Well. Brace yourself, because we're not holding back today. [Please be conscious of children in the room when you read this post/listen to my husband's vlog].
As most of you know, I shared that Forgiveness is a Part of My Story over at (in)Courage a few weeks ago. I was blown away by the mass volume of private emails and public comments from women that day and steadily since. Women sharing similar circumstances, asking for prayer, believing for a miracle, reaching out for help.
My hubby and I prayed about it; He Said/She Said was born. (post #1, in case you missed it).
I grew up naively and married naively. I was a virgin (or SUPER-virgin, as we now jokingly say) and I wouldn't change that in any way. I pray my children can offer their future spouses the same gift one day.
I didn't know much about lust. I remember my Dad carefully guarding and protecting my sister and I from boys. He would always say "I know how boys think." I knew what he was referring too, but I thought it was just some boys. I didn't know that all boys struggled with lust.
I certainly didn't know that men (98% of them according to studies of Christian and non), including the one I'd marry, battled the same enemy.
It was years into our marriage, before I made this discovery. I'd always heard men are "visual." I knew provocatively dressed women enticed men. But that is just scratching the surface of a man's world.
In my hubby's video below, he shares when he was first exposed to an image of a nude woman and how that began a battle he wouldn't have the tools to win until just four years ago. He was just a boy, weaponless, struggling with an omnipresent opponent.
I want to share with you what I've learned about men and lust. My education came from my own experience and from a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. I discovered it in the throes of my crumbling marriage. It was a lifesaver:For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn, opened my eyes to my husband's mind, his battlefield.
[The rest of this post will contain information directly from this book]
In the chapter, Keeper of the Visual Rolodex, Shaunti explains (after years of research and interviewing 1,000 Christian men) even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women. Ninety-eight percent of the men responded that when an attractive woman enters the room, they can't NOT want to look. (She goes on to explain that they have a choice right here. Remember, it's not a sin to be tempted or when involuntary images pop into the mind. But if we devour that image, fantasize, so on and so on, then that's giving into the temptation).
What "Men are Visual Means": 1. An "eye magnet" or woman who is dressed to show off her beautiful body is extremely hard to avoid and even when he forces himself not to look, he is acutely aware of her presence. 2. Even when an eye magnet isn't present, men have a "mental Rolodex" of stored images that can intrude into his thoughts without warning. (These can be snapshots of women they've seen before or sensual images from movies (bad), magazines (bad), even of you, his wife (good).
This was a lot for me to take in the first time I read it. Since then, I've discussed it with my hubby and he's confirmed it. Our world is a dangerous minefield for our husbands.
Next week, I'll share some more on this subject (I'll offer some reassurances and things we can do to help them in the battle), meanwhile, please pray for your mate. His battle is real. The enemy is fierce. Stumbling blocks pepper his path. Pray he will be strong. Pray for him to resist temptation. Pray God will use you to minister to your spouse.
Is any of this information new to you? Have you talked to your husband about it? Perhaps, the table is turned and as a woman, you struggle with lust. If you're a visual person, this might not be news to you (25% of women are "visual").
Or you may be in the percentage of men/women who aren't affected by these issues.
Either way, we are praying for you and your marriage.