A friend emailed me a prayer for marriages that have been tainted by pornography. There are so many reasons to pray for these marriages. So many marriages are affected by pornography whether it’s a spouse who is currently struggling with it or it’s something that was struggled with before the marriage but still pops in occasionally to bring shame or temptation or anger. Pornography never enters and leaves someone’s life without a negative impact. There are so many ways it affects both the husband and the wife, as well as the children in the family. Men become ashamed and angry, feeling helpless and embarrassed to seek help, thus spiraling deeper down into the sin. Women feel rejected and hurt, abandoned and ashamed in their perception of inadequacy. As I’ve walked through this issue with several women and read a lot about it, what stands out to me are the lies. The lies the man has to tell himself to justify the sin, the lies he tells his wife, the lies he tells his friends who want to love him. The lies the woman believes about herself and her value, the lies she believes about why her husband is doing this, the lies she puts on her face before meeting with her friends so she doesn’t have to endure the embarrassment of sharing the truth. And the other thing that stands out to me is the shame–walking through life believing you are slave to sin or unlovable. Shame that prevents you from remembering who God says you are despite your fleshy struggles. Shame that prevents you from looking up from your own depraved state to the cross–to the Lord who loves you dearly and wants to deliver you from your misery. And while I talk of pornography as being a sin men deal with, we know that it is increasingly an issue for women as well. Again, there are so so so many things to pray for, but my main prayer today is deliverance from sin, deliverance from shame, deliverance from lies; protection of the marriage and healing between husband and wife; open community where couples can share freely and without embarrassment; a true understanding and confidence in their true identity in Christ and the ability to live in that identity instead of the flesh every day; a growing love for one another as they struggle through together; and an understanding of the sinned-against spouse to understand that their spouse’s sin is not a reflection of their own value.