I had an interesting conversation with Spock recently (“Spock” being my husband, that overly logical man). We discussed whether and how men and women notice physically attractive people of the other gender.
In my attempt to gain more understanding of the male species, I asked a series of questions that he answered in a way that made me appreciate, ponder, and (to be honest) wince a couple of times. The upshot? Of course Spock notices beautiful women. He’d have to be unconscious or dead not to see that God made some ladies who are gorgeous with a capital Guh.
And how does that make a wife feel?
It can make many wives feel threatened or insulted or even unloved. But before you go screaming that all men are pigs and can’t be trusted and on and on, let’s look more closely at this question: Does your husband look at other women?
Whether you see it or not, your husband likely notices beautiful women. I believe God created us to appreciate beauty in various forms — whether it’s a breathtaking landscape or a beautiful painting or a melodious song or a cute baby or an attractive body. Of course when you appreciate the beauty of the opposite sex, you’ll likely perceive that in a far different way from the cute baby. But my point is simply that it’s unrealistic to expect that we — men and women — will never notice another gorgeous person of the other gender.
So let’s not set up unreasonable expectations of our husbands or deny that they have eyeballs. He sees pretty women that aren’t you, because he’s still breathing. But that brings me to my next point . . .
Your husband registering that someone is attractive doesn’t mean he wants her. So some girl out there is pretty. So what? As anyone with a lick of sense knows, surface beauty is the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg here being love.
For centuries, the vast majority of men have longed for exactly what we women long for — True Love. Most guys who say I do are in love with their wives, and their strongest desires are for the woman they promised their lives to.
I hear it again and again from husbands: They may notice another pretty woman, but that flash through their mind pales in comparison to the heart-pounding desire they have for their wife. Most men think their wives are beautiful, not only on the surface but way down deep. And that she’s-the-whole-package thing is seriously sexy.
But what if he does more than notice other women?
Moving from noticing to lusting is an entirely different thing. Sometimes I hear from wives who say their husbands ogle women while they’re in public or talk about other pretty women or even make comparisons. Um, yeah, that’s not okay.
There’s this age-old question of when lust actually occurs: Is it when he notices another beautiful woman? When his eyes linger too long? When he dwells mentally on what he saw? When he imagines a sexual act with her?
I honestly don’t know the exact answer to that question. (Although that last scenario seems to demand a yes-that’s-lust response.) We are commanded to take control of our eyes and our minds and turn them toward good and godly things. So while noticing a beautiful women doesn’t put your husband in the swine category, it’s true that he can cross a boundary by spending too much of his gaze and his brain on someone other than his wife.
So what’s the upshot of all this? Well, I have some tips to summarize.
- If your husband only notices a beautiful woman, relax. He’s male, and it doesn’t mean that much. Other than he’s still alive — which is a good thing, right?
- If your husband likes the way another woman looks, it means very little about how crazy he is about how you look. Rest assured that when he holds you in his arms or you get naked in the marital bedroom, he’s happy with what he sees.
- If your husband is pointing out other pretty women, though his gaze or words, talk to him. Calmly explain how that makes you feel, and that you want him to stop.
- If he just won’t stop, you may need to set some boundaries. You could even say something like, “The next time you ogle our waitress or comment on her attractiveness, I will get up and leave. I very much want to spend my evening with you, but that behavior makes me feel like you don’t want to be with me.” Don’t throw a fit or make a scene, but do be firm and protective of your own self-value.
- Pray for your husband, his eyes, and his mind. While both genders were created to notice beauty, God seemed to make men particularly visual. Thus, keeping their eyes and minds pure can be a struggle. Ask God to guide him and to give you the right heart to support your husband in keeping his eyes only for you.
In case you’re wondering how I responded to Spock, I was fine about how he reacts to other women. I know he sees them, but I’ve never caught him staring. Other than staring at me. After all, it’s only logical to stick with your own brand of pretty. Right?
Does your husband seem to look at other women? What are your thoughts on noticing other attractive people?
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76 thoughts on “Does Your Husband Look at Other Women?”
Well I have a bit different views on this. Yes, I know my husband looks at other women AND lusts. Very evident of past history on computer etc.. If he really loved me he would never of done this, so I know I am just a “safe” female to be around.
Since I have read “Every Man’s Battle”, I cannot believe the lies we have been taught through the church and the church still gives men the crutch! So very sad! Had I have known this when I was 13 I NEVER would’ve been married EVER!
I have a love for my husband, but not that gushy romantic stuff, for him as a person and that is about it. I don’t like or desire sex cause I don’t know who or what he is pretending to be with, another daily chore. I have made a commitment before God and that is why I am here, the only reason I am here.
Yah I notice good looking guys, the better looking they are the more distant I want to be from them. They are even more dangerous cause they act on their thoughts since they know they can get away with it. No for lust here.
My thoughts I do not agree to that at all, I believe men were made visual for one reason and one reason only, to see the beauty in everbody as God sees us, to have an emotional link with all people, since men lack in emotions too!
I have not read Every Man’s Battle yet (keep meaning to). I did have some great takeaways about this from Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, FOR WOMEN ONLY.
Your marriage doesn’t sound much like a marriage at all, Karen. I ache for you. But I don’t believe God’s desire for us to stay in marriage means He wants us to stay in a loveless or resentful marriage. Instead, I plead with you to look into your perceptions and your wounds and your desires and then seek help to make your marriage a beautiful, God-honoring relationship. I am praying for you.
Re: Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only”: Excellent book; very balanced and well-written. IMO very helpful to read for us men.
And J, thank you for highlighting the difference between noticing and lusting. Not criticizing in any way, but perhaps a more accurate title for the post would be: “Does your husband look at women?”
There is such a thing as noticing and admiring; it’s a fine line, but we will answer to the Lord for our thoughts, and that requires us to be 100% honest with ourselves before Him, confessing any lustful thoughts. It’s also simply not respectful toward women to ogle them, even if they’re unaware of it. It starts with our hearts.
Thank you so much for what you said. I am so happy a man gets this.
I agree Karen! Why aren’t we taught this as young girls?! ( Is it bc until just the past few decades women needed a husband to take care of them or a woman’s only achievement in life could be raising a family so it didn’t matter?) I’m not sure why the church and fathers do not teach their daughters. I wouldn’t have married either with the truth of what I have learned about men’s visual nature since being married.
[CLARIFICATIONS BELOW! Because yeah, I think I did a poor job with parts of this comment. The upbeat, conversational tone in my head probably didn’t come across on the page like I’d hoped.]
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I really don’t want my site to be a husband-bashing place. Yes, some men are total, complete jerks. I myself want to punch a few men out there, either to wake them up or just deliver a smidgen of justice. (Yes, I know, vengeance is mine, says the Lord. Thus, I haven’t punched anyone.)
But all that said, there are some amazing men out there, and God has indeed given men a strong desire for women, often in appreciating their beauty. We ladies equally have a desire for men in our lives, often for other reasons. WE NEED EACH OTHER. I don’t NEED my husband to pay my bills or buy me a house or even kill the spiders, but I need him if I want a fuller, better life, a partner in building a home and parenting, and if I’m committed to letting God grow me through this institution called marriage.
If men are indeed visual, let’s admit that. (Just like, sorry, but we women are hormonal. Which sometimes sucks for the men we’re married to, but they need to get over it and let’s work together to make our lives beautiful.) And then let’s help our men to use those visual senses — that God gave them — for beautiful, powerful, wonderful things, like appreciating their wives’ beauty, the finger paintings of their children, the holiday decorations we’re asking them to help put up :).
Please don’t up on marriage because it’s hard or difficult to understand men or challenges notions we have about what it was going to be like. Address where you are right now, try to get on the same page, and then fight for your marriage. I hope this didn’t come off as a rant, but I am pleading with you, Karen and Anna, for a hopeful attitude and a commitment to something better. May God bless you richly!
I don’t hear Karen and Anna bashing men. I just hear them voicing their pain. Even though I have worked through this issue to a point where I now feel calm and happy with my life, if I knew then what I know now about how deeply I would hurt, I would have remained single. This is not said from a point of wanting revenge, but from a place of needing to escape pain and hopelessness.
I don’t know that husbands can understand this, except to compare it with how they would feel if their wives consistently refused sex. For some women, the message they receive when their husbands look at other women is this: you are not enough for me and you never will be enough for me. And they realize they are trapped, having made a lifelong commitment to someone for whom they can never be enough.
I do hear the hurt in these comments. My gut pinches as I read about the disillusionment and the wounds and the hopelessness.
What I would hope is that men and women, wives and husbands, would separate internal struggles we have that we can deal with if we attend to our character and adopt godly principles…and the decisions of some to selfishly pursue intentional behaviors that hurt their spouses and damage those relationships.
I wonder at times if wives and husbands really discern which is which. I speak from experience that when my marriage was awful (and yeah, it was pretty awful at one point), I chalked up many of my husband’s hurtful choices to personal mistreatment of me. And a lot of it wasn’t personal. It was either him dealing with his own issues or just the way men are different from women. Once I adjusted my expectations and began to work toward healing and health, I saw my husband in a different light. He also came to appreciate me more.
And there was even a time when both my husband and I would have said that, if given a choice, we wouldn’t marry each other again. But we didn’t give up. We didn’t stay stuck. We worked on ourselves and our marriage. And both of us today are very happy we married each other. I am just praying that wives don’t throw in the towel prematurely and settle for less than God wants them to have.
You have my thoughts, my prayers, and my encouragement for you and for your marriages.
“You are not enough for me and you will never be enough for me.” Exactly the hurtful message. It might be like a wife admiring things about other men –better income and promotions, more athletically inclined, witty and intelligent conversation, confident, unique and interesting hobbies, adventurous, strong spiritual leader, trim physique, great dad, wife who has bragged up his sexual and romantic abilities, etc. Even if it only happened occasionally what would be the message her husband received?
Not husband bashing just my reality that I really wish I would have had this information before marriage. Yes I’m blessed with the ability to see but I am not a visual person so I had no idea what that entailed.
Well I have to disagree with the statement that men are just visual. If you have eyes and they work then you are visual. Let’s be honest you were probably visually attracted to your spouse, too. So, the problem really is that we,as Christians, allow (us) men to get away with the crutch we are visual. I am going to call it like I see it. [EDITED] Noticing beauty and lusting are two different things. I think if you notice but if you start to admire the beauty of a person you open the door to lust. And for that lust is a demon, an evil minion of satans that lies to the hearts of people to tell them to desire what is not rightfully theirs. People make the agreement with lust. If you think your spouse is ensnared by lust pray for their freedom. Freedom is not the absence of something but the presence of Jesus in their lives.
Yes, of course men and women both have eyes and are thus visual. But our brains do process differently, and many researchers and observers have detected a difference in how men and women approach the significance of physical beauty.
I thought I was clear that lust is not okay. Jesus calls it sin in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The word we translate as “lust” (Epithumeo) is also translated at times as “desire” and “covet.” Noticing something and looking at it with desire are different, but God knows what’s in our hearts. HE knows when we cross that line.
I’m visual too, but I turn away from an attractive man. Sometimes, if I see a man out of the corner of my eye, I do not even look in that direction. I know they say men are visual, but his looking is a choice. He can choose to look away and only admire his wife. Several men do not do this and secular belief is that men were meant to spread their seed with as many women as possible. Bogus, I know.
Hello. Comments like yours sadden me. You say men get a free pass to lust. Women do as well. I still get watched by women and sometimes it’s downright creepy. I just ignore them. I’ve even been stalked and it was rather unsettling. Do you you really feel attractive men believe they have a licence to pursue and seduce? That’s a rather sweeping generalization.
The reality is both men and women sin and would do well to control their thoughts and eyes.
Yes, I’m very visual. That said, I probably go overboard in avoiding looking at or even interacting with women.
Please don’t write off all the men in the world as lost causes as far as resisting temptation. That’s an awfully dark place to live.
My heart aches for you. Good for you to see the truth. I am sorry for how you must be feeling. I would feel used and have been used in the past. Words cannot express how much my heart is aching in what you said.
Amen i think some men after having a daughter, see woman differently and all of us woman are daughters… When I didnt feel loved or respected by my dad or husband, i Knew God was my Father, my Husband, and loves me completely.❤️I better qut or I will go on and on, but u hit it rt on with Why God made them visual, to see the beauty in everyone.
The way I look at it — we ALL take notice of someone who is attractive, at least I admit I do, but not in a lustful way. So sure my husband is going to see lots of pretty women at church and everywhere else, he’s going to notice them and yes, he will look — I do — but that doesn’t mean he is lusting after them.
I will admit there are times where we both see a very attractive woman (and yes, I know he is looking) and the only time I don’t like it is when I’m feeling self-conscious about myself. Perhaps I’m not feeling particularly attractive that day then yes, I don’t like it but not necessarily because he’s looking. It usually has more to do with how I feel about myself. When I start comparing myself to this other woman is when I don’t like it.
Great post with some good thoughts.
My husband really isn’t much of a looker. He has other faults, believe me, but I’ve never ever felt threatened or demeaned by him looking at other women. It just isn’t him. But yes, we all notice attractive people. I certainly notice gorgeous men, and sometimes I have to chastise myself for thoughts. But I refocus and move on. And usually those thoughts aren’t sexual, but more along the lines of wishing my husband were as fit and sculpted. But like I said, I take those thoughts captive and move on.
I did experience something the other day that left me pondering. A friend of my husband’s came over (he’s a good 15+ years older than us) and greeted me with “you just get more beautiful every time I see you” I said something like “well, it must be because I’m married to that wonderful guy.” I didn’t take any offense really, but I asked my husband about it later. He didn’t feel threatened either, but I told him that I would not like hearing him say that to another woman and I would never in a million years say something like that to another man. I know his intent was innocent, and even a bit fatherly, but it just left me pondering. What if I were feeling unloved and unappreciated by my husband.? I could have taken his comment quite differently. I think we need to guard our eyes and tongues and gush over our spouses attractiveness any chance we get.
I empathize with women who feel deep pain around this issue. When I first began to work though this, I realized I would rather be alone than be inadequate. Inadequacy became my identity. Three major steps helped me break free.
1. Identifying the reasons for my reactions. I associated sex with abandonment, depression and attempted suicide. My husbands’ comments about other women’s beauty triggered that button. Admittedly, knowing one’s buttonsand what pushes them is helpful, yet it takes time for our emotions to catch up with our knowledge. In the meantime, a great deal of energy is required to talk oneself through one’s episodes.
2. Putting this issue in it’s proper place in the scope of my marriage relationship. Yes, sex is important. Yes, how I look matters. But I am more than that. My identity is anchored in my faith and I share many gifts with my spouse, siblings, children, community, etc. I am respected and valued in my workplace. Others seek my advice and I am frequently called upon to lead. My life is not a Cinderella story. I have a body, heart, spirit, voice, mind, calling, purpose.
3. This is my husband’s issue. In playing the victim role, I assumed a powerful and unhealthy position in our relationship. My role is to love him, support him, pray for him, and articulate my feelings and expectations. My role is not to rescue or control him.
In short, view this issue in the big picture perspective. Know yourself and know your God. And let your husband know himself and know his God.
Even as a long time (20 years) married guy I from time to time do notice other women. It’s not like I am not on the prowl hunting for the ladies, more rather a woman has presented themselves to be noticed, and it’s hard to miss them.
My wife has always been very understanding of about how guys notice other women and has never really made a big deal about it with me. She has always been very down to earth and seems to know that overreactions to this topic don’t do any good. She also notices other women that are attractive and usually knows the ones that I might notice.
At some point in our marriage we both had a revelation that it was just better for both of us to have a quick mention about the noticeable women and it usually neutralizes the whole thing real quick. Usually it’s something like; “That woman has very blue eyes”, or “That lady is very tall”, or “That outfit is over the top”. Then she responds with her observations of the woman and we move on with other things. If I am struggling I just ask her can we sit somewhere else, or swap chairs, etc so I don’t have to struggle with diverting my eyes.
She has also known that I love her more than anything and knows I come running to her whenever I need her. I have not ever given her any reason to question that so she trusts me and I trust her.
I feel very strong about this topic. The article is great, but it still leaves me wondering. Just about every professional football game has to have cheerleaders with their butts sticking out and their cleavage for all to see. Why are they needed if the crowds cheer for their teams. My cousin said “they’re entertaining”! This is what men are seeing – whether she is attractive with all her parts out! How about the disgust dancing of JLo and Izzy Asleagh! Is this what I want my husband to see? Nothing is left to the imagination! And Kim Kardshian…disgust and the three butts of the Sports Illustrated models and their swimsuit show and Victoria Secret shows(which we DO NOT watch either) and how about their commercials in your face. Ok you will tell me this is not what your talking about, but this is real and it’s out there!. Yes I feel very uncomfortable!!! No I do not think it is necessary for my husband to be exposed to this filth. Also, I believe that men begin to think that their wives should look like them or at least close to it. If someone is attractive that’s fine. You see and move on. Sometimes these attractive people are exposing more to be noticed. I just have a hard time about this topic. It seems as if everyone’s morals are going down the drain and everyone accepts everything.
I am by no means condoning those examples you mentioned. I hate how overtly sexual professional cheerleading uniforms have become. I’ve actually complained to Victoria’s Secret about how they plaster half-naked women in a mall traversed by the general public — including young men and our husbands. When my husband got Sports Illustrated magazine for a year, we paid (extra, I think) for the no-swimsuit-issue option. And yeah, I did not under any circumstances want to see Kim Kardashian’s naked body on a magazine cover at my grocery store checkout.
Of course, it’s real. Please don’t take anything I said here to indicate I’m excusing the ridiculous images shoved at us day in and day out. But I am pointing out that if your husband never notices ANY of that, he’s quite possibly dead. As wives, we can help to limit those images coming into our environment; we can pray for our husband’s eyes and mind; and we can encourage him to look away from that and toward us (the way-better deal). I’m not wanting husbands to get away with lust — a thousand times no. But I do want to be honest about what they’re facing and how we wives can approach it.
That was a good article. It’s a tough subject. I was once told that it’s not a sin to notice a pretty lady, unless you go around the block for another look. Maybe. Maybe not. Noticing is one thing, flirting and fixating, is another.
I still notice other women, I’m not blind. But, I’m not stupid either. My wife is amazing. She is everything I want. There’s no way I would do anything dumb to jeapordize my home. I also keep my comments and conversations in check to make sure she knows that she will always be the center of attention.
Our wives deserve so much better than we give them most of the time. I wish I was more effective at teaching men all that.
Thanks for the article. I really appreciate all you do.
I’ve never seen my husband look at other women who are around, so I feel very blessed there. What always gets me are the women in media – the movies and TV shows he chooses for us to watch. I rarely have the courage to mention it. But when we do discuss it, it amazes me that different things stick in our minds. I can’t watch even more than one episode of an anime with women in bikinis, but he doesn’t even notice it until I bring it up. I’m still not sure what I think about that, but it reminds me not to assume that he obsesses over everything that I do. Kind of like how he never notices that the bathroom is a mess until I ask if we can clean it.
Okay, that last sentence made me laugh. Like how do you not see, husband, that your whiskers are all over the sink? Can you see I have a similar problem? LOL.
On the anime stuff, that makes me think about comic book superheroes. CLEARLY, men draw the majority of those characters, because there is no way I would fight crime in a bustier and stiletto boots. Are they crazy?! Wonder Woman should rebel — for the sake of us all.
Alyssa brings up a good point. My husband will watch a movie and love it. I’ll fixate on the one flash of breast or butt in the 20 second sex scene. We’ll see it in the store and he’ll point it out. I’ll say, “it had that boob scene” and he’ll look shocked and say, “it did?!” He seriously won’t remember.
On the other hand, he has watched things with the intent to lust and even masturbate over. It is very infrequent and he is convicted. Does it bother me? Of course! It rips apart and I begin to battle the old temptations to destroy myself and him in my mind and heart.
Fact is, he’s an average man and I am an average woman. I will never be a gorgeous 20 something. But, I can be the best me. I can understand that there is more to me than meets the eye and I am.worth far above rubies. I am a catch, a treasure, and when he does those things he is missing out.
I confronted DH once about looking at other women and he was shocked to discover I was comparing myself to them. To him, there is no comparison. I stand apart. I am exclusive. Those girls are merely things while I hold the title of wife.
That being said, beyond ocassional slip ups, men do run tge risk of comparing their wives and being discontent. But, that is NOT a reflection on the wife, but rather a burning result of sin.
There was a time DH struggled with porn and was unhappy with my small chest. I said that I may not have a lot of breast tissue, but what I have is all his and everything within me that goes with it. That ought to be enough for him because God says it is and hubby is missing out on the abundant blessings God has attached to exclusive marital sexuality that far surpasses a handful of chesty young ladies wiggling on a screen somewhere.
It still hurts, but I stand with God and know my worth.
However, if I become widowed, I have no desire to remarry because I no longer trust men. I will remarry if God sets it up but i will not seek remarriage on my own accord. The pain and agony of dealing with a man with wandering eyes and broken sexuality is just too much.
Thank you for your comment “Most guys who say I do are in love with their wives, and their strongest desires are for the woman they promised their lives to.” I have struggled with this for years despite my husband’s reassurances. Your article and this simple statement touched something, particularly with regard to his “strongest desire” After reflecting on this I realized that we all do indeed have different impulses and levels of desires; from food to cars to hobbies. Personally, I’m now delighted that I’m his top-rated, #1, strongest desire!
I wonder how we define “notice” in this context. My husband would comment on other women’s beauty, frequently and emphatically. I could see him light up as the adrenalin and dopamine surged through his body. I remember a time when entering a store, he stopped in his tracks and slowly turned to keep his eyes on a woman who was leaving the store and going to her car. About a year ago, at a concert featuring a very lovely guest artist in a revealing gown, I saw the glow on his face as he gazed at her adoringly. Once while shopping, I lost track of him and later realized he had been following a very attractive and well dressed woman around the store. And on weeknights when watching Wheel of Fortune, I would see him light up as Vanna came on the screen, and listen to his comments about how awesome she looked.
I believed I had no such effect on him. I believed he didn’t want me. I knew other men found me beautiful because they said so. I knew my husband found other women beautiful because he said so. I did not know my husband found me beautiful because he did NOT say so.
I found Shaunti Feldhahn’s book very unsettling and the part about the mental rolodex sent me into a panic. How was I to be comfortable in the bedroom knowing my husband had images of other women locked in his mind that would surface involuntarily? I knew he noticed, but I didn’t know he kept a permanent record. I was devastated to learn this.
We know our husbands are visually stimulated and can be sexually aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman. We know our husbands are created in a way that makes it impossible for them to not notice a beautiful woman (she doesn’t necessarily need to be dressed provocatively). We know that visual images of these women are stored in their brains and surface involuntarily. We know they must be intentional about not lusting.
We long to be the only woman by whom our husband is visually stimulated and sexually aroused. We long for them to notice only us, to be the only woman by whom they are captivated. We long to be the only female and sexual visual images in their brains. We long for these things to be natural and instinctive, not something with which he struggles.
He followed her around the store? Yeah…not okay. Because, at least to me, that’s continuing to feed that image into your head. “Notice” means notice — “to become aware of (something or someone) by seeing, hearing, etc.” according to Merriam-Webster. But being aware of something is different from staring, gawking, licking your chops, etc. You get the point.
So husbands who are reading this? Don’t. Do. That. It’s not helping you keep your gaze on your wife, and it’s not helping her feel the security and confidence she needs to engage with you.
I hope it’s clearer now what I meant. And yes, if I were in your shoes, I’d gently talk to my husband about this, letting him know the detrimental effect his actions have on my heart and our relationship. Personally, I’d offer to be the one he can gaze at often and deeply, as long as he will make an effort to keep his eyes from others and on me where they belong. Blessings!
Oh, and by the way, I think that notion that men won’t struggle with this, that as soon as they fall in love, they’ll instinctive only have eyes for their gal…it’s mostly based on fiction. Usually written by women or by men in the height of falling in love. You hear it in love songs, see it in movies, read it in books.
But in real life, just because something is a bit hard, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to do it. If anything, I pray we wives come to appreciate more when a husband pushes past that struggle to devote himself fully to the wife he loves, because that effort is loving. I’ve often likened it for myself to parenting: It was a struggle sometimes to wake up and care for my infant, but I desired to be there for my baby with every fiber of my being and every beat of my heart. Because, tough or not, I loved that kid.
thanks for writing this post. It has made me think a lot about what on looking at and how that effects my marriage. I have a question though. I have been married for over 15 years and I love my wife dearly.I think she is fun and pretty and I truly enjoy being with her.since having children though, I’ve struggled with her change in appearance.
I do not mind the changes thatgive her more of a woman’s body. I think they’re great and make her even more attractive and beautiful than she was before which is saying a lot! My problem is that she has gained a lot of weight and at the same time has started dressing more modestly. I really appreciate her desire to be modest because it’s a godly trait. Frankly when we’re in public I appreciate that about her, & I wish a good many more women would endeavour to be more modest.the result though is thatwhat was once quite visually stimulating and attractive has now then lost for me.I know that I am more visual than most men and so it has really affected me a lot.
I don’t know what to do about it. I wish I was not so visually oriented and have prayed often for the Lord to change that in me. I would prefer for it not to affect me at all. But so far it does. From the few conversations I have had with her I know that I cannot talk to her about it. I’ve encouraged her to be more healthy and to lose weight and have tried to do so in a very caring and loving way.I have found though that it’s not something I can talk with her effectively about.she translates my talking about it into believing that I do not think she is pretty or attractive. That’s not the case but I don’t know how 2 make her understand that it does affect it.
I hope this doesn’t sound like an excuse but I have struggled much more with averting my eyes and guarding them since she started gaining so much weight and dressing in a less stimulating way.I am trying to fight this but part of the reason that I got married was to make this struggle easier and when she kept up her parents it was much much easier!I don’t know what to do.
I will write an entire post on that, because it’s a great question and I’ve heard it from other men. The short version of my answer is to stop talking about her weight and appearance. In fact, you did well in approach the issue of her health. But I admit that some of us ladies hear “health” as code for “lose weight.”
So my quick advice is to be active with her or promote her activity with friends. That is, ask if you two can go walking together in the evenings, or if you have kids, take them to the park together and walk the track if there’s one. Offer to take up a mutual sport, sign up for ballroom dancing, or join the local golf course. Or give her a gym membership or Zumba classes that she can attend with a girlfriend, and make that her refreshing time while you hold down the fort (aka household).
Also, it seems contradictory, but the more you tell her she’s beautiful, the more likely she is to attend to her appearance. We don’t take care of ourselves if we don’t feel like we’re worth it, but if we’re assured that we matter, we’re more willing to put forth our best effort.
But I’ll write more soon! Many blessings.
J, I’ve been married for 51 years (same wife), and as a former pastor and Bible college teacher I find your blog on this topic much needed, and mostly right on center. But should a husband stop telling his wife she’s beautiful simply because she thinks he’s insincere? I believe a major purpose of the Song of Solomon–in which two lovers continually comment of each others’ assets–is to be a primer on how spouses should praise each other. And the husband needs to lead in this.
For example the woman’s hair, eyes, neck, lips and “the joints of thy thighs” are all praised by the male lover. Wait a minute–thighs don’t have “joints”; that must mean the hips–her bottom! Women, normally are extremely conscious of this part of their anatomy, and I did notice that the photo you chose to illustrate this blog showed a young woman’s bottom in jeans, as a young wife tries to keep her DH from ogling.
So praise your wife. tell her she’s got a sexy bottom and nice breasts and shapely legs. It may take a few thousand praises over several years, but if you’re diligent in praising her backside and not coveting other women’s physiques (covet is one meaning of the Greek word rendered “to lust” in Matthew 5:28) she’ll get it eventually, and you’ll both be much happier!
Wow, 51 years! Congratulations and thanks for your example.
By the way, I had to smile when I read “the photo you chose to illustrate this blog…” because the way I choose photos is through a stock photo site. I enter search terms that match my topic and then see what comes up. Sometimes my pick isn’t exactly what I’d like, but since I don’t have a photographer on staff…! For this post, honestly I must have looked through hundreds of photos trying to find one that was on point and not offensive. I never once gave a single thought to the woman showing off her posterior.
Thanks for your great advice! I agree that spouses should continue to praise one another’s appearance. And I believe spouses can find something to sincerely compliment, whether it’s breasts or eyes or hands or whatever. I’d suggest starting there, and oftentimes when you form a habit of looking for the good in your spouse, you find even more good to praise. When you attend to someone’s beauty, they somehow become more beautiful to you.
Re: “For example the woman’s hair, eyes, neck, lips and “the joints of thy thighs” are all praised by the male lover. Wait a minute–thighs don’t have “joints”; that must mean the hips–her bottom!”
Not to be graphic or offensive, but thighs do have joints (or the place where they connect with the rest of the body). IMO this could quite easily be either a reference to the “Y” or “V” shape of a woman’s lap area, or a hint at the vulva itself. Either of which the writer of this passage clearly found plenty of beauty there to speak of it.
I appreciate your candor and am happy to hear J will write a post on this subject. While I do not know your wife, I see myself in your description of her. In 30 years of marriage, I gained 80 pounds. I hurt my husband. I hurt myself. I hurt my marriage. My eating was a form of self medication, a coping mechanism for deep hurts I was afraid to face and needed professional help to address. No amount of encouragement from my husband or physical activity would have made a difference. Those efforts were like putting a bandage on a wound that needed a triple dose of antibiotic.
You say “part of the reason that I got married was to make this struggle easier and when she kept up her appearance it was much much easier” I hope your wife is more to you than a way to alleviate temptation and diminish your struggle. I would feel used if I thought my husband married me for this reason. I understand this it IS easier for husbands when their wives are feeling and looking their best. Still, this is a low blow. Talk about getting kicked when you’re down!
I don’t know what my husband could have said or done to motivate me. I had to decide to change in my own time, taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing. We cannot fix, rescue or control others.
I will admit that food still has indescribable power over me and I know I will face this battle every day. Also, the sense of failure I felt during those years of weight gain cannot be described in words. A prison of sorts, with the likelihood of escape decreasing each day.
And yet, God brought healing to my marriage and can do the same for you!
Love your blog. It has helped me to see things differently.
When I was dating, one of the gals I dated for a few months would get upset if I did not look at other women. I thought it was rude to look at others when I am on a date with someone,
Now I am married for 37 years to the gal I first dated. Love her with all my heart.
I do want to say that some women dress ( or I should say half dressed) in order to get a man’s attention. This is not fair to the men because as much as we try – we are alive and we even though we are saved – we still battle with the sinful nature. We have to control what we see and what we think – that is our responsiblity. Ladies – your are beautiful – dress with respect to other save the skin show for your wonderful hubby. Thanks
I heard an analogy many years ago that really stuck–wandering thoughts are like having birds fly over your head. It happens, possibly out of your control, and that split-second is not a willful sin on your part. They might even drop something on your head, and you’ll have to do a little clean-up to get things back in order. However, it is a personal decision to let them build a nest in your hair/live on your head. Following up on those thoughts, whether with more thoughts or action, is intentional and wrong.
That distinction really helped me understand my husband’s perspective. Of course he notices beautiful women–as you said, he is not dead (praise the Lord!!). However, the fact that he deflects those images/thoughts and instead gives me his focus is a reflection of his honor and strength as a man. I am very thankful for a godly husband who intentionally puts me above the junk thrown at him from the world.
My main issue isn’t necessarily the looking so much as the animated talking he does with other women everywhere we go, a way he rarely gets talking to me. He goes out of his way to be funny and charming with waitresses and checkout girls while I stand and wait and wait and wait for him to be done. We have discussed this inasmuch as he thinks I am just paranoid and he shouldn’t have to change “who he is”. I was cheated on in my first marriage, a fact he well knew going in to this. It isn’t to excuse me for paranoia, but I do have trust issues he thinks I should just be able to shrug off. He tries to tell me I am the only one for him, but his actions show he isn’t interested in me anymore. I think he stays out of obligation.
My DH sometimes does this. I hate when I am ignored or talked down to while he is extra chipper or borderline flirtatious with other women. I hate when his eyes light up or he wolf whistles at an actress but when I go all out on my looks he barely looks at me and mumbles, “you look nice.” I hate when a movie sex scene shows a change in body language a blind person could see, but he restricts our sex life to the same old vanilla.
For once, I want to make his eyes bug out. For once, I want him to attack me with a passionate night of sex (that.doesn’t have porn/movie arousal behind it). For once I want him to be attentive and act like he loves and cares for me around other women.
He grew up in a wife=whipped world. Catching other women’s attention=ego.
One thing I did note, though, is that when he paid a lot of attention towards certain female friends, I noted what they had that I didn’t that was attracting DH. My childless friend dressed to the 9’s and took really good care of herself. I was getting frumpy, so I started caring for myself more and his gaze returned more toward me. The babysitter is confident and ready to try things. I was really down on myself and full of fear, so I worked on my self esteem and tried some new things. Suddenly, I was more interesting again. My single mom friend is flirty, smiling, and strong. I was a stoic, grumpy, wuss. I started flirting with DH and having fun and having my own opinion. He enjoyed my company again. And I enjoyed how I was growing. I didn’t change who I was or tried to be someone I wasn’t. I just improved upon who I already was with character traits.
You had a lot of changing to do to become what he liked in other woman… What changes did he make?
You make a good point that one person should not have to do all the changing. But oftentimes, when one spouse takes the first step and begins to act in loving and gracious ways, it has an effect on their mate. I’ve found that to be true in my own marriage — that things changed, and even he changed, when I stepped out and made changes first.
J I think you nailed this topic. My wife and I have learned that we are the happiest, the most secure, and both feel safe when we have a lot of sexual intimacy. We see in our friends and others that the happiest marriages are the couples having the most sex, so it is not just us. From observation and experience I find the guys that don’t have porn problems, that don’t look too long, they are very satisfied by a Godly and loving wife.
Having a wife who desires you, who makes you feel good sexually can lift a man’s overall sense of well being, this is something I learned very early in my marriage. (Since that rates high on both of our love languages), I won’t be specific, but my wife and I can experience together that makes me feel loved, respected, admired, adored, and confident that I can do anything, it motivates me, makes me happier and I’m better at work and home. I was encouraged when sex like this confirmed by Feldhan’s research on the happiest married couples.
Keeping that feeling, pretty much makes our marriage impervious to the evils of the world. With it my eyes have never wandered, I have never looked at another woman or pornography, in fact I was able to have a 2 hour long conversation many years ago with a former classmate who’s only intent apparently was to bed me. Was I consciously aware that I was talking to someone who was very striking? Absolutely. Did I lust or sin? No. Did she ever have a chance? No way.
My heart breaks for men married to gatekeepers or refusers, those wives are probably married to a man who loves them deeply, but is the most likely man to have a problem with lingering eyes, maybe flirting, and yeah even the pornography. God never intended for husbands and wives not to share the most intimate parts of themselves, in fact His great design for marriage is to. Yes, men can have self control, and choice, but your husband is not dead, and we are all sinners.
It does pain me to see the husband bashing going on here. Those that say they wish they had never married, please believe me that there is hope for you and your marriage. Wives you each have a choice to believe the best intentions about your husband and pray for him, and to pray for your marriage that has gotten to the low point it is now, because God can heal you both. Not only can He, but He wants to. God can use one spouse to change another very quickly and dramatically.
Thank you. And how wonderful for you and your wife! Many blessings.
You mistakenly make the assumption that us “husband bashing” women are refusing sex and not believing the best in our husbands. I spent over a decade hoping, studying, working, loving, forgiving, seeking help. I have NEVER refused my husband, I frequently initiate (and sometimes get refused). I greet him cheerfully daily, pray for him daily, praise him, kiss him, tell him I love him daily. I give things up so he can have more. I take care of myself and am in shape and dress nicely. I noted when I was slipping and made efforts to bring myself back to a more personable, lovely state. He sees me naked frequently. I give him massages when he wants. I do all this because I love him and I have hope in our marriage.
Yet, his eyes still wander and he’s the one who refuses in bed.
So, after over a decade of this, I am speaking out and it looks like I am not the only one. Believe me, I’ve done enough, “what am I doing wrong”. Literally wound up in serious depression with nervous breakdowns only to realize it is simply because my husband is admittedly selfish and lazy and would rather enjoy a quick fix than fixing his marriage/marriage bed. Any tiny changes that have occured are because he wanted to just shut me up from my nagging (nagging being finally brave enough to bring it up ONCE).
So, please don’t judge us. Believe me, behind this cry for help “husband bashing” enough self bashing has been done.
Katydid, I can read your frustration and relate with your comment so well, down to the ten years, the wondering what I was doing wrong, initiating and being rejected. After 9 years of struggling in this area of my marriage and countless conversations with my husband, I unfortunately discovered my husband had a deep problem with lust and porn. We have worked really hard for almost a year repairing the hurt and damage both of us experienced. The work isn’t over but my marriage today looks very different than it did a year ago. I have gone from feeling betrayed, deceived, angry and ready to run to deep compassion and forgiveness.
If I could do anything different from what I did for the previous nine years it would have been to stop working so hard to do everything perfectly. I wish I would have asked him to see a counselor with me and if he wouldn’t go, I wish I would have gone on my own without him. I am a very private person and though almost no one in my day to day life knows all the things that have happened between us over the last year, our counselor does and she’s acted as the safe place to keep this part of my life private while also providing the godly wisdom and accountability we needed to turn our ship around.
I’m certainly not saying that your husband has the same set of problems that mine does, just that I was working incredibly hard to do the right thing and very little ground was gained until I was forced to get some input and help. God is good and loves us so much, he never left me, even when each day was harder than the one before for a time. My husband is now my friend and my lover. He understands me in a way I once thought would never happen. I wish I would have quit talking, working so damn hard and reached out for someone sooner.
I admire you and your wife. Wishing you many blessings!
The above reply is for K. I do admire their relationship.
But Katydid, I feel your pain. I understand your rejection. I empathize with you and truly understand “what am I doing wrong” when I’ve been trying to do what God wants. And definitely see the wandering or pretend not to see eyes. Don’t know what to tell you because I go through similar things. I think my husband & I are unequally yoked with different priorities. But that doesn’t help. Hang in there and let’s pray for each other!
Hello Guys and Gals,
I hate to break it to all of you but both men and women are equally visual. As soon you say that men’s eyes operate in one manner and women’s eyes operate in another, you have just split up the human race. Men look at other women and women look at other men with the same visuality. Otherwise, how could they have gotten physically attracted to each other in the first place? It’s not logical to believe otherwise
In terms of the of how some men look at women and some some women look at men, it is completely a learned cultural response an as to whether they develop a habit of staring or whether their eyes follow their every move.
All of this talk about men storing visual images in their brains and women not storing visual images in their brain is bogus science. Both genders store visual images (unless they’re blind).
Pay attention to how our culture teaches us to visually regard each other. That will explain why and how people stare and “ogle” the opposite sex.
So arguing a position by simply saying the other position is illogical doesn’t really make your point.
And yes, I think we are divided — men and women — by many differences. God noted a distinction right in the first chapter of Genesis (“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – v. 27). I’ve also talked about physical differences (not just the outer stuff) in Man vs. Woman: The Differences. Among the differences science has detected are that, on average, men have better vision and depth perception, and brain activity is more focused in men and more dispersed in women. So men might focus on the visual information more intently, while women juggle more perceptions in their brains. Moreover, even if some of this is culturally taught (and I believe it is), it’s still worthwhile to note the differences.
Thanks for your comment!
I read your article Man vs. Woman: The Differences and I agree that there are God-given differences in how men and women process information and react to stimuli, including visual stimuli.
However, just because men have better vision and depth perception doesn’t mean that they are more visually attracted to women and that women are less visually attracted to men because their vision is worse.
Specifically, what research are you pointing to that says that men, as a gender, are more visually attracted to women and that women, as a gender, are less visually attracted to men?
As for research, Ed, you can simply google “men are more visual research” and find numerous studies referencing this conclusion. There are a few recent studies that attempt to debunk this as myth, but at this time I believe that body of research is insufficient to overcome previous findings. In addition, I’ve just heard from so many husbands and wives about this. And yes, their stories sway my opinion. I am certainly not saying women are not visual, simply that I believe it’s a bigger part of the attraction pie for men than it is for women.
Women have a complex, elusive, and less predictable sexuality (and view of physicality in general). The more women you ask, the more varied the responses you’ll get. That’s not the case with men. I don’t say this to be critical in any way–it’s just the truth; God designed men and women’s brains to be different in multiple areas. Mary Roach, in her book “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex” cited research on this:
“The researchers confirmed what most of them suspected all along: that women’s arousal [and sexuality as a whole], much more so than men’s, rests in the psychological as well as the physiological.” — Roach, Mary (2009-04-06). (p. 200). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
If you start looking at comments in blogs and forums from women themselves on this subject (visual vs. not, their view of physicality), you’ll find it to be true. It’s the key reason why medical science has never been able to create a female version of Viagra.
Thanks! I agree.
That’s interesting J. Do you think that men can decrease their sexual visuality and women can increase theirs?
What if a man wanted to become more visual (since it is said he has the natural “building blocks”), can he increase his visual nature and proclivities so that he can become even more visual?
Here’s a larger question:
Would it be a good thing if a man or woman set a personal goal to become more visual?
Would it be a good thing if a man or woman set a personal goal to become less visual?
What do you think?
Yes, I think we can exhibit self-control over our visual tendencies, through determination, practice, and prayer. I also think someone can set a personal goal to be less visual with others and more visual with their spouse. Which would be a good thing!
In many settings, once I start listening to my peers and fellow women it’s clear to me that women are very visual and stimulated by what their eyes see in terms of noticing and being attracted to other people. My husband returns from his workplace shocked by what his female co-workers talk about.
Many scientific studies now debunk the myth that men are more visual than women. I think it’s a lot more complex than this generalisation.
I used to be insecure and wonder if my husband was looking at some attractive woman that I had noticed. Then I reflected on my own thought pattern and realised I had along way to go in purifying my lustful thoughts.
With increased gender equality and the opportunity to be free from previous social conventions, it’s becoming more obvious that women are equally as visual. We all need to renew our minds.
Your points are so true concerning sexual intimacy in a marriage. It is so much easier to keep the eyes … and thoughts … from wandering – when the intimacy is there!
And Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” are a MUST read for everyone. It helped me to understand what my wife’s love language is. Mine is touch and hers are service. Once I understood that things were better for me to understand why my dear wife and I reacted so differently.
Very interesting article. Many times I have prayed for God to take away my sex drive in order to overcome my temptations to lust. But now I realize that God will NOT answer my prayer with a yes. He made me with this sex drive for a reason. We, as men, need to control it through the power of the Holy Spirit and applying biblical principles to our daily walk.
My heart grieves for those husbands who live with refusing/gatekeeping wives. When a husband is sex-starved, it is more difficult to control his eyes and thoughts toward other women. It is NOT an excuse for men but a plea to wives to be a helpmate. We need more marriages that are truly “one flesh”.
I would hope that a Christian husband wants to have sex with his wife because he loves her, he adores her, he trusts her with the most intimate parts of himself and wants to share himself that way only with her. It’s her, and ONLY her, naked body he wants to feel next to his. It’s her, and ONLY her, curves he longs to caress.
NOT for the sole, or primary, purpose of helping him avoid lusting. That seems like he’s asking her to prostitute herself.
I want to gag every time a man says he looks at porn/lusts after other women because his wife isn’t intimate with him. And I want to gag every time a wife says she isn’t intimate with her husband for whatever lame reason (and unless he’s in an affair, beats you verbally or physically, or you’re having a restricted medical issue, 99% of the reasons are lame).
It’s classic Adam and Eve blame shifting.
That being said, there is truth in that a sexually available/eager wife DOES help MOST men avoid the temptation to lust. The Bible says that if you burn, to marry. The BIBLE says that. But, there’s so much more to married sexuality than just being allowed to have sex. If only both husband and wife seek to explore that for the benefit of the other.
Also, in response to men and women being visually the same, I could stare at an attractive naked man all day and never once think about having sex with him. I doubt many men could say the same thing about a naked woman. We ARE different….and even within our respective genders we are different. There are visual women and not so visual men. I’m more in danger of falling into temptation with a charming, caring, attentive man than I am an attractive one.
“That being said, there is truth in that a sexually available/eager wife DOES help MOST men avoid the temptation to lust. The Bible says that if you burn, to marry. ”
Was just taking a look at the passage I believe you reference: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.”(1 Corinthians 7:8-9, NRSV)
Verse 8, and several others verses in this chapter, exalt the benefits of remaining single. I notice when some have voiced their thoughts about this perhaps having been the better choice for them, others seem to take offense and assume the institution of marriage is being criticized. I certainly did not mean this in my comments.
Regarding those referred to in the passage who are not practicing self control, I would hope St. Paul is talking about self control with the ONE you love, not the general population of the opposite sex. Same with “aflame with passion” — I would hope the passion here is directed at the ONE we wish to marry, not the entirety of the opposite gender.
I would have a hard time accepting that this passage means otherwise, and it seems that some think it does: If a person is sexually aroused to the point of losing control, s/he marries “no one in particular” as long as they have all pertinent body parts.
Speaking from a woman’s perspective, I am created I God’s image, have a mind, heart, spirit, purpose–much more than a way to avoid temptation.
I don’t agree when you say EVERY man notices other women. My husband and I don’t really see anyone else. All other people are just that, people. I feel so blessed to have my DH! Articles like this bring up old doubts and unfounded fears, so I just wanted to stick up for the people that legitimately don’t notice anyone but their spouse =)
Men are extremely visual, this has been proven many times for decades. Put it in perspective because J has generated a great conversation. We can choose to sin or do good. We can accept that is how God made men and be aware of it. A man can be turned on very quickly just by seeing his naked wife. Men can also see beauty admire it and move on. And like anything else some people can and will sin with their God given gifts.
I do not think anyone really intended to suggest here that somehow God’s design for man, in His own image is flawed. Does anyone really believe God’s perfect creation is flawed? Visual is just is the way God made men. Sure there is pain here from sin, but also happiness from knowing where those eyes are, and I also see a understanding/acceptance that we can use to grow our marriages in a Godly way.
Thank you again J.
God Bless all!
I am a typical married guy in his mid 30’s. I have a high sex drive and I am very visual. I am also a Christian striving to heed the Savior’s warning in Matthew 5:28. I do not want to commit adultery in my heart, especially because thoughts lead to actions. I have found two things have helped me greatly to keep my wedding vows.
1. I choose to lust after my wife only. Sex enters my thoughts throughout the day and I allow myself to fantasize, but I have trained my mind to only picture my wife. I daydream about some of our best sexual encounters, what I’d like to do later on that night 🙂 etc…. I believe I am following the counsel found in Proverbs 5:18-19
2. I make love to my wife often. This helps me regulate my sex drive where I am not going too long without sex and end up craving it really bad. My wife does not have as strong of a sex drive as I, but she rarely refuses me. She has also become comfortable enough with her sexuality over the years that she enjoys it nearly as much as I do. My wife is not a “10” by world standards but the deep intimacy that we share makes her more beautiful to me than any other woman. I have also benefited much from this and other good Christian blogs on learning how to be a better husband and lover. I am far from perfect but I am learning to be a better man each day. Thanks J!
A major influence that undermines a healthy sexual relationship is pornography. This seems to be a common theme in the frustration I see on many of the comments. I avoid it like the plague because it leads me to lust after women other than my wife. Numerous studies shows that it can alter a man’s sex drive, can even lead to ED and a preference to masturbating to porn over having sex with his wife. (See TED talk on youtube by Gary WIlson)
To the frustrated women on this blog- Please don’t men bash. A lot of us are striving to follow the Lord and that is what I have found has blessed my life in all aspects, including in the bedroom. You can’t lump all men in the same boat and assume we are all sex crazed perverts. We can learn to control our passions and use them for good. That starts by following the Lord, which includes following his teachings on intimacy. If a husband is lusting after other women and viewing porn he may need professional and ecclesiastical help to save the marriage.
You know what I don’t get? Just which perfect woman are all these men searching for? I mean, if my husband notices “Jane” and Jane’s husband notices me, then what gives? How can each husband be looking at another? What I’m trying to ask is, if we wives want to be what our husband truly desires, then how on earth do we know what to be if each husband is looking at different women. It’s TOO CONFUSING!
So I don’t think men look at women to find the perfect woman. They just like looking at women, and the varieties are interesting to most men. That said, he can train his eyes and mind to focus on his wife — who should be his standard of the best.
I understand men don’t simply “like” looking at other women, but rather, they are pulled toward looking at other women, and they must be intentional, even struggle, to avoid doing so, because very quickly they may enter into fantasizing and lusting.
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5.28, NRSV) A few months ago, my husband heard this scripture for the first time while watching Jeopardy (they often have Bible categories). Without thinking, he blurted out, “you could divorce me!” If lust = adultery and adultery justifies divorce…. that was his logic.
It must be difficult to be a man, and have what comes so naturally to you be wrong in God’s eyes and hurtful to your wife. I’ve heard several men say/write they WANT to WANT only their wives. It is painful for wives too. I am not man-bashing or marriage-bashing when I say (again) that if I had understood my husband would need to “train” his eyes and mind to focus on me, I would have remained single.
But I am married. So I help my husband understand that to feel confident and secure in the bedroom, I need assurance that he thinks only of me. And I understand that my confidence and security in the bedroom give him more images of ME to dwell on and more memories of US to enjoy. We must each die to self and trust one another.
Thanks, J, for facilitating all the helpful discussion here.
Yes very frustrating for men an deeply painful for women. There certainly is a flaw in all this since marriage is meant to support us but so many women are more pained by marriage than singleness due to the conflict between a mans biological desire for more and a woman’s for closeness and security. Obviously more painful for the woman.
After 20 years and looking toward ageing I for one know that if I were single now yes I’d miss my husbands company BUT I would be freed from body dissatisfaction, comparisons, jealousy, insecurity and a feeling of inadequacy in this area. It would be a great burden lifted and I could truly be myself. Sad but true.
I think it’s really hard to compare a known situation to one you haven’t experienced. There were bad times in my marriage when I was convinced I’d be happier on my own, but looking back I’m sure that wasn’t true. Oftentimes, you simply exchange one set of difficulties for another.
All that said, yes, I understand the pain you describe. I pray you can be freed from dissatisfaction, comparisons, jealousy, and insecurity WITHIN your marriage. I do believe that’s possible, although I admit that it’s a journey. Many blessings to you!
Kelly’s dilemma is a real one for many women. Most wives, probably, have experienced these feelings from time to time, often when their husbands are not guilty of any improper looking. Much of this often comes from her pubescent and teen years, when thoughtless adult women have made unflattering personal comments, or when men and older boys have done or said things they should not. In such cases, as an adult Christian wife, the solution is to take it to Jesus and unilaterally forgive those who have mistreated and wronged you.
But what can a husband do? To stop “looking” is really not possible. Women make up about 52% of the population (more, when you count elderly widows), and we encounter them everywhere, unless we become hermits and live in a cave. For instance, Augustine left his wife to live in a monastery in an attempt to rid himself of unclean thoughts from his immoral premarital experiences. While there, Augustine wrote some some very hurtful and unbiblical things about women and sex, which I’ll not discuss in this post.
But the solution is in the Bible, in the SONG OF SOLOMON. Read these eight short chapters, if you are a husband and reading my comment. Learn from Solomon the wise what to say to your wife about HER beauty. This will help lift her load of shame about her body and enable you to focus on her, rather than on the girl in tight shorts or showing too much cleavage you may encounter in your daily pursuits. Tell your wife that her backside is sexy and her breasts are appealing. It may take a few times, but eventually she’ll get it.
Too, make sure you are talking TO her heart, not simply making the kind of leering remark that turned her off when a boy or an uncle with a problem said something indecent when she was a kid.
Eric, you are spot on about the origin of insecurity etc, early years. I had the sad experience of sexual voyeristic abuse from my father from an early age until I married. The damage of witnessing a father’s uncontrolled sexual appetite toward self and others is profound. Years of counselling, and prayer and still waiting for healing. My husband pays a price for my father’s actions, so unjust. However, that being said a husband can lead through being sensitive to his wife when with her as you said.
Thank you, Kelly for that gratifying show of support. I believe that the husband is the key to helping wives who may have body-image issues left over from childhood and teen years, but the wife also has a part, which many, sadly, do not recognize. Many women find themselves in perpetual depression because of this, but that is another issue.
I’ve been a pastor–and for 52 years a husband–as well as a Bible college instructor, and for many years an adult Sunday school teacher in several evangelical churches. I’ve also written articles dealing with sexual issues for magazines such as Christian Life (no longer published) and for the Maine Christian Civic League Record (which I edited for two years), as well as contributions on sex and marriage for several Christian books.
One day, with the permission of a Christian marriage counselor, I sat in a women’s conference taking notes for book research. The issue of the hour was sexual abuse of girls, and the all-female group of 35-40 ladies were telling their angst re their own personal experiences. Several women told heartbreaking stories of years of abuse. These all had a common thread: every woman was trapped in a box created in her youth that had left her angry at a man (father, brother, uncle, or most often a stepfather or mother’s live-in boyfriend), unable to escape the depressing circumstances that plagued her daily.
Then a woman of about 35 rose to her feet. “I can’t believe you guys,” she began. She told how, from about age nine, she was raped by her grandfather, and this went on until she was about 15. She later married and became a mother. She at first had hated times of intimacy with her husband.
Then came the day this dear lady read Matthew 18:21-35, and the Lord spoke to her about her need to forgive her grandfather. “I can’t ask him to apologize to me,” she said. “He died years ago.” She struck a nerve, for several of the others had said they had tried to get their abusers to apologize, but none ever would. She went on to say that Jesus not only told Peter to forgive “70 times 7,” but that she had learned from Jesus’ story in verses 22-35 that she could never be free of her sense of shame until she unilaterally forgave her grandfather for his evil treatment.
And this lady, who had found freedom, summed up her thoughts with the observation that it’s the Christian’s job to forgive, no matter how badly we’ve been treated, and leave the perpetrator and his or her sins up to the Lord to deal with.
Well said J.
My wife sex drive way down. ….a husband shouldn’t have to beg or ask he’s wife several times to have sex…..Ive notice when days go into wks even months my eyes starts looking and I know it wrong. .when we got married for the first several years we had a good sex life …wasn’t just get it done & over with. …it used to be fun. Explorer different positions. .when we do have sex I feel relieved and feel like I’m making up ..I loved my wife breast .. I do believe it says in the bible about it……any comments
Maybe you should read more about the reasons for women’s low sex drives. Also, talk to her about why she isn’t interested…and truly listen. Her rejection probably feels personal, but her reasons more likely have to do with her own body’s responses, feeling fatigued in other areas of her life, or feelings about her self or your relationship.
Tour my blog a bit more, and you might find some answers. The Generous Husband is also a good resource for men. Blessings!
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