Marriage Under Attack: Pornography, Premarital Sex and Cohabitation

Under Attack

The attacks on marriage are manifold and they strike at marriage in many different ways. There are attacks that occur in someone’s life before marriage (premarital sex and cohabitation). There are attacks that happen within a marriage (adultery and divorce). There are attacks that happen in both (pornography). And there are attacks that try to redefine marriage (homosexuality).

 

These sinful attacks undermine and devalue the beauty, benefits and blessings of marriage. Let us begin a brief consideration of these six attacks (3 in this post).

 

PORNOGRAPHY

Pornography is rampant throughout our society. It is no longer something a select few can find and explore. Pornography can be accessed by almost anybody who has access to modern technology or the internet. Pornography is any printed or visual martial containing sexually explicit images designed to arouse. This material will include portrayals of males and females, though the statistics reveal that men are 543% more likely to view pornography than women.[1] Tim Challies notes that “Implicit in pornography is the understanding that women exist to be exploited and exist primarily for the pleasure of men.”[2]

 

In what way is pornography an attack on marriage? Here are three specific ways it is an evil attack: (1) Pornography detaches sex from the confines of marriage, (2) Pornography distorts the beauty of sex as designed by God, and (3) Pornography damages a healthy understanding of sex and marriage.

 

This is true for those who are single and for those who are married! Either way, pornography is an attack on marriage. Albert Mohler points out that “Pornography is a sin that robs God of his glory in the gift of sex and sexuality.”[3] Pornography is not only a blatant attack on marriage; it is a sin that can very easily become a stronghold in one’s life. This is particularly true for males as they are hard wired to be visual in orientation. This of course is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Though the male mind may be ‘wired’ this way, there is forgiveness and power in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pornography is an attack on marriage.

 

PREMARITAL SEX

A second attack on marriage is premarital sex. The act of having sexual relations before one is married is contrary to God’s Word and is therefore sinful. The Bible calls this sin “sexual immorality” (or “fornication” in the KJV). God created sex for His glory and for the good of those enjoying within the confines of marriage. But the practice of the sin of premarital sex is clearly against God’s design for sexual relations, which are exclusive to marital union between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24Heb. 13:4). God intended sex to be for the purpose of procreation (Gen. 1:28) and pleasure (Proverbs 5:18-19) exclusively within marital union.

 

This is an attack on marriage because it strips sexual union from the confines of the beauty of marriage. Furthermore, it has the potential to cause serious damage to a future marriage. If the two people committing the act end up marrying someone else, they have robbed that future marriage of special intimacy. Even if the two people end up marrying each other, they have robbed themselves of something that was to be enjoyed and celebrated within the boundaries of what God has ordained. Because sexual intimacy was removed from the confines of marriage, a depraved and distorted view of sexual intimacy has taken place and needs to be forgiven and fixed.

 

If you have had premarital sex, are being plagued with guilt, or are hurt by the fact that your spouse did, as I said earlier, there is forgiveness and power in the gospel of Jesus Christ to overcome such things.

 

COHABITATION

It is not uncommon today to hear of people ‘living together’. What is usually meant by this is that they are joined together in an intimate relationship that includes sexual relations without being married. This is the same as the previous point, but the difference here is that the individuals have joined their lives together without the commitment to marriage. In the previous point sexual intimacy can be with random people, where here it is with a particular person you are committed to. What used to be known as ‘living in sin’ is now called as ‘living together’ or ‘shacking up’. This relabeling attempts to make this kind of relationship sound nice. Of course this is something the world often does with things the Bible calls sinful.

 

Interestingly, in 2011 78% of registered marriages in Australia were preceded with cohabitation.[4] Research has demonstrated that couples that cohabited before marriage are two times more likely to divorce than a couple that marry before living together. Though people view cohabitation as a testing ground for an effective marriage, sadly it increases the risk of divorce when married. [5] Why is this the case? Among many reasons, one reason is because this form of relationship has removed from and deprived marriage of some of its unique blessings and benefits. If you build a marriage upon a faulty foundation, sadly it will not be a surprise when the structure struggles to stand.

 

God has made an effective way for a man and a woman to live together and enjoy the blessings and benefits of pleasure, partnership, procreation and productivity, and it is called marriage. When practiced according to His blueprint it works. For this reason the words of the writer to the Hebrews are helpful,

 

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” ()

 

[1] Steven Stack, Ira Wasserman, and Roger Kern, “Adult social bonds and use of Internet pornography.” Social Science Quarterly 
85 (March 2004): 75-88.

[2] Tim Challies, “A Pornafied Culture.” http://www.challies.com/articles/a-pornified-culture

[3] Albert Mohler, “How Pornography Works: It Hijacks the Male Brain”. http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/10/09/how-pornography-works-it-hijacks-the-male-brain/)

[4] Ruth Weston and Lixia Qu, “Working Out Relationships.” Australian Family Trends No. 3 (May 2013): https://aifs.gov.au/publications/working-out-relationships

[5] Ruth Weston and Lixia Qu, “Working Out Relationships.” Australian Family Trends No. 3 (May 2013): https://aifs.gov.au/publications/working-out-relationships

 

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.