It’s Wednesday, that day that we always talk marriage! Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Ferguson, whose husband, Craig, battled through and recovered from a pornography addiction. Together they’ve written the book Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. Today she tells part of her story and how she had an attitude shift, regarding the unglamorous life of a porn star.
I used to think the voluptuous girls with the sleek bodies, cascading hair, and pouty lips were the enemies.
I would think horrid thoughts about them, judging them as they flaunted their goods in front of a camera to be broadcast for the entire world to see. I judged them the first time I saw them by accident on my husband’s computer screen and every time the incident replayed itself in my mind.
I couldn’t ask him, “What do they have that I don’t?” because the answer was obvious to me: Everything.
And it seemed that everything I had was detrimental to my ability to even try to get close to achieving what they had:
- Baby fat…from 2 babies
- An “A” cup
- Stretch marks
The only time my lips were pouty was when I was complaining about lack of sleep. Not sure that jives with the sex appeal I was going for.
Even though I knew I could never look like them (at least, not on my budget), I tried to do what I could. I lost weight. I became a runner. I started trying to look better generally (a.k.a. taking five minutes to throw on some mascara).
But a shrinking me didn’t equate to less porn use by my husband. Trying to become more like them did not draw him more towards me. And the bitterness and rage building in my heart towards these porn stars started making me a jealous fool regarding any woman.
I gave anyone the power to make me feel less-than without the utterance of one single word. All they had to do was walk by. Wear a low-cut shirt. Breathe.
As Craig started his journey to freedom from porn addiction, God pointed out I had been ensnared by images of fantasy, too. Where he had been trapped by lust, I had been trapped by comparison.
Somehow, while working on our book, a miracle happened. I found myself filled with compassion for these women who had paraded across the screen and in my husband’s mind. Those whom I perceived as home-wreckers, I now viewed as women with wrecked hearts. Those whom I thought had it all, I realized had very little: safety, self-worth, family who cared. Those I thought were the definition of sexy were actually sex slaves.
Instead of spending so much time pitying myself, I found myself weeping for them.
And repenting. I had judged deeply and wrongly. I had let hate obscure my vision, not only of them, but also of myself. I thought I knew their world, but the truth is, I knew nothing. I started to turn my harsh language into compassionate prayers, that the women in the industry would find freedom, hope, and Jesus.
Because no one should think this is the way to live. No one should think they are worth nothing more than what the porn industry has to offer. The grass is definitely not greener. Consider these facts:
• One male pornographic performer, Rocco (600 films and 3,000 women), said: “Every professional in the porn-world has herpes, male or female.” (www.covenanteyes.com)
• The average life expectancy of a porn performer is only 37.43 years. The average American lives to be 78.1 years old. (www.shelleylubben.com/porn-industry)
• The US adult film industry earns between $9-13 billion annually. Performers make $400-$1000 per shoot and are not compensated based on distribution or sales. (www.shelleylubben.com/porn-industry)
• “Nobody really wants to date a porn star, stripper or escort. Also the whole family thing and having kids, I’m like ‘who’s gonna have kids with an ex-porn star,’” Belmond said, according to the Christian Post. “And even when I’m 60 I’m still gonna have this porn on the Internet. It’s like having a virus or something that never goes away.” Vanessa Belmond, former porn star (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/24/ex-porn-star-reveals-the-horrors-of-working-in-the-sex-industry/)
Ladies, these women, or any woman, you deem as prettier, sexier, whatever-ier, is not your enemy. As Paul writes in Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)
When you feel the need to compare, pray.
Pray for yourself that God might show you how intricately you were made.
Pray for the woman you feel you’re up against, that she might know the same – that there is a God who loves her passionately.
Pray thanksgiving for beauty – that which is in you and every other sister – the beauty that is worn on the outside as well as the beauty that blooms on the inside.
Pray against the forces of darkness that belittle, that lie, that damage – those things within the porn industry and all the other dark places in this world.
And pray there would be no room for bitterness or rage to take root, for there is little beauty in those things at all.
Jennifer Ferguson and her husband Craig are the authors of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography.
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