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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