Why I Want to Hug Russell Brand

I never thought I’d actually want to hug Russell Brand. He’s one of those people who gave me pause. All I could see was his eclectic energy and behaviors. I had no idea about the real man.

 Now, I want to invite him to dinner.  I think we may have more in common than I first thought.

In case you missed it, Russell told the world his thoughts on pornography.  He’s still dressed rather eclectically (does a sheet like-thing count as dressed?).  He speaks quickly with energetic hand gestures, his eyes brimming with excitement. The whole time I listened, my ears strained to catch every word because here was a Hollywood man saying porn was dangerous, not only to the women and men enslaved by the industry but to the very people who watch it.  

He admits that porn has affected his ability to relate not only to women, but also to himself. It’s had negative repercussions on both his sexuality and his spirituality.  He says if he could go back, he’d never look at porn that very first time.

My husband would say the same thing.

Russell’s seen the damage porn has done to him. He sees the damage it’s doing to our society.  And he knows how hard it is to get back to a place where he is no longer under the hold of the darkness of porn, a place where the desire to procreate and love is no longer connected to a “culture of objectification of women.”

Russell is still trapped. He says with brutal honesty that he has not been able to make a long-term commitment to end his relationship with porn, and this makes me want him to come to dinner even more.  Because even though he’s still searching for freedom, he’s willing to be authentic about the struggle to find it.  And, friends, as I watched my husband, the struggle is palpable.

His six and a half minute video shows that it is not just desire alone that takes us from bondage to freedom.  It is a process of both unlearning and relearning.  As a society – men and women – we have let go of the beliefs that external beauty is everything, that sex is something useful to sell hamburgers, that people are trophies and not living, breathing souls.  We have to be willing to untangle the web of deception that tells us sex is everything, if we just had {you fill in the blank} we would be happy, that if it feels good, no harm is done.

But this unlearning and relearning, this search for the real truth, takes time.  My husband was addicted to porn from the time he was about twelve years old until he was 38.  He brought it into our marriage thinking once we were married, he wouldn’t need it anymore. Lie #1 about porn is that “it’s just sex.” Truth #1 is that porn is about escape and fantasy. We had sex. Craig still used porn. Porn had become this place of escape where he didn’t have responsibilities, rejection, or pain.  In order to cast off this security blanket of porn, he had to learn he would survive in the real world without it, that he was equipped to handle trials and struggles, that he could depend on the people around him to help him.

This took time, – over a decade, actually – for him to finally find freedom, build intimacy with me and with Jesus.  There are very few quick fixes to tangles. I think about necklaces thrown in a jewelry box. Left for too long, moved too often, they quickly become indistinguishable blob of metals. It’s not clear where one starts and the other begins, but the only way to salvage them in their current form, is to pick a place and begin the slow process of separating them.  It took a long time for my husband to know himself separate from the pornography.

Your husband might be battling porn addiction. Like Russell, he might know porn is wrong, that it’s unproductive and harmful to his psyche, but he can’t figure out how to cope without the porn, so he remains a tangled blob within it.  You cry out “Just untangle yourself!” because you’re tired of being betrayed. But think about those necklaces. They won’t untangle themselves on their own or by some sheer willpower. Neither can your husband.

So what to do? When you know he’s struggling to make the better choice, pray for him. This might sound so mundane or trite, but I have lived the life of a porn-addict’s wife.  I tried all the rules, demands, and tirades. There was nothing I could do that was effective in helping my husband get untangled except to pray for him and be there for him, to love him as unconditionally as I could, to forgive him when he messed up, and to continually show him the gifts God had given to him to succeed in this world.  And while we are praying for our husbands, let us pray for our children, for our friends, for the strangers and the porn-makers, that anyone who is entangled would be set free and that those who have been spared would never know what it means to be trapped.

Russell, if you’re reading, I’m praying for you, too.

Check out Russell’s thoughts on porn below.

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Jennifer Ferguson
Jen Ferguson is passionate about Jesus, her husband, and her two girls. She is the facilitator of The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood and loves to encourage women to bring their true selves out into the light.  She is the co-author of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple's Journey to Freedom from Pornography.  You can find out more about the book by visiting their new site, www.PureEyesCleanHeart.com.