Honeymoon’s start a fire in marriage that is not to be put out by the hands of time. Proverbs 5:17-20 tells husbands to always take delight in their wife’s body, and for wives to satisfy their husband’s with their breasts at all times. Where in the world do people get the idea that the marital spark is meant to flicker out after a while? Oh, right, from “the world.” Well, we Christians must not believe as the world believes—especially when it comes to marriage. I found that top-selling authors Bill and Pam Farrel expressed similar beliefs about marital fire in their book “Red Hot Monogamy.” Therefore, it was only right to interview them about this very topic.
Today you’ll find nearly forty books by the Farrel’s about healthy relationships. However, they didn’t start out with the kind of background they encourage couples to create for themselves. Pam says, “I’m the firstborn daughter of an alcoholic dad that had some severe rage issues, and domestic violence was a part of my upbringing.” Bill adds that his mom ran his childhood home struggling with mental illness. Without healthy examples of marriage, Bill and Pam were clueless about the workings of godly marriage. So after tying the knot, they, like most married couples today, had no idea how to make their marriage healthily.
Only after a sincere search for marriage mentors and continuous marriage seminar attendance were they able to learn. More than twenty-five years later, they’ve come to be highly recognized for their marital insight. I didn’t want to waste any of their time with trivial questions so one of the fist things we talked about was pornography and how it relates to maintaining a fired-up marriage.
When Porn Addiction (and Other Sexual Interruption) Strikes
Porn addiction robs a marriage of red hot monogamy—but Pam doesn’t believe it’s the addict doing the robbing. She says, “I think you need to be angry at the right people when the whole pornography issue might enter the relationship.” She adds that if a wife finds out her husband has a porn addiction, there is one loss. Once she questions her physique and attractiveness based off of his addiction she begins to feel bad about herself, and there are two losses. If the couple drifts apart and their relationship falters, there are three losses. Should their drift turn into a divorce, there’s a fourth loss. If they have children the family breaks down even further and there is a fifth loss.
Instead of allowing loss to snowball, Pam encourages couples to nip it in the bud. She says to realize, “It’s an attack from Satan and the pornography industry. So, be mad at them and team up.” By teaming up against Satan and the porn industry the Farrel’s believe it prevents porn from getting between couples and their marital fire. It also rebuilds trust, which is the foundation of a “red hot” marriage.
Bill says, “There is nothing on earth that is more tied to trust than our sex lives. So when you have some type of sexual abuse or you have some type of pornography addiction, or even an emotional affair online, all of those things challenge trust.” To recover and rebuild from such sexual interruptions and get back to trusting each other he says it takes three things: (1) a commitment to pray together vulnerably, (2) learning how to forgive in order to soften the heart, and (3) identifying the real need; which typically seeks to get itself met in illegitimate ways without proper attention.
How to Get & Keep “Red Hot” Monogamy
What’s worth having is worth working for—that includes marriage; and if you’re married than it’s settled your marriage is worth working for because God says so. A marriage that isn’t worth having, then, is because of spouses not putting work into it. Pam believes the area couples tend to put the least work in is where work is most required. She says, “The number one reason that people don’t have red hot monogamy is because they’re not making it a priority.” Despite our super-busy world, high-stress jobs, and lengthy lists of obligation, we must not put our marriages last. The Farrel’s encourage couples to schedule their “red hot monogamy” and even have an acrostic to express the appropriation of time for marriage to become, and remain a “red hot” one:
T – Ten to twenty minuets a day of chat time to connect.
I – Invest in a weekly date night.
M – Monthly day away for six to eight hours.
E – Escape once a year forty-eight hours to a week to relax and/or get to a marriage seminar.
Bill also adds to get rid of spousal criticisms in order to make and keep marriage “red hot.” He says, “We’re all married to imperfect people and our differences often seem like flaws to us.” Eventually, he says, constant criticism causes us to believe we don’t like our spouse anymore. Instead, they encourage couples to treat each other like they would treat guests in their home.