipulative behavior at worst. This relationship will not get better; you will find yourself in greater heartache as the months go on. Do what is right, and talk with your parents, your youth leader or Sunday School teacher, or a counselor at school. Get wise counsel in what to say and how to handle this.

    Let me encourage you to join in our young girls' blog at www.lywb.com. You will find much help in establishing godly relationships that bring a lot of joy, blessing and peace. I think you'll like it!
    posted by Sarah, with the TW Team
    on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm
  28. I am so grateful for this blog post, all of the conversations that it has started, and all of the hearts that it has stirred!

    I hope and pray that someone will read my comment and be spared from the pain that I have gone through as a newlywed, and also know that there is such hope in Christ!

    My husband confessed to me just a few weeks into our marriage that he was actively addicted to pornography, and had still been watching it during our marriage. We had several conversations about his addiction before getting married, and he deceived me, our pre-marital counselor, my parents and his parents into thinking he had been walking in consistent victory.

    My husband is repentant, he brought his sin into the light and we are making steps to rebuild: counseling, web safety, and accountability for him as well through godly men. However, it is a huge thing to be married to someone with an active addiction. It is not something to be taken lightly, and I would not recommend that anyone - given a choice - do it. I was not given the choice, as I was deceived by my husband. I have forgiven him for that, and God is graciously carrying me through this time.

    God's grace is sufficient to bring us through any trial, and he has grown me so much in the past months. I continue to see how he is working in me and in my husband. However, I would tell any woman reading this that if you have a choice, you should break off a relationship with a man who is actively addicted to pornography. Until he has consistently walked in victory without you in his life, you should not intentionally place yourself in the situation I am in.
    posted by Rachel
    on Monday, December 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm
  29. Rachel,

    Thank you for your transparency in sharing the heartbreak of what is going on in your marriage. We pray that many women will listen and heed your warnings.

    We are so encouraged that you are getting wise counsel with your husband. May you continue to seek the Lord and see His hand in the growth of your life as you journey through this trial with your husband. We are trusting God for victory and healing for both of you. May God use this difficult time in your life as a living testimony to others of His power and His grace.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 11:36 am
  30. Hi,

    I have a godly man who is pursuing me. He is in seminary and really have seen that he is a man after God's own heart. He just confessed to me that he has been struggling with homosexual desires since the age 15 but the past few years it's been less and less. He has struggled with masturbation and pornography, but it's been less and less. These past few months, he has only done each once. He said this past year he has found more victory, and all through Christ, and His word. After seeking godly counsel, an older godly couple told me not to get into a relationship with him right now, that he needs years of victory. Other people told me that I should be able to show him grace. I'm confused, and really do like him. Thanks!
    posted by Lisa
    on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 1:45 am
  31. Dear Lisa,

    You are wise to seek counsel, Lisa. Sexual sins can be very difficult to overcome and it can take years. They can be areas that a person will battle with his entire life. But they are also areas where God will give healing and victory.

    There is nothing wrong with stepping back and slowing down in your relationship. This man should be actively getting the help he needs, establishing accountability with other godly men and doing practical things like protection on his computer/tablet. He needs to be right with God in these areas before he will be ready to be a spiritual leader to you and a congregation.

    Showing him grace can mean giving him space to work through these issues and gain victory before you go deeper in relationship with him. Please read through Rachel’s comment just above. Listen to the heart of a woman who has walked in your shoes. Take her counsel to heart.

    I know these are difficult days for you, Lisa. But I encourage you to step back and give space and grace as you wait and pray for his healing and his victory. I’m praying for you today and for the godly man you care about.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 11:24 am
  32. I have recently found out that my boyfriend has struggled with pornography for years. We haven't been together very long but we're very close and we had a lot of trust between us. I am the only person that knows about it and right now he isn't comfortable to share it with anyone else because he feels ashamed. He hates that he's let himself get addicted to pornography and he hates that he's hurt me. He has begun to fight his addiction by putting a filter on his computer and it has almost been a month since he's looked at pornography.

    I'm glad that he's taking steps to overcome his addiction especially because it has hurt me. I know that it has nothing to do with him being unsatisfied with our relationship and I know that he does think I'm beautiful, but it is difficult for me to have that same trust I did a few days ago. I know he doesn't want to tell anyone else because he is ashamed by what he's done, but I know that there is strength in numbers and that it would be best for him to confide in other men. I just don't know how to make him understand that.

    I don't want to break up with him because I love him and I do want to trust that he will be able to overcome this. But I also know that sometimes we hold on to things we should let go of. I've prayed a lot about what I should do, whether or not I should be together with him, and I'm still unsure about it.
    posted by MJ
    on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm
  33. MJ,

    Trust is something that will take time to re-establish with your boyfriend. I understand that he is feeling ashamed for his addiction. But at the same time, bringing that out into the light can help it to have less power over him. Sexual sins are very difficult to overcome on your own.

    I would encourage you to take some time away from your relationship. Let your boyfriend know that you do care for him and because you do care, you want to see him actively pursuing the help he needs to overcome this sin and this addiction. There is help out there for him – other men who have walked in his shoes and have been able to overcome with the help of others. Check out the website www.PureLifeMinistries.org.

    I’d also like to recommend this blog for you and for you to share with your boyfriend. Having a battle plan for a man to overcome addiction to pornography is crucial: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/why-pornography-robs-a-man-of-his-humanness

    I’m praying for you, MJ, and asking God to give you and your boyfriend the courage and the strength to do the hard thing in the days ahead – that God will truly bring victory in this area of his life. May God go before you and give you the clear direction He would have you follow in order to handle this tender situation in the best way possible.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm
  34. Hi my name is Girvan and I stumbled across your page. I am male married and struggled with pornography for the first 15 yrs of married life. Any woman thinking of marrying a man caught up in pornography MUST hold off until he gets clean. Pornography is an evil force straight from the pit of hell that neither partner is able to control or contain. The Lord was gracious with me and blessed myself and my wife Janice with a ministry at www.gen3x.org helping couples who are having to deal with this curse in their marriages.

    The sheer raw demonic power that consumes its viewrs is difficult to put intp words and this is what these guys are opening themseleves up to. Please feel free if you need to speak tp me or Janice.
    www.gen3x.org
    posted by Girvan Darragh
    on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 8:21 am
  35. Hi, I am a 33 year old woman. I was also pursued by a christian friend of mine about two years ago (when I was 31), who has been addicted to pornography since high school. He was 35 at the time. After much thought, I decided to end the relationship because of this. It was the most difficult and heartbreaking decision that I ever had to make.

    I decided to do my homework before I made a final decision to end the relationship. I did not simply want to overreact, judge him and end things prematurely. I wanted to make a wise, informed decision based on reality, truth and fact. I read everything I could find on porn addiction in order to educate myself, so that I could know what exactly I am dealing with. I also went to see 4 different specialists who works with people who struggle with this every day, in order to get their advice and perspective on it. Each one of them advised me not to be in a relationship where porn is an active, ongoing issue. I do trust their judgement, since they do have much more experience, in a professional capacity, than me in this regard. After much reading and research I came to the conclusion that this problem is not going to be solved quickly or easily. I will be a long, hard and difficult road to walk.

    At the time my friend was 35 and not close to a place where he was completely free from his addiction. I felt he had more than enough time to put this behind him, if he really wanted to. His actions and words over an 18 month period did not give me an indication that he is serious about giving it up. Instead he tried to convince me that a happy marriage with a porn addiction in the picture is possible.

    I also wondered the following, if he had not been able to put a porn addiction behind him in 15 years time, what guarantee do I have that he will be able to put it behind him now? And also, if he had not been able to put a porn addiction behind him for the sake of his own soul, his relationship with God, because of who he wants to be as a man and because it is the right thing to do, what guarantee do I have that he would do it now? None whatsoever.

    I found this whole situation extremely stressful and traumatizing. I was a happy, healthy, bubbly person who enjoyed life, but in a short period of time I became a shadow of the person I used to be. My family and friends became worried because I changed so much and it took a toll on my other relationships and friendships as well. I had symptoms of PTSD for quite some time. I became obsessed about porn addiction and about finding out everything I can about it, I could not stop reading, thinking or talking about it, I did not sleep or eat well, I stopped doing the things that I loved doing before, I became emotionally unstable and irrational, I felt intensely ashamed, angry, afraid and a million other emotions at once, I became emotionally drained and tired. I could not concentrate at work and the quality of my work was not as good as it was before. I started to second guess myself, my own judgement, him and everything about the relationship. I even wondered if I was the crazy one. I struggled to trust anything he said. It got to a point where I just could not take it anymore and I just wanted to be my happy self again. That's when I decided to end it for good. I had a little taste of what a relationship with a porn addict would be like and I know that the effect it had on me is more than I can handle. I am not strong enough to fight this battle with him.

    In the end I decided that I would rather be happy, healthy and whole and take the risk of (maybe) not meeting someone ever again, than living a life with the effect that this porn issue had on me.

    I do want to get married and have children one day and I do hope that God will bless me with a good husband, but I know my chances of it happening are very slim. I do not want a perfect man, but I do want a happy, healthy relationship and marriage, without porn, for the sake of my children.

    To the women under 30 who are facing the same problem I want to say, run like the wind girl!!! You are worth so much more in God's eyes and you have more than enough time to meet someone else. Just trust God and ask Him to bring the right person into your life.

    To the women who are 30 and older and tired of waiting for "it" to happen, you will need much discernment from God in order to determine if it is a serious long term addiction and if you would be able to cope over the long term with the added stress, pressure and problems that a life with porn addiction will bring.

    To everyone who is facing this, educate yourself about this problem before you decide to marry, so that you know exactly what you are in for. There is nothing worse than getting into a relationship and marriage and being "blindsided" or "surprised" by a problem of this magnitude. Try to make the best decision for yourself and the sake of you family, given your circumstances.

    May Jesus Christ be with you and guide you every step of the way. I bless you with Numbers 6:24-26

    Love and peace,
    Your sister in Christ
    posted by Amanda
    on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 10:14 am
  36. Ok so I loved the response to the question you asked from Piper. I am in a situation where a very nice, Godly young man, has asked to pursue a relationship with me. We have not started dating, but he did make it known to me, after he asked me out, that he struggles with porn. Since he asked me out he has decided to quit, he is done, he is resolved to take charge of it and end it. He has sought accountability and is feeling good about his choices. I know God is redemptive and He can help my friend. But I guess my question is, is there a time frame that should be set before I should even consider dating him? How long with no porn is "success"? I know it will always be a struggle, but do I need to wait 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years? I know it's my choice to not date him at all, but if I did, what standards should I look for or set?
    posted by California
    on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 2:05 am
  37. California,

    The fact that he has admitted his battle, is seeking accountability and making better choices is huge. I wish I could give you a time frame that you would need to follow to be sure he remains on the right track. But it is different with each individual. He has made a great start. I would encourage you to find out what he’s doing to battle this addiction - is he setting up internet protection, how often is he connecting with his accountability partner, what other things is he doing to establish healthy boundaries to battle this? Look at his choices of video/DVD. Are his choices changing and are they healthy? How is his walk with the Lord? Is he growing? What is God teaching him? Is he reaching out in service to others? Ask him to give you his accountability partner’s name so that you can ask him questions about how your friend is doing. He can give you a good idea of how the battle is going because as you said, it may be a lifelong struggle for him. But with God, he can gain victory over even this sin! Praying for you and him today.

    Serving Him,
    Lorree
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm
  38. Hello,

    I recently began courting a dear friend of mine. I am 19, and I have known this boy for over four years. He has been my best friend all that time and just last month, we decided to start courting. Before we started courting, he admitted to me about having an addiction to porn. He told me that he had had it for awhile, but that in recent months it had gotten better. He has tried everything to help and is currently trying everything to make sure that he does not look at it. He told me two weeks ago that he has had some of the biggest victories with it over the last few months, and although I was excited for him, I also feel a lot of hurt around it. I can honestly see myself marrying this man, but with the porn addiction thing, it kills me because I do not know what to do. I am very glad that he chose to share it with me long before we started courting, but it still seems to really hurt. He is a Christian, he loves the Lord and he hates that this addiction has not gone away because he knows it is wrong and he hates the fact feeling like he is dissapointing God. He knows my opinion on it and he knows that I hate it very much. I also want to be gracious to him for the work he has put in to fighting it, but at the same time, I don't know if there will be hurt from it later on...What should I do? I love this man, but it scares me to think that this could be a relationship breaker...
    posted by Clair
    on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm
  39. Dear Clair,

    My heart grieves with you tonight, dear friend, over the brokenness and pain caused by sin. I’m sorry for the hurt you are experiencing.

    Your friend’s honesty is a good first step, Clair. But there is yet much healing and restoration that must take place in his heart and mind. Encourage him to talk with his pastor or a leader in his church. Getting outside help and accountability is a must. You might suggest as well the resources of Pure Life Ministries ( http://purelifeministries.org/). They provide counseling as well as on-line resources.

    Don’t run past the “ caution flags”, Clair. You will never regret taking whatever time is needed for your friend to gain freedom from pornography on this side of marriage.

    Grace and peace,
    Carrie
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 10:00 pm
  40. Here's my new e-book for Christian single women about dating guys with a porn habit/addiction
    http://www.amazon.com/Porn-Your-Boyfriend-Kay-Bruner-ebook/dp/B01320FMVQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    www.kaybruner.com
    posted by Kay Bruner
    on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 1:24 pm
  41. Hello, writing this is very hard for me, I'm a christian girl striving to better myself. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 5years. Wen we used to have sex in the beginning of our relationship but then we decided to wait for marriage and we started praying and reading the bible together. We study in different cities so we skype alot But my problem is wen he comes to visit me he wants to sleep with me and wen I refuse he gets mad at me sometimes I give in and let him sleep with me and afterwards he feels bad and we pray about it asking for forgiveness but then he does it again the next day. I got so frustrated but I didn't have the courage to tell him to leave. Now I'm thinking twice of having him over again n his fighting a porn addiction. He genuinely loves the lord his very prayerful and involved in church, that's what draws me to him.apart from his sexual battles his a nice person. What do I do?
    posted by Alexis
    on Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm
  42. Sweet Alexis,

    I hear in your comment a longing to do what is right and honoring to the Lord. You cannot knowingly continue in sin and expect to experience the Lord’s presence and blessing in your life or this relationship. Will you make the choice today to turn away from this cycle of sin?

    God is compassionate and forgiving. He wants to set you free from the lies and bondage of the enemy. “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “ Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning…return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate and slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness ( Joel 2:12-13).” If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, Alexis, He has promised to give you the courage to do the right thing – to turn away from the “muddy cistern” of sin and turn back toward Him – the Fountain of Living Water (Jeremiah 2).

    Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Prov. 28:13). This message by Henry Blackably provides helpful insights on where you’re at, friend,
    (https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/i-repent-1/).

    Please know I am praying this for you today, dear friend, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, said, “In repentance in rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing, and you said, ‘No, for we will flee on horses,’ therefore you shall flee…until you are left as a flag on a mountain top and as a signal on a hill.” Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you…your ears will hear a word behind you saying, “ This is the way, walk in it” whenever you turn to the right or to the left ( Isaiah 30: 15-21)”.


    Grace and peace,
    Carrie
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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