Men, Be Men. Lead.

I started reading through Hero and I have decided to pursue a new standard of purity in my life. It is commonplace in my fiancé’s home to watch shows like Big Bang Theory, New Girl, and Law and Order: SVU. But recently, after reading through the majority of your book Hero, I have cut out all the shows that have even a hint of sexual immorality.
I didn’t want to do this alone. I also wanted to challenge us as a couple to remove those programs from our lives, but this decision was tough for my fiancé to accept at first because she said that media sensuality never affected her as it did me. Since she wouldn’t turn them off, whenever one of these shows came on, I simply left the room, consistently, but without argument.
The good news is my fiancé is starting to understand, and has decided to join me in removing this sexual impurity from our lives, but she told me she has to go about it at her pace, which I understand. However, I’m already moving ahead full-speed on this, because it is really starting to bear fruit in my life. I want you to know how much it has helped in the struggles I have at night. You see, I have been waking up in the middle of the night with intense desires to masturbate for the last couple of years, but since I began cutting these programs out of my life there are no images in my mind that bring arousal, and I feel so much stronger and powerful in being able to overcome the temptations in my life, even when I’m asleep. The temptations are disappearing.
All this really reassures me of my masculine identity in Christ. Thank you so much for your challenging words and practical advice!

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My Girlfriend’s Response To Hero was Unbelievable

I want to tell you that book Hero is absolutely awesome. I have learned so much from it! I talked with my girlfriend about some of the things that happened in the past between us, physically, as I wasn’t the best leader and I wasn’t much of hero to her. I discovered through prayer and through your book Hero that its never impossible or too late to humble yourself and apologize and to make things right and to set guidelines. I couldn’t believe the response I got from her. THANK YOU FOR THAT AWESOME BOOK.

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Every Man’s Marriage is “Incrediblly Encouraging”

I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for your transparency, honesty, and most importantly the integrity shown through your openness. I am currently reading “Every Mans Marriage” as a way of preparing myself to be a husband. I have read most of EMB (although I’m sure it would be very beneficial to go back and revist what has been read as well as continue with the book) and knew I could count on Christ to move and speak through the text by way of you and Steve’s words. I can’t stop reading this book. It’s incredibly encouraging and eye opening and full of Love. Not like a lot of Chrisitan books or advice on marriage that is more of an approach to it that says “Well get ready, it’s hard and it’s gonna suck but if you love your girlfriend then it’s worth it because you can both have a hard time together.”
While I feel your book is very accurate and honest and doesn’t present marriage as all good vibes all the time, it’s presented in a way that makes me long for intimacy with my girlfriend and excited to be preparing to serve her in marriage as we walk towards oneness together not only in the times of great joy but in the times when we have to move through hurt or turmoil. Thanks man, just thanks. God bless you for the man God has grown you to be and for sharing that.

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A Marriage Saved is a Marriage Earned

I had to write you to say thank you…your book Every Heart Restored has literally saved my marriage. I had moved in with my mother and was going to file divorce proceedings as soon as possible because of my husband’s visual lust, along with other issues. I went to a Christian bookstore looking for anything that might speak to me on how I was feeling and about whether I should move ahead with the divorce or not. That’s when I found Every Heart Restored in the marriage section. I prayerfully looked it over and found that I had the exact questions that are posed on the back cover of the book. Obviously, once I read those questions, I just had to read the book. I’ve called my husband out on his lustful views of my daughter (who is his step-daughter) when she dresses in short shorts or string bikinis (she lives with her father and he permits her to dress this way), and I thought I was married to the most perverted and sinful man there was on the planet. I truly believed that there was no man besides him who was that “sick.” But after reading Every Heart Restored, I understand the REAL problem and that neither he nor I am alone by any means. Many men are like this, and many women are in my position, and I don’t have to run from it. God has used this very “real” book to change my heart and my understanding about the situation, and now I am reconciling with my husband. I just want to say thank you again for your diligence in researching your information and obedience to share it with us through this book.

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Why Couldn’t I Say No?

I read your book Every Young Man’s Battle after I started to struggle with the sexual boundaries of my girlfriend. What you said helped for awhile, but soon the pressure I put on her got so bad that she broke up with me and said she never wants to be with me again.  I know it was my responsibility to say no and to protect her boundaries. Even in the moment, even as I pressed in, I knew it was wrong. So why couldn’t I say no?  I respected this girl so much outside of her bedroom, but whenever we were alone, I pushed her too far. I am now reading your follow-up book Hero, and it has helped shape my thinking. I now realize just how much I hurt my girlfriend, but I can never take that hurt away.  Comment:  Every Young Man’s Battle is a book about maintaining boundaries within the context of one. It is about staying pure when you are by yourself, staying pure in the meditation of your heart. It isn’t designed to help a guy with his sexuality in the context of two, while dating. Dating brings all kinds of new pressures. Hero is the book designed to help guys get the mindset necessary to stay sexually pure, even when dating. You can defend your girlfriend and be the hero she needs. But you have to retrain your thinking about sex and its place in your relationship and in your views on manhood. If you don’t do that, you’ll never leave the girls you date better off for having known you. You will always be stealing things that aren’t yours, and you’ll leave them worse off spiritually and relationally, every single time. I ought to know. I left every girl I ever dated worse off for having dated me. Gratefully, God’s grace can turn things around in a single generation. My son and co-author of Hero, Jasen Stoeker, left every single girl he knew better off for having known him. What a great record! God is amazing.

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When Do I Know A Girl Well Enough To Date Her?

Dating Questions to Rose Stoeker, co-author of Hero:

I wanted to thank you, Rose, for the Hero rings you have for sale through your website.  I wore mine to a Christian young adults’ camp, and a female friend of mine simply loved the ring, and more to the point, what it stood for.  I have a few questions.

To what extent should I know a female before asking them out? I don’t know if this is a time-frame issue, or something else. Sometimes I feel stuck in a paradox: I don’t know if I want to date a girl until I know enough about their character, but it’s hard to know enough of their character without dating them.

Also, your husband Jasen wrote in Hero that “Rose readily agreed to tighten up her standards to match mine” with regards to movie choices. So did you and Jasen have slightly different standards before they started dating? This leads me to the question: how different should someone’s standards be on TV shows, modest dressing, etc., before I stop considering the idea of dating the girl? Obviously someone will never have exactly the same standards as I do, and although the girl may be willing to tighten them up as you did, Rose, I don’t like the idea of dating someone with the hope they will change.

Finally, and this is more specific to my current situation: what are your opinions on long distance relationships? The girl at the camp who I mentioned above has particularly caught my attention for being godly, and though I don’t believe I know her well enough (I have been on three camps with her since Christmas, and probably won’t see her till July), I am quite enamored with her. I have noticed her to dress immodestly once or twice, which is unfortunate. We do have quite a deep spiritually focused friendship, though, where we have both committed to gently telling one another if we are doing things the other person finds tempting, so I am currently praying about how best to tell her about these immodest incidents (How should I do this, Rose, if at all?). In her own words, she “really has no idea around guys, because they are so different”, and wants to know how she can better love them as brothers through her actions (I suggested she read Every Young Man’s Battle). I don’t know much about her television habits.  I realize these questions will not have completely black and white answers, but I still wanted to ask your opinions on the above questions generally and, more specifically, in relation to the girl I mentioned above.  Thank you so much to you and your husband for helping to write Hero. I really love it.

Rose Answers:

I don’t think there is a certain length of time that you need to know a girl before you ask her out on a date. A girl should know a date is a date, not a proposal, so neither of you are committed to anything serious in case you find out something that would be a red flag in their lives. Does that make sense?

As for how my viewing standards compared to Jasen’s before we started dating, yes, they were very different!  I watched any movie I wanted, which consisted mostly of chick flicks that were full of sex outside of marriage and very sexual scenes. I regret watching those things with all of my heart now.

Jasen and I had our first date on a Friday night. The very next Friday he told me that he needed to know if I would be okay with adopting a few of his standards before our relationship went any further. If I wasn’t okay with adopting his standards, he unfortunately couldn’t continue to date me. I happily agreed to not watch any more movies rated more than PG. And to this day, I know that I’m not missing out on anything. I feel so clean and pure, and I know that I’m pleasing the Lord. Plus, I’ve gotten to know a whole ton of other shows and movies that are a million times better that I would have never wanted to watch while I was addicted to chick flicks.  The girl you want to date doesn’t need to have the same standards as you, but you do need to inform her of them as soon as you know that you are very interested in her, so that she can have the choice to follow you or not. That way, neither of your hearts gets too involved, and then the break up is harder. Saying all this, you have to make sure that you are rock solid on how you want your future family to be, how you want to raise your children, etc. The Lord will see you as the priest of your home and hold you accountable for what goes on under your roof. Jasen was absolutely certain that he knew he didn’t want bad movies being watched by any member of his family now, or in 20 years. I have never had the slightest desire to question him on the “necessity” of his standards, even on a movie that I reeeeeaaaaaallllllly wanted to see.

He was serious that second Friday we were dating. And I know he’s serious today. And, I trust his leadership of our family. I know it’s best for me and our daughters not to watch bad movies. I agreed to his standards that Friday night because they made sense to me. Nothing was weird about them. They would help me have a closer relationship with the Lord and help me to raise our children to love the Lord. I’m pretty sure I would have stuck to those standards even if we had ended the relationship.

As for long distance relationships….I’m not really sure on that one from personal experience. I know my in-laws Fred and Brenda lived several hours away from each other while they were dating, but they managed to see each other every other weekend, and that worked for them. I’m not sure how far away you and your friend are, but I think it’s doable to have effective long-distance relationships these days, especially with today’s technology, including email and Skype. I wouldn’t let geographical distance keep you from pursuing a relationship if you think she would make a good, godly wife and mother.

I think it’s really good that you both are open to the other gently correcting each other. That’s a great understanding to establish with you wife someday, too. Your friend definitely needs to be told that some of the things she wears are causing you (and probably other guys) to struggle. You need to be some place rather private, but not shut up in a small room together. Take her outside under a tree or something. Ask her to go for a short walk. Just make sure no one else is in ear shot. Remind her of your agreement to be able to gently tell the other about something they need to change, and ask her if she’s okay with you bringing something up. (If she says yes to this, tell her immediately that it is in regards to some of the things she has worn. She will probably be dying to just know what you are going to tell her and if you get nervous and take a while to get it out she will be a nervous wreck!) Tell her that from a guys opinion, the red shirt she wore that one night at the bonfire, or the short shorts she wore while playing volleyball (be specific, if you can!) really caused you to struggle for your purity. Tell her you know she would never intentionally wear anything that would make a guy have a hard time, and that you still think she’s a great Christian girl, she just might not know how guy’s eyes and minds work. If she asks for specifics, like how short is too short and how low is too low, go ahead and tell her. Put your finger on your leg to show her the length of shorts, or put your hand on your chest to show her how low a shirt should or shouldn’t be. You can tell her that this girl who helped write a book called Hero says that she always wears an undershirt. That way if I have a v-neck shirt that I really love, but it’s too low cut, I don’t have to get rid of it. I simply raise the neck line with another shirt. Tell her not all of her clothes are bad, just a few.  Here’s the key for you in this: Her response to you will determine if she’s worthy of being taken out on a date by you. If she gets offended or tells you that you are crazy and her clothes weren’t THAT bad, then she’s not the kind of girl you want raising your future daughters and teaching them how to dress. If she is a little embarassed and horrified that she was a stumbling block for her brothers in Christ, then she’s one in a million and you should ask her out on the spot! 🙂 Tell her that’s the kind of girl you admire more than anything, and you would love to have the honor of taking her out to dinner on a date. (Be sure to say the word “date”, so many guys beat around the bush these days that a girl often doesn’t know if she’s saying yes to just hang out or an actual date.) If she says yes, grin as big as you can and tell her you can’t wait! If she says no, tell her that’s okay and that you know she will make a good, godly wife for a really lucky guy one day. (This will make her feel so special, I promise!) Just be sure to end the discussion in absolute kindness, no matter what she says back to you. Well, I hope that helps some! Blessings to you and try your best to enjoy dating, whenever that chapter of your life begins. It is such a wonderful, sweet time of life!

Rose Stoeker

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Owning His Sexuality, Heroically

I’m an eighteen-year-old college student and I’ve just finished reading your books (Every Young Man’s Battle, Tactics, and Hero) for the third time, and I can’t thank you enough for writing them.  I learn something else each time I read through them.  They have been an enormous help in my purity, but especially in my walk with God.  I felt myself being pulled farther from Him each time I would look at porn or masturbate, and it was becoming tougher to stay pure with my girlfriend.  Thankfully, I heard of your book and decided to look it up, that was one of the best decisions I have made in my life… I only wish I could have made it much sooner.

I am happy that nothing ever happened sexually between me and my girlfriend, but I understand how close we came on several occasions.  But I’m even happier to say that I have been porn free for a year and three months and haven’t masturbated in over three months!  I feel great!  I feel like I am finally in control of my sexuality.  It’s much easier to keep the boundaries that my girlfriend and I have set up for us.  My walk with God is stronger everyday!  I am back in my Bible and doing Bible studies all of the time!  It feel’s amazing!  I am currently talking to my old youth pastor about doing a study on Every Young Man’s Battle with the guys in my old youth group.  Thank you! And thank your son and daughter-in-law Jason and Rose for their testimonies!  Hero was an eye opener in so many ways!  It was refreshing to hear everything that they went through to get to their wedding day.  The stand that they took is amazing and really makes me feel bad that I didn’t do something like that sooner.  I don’t know that I can say that every girl that I have been friends with (I’ve only ever had the one girlfriend, going on two years together now) have been better off for knowing me.  I haven’t done anything in a sexual sense with them, but I haven’t really been the hero for them like I should have been, either.  But I am proud to say that’s all changing.  I have made a new covenant to bounce my eyes and keep my mind pure.  I can’t wait till I get married and the adventures that lie ahead!  Thank you again!

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