Sex and the Single Dad
- Matt Haviland Founder, A Father's Walk
- 2016 25 Aug
“I can’t imagine being a single guy living in today’s world.” Those are the words a female friend of mine said a while back. True statement, more so for any hot-blooded person living now - or any other time in history. If coveting, lust, temptation, and adultery are all frequently mentioned in the Bible, we can be sure sex (for better or worse) has been a front-burner issue since the beginning of time.
Although we all battle denying our flesh in some capacity or another, I want to speak directly to single dads on the issue of sex and what it means to us as Christian men and as fathers. I was a single dad for over nine years, so please believe me when I say I know how real the struggle can be!
The Challenges We Face
We can surely make the case that sex is broadcasted everywhere nowadays more than ever. Sometimes it only takes a matter of minutes for us to catch wind of a visually stimulating image in a magazine, billboard, or online - even when we aren’t searching for it! Some studies have claimed that the average person sees up to 3,000 images per day, though the general consensus is closer to 300. Still, approximately 27 percent of all advertisements today have some sort of sexually suggestive material in them. That means on the low end, 81 sexual images cross our eyes every day! We don’t notice many of these consciously, but they seep into our minds nonetheless.
Single parenting can bring in a world of unwelcome emotions. We can become frustrated, stressed, depressed, and bored - and then there are days that are really bad! I suffered from drug and alcohol addiction for over a decade. There was nothing like “taking the edge off” through a cold beer or hit of a drug. Sex and sexual fulfillment can be just as dangerous. We justify a peek (or longer) on the Internet, convince ourselves that our current girlfriend “gets us” unlike anyone else and that this is true love, or we fail to establish healthy boundaries early in any situation and end up more trapped than protected. Speaking of that, guys please DON’T leave it up to the woman to establish boundaries and tell you when too far is too far! Be the honorable leader and protector she needs, whether it is friendship or a potentially marriage-bound relationship.
We can also “overprotect” ourselves and our children by not allowing ourselves to get involved in any relationship with the opposite sex either. There is a difference between healing and using discernment, and creating an unhealthy barrier between us and the world. I pray in any respect to the mentioned above, you seek guidance through prayer, the Word, other strong Christian men, and move slowly. Don’t be in a rush to get back on the saddle. Instead, allow God to move in your life the way He sees fit, trusting through it all His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.
Modeling for Our Children
"The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him." (Proverbs 20:7 NKJV)
“Dad, why do you and Nicole sleep in the same bed if you aren’t married?” I was a young Christian when my daughter asked me this. I was engaged at the time and because I was renting a small back bedroom at a friend’s house, my daughter and I slept at my fiancée’s house on the weekends I had her. It made sense financially and logistically, but was a bone-headed move on my part, even though we weren’t having sex. The relationship ended before we married, I admitted my mistake to my daughter, I asked God for forgiveness, and I learned a valuable lesson. Our children are ALWAYS watching us; even when they are not around, that doesn’t give us a pass to forsake our integrity.
Sex outside of marriage is prohibited for Christians. No excuses, justification, and no getting around it. So is porn. That can be just as harmful - perhaps even more - than physical sex. But before I get slammed with comments about being judgmental, holier-than-thou, and condemning, please hear me when I say that I have fallen in all of the above and this is my plea to you to do better! Even if we do or have screwed up, forgiveness is available to anyone who asks for it with a truly repentant heart (1 John 1:9). Learning from our mistakes and the folly of others is a great step in not repeating them. Keeping our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on Christ will also protect those little eyes, hearts, and minds that look up to us daily.
I’ve already mentioned setting boundaries early in relationships and being upfront with any woman you intend to be more than friends with. Outside of that, there are other options we have to help keep our head straight and not let our flesh dictate our actions.
1. Work out!
Yes, this is the personal trainer side of me coming out. I’m sure a good portion of us (including the guy doing the typing) could benefit from a little extra exercise. Single parenting and life in general leaves little time for other activities, but I have also learned that a good run or lifting at the gym is a great way to release natural testosterone.
2. Get a hobby.
They say boredom can be the devil’s playground, and rightly so. If and when you don’t have your children with you, or you will be by yourself for an extended period of time, do you have a fallback plan in place? Hobbies such as art, music, reading, and so on are great ways to pass the time and to expand yourself in other areas.
3. Build your friend base!
I recently visited a conference in Louisiana. Over the weekend I was there, I was privileged to meet some awesome guys who were part of a local church singles group. They did everything together: traveled, ate, and hung out. It not only helped kill the frustration of being alone, but also kept them accountable with each other. Even adding one strong friend to hold you accountable will be a valuable asset in abstaining from immorality.
The Bottom Line
Here it is, ready? The iniquity of the fathers can fall upon the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:5), but God will show His lovingkindness for up to a thousand generations to those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9). Men, we have a biblical mandate to raise our sons and daughters in Christ and teach them the statutes of God. The world isn’t helping in any regard; that’s for sure. I challenge you to accept the responsibility of remaining sexually pure until marriage and to live your faith out for all to see - especially your children. The next generation is counting on us; will you rise up and claim your position in Christ today?
Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the cofounder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit. He is an ordinary guy who chases after an extraordinary God. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.
Publication date: August 25, 2016