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A Wife Asks, “How Can a Husband Love His Wife AND Be Visually Attracted to Other Women?”

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This is part of a discussion we had on this post by thejoyfilledwife this week. If you are interested, there are more comments – including some by some husbands that I think may be helpful for women to try to begin to understand a masculine point of view on these difficult issues of a man’s experience with visual temptation, lust and pornography. And there are some amazing comments by some other wives who have hashed through these painful issues in a God-honoring way.

FROM A WIFE:

I don’t get the whole “men are visual but they still love you” thing.

  • If they love you – WHY are they looking?
  • If they love you – even if they can’t help but see the girl walk by – WHY do they need to think about it again?

Basically, what you are saying is – we live in a world full of smut, so there’s no avoiding it, so there’s nothing you can do, so no man can possibly love his wife alone.

I don’t get it.

  • If men truly loved their wives – they would not be so visually tempted.
  • The love would be stronger, wouldn’t it?

I’m really not trying to be difficult here, I can NOT wrap my brain around this.

  • I feel, if I were prettier, or thinner (and I’m not fat and ugly – just an average mom) – THEN my husband wouldn’t notice?

What does it take? My heart absolutely BREAKS for women whose husbands use porn. It would be simply devastating. I really, really cannot understand. So while porn isn’t the issue in my marriage – what is hard for us is:

  • If a scantily clad girl walks by and my husband takes notice – how can I believe he loves me?
  • How can I believe him when he says he wants to be with ME, when everything I read (even Christian) tells me men cannot get those thoughts out of their minds? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

It’s just easier to believe no man can truly love his wife than to try and compete with every single image in the world. I can’t keep up. It drives my husband crazy that I won’t believe him if he tells me I’m beautiful – but if we look around and be honest – it’s just a losing battle.

I guess what I struggle with is when you read all this stuff, and “they” say – find your true worth in Christ – BUT – your husbands can’t help but fantasize about all the scantily clad women out there – HUH? It’s too many mixed messages.

In my husband’s defense, he does try to avert his eyes, and I love him for that. But if it’s shoved in his face by the world, and from what I’m reading men can’t help but be tempted, then I’m in a losing battle. Why even try?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that this wife’s struggle is a common one for us as women. I believe that she is making some wrong assumptions about her husband and men in general that are causing greater confusion, heartache and misunderstanding. I would like for us to attempt to understand more accurately how men actually think and what is involved for them with visual temptation and lust. It is hard for us to understand something we have never experienced ourselves. But my prayer is that God might open our understanding and our spiritual eyes to be able to see this as He does and to see ourselves as He does.

Let me also mention here that porn is an addiction that works in the brain to give the addict a big rush of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, exactly like heroin does. Porn addiction works to alter nerve pathways in the brain permanently. And it is like being addicted to a drug. When young teenage boys get hooked on porn, they deal with this addiction for a lifetime, and their marriages often suffer greatly later. The addiction is about the rush of dopamine. That feels really good. Anyone who had an intense rush of dopamine, is going to be tempted to do whatever it took to get the first rush again. That is what gets people addicted. But praise God, there is victory for all of us over sin through Christ!

The book that helped me understand men much more accurately was For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Some women get really upset when they get a glimpse into how men think. I didn’t feel upset myself. I was amazed and surprised. I was shocked how differently they think but I also sought to cultivate empathy for their struggles and tried to learn to understand and appreciate their masculine world and perspective, just like I would want my husband to try to understand my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I wanted to learn all I could about how I could support and bless my husband and make the burdens of temptation lighter.  My husband doesn’t struggle as much with these things as some do, but I realize that every man faces visual temptation to some degree. Each husband is different. This is a very difficult topic and I cannot begin to cover everything here. But here is a bit of discussion to get us going. I am not able to be super available on the computer today, but y’all are welcome to respectfully discuss things. I would especially love for wives to share who have learned to approach this from a godly perspective. And maybe some husbands can shed some light on this subject for us, too.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE TO THE WIFE WHO ASKED THESE QUESTIONS:

From what you have described, your husband DOES love you very much. I don’t think anyone here has said, “no man can love his wife alone.” I think most men, especially Christian men, do just love their wives alone and wish they could turn off their visual nature many times when they are not with their wives. But there is not a switch. Kind of like we don’t have a switch that we can just turn off PMS or being hormonal.

From a husband’s perspective, loving their wives has nothing to do with the fact that they face visual temptation constantly in our culture or that attractive women exist in the world.

The problem is not that men are visual, God’s design was good and perfect before the fall. The problem is that the world is saturated with temptation and sin and that all humans are sinners now. That can lead to a man allowing himself to be pulled away by an evil desire and enticed to lust. But it is important for us to note that being tempted isn’t sin. Giving in to temptation is sin.

  • Men will notice beautiful women, yes. But that does not mean they automatically fantasize or lust. For a man to be aware that there are other beautiful women in existence on the planet is not sin.

I notice beautiful women, all day every day. I have eyes. I can see people. I don’t lust after them. I notice handsome men, too. I think, “Hmmm. He’s handsome.” But then it stops there. If it begins to go farther, then I know I must take my thoughts captive for Christ. But – I don’t experience temptation visually much at all. Some women do. I have other sins that I am much more vulnerable to that I have to guard myself carefully against – and the sins I am more vulnerable to are not more holy than the sins that our brothers in Christ are more vulnerable to. Sin is all nasty. It all offends God. No sin is justifiable in God’s sight and God cannot ignore sin. He will punish sin. Someone has to die and be separated from Him and someone’s blood has to be shed – whether the sin is lust, resentment, pride, unforgiveness, hatred, idolatry, jealousy or gossip, or any other sin.

We as women who are not tempted visually need to be so careful here. Gary Thomas (Sacred Marriage) says, “We are never more tempted to sin than when we are sinned against.”

It is easy for us to think, “How could my husband be tempted to lust visually? I would NEVER do that! So, he must be a much worse sinner than I am.” And then, we begin to feel self-righteous and prideful, assuming we are much more spiritual and that we are “better than” our husbands because we aren’t tempted by that particular temptation. Then, we may even heap condemnation and contempt on our husbands. Of course, we don’t think about that Jesus condemned self-righteousness and pride vehemently and that we are wretched sinners in our own right with many, many other sins that we struggle with. When we truly begin to grasp the severity of our own sin problem, we will be able to approach our husbands much more humbly, realizing we are fellow travelers on this journey who are on equal footing at the cross of Christ. We are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ. (Romans 3)

It would be awesome if husbands would avert their eyes when they do notice a beautiful woman and it would be exceedingly helpful for wives everywhere if husbands didn’t ogle women. Your husband is looking away quickly, that shows a lot of respect for you. I love that! But I don’t think it is healthy or reasonable for us as wives to demand that our husband not ever allow any other woman to cross into his line of sight. He would either have to be blind or be a hermit who never turns on the tv or computer for that to be possible. A man can look at a woman without sinning.  I don’t want us to make things even harder on our men and label things as sin that are not actually sin.

Sometimes men may sin in their hearts. Yes. That is true. And it hurts us when they do. Sin hurts people. And sin hurts God. Sometimes we sin in our hearts – maybe in a different way – but our sinful thoughts grieve God’s heart just as much as our husbands’ sinful thoughts. Our sin hurts our husbands, too. Only God knows exactly what goes on in other people’s hearts. But He is much more concerned about our husbands’ hearts, motives and sin than we are. He is concerned with our thoughts, motives, hearts and sin, too! All sin is wrong. All sin causes destruction and eventually, death. (Romans 6:23)

Thankfully, Jesus paid the price for every one of our sins on the cross! More on this tomorrow!

This visual temptation thing is a difficult subject for us as women to “get” because our brains are wired very differently and we have different hormones and different weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I hope you might be able to assume the best about your husband, that he loves you and truly thinks you are beautiful. I doubt that he thinks of you as having to “compete” with anyone. He only wants you. He is with you and honoring you because he loves you. I pray you can rest in that.

I wish we could all experience some time in a man’s brain so we could better understand. I know one husband said a few weeks ago that husbands have “wife goggles” – that other women can’t compete with their wives because they love their wives so much and have so many memories together and a bond together in marriage that they don’t have with any other woman.

Also, please notice, even husbands of models get involved in lust or porn or affairs. Visual temptation for a husband isn’t about his wife at all. It is just about the way his brain is wired and with sin being in the world and the enemy being in the world – he is vulnerable to this kind of temptation. Many times, it becomes an issue in puberty when testosterone really kicks into high gear. So, this begins to be an issue way before our husbands ever meet us. You cannot keep him from facing visual temptation any more than he can keep you from every temptation you face in this fallen world.

Just because he sees temptation or feels a pull of attraction, does not mean he is sinning.

Many Christian men will do things to attempt to keep themselves from crossing over into sin:

  • They will try to look away from an immodestly dressed woman.
  • They may focus on scripture.
  • They may remind themselves something like, “Yes, I am a man. That was a beautiful woman. I’m glad I am a healthy man. Yep, my body works. I can’t wait to be with my wife and think about her, savor and enjoy her. I am going to redirect my attention and focus to my wife where my love is and where my attraction belongs. I’m so glad she is in my life and loves me like she does.”

We must remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6) but against the sinful nature and against the enemy of our souls. Our husbands are NOT the enemy! Let’s be on each other’s team together with God and fight against the real enemy together arm in arm.

FROM THEJOYFILLEDWIFE TO THE WIFE WHO ASKED THE QUESTION AT THE TOP:

I sincerely hope that you are able to see that my heart is in no way prideful about what I am about to say. But you brought something up and I think it’s important to answer in even more depth, since I believe that there are many other women out there who feel the same way you do, yet have not articulated it.

By the world’s standards, I am considered “model material.” I’m frequently stopped and asked if I am a movie star or a model. I could not care less about those things. I simply fit the profile of tall, slim, long flowing hair, feminine, soft facial features, etc. I do not dress immodestly and I never have. So they aren’t asking because I’m walking around in crop tops and shorty shorts and acting like I’m one. I am fully and femininely clothed and I do not act provocative in any way. I am very careful about my interaction with others and the first sentence out of my mouth always include something about my husband.

Visually, I would meet the world’s standards of an attractive female. STILL my husband viewed pornography.

Let’s take this a step further because I know that there may be women out there who think that perhaps the wife is pretty but she’s not “sexy enough” or “good enough in bed” and that’s why her husband “isn’t satisfied with her”.

I will put this plainly without going into unnecessary detail: My husband has NEVER been in want sexually in all 5 years of our marriage. Even through two pregnancies where I was nauseous for all 9 months both times, I never once told my husband, “no,” when he wanted to have sex. Not a single time, even if I was still feeling upset or hurt about something he said or did. The day I found out he was viewing pornography, I didn’t reject him even then.

I also know that no husband wants to feel like his wife is just pacifying him, so I have always made sure I am expressing my desire for him during intimate times and not just being passive and indifferent. My husband knows, to this day, that he never needs to fear being sexually rejected by me. I understand how important this part of marriage is to men and I would never want to emasculate or disrespect him by neglecting him in this area. Although there have been many times when I was exhausted or didn’t feel like being intimate, I have always taken 1 Corinthians 7:5 to heart about not depriving your spouse sexually, lest they become tempted.

STILL he viewed pornography.

I am going to bring up one last point because it is the essence of what this blog is about. Some women may think, “Well, sure, the wife is pretty and fulfills him sexually, but maybe she is very disrespectful or neglectful in other areas and that made him look elsewhere for validation.”

I am married to a strong leader-type. He is very opinionated, very strong in his ideas, and he has absolutely no problem dishing out correction. He is never shy about making his wishes known and I never have to guess where he stands on anything. He is a man who has an opinion about almost everything in our life. He has even told me specific ways he really likes me to do my eye makeup. He doesn’t “demand” that I wear my makeup a certain way, but he has definitely taken a strong stance with my hair. He likes it very long. He said he thinks I look like royalty with my hair that way and I have honored that request.

Our home is kept immaculate because I know that he feels chaotic if our home is a mess (I also like things very clean myself). Although I strongly dislike cooking, I cook him fresh, healthy meals every night and make sure I serve it to him hot whenever possible. No one has ever wondered who the head of our household is. I am gentle and sensitive, but deeply passionate and loving. My husband doesn’t have a doormat for a wife, nor does he have a woman who is hard to live with. He is complimented many times a day, thanked for providing, given affection, prayed for, surprised with little gifts or acts of kindness, texted sweet things while he’s away (he loves this) and I assist him in running our business. Although I have areas I am constantly working to be more respectful and cooperative toward him in all areas, my highly opinionated man, when asked what I could do to bless him more, 9 times out of 10 will tell me that he honestly can’t think of anything.

STILL he became addicted to pornography.

You see, my sweet sister, our husbands are enticed toward sin, not because we aren’t good enough, but because they are sinners.

The same is true with us.

We, as women, are often bent toward unforgiveness, bitterness, gossip, and jealousy, not because our husbands or the people around us aren’t perfect, but because we are sinners.

You could have the perfect body and most beautiful face you could imagine and, yet, your husband will still be tempted. You could serve your husband, honor him behind closed doors and in front of others, and he will still be tempted. It’s not about us, sweet sister. It’s about the trappings that accompany living in a fallen world. There are things about men that we may never comprehend because we are so very different from them. I wrestle with some of the questions you do, sister. But this I have come to know, and now understand it fully…that this is truly not about us. But I know that that fact doesn’t diminish the pain and rejection we feel when we face this kind of betrayal in our marriages. We long for our husbands to only have eyes for us and it is devastating when they don’t. Trust me, I know exactly how you feel.

My husband had his first exposure to pornographic images as a young boy. He was heavily addicted to pornography as an unbelieving adult and then gradually slipped back into it as a believer once he realized that his 4 accountability partners were no longer taking the time to view his online reports and hold him accountable.

How I pray that the Lord will give us strength, as wives, to lean on Him as we face the certain pain of being sinners who are married to sinners.

My dear sister, you are truly beautiful. If your husband tells you that, he means it. And please know that

Your worth and your value as a wife is not diminished by your husband’s struggle.

You are a daughter of the King. I have learned the importance of viewing myself through the eyes of my Lord and not the world. What does it matter what the world thinks or how the sinful world views beauty? A wife who is clothed with strength and dignity is far more rare a woman. May we strive to be THAT woman, and not conform – or try to compete – with the patterns of this world.

Much love to you, dear sister. I hope my heart came through in all of this.

RELATED:

A Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty

When My Spouse is Wrong

www.desiringgod.org – search “porn”

www.xxxchurch.org

201 thoughts on “A Wife Asks, “How Can a Husband Love His Wife AND Be Visually Attracted to Other Women?”

  1. Your heart came through April. very well put. I think its a question of who defines our beauty?We have had the world define for us what beauty is : slim body, irresistible to men, etc that we measure ourselves with worldly standards. I appreciate the question because it is helping us look at ourselves with the right lense ;jesus Christ and the inner beauty that is of great worth to God. Physical beauty can draw men, but it cannot keep them. only God by His Spirit can keep us from sinning.
    I also think being secure in Christ and our husbands to some extend helps. when you know that Christ loved you the way you are and your hubby loved you and married you and not those celebs, he loves you, not just your figure or complexion.

    Thanks and may we find rest in God

    Liz

    1. Yes, as we are secure in Christ and in ourselves and full of confidence in who we are as women of God, we won’t have to be needy or afraid. Our confidence can be very attractive.

      That is my prayer, that we might keep our eyes on Jesus and seek ultimately to please Him and to draw closer to Him. Then He is able to empower us to live in obedience to Himself and to bring great glory to God in whatever circumstances we may face.

    2. “Physical beauty can draw men, but it cannot keep them.”

      This sentence was powerful to me, Liz. I’m so glad you brought it up.

      Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive and BEAUTY IS FLEETING, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

      That verse shows us three important things about women:

      1. “Charm is deceptive”: A woman can be immodest with her attitude, even if she’s dressed modestly.

      2. “Beauty is fleeting”: Sooner or later, we’re all going to age and die. Our earthly beauty will fade.

      3. “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”: This is what REALLY and truly counts! This is an inner beauty that is modest and never loses its appeal. In wordly terms, Girls, we need to be swappin’ out our Botox for the Bible! It creates truly lasting beauty. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that insight, Liz.

  2. My husband doesn’t have a problem with pornography but with lack of physical intimacy. Sometimes I felt guilty but usually, I just know that the problem is with him and not with me. Well, working as being more respectful will sure help things but even if it doesn’t, I can’t do anything but pray about it.

    I am pretty, thin and really well kept for my age. I do practice sport and keep healthy. I took on some weight (6kg) cause he thought I was too skinny. Even this way, he still complain I don’t have enough of this or of that and he will still look at women (furtively) with this “this” or “that”. I don’t feel particularly offended and often joke about it (wow, this woman has such a big butt!). I don’t see it as a threat. He’ll just have a look and that sit. And if he sins in his thoughts, well, that’s between him and God.

    I know that I can do plastic surgery (and I’ll do it if he pays for it cause I do want to please my husband) but at the end of the day, I know he is such a perfectionist that it is a loosing battle and he always will find something else to change.

    I thanks God that even if he tells me very rarely that I am pretty, sisters are church get me my fix and I just do with it. Comparisons kill and ain’t going there. I try to see the positive in me despite of his complains. And as I told him many times, God created me this way so if you want to do any complain, talk to him! 😉

    1. sonadewonderful,

      Sweet girl, I wish I could give you a hug right now. I know that you are strong, but I imagine that, behind that strong exterior, there’s a woman who’s longing to be cherished.

      I am not a counselor, nor do I have all the answers, and I say that because I can truly only share with you the things I have learned and what the Lord puts on my heart. I don’t speak as a professional or one who is vocationally qualified, so please keep that in the back of your mind and, in all things, look to Scripture for the Truth.

      It sounds to me like your husband desperately needs Jesus if he is not saved and some renewing of his heart and mind if he is. We all do, don’t we? I don’t know if he’s a believer or not and that could really give some insight into what steps are needed for his heart toward you and the way he sees others to change. You said he is a perfectionist and let me tell you that you are right, a perfectionist will never be content, no matter the lengths you take to do everything just as they ask. That’s because they are seeking for something that doesn’t exist in this fallen world. Perfection is not within reach on the earth and has been achieved by only one person who has walked this ground and that’s Jesus Christ. If you try and cater to his every worldly and sinful whim, sweet sister, you will be fighting a painful and lonely battle that will leave you more broken at every step.

      Can I be candid with you, sister? I went through a month or two right after I saw the pictures my husband looked at where I battled with the thought of getting surgery done myself. In my mind, at the time, I thought that he was not satisfied with the way I looked and I needed to change my body to look like the bodies of the porn stars.

      From one woman to another, I would encourage you not to modify your body surgically. This is not make-up or a curling iron we are talking about here. This is a permanent alteration of your natural body.

      When I battled with those thoughts, the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart and spoke a powerful truth to me. He asked me to look at the motive behind why I would do something like that that (“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel, 16:7). Truth be told, I would have done that to try and compete with the porn stars in my husband’s mind. To be on “level playing field” so-to-speak and to draw my husband’s attention to me instead of them. Or at least break even.

      But, you see, that is sinful in so many ways…

      Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

      Take special note to the beginning of that verse, since we are looking at how we can think Biblically about this issue. It says not to “copy the behavior and customs of this world”. “This world” means our sinful, fallen earth that we live on and the sinful behaviors and desires therein. “The world” says that you need to physically alter your God-given body and meet a particular measurement in order to be sexy. It tells us that if you want to keep your man, you need to go to whatever lengths surgically to please his every whim. It tells us that if we don’t go out in skin-tight, revealing clothing that our husbands will never notice us and won’t be able to help but lust after other woman dressed immodestly. It tells us that pornography is okay because it “spices up your love life” and that making comments about another man or woman’s body to our spouses is okay because “it’s the truth” and we shouldn’t just “hide our thoughts or feelings” from them. These are all lies from the enemy.

      As daughters of the King, we should not desire to be like or compete with others who are living in sin. If we do this to try and please a spouse who is in sin, we are validating their sin and participating in it as well. We are encouraging them to look at us like an object and this will do nothing more than to bring further sin and tragedy into our marriages. Instead, we are called to living OPPOSITE of those in sin and to let our Christ-like behavior and appearance point our husbands to the light of Christ. If we conform to the patterns of this world, we are further perpetuating that industry, that way of thinking about women, and devaluing who we are in Christ. Y

      ou are valuable to God, sweet sister. I urge you not to devalue yourself by giving into your husband’s sinful desires and standards. You are worth so much more than that and the Lord will reward you for choosing to set yourself apart. Much love to you. <3

      1. Thank you so much TheJoyFilledWife. Yes, my husband is Christian, he’s even a pastor/Missionary…. Ouch! At that point, I just pray for him that God will take hold on him. I don’t want to change my body really but he puts so much pressure on me and some days, I’m just so fed-up to hear lies like “You don’t have breast….” and other stuff.

        It is so hard to live with a perfectionist. Today, he was so stressed, he was just aggressive all day long. Then, at noon, he found a hair in the food I made. He was so upset and through the food away saying that besides the fact of not cooking well, it was disgusting of finding some hairs in his food. I usually cook with a cooking hat since he found twice a hair in his food.

        Tonight, after coming back home, I saw he was cleaning. As a good perfectionist, he does it time to time especially his cousins is coming tomorrow for a week in our house. Well, he found some dirts under one shelf and said it was why he didn’t trust me cause I never was doing something well and that it was better to do nothing at all.

        I just discouraged me so much tonight. I went to cry and gave all my sadness to God asking him to give him a repent heart.

        Besides the fact he often treats me harsly with a lack of respect, which people around us start to notice, I do love him. He doesn’t like to cuddle -what I’m found of- but I usually can’t stay a long time far from him. But tonight, I will. I forgave him but don’t want to be close to him. I’m just gonna try to find comfort in Jesus arms.

        It has been 2 rough years of marriage but I believe that as God works in my heart and I’m obedient, hopefully one day The Lord will change his heart. Sometimes, I think that if I knew how it would be to be married with him and how he really was, I wouldn’t do it again and he may thinks the same thing with me.

        But I know that the first goal for God is not for us to be happy but holy, wholly and cure. One day hopefully. Thanks so much for your support, compassion and love. I need it so much. Big hug

          1. Thanks Becca. I do need it. I believe for better days, for God’s working in my heart to respect completely my husband and for him to repent. My only strategy is prayer cause nothing else will do it. Just have to trust The Lord and keep going despite the suffering. Thank you do much. God bless

        1. Your husband has serious issues. Perfectionism is a mild term. It sound like he borders on abusive. Keep your eyes open my lady. As Christians we can get too caught up with legalism and turning the other cheek that we fail to see when others behavior toward us is unacceptable. Don’t be a doormat. Seriously. Get counseling. Find out what is really going on. Hope you do not suffer too much longer. In Christ, Becky

          1. Becky,

            I agree and have been advising our dear sister, Sonadewodnerful, to reach out for help – as soon as she can safely do so – for a very long time. 🙁

            Sonadewonderful,

            How are you doing? How can we pray for you?

  3. I think Joyfilledwife really hit the nail on the head here… although as wives we are certainly responsible for our part of things, there are many times when our husbands sin is the issue and it is not something we have to fully blame ourselves for. A few years ago my husband had a brief emotional affair with a woman from his work. For over a year I tortured myself with thoughts of inadequacy and just feeling not pretty enough every day. Through it all my husband kept telling me it had nothing to do with how I looked or what i was doing/not doing. He told me he was messing up… it was him.

    It took me so long to swallow this and I imagine wives of men who use porn have the same struggle. I can relate, and I really pray that those of us who face these issues can really find our value in Christ and practice having a gentle and quiet spirit that does not give way to fear during these times. As we cling to God and seek our joy and worth in him, we possess true beauty and in time if our husbands don’t already see it, they will be drawn back to us. My prayers are to all of those who face these challenges.

    1. makemypathstraight,

      What a sweet and heartfelt response. You are so right.

      My husband and I were discussing the issue of emotional affairs during lunch and he said that he believes that men are tempted to fall into them because the other woman strokes his ego and feeds his sinful pride. He feels like a hero to her, even though his affections are severely misplaced and pride is sinful. His wife may compliment and validate him, but if his sinful nature causes his ego or pride to get out of whack, he will come to desire that validation from sources it doesn’t belong coming from.

    2. I can relate to this and completely agree. My husband was flirting around with women at work and one in particular he was texting a lot after work hours, he had friended them on FB and of course saw all the pretty pictures that they posted showing lots of cleavage and even dressed in bikinis. I struggle so much now with my looks every single day; it’s like I’m obsessed with wanting to look beautiful and comparing myself to his coworkers. Deep down I know that God created me and I’m beautiful but sometimes it’s a constant struggle every single day.

    3. A few months ago it was revealed that my husband of 15 years is in love with a close friend of mine. She showed me his text messages to her. I think she was excited my my husband finds her exciting. She’s sn unbeliever and is in the process of divorcing her husband while carrying on an affair with a younger man. I never thought my husband would fall for her. Granted, she’s very attractive and so is my husband. I’m fat, and have let myself go physically. I look terrible most of the time because I’m always tired – I work really hard keeping house and I’m also a sole income earner. My husband has recently found another job after being jobless for 2 years.

      My friend told me to tell my husband that she has a boyfriend. My husband said that he’s hurt. I’m terribly shocked. Never thought that he would go this way. He’s always been a fervent believer. I can’t confide in anyone (except one person) because no one would believe that my husband is capable of such things.

      I asked him what was it he saw in her. He said that she’s beautiful, always well groomed, is charming, looks up to him, never says a cross word, and is always such a good sport – everything that I’m not. He’s harboured feelings for her for a couple of years but could no longer contain his emotions and had to tell her. He said in the few months before his confession, he’s been fantasizing about her sexually.

      The one person whom I confided in told me that I was blind not to have seen the signs because even during friendly gatherings at our home, it was obvious that my girlfriend was silently seducing my husband. My confidante said that she noticed it early last year. Now that I look back, I could see the signs. My friend would spend hours in my house, grooming herself, taking selfies, while my husband is around. Even when we are on holiday together, she would do the same things. My confidante said that being jobless has left my husband at probably a low point and he’s been weak spiritually. With my girlfriend coming and going into our home every other day, carrying with her the seductive spirit, she wanted to feel worthy again (because of her own troubled marriage) and my husband was an easy target to test her “market-value”.

      I’m completely devastated. Please pray for me. That I would continue being the kind of wife that the Lord wants me to be.

      1. DesperatelyNeedsPrayer,

        Ugh. 🙁 Such a painful situation!!!! I can feel the pain in your words, my precious sister.

        I’m thankful for the confidante that you have and for her wisdom. Being jobless is incredibly emasculating for a man. And I agree that a woman going through a divorce would be hungry for some affirmation that she has worth as a woman. Is it possible for you to not have your friend (to whom your husband is attracted) over at your house or on vacations with you anymore, considering the situation?

        ALL of us are capable of adultery. I used to think I was above sin like that. But now I know that if any of us are far enough away from God, if we don’t actively guard our hearts, we are all plenty capable of this and any other sin. I’m really glad that you have had some open discussions about what is going on with your husband. But I am sure it is extremely painful.

        Is your husband repentant at this point?

        What would you like to see happen in your marriage?

        What do you desire in your walk with Christ?

        I’d be glad to walk beside you on the road to spiritual healing for you, my dear sister. I am pray for God’s healing for you, your husband, and your marriage. MANY, many marriages have found healing here in Christ.

        Much love to you!

        1. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

          It’s not possible to not have her over because we work together and at this moment I need the income.

          My husband says that he’s no longer interested in her but I can see him brighten up at the mention of his name. He’s not affirmed his love for me. He said he doesn’t feel anymore love for me.

          I love my husband, I can’t imagine a life without him. My son would be destroyed. He’s only a little boy but he knows something is not right. Today he told his father, mummy is only slightly ugly. Why can’t you love her? – he said this in his baby innocent way.

          1. DesperatelyNeedsPrayer,

            Can you work your schedule so that your friend is not at your house when your husband is?

            What does your husband say he needs to make the marriage work?

            What do you believe you need to make the marriage work?

            Are you interested in doing a spiritual check up with me?

            Much love and the biggest hug!

          2. Yes, I’m interested to do a spiritual check up with you. You can email me. Thank you so much again.

          3. DesperatelyNeedsPrayer,

            I wish I was able to email everyone individually who wants to email me – but right now, I am not able to do that due to time constraints. 🙁 Breaks my heart! I can be available to do a spiritual check up with you here, if you would like. Or you may do one yourself with this post and just keep it between you and God. 🙂

  4. I was so excited to read an article on this topic this morning. This is has been one of my biggest struggles In my marriage and before we were married. My husband is extremely visual and he is unsaved. He looks at Porn and frequently goes to hooters on the weekends with his unsaved friends. I do not like one of his guy friend’s they are extremely disrespectful towards women and there wives. Unfortunately for me I’m the only women he knows that views it this way. They disgusted me so much i avoid being around them. My husband had a map in the basement of where him and his friends have gone to strip clubs.

    Before I was saved I wasn’t bothered so much u had even gone once. But once I turned my life over (to God) I became extremely angry and resentful my husband was the way he is. We have had many fights over this some that turned very ugly because I was still drinking at the time and would become even more angry. I ruined vacations and a lot of nights together. I wanted him to be a Godly man and be the way I thought he should be.

    I am still not perfect but I began to pray and put my worries and concerns on prayer list. Because there is nothing I can say or do to stop his behavior. Since praying my husband has not gone to a strip club but still looks at Porn and goes to hooters. He still notices beautiful women but does not stare but in all honestly I do the same thing. I can’t help but see someone and think oh wow she is pretty or he is handsome so I can’t blame him for that too.

    We just got back from vacation last night and when we were on the beach with French women who were top less he would avoid them and ask if I wanted to walk around them. He does not talk about women anymore or ask me if I want to go to a strip club or do anything to make me feel uncomfortable. He still goes to hooters with his friends and looks at playboy but I have to leave that between him and God. I know now God has to change his heart I can never force him to stop as an unsaved man or even if he was saved.

    I do believe me complain arguing and making myself unattractive with an angry bitter personalty will never ever change him. Only God can change him so I am moving out of the way and if I do feel offended by something he does I pray about it. I also quit drinking alcohol which has helped me with self control.

    The only thing I can do at this point is pray and I do try to always say yes sexually and I do my best to stay physically and mentally attractive for my husband. I think being submissive to your husband’s should also be in how we look. I think it’s a good idea to learn how our husband’s prefer us to look. My husband loves long hair slim women and is attracted to bright colors. So I wear my hair long and I eat healthy and exercise to stay in shape. I also try to dress in a way that is appealing to him. I try to make my self as attractive as possible and if he sins against me that’s a problem he will have to deal with between him and God.

    I do my part and focus on me. God will have an easier time to work on his heart when I am out of the way. Plus I have read somewhere it’s best to let there sin be the only sin so they can’t focus on anything else like my sin of being nasty they only have there lust issues to look at. I’m so happy you wrote this blog post. Thank you and I look forward to reading all the comments!

    1. Hopefuls,
      Praying for God to work in your husband and to draw him to Himself! Only God can open his eyes and deliver him from sin, so true. I am so glad you have received Christ and want to live for Him! WOOHOO! Praying for His healing and His glory in your life and your husband’s life and your marriage! Thanks for sharing!

      1. I echo what April said. I am praying for you and your husband, hopefuls, and especially for your husband to come to Christ. It sounds to me like your husband has started changing some of his behavior and although he is still living in sin, be encouraged that he has taken steps in the right direction.

        I love what you said about getting out of God’s way and working on not clouding your husband’s ability to see his sin because he is distracted by your disrespect and sin toward him. I know this is not easy for you, sister, but I am so proud of you for the steps you are taking in obedience to God.

        I know this verse has been discussed here a lot, but I don’t think it can be overstated:

        “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” – 1 Peter 3:1 & 2

        1. About submitting to my own husbands what does that really mean? I want more than anything to submit to my husband more often than not he always wants me to live or do or even say things that isn’t according to the word of God. He wants me to be in agreement to his way an thoughts which are all wicked I wont agree with gambling nor him being in affair with a women for her money which he did try to get me to do an I said NO!.. He wanted to have a threesome a while back an I believe he probably still does but he hasn’t mentioned anything since I kept saying NO. Which is why he continues to watch porn an go on hookup dating sites an so forth all of the above was a habit long before I came into the picture… He grew up in that life style my husband cannot be trusted… But I do remain to trust in God despite how I am feeling that can be real hard an challenging for me at most times… His sin is his that is between him an God…. I have sins too an thatt is between me an God this is something I will take with me.. Thankyou for sharing this blog so needed it been searching online for sometime now I have found so many worldly perspective it just makes you depress an so sad for being a women lol… Basically saying marriage is overrated an your man is always gonna find other women attractive… Finding other men or women attractive is normal for both men an women… For me I dont trust my husband he betrayed that trust an still has cause he hasnt fully come to tell me the truth about his affair that I know of lord knows there are plenty I don’t know about as much as I would want to know isnt really that important to me I just wanna see everything unfold choosing to leave me an my husband an our family in Gods hand an just to see what he is gonna do about it all.. Its not easy my beloved sisters…
          thankyou for this blog I needed it.
          God Bless

          1. FullofHope,

            I have a number of posts about what submission is and is not. I invite you to search my home page for:

            – spiritual authority
            – a husband’s and a wife’s authority
            – biblical submission
            – submission does not = the husband is always right
            – the husband is never the absolute authority
            – doormat
            – submission is not passivity

            Our ultimate submission must be to Christ. If a husband or any human authority tries to get us to sin against God, we MUST obey God first, not the human. We answer to God first!

            If he is involved in unrepentant adultery, that is a big problem. There are times when separation can be very necessary if a spouse is involved in unrepentant infidelity – until they are willing to repent and completely change. Praise God you said no to all of that sin!

            Praying for God’s wisdom for you. Much love to you!

  5. Just as men struggle with their sexual nature, women struggle with their emotional nature. We both have our struggle, they are just different. Understanding this helped me so much to have empathy towards my husband instead of bitterness.

  6. Such a tough topic!

    It’s helped me to view it as an addiction. Having been through an addiction recovery program, I feel like I’ve gained some good wisdom in that arena. With an addiction, it’s a sickness. And that’s not a cop out. I’ve battled a food addiction as I leaned on food to comfort my hurting heart for years… And what if it was really important to my husband that I stay slim but I have this food addiction? Does it mean it I don’t love my husband… Because I can’t stop eating?

    Part of it is chemical or conditioned; part of it is just about the addict. ITS NOT ABOUT YOU (the spouse/non-addict). HIS CHOICE or his sin is NOT ABOUT ME. And it’s not that I am not affected by his sin; but as much as my eating is not about him, his porn addiction is not about me. And we both need Gods intervention.

    The irony for me was that in looking at my husband’s sin – porn use and a tendency toward women- I fully missed my own sin and had an emotional affair. BUT I WASN’T INVOLVED SEXUALLY (I thought) and if it’s secret, no one really knows; it doesn’t hurt anyone (I thought). How many men possibly have the same thought? It’s their “secret sin”… So it doesn’t hurt anyone right?

    Obviously we know that’s not true. And I’ll tell you that my husband was as devastated by the discovery of my emotional affair as if it had been sexual. There was plenty of damage done…

    (But God has been extremely faithful to heal so much of the hurt in both of our hearts from the damage we did to each other!)

    Two books… And I have not fully read both of these but I think they would be good resources and now I think I will read them since I am putting them out there :-):
    “Every Man’s Battle” by Arterburn and Stoeker is primarily meant for men recovering from porn addiction also addresses their wives with a special section. My husband and I read this together some and it was a good view into the minds of men dealing with this issue. Then they have a follow up called “every woman’s desire” which I have not read at all but it seems like it deals with leadership, submission, and having a godly marriage…

    1. Thanks for these book recommendations, Redeemedbygrace. I would add that the movie “Fireproof” would be an excellent resource to husbands and wives who are dealing with infidelity or sexual addictions in their marriage.

      1. Love that movie, thejoyfilledwife!!! That is my “household chores” movie. I watch it daily while cleaning the house, cooking and washing dishes! It never fails to make me cry and I have watched it something like 20 plus times in the past few days alone! 🙂 <3

        1. Wow! That’s dedication! My husband bought that movie for us after everything came out a year ago. Then he bought tickets for us to attend a marriage event hosted by Kirk Cameron on Valentine’s Day. I know that it was his way of showing me that, in spite of his failure, our marriage meant so much to him. <3

          1. Aaaawww… How sweet!!! I am so happy for you and what God is doing in your marriage! 🙂

            Kirk Cameron. Now, I have to guard my heart from swooning over him. He was a childhood crush! Ha! 😀 It was my hubby too who purchased for me the ‘Fireproof’ movie. I have also watched ‘Courageous’, ‘Facing the Giants’ and ‘Flywheel’ — all produced by Sherwood Pictures. All touched my heart but Fireproof is my hands-down favorite. <3

      2. With the best of intentions, I’m going to push back a little on all the love for Fireproof. As a husband (at the time) of a woman who had the same attitude toward me as the wife in Fireproof had toward her husband, I found the movie not only unhelpful but counterproductive. Later, I came across a series of blog posts that clarified my thoughts on the subject. Basically, the movie rewards the wife for withholding sex, seeking to wear the pants in the family, and engaging in an emotional affair, with nary a word of criticism for her behavior. For a husband whose wife was likewise threatening divorce for non-biblical reasons, the endorsement of a fictional wife’s doing the same thing was hard to stomach. I’d respectfully ask that those of you who are big fans of the movie step back a moment to think about what is really being portrayed along the way to the reconciliation that of course everyone wants.

        I will duck now.

        1. David J,

          I think the makers of Fireproof had wonderful intentions to promote family, faith in God and strong marriage. But I do agree that there are some glaring issues with the film, some of which you have mentioned.

          I think we have to be so careful, even with “Christian” movies, books, blogs, etc… To really weigh the messages that they send about God and marriage. Most movies and books tend to lean way toward the man having the “big sin” problems (lust, porn use, workaholism, lack of Bible reading, poor church attendance) but tend not to address a wife’s disrespect, lack of biblical submission, withholding sex, pride, self-righteousness, gossip or a wife’s need to repent, as well.

          Some important things to consider, for sure.

        2. Hey David I don’t think you have to duck in this crowd. 🙂

          I agree that it appears to be rewarding bad behavior. I think that it shows the strength of a man that’s willing to trust the Lord to work in his marriage and to tolerate what is intolerable for Christ’s sake. There is a maturity and strength in that kind of humbleness. That husband was showing his wife Christ with skin on. That doesn’t excuse her behavior, but as he grows as a Christian man he then has the ability to win her to Christ. He modeled the good behavior first. We don’t see that much of the back story of their marriage. I don’t think they ever indicated she was a believer. You can’t expect godly behavior from an unbeliever.

          So I both agree with you and disagree with you at the same time.

          1. ” There is a maturity and strength in that kind of humbleness. That husband was showing his wife Christ with skin on ……… He modeled the good behavior first.”

            Love that

        3. Another thing I was thinking is this: What do you suppose would have happened if he didn’t love her when she was unlovable and disrespectful? Seems like they would have been headed for divorce and instead they both seemed to be turning to God in the end of the movie. Maybe I’ve read to much into the last scenes, but that was my take.

        4. David J,

          I appreciate you sharing your perspective on Fireproof. None of what you said had come to mind at all for me, but I know that, when we are going through things personally in our lives, we tend to sort of write ourselves into storylines. I know that happened to me when I watched that movie again for the first time after I discovered my husband’s pornography addiction. The storyline was much more personal to me at that time. Of course, it was a little bit of a reversal, since the Lord used my love and behavior to help point my husband back to Christ during this tragedy. So I understand what it’s like to take a storyline more personally because of what you’re going through in your life.

          I took away something very different from the movie. My understanding was that they were both unbelievers when they got married. Later, the husband comes to Christ and begins to show his still unbelieving wife the love of Christ through his behavior, in spite of her continuing to sin against him. Just like his mom did to his dad. His mom became saved and then won his dad to Christ through her behavior.

          At the end of the movie, the wife turns away from her sinful choices, apologizes to her husband, and tells him that she “wants what he has”. Of course, what he has is Christ and so it’s implied that she comes to Christ after that point.

          So, I guess what I have understood the storyline represents, per Kirk Cameron, is how God can use a believing spouse to win an unbelieving spouse through the love of Christ and that, once both are loving each other like Christ, even the most broken of marriages can be healed.

  7. My wife would say that God created men to be visual, so that when we are at the grocery store see can ask me if we have something at home because she knows that I can “see” the pantry in my mind!

    I remember a moment that lead to some intense fellowship in our marriage. She asked me if I thought a particular woman was attractive. I answered “yes”. She immediately started to cry and said that she couldn’t believe that I was attracted to this woman. I immediately proceeded to defend myself while totally missing the translation that she made. She heard me said that I thought this woman was attractive and translated that as I was attracted to her. A thought that was far from the truth! It clearly defined another difference in the wiring between men and woman.
    I confess…..I notice good looking women. I’ve also noted that the older that I’ve gotten the more that I appreciate the beauty that God created in women. My wife might not fit the Hollywood standard of a beautiful woman. That said – to me – she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She has become my standard of beauty by which all others are compared.

    My wife and I have talked about this many times. She found a situation that was potentially similar that related. Our pastor recently sung to his wife to celebrate their anniversary during church. Every lady in church was overcome with emotion toward this wonderfully romantic gesture….even my wife was googly eyed! She said afterward – that she started to wonder about how I see other women, but love her. She saw the singing as romantic and was touched by the gesture of the pastor toward his wife. But it didn’t replace the romantic things that I had done for her regardless of how big or if I had a stage.

    I guess I would say this…..

    It is easy to compare ourselves to others especially those that we perceive have more than we might have. I’ve talked with many men about how they feel about their wives. We find a beauty in you that you most likely don’t see in yourselves. We appreciate imperfection because we know that we are not perfect ourselves.

    PS – my wife told me that if I ever took a microphone and publicly pronounce my love for her in front of a huge crowd of people…..that she’d kill me!

    1. Haha! I loved that first line. Your wife is too funny!

      I think you’re right that husbands often times see beauty in their wives that their wives don’t even see in themselves.

      My husband and I were talking this afternoon about the visual nature of men and I asked him if he ever recalls pictures of me throughout the day. He said “Absolutely!” When I asked him to share what they were, he named several and then went on and on about sweet images he has of some vacations we took together before our children were born. He described things we had done together and the way I smiled during the trip in great detail. Things I didn’t even remember. Listening to him share those visual memories with such joy made me realize something very important:

      Although he is working to dilute and get rid of sexual images in his mind of other women that don’t belong there, there’s no other woman on earth who he has pictures of in his mind sharing sweet memories with like the ones we’ve had together. And when he spoke of those with such affection and was able to pull them up so readily – because he resurfaces them often – it made me realize that I hold a place in his heart and mind that no other woman can occupy.

      1. Thejoyfilledwife,

        Ok, THIS is awesome!

        I love this description of what a powerful blessing and good a man’s visual nature can be in marriage. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Mmmm and sometimes it is the wife who is visual.
    I am extremely visual and as a young girl got hold of pornmagazines. That stuck in my head some evil ticks and I spend years fighting beeing drawn to that.
    After confiding in a friend who lauged at me and said it was okay and normal I allowed it even but that just made it worse. I was converted towards a more christian walk in the past ten years and finally after a ray comfort clip I saw I broke down in tears and begged God to heal me and help to overcome this.
    Thank God, He did. I now am tempted just once in a while and find it easier to stop.
    I often asked myself why do men think they are not temptative? Because of that it is easy for me to understand how my husband can be tempted and so it was no issue for me. No I admired his truthfullness and wished I was that steady. I loathed myself for my feelings and lust and hated the fantasies that occupied my thoughts but that where so hard to stop.
    I really thank God for his mercy that helps me to turn my thoughts away from lusting after either beautiful men or women.
    But I had to really repent and break before that happened.
    I know one thing for sure the lust had absolutely nothing to do with my love for my husband.
    My cheating eyes where my sin and I did not love him less but was ashamed of my sin even while I indulged in it.

    1. Tabitha,
      I am so glad you shared this! There are an increasing number of women who are impacted by porn and who struggle with temptation. I was hoping some of our sisters would share about this battle, too. I am so glad you are seeking God and trusting Him.

      This is so very helpful. Much love to you!

    2. Tabitha,

      I am highly visual by nature too, so I know how tempting it can be for some women. I have to constantly work on not focusing on scantily clad women being drooled over by men or saucy ad photos, not because I desire the person, but because my sinful is tempted to want the “power” that they have over others. It’s a different type of lust, but it is just as dangerous.

      When I was a teenager, I used to love the rush that came from being able to make men stare at me. I have always been one who loves a challenge and I got sinful pleasure (short lived, of course) out of being able to make them stare while I was wearing completely modest clothes. Attitude, facial expressions, and the way we walk can lead people astray as well.

      By the grace of God, I was a virgin when my husband and I got married, and I was so grateful that I didn’t have images of other men in my mind beforehand. The Lord did an overhaul in me years before marrying my husband and I worked hard (with the Lord’s help) to get really good at not letting my mind go places about men I came into contact with. I didn’t know which one of them would end up being my husband and I didn’t want to have given myself sexually or emotionally to 350 of them before I found the one.

      Thank you SO much for sharing your experience. But by the grace of God go I!

      1. Thank you as well, I have evied and even judged other women who could do that for I hated my body, I am amazed I can write about it for I have hated myself so much because of all this. Now this is not so much of a problem any more I can look more distantly at it. I was a virgin as well when I got married, my body was, but my mind was not and somehow it was like in that song I am already touched although not in that way but I allowed it and I seeked it secretly yet still God protected me inspite of my sin.

  9. “the sins I am more vulnerable to are not more holy than the sins that our brothers in Christ are more vulnerable to.” What a great statement! Sometimes we forget that, in God’s view of things, ALL sins are equal. Here on earth, we see some transgressions as more severe than others. Let us think for a moment about women and romance novels. Especially a certain type of romance novel. Or soap operas. We are tempted to fantasize about a type of man just as much as our men are tempted to fantasize about what they’ve seen. It just so happens that our temptations lie in fictional characters from books, television, or movies!

    1. Good point. We all have temptations to deal with. Although I think we must be careful with seeing all sins as “equal.” All sin falls short of the glory of God, but some sins are worse than others. For example, Scripture points out that there is “a sin unto death,” indicating that some sin is indeed distinct from other sin (1John 5:16-17). Also, God, in His perfect justice, would not view a child taking a cookie from the cookie jar as being “equal” to a man brutally murdering someone.

      Nevertheless, it’s generally not productive for husbands and wives to compare sins or “keep score” in that way. Love must transcend.

      1. True – but if there is only one sin that is “unto death” (I’m taking that from the use of the word “a” implying that there is a singular thing that fits this category) then we need to be careful about looking down our noses.

  10. Honestly the wife’s behavior is destructive. I say this solely on the fact that after she done calling him a liar for so long he’s going to stop talking to her. Maybe be so discouraged to bring up anything about his heart to her again.

    Anyhow I struggled with looking at other women. I have to say it took a lot of training to direct my attention towards other things however it’s hard when you’re looking for something and this attractive woman appears out of no where. And if some of us don’t get a hold of ourselves, we find ourselves looking at them. We are not lusting after them just surprised to see someone that attractive but we do love our wives. It took years of training myself to turn my focus quickly when this happens. It happens too much for it to be bullet proof.

    1. Proud of you for striving to look away when you see an attractive woman. I know that they are out there at every turn and that it can sometimes seem like it’s impossible to always make the right choice. Fortunately, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”

      He is able!

  11. So when my husband looks over at a woman in short shorts, for example, how should I handle it?There is so much tension in this area for us that at this point I get so mad inside and sometimes it subsides and goes away or other times I dwell on it which fuels my anger and feelings of inadequacy and in turn impacts how I relate to him. Sometimes we talk about it other times we don’t. This is such a web of tension in all directions for us and always has been. He does try his best not to check women out and I’m sure fails too — sometimes I wonder if he just looking in the direction of movement and then it happens to be a woman who is thinner/prettier than me. I have many of my own sins that I’m fully aware of (and he is too, I’m sure 🙂 ) The thing I struggle with is when he looks at women it feels like a personal slight toward me. He says I expect perfection of him and I think he’s correct. I pray The Lord would help me/us sort this out on my end and my husbands, because it affects so many aspects of a marriage! This is such a great post — it could have been me that wrote the original comment that April based the post on!

    1. Haha, I’m not sure why the screen name came up “learning yogurts” it was supposed to be “learning to trust” !:)

    2. Learning yogurts,

      I mean…Learningtotrust, 😉

      I have dealt with this as recently as last night. It’s hard, isn’t it? My best recommendation, besides continually praying for him, is to make an effort to encourage and compliment him on how hard he’s working to stay pure in his thoughts and with his eyes. Validation goes a long way with people, and especially husbands, since they so long to be our heroes and to bring us joy.

      You might take him aside at home and say, “Honey, I want to apologize to you. I don’t think I tell you enough how much it means to me that you work so hard to keep your eyes and your thoughts pure when we’re out together. That makes me respect you so much. I know that there is so much immodesty displayed everywhere we go and it makes me feel so safe and loved that you are working to protect our marriage like that. I’m so blessed to have you for my husband.”

  12. How can a man love his wife and still be visually attracted to other women? The short answer is that love is a choice while attraction is “automatic.”

    Look at this another way: Marriage is “until death do us part.” When a spouse dies, people often get remarried. That means that the ability to be attracted to other people did not “go away” because of the first marriage. Does that mean the first marriage had no love? Of course not! The spouses chose to love each other.

    There are millions of people we can be attracted to. In marriage, we pick one of them to love. That choice is an act of the will, not a feeling, emotion, drive or urge.

    Marriage is not a choice we make only on the wedding day. The choice is made every day. Every morning we must wake up, look at the person sleeping next to us and choose to remain married no matter how we may “feel” that day. That’s not how attraction works.

    Attraction is more like when your leg jerks up after the doctor hits your knee with the little, rubber hammer. It’s more of a reflex. It just “happens.” After it happens, then we choose what to do about it. Do we pursue it? Do we ignore it? Do we embrace it? Do we remind ourselves of the fact that we have already chosen a person to love “forsaking all others?”

    Scripture tells us that when a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery in his heart. In other words, the attraction happened, and then he made the wrong choice about what to do with that attraction.

    It’s similar to what people do with anger. Take road rage, for example. A driver suddenly cuts you off in traffic. You feel the primary emotion of fear or perhaps frustration. The secondary emotion of anger is triggered and that’s where the choice comes in. Do you take a deep breath, shake it off and let the car drive away? Do you tailgate the “jerk?” Do you pull along side and try to run him off the road? Do you follow him to the next stoplight, get out of your car and pull a gun on him? Which choice is more loving?

    The attraction to other women is not the problem. The problems arise from the unloving choices men make with that attraction. Satan seeks to twist that which is meant for good and use it to our destruction. Our society has followed Satan’s lead in so many ways, especially where sex is concerned. Satan targets our sexuality so vehemently because it allows us to share in God’s creation of new life. The list of sins related to human reproduction is a long one and it includes both men and women. The lust of men is but one piece of a very complex plan of attack against God’s design.

    1. Thomas,

      Thanks for this! It was very insightful.

      ” Satan seeks to twist that which is meant for good and use it to our destruction. Our society has followed Satan’s lead in so many ways, especially where sex is concerned. Satan targets our sexuality so vehemently because it allows us to share in God’s creation of new life. The list of sins related to human reproduction is a long one and it includes both men and women. The lust of men is but one piece of a very complex plan of attack against God’s design.”

      Just to make it shorter, is it right to say that satan hates LIFE because he hates us humans. He will do everything in his power to curb or destroy life by attacking it from the womb (abortion), or by destroying the very basic unit of society (families) in order to break us or “kill” us whether physically, as in abortion, or spiritually, as in depression/losing hope, etc.

      Nikka

  13. I appreciate this discussion very much. I definitely have had the same thoughts as the first wife. Thank you for clarity April and appreciate Joyfilledwife’s comments, as well. Are you going to discuss steps to take if you find yourself in the situation with a husband viewing porn?

  14. This discussion is so helpful to me, in better understanding and somewhat lessening the pain of past experiences; I thank everyone so much! I truly want to have God’s heart and his understanding of this far above my own imperfect one.

  15. I understand how this can be a painful reality for wives, but perhaps this might help?
    When we women see an adorable baby, we often times will coo and smile at the child. Without thinking or planning or anything. It’s natural right? God created us to nurture.

    Our kids don’t have to worry that we don’t love them because we noticed another child. If we start day dreaming about how it would be to bring that child home or raising that child or God forbid, snatching that child,, we’re crossing the line into coveting, IMO. But for us to smile and coo is not sinful.

    So when our husbands notice other beautiful women, most of us can rest assured that our husbands love us. That they aren’t looking for something better, anymore than we’re looking for replacement children. Our own children have a beauty that no other children can surpass. That’s how most husbands feel about their wives. 🙂

    Trixie

    1. Trixie,

      Very good analogy. 🙂

      Just to add…

      Crossing over from mere cooing to already getting that cute child (for the wife) is kidnapping.
      Crossing over from mere appreciating a woman/another wife’s beauty (for the husband) is wife-snatching/adultery.

      Both — women being “attracted” to babies and wanting to nurture them and
      — men being attracted to women which may or may not lead to them wanting to “catch” them

      are INSTINCTS, I believe. They are part of our human nature. It is necessary for the survival of the human race.

      But, we are not animals that follow only what is instinctive, but are children of God who follow Christ’s commandments, which are counter-intuitive. It is really literally and spiritually going against the grain of the world and against our own (fallen) human nature.

      John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

      So, in effect, what is “natural” is not necessarily what is right. Because what is natural to Man is sin. Anything that makes us do good, think good and be good is what is supernatural and unnatural.

      “There but for the Grace of God go I…”

      <3

      Nikka

      1. Nikka,

        I would agree that something being natural, isn’t in and of itself good or right. What I was trying to illustrate is that our instinct to smile and coo at babies is similar to men’s instinct to look at beautiful women. A man seeing a beautiful woman and having a spark of desire is natural and is not sin. What he chooses to do with that instinctive response is where it can cross from a reflex (perhaps similar to blinking) to the sin of lust/coveting.

        The point is that a wife wouldn’t have to feel unloved or undesirable because her husband notices another woman. Looking is something different. It’s a choice not to bounce his eyes. There are plenty of Christians that believe they can even look and appreciate the beauty that God created without it crossing over into lust. I’m not sure that I believe that, but I’m not a man, so I can’t say for sure.

        Sorry if I was unclear.

        Trixie

        1. Actually, you were very clear, Trixie! I actually TOTALLY agreed with you and I LOVED the example you used — the one about us women loving babies or cooing to them, even if they are babies of strangers! 🙂

          For some reason, my mind and fingers just typed and went towards the topic on what was “natural” vs what was “supernatural/unnatural”. When I comment here in April’s blog, it is usually like that. I will agree with one point, and from that musing, I usually am led to discuss other points.

          No need to apologize, sister. 🙂

          <3 ,

          Nikka

  16. I can totally relate to this.

    I come from India where complexion for girls is a BIG issue. I am brown skinned and my husband has a fair complexion than me. We had an arranged marriage where our proposal was solely based on Christian values since we come from a Christian background. My husband married me for one reason only — born again Christian, and I’d been asking God to bring a born again Christian husband to me. Everything went well and we a God-honoring, testimonial church wedding.

    My MIL and all my 3 sisters-in-law are fair and all his extended family members(not his mom or sisters)began to talk how ugly I am. However I thank God for giving me a sound mind that nothing bothered me because I know and believe that God created me like this and He loves me more deeply than anyone in this world and in heaven I will
    look more beautiful than all those who said that ‘ugly’ word.

    My husband also looks and admires fair women as beautiful and brown skinned women as not-looking-good, yet he says to me everyday that I am beautiful. Even though sometimes I find that hard to believe–I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE that and thankful for that.— think about this–we all admire and say other babies and kids as cute and pretty–does that mean that our kids are not pretty and cute?–NO we always view our kids more beautiful and cute that the other pretties there!!! Same applies for our husbands too. So instead of judging him for looking at other beautiful women I too join with him in making comments like ‘this one is better than that’–like we do with our other girl friends.

    Even though my husband was a Christian he had a porn addiction before marriage, which he himself opened to me and said that he wants to get out of that. Although I was disappointed because I married him because he was a Christian, God helped me realize he is human not Jesus. Sometimes we expect our husband to be like JESUS which they never can. We all are work in progress. Getting out of the porn part was easier, because he was afraid that I may start that!! and even though I was at home all the time I never touched that. (He is a computer geek so he checks what I viewed that day). That was huge
    testimony for him. I never argued with him about that, but just mentioned “how disgusting it is to watch other people naked” and asked him “would you be naked before others?” That really made him think and created a hate in him for porn.

    Another thing is– he notices other women’s breasts and comments how big is that… etc…What to do?…Women want to show their breasts which is big attraction for our men. Although that makes me sad atleast I am happy that he not keeping it as a secret. What will I do if he keeps it a secret and starts cooking it in his heart — I can never know what is in his heart… So I realised if I start to fight he may hide it from me and still do it. which is worse than all !! So I just ignored, he is young and command-man type. Since we regularly attend church and have family prayer time and personal prayer time, I believed that God is working. So one day he came and asked me “How do you do it?–Do you notice other men like me? — Give me some ideas
    to get out of this breast-watching mind” I told him what I do–“I notice them in a distance and never turn that side again” — This is my idea to get out of temptation. And it worked. he began to practice that–when he notices some scantily clad women in a distance he never turns that side again. He tells me he wants to do this for God, for me and our kids. And said he feels more peace now..

    Hope I gave some insight here.

    God has blessed me and my marriage so much through this blog and I’m following this for a year. Although I was a Christian I was not clear on submission. I had a wrong idea that both man and women are equal in Gods sight so we don’t have to submit and both are partners with equal
    roles and had a lot of problems in respect areas since my husband is command type. But I learnt a lot and my marriage is lot more blessed now..

    1. Pretty,
      I am so glad you are growing in Christ! And glad that there is some healing going on in your marriage, too. 🙂

      That makes me sad that darker skin is not prized in your culture. I believe that all of the colors God has created are beautiful!

      Much love to you!

    2. I loved your comment, Pretty! Especially, “he is human not Jesus. Sometimes we expect our husband to be like JESUS which they never can. ” Learning to love our husbands with their sins and faults and allowing the Holy Spirit to change and convict them lifts a heavy burden off of our shoulders that we were never meant to carry in the first place.

    3. Thank you Pretty for sharing…brown skinned or fair complexioned, you are GOD’s beautiful creation no one should make you think otherwise. I love your gentle and prayerful correction of your husband. Remain blessed in GOD…amen. +++

  17. Good point Trixie! And my attention is often caught by adorable kids or babies on the news or internet whose parents recorded them doing something particularly cute. . . Its addicting.

    In relation to the porn it’s crazy how much it can be a regular part of our days. I just read a story last week about a high school student ( female) who was asked to cover up. She posted a sign that said something to the effect of ” Don’t teach the girls that their bodies are shameful. Instead teach the boys that we are not sex objects!” Made me so sad for the state of mind of that young girl and the ramifications for her life and marriage later on. . . Ugh, if we could only talk to our 16year old selves. . .

    Then over the weekend we went to the zoo and there was a young couple that came in around the same time. They seemed to be at every exhibit we visited! The girl was physically beautiful and wore an extremely short cut outfit. So much so that it was fairly obvious she was wearing VERY skimpy undergarments, if any. My boys are 12 & 13 . . . . 🙁 🙁 🙁 :(. On the way home, my husband made a comment about what passes for zoo attire these days :(. I knew exactly what he was referring to. . . Who knew when we were packing up our car to enjoy a beautiful day out as a family that we’d be sexually assaulted in the process!

    So hard to live in this fallen world sometimes. Praying today for young hearts to be convicted and see the damage for what it is. . .:(

    P.S.- this is “fallen short”. Yahweh has been prompting me to change my screen name to reflect HIS victory in my life 🙂

    1. Hi Free Indeed! 🙂

      Just wanted to share with you and with everyone here that…

      I used to belong to the WORLD, thinking that “I could wear anything I want. It’s their problem not mine, if they lusted after me! I am just being cute/sexy/fashionable…” I also enjoyed the wolf whistles and the salacious stares I got from men. I was so hungry for affirmation back then, that even sexually harassing comments seemed “music” to my ears! — I was desired! I was hot! Women were envious of my figure! Men loved my body! — I loved being validated. I was so insecure that I was willing to be thought of lewdly, for as long as I got noticed. Yikes, right? 🙁

      But when the Lord convicted me of my sins, He showed to me that the way I was carrying myself was not how a true follower of Christ would dress/conduct herself. I was misrepresenting Him. I really loved God but the world was just too much within me before He opened up my spiritual eyes. I carried myself in a very worldly manner with my manner of dressing (mini skirts, very fitted tops, and very high heels — although I have never gone out in the zoo attire you mentioned. That’s overboard, even for me. 😉 )

      The Lord showed me that what was inside (interior), should be manifested outside (exterior). When I realized this after my conversion in September 1, 2013, I gave away all my mini skirts and skimpy clothes. The Lord made me desire to be MODEST. I felt, for the first time, a desire to hide my skin because since He had freed me from my many bondages, I felt so peaceful and so comfortable in my own skin!!! All my insecurities were gone! I was secure just knowing I was a Child of God. It was liberating to say the least. 🙂

      A beautiful definition of MODESTY is “HUMILITY IN CLOTHING”, which I learned also from the PW blog. 🙂

      I wanted the humility that the Lord had instilled in my heart to be manifested in the way I dressed and carried myself. I wanted to be a walking billboard for God. I couldn’t be effective if I were a walking contradiction! I wanted people to see Christ in me, and not be distracted/confused because the Message was being delivered by this attention-seeking “messenger”. 😛

      I have also, since my conversion, been practicing head covering. I am almost always in head scarves daily, and I wear a veil to Sunday Masses. 🙂 These symbols allow me to remember my lovely place in the home as my husband’s help meet and makes me remember too, to be humble before our Lord at all times. I also wear very long skirts and dresses now. 🙂 I have also given my very high heels their much-needed rest and my feet are very happy about that! Ha!

      Wonderful name, ex-Fallen Short! 🙂 It shows of your godly transformation indeed! 🙂 This is a better handle I believe, because it shows of what you have become as opposed to what you once were. 🙂

      <3 ,

      Nikka

      1. Nikka,

        You bringing up the head covering issue made me wonder if anybody else here thinks about this in the less literal way my husband explained it to me and I believe makes sense too?

        But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,a and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
        1 Corinthians 11:3-6

        So right above where it talks about covering our heads it tells us that Christ is the HEAD of man and man is the HEAD of woman. So man prays with his HEAD (Christ) uncovered (without anything between him and Christ) and woman prays with her HEAD (husband) covered (with her husband set aside, or covered up) while she prays to Christ directly.

        That’s always made great sense to me. I tried to live as a submissive wife when we first got married, but it didn’t work because I really didn’t have my own relationship with Jesus then. It didn’t go well at all. We ended up divorced for 10 years. We remarried 3 years ago and this time around things are so much better. Over the last 3 years I’ve learned a lot about what true submission is and isn’t. I don’t always do it well, but our marriage is so much better than I could have imagined.

        I believe a good marriage has to start with 2 whole people who know and love God and want to serve Him together. Then 2 become 1 and are much more than the sum of their parts.

        1. Hi Trixie!

          I did not know that about you (the divorce and the remarrying). How wonderful to know God’s Work in your own lives! Amazing.

          I do believe that marriage, for it to really work, has to have both husband and wife, submitting to God, in order for them to fulfill their God-ordained roles to each other to the best of their abilities… but sadly, that is not always the case, so if one is godly and the other is not, then the godly partner must still abide with his/her own part while focusing on God, regardless of what the other partner does/does not do.

          With regards to head covering, I don’t think I am reading or understanding you correctly, but allow me to ask questions so I can… 🙂

          Were you saying that the symbol of head covering is not necessary, or should not be taken literally, because head in the above Bible passage meant HEAD as in LEADER? Sorry if I am not getting it quite well or am not following. 😛 Please expound. 🙂

          1. Nikka,

            You’re right about marriages with only one believer. I didn’t say that well. What I meant was for marriage to be all that God intended both should be believers. I hope I didn’t offend anyone that’s not married to another believer. My bad 🙁

            As to the head covering. I do believe literal head covering isn’t necessary, but I see no problem with doing it if you want, for any number of reasons.

            And yes, I do think it’s referring to our spiritual head (leader).`

            I have no background as a bible scholar so I’m totally open to hearing what they would say about it. Mostly I just wondered if anyone else sees it as a parable or allegory or whatever the best term would be.

            When my husband explained to me what he believed had been shown him when he read that passage, it just made such good sense. Since the verse that came before defined what/who the “head” is, it seemed to make sense to apply the verse about “head” coverings to the head that had just been defined for us.

            I mean no disrespect to anyone who chooses to cover their head/hair during prayer. We are so blessed to have great freedom in Christ. 🙂

            Trixie

          2. Let’s wait for the others who cover their heads too, to tell us what they think. 🙂

            I practice it because I am relatively new to biblical submission and I need symbols to remind me and reinforce my commitment to God and to my husband. 🙂

            Your husband’s take on this verse is very interesting! HEAD does mean both the topmost part of the body and leader. I too am not a Bible scholar so I cannot know for sure what the original word used was in Hebrew or even Greek. It would be interesting if someone could elucidate this point for us. 🙂

          3. Trixie and Nikka,

            I too cover my head as an outward sign of submission to my husbands and Lord. I only started doing it in the fall, but wish so much i had done it all along. I FEEL covered and protected by authority much more than I ever did. And i think thats logical because of those verses in 1Corinthians. As i considered them closely, i found that the word used for “cover” was used elsewhere in the Bible to mean veil or kerchief. To me this clears up the “head” problem because you wouldn’t cover your spiritual head with a scarf . . . One head is spiritual, the other is physical.

            Anyway, to me, if there is any question what is meant, I would want to err on the side of caution. And you would not believe how many ladies I’ve been approached by who seem to know I love The Lord from this one simple thing. Which makes sense, because Paul does say in verse 16, if anybody wants to quibble about little things like this , then what practice does the church have anyway?.

            Hope this helps a little 🙂

          4. God stopped me at that passage about women covering their heads when they pray a few years ago, and I decided to cover my head when I pray out of reverence for and obedience to God. I have a post about it, actually. 🙂

        2. Whew!! I have been behind on the blog and you know that there are so many good stuff on April’s blog, catching up is impossible. So I am here just skimming through – but praise God I did not “over-skim” and miss this restoration tid-bit that Trixie mentioned. Whew…I was unaware that you had this bit of gold to share. I wonder if your story has ever been shared on this blog before? I would love to read it if it has been! [sorry… I love stories with happy ending…they really uplift me!]. I wonder if blog-librarian saw this? I think he loves these too … we have both been hanging on threads praying that if it is God’s will, we will hear Jessica’s story one day too.

          1. I have shared our story with April in email, but I’m not sure I’ve mentioned much about it when commenting before. I did share part of our story in the comments on Nina’s blog once awhile back.

            Who is the blog librarian? I haven’t seen that poster that I can remember.
            🙂

          2. Prayinglikehannah,
            You read my mind! I was just thinking yesterday about that I need to ask Trixie if she might share her story as a post here.

            Trixie,

            If you would like to, I would love to share your story about all that God has done in your life and marriage. It would be my honor. 🙂

            With love
            April

        1. Well, I saw where Nikka posted that she stopped wearing high heels when she began her journey of modesty and I asked the question above. However, I was very eager to read about that, because I was unaware of any link between immodesty and high heels. Since I know I will have limited blog-time, and might not have a chance to read a later response to my question immediately, I just browsed on the internet for some common “thoughts” on the issue.

          I must say I am indeed shocked at some of the things/opinions out there. I have read that high heels cause men to lust because high heels make a woman’s breasts and his stick out and in wearing high heels women are causing men to lust. I have never heard that one – and while I do agree that modesty in dress is important, I certainly think that is putting too much responsibility on women as far as men lusting is concerned.

          I was unaware that high heels are seen as “immodest” among some. I respectfully disagree with that.

        2. Hi prayinglikehannah! 🙂

          Mine were very high like 4-5 inches high heels that were much to do with wanting to look sexy (since the added height really gives my small frame a much-needed height boost) but little to do with comfort or even practicality. Example would be: During my most insecure years, I would go to the cemetery in stilletos, not really caring if all that would do was make the walk in the very grassy area VERY difficult and since my heels were poking through the ground the whole time. 😛 I was always more concerned with appearances, than with comfort or even common sense. Even my husband would always comment I should wear flat shoes since I looked great in them too, but I would insist on high heels.

          High heels are not bad per se. I still do wear them. 🙂 They do make some outfits look wonderful, but my use of them was way over the top, with VANITY as topmost reason. Hope that explains it. 🙂

    2. Love the name change, Free Indeed!!!

      Our son is 12, I definitely understand a mama’s heart for not wanting her sons to have to see immodestly dressed women. If only women understood how much we could bless men and marriages and even other women by dressing modestly.

    1. Yes – I’m right there with you. I struggle to not be bitter and angry on that front, but I’m slowly learning to take my frustrations to Christ. It’s hard, that’s for sure!

      1. I can only offer my experience from a female point as a woman struggling with lust. I could feel lust, allow it or fight yet I hardly ever initiated sex, somehow I was unable to. It is maybe more acceptable for a woman to not initiate but I needed my man to be the initiator. To me it was a great comfort that he would as my shame destroyed me.

    2. Arusher22,
      I am so sorry you are feeling so much pain. 🙁

      I think that it will depend on the cause of this problem what the best solution might be. Do you have any idea?

      Praying for wisdom for you and for healing for your marriage.

    3. arusher22,

      I can raise my hand for this one. I dealt with constant sexual rejection from my husband for 3-1/2 out of 5 years of our marriage (the 3-1/2 where his pornography addiction was the worst). It was so bad that, even when I told him I was being tempted because of lack of intimacy, he would just get in bed and say, “Maybe tomorrow.” or “I’m too tired.” We went from originally being intimate almost every day to where he would reject me every single time I would initiate and he, himself, would only initiate maybe once or twice a month. And that was only after I told him, “Sweetie, I really want to be close to you. We haven’t had sex in over 3 weeks.”

      I will state that although my husband has a high sex drive, mine is a bit higher than his. Now that he has been breaking the bondage of pornography and starving the addiction, we are back to being intimate almost every day now and occasionally twice a day.

      I went through a hard time a year ago when my husband was working to overcome but didn’t have a lot of desire for sex. I would go in the other room every night after he fell asleep to pray and read my Bible to keep myself from giving into temptation from lack of intimacy. My counselor also gave me really helpful advice during this time. She recommended that, when the temptation is great and my husband is unwilling to fulfill his marital duty, that I go in the other room and workout. Particularly cardio. Allowing that excess energy to escape and receiving the endorphins from working out really helped the sadness and temptation subside. It didn’t work 100% of the time, but a large majority.

      Hope that helps!

  18. I’m a guy so I think my 2 cents and some common sense are warranted here. First off, noticing an attractive woman is not much different that standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and going WOW! You are looking at a beautiful creation of God’s!

    Now, it is entirely another thing to look at a woman (or man) and imagine yourself having sex with them. Imagining yourself having sex requires A LOT more conscious and willful thought. Unless your husband says he’s thinking about having sex with some other woman, don’t assume that’s what he is thinking. When you look at the Grand Canyon you aren’t really thinking about it. You kind of just admire it and appreciate God’s vastness. You don’t run through a list of things you’d like to do to the Grand Canyon. Good?

    Lastly, I think as a culture we need to stop acknowledging and creating a big thing out of scantily clad women. Although this may sound counterintuitive, we give them a soap box to stand on and attention which is exactly what they want. You feed into them. The fact of the matter is MANY women have egos so big that telling them to “cover up” is no longer a discussion one can have with the public.

    One of my friends said it best, he sees scantily clad women as burnt flesh due to the obvious consequences of their immodesty and that’s very unattractive. I see immodestly dressed women as fueled by a feminists ego which is a HUGE turnoff. It makes even the most stereotypically attractive woman look like VERY unappealing. As a guy, I do not care to encourage such attitudes so I ignore the said women. I do not walk around with my brain on fire….

    I also encourage the wives out there to think more of your husbands. Your husband most likely married you for A LOT more than your looks. Do you think so little of him (or yourself) that looks alone could steal his heart away from you? Guys like to feel able-minded and wives can play a big role in that. If you influence him into believing that he is so shallow he might start believing it!

  19. The last man I dated before my husband would openly lust over bra ads and the like, while making comments about it being okay because that’s what men do (a big reason why that relationship ended). In contrast, my husband told me about his struggle with porn before we even started dating, but not in a way that at all indicated he thought it was just what men did. He has always called it sin and has always maintained a posture of regret and sorrow.

    That said, knowing in advance doesn’t really prepare you for the sorrow when your husband “falls off of the wagon.” I try as hard as I can to show him grace and mercy, but I must admit that I still fall and lash out with my words at times. I can’t shake the feelings of rejection or the longing to be desired by my husband, for his eyes to only look at me. The fear of being compared to a standard that is impossible drives me crazy sometimes.

    All of these responses show my sinfulness, my desire for my husband (which isn’t bad, so long as it doesn’t interfere with my desire for God) and just how much I need a Savior. I’m not trying to downplay my husband’s sin, but I am trying to focus on my own.

    1. I can definitely relate Lucy. I often read Corinthians 13 and remind myself of what true love is and put my self in check. Even though it hurts so much to know they lust after other women.

  20. Every Man’s Battle is a book that may give men help in not focusing on women who cross their path. The battle can be won. Christians are admonished in Titus 2:11,12 to live godly in this present world. All the best to men who are seeking God’s way and not looking for excuses to indulge their carnal nature.

  21. A book that may help men as they are visual challenged by women is Every Man’s Battle. Titus 2:11,12 admonishes us to live godly in this present world, We all know it is not easy as we are all tempted. God will give us deliverance from every temptation as we strive to overcome our carnal nature.

  22. That is a valid concern, but then these women need to make sure they are never dreaming about men who are richer, have more status, or are better looking.

    Thinking and looking are no different from a sin standpoint.

    Also, let me rephrase the title to illustrate a point:

    “How can that person be on a diet and still be casting sidelong glances at the cupcakes?”

    Let me give you the real, unvarnished, and hard-to-hear truth.

    Cultures like the Orthodox Jews understand human nature, and male nature. They cover women’s bodies not out of oppression to the women, but out of respect and kindness for the men.

    Let me give you an example: What would you think of a rich man who traveled through poor neighborhoods and made a conspicuous display of his wealth. Flashing his car, his money, his affluence? Yes, “why should HE have to change”, some may say.

    But, is that Christian kindness? No.

    I make a lot of money, and I am very successful in my profession. But I do not wave it in other people’s faces. In fact, I downplay it or hide it because only God deserves glory, and I am nothing special to deserve it more than others who have not been so fortunate.

    Some women have no idea the painful experience most men live (speaking as a single Christian man) – to be surrounded by female beauty and yet have it always out of reach, often because women are all congregating around the most attractive men. Or, because they are married and it is no longer available to them.

    I think that if God could open women’s eyes, they would desire to dress modestly. If a woman flaunts her beauty, it is no different than a man flaunting his wealth.

    How many of you could sit down to a three course meal in front of a bunch of hungry orphans? Could you eat that meal slowly, savoring every bite, while the hungry orphans could not decide whether to look away?

    Would you tell them they need to get their “food lust” under control so as to be more pleasing to God?

    Well, every time a woman tells a man that he needs to get his eyes under control, she is slicing his soul in the exact same way.

  23. Y’all have blessed me so much today! Thank you to each of you for sharing.

    Trixie, that is so funny about the baby thing, I thought about that exact analogy almost word for word last night, but decided the post was too long. Thank you for sharing! I know we can all relate to that.

    Gentlemen,
    I appreciate your insights and willingness to help the ladies try to get a more accurate understanding here. Your comments were very helpful.

    I love the discussion and I know that many will be blessed and maybe even begin to find healing through this conversation. That is my prayer.

    1. Wow. This has been quite a discussion, and very helpful. I’ve been reading the comments throughout the day, and thinking about them all day long. I think the comment that was most helpful to me was from Thomas:

      Attraction is more like when your leg jerks up after the doctor hits your knee with the little, rubber hammer. It’s more of a reflex. It just “happens.” After it happens, then we choose what to do about it. Do we pursue it? Do we ignore it? Do we embrace it? Do we remind ourselves of the fact that we have already chosen a person to love “forsaking all others?”Scripture tells us that when a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery in his heart. In other words, the attraction happened, and then he made the wrong choice about what to do with that attraction.

      I think I can honestly say, I never understood this before. I’ve never heard it explained this way. I guess I thought attraction WAS lust. Or else why would the man look again? Yes I see handsome men and pretty women but I guess I don’t focus on them that way – or on judging people by their attractiveness? But I do judge myself – and incredibly harshly. I have never been confident and it is an area I need to work on.

      In fact, I was driving my husband insane. If I saw him notice a brunette – I’d ask “should I dye my hair brown?” The next week we’d pass a redhead. Then I was sure he wanted me to be a redhead. If our waitress had on tight jeans and an ample rear end – I was sure he wanted me to get butt implants. Finally one day he snapped and said “why can’t you realize that I love YOU? That I want YOU? and I want you to be YOU? Not try to change to be someone else?” Was this loving? I guess so, but I have so many insecurities.

      Not to get all “psychology” on you – but I think a good bit of it stems from my teen years. I have an older sister who told me how fat and ugly I was every. single. day. I admired her so much! Why would she lie? Now – looking back – I was neither fat nor ugly. I was a straight A student, a varsity cheerleader, and a springboard diver – and yet I was sure I was worthless. My friends would get so mad whenever I would complain about how fat and ugly I was, and how lucky they were to not have to be like me. I honestly didn’t understand why they were so cruel, and they would get mad that I would say those things – instead of supporting me. My first serious boyfriend in high school told me I was lucky to have him, and I shouldn’t try to have any other boyfriends because he was the only one who would ever want me. I thought I had let go of these cruel things that people would say, but I guess they left some scars. Now that I’m a Christian, and somewhat more mature, I can see that my sister (who I love – and I pray for her salvation) was most likely jealous. I was taller, blonde (she’s brunette), blue eyes (hers are a beautiful hazel), and far more athletic. The boyfriend was probably trying to control me and keep me from breaking up with him. But somewhere, deep inside, I think I still feel the sting of those comments – and to this day I do not believe I am beautiful – which in a way is sad – because it upsets my husband. He thinks if he thinks I’m beautiful then I should believe him. I’m trying, and I appreciate prayers in this area.

      I can also see that I need to give my husband more credit. I’ve been awfully hard on him. He is very loving, and patient, and we are working on my issues. Thank you all for your love and support. I am praying for you all as well.

      Special thanks to April, thejoyfilledwife, and the men who shared their input. Sometimes it is helpful to hear the opinion of men with whom we have no emotional ties or baggage. Thanks again!

      1. Becca,

        I’m not sure if this will help or not, but I used to disagree with my husband when he told me I was beautiful and sexy. I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see a supermodel, so I just couldn’t agree. But then when I realized that by my dismissing his comments as wrong, I was calling him a liar and telling him he had bad taste. How disrespectful is that?

        After I stopped arguing with him and just accepted those things as truth, I started to believe them. I still don’t look like a super-model, but I am beautiful. I am God’s daughter, “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

        Have you ever read “Who Calls Me Beautiful?” by Regina Franklin. It’s a pretty good book about this subject.

        Trixie

        1. My husband flat out told me this very same thing one day! It is so true. Sometimes it is hard to accept—bad hair day, blemish, rash (I stumbled into poison ivy over Memorial Day weekend and had quite a reaction to it!)—and often I cannot help grumbling about them, but you are so right, when we disagree we’re discounting our husbands’ good opinion of us. Not a good thing!

          This is a great post & very helpful. I’ve struggled with a horrible self-image my whole life, including quite a few bouts with severe anorexia (at 21, I weighed 68 pounds…yes, so sexy—and I still wanted breast implants!). It is still a battle for me, especially when it comes to my husband and what he sees.

          Dennis Prager is often quite good on this topic as well.

          1. Jen,

            Wow! Thank you for sharing your heart and experience. 68 pounds is so tiny, even if you’re short. I’m so glad you are much healthier now and taking better care of yourself as God’s creation.

            One of the most worthwhile prayers we can pray, especially as woman in a sinful world where we are constantly compared and objectified, is to see ourselves through God’s eyes and not the world’s. How wise you are to be working towards this, sister. We are all truly in this together. Much love to you. <3

          2. You are so right (though sometimes I am afraid of seeing myself through God’s eyes, since He sees every sin, but…thank You, Jesus!). It really is a life-long battle, one my husband now finds himself having to fight with me. I’m so grateful that God gave me such a fine husband who takes care of me and keeps me from going down that path again.

            xoxo!

      2. Becca,

        I am so excited that you are ready to break through these lies that have held you captive for so many years and begin to see the truth about you, about your worth, about your beauty, about your husband and about his love and attraction for you. WOOOHOOO!

        This makes my day! 🙂

        Thank you for sharing what you are beginning to discover and what has been helpful. I appreciate it so much!

        Sending a huge hug, my precious sister,
        April

      3. Hi Becca!

        I can totally relate with you, sister! 🙂

        When I was in one of those pity parties that I usually had before the Lord convicted me of my sins, I would rant and rant to my husband how ugly I felt and looked, how fat I was, how this, how that… and I would go on and on with my “Envy List” of women asking him:

        “Honey, do you find so-and-so sexy?” or
        “Do you think you would be happy being married to so-and-so?” or
        “Do you LOVE that woman on the billboard?!?”

        And he would always be aghast and look so distraught because of all my insecure ramblings…

        And I would go, “I am just saying all this because I feel so ugly/fat/unattractive…”

        And he would say, looking extremely INSULTED and not just a tad IRRITATED:

        “Nikka, do you think I would have married you or made love to you, if I found you SO repulsive and ugly?!?!? What does that say of me?!? I didn’t marry you for your looks alone, but for sure, I found/find you attractive, that’s why I married you…. But what you are doing pairing me with this and that woman or telling me I would be happier if so and so was my wife, now THIS is not attractive at all.”

        Thanks for sharing your heart, sister. 🙂 Maybe it’s time to accept the fact that you are BEAUTIFUL, because you are a child of God, and made in His Image, and He made no mistakes with you 🙂

        Since my conviction, I have already become less and less self-conscious and more and more accepting of my husband’s generous appreciation. When he says, “Hi cutie.” or “Hi sexy.”, I give him my widest smile and blush just a bit. Ha! 🙂

        <3 ,

        Nikka

      4. Becca,

        What you say makes so much sense. Did you know that the strongholds we have as adults were almost always developed in our childhood years? Particularly when we were quite young. That’s why they are so hard to break…because those lies and destructive thoughts were cultivated and nurtured during our most impressionable years. In many ways, we may be so used to them that they are, in a strange way, a type of comfort to us. We are so used to believing the lie that it can be extremely difficult to break them. Good thing we serve a God who is capable of breaking even the most powerful strongholds in our lives.

        Just to illustrate how influential our childhood experiences are in the way we think about ourselves as adults, I’ll share something from my own life.

        When I was 5 years old, a family member of mine with I grew up being very “awkward” up until I was about 16. When you’re 10 years old, being tall and thin is not the desirable trait that it is when you’re an adult. Kids (and even adults and family members) can be so cruel.

        When I was 5 years old, a family member tried to strangle me to death. Against all physical odds (they were obviously a lot taller and stronger than I was), the Lord allowed me to break free right before I lost consciousness. Although the Lord saved me from death, the lie I began to believe was that my life was of no value.

        Growing up, I was constantly told by peers and friends of my siblings that I was ugly. For my birthday, a family member gave me the movie “The Ugly Duckling” and said they “thought it would help”. One friend of my sister told me that no one would ever love me because of how ugly I was. That crushed me so much that I attempted suicide at the age of 11. When I was physically inches away from death, I felt something pry open my hand, allowing the knife to fall out, as a voice spoke to my heart and said, “I love you. I’m not finished with you yet.” That day I vowed to never let the thought of suicide cross my mind again. If the Lord loved me enough and thought I was valuable enough to save, I would dedicate the rest of my life to him. And I have.

        Because of the lies I believed growing up, once I was about 16 and men started noticing me, I had a hard time comprehending it. Men would walk by me and say, “Wow! You are so beautiful.” and I would look behind me, thinking they were talking to someone else. Once I realized they were seriously, I eventually started using it to attract attention to myself. I never believed it personally, though, and it caused so much insecurity for much of my life. Christian author and speaker, Beth Moore, had a book out called “So Long, Insecurity” and it helped me so much. As my walk with the Lord grew, I started to look at myself and see the beauty I had inside, which made me see that the Lord made every part of me – including the external – just the way he loved it. And that He thinks I’m beautiful. Seeing yourself through God’s eyes helps us to overcome the insecurity that comes from seeing ourselves through the lies and opinions of others.

        We are here with you on this journey, dear sister!

        1. Becca, Nikka and TheJoyFilledWife,
          I would love to share these three comments about wounds in childhood and body image issues in a post. Becca, I can do your part anonymously if you would prefer. I am SURE that there are countless women facing very similar bondage – and I want to see God set them free.

          Thank you all for sharing!

          1. Of course you may share. Also, I wanted to point out that this discussion (and others) has been incredibly helpful. If I have tried sharing in the past (with a friend other than my husband) people usually say something like, “Oh stop! You’re very pretty.” or “Get over yourself.” or “God made everyone beautiful.” While the last statement is true, none of those comments is particularly helpful. They’re more like cliches.

            So all of the discussion, the comments from others, the sharing of stories and struggles, the male viewpoint, and especially the true sisterhood, are literally a Godsend! This is a slow process for me, I feel like my eyes are just starting to peek open, but we are moving in the right direction here. My husband told me this morning that he loves me more every day. He has always been very loving and patient, but I think our growing bond is because of the change in my attitude – and God’s goodness of course.

            Thank you all for taking this walk with me!

          2. Becca,

            This is why I am so passionate about sharing God’s truth with women in a different way. I know that many of us are so wounded, so scarred, so affected by the toxic lies of the world – that we need to have the baby steps laid out for us to show us how to get from where we are back to Christ.

            People used to tell me all the time, “You shouldn’t worry so much.” “God is sovereign.” “You need to just trust God.”

            But I had sin and lies going all the way down to the very foundations of my faith and my identity and my understanding of God, femininity, masculinity, marriage, self and so many other issues. It was not enough to tell me those things and not address the pride, self-righteousness, idolatry of control, idolatry of self, idolatry of my husband (I expected him to be responsible for my happiness), unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness. It required shoveling out almost everything I thought I knew about all of these critical topics until I got down to the foundation of Jesus and then I asked Him to help me rebuild my life, my understanding, my world view, my perspective, my marriage, my womanhood on His Word alone. I had no godly mentors. It was just me, God, a notebook, the Bible and about 30 books on godly marriage over 2 years. I spent literally 3-4+ hours every day for all that time studying, praying, seeking God with all my heart. It was like trying to reinvent the wheel without having seen one before. SO FRUSTRATING!

            This process is painful. And it is slow. And it requires total heart change and it involves God completely removing the old sinful self, crucifying it with Jesus on the cross, and then giving a new heart, a new spirit and a new mind to us. It takes time to learn to walk in the power of His Spirit and to stop depending on my flesh. It takes time to learn to die to self and to make Jesus and His will my greatest priority.

            Issues with body image are very similar. Those are horribly cruel lies that you were told as a teenager. And, sadly, sometimes if we are told something enough times we will eventually believe it. Of course, we can apply that in a positive direction, and meditate on scripture and learn to replace the lies with the truth of God’s Word and repeat that over and over until we believe Him. Then we can find healing!

            I completely agree that it is discussions like this – with all the different perspectives, masculine and feminine that can be a jump start to helping us to begin to see with new eyes. I’m so thankful to God for the way He has blessed you and has been working in your heart this week. I can’t wait to see all that He has in store, my precious, beautiful sister!

            You have a truly amazing man there. I pray you will be able to enjoy him and marvel at him and thank God for him.

      5. Becca,
        I’m so glad you asked these questions. Over 1900 women have read this post so far. And over 1000 have read the next one. These are SUCH BIG ISSUES! Thank you for speaking from your heart and being vulnerable. I know God will use these discussions to begin to breathe healing into the hearts of many wives and marriages. I thank God for you!

  24. From the original commenter: “If men truly loved their wives – they would not be so visually tempted.”

    I am a single, never-married Christian guy, but let me explain why I think this premise is false. I have spent most of my adult life involved in the visual arts and have earned an art degree from a secular university. Part of my artistic training involved “Life Drawing” which required me to draw both male and female figures from live nude models. I learned to appreciate the intricacies of the human figure without ever lusting after the female models. I was simply too busy drawing before the light changed for lust to be an issue at all.

    Perhaps I’ve become desensitized to nudity because of my artistic training, but I can honestly say that noticing an attractive woman in my vicinity isn’t necessarily an invitation to lust. Pornography is an invitation to lust, that is its sole purpose, but admiring the beauty of God’s creation is not a sin (or even a temptation to lust). If your husband notices beautiful women in his vicinity (besides you) it’s because he has a pulse, not because he’s some lust-crazed monster.

    Let’s not make mountains out of mole-hills here. Admiring someone from afar (or even admiring someone within arm’s reach) really can’t be equated with a vow of love and devotion that is made to a spouse. These things don’t even belong on the same scale and shouldn’t be conflated together. If your husband notices other women it may bruise your ego, but it needn’t break your heart, especially if your husband’s heart isn’t in it.

    1. Hi Mr. Hook,

      “If your husband notices beautiful women in his vicinity (besides you) it’s because he has a pulse, not because he’s some lust-crazed monster.” Funny! 😀 But true. 🙂

      The day my husband no longer appreciates other people’s beauty is the day he either turns blind from glaucoma or the day he dies. I am blessed though to be married to a very loyal, very admiring man who thinks the world of me and shows and tells it to me, daily. 🙂

      I don’t know if this is a godly saying, I am guessing it isn’t because my jaw dropped when my husband said this in front of others: “It doesn’t matter where I get my appetite, as long as I eat at home.” Whoa. Haha! 🙂 He was trying to compliment me at that time. My eyes nearly popped out!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Mr. Hook. 🙂

      Nikka

    2. Awesome post Mr. Hook. Thank you!

      As a man I find it hurtful that a very real problem that can hurt a man’s well-being is discussed almost all the time in terms of women’s bruised egos.

      I see women advised to avoid sexual immorality for all the same reasons a man SHOULD be: to cherish his body as a sacred temple, to preserve his own dignity and self-respect.

      1. JC,

        I believe I understand your pain here, but as much as it is in a man’s visual nature to look, it’s as much a part of a woman’s nature to need frequent reassurance that she is enough for her husband.

        This used to be an issue in my marriage, but we both have changed to accommodate the other. I am trusting that I’m enough and he’s no longer obviously looking. I know it’s still an issue for him because he’s told me he still struggles, but he’s so discrete that if he’s looking, I’m not seeing it. (He does such a good job that I thought he didn’t struggle anymore, until he told me otherwise.)

        Most women’s blogs these days are trying to help wives understand men’s visual nature and not take it personally.

        I hope I’m not stepping out of line here as this isn’t my blog, but it might be helpful to remember that this is a blog for women about being a wife. While April does an outstanding job of trying to represent the male viewpoint this blog is for helping women so they can become godly wives, so the focus is more geared toward helping women overcome their issues than it is a place for men to find healing. That doesn’t mean that your pain doesn’t matter or your struggles should be minimized, it’s just that a women’s blog is geared towards woman’s issues. 🙂

        Blessings,
        Trixie

        1. Trixie,

          Yeah, I get it. Women’s ministries are fascinating to me because they’re a window into what a men’s ministry should look like. April is compassionate, urges others toward personal fulfillment in the form of discipline (unlike men’s ministries, it’s not an all-out dehumanizing flogging).

          I always think, “so THIS is what it’s like to be seen as more than what you produce; that you have innate value, and that you are actually worth protecting.”

          YES, I recognize that April’s focus is a ministry for wives and women, and I also believe that her attitude toward men is that they too have the same innate value. Of course, Scripture says that too!

          On topic, yes, there’s some good commentary here. I hope women could find peace that noticing other women doesn’t mean unfaithfulness. In the same way, I hope men don’t think that women appreciating other men in various ways (all of this is similar to the way men appreciate other men and women appreciate other women) is not a thing to minimize their spouses. 😉

          Blessings to you.

        2. Trixie,

          I appreciate your perspective here. And I am so thankful for the healing God has done in your marriage. Thank you for sharing!

          Men do sometimes find healing here. I see it happen almost every day. But you are right, my primary calling and mission is to minister to my sisters in Christ and help them to better understand, love, honor and respect their husbands and to help point them to Christ. I definitely seek to accurately represent how men feel and their pain and perspectives here. But the angle here on this blog is always going to be that I am addressing women, their issues, their obstacles, areas where God may be calling us to a deeper understanding of Himself or of our husbands.

          JC,
          I am very sorry for your pain. And I know that you know my heart for my brothers in Christ and how I pray for healing for you and for all of my brothers who are hurting, as I do for my sisters. But the reason that I am addressing women’s pain here in this issue is because my calling from God is to write for women. They are my audience. And there is quite a chasm and lack of understanding between husbands and wives on this issue that I am seeking to bridge. When I address women, I will address it from their perspective and their angle and bring up the things that are causing them great pain with the goal of helping them to find freedom from the bondage of lies or misunderstanding in their part. If I were addressing men, I would address it from another angle.

          With the love of Christ,
          April

          1. April,

            I do understand! And you are right all around! Your ministry is to women and to men it is an indirect blessing (usually indirectly).

            I did not mean my comments as a criticism to you. And I don’t, in general.

    3. Oh, and likewise, why something should be wrong with women appreciating other men in masculine ways. I’ve seen women do so and it’s not an unfaithfulness–I just don’t believe that either. I could understand if a wife said to her husband something like “he’s more of a man than you’ll ever be” or something awful like that, but likewise . . . I often think, why don’t we lighten up a little?

  25. A lot of really good comments above. One additional thought: a lot of Christian husbands could just as easily ask a different question — “How can a wife love her husband AND be sexually unavailable to him?” After all, she’s a Christian, so she knows from multiple passages in the Bible that God expects her to be freely available to her husband. On top of that, she made a vow to him in front of their family, friends, church, etc. that she would be freely available to him. And, as a practical matter, the most obvious way she distinguishes herself from all the other women in the world is to have sex with him. But then she knowingly makes herself unavailable, to a greater or lesser degree. Should we automatically assume that she does not love her husband after all? I assume you’d say no.

    Or perhaps a less inflammatory version of the question: “How can a child love his parent AND misbehave?”

    Sure, there are cases where the husband or wife or child sins against the spouse or parent because, in fact, there is no love there. But most of the time, there’s little or no direct connection between the sinner’s sin and his/her love for the person sinned against (as so many have pointed out above).

    1. David J,

      That is an important question “How can a wife be a believer in Christ and withhold her body from her husband?”

      Of course, many women have reasons why they do this – some are medical. Some are emotional. But – it does hurt our husbands when we purposely withhold sex from them. I would love for us to see God’s commands and seek to obey them in order to bless our husbands. I would also love for wives to seek healing for physical, emotional or spiritual problems that are causing them to feel that they cannot be available sexually to their husbands. What an incredible way we can bless our husbands by being joyfully available to them as much as possible as we seek to honor God’s Word.

      I love thejoyfilledwife’s description of how she decided to seek to obey God’s Word in I Corinthians 7:1-5 on this issue. Beautiful!

  26. I’d like to send up a praise to God this morning! Something happened this week that showed me how much He has changed me.

    I walked outside to my husband’s shop where he was working on the lawn mower. As I stepped through the door, he jumped and quickly hid something he was looking at (a magazine?) Decision time for me. How would I respond?

    The old disrespectful me would have flown into a rage and stormed over to see what he was looking at and then made a huge deal over it. I would have angrily made him feel like a child whose mother found him looking at porn. Then I would have given him the silent treatment for days.

    Praise God, the new me was able to smile and be kind. I did not say a thing about it. I asked him what he was working on and he, looking relieved, showed me the engine he was taking apart.

    The good news is I am not even tempted to go look in his shop for evidence! If he was looking at something he shouldn’t, then God will handle it with him. I am remaining peaceful. 🙂 I really do believe that if I had kicked up a huge fuss about it, God would have a much harder time getting my husband to hear His voice over mine.

    1. I applaud you for not charging in and screaming at your husband. I do wonder though if there might be another way to handle the situation respectfully without ignoring what may be a problem in your marriage?

      I think sometimes in our quest to be respectful we forget that we are also helpers. It doesn’t help to ignore a symptom of a disease. If he was looking at pornography and you act like nothing happened, aren’t you contributing to the problem by not gently and respectfully asking him what made him want to hide what he was looking at?

      Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
      Galatians 6:1

      This doesn’t say except for wives with husbands. I’m not trying to pick on you W or say you did it wrong. This is the kind of area where it’s tricky. There may be more than one right answer. I just want to put forth the idea that being respectful doesn’t mean we always look the other way.

      Blessings,
      Trixie

    2. W.,

      I’m very excited that you didn’t fly into a rage. That is awesome! Praise God!

      I agree with Trixie that there can be times when we do need to gently, humbly talk with our husbands about issues. This is where I think we have to be super sensitive to God’s Spirit.

      Is porn something that your husband has struggled with for awhile? Have y’all had any talks about it before? Is your husband a believer in Christ?

      If you have never talked about it before, it could be great to maybe ask him to read this post and ask him what he thinks and if he could explain a bit about how he feels as a man and what might be tempting to him – with the idea that you want to be as supportive as possible and want to be on his team to help lighten his burden as much as possible. It may even be good to talk about accountability measures in a calm, soft, gentle, respectful way.

      If you have hammered him 142 times about this issue before, it may be wise not to hammer him again about it. But let God work in his heart.

      I am sure that God will give you wisdom. But I am really glad that you didn’t react in the flesh but sought to honor God and your husband. 🙂
      Sending you a huge hug!

  27. Trixie,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with you completely that there is more than one right answer to any given situation.

    If it was porn my husband was looking at, he already knows it is wrong for him to look at it because he is a Christian man. Plus I have made my position on pornography abundantly clear on previous occasions. Every situation is different though because every man/woman is different.

    Restoration and conviction of sin is primarily God’s business though and if God leads me to say anything further to him about it, He will let me know. I will remain peaceful and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    Prayers,
    W.

    1. W.,
      I love your faith in Christ and that you know you have already made yourself very clear on that issue. I agree that once we have brought it up, sometimes it is definitely possible to bring things up too much – to the point that we can push our husbands away. Sounds like you are listening to God’s Spirit – and that is the most important thing!
      God is much more effective at the whole convicting people of sin and opening their eyes thing than we could ever be, that is true.

      I love your sensitivity to God and your willingness to obey Him and seek Him with all your heart. Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. W.

      Sounds like this isn’t a new issue, so I see why you felt led to handle it the way you did. I’m glad you’ve been given peace about the situation. We can be our husband’s best support and strongest ally when we remember who we’re really battling.

      I agree that restoration and conviction are primarily God’s business, but I believe sometimes He uses believers (even wives 😉 on occasion) to help bring about conviction. There are so many women that read here and it seems a good idea to present other possibilities for solutions. Thanks for taking my comment so graciously.

      Trixie

  28. Thank you April and JoyfilledWife. Your words will lift many women out of the depression related to this struggle.

  29. Another comment from a husband. I want to say something about men and why we are by nature pleased at the sight of an attractive woman. Sexuality is at the core of what it means to be male; it affects many areas in our lives, in addition to our interaction with females. For men sexual attraction can be separated from love at the sight of another woman, but in a marriage sex is a major part of love for us, and a man feels most loved by his wife through her willing and enthusiastic participation in sexual intimacy.
    Before you married him, I am sure your then boyfriend desired your body as well as your mind and spirit. Did you scold him for his attention towards you, a woman who was not his wife ? No doubt, you appreciated his attention very much. Then you married him, a man. A reminder that you did not marry another woman. Can you really expect your husband to not appreciate God’s beautiful creations momentarily now and then ? Would you want a husband who has very little or no sexual desire, especially for his wife ? Just read the various comments in these marriage blogs. Does your husband condemn you for smiling at other people, watching TV shows with handsome men and noticing their attractiveness ? The more often a wife refuses her husband and only tolerates his hugs and kisses and caresses, and disrespects him by not submitting to his God-authorized leadership, the easier it becomes for him to be drawn to all the other smiling women in the world, who in effect say to him “I enjoy being with you. You are masculine.”
    At the end of this video Courtney says “I hope he will find a wife at home who is admiring him, because the woman of his dreams admires him.”

  30. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    If you are confused about what it means for men to be “visual” and why men tend to struggle at times with visual temptation, please check out this post and the comments. They may be very eye-opening for you. 🙂

  31. A Wife Asks, “How Can a Husband Love His Wife AND Be Visually Attracted to Other Women?”

    This is probably easiest explained with another question:

    How can a wife respect her husband, and still talk or think about other attractive men such as celebrities?

    Attractiveness does enthrall everyone — men and women. It’s not a sin to be attracted to another person, but you may be going over the line if you dwell on it.

    Just as it’s sin for a husband to dwell on other attractive women, it is sin for a wife to be gossiping about other attractive men. Likewise, men’s visual nature can be compared to women’s emotional nature. Romance novels and other emotional porn are comparible to pornography.

    The sin that may be present in men manifests itself as a different sin in women.

  32. Reblogged this on Just a Little Something and commented:
    What a tough topic to delve into. I suggest reading the post before reading my response. You are welcome to share your thoughts or struggles…
    Though I’m not yet married, what I draw from this post is that both men and women struggle with various sins differently. Though we struggle with different types of sin on different levels, sin is NEVER acceptable in God’s sight.

    What I also draw from this post is that everyday, women(and men) need to renew our mind with God’s Word so that we do not become conformed to the way this world(in sin) thinks and behaves. It is so important to renew our minds because if we don’t we will begin to think and act out of selfishness, lust, greed and many other lifestyles that are displeasing to God.

    Personally, from this post I’m reminded to appreciate and accept the way God created me. I’m presented with the challenge to view myself through the eyes of my Lord Jesus and not through the lenses if this world.

    Though I’m not married, I am in a romantic relationship and even when I had a crush on a guy it was tempting to want to change my appearance… (not to the level of plastic surgery) Why? There could be many reasons. For this I am thankful, being reminded that I can’t compete with the rest of the world, nor do I need to. My God accepts me the way I am and He created me, knit me together in my mothers womb.

    How interesting it is that I was recently wondering why men look at other women when they are dating someone or are married, because this happened once with me, then this post is shared by peacefulwife and thejoyfilledwife.

  33. Thanks for pointing out that there’s a big difference between noticing a handsome/beautiful man/woman and lusting after them. I think another thing about a man’s world that I wish more women would appreciate is that, as a man, it’s not nice living in a world where you feel constantly accused.

    I believe that, no matter how strong a temptation is, when we understand why something is bad for us, overcoming temptation is doable. For example, I remember when I really appreciated the importance of nutrition, it was “hard” to quit eating junk food and eat healthy (change a lifelong habit) but far from impossible. I haven’t noticed reference to passages like Proverbs 6:26 and 1 Corinthians 6:18, and I wonder if a big problem is that sexual purity is not taught to men on that basis and that’s a big problem–about the harm that we do to ourselves, apart from the harm done to marriages, that could very easily motivate any God-fearing man to avoid sexual immorality.

  34. Hello April,
    I REALLY APPRECIATED this quote of yours.

    I have other sins that I am much more vulnerable to that I have to guard myself carefully against – and the sins I am more vulnerable to are not more holy than the sins that our brothers in Christ are more vulnerable to. Sin is all nasty. It all offends God.

    It is very re-assuring to know that I’m not, by nature, spiritually inferior to my wife and to all women. That is one of the things I learned growing up and something reinforced regularly by our culture. My unsaved father even once confessed that the false notion of women being pure and men being polluted (paraphrasing) was one one he clung to in spite of knowing it was wrong. It was, somehow, a comforting lie for him to believe.

    I’ve made a lot of progress in controlling my thoughts and where I look but the struggle is not over. I think I’ve said it before but no matter how inappropriately women are dressed, I won’t see more than I should see unless I make an effort to do so. This seems to line up with scripture and temptation: there is always a way out if you want to escape it.

    Thanks for tackling this tough issue in a sensitive and practical way.

    1. Eric V,

      You are most welcome. That is such a lie that almost all of us have swallowed and we didn’t even realize it. That is exactly what our culture teaches – that men are more evil and women are more pure. Or, even worse, men are evil and women are good.

      The truth is, we are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ. We are on a level playing field. How damaging that lie is to our men. How many men have been totally spiritually paralyzed by this ungodly way of thinking? And how many women have become self-righteous, prideful, condemning, unforgiving, resentful and bitter because of this lie, too? I know I did. 🙁 Breaks my heart to think of the pain my many sins have caused my husband and God.

      You are not spiritually inferior to your wife. None of us can do one good thing on our own. Not even the women. 🙂 We all need the Spirit of God filling us up and empowering us. That is the only way any of us can be good.

      We wives NEED our men to lead us and to guide us. You have wisdom that we cannot see. You can see areas where we are blind. God placed men in the driver’s seat in marriage on purpose. I’m glad He did. He knew what He was doing. How I pray we will humble ourselves and come together and work as a team against sin and against the enemy of our souls who desires to devour us, steal, kill and destroy our men, our women, our marriages, our families, our children, our churches, our country…

      I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you. I thank God that He has provided victory over sin for all of us in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is a finished work. It is all Him. We can do nothing to add to what He has done for us. How I pray you will be able to rest in what He has done for you and experience His victory on a daily basis for His glory.

      With the love of Christ,
      April

  35. Thank you for this post. I am really struggling in this area of accepting the compartmentalizing ability of male’s sexuality compared to female’s more integrated experience of sexuality / attraction / relationship.

    An explanation of Gensis 3:16 (‘Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you’) I heard once was that a woman will desire her husband to fulfil her deepest needs and because he can’t (only God can) he will have control over her. Meaning she will desperately want him and her emotions will be ruled over by him. Therefore, there will be conflict. I know there are different interpretations but this is one I have heard a few times and it kind of makes sense to me from experience and watching others. I think that we look too much to our husbands for validation because it is instinctive for us to want that security and him checking other’s out sets our insecurity antennas on high alert.

    I know that when I am asking ‘Can my husband be attracted to other women AND still love me?’ I really mean ‘Can my husband be attracted to other women AND he still have enough sexual ATTRACTION to me to draw him back to us rather than him to them’. When my husband says ‘but I LOVE you’ hasn’t helped because men can separate love and sexual attraction. As Thomas (above somewhere) said:
    ‘How can a man love his wife and still be visually attracted to other women? The short answer is that love is a choice while attraction is “automatic’ and
    ‘There are millions of people we can be attracted to. In marriage, we pick one of them to love. That choice is an act of the will, not a feeling, emotion, drive or urge’.

    So of course a man can CHOOSE to love his mother or sister or cousin AND be sexually attracted to other women. And to me that sounds like a husband can CHOOSE / use an act of will to love his wife (who he has a sexual relationship with) AND be powerfully sexually attracted to other women (feeling). Of course he can decide / choose to love her as Thomas said, but wives don’t want to be loved like a mother, sister or cousin when she shares her sexuality with her husband, she wants to be loved AND sexually attractive to him (desired by him) integrated, not compartmentalized. And she wants to believe that she is MORE sexually attractive to him than what has distracted him so that he will return to their union NOT feeling deprived but satisfied with her. This is like a husband knowing that his wife spontaneously from her very being profoundly respects and admires some other men and each day has to make the choice to respect her husband and makes a public display of it.

    Sometimes I read of an analogy likening a husband’s experience of his wife and other attractive women to a husband being on a diet but still feeling the pull / tempted by the yummy chocolate cupcakes over there. I think this tells wives a strong message. Most women have been on diets and I can tell you more than anything they desperately WANT that chocolate cupcake and have to remind themselves that the celery and carrot sticks are healthier for them and it feels terribly depriving.This doesn’t feel so good, a husband’s experience of his wife being like a restriction of what he really wants – what a horrible analogy! However, because so many men describe this without thinking it surely reflects how they really feel inside.

    Anyway, my husband can tell me all he likes that he loves me and cherishes me etc. but while I see his eyes darting to some attraction or scoping the scene in case he sees one (which tells me loud and clear what he is deeply and instinctively sexually attracted to – it doesn’t look like me!) I just can’t get it. Obviously he is trying to tell me what Thomas said, that he chooses to love me but his eyes tell me the diet hurts.

    It’s not palatable to know your husband is biologically driven to distraction and his chemical make-up is wired to constantly pull him away from us. Add to this knowing you can’t measure up to what he is attracted to AND Christian books keep telling wives to put more and more effort in to help make him happier sexually / visually….ARGH the pressure!!!!! I can honestly say that with my knowledge from Shaunti and that I have witnessed it a lot over the past few years I am my most on edge, uncomfortable and unhappiest in the presence of my husband (even though he tries to control it – what a horrible thought!). I don’t believe his compliments to me because while I only really think them about him he feels them about may many others (judging by the involuntary visual appraisals). It sort of makes our sexual union less special to me. Husbands are not stupid, they know they need to say nice things to their wives.

    I will pray because I only feel carefree and comfortable in my own skin on my own or with other people. I don’t like him seeing me or being with him because now I feel ashamed and compared anywhere.

    So my current solution is to pray, look to God for meaning, serve people in my community and take up heaps of hobbies.

    1. Mel,

      I can certainly understand why you feel hurt and upset, considering the way you are looking at this issue. It is so difficult for us as women to wrap our minds around how our husbands think. Sometimes, reading books about it can make us more confused. That is not good!

      I still don’t think you are quite understanding your husband, and I believe that is where the pain is coming in. I don’t think that your husband loves you in a mother/cousin/sister way. He married YOU. He was obviously attracted to YOU. And if he tells you that he is attracted to you and you are beautiful to him and he loves you, I pray you might accept that at face value, respect that he is telling you the truth, and receive his love.

      I don’t think that you can compare this exactly to someone being on a diet not being able to have chocolate cake and having to have carrot sticks. You are not carrot sticks. You are cake. There are other cakes that he cannot have. They may look tempting, but he is able to redirect his attention to the cake he has at home and he can savor and enjoy it.

      I have a feeling your husband would most appreciate it if you would be confident in Christ, confident in yourself and RELAX. I bet he would love it if you doll yourself up a bit sometimes, but I really doubt he wants you to feel this stressed! I think he would be shocked about how much this issue bothers and upsets you and I think most husbands in this position would really love for their wives just to enjoy them, relax and rest in their husbands’ love.

      One husband described that husbands have “wife goggles” and that they see our beauty through the lens of all the special memories and love we share with them, and that brings them back to us in a way that no other woman’s beauty ever could. We don’t have to “compete” with these other women. We can respect our husbands by taking care of ourselves in a reasonable, healthy, God-honoring way. But we don’t have to let this issue consume us or defeat us or stress us out.

      Praying for healing for you about this issue!!!

      Maybe this post might be a blessing:

      “One Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues”

      I hope that more than believing any book or blog or what any other husband says, you might seek to understand your own husband. Every man is unique and has his own level of temptation and his own way of dealing with it. Maybe your husband isn’t like the husbands in the books and posts you have read. I don’t know. I would love for you to take him at his word, love him, respect him, honor him and seek to bless him THROUGH the power of Christ living in you.

      As you focus on Christ, and seek to please Him ultimately above anyone else, and as you find your acceptance, love, purpose, identity, joy, strength, peace and fulfillment in Him, He can give you the power to be a blessing and healing influence in your marriage and He can give you the wisdom to handle things even if your husband is experiencing temptation. He can help you be confident in yourself as a woman of God. He can use this difficult situation to help you both grow. And He can make something very beautiful from your marriage for His glory!

      Praying for you, Mel!

    2. Mel,
      Regarding this: “Anyway, my husband can tell me all he likes that he loves me and cherishes me etc. but while I see his eyes darting to some attraction or scoping the scene in case he sees one (which tells me loud and clear what he is deeply and instinctively sexually attracted to – it doesn’t look like me!) ”

      I used to think like that, but what I didn’t realize is that I noticed him noticing the women that I thought were attractive. The ones that didn’t look like me. What I failed to notice is that he also looked at women that looked like me. I thought so little of myself that I assumed he wasn’t looking at them.

      My husband now controls his eyes because he doesn’t want to hurt me. I’m wondering if your husband knows the depth of your pain on this issue. Perhaps you should print out your comment here and share it with him. Pray about that first of course and do as you feel led.

      There is much more to sexual attraction than looks. And that’s where you can outshine any women, no matter what she looks like. You’ll need to turn all the hurt in your heart over to Jesus first. If you’re interested in discussing this further, perhaps April can pass on my email address to you and we can email about it some.

      Be blessed,
      Sandi

        1. Thank you for your responses! I do appreciate your offer Sandi and will do that. It has just been very difficult being married for just over 20 years (I married young at 20) and still believing the nice things my husband says to me because he chose me when I was 20 not 40 after 3 kids. I have had 20 years of comments about what he likes, what shape he likes, the shape of a woman’s waist / hips, what kind of hair, a toned athletic look (he’s really into fitness), curvaceous etc etc then reinforced by subtle or reflexive looks, glances and head turning. He even told me after our first intimacy that he was surprised as he thought my breasts would have been bigger than they were. My body has been appraised for what appeals to his preferences and I have been left feeling inadequate and competitive for 20 years and it’s feeling worse as I age. So I find him saying something nice to be weakened by the backlog of evidence otherwise.

          My husband has started to mature in his Christian walk in the last year so has been more sensitive to reduced expressing these attitudes to me less frequently (only because I told him how I feel) but I’ve heard so much about his preferences to keep me anxious and uncertain that I simply can’t just relax as you have said even though that is what he would really like. I have been fed such conflicting messages that I simply find it difficult to trust. It has profoundly affected how I feel about myself around him. I have wondered about this but don’t think I’ve misunderstood where my husband is coming from, I think this is a perfectly natural emotional response to years of conflicting messages about measuring up to a standard. I had hoped that marriage would be a soft place to land for a woman given our culture.

          For now I will try to focus on things that bring joy to my life (serving God, walks, friends, my children, my work , hobbies) and I am starting to read Neil Anderson’s ‘Who I am in Christ’ to find my secure place again, prior to marriage. I just need to keep taking this to the Lord because I cannot love freely at present due to the pain.

          1. Mel,
            I’m really glad you’re reading that book. Finding your identity in Christ is key to overcoming this issue, IMO. Once you’ve got that down the rest will come much easier.

            I’m looking forward to emailing with you. 🙂
            Sandi

          2. Mel,

            I am so sorry to hear how painful things have been. 🙁 It sounds like your husband has been quite vocal – so I can certainly understand why you would not feel confident. I am praying for healing for you spiritually and praise God that your husband has been growing. I pray for healing for your marriage, as well.

            Thank you for sharing!! I am sending you a huge hug. And I can’t wait to hear about what you are learning in “Who I am in Christ.”

            Much love!

          3. Well I want to thank you both for your suggestions. I showed my husband my comments I wrote on here as Sandi suggested. He cried. He said he had been a young fool and had said these things in passing not thinking they would take root in me because in his eyes I was exempt from these expectations. He apologized and asked my forgiveness and said he would help in any way he could to rebuild trust and my body image.

            I know this is an answer to prayer and thank God for hearing! Honestly, my husband looked devastated so I believe him. We are on a path of healing so now instead of shutting down and hardening my heart I will work on turning my eyes to Christ when old patterned emotions arise.

            Thank you for your kindness and understanding. Your blog has been instrumental in my first steps to healing. Yesterday I came across an ebook written by a Christian man about this issue and it really helped also, so I know God is at work!

            I pray that other women would be encouraged by this story just how powerful prayer is.

          4. Mel,
            I’m so happy that you were able to share your heart with your husband that way. What a blessing that he could hear you so clearly. God is good, all the time!

            Love in Christ,
            Sandi

          5. Mel,
            YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I wish men understood the damage done to their wives when they make these kinds of comments. I’m so glad you shared your thoughts with him – thanks for the great suggestion, Sandi! And praise God that he was willing to listen and was repentant.

            That sounds like Matthew 18:15 to me!

            Much love, and thank you very much for sharing!

          6. It sounds like men get a free pass. Because God made them Visual. God made us emotional an a lot of your post is how to change women but the men are ok just pray don’t say anything let him keep looking
            But it your fault you should be working out putting make up on

            Now if a women told her husband that man has more muscles or something to her husband that be disrespectful . But it’s ok for the husband because God made them visual

          7. Sara,

            I’m really glad you commented – and I am concerned that you are misunderstanding my message. Sin is never okay. God doesn’t give anyone a free pass to sin. Men are completely responsible and accountable to God for their sin. Women are completely accountable and responsible to God for their sin.

            We only control ourselves – so that is what I focus on with my blog. I don’t talk about what men should do very much because they are not my audience. But that does not mean they can do whatever they want and God is fine with that. Not at all. God hates all sin. Lust is never okay. Not for men. Not for women.

            I don’t believe it is helpful for us to try to be the Holy Spirit to our husbands. We can pray for them. We can try to understand their unique wiring and temptations. We can seek to learn to support them in the battles they face spiritually – just like we would like them to support and pray for us in our spiritual battles. We can recognize the real enemy – sin and Satan – and unite together to fight against those things instead of turning on our husbands.

            There are resources for men about how they can allow God to change them and help them overcome visual temptation at http://www.xxxchurch.org, http://www.brentriggs.com (there is an ebook for overcoming porn addiction), there is a book Every Man’s Battle that is very helpful for men.

            For more resources for women, please check out this book review on “Through a Man’s Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross.

            I hope this might be a bit more clear.

            Men and women think very differently. I had no idea about this until I began to study it 7 years ago. One book that really helped me understand was For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Sometimes the ways we think are just different – one way is not right and the other is not wrong. Other times, there are sins for men and women that need to be addressed. I don’t want to get confused about the fact that a man faces temptation means that he is sinning. We can experience temptation and have victory over it. That is not sin. The book Through a Man’s Eyes goes into a lot more detail about that.

            There are times husbands are sinning, and wives need to respectfully confront their husbands. Here is a post about that.

            Are things not going well right now in your marriage? Sounds like you may be feeling hurt and frustrated. 🙁 I’d love to talk some more if you are interested.

            How is your walk with Christ going?

            Much love to you!

  36. So something interesting happened to me today. To us, actually. As any of you who have been here long probably know, body image and men’s visual temptation is something I have struggled with for a long time. My husband wants me to have a positive body image, but I have struggled in this area all my life. It wasn’t helped by a period of time when I noticed my husband openly noticing other women. Not just noticing, but seeming to notice with keen interest if you catch my drift. We have discussed it, and because he loves me, he has made a very real effort not to do this, at least not in my presence. While I appreciate the effort, very, very much, it still hurts a little that it even has to be an effort. I still feel that if I were prettier, or thinner, or anything different, it wouldn’t require an effort on his part. I am trying, really trying – and the healing is coming – but slowly. I still struggle a great deal with my self esteem and self image. I know these are issues I must work on, and that’s not the point of my comment – just a little background.

    So all summer we’ve been growing closer, and I’ve been trying to learn to accept his compliments. I’ve been trying to believe him when he calls me beautiful. I’ve been trying to believe him when he says he loves my body. It is still very, very hard.

    Anyway, this morning, we shared some special time together and he was very sweet and kept telling me things he liked about me. Let’s just say it was sacred stuff and we’ll leave it at that. For the first time, I actually listened. I gave myself permission to maybe believe he really felt those things – maybe just a little bit. I could see my smile made him happy, and I think my acceptance (as opposed to arguing) made him feel pretty good.

    So we go to church and have a nice morning, and decide to go to our local diner for brunch. It’s crowded and we have to stand and wait for a table. I walked over to the counter to give them our name and guess what – here she comes – a younger woman wearing very little clothing. I noticed her and I happened to glance up at my husband. Had he noticed? Yup! And she wasn’t leaving much to the imagination. So as she’s maneuvering her way out of the diner, he is kind of following her with his eyes. Not in a creepy way, but I know him pretty well. Here’s the kicker. She starts out behind me and I am right in his line of vision. I SHOULD have caught his eye. You would think he would have noticed me standing right there. It was like I was invisible. Absolutely invisible. And this man wants me to believe he loves me? ARGH! He should have just hit me in the face with a two-by-four because it would have hurt less. She wasn’t even that attractive. Yes, she had forgotten half of her clothing, but seriously? After the morning we had? After all the talking? After trying to build me up, he decides to tear me down again? So soon?

    Here’s where it gets weirder. I was upset, but not angry. I used to get so angry. I used to want him to tell me how ugly and worthless I was, because I was SURE that was exactly what he was thinking. But something told me not to blame him entirely. Something I had read somewhere on this blog about praying for our husbands – that they are not the enemy – sin is. So I went over to him and I have to tell you, I was honest. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. But I wasn’t mean. I told him it hurt. I told him I was hurt because he looked right through me to see her. I told him I wasn’t angry, and I understood it was impossible not to notice such a scantily clad woman. But this made me feel bad. It made me wonder what is wrong with me? What is SO BAD about me, that he could look right through me like that. And to my surprise he got quiet. Not angry quiet, but like, contemplative quiet. But I thought he was mad. I said something like, here we go again. I have a feeling, and it’s unacceptable. You get mad at me for feeling hurt. And he looked at me and said, “I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at myself. I’ve hurt you again and I never want to hurt you.”

    Excuse me, what?

    I never heard that before. Even if he said it I never heard it. He actually cared about hurting me? I always thought he got mad because I caught him looking. I never thought he might feel badly about it. I just figured he figured I wasn’t worth caring about. (Don’t get me wrong – he is a great man, and a great provider, and a great husband. A lot of this is my issue – I get that). But whenever he’d get mad, I figured it was because he didn’t like me – or he didn’t like me interfering with his eye candy – or he was mad I wasn’t more like whatever had caught his eye). I was very, very rough on him in my heart, and sometimes with my words.

    Today I realized, while it still can be wrong, and it still hurts my feelings, perhaps I need to cut him some slack. As a man, how could he not notice a woman wearing practically nothing?

    And maybe, by taking a minute to breathe, and me not getting crazy upset, he was able to hear my hurt, and realize how this hurts my very fragile body image and even worse, my heart.

    And I’m starting to believe that maybe, just maybe he does find me a tiny bit attractive. And maybe he does care about my feelings. And maybe when he says he loves me, he means it. Maybe when he tells me I’m so beautiful, he really does think so. Maybe it’s time to try believing him. Maybe.

    1. Becca,

      WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!

      I am THRILLED about the special time you had together and that you are opening up your heart to believe your husband! From all that you have described, he is an amazing man!!!!

      And although that situation in the diner was definitely unpleasant, I am so excited that you got to catch a glimpse of your husband’s battle and his heart – that he doesn’t want to hurt you, that he cares so much about you.

      I am so thankful for all that God is doing in you and in your husband in in the communication between you. I know there is still healing to be had. But I also completely trust that God is able to heal you both and to make something so beautiful from your marriage.

      Thank you very much for sharing!!!!! This is AWESOME!

    2. Becca
      How beautyfull, thanks for sharing, as I struggle with lust I can relate to this. I can notice both ladies and man. Never thought if noticing could hurt, although my thoughts could escalate and go way beyond that. I am fightig that and it has improved a lot still I will notice. I do not know how not to be. Even in church young ladies can come dressed in what I concider underwear or nightgowns, thinking to myselve have they no compassion with oss sinners. But at the same time understanding they are totally unaware of there attraction. I do know the train of thoughts is my sin and I do have to battle that but understanding how it keeps being hurtfull is a strong motivator. To me it has nothing to do with my husbands looks and I am not comparing for that is not what it is about its just that the attraction is strong and almost instinctive. Keep growing in trust, much love to you. And thanks

      1. Tabitha,
        Thank you so much for sharing this! There is an increasingly growing segment of women who struggle with lust, as well. Women have been getting more and more into porn. And many women have a history of bi-sexual or lesbian relationships now. So – not only do we bless our brothers in Christ when we dress modestly, we bless our sisters, too. And, even for women who don’t have visual lusting temptations with other women, sometimes women can feel intimidated by a woman who shows off her beauty or her body in an immodest way, or it can create fear for them about their husbands’ temptation.

        When we dress modestly as women of God, we bless EVERYONE – including ourselves! People will treat us with more respect and honor, as well.

        This is so helpful! Praying for God’s victory over this area of sin in your life, my precious sister!

        Much love,
        April

      2. Hi Tabitha,

        Thank you for sharing. Your perspective is helpful. Yes, this can be very, very hurtful. Whether he’s comparing other women to me or not, I feel like he is, and I feel like I am the one who is lacking. I do suffer from a very poor body image, and it’s something I need to continue to pray about and work on. I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that it might be instinctive and it’s not a comparison, but it helps to hear that. I’m trying to learn to look at this issue from perspectives other than mine.

        One thing I’ve noticed is he tends to notice women that don’t look like me. I am tall, blonde, and have thin legs. Sounds great, but it’s not. Not when he notices women who are short, brunette, and have curvy bottoms. It makes me feel like everything is wrong with me. I’m trying to believe him when he says he thinks I’m beautiful, but I’m not quite there yet.

        The one thing I disagree with you on is when you say “at the same time understanding they are totally unaware of their attraction” in reference to women dressed immodestly. I think most of them have every idea what they are doing and are indeed doing it on purpose. I believe they are seeking the attention and are happy when they can get another woman’s husband to notice. I have even read this from women who dress this way, that they love the attention and the sense of power it gives them. It makes it hard for me, I need to refocus my energy and pray for these women, rather than getting offended. But it’s hard. It’s all so very, very hard. I think if these women could see the pain I am feeling it would make them very, very happy.

  37. Thanks for your blog and this post. It helped me a lot.
    There is only one thing that I am interested in: what does it mean exactly or does it happen in all cases when a man notices an immodestly dressed attractive woman that he feels a rush of dopamine or kokaine? Does he always have to face suddenly such a big temptation?

    1. No, not always. Depends on the man, the day, his mood, his level of sexual frustration, hormone levels, his age, other distractions, etc. Perhaps it is similar to when my wife and I are watching TV and a food commercial comes on featuring a chocolate dessert. She will say, “Oooo, that looks good,” but I will not even notice it. It’s just a reaction to an appetite.

  38. So, today, just like Becca, my husband and I were at a busy diner where many people were ordering food in line, including hot young girls with short shorts. I noticed them catching my husbands eye and he blinking and trying not too look. But there was so much eye candy, it seemed, that he couldn’t help himself from wanting to check out the whole package of each girl.

    I saw her too. I saw all the girls at different times throughout our breakfast. It bothered me to look up at him and catch him looking away because he knows that I’m looking at him. I feel like if I closed my eyes, got sidetracked and wasn’t looking at him, or went away for a moment (ie bathroom break), he’d feel like he’d finally get the opportunity to check out these girls thouroughly without having to worry about me or be ‘that guy” who checks out girls.

    As I sat there trying to figure out how to handle this situation (and trying to take the nasty comments in my mind captive) I came to a possible solution I wanted to run by you. I ended up not saying anything then and there which probably was the best option in the moment.

    The possible solution would be to bring the situation to light by pointing the cute girl that he is eyeing out in a lightheaerted way. Maybe saying something like ” I can’t wait to show you MY short shorts later.’ or “I’ve got something better waiting for you later” or ” Wow, she’s hot It’s hard not to look at her. Even I am!” or ?? My intention would be to bring her up so we can acknowlege that I see her and you see her, and she is hot. Then we can laugh it off and move on.

    Do that make sense? Would that be appropriate? Would that help you, men? In a way, let him look without feeling ashamed and then turning the conversation over to us again. Refocus 🙂

    See, when someone isn’t as attractive to him, he’ll point that out sometimes and sometimes make a comment. So, why not go the other way and acknowledge and point out when some is beautiful, hot, sexy, or attractive? Then I don’t have to assume he is thinking things about these attractive people and not commenting on them like he would if something is unattractive to him.

    I’d like for him to be comfortable enough with me and feel that he can tell me this without me getting all hurt and upset at him. Maybe I need to show him by example that I can do that for him? Other idea on how? Would my possible solution help him feel safer?

  39. Hi April, thanks so much for this article – what a blessing it has been. My husband and I have been married for over 20 years when we were quite young and has had many ups and downs. He constantly flirts with with women on his social media pages (privately) and whenever I try to talk to him he says I am always snooping in his stuff and turns it around on me and saying I do not like to have a peaceful life.

    It makes no use I talk to him, he started deleting his messages and now has put a password lock on his phone. I try to not let this be a huge problem to me but I know he must be hiding something.

    I don’t know how to handle his inappropriate behavior anymore as he does not take corrections or wants to talk about what he is doing wrong. April, is this sin what he is doing? I don’t want to judge him but about 8 years ago he had an affair and I fear he is heading in the same direction…………..HELP!!!

    1. Learningtocope,

      Oh goodness! What a painful situation. If it is okay, I’d like to get a better feel for what is going on by asking a few questions. 🙂

      Is he willing to go with you to counseling?

      When is the last time you addressed this issue?

      Please check out “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin”

      I believe that there should be transparency in all marriages, but especially after an affair.

      How are you treating him in general?

      How is the rest of your marriage going?

      Is he a believer?

      How is your walk with Christ?

      Much love and the biggest hug to you!

      1. No he is not willing to go to counselling – we did before. The last time I tried to address the issue was tonight and he got absolutely mad, it was over the phone and he asked me what was wrong and when I tried to talk to him, he turned everything on me about me looking in his phone and I am calling his female friends and he was not going to take off the password to suit me.

        Other than this particular ongoing issue, he treats me and the kids very, very well in all other areas. The rest of the marriage is fine, not sure though after tonight.

        We are both believers but he does not come to church with us very often, mainly because of work and whenever he is upset with me.

        He seems like he will never leave his female friends out of the picture, whether it breaks my heart or not – he just does not want to get it and says I am the one making myself miserable as he is not being intimate with anyone.

  40. April it was about his affair and we decided on certain boundaries that would not be passed etc. I was so hurt and devastated for years that he, my husband just gave up and said nothing he does would ever please me and I would not trust him again – now I know why!. He just gradually got back with them all and continues with his flirting.

    1. Learningtocope,

      So he felt that you would never forgive him and there was no hope for healing in the marriage?

      How is your walk with Christ going now?

      I want him to be transparent and to rebuild trust. I don’t want him to have these female friends.

      I have some ideas that I believe God may use to bring healing and restoration to your marriage – would you be interested in hearing them? They would be some things you could do on your end – since you can only control yourself. 🙂

      My heart aches terribly for your pain. I believe there is reason for much hope in Christ, my dear sister!

      Much love!
      April

      1. Thanks April,

        I am interested in hearing them!

        I have been trying really hard to keep my relationship strong with the Lord but every few months or weeks things keep to just fall apart and then I have to start all over, again and again. I do feel like giving up but I just can’t. I know I am the only one I can control – I just want this pain to go away forever even if he does not do anything. I have prayed before for God to take away some of the love I have for my husband because it just hurts too much.

        1. Learningtocope,

          My dear sister!!!! My heart just breaks for you. I wish I could give you a big hug!

          It makes me so sad that you are praying for God to take away your love for your husband. God is love. Love is from God. For you to not love your husband would not be God’s will for you, my sweet sister. I don’t think that is the answer. I know you are hurting so much – and it may seem like if you could just not care, that things would be better.

          But I think there is a much better way. Love does hurt many times. And it is costly. Jesus’ love for us was very costly. And it hurt Him. But love bears a lot of sacrifice and pain. That is just something love does. (Please read the links in the comment below as you have time – and allow God to speak to your heart.)

          If you believe that your husband is being unfaithful, then I would want to prayerfully consider whether you may need a separation. The post Should I Stay or Should I Go may be helpful.

          But there is the possibility that as you allow God to radically change and heal you – He may then begin to heal and change your husband and your marriage. You may not even have to separate. That will be something God will have to reveal to you specifically.

          But – as you focus on your walk with Christ and finding all of your security in Him, and letting go of bitterness and becoming the woman and wife God desires you to be – God may begin to heal your marriage, too.

          You have a right to have righteous jealousy and anger if your husband is flirting with other women or being inappropriate.

          But – I do wonder – if you were willing to demonstrate forgiveness, grace, and if you were willing to drop your bitterness – would God bring healing to your marriage? I wish you had been able to work on this years ago during counseling before your husband gave up hope. But if he sees that you are now willing to do this and you are willing to find the good in him and find real things to respect him about (not his sin, of course, but other things) – and he sees that you are able to give him grace – he may, in time, decide it is safe to try to return to you.

          If he is actively involved in infidelity – I would want you to prayerfully consider separation. But if he is just flirting – it may be that y’all can stay together and you can focus on allowing God to help you change the things He wants you to change – and your husband may begin to see the difference God is making in you and may eventually be convicted of his sin and turn back to God and to you. I have seen God do these kinds of miracles many times. 🙂

          But the key is going to have to be this – that you ask God to help you change so that you can please God – not so that you can change your husband or make him love you or get him to stop what he is doing. I hope that makes sense.

          The pain is going to be here for awhile, I would imagine. But I don’t believe the answer is to get rid of the pain – but rather, “God, use this pain to mature and refine me and my faith. Use it to change me for Your glory. Use it to teach me more about You. Use it to increase my faith. Use it to cause me to become a much more godly woman and wife. I trust You to bring conviction to my husband and to open his eyes. I am concerned for his soul and his salvation. Use me to bless him. Bring him to Yourself. That is my greatest concern.”

          I would suggest starting a list of things you respect about your husband genuinely. And maybe mention one or two things each week – just a sentence at a time – of things you admire and respect about him.

          I would also suggest focusing on God’s character and on praising Him and thanking Him for the blessings you do have. And I would focus on getting rid of any sin in your own heart.

          Have you repented to your husband of your unforgiveness and bitterness (if not, please read Apologizing Stories before you do)? Have you repented to God for these things?

          Have you read any of my posts about disrespect or respect? Or have you read, “Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected”?

          Do you have any tendency to try to control (because of fear) or take over in the marriage?

          Do you have a sense of what your husband needs – his masculine needs as a man?

          Do you try to make your husband responsible for your happiness – do you expect him to meet needs that only Jesus can really meet? Is your husband an idol in your heart, possibly?

          This is a perfect time to learn about the sufficiency of Christ – that if you have Him, you can be content, no matter what happens with your husband. You can be filled to overflowing with His joy, peace, and spiritual abundance even in the storm.

          Are you willing to seek Christ first, whether or not that leads to restoration for your marriage?

          Are you willing to be patient and obey whatever assignments God gives you no matter how long it takes?

          In God’s timing, He may ask you to confront your husband again. But until your husband sees that you have gotten rid of your sins, any confrontation may be rather fruitless.

          I believe there are so many reasons for hope if you are willing to approach this God’s way. It will be slow. There will be pain. But I think it will be worth it! There are no guarantees your husband will change – but if he is going to change, this is the way it will probably happen – as you seek to obey God. Thankfully, there is a guarantee that God will change YOU! 🙂

          I would recommend listening to as many David Platt sermons as you can to feed your soul and to help you see a bigger picture of who God is and the kind of faith He desires us to have.

          Much love to you!!!!!

  41. Thank you sooooooooo much April, I know I have a lot of work to do but I am willing to put in the work to rebuild my relationship with God first above all else then take it from them. You gave me a lot to think about and I will keep you updated and thanks, thanks and more thanks for my time and insights. Much blessings to you too.

  42. April, one more thing – was it ever ok for me to look into his phone when he is not around? I know I did it when he was not around but I knew he was always flirting so that is why I always tried to see what he was up to – was this wrong???

    1. Learningtocope,

      I would love for husbands and wives to be totally transparent and to willingly and freely give each other access to all of their online and phone accounts. I think that is how marriage should be.

      The thing is – will you snooping in his phone promote you becoming a more godly wife? Right now, you know he is probably flirting, at least, right? I wonder if it may be best just to allow God to convict your husband of his sin and bring everything to light in His timing. Now, if you truly believe he is having sex with someone else, then, don’t have sex with your husband and separate until he is willing to repent. But if it is stuff on his phone and flirting – I don’t know how much good it will do for you spiritually to see the details.

      Your goal is to grow in Christ and to let go of bitterness and to extend grace. Not that him flirting is right. It is NOT. It is disrespectful to your marriage covenant. But until you get any sin in your life under control, you will not be someone your husband can respect. And it is only when he respects you as a godly woman that your words will begin to have weight with him. Does that make sense?

      How about focusing on Christ right now and allowing Him to help you deal with your own sin. The Holy Spirit is able to convict your husband of sin and bring him to his knees in repentance. You can’t do that. You can’t make him repent – even if you confront him. You have confronted him. He knows where you stand.

      Now – focus on becoming the wife he needs and the wife God desires you to be. That is my suggestion. And even if you believe you need a separation until he is transparent and honest and willing to rebuild trust – your focus still has to be Christ and submitting fully to Him as Lord and letting Him change you. First, I believe God will change you. Then your husband will be confused and shocked. Then eventually, convicted. Then God will change him. That is usually the sequence of events in most cases, at least.

      Much love to you!

      Much love to you!

  43. Thank you, you have brought so much light to this situation – I will, with God’s help and leading, work on changing me and let God do his perfect will in my life. Thanks, you are truly a blessing!!

    1. Learningtocope,

      Interestingly, we wives tend to use our husbands’ sins to justify our own. And our husbands tend to use our sins to justify theirs. When a wife begins to fully submit to Christ and becomes more and more sanctified and holy, walking in the power of God’s Spirit – her sin begins to shrink and shrink in the marriage. A husband may try to justify his flirting and inappropriate behavior (in his mind) with other women by thinking, “Well, my wife disrespects me, she is so bitter, negative and critical. She’ll never forgive me for that affair years ago. She treats me so poorly. I might as well do whatever I want. It’s pointless to even try with her.” But then as his wife’s sin against him begins to evaporate – all he is left with is his own sin. Eventually, he will have no reasons left to justify his sin and he will have to face the fact that he has an amazing wife who is treating him very well – and he is being a total jerk. That often will help a man wake up.

      Of course, sometimes a husband’s sin can be so severe that a wife may need to separate. This will take great sensitivity to God’s Spirit. He alone can give each wife the right timing about such a decision.

      But it is interesting, when we obey God – we get out of His way so that God’s Spirit can best reach our husbands, even if they are walking in disobedience and rebellion.

      A husband whose wife used to be controlling, negative, disrespectful, and upset all the time – is going to be really confused when he sees her walking in peace, joy, and glowing with the love of Christ. It is going to pique his interest like no lecture ever could. She doesn’t really have to say a word. He will SEE her godliness and holiness and that alone will often convict him. This will create a thirst in him, many times, to want the same Lord that she has and to walk in holiness, too.

      Much love to you!

  44. Thank you so much for this post!! My husband and I got married about 2 months ago now, and he is such a wonderful man, he truly is.
    He has struggled with lust and common struggles related to it ever since being a teenager. Both of us were physically pure when we married though (he is 27 and I’m 21), which I thank God for!!

    While dating and engaged (and still now, he is faithfully honest with me, which isn’t always easy to hear, but I am exceedingly grateful for), he would confess to me when he was tempted to or felt he had lusted after another woman (usually it was an as or commercial that surprised him, or someone in a film that acted/dressed in a less than Godly manner). Typically he is very good at averting his gaze, but from what I can gather based on what he’s said, he has a difficult time averting his heart sometimes.

    I love his honesty with me in this, and treasure the knowledge that I can trust him. It has made me incredibly sad at times, and does lead to me feeling not good enough or…even just not understanding how he could possibly think that I’m beautiful after the perfection of the air-brushed Hollywood women, you know? I’m not a self-confident woman, and j never have been. I’m not overweight, but I have struggled with exercise/eating disorders for a few years (even before we met), and so I think Satan is really using both of our weaknesses to extort and emphasise the struggle of the other. It is no mistake, I imagine.

    But God is bigger than this, and strong enough to save us, praise Him!! I’m a highly empathetic individual, and usually if I can ‘put myself in someone’s shoes’ so to speak, I have nearly endless understanding and compassion…with this issue of my husband being so visually oriented, I have found myself often asking the same questions as the wife whom you addressed in the article. It has been difficult, not being able to wrap my mind around the way he thinks.

    I have been asking God to give me understanding and compassion…and He has answered me in leading me to this blog of Godly women!! I have always been scared to have children (and I am scared of my body changing so permanently), but this issue has exacerbated it to the extreme…to the point that sometimes I have cried about it, and had to fight tears or bouts of intense anxiety, because I cannot understand how I could possibly be enough, especially after that.

    Since recognising my hurt and fear, and realising I was at times drawing away emotionally (though I’ve never withheld myself from him physically) out of lack of understanding, I have been praying that God would help me understand my husband, and give me a wealth of compassion and love for him that is as full of grace as the grace God has given to me. Something I remind myself of often is that ‘we will never be called upon to give anyone more grace than God has given us’. A very humbling thought. God is teaching me so much, and your blog has gone a LONG way in answering my prayer for understanding, and also helping me examine my own heart.

    Any advice is welcome…I think I struggle most with fear at times…and hopelessness. A few times I (with my eating disorder being exacerbated by the lie that if my husband was tempted or lusted, it must be because I wasn’t pretty/good enough or even just enough) I decided I just would skip meals and eat as little as possible and see if it helped me look the way I thought I was ‘supposed to’. But once being really hungry sets in, it really ends up being counterproductive. Haha

    God is working in me and in my husband, and I’m so grateful (especially after reading the stories of some of the wives in the comments!) that my husband is Godly, and keenly feels remorse when he has sinned in this area, and comes to me openly. Every time I have prayed and received him in love…despite not always wanting to. God has given me the grace I prayed for at the time and seen me through it in ways that know were Him upholding me, and had nothing to do with me. My prayer is that I can continue to love him as Christ loves me – unconditionally. And to just be his best friend and be there to pray for him and encourage him that God is faithful, and, as Romans 12:9-10 says – His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in weakness. God is good, and my husband is a good man. He is human, but a good man. And I trust God, and am trusting as best I can with His help that love truly will cover a multitude of sins, and be enough.

    Thank you for blessing me, and helping me in my quest to understand my husband. Also – thank you for the ‘For Women Only’ book recommendation!! I will definitely be buying it when I can:)

    God bless you all and happy Christmas!!

    1. Make a Joyful Noise,

      You know what, my dear sister? I just love your heart for Christ and for your husband. Wow. 🙂

      I think you see exactly what is happening – spiritual warfare. Satan knows how to exploit both of your greatest weaknesses with one issue. This is a pretty common tactic of his in marriage. I do NOT want you reverting back to a destructive, idolatrous relationship to your body/food/being thin/worldly definition of beauty. That is what Satan wants you to do – so that he can steal, kill, and destroy you and your marriage. Don’t take the bait!

      I would love for you to search my home page for:

      – discontentment
      – contentment
      – insecurity
      – idol/idols/idolatry
      – security
      – fear

      And, please check out this post about how we are not called to be trophy wives. I think it might greatly bless you. You and your husband are on the right track, it sure sounds like to me. But you are both dealing with temptation – and I want to see you both experience victory in Christ.

      Also, you might be blessed by Shaunti’s new book, “Through a Man’s Eyes” – here is a review on that.

      Do you need more support and resources for the eating disorder issue at this point?

      Please let me know what God speaks to you and how I might encourage you. 🙂

      Much love!
      April

  45. I don’t know you but thankyou so much for sharing this! I’m laying here crying out to God. Your story sounds exactly like mine and it means so much to me to know I’m not the only one going through this! I ask why so many times! I know I’m not perfect but I feel like I do all those things u said and it doesn’t matter I still feel like I’m not enough for him. But thankyou for showing me it’s not me..its sin!

    1. Teresa,

      My heart aches for your pain!

      I think that if you search my home page for “Radiant” and read those two posts, they might bless you greatly.

      Much love to you! I’m glad to talk with you some more about this if you are interested. 🙂

  46. Well, as a bloke, let me say that the top message doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Let’s not confuse sexual attraction and love. Of course we men can look at other women and still love our wives (and them only).

    Secondly, when we do notice an attractive woman, we might give a glance, we appreciate the beauty, but we’re not necessarily lusting after that woman. Strewth, I don’t go around lusting after 20 women a day. Just seeing their beauty doesn’t mean we want to love them OR have sex with them. I don’t remember them, and I don’t fantasize about them. I’m just as interested in an attractive motorcycle that rides past. I certainly have no desire to sleep with every attractive woman I see.

    When a husband loves his wife, its not about beauty or desireability or sexual attractiveness. He loves her for the wonderful friend and partner that she is.

    1. Hermit,

      I love this! Thank you so very much for sharing a wonderful masculine perspective. 🙂 I think the ladies need to hear that this is how some men think. I don’t want us to get confused between the idea of noticing that someone else is attractive and lusting after them. Two very different things, I totally agree. And I don’t want the ladies to think that if their husband is aware that there are attractive women in the world that it means their husband doesn’t love them.

      Super helpful!

  47. This post and the comments have been so helpful to me. My husband of 37 years recently (3 months ago) confided that he had an infatuation with a much younger employee. He never shared his feeling with her and, as far as he knows, she is unaware of his feelings. He said that once he shared this with me, “the bubble popped” and he no longer has that emotional connection with her. He says he still is attracted to her at times, as he is with other female co-workers.
    Since he has shared all this, we are closer than we probably ever have been. We are in counseling now together and I am also in individual counseling. My husband is a believer and is doing everything he can to make me feel safe and to help me heal, but I still feel very threatened by the fact that he still works with her. This post (and the male comments- thank you, Thomas!) help me understand a little about what my husband might mean by still being attracted to her, but how do I get past feeling threatened by their ongoing working relationship? This is very different to me than noticing an attractive woman as she passes by- this is someone that, at least in his head, my husband had a fairly deep emotional connection with and with whom he continues to work with several days a week? Thank you for any insight you might have!

    1. Amelia60,

      I’m so thankful y’all are working through this together! That is awesome! What do you believe you need to feel secure and to feel that he is guarding his heart? What has he done to try to guard his heart and what does the counselor suggest for each of you to do?

      How is your walk with Christ going at this point?

      I don’t know that you can ever get a “guarantee” from any human that they will never let you down in any way, but I do know that you can find peace and security in Christ that will never fail. Does that make sense? I would hope your husband is willing to do whatever he can to try to help you feel safe and secure. But no matter what he does, ultimately, my prayer is that your faith will be in Jesus to help you handle anything that may come.

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you for your response! My husband is trying to help me to feel safe by being very open and honest about interactions with the girl at work (and with other women) and by contacting me usually once during his work day. He is trying to affirm me, and our relationship in many ways is more open and close than it probably ever has been. But, even though he tells me his attraction to her now is the “reflex” visual thing that other men have described in their comments and is the same as it is with other women he might see during the day, it feels so different to me since he had such a strong emotional connection to her just a few months ago- to the extent that he told me that he gave her his heart and his affection (although didn’t express this to her) and felt “numb” to me. Because of his past attachment to her, knowing that he goes to work and has any attraction for her in any way hurts me all over again and I feel like I’m continuing to be betrayed.
        He is willing to quit work for my peace and comfort but I’m not sure if that should be necessary.
        Would most women still be hurt and a little threatened by this kind of ongoing work relationship? Is it possible for me not to be bothered by him working with a girl he has been strongly emotionally connected with, who in the recent past he wanted instead of me, and who he still finds attractive? What is the godly perspective on all this?
        Would love to hear from you and others- thanks!

        1. Amelia60,

          I don’t think any wife would like being in this position. It would hurt. But I am really glad that your husband is being honest and turning to you and to your marriage and seeking to affirm you and make you feel safe.

          How is your walk with Christ? To me, this is an issue about which you both will need God’s wisdom and direction – so the closer you are to Him, the better, so that you can hear His voice very clearly. I can certainly understand that there may be wisdom in him quitting his job. I am very encouraged that he is willing to do that so that you will have peace. THAT speaks volumes to me about how serious he is about rebuilding trust and about wanting your marriage to be strong and to protect you.

          1. Hello,
            I think my walk with Christ is fairly good. At times this struggle has made me lean into Christ and I feel stronger but at other times (like today!), I feel like this is an impossible position for me to be in and I don’t know if I can get through it. I know many women have been through so much worse in their marriages and I feel like a wimp and an immature Christian for not weathering this storm any better than I am.

            Last Sunday, after a sermon on David’s lamentation in 2 Samuel, I wrote my own lamentation and, with prayer, shredded all my papers where I have been journaling my thoughts and prayers and heartache over all this. I was determined to, with God’s help, to move forward and not stay in a negative place. Today, though, all that is in my head is that he- in his imagination, anyway- had an affair with her (he agrees this is true) so, in my mind, when he works with her, he is working with an ex-lover (in his head) whom he was dreaming about and lusting over while married to me. So hard for me to feel like that’s okay that he is still working with her and to accept that. But I don’t think he should have to quit his job at this point. He says those emotions are all past and he is committed to me and our marriage but how to see him go off to work when he was so invested emotionally with her in the not-so-distant past- even though this was not expressed to her? And what words do I tell myself to help myself cope instead of hearing the words in my head, “Here he goes off to work with his ex-lover- or the one he wished was his lover”?

          2. amelia60,

            Do you believe your husband is trustworthy now? If so, and if you believe he will keep his word to be faithful to you and to focus on the marriage, you can focus on taking your thoughts captive for Christ. I can share some resources about this if you are interested. 🙂 And I can share some ideas about what to say to yourself.

            If you don’t feel that he is completely trustworthy, you can respectfully request that he consider finding another job for your peace of mind.

            What do you believe God is prompting you to do at this point?

            Much love to you!

          3. Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I do think the intentions of his heart are to be true to me and to our marriage. I don’t completely trust his emotions and that whole “visual attraction” thing and worry about him being drawn back toward this young woman. He says (and I believe that he believes this to be true) that he has no interest in her, other than the visual attraction at times, and he has no anxiety about this relationship being a problem for him anymore.

            He is trying to be extra forthcoming about their interactions; for instance, she was off work today but he had to call her about a work issue. He called me right after talking with her to let me know that he did talk with her for 3-5 minutes about this problem. My problem right now is that his phone is next to the computer I’m using and it shows that he talked with her for almost 15 minutes. I am confident that the call was all work related but I’m bothered by that time difference. If I challenge him on that, that may be being knit picky…he didn’t have to tell me at all that he called her and maybe I should let go the amount of time that they talked and not bring it up to him?

            In answer to your questions, I have been working on taking my thoughts captive and would love to hear more about your resources that may help with that. My thoughts are my worst enemies right now, I think!

            And right now, it seems almost unfair to ask him to leave his job when he has done so much to prove his trustworthiness since this situation has come out into the open. It is just so very hard for me, unfortunately.

            Thanks so much for your suggestions and I look forward to your ideas about dealing with these negative thoughts-

            Amelia60

          4. Amelia60,

            From what you are describing, it sounds like he is doing everything he possibly can to be transparent and to rebuild trust. I don’t know his heart or the situation at work. I haven’t seen him interacting with this woman and I don’t know his thoughts. But – it is definitely possible that he truly is seeking to guard his heart and make things right with you. That is AWESOME!

            Perhaps he didn’t look at the clock when he was calling and was estimating the time? I’m not sure that time difference is necessarily a big deal.

            I hope you thank him for being so transparent and honest and for working so hard to rebuild trust with you. 🙂

            Here is a video about taking our thoughts captive.
            Here is a video about having a heart of thanksgiving and praise.
            A post “I Can’t Go On Like This! I Need to Change!”
            A book review on the book Grace Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel That would be a great resource!
            A post, “Extending Grace”

            Also, I would invite you to search my home page and read the posts about:
            – insecurity
            – security
            – contentment
            – fear
            – bitterness
            – control
            – idol/idolatry
            – hold the things of this world loosely
            – discontentment
            – contentment

            I’m here if you want to talk some more!
            Much love
            April

          5. Thanks so much for your input. Looks like I have some more homework to do! I really want to get past this but wonder if it’s realistically possible to ever not be anxious when he is working with her. I will watch the video and read the other information you’ve suggested. We’re still meeting with a marriage counselor about once a month and I’m seeing my individual counselor once every couple of weeks. I truly believe my husband loves me and is committed to our marriage but still I feel so hurt and betrayed when he is with her. Thank you so much for your help and I’m hoping and praying for progress for me and for our marriage-

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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