Once again Mr. Diaper Diaries is giving us some insight into the male mind. This is a BIG one ladies.
"Not even a hint" is a phrase that most guys shudder when they see on a Sunday morning church bulletin. But fortunately (or unfortunately) for them, it’s not likely that they’ll encounter it most Sunday mornings. Let me tell you what I mean.
The phrase I’m referencing is from Ephesians 5:3 when Paul tells the people of Ephesus that "there should be not even a hint of sexual immorality" among God’s holy people. For most guys, that is viewed as an incredibly difficult, if not impossible, standard with which to comply and a topic that many would like to avoid – including pastors. I’m thankful to have a pastor that addresses this issue head on, but many view this as a difficult topic to talk about in front of an audience consisting of men and women from various stages of life, and certainly some pastors avoid it because they too feel that they fall short of the standard.
To understand what I mean, you really have to try and comprehend what a challenge lust poses for men. You see, guys are incredibly visual. Our libidos are provoked with visual stimuli and in today’s world, that stimuli is everywhere. In virtually every corner of our culture, there are images, advertisements, television shows, and actual women (often wearing the latest "cute" revealing fashions) visually tempting your husband to think about someone – be it Scarlett Johansen or the woman three cubicles down the hall – other than you. Lust is not only nurtured in our society, it’s generally understood to be a valuable consumer behavior.
I recognize that this may sound dramatic, and some guys might even say that I’m overstating the issue. However, over the years I’ve noticed that guys generally fall into one of two categories – naive or enlightened – and the difference lies in their world view. Most guys that are mentally residing in our culture have become numb to these temptations. They are ubiquitous and often viewed as harmless. Then there are those guys that have seen how seriously lust is treated in the scriptures (think of Jesus telling his disciples in Matthew 5 that any man "who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart") and have become sober to what an enormous spiritual challenge this poses. For a man that crosses over from the first world view to the second, their self perception can change in an instant. One day he’s a regular Joe, the next day he’s a lone soldier in a battle with weak weapons, little armor, and no strategy for success.
So what can you do as a wife? Well first off, recognize this as a real issue. Don’t pretend that those beer ads, those airbrushed models, and the low-cut top that your waitress is wearing isn’t affecting him. Then, pray for him to be enlightened and to have strength. If he doesn’t see lust as an issue that he struggles with, ask that the Lord open his eyes and heart to be sure he’s right. If he does see it as an issue, become an empathetic encourager… someone who appreciates his desire to do better, even if he feels like he’s fighting a losing battle. Also, consider the health of your own sex life and if it’s not thriving, perhaps check out Jill’s "The Challenge" series and open up the lines of communication with your husband about how to make it better. And finally, encourage him to get into a men’s accountability group at a church that has a healthy community of men (even if it’s at a church other than yours), and send him a link to New Life Ministry’s book Every Man’s Battle (an apropos title), which is one of the best resources out there. As he "fights every man’s battle", it’s important that he knows that his wife is in his corner.