The danger of just watching and being seen Christianity

Something happened to me when I started watching porn. I didn’t notice the change immediately, but my wife could feel something strange going on. I had an unfamiliar expression in my eyes and started to move away emotionally from her. Allie and I had always been close, but now, like a ship that was only one degree off course, I had started moving out of range.

I now understand that the difference is that I’ve become an observer. Watching porn is a voyeuristic activity. When I was watching porn, I was not dealing with anyone. I just looked through the window of my computer. And I definitely didn’t see the people on the other side of the glass. From my distant perspective, these women who were filmed in the most intimate of actions were not real people with their own hurts and hopes and stories, but two-dimensional images that were shown for my entertainment.

My wife is a beautiful woman and like all beautiful women she knows what it is like to be observed. When we first met over forty years ago, I was just another one of Allie’s many male admirers. But then, on a magical summer afternoon, we sat next to a waterfall and talked. Allie told me her story and I told her mine. When we shared our childhood trauma, dreams, fears, and insecurities, I started seeing Allie for the strong, complex, and fragile person who she really is. I actually saw her that afternoon and I could see that she saw me. That was the day when our friendship became romantic.

But a few years after our married life, Allie suddenly felt alone again. My attention was concentrated elsewhere, and when I actually looked at my wife, a judgment in my eyes was like comparing her to an imaginary ideal. Allie was observed, but was no longer seen. It had just become another object in my world, a two-dimensional image that should be used or discarded, manipulated, or ignored.

Of course, Allie wasn’t the only one who felt alone. I also became lonely. I was ashamed of my behavior and was afraid of being caught. I hid from Allie and everyone else – hiding clearly and desperately trying to keep up appearances. In the pit of my stomach, I knew that if anyone ever discovered the real me – if anyone ever penetrated my secret world – I would be thrown into the darkness, never to return.

Time passed and the distance between us grew with each passing year.

Finally the unthinkable happened. Allie caught me.

The pain of discovery was terrible for both of us. The full disclosure was even worse. Our worlds have been turned upside down, and for a while it seemed like we could never look at each other the same way again.

In the darkest period of my life, I stumbled across a brotherhood of addicts – men whose stories mirrored my own. These men saw more than my behavior – they saw me – and encouraged me to get out of hiding. They accepted me and helped me to believe in a Healing Higher Power again, whose love for me does not depend on my behavior at all.

Over time I noticed a change in my perception as I walked with other men on the daily path of recovery. I was back in the real world and the people around me became three-dimensional again. I was also ready, even eager to be seen and recognized in all my ragged imperfections.

It has been more than twenty years since my worst fears were identified, and I am still amazed at my wife’s tenacity. Although she was very angry and deeply hurt by my betrayal, Allie never lost sight of the person she had met beside the waterfall. Despite her pain, she was determined to see the real me. As my vision improved and my ability to see and show myself improved, I saw the girl who was brave enough to marry me. I can still see her today and she is more beautiful than ever.

Nate LarkinNate Larkin is the founder of Samson Society and author of “Samson and the Pirate Monks: Calling Men to the Authentic Brotherhood”. He and his wife Allie live in Franklin, Tennessee.

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