Lowering Our Expectations
We recently got a question from a popular Rav who deals with many young men. He wrote as follows:
“A few people asked me lately; if someone watched porn in the past and now is getting married and they want to lower their expectations, can you give me advice or suggestions on this matter?”
I would highly suggest watching the series of videos on GYE called “The Chosson Shmuz you wish you had but never got” by Rabbi Simcha Feuerman. It was specially made for guys who have struggled with these things in the past. It’s password protected, so write to firstname.lastname@example.org for the password - only if you are engaged or married.
I'd also like to try and address the question directly. In the realm of lust, most people are never fully satisfied. It’s normal to have fantasies and expectations. But we have to realize that when these unrealistic expectations enter our minds, it means we are struggling with lust and we need to work on that. There aren't really any quick answers.
If we’ve seen porn in the past, this obviously makes the test harder. But we have to believe that everything that happened in the past was Hashem’s will. We only have the NOW to work on. This is the situation Hashem wants us to work with…
The struggle of the “fake” vs. the “real is why we are here in this world. It’s like the difference between junk food and eating healthy, or between stealing money and getting a job. Obviously someone who is used to stealing will find it difficult to work hard for his money, and someone who is used to grabbing a burger with fires or a bar of chocolate whenever they're hungry, will find it hard to learn how to eat healthy. But life is about growing up. A child wants his candy and toys NOW, but an adult understands that everything worthwhile and real takes patience and work. But it’s well worth it in the end.
The more we learn to guard our eyes, the more beautiful our wives will be to us and the more pleasurable and meaningful the intimacy will be. Real love will replace the fake lust - the junk food of the past. By joining Guardyoureyes and getting the daily chizuk boosts and emails, sharing with others on the forum and chatrooms, getting good filters and accountability, we will learn to guard our eyes and let go of lust more and more each day.
When we stray after our eyes, we connect back to all the bad images of the past and thereby reawaken unrealistic expectations. This can even lead to resentment towards the wife and can ruin the marriage. But the human brain is very elastic, it quickly learns and adapts. The sooner we learn to guard our eyes properly, the quicker the fantasies and expectations from the past will fade away, and our wives will become more beautiful in our eyes each day. We will truly begin to internalize that my wife is the only woman in the world that exists for me.