I thought of revealing this a few days ago when I wrote of Josh Duggar’s outing as a member of the adulterous Ashley Madison website. Recent events have now compelled me to share what I previously kept between only myself and my wife.
On February 28 of this year, I received the following email (click to make image larger):
That’s right, six months ago I received a solicitation from Ashley Madison. The subject line of the email was the Ashley Madison motto: “Life Is Short—Have An Affair!” Take note of the lies: “Every Single Minute A new Woman joins…” (Almost all of the female accounts were fake.) And when it comes to your “discreet affair,” Ashley Madison “GUARANTEE[S]…your current partner WON’T FIND OUT. This is 100% RISK FREE.” (And we all know how that has turned out.) Of course, no one should be surprised that a group promoting adultery would stoop to lying as well.
Don’t worry, I didn’t bite. After the initial shock at how my email address would end up on an Ashley Madison list, I did what I often do when faced with something illicit in the sexual realm: I told my wife.
Michelle and I have been married nearly 18 years. We long ago learned not to mess around with sexual temptation. I don’t eat at Hooters. I don’t subscribe to Sports Illustrated. I try not to even walk by a Victoria’s Secret store. (We’ve received three Victoria’s Secret catalogs in the mail recently. Each time Michelle has immediately called their customer service to have us removed from their mailing list.) Both Michelle and I try to be careful and not to allow ourselves to be in a potentially compromising situation with someone of the opposite sex. (Alone at work, etc.)
Also, with four children, Michelle and I have more to think about than our relationship. We don’t want to bring suffering into their lives because of poor decisions on our part. We want to teach, enforce, and model truth in the sexual realm. Our oldest is our 13 year-old son Caleb. Next is our 11 year-old son Jesse. (Caroline is nine and Noah is six.) We also do not want them deceived when it comes to what is truth on marriage and sexuality.
This is especially the case as our children enter puberty. We refuse to allow our daughter to dress as a prostitute, and we are teaching our sons to avoid girls who do so.
Our culture is saturated with lies when it comes to marriage and sexuality. Very often children, especially teenage boys, are targets of the sexually immoral. Whether scantily clad young ladies in the grocery-store catalogs/magazines, rampant sexual immorality in entertainment (TV, movies, music), or pornography on the internet (including what could only be described as the soft-core porn of swimsuit magazines and the like), it is extremely difficult to guard our children—not to mention ourselves—from such sexual sin.
We are literally in a war when it comes to this trash. Virtually every adult American will face sexual temptation of one sort or other. This is certainly not a battle that should be fought alone. We need to be guarded, and we need accountability, but most of all, we need the power of our Creator.
As C.S. Lewis put it, “We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity—like perfect charity—will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.”