By Beth Ann Baus, Crosswalk.com
Christians often assume that if they aren’t having sex with anyone other than their spouse, then they are considered to be sexually pure.
The reality is, being sexually pure involves more than intercourse; it involves our whole person - our mind, body, heart, and even the words we speak.
One of the fastest ways to destroy a marriage is for one or both partners to give up on the fight for purity. But, how do we fight for purity in our marriages?
How do we resist temptation and protect our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts? It’s not always easy, but with guidance from God’s Word, help from the Holy Spirit, and a desire to glorify Him in all we do, we can have victory over this fight!
Below are 9 questions to discuss with your spouse in hopes of helping you fight for purity in your marriage!
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1. What Is Motivating Your Purity?
Early on in our marriage, someone told my husband and I that if we use each other as motivation to stay pure, we would fail every time.
Why? As fully human, sinful creatures, we know we will disappoint one another. It’s easy to justify sinning against our spouse, because we know the tables will be turned at some point.
This is why our motivation must always be about our Heavenly Father. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do, do all to the glory of God.
If we have a true love for the Lord, reverent fear of the Lord, and a deep understanding of the amazing grace He has lavished on His children, then staying pure for His sake should be motivation enough!
Sadly it often isn’t, despite our best intentions. So, as we strive to be more Christ-like, we should check our motivations and be willing to put some safeguards in place.
2. Are You Being Honest?
We tend to hide our sexual sins from each other. We fear the reaction these confessions might bring. And if we’re honest, we know that once our sin is exposed, we’ll be expected to change.
I challenge you to be honest. Learn from the consequences, accept the expectation to change, and embrace sanctification.
Meditate on 2 Timothy 2:19-21. These verses tell us that everyone who confesses the name of the Lord MUST turn from wickedness, and those who do will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do good work.
Doesn’t that sound better than lingering in secret sin?
Confess any active sexual sin in your life and then make a practice of being open about what tempts you. While the marriage relationship is unique in every way, we must remember we are more than husband and wife.
We are also brothers and sisters in Christ and, while we can’t ignore the damage that is done by sinful behavior, we need to be less concerned about our feelings and more concerned about each other’s souls and relationship with the Lord.
We need to help one another avoid stumbling blocks and resist temptation, but we can’t do that if we aren’t honest with one another. For instance, if you and your spouse regularly enjoy a movie or series that tempts you to have lustful thoughts, then you need to be honest about it.
A godly spouse would rather give up a favorite show than to have you fall into temptation. Be honest with yourself and be honest with your spouse.
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3. Are You Both Growing in Your Relationships with God?
Someone recently asked me why some marriages seem stronger than others. What’s the secret?
The only reason I knew to give was that in strong marriages, it seems that both the husband and wife are striving to grow and change. They are both committed to being more Christ-like.
This makes perfect sense, if both husband and wife are growing closer to God, they are growing together and in the same direction. But, if one spouse is growing closer to God and the other is not, then the couple is growing in separate directions; something that will inevitably lead to disaster.
Our purpose in life is to glorify God. One way we do that is to continuously be growing in our Christ-likeness.
This is done through studying the Word, prayer, private and corporate worship, and bearing good fruit in your life; mirroring the Creator.
As we grow in our faith we should have a heightened sensitivity to the things that glorify God and to the things that don’t. Matthew 13:37-40 reminds us that Satan’s master plan is to promote a lack of confidence in God.
When we aren’t growing in Christ-likeness we are more easily swayed away from Him and toward the things of this earth. When we are growing in Him we are quicker to take the way of escape that He promises to give us when faced with temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
2. What Are You Shoveling In?
It’s always good to reevaluate what we’re filling ourselves with. What movies or TV series are you watching? What kind of books do you read? What kind of music do you listen to?
I’m not saying we should limit ourselves and only watch, read, or listen to things that are overtly Christian, but we absolutely need to consider if our entertainment is a stumbling block and causing us to sin.
For the majority of us, the entertainment we choose reflects the world, not Christ. The more we fill ourselves with this, the more likely we are to reflect the world, not Christ, in our thoughts, desires, and actions.
Watching or reading sexual content or listening to music with sexually-explicit lyrics can not only cause lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:28) and daydreams, but can also cause you to have dissatisfaction in or unrealistic expectations of your spouse.
When we sit down to be entertained, we should all consider Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.”
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5. What Are You Shoveling Out?
If you’re shoveling in the right things, you’re likely shoveling out the right things too. But it’s worth evaluating this part of your life.
What movies, series, or books do you recommend to friends? Do you see a pattern of entertainment that contains sexual content? Are you mindful of helping the marriages around you thrive and be safeguarded, or are you encouraging ungodly behavior and ignoring unrepentant sexual sin?
If you work outside the home, does your workspace reflect that you are happily married or do you leave the door open for flirtatious conversations?
Do you praise your spouse to others, or do you criticize them with hopes of sympathetic conversations from opposite-sex coworkers?
As children of God, we should live our lives with a clear distinction from the world (1 John 2:15).
There should be no question that you serve the one true God (Joshua 24:15). And, if you’re married, there should be no question that you and your spouse are one and together you strive to honor and glorify the Lord (Mark 10:8).
6. What Do You Need to Put to Death?
In Matthew 5:29 Jesus speaks metaphorically and tells us to tear our own eye out and throw it away if it causes us to sin. How do we apply this to our daily lives?
If there’s a particular app or social media outlet that is a stumbling block and causes you to sin--get rid of it!
If you have movies in your media library that cause temptation--get rid of them!
If you own books that lead you to daydreaming and sexual fantasies--get rid of them!
If you listen to music with lyrics that tempt you to lust or have unwholesome thoughts--get rid of it!
Matthew 5:29 reminds us that it’s better to live without our eye that has caused us to sin than to have our whole body be thrown into hell.
So ask yourself, when it comes to continuing to sin against our holy God or living out Romans 13:14, is it worth holding on to that app, that social media presence, or that novel that brings worldly gratification?
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7. Do You Have Accountability?
We know what stumbling blocks are out there. Maybe you’re tempted by all that’s accessible on the internet. Maybe it’s the underwear aisle in a store.
Maybe you find yourself having inappropriate thoughts about a coworker or even someone in your church family. Temptation can lead to sin and destruction and it must be taken seriously.
While I do think it’s vital that husbands and wives have open, honest dialogue about sin struggles, there is wisdom in not burdening our spouse's with every single sinful thought that crosses our minds. We do, however, still need accountability.
Choose a trustworthy, godly friend (of the same sex) that you can be open with and that will check in with you regularly and ask the hard questions.
To be more specific, don’t choose a friend who will simply ask, “How are things going?”, choose a friend that will ask, “Have you been guilty of sexual sin in the past week/month, and if so, how?”
Accountability is vital and, with accountability software like Covenant Eyes, there’s no excuse for not having some basic safeguards in place that can give you and your spouse some protection and peace of mind.
8. Is Your Purity in Your Prayers?
We’re quick to pray for our basic needs, or for the big things going on in our lives, but are you praying for purity in your marriage?
I’ve had friends tell me that they set timers on their phones to remind them throughout the day to pray for their spouse, specifically that God would protect their eyes and hearts from sexual sin. How encouraging to know your spouse is intentionally helping you fight that battle every day!
John 17:15 is a perfect reminder of how to pray under these circumstances: “My prayer is not that you would take them out of the world, but that you would protect them from the evil one.”
We need to be in this world in order to shine light in dark places, but we must hold each other up in prayer so that the darkness doesn’t overcome us; so that we have protection from the evil one!
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9. Are You Willing to Look Different?
As children of God, we should already look different from the world (1 John 2:15), but in order to safeguard our marriages and fight for sexual purity, we might also have to look different from others in our church family.
Because we all have different sin struggles and because we’re all being sanctified in different areas and at different times, you might find your convictions are different than some of your brothers and sisters.
But that’s when you find joy in knowing you are doing everything possible to protect your marriage.
In many ways, our technology makes the fight for sexual purity even more difficult, however, thanks to our technology we also have safeguards at our fingertips!
With companies like Clearplay and VidAngel, we can cut out sexual content, crude sexual humor, and crude sexual gestures from the movies and shows we watch.
Regrettably, no amount of safeguards will take away our sinful nature, but it’s worth taking advantage of the safeguards that are available.
Marriage is challenging enough under the best of circumstances, but add our sinful nature and the sex-craved society we live in and it doesn’t take long to realize our marriages are under constant attack!
The enemy wants nothing more than to kill, steal, and destroy.
That includes destroying godly marriages! No battle is easy! Fighting takes strength, preparation, and endurance, all of which can be found in the Word (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Our marriages are worth the effort! All to the glory of God!
Beth Ann Baus is a wife and homeschooling mom of two boys. She is a freelance writer and author of novels, Sister Sunday and My So Much More. In her writing, Beth often pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression and OCD. Beth has a heart for women’s ministry and is in the process of becoming a certified Biblical Counselor. She loves serving alongside her husband and pointing couples to the Word for strengthening their marriages and home life. You can find more from her at www.bethannbaus.com.
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