I was standing in line at my local grocery store when an obnoxious magazine caught my eye. I’m used to seeing half-naked women on the cover of tabloids, but this image seemed even too edgy for a tabloid.
A small wave of anger rushed over me as I thought of the innocent children and husbands who were being exposed to this, as I call it, “tabloid porn.” As I tried to refocus my thinking on something more positive, a middle aged couple got in line behind me.
I watched in curiosity as the wife reached over and selected that magazine off the rack. I watched even more curiously to see what she would do with it. To my shock, the wife held that magazine cover up to her husband’s face and said, “Wow, wish I had a body like that!”
Her husband chuckled as he happily perused the cover until she removed it.
I quickly glanced forward, realizing I had been staring. I tried to wrap my head around what I just saw. “Why would a wife want to intentionally show her husband a partially naked woman?” “Why would a wife want to help her husband peruse another woman?”
As I thought about that puzzling scene over the next few days, I began to wonder…maybe that wife didn’t understand the value of sexual purity in her marriage. Or maybe that wife was clueless about lust and temptation. Or maybe she wanted to prove her “security” by appearing non-jealous. I don’t know.
I’ll never know what that wife was thinking, but I do know this—she didn’t seem one bit concerned with placing a direct sexual temptation in her husband’s face.
That, right there, is a big problem.
Sexual temptations bombard our husbands on a daily basis and they don’t need us adding to the struggle.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we, as Christian women, fully understand that. I’ve been guilty of this, and I’ve seen many other Christian women who have been too.
For example, I was over at a Christian family’s house several years ago when I noticed a provocative CD cover on their living room shelf. The CD featured a totally nude image of the backside of a female. I learned later that the CD was the wife’s. I’m guessing that wife was unaware of how sexually tempting and unhelpful that image would be for her husband.
Another time I was staying overnight in the home of a Christian family. The wife was involved in ministry and the husband was the associate pastor of their large church. While using their bathroom, I noticed a pile of tabloids next to the toilet. Half-naked women filled these magazines as I quickly glanced through one. I’m positive they were the wife’s, and I’m also positive she had no idea how tempting they could be for her husband.
Another time I was over at a friend’s house for a casual lunch get-together. She had the TV running in the background with one of those reality supermodel shows on. Her husband was walking back and forth doing house projects. When the commercials weren’t playing, the TV was filled with half-naked bodies of models doing sensual photo shoots. This wife seemed unfazed by the amount of nudity and skin blaring on her TV. I’m guessing she had no idea how tempting they could be for her husband.
All of these Christian wives were unknowingly tempting their husbands towards lust. They weren’t doing it on purpose; they were simply naive. They were bringing immodest, sexualized, and sensual women into their homes and family without even thinking about it. As I’ve learned from my husband over the years, this does not aid him (or any man) in fighting against lust.
To all of my fellow wives out there: Whether you realize it or not, your man has to fight against lust every time he walks out the front door or turns on his Internet browser. Sexulized billboards, raunchy magazines, immodest women walking by, and pornographic pop-up ads attack him on a regular basis. The amount of sexual temptations your husband faces on a daily basis is unreal.
Let’s not make it any harder on him than it already is. Whether he asks you for it or not, there are a lot of things you can do to help him fight the battle.
Here are some things I’ve done over the years that my husband really appreciates:
- I sort the mail and throw away the immodest/sensual ads so he doesn’t have to see them.
- I don’t ask my husband to watch movies with me that have immodest women in them (i.e. most chick flicks).
- I intentionally leave all magazines, books, etc. out of my home that have immodest/sensual images or ads in them.
- If I know a certain restaurant has immodest waitresses, I don’t suggest eating there.
- I don’t ever take my husband into a lingerie store. I’ve seen many wives do this, and from what I hear, it’s not helpful for the men.
I know these things may sound extreme to some of you and I understand why. It’s not normal. However, the way my husband and I see it, it takes extreme measures to fight for purity in our modern sexualized culture. We’re both committed to helping each other out and doing whatever we can to fight for purity.
Purity is extremely important for maintaining a strong foundation in any marriage. As Christian women, I pray we will all see the value of fighting for our men by making the necessary sacrifices to help him succeed.
I’d love to hear from you on this topic. How do you (whether a husband or a wife) help your spouse fight for purity?
I do all of these things you have suggested woth my boyfriend whom i hope one day is my husband. Its a daily battle. I cant control what goes on when we arent together but when I do get to see him I make sure I remove all temptation. i was recently convicted to stop watching a family show with half naked women dancing. Its a show he enjoys and I was watching it with him but God convicted me to stop watching the show and it would help him. When Im in gas stations there are usually playboy magazines right in sight.. This may sound extreme but i take effort to hide these magazines and replaced the front one with motorcycles or cars, anything that will help other husbands and young children with seeing these innapropriate images.
Hey Emily. I hope that your boyfriend will ultimately take responsibility for himself. He needs to learn to do that now, while you’re still dating. You can’t control him or make the world clean enough for him to always avoid temptation, so he has to figure out how to be responsible for himself. How’s he doing in that arena? Does he have people in his life (friends, parents, mentors) who are helping him learn how to be a healthy person in every way, including sexually? Is he able to define his own boundaries and work on being healthy in the ways he decides are right for him? I think those are really important questions to consider. Here and here are a couple of articles about boundaries that might be helpful. Blessings, Kay
Hi! Loved your artical, I am glad I am not the only crazy one out their so encouraging! My husband and I employ these strategies at home and have found it hard seeing other completely oblivious to it so saying their husbands are immune. My husband and I has even not gone to a bible study movie night social when we knew the movie they were watching had compromising content. I feel stupid sometimes, but this artical has encouraged me to not be resentful when I see what other women watch or do and my husband says no and to keep encouraging others to do the same. Thank you :)
“(A) family show with half naked women dancing..?” A FAMILY show? How long has this been going on? Since I don’t watch that medium, I now feel like Rip Van Winkle gazing out over the Hudson Valley of TV-land. Anyway, so BF enjoyed watching that garbage? Wait a minute, WHICH ONE of you swore off it? Emily, quick, read what Kay has to say in those two articles! (Food-fer-thought, nary a hint of anti-male condescension anywhere, great advice and whatnot, etc. …)
Congratulations! I think you are doing awesome job! I have 2 sons and even at Walmart, I try to keep them away from the posters and calendars for the same reason. Thank you for helping other guys stay pure.
While God certainly doesn’t take pleasure in our suffering, I think He may allow us to go through trials to strengthen our faith and to offer fellowship to those in similar predicaments. I think that’s why the Holy Spirit may have moved upon Paul to call out the legalistic “dogs” in Philippians. Paul was the “Pharisee of Pharisees” and as such he knew the methodologies and motivations of people like them. He knew that many of them were about making their cogregants as afraid, jaded, and sexually repressed as they were. It’s no different now. This is what happens when you’re taught that your God-given sexuality is a constant source of trial and tribulation when you’re single. Those distortions become obsessions and everything is hypersexualized. Bill Gothard did that for years, and now he’s paying the price.
Don’t get married thinking it will go away. If he has a lust issue he needs to get control over it and want to be better. This wife has been heartbroken too many times for 17 years. Too many lies too much deception and cover-up. I’ve done all I can over the years to help. He keeps going back like he is an animal and can’t help himself.
You’re on the right road. It is no wonder that so many of us men struggle with porn. Society as a whole is blind to its evil nature, sadly many Christians consider it the norm also. But your right, its not normal and in Gods economy it will never be the norm. Raise the standard high because that’s why Christ Jesus died, so that we shouldn’t be in bondage to sin. Thank you and be blessed.
We men can use all the help we can get, for sure. As a husband myself, I take responsibility to communicate with my wife about what might be tempting to me that she would purchase or have around the house. The onus is on me, more than her, to communicate about it. Otherwise it can take on a form of codependency, which is unhealthy, rather than a joint partnership.
Thank you for the article. I wish my elders had gotten rid of all that crap when I was a kid.
Emily, thanks for considering the mags I’m stores! I once was on a store and in a organizing mode so when I saw mag out of place & backwards I went to move it then realized exactly why it was backwards Perhaps God would have us pray about stores removing garbage. Cinn, OH has a no porno policy My personal desire is that pastors and speakers would not bear their chests with v neck t shirts! I respect men who are mindful of that
The methods may vary from couple to couple, but I think you’re spot on. I remember hearing about a youth group meeting once where the boys and girls were encouraged to speak candidly with one another. Apparently, the young men proceeded to explain to the young women how difficult it was for them to maintain pure thoughts at Church because of the way they were dressing. The young women, apparently, had no idea. One might argue that a mature believer should have a modicum of discipline and self-control… but what about the rest of us? From the brand new believers to those for whom this is a particularly heavy burden, setting up safeguards is only wisdom. Are we talking Burkas here? No. But should a Church swim party be loaded with young women in string bikinis? I’d strongly argue that such an event wouldn’t promote lust – free thoughts.
The problem I find with this is that the blame for impure thoughts gets shifted to a whole group of people who aren’t having the impure thoughts. Of course we all wish that the world would operate in some perfect way so that we could have a perfect life, but this is not the reality that confronts us. Lust exists in the world where women wear burkas. Lust is not about what another person wears or doesn’t wear, how another person acts or doesn’t act. Lust is about objectifying that other person for our own needs, and the amount of clothing will never stop that process once we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that “we just can’t help it, it’s lust.” Each of us can only be responsible for our own thoughts, choices, and behaviors.
The safeguards we need to set are within each of us, not on other people. Blaming other people for our own lust is not a way out. It’s just a way to deflect from the serious work that needs to take place on the inside of the person who has the issue of lust. Which is 100% of the human population. We all have to figure out how to deal with ourselves, how to have healthy boundaries. None of us is off the hook, regardless of gender. The difficulty we face is actually taking responsibility for ourselves, rather than pushing that job off on others.
Well, THAT’S where you and I part ways, Kay, with your obsessive advancing of hands-off boundaries hither and thither. Maybe people should just marry themselves and deal with everything all by their lonesome, nyet, if they go by your prescribed restrictions. Lady, I’m all for personal responsibility being assumed by all, but whatever happened to “a help meet for him”? (The Lord: “I will make FOR HIM a companion suitable FOR HELPING him [my emphasis].” – Complete Jewish Bible) Isn’t that what some of these women are doing in protecting their partners from sundry (and unsought for) temptations? And isn’t that concern for the spiritual wellbeing of one’s brethren in Christ the responsibility of EVERY believer?
Reread Kristen’s article, s’il vous plait. “Whether you realize it or not, your man has to fight against lust every time he walks out the front door or turns on his Internet browser. Sexulized (sic) billboards, raunchy magazines, immodest women walking by, and pornographic pop-up ads attack him on a regular basis. The amount of sexual temptations your husband faces on a daily basis is unreal.” (Tell me about it!) And then Kristen, bless her soul, continues with a call for action: “Let’s not make it any harder on him than it already is. Whether he asks you for it or not, there are a lot of things you can do to help him fight the battle.” Ah, a woman of virtue (sooo rare in this day and age)…
But thou, Kay, seek to quickly recalibrate (I now see it’s a pattern with thee) well-meaning intentions for helping those who are weaker in the flesh (at least regarding visual stimuli) by choosing to totally overlook what each one of us can do out of love for the body of Christ. (“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE one another.”) And how do we show love for our fellow-believers? ONE WAY is to keep from being a stumbling block for anyone, especially those of the faith: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak (within the church).”
The PRINCIPLE involved here is one of forgoing one’s individual preferences for the sake of others in the fold who might be led astray by what they SEE in US (as other, ostensibly faithful, Christians). Paul rounds this off by asserting that we could actually precipitate the self-destruction of a “weak brother or sister” by doing what we feel is right merely FOR OURSELVES in their sight. By wounding their weak conscience, Paul says, you sin against Christ, and thus he, for one, would refrain from any such behavior. How’s that for Christian solidarity, Kay?
Regarding Matthew’s comment, way I see it (and St. Paul, and Matthew, too) is that those church girls weren’t doing those boys any favors by putting their attributes on display – quite the contrary – and I like Matthew’s use of “apparently”. (Ha! They had no idea..? Yeah, and I was born a couple of days ago. Oh, they KNEW BUT DIDN’T CARE, Matthew, and I’ll wager me fav’rrite bagpipe on it.) Of course, all that doesn’t absolve young (or youngish), red-blooded guys like ourselves from “…guarding our hearts above all else, for everything we do flows from it” and “making a covenant with our eyes not to look lustfully at young women”, but hey, how about our SISTERS IN CHRIST dressing modestly, with decency and propriety, and not as the world does, for the testimony they give thereby and out of consideration for us?
This sin-intoxicated world will do as it will – we expect no better from it. Nonetheless, some considerate women go out of their way to try and sanitize it somewhat for their menfolk. More power to them. But purity should be a Church thing, a group endeavor (“be of one mind”) and neither male nor female should make the other gender uncomfortable with their choice of attire. As we are prepared to forgo meat, or alcohol, or whatever – were a brother to derive offense therefrom – so Christians should dress with all modesty. After all, such is merely befitting of the child of God’s dignity and worth, as well as evidence of love for one’s brothers and sisters in the faith.
The problem is this: telling women they have to dress or behave in certain ways so that men won’t lust, just doesn’t work. My husband and I both grew up in very conservative churches where this sort of “purity” message to women was the norm. I’ve heard it and heard it, and I’ve lived it. And my husband got addicted to porn, no matter how purely I lived. That is the story so many women tell here. They’ve done everything as well as they know how, and their husbands are making terrible, terrible choices. It just doesn’t work to expect women to do things right so that men won’t lust. We just can’t control other people’s choices.
What really works, in the real world, is individual men and women taking responsbility for themselves before God. Yes, we love one another and treat each other with dignity and respect–treating others with respect is inherent to good boundaries. But what we don’t do is expect other people to take responsbility for us. When we do that, we’re falling back onto the oldest excuse in the book: “the woman that thou gavest me.” Until we get past that idea that women are at fault for the choices men make (or that men are at fault for the choices women make) we’ll always have that same old excuse for living in a mess. When in fact, there’s freedom and life and hope available. It just never, ever comes without being honest before God about your own stuff, and letting God work and heal. As long as we’re blaming others for our problems, we’re blocking that healing work from our lives.
Kay, Kay, you just don’t get me, do you? Christians do not embrace morality because it is what WORKS or NOT among us fallible humans “in the real world”. Nay, we, both men and women, do it because God commands it, that’s all. We ALL “make a pact with our eyes” and also dress modestly (one definition of which is “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention”. © 2015 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.) Compare with Jesus’ reply to Peter when the latter asked about John’s “special treatment” (John 21:22).
And, by God’s standards, those church girls in bikinis were 1) showing their nakedness, 2) which is shameful, as per Isaiah 47:2-3. In fact, ever since things went south in Eden, public nudity has been a no-no (or should be, at least among God’s people). That is why the Lord clothed our first parents, why Shem and Japhet covered Noah’s nudity, why God commanded the priests to make sure their nether regions were out of sight when officiating, and why Jesus used a metaphor (twice) in which fleshly exposure is equated with shame when he cautioned the church against spiritual nakedness.
I believe I have gone over the stumbling-block angle of all this clearly enough already, so I will let that rest. Let me close off, though, by assuring you that I do not suggest anyone should pass the buck for their own choices, but that we should all stand by the consequences of the choices we make. That being said, however, and while no one can keep anyone else from sinning by lusting or whatever, we each have another responsibility to “do things right”, which includes helping our neighbors. Why? Because it’s in the Bible, that’s why – and because we love our neighbors as ourselves. Therefore, let us “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way (we) will fulfill the law of Christ”. Good night.
Xavier, no offense meant by this, but I think many of our readers have a hard time “getting” you. :)
Can you clarify for me: how exactly do you think Kay (or anyone else on this thread) has misunderstood you?
So a comment that is carefully thought-out, is Biblically-based, is not gratitiously antagonistic, and that does not contain profane language, but which DOES NOT fall into line with Covenant Eyes’ eye on the Bottom Line (relying heavily – among various factors – on female anxiety, real and exacerbated, for the sale of its products), will be considered loquela non grata by the censor(s) of said business. Opinions must remain within the desired tenor of officialese, or at least be so inane or vitriolic that they’re certain to be discounted by current or potential customers. Lesson learned.
Hey Xavier. I’m not sure how you’re responding to Matthew’s thoughts here, but I can at least reply to yours.
On the contrary, we all kinds of comments. One only needs to peruse the articles here to see that—we even allow a lot of the non-biblically-based and antagonistic ones (we tend to get rid of ones that are gratuitously profane). What has led you to think such comments are unwelcome?
Hey, Luke, long time… Anyway, when I said to Kay that she didn’t grasp where I was coming from, I was referring to her insistence that purity was an individual concern, and that – given the axiom of “personal responsibility” – no woman may be held accountable for her mode of dress, which would be tantamount to blaming others for one’s propensity to lust. Well, as I attempted to bring across in my responses to Ms. Bruner, such a dynamic can and does play out in the unconverted world, but with Christians it should be a different story.
I posited, based on the testimony of Scripture, that those who follow the Master must be prepared to sacrifice “personal idiosyncrasy” for the sake of the spiritual health of one’s fellow believers, individually or collectively. (“Let all that you do be done in love.”) Moreover, there are various guidelines in the Word over what constitutes modest and immodest attire. With all that, both male and female Christians should be aware that they are responsible for themselves, of course, but also be aware of their responsibility for helping, not hindering, their brethren’s spiritual wellbeing.
And regarding your second point, Luke, I wasn’t addressing Matthew’s comment at all, but rather, what I felt was C.E.’s uncalled-for reluctance to publish my second response to Kay, especially given the fact that I had posted another, unrelated comment (below) on the same date, and which had eventually been green-lighted by the moderator. I inferred that it had to have been the substance of what I said in the former that had earned it the ire of the powers-that-be on C.E.’s fora.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I did feel a little like this is blaming the wife for the problem of list which we should understand is a sin problem. I am sorry to disagree with you
but I feel unable to carry the burden of my husband being tempted when visiting the local market. I do all of these things you suggested and appreciate your comments but I don’t think it is helpful to accept the blame in this situation.
Thanks, Karen. I agree with you that we can only be responsible for ourselves. Accepting the blame for another person’s actions is never a healthy way forward for anyone. This is the world we live in, and we each have to figure out how to be responsible for ourselves within it. Blessings, Kay
I don’t see where Kristen is talking about blame here. Everything she suggested is ways that women can help promote purity in their marriage, not to be responsible for their husbands purity. We are all 100% responsible for our actions. So if a man lusts after a woman, he is 100% responsible for it. If a woman dresses immodestly in public, she is 100% responsible for dressing immodestly. No one can force us to sin. We do so because we want to. While women can’t be the porn police, they should do their part to help. If my wife would struggle with jealousy, I am not going to comment how pretty a woman is that just walked by me in public. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with acknowledging beauty, but why would I do something that would instill feelings of envy and hurt when I know my wife is prone to that?
I totally agree with you. The one thing that caught my attention in the article was this. You said you don’t watch movies
with your husband that have immodest women in them. I’m wondering, why would you as a Christian woman would
want to watch movies that have immodest women in them. As Christians we should have a desire to avoid all things that portray the impurity of the world.
Years ago, I used to put all the department store flyers in the bathroom so I could check out all the sales while I was using the facility. Unbeknownst to me (until my husband informed me), those flyers & their underwear or lingerie models were HUGE triggers to him, while he was using the facility. After what he told me, I can’t believe it never crossed my mind. I now look through the flyers as soon as the newspaper arrives, jot down the interesting sale items, then throw all the flyers away, so my husband doesn’t even see them. Until my husband told me, I always assumed he was looking at the flyers for sales, the same as I was. But…nothing was further from the truth. My husband is very happy now that those flyers are out of his life, and so am I.
Larry, my boy, you’ve bought into the pernicious lies being propagated by the above website, lies that are all the more dangerous to the Christian mindset because they come couched in very calm, reasonable and seemingly-objective terms. For those not familiar with this so-called “Biblical Gender Roles” site, take a gander and you will quickly pick up on something not entirely “Biblical” in the positions it espouses. But in many cases, blink and you’ve missed it. (That’s why ya gotta know your Bible!)
The thing is that it takes a conceptual shift of only one or two degrees to skew the thrust of The Word’s message and the writer/writers are happy to oblige. Moreover, the tone employed is so subtle and earnest, so uncompromisingly judicious yet patient and considerate of human foibles, that one is left wondering if one had been misreading the Bible all along. Nevertheless, what comes across to me is an approach more along the lines of: “Sssooo, hass God ssaid…”
A sample of the inspired (yet obviously unhinged) output from this site: “But let’s say your wife is model, and loves posing nude for you to either paint or photograph(and some few women do like this), and she does not mind you sharing it and your audience is OK with it, then there is no problem. For instance say a Christian owned an photographic art gallery. He might display many nude or partially nude pictures of women throughout his gallery, maybe even some of his wife.” Charming, isn’t it?
I admire your heart. The battle you identify has been lost except in more primitive cultures and religions. Your notion of purity is one of the achieving of status. One of the things I discovered after serving the church for more than 30 years is that this goal produces more cover up and lying than purity. I accept your home is likely the exception.
Fighting for your husband seems more like trying to protect your child than an adult with whom you share at the level of marriage and family. What I say I because I do not speak for anyone but myself based on dealing with people and the sexual issues across planet earth is that men, women and children seem to need prompts to open honesty more than unlikely achieved goals.
If adults churched or unchurched had the capacity to be honest would be a major step forward towards enhancing marital relationship development over against trying to shield from the world. If your husband and children leave home every day, they have many more influences than yours that in many way become more significant in influence. It is not bad. It is just reality.
There are no perfect worlds, relationships, or individuals of purity. I am concerned that exclusive perspectives do more harm than good in the long term. Observation of the exclusive Christian churches and communities offer no more positive report towards the notion of purity than the most liberal.
Christian women have more elective abortions than any other group of women in America. Add divorce to the mix and other incidentals and the notion of purity approaches the connotation of modeling a master image only the few achieve and since there is no human tool of measure for assessment, how valuable can it be?
You made a new friend today that respects and admires your heart. The motivation for what I do is love. I can tell it is yours.
My name is Oscar. My friends call me, “O”. I invite you to as well.
You really hit the nail on the head for me O, I mean if I sorted my husband’s mail to make sure he never saw something that could challenge him, I’d be treating him like a child and he would never stand for that. Sex and sexuality are real parts of life and it is challenging to navigate this but life is more than a bumper sicker slogan or one idea of how to solve every single thing every single time. You really put into words for me what I was thinking when I was going to respond to this post, I also admire the writers heart tremendously and if this works for them I think it’s great but seriously I could never do that to my husband because he is not my child and he is responsible for his behavior. having said that we don’t have trashy magazines around this house and no one here paeticopated in pornography in any way nor do we ogle magazines in grocery stores, but if my kids see something on the magazine rack, now that they can read, and it brings confusion or conflict we talk about it.
I found this extremely helpful. I let my then boyfriend at the time to go to Texas A&M, where he is probably kissing thousands of other girls. This article helped me realize to have cracked the whip down and never let him go to the college.
Hey Emily. I hope this article didn’t leave you with the impression that controlling your man is the way to have a happy marriage. Control is certainly not the way that God designed relationships to work; God gave each of us a free will, in the hope that we would choose to turn toward love and relationship. Of course, all of us choose selfishness on a regular basis. But God was somehow willing to allow for that. I think we have to learn to do the same. We have to offer love and relationship to others, even knowing that they will make selfish choices from time to time. When it comes to marriage, we each have to learn to be responsible for ourselves. Men have to be responsible for their tendency to objectify women physically–to expect all women to give them physical pleasure. And women have to be responsible for their tendency to objectify men emotionally–to control men so men will meet all their needs perfectly. Our culture does this very weird thing where women are supposed to be responsible for men’s lust, and fulfilling that, and men and supposed to be responsible for women’s emotions.
I think if we’d untangle that mess of objectification and lack of personal responsibility, we’d be much better off and the porn problem as we know it would cease to exist.
I think when you’re looking to get into a relationship with a man, you should be asking yourself two sets of important questions.
First, does this person take responsibility for himself? And I don’t just mean about his porn behavior. Does he take responsibility for himself in every way? Does he eat right and exercise regularly? Is he financially responsible? Does he live within his means? Does he have a job that’s age-appropriate? Or, if he’s a student, does he attend his classes and work to make reasonable grades? Does he take responsibility for his emotions? Does he control his anger? Does he acknowledge and experience his sadness, his fears, his joys?
Second, is he able to connect emotionally with you? Does he ask how you feel? Is he able to listen without trying to fix you? Is he able to talk about how he feels? Are you each able to be your true emotional selves in the relationship, or do you feel like you have to pretend?
While he’s taking responsibility for himself, you have to take responsibility for yourself as well. Acknowledge your emotions. Process them with a safe person, with a counselor or in a group like Celebrate Recovery. Think about what healthy boundaries will look like for you, and practice saying “yes” and “no” when you need to, while also respecting the boundaries of others.
It does seem like making other people do what we want would be the way to a happy life, but it never works out that way. God didn’t design it that way. He gave us each a free will, and each of us has to take responsibility for ourselves.
I agree with Kay’s comments. A marriage with such a high level of control is not one based on trust and doesn’t make a strong foundation. If a husband “struggles” with such issues, bubble-wrapping his world won’t help. If they’re supposed to be such strong, pure Men of God the idea that seeing a partially clothed woman ON A MAGAZINE COVER doesn’t speak well for them.
Should proofread first. Meant to write that if they’re supposed to be strong, pure, men of God that the idea of losing control over seeing a partially clothed woman on a MAGAZINE COVER doesn’t speak well for them.
Exactly 💯 this article is completely stupid lol its 2022 exposure is EVERYWHERE…Bubble wrapping a grown man’s world will not stop him from lusting..somehow Christianity is so sexist and always finds a way to Blame the woman. I went to a Christian university that didn’t allow me to wear spaghetti strap shirts lol they claimed my shoulders would tempt men to lust and fall ! If you gotta do all that for you’d husband then don’t be with him.
Or maybe – maybe – that woman and her husband are actually comfortable in their own skins. There are people in the world who are attractie. That’s just reality. It is not avoidable. You needto learn how to deal with the existence of physical beauty without freaking out. Honestly, you’re doing a massive disservice to both yourself and your husband with your ridiculous overreaction. You are the one who is sexualising everything, at the same time as you infantilise your husband. I am not suggesting you have to allow pornography into your home, or even buy gossip magazines (I have other problems with the way they tend to demean women), but stop being so paranoid about the fact that there are other people in existence who your husband might find aesthetically pleasing. You are making things worse. You are not helping him learn maturity, you are not helping him to see women as individual people who are more than their appearance. In fact, you’re doing the exact opposite – while proclaiming how much you hate a sexualised culture, you are reducing many if not most women to purely sexual objects. This is a massive problem. You need to stop it, and you need to stop telling other women and girls to indulge your ridiculous hang-ups.
Hi Pam, I appreciate the points you’ve made here about how women get drawn into the trap of sexualizing everything. I think that is a real problem with “purity culture”–in the process of trying to make things “pure” we can end up making everything sexual and objectifying women further in the process. And I think you are right that when we take responsibility for the behavior of our spouses, that will not lead to maturity on their part. True maturity comes when we are able to be responsible each for ourselves. Thanks for making these important points. Kay
Wow, Kristen writes an article describing ways she helps her husband fight for purity. At the end, she asks a question, “How do you help your spouse fight for purity?” and this is what she gets. People up in arms over this issue. Well, I don’t see her telling others what they are supposed to do. I see her sharing what she and her husband do to fight for purity. This is how it should be: husbands and wives supporting each other and helping each other to be pure. It’s really a team effort when it comes to how sexualized are society is. Nothing she said is extreme when it is compared to a holy God who wants us to focus our sexuality on our spouse and no one else. The above comments seem very condemning to someone who is in agreement with their spouse on what should and shouldn’t be in their home. Especially when her husband appreciates it as she states in her writing. I hope Kristen can let the condemning comments above roll off her and not discourage her.
By the way, my wife and I have the same basic standards in our home and I appreciate the fact that she does this. She is not responsible for me but she does play a role in influencing purity in our home. No doubt many Christians are way to passive in this area, thinking that it’s not a big deal. I have learned it’s a much bigger deal than most are willing to admit.
I have to say that thus far we have not been winning this battle in my marriage. Though my husband is seeking help, as am I also. Porn tearing families apart is real. I agree with the author about the magazines being at the checkout. Even if I don’t worry about it for my husband, I most certainly am worried about it for my children. My husband has issues due to the things he saw as a child, which were never dealt with. I take issue of society at large trying to ‘tell’ my children what is beautiful and normal. One day, while shopping at Walmart, they had moved their poster display to the checkouts! I avoid that area of the store for a reason, and they went and moved it up front. A larger than life, totally inappropriate poster at face level of my kids! So I went to the manager and told him I expected more than that, and I told him that having magazines there were bad enough, though I could turn them around, but this poster display (which was held up by a very large box of rolled posters that you could buy, and not conducive to just turning them around) was something that no child should be subject to and that I told him to please move them back to where they belonged. A few days later when I was back to grab something, it had been moved. I made sure to ask for the manager and thank him for moving the display.
As for the images in my home. Well, no amount of removing, or filters worked with my husband. He still found a way. Like some said, it is a problem of the heart and no amount of ‘cover up’ will make it go away. However, that being said, I think that both parties have a responsibility. I see it as my work to keep images out, and to wear modest clothing, and I see it as my husband’s work to steer clear of the things that I can’t take care of. But I assure you any man with a history of porn use could be deserted on a desert island and still be lusting, as he has imbibed images that he can recall for later use.
Keep up the good fight!
Hey Kerri. I do hope your husband can get down into the heart issues. Has he read Surfing for God? That’s a title that my husband found especially helpful. Ultimately, it does become their own responsibility to manage how their minds work, but it can be done. Recovery absolutely is possible! Blessings, Kay
GREAT article! I am saddened with how naiive some women are. My blood gets hot when I get to the registers at a store. Our commissary is awful, and I even wrote to DECA asking to remove cosmo and a few others from the checkout line. They responded by saying these magazines have been APPROVED to be in checkout lines (out of about 60 magazines), and there is nothing that can be done. :-( I am heartbroken that my precious children, my husband, and myself have to be subjected to soft porn every time we want to buy groceries. A few years ago a Walmart started keeping sports illustrated swimsuit magazines at the checkout. I talked to a manager about it and thankfully they stopped keeping them there! I so badly wish more changes can be made. Maybe one day…
Meanwhile, we can teach our children that every person is precious and created in the image of God. We might not agree with what they wear, but every person is valuable and none of them are to be treated as objects or body parts. Instead of seeing what people are doing wrong and pointing that out, we can always remind ourselves and others that God loves us all.
Sorry Kay, I don’t appreciate your tone in this article. Like women need to mother their husbands so they don’t lust. Like men are constantly roaming around like hungry dogs waiting for some image to devour. Men are meant to be married & captivated by their wives only. Your article only serves to encourage them this is impossible.
It is impossible. Please give examples of married men “captivated” only by their wives?? Let’s just be realistic. I am married. This is impossible. They don’t have to wait around for it when it is everywhere. So yes I believe men are open to wanting other women and when they see such things they eat it up like hungry wolves who have never seen a woman before.
Hey April. I think that our culture teaches all of us to objectify one another, and that leads to real problems in relationship. I personally don’t care for this “totally captivated” idea either! It feels kind of weirdly obsessive to me. I really like what The Gottman Institute has to say about relationships, though. I don’t know if you’re familiar with their work? It’s all research, really well done, that helps focus on what really, truly helps couples be successful in relationship. They’re non-religious, and used to promote the use of porn for better sex, but recently came out against porn, having seen in their research the harm done to relationships. I found that really interesting. Peace, Kay
Don’t mean any offense but this is a bit legalistic. Our understanding of what lust is has been misinformed by a combination of Manichean Gnosticism and modern feminism. Jesus never said it was wrong for a man to “lust” after another woman in the contemporary American sense of admiring her beauty. The Bible has been mistranslated! Jesus told men not to COVET after another man’s wife… this means not to plan to commit adultery, to be content with your own spouse, and not to make an idol out of a woman’s beauty. But it is not condemning men and women acting out their natural, God-given desire to admire the opposite sex. Moses tells us that Rachel was “fair to look upon,” and the Song of Solomon is a book of erotica, teaching us that God is pro-sex. Are you going to tell me it’s a sin to imagine what the woman in that book looked like, when her physical characteristics are described? My wife likes to look at good looking men on TV like Jim Cantore or David Tennant. Should I get jealous? Should I be worried that my wife has some kind of problem? Of course not!! I thank God my wife is a normal heterosexual woman with a healthy sex drive. I recommend you check out godrules.com. Anthony Woodcock has done extensive work looking at the Greek and Hebrew and trying to understand we the Bible really says about lust.
Hi Brian, godrules.net provides an extensive list of concordance references for lust in the Bible that are very good. Looking at the totality of Scripture, and all of the brilliant, God-ordained minds that have studied the Greek and Hebrew, I think it would be difficult to find more than a few who would conclude that “lust” and “admire” are synonymous in any way. The way I read the Genesis reference to Rachel’s beauty in 29:17 is that the writer was telling us what Jacob sees. As an unmarried man, it seems appropriate that he could make this assessment of a woman without sin. I’m definitely not trying to play the role of “thought police” in trying to determine where in the progression of thinking crosses over from “just a thought” to “sinful desire”. I also think being married comes to bear on my thoughts in a different way than if I am unmarried and searching for a spouse. Do you agree with that? Again, not trying to be legalistic and extrapolate my tendencies to everyone, but because of the darkness of my own heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and my tendency to allow potentially impure thoughts to spiral out of control, I just find it better to avoid that kind of “admiration”. It might not be full-blown lust, but I’ve found that any admiration of beauty has the potential to lead me astray. It’s on the same path, and I can see lust a few steps ahead of me.
Admiring someone’s body has nothing to do with their beauty. Looking at breasts, butts and vaginas has nothing to do with admiring someone’s beauty though I do believe that this is wrong. You cannot be serious.
Seems like you may be wishing to excuse your lust… you see for woman they aren’t sexually driven by looks but rather by emotional needs met. So if I as a wife had an emotional attachment to another man and still had empty sex with my husband it’s equal to your lust and empty sex with your wife.
THANK YOU! Someone actually has read the Scriptures and a concordance! People love their legalism here.
Just seeing all this for the first time and I just want to thank Kay Bruner for the boldness and wisdom she has shared here.
Great article Kristen. Your doing a great thing for your husband, all Christian wives should do the same God bless you.
All men aren’t like that. I think this applies to the ones who personally struggle with this. I agree with not adding to a temptation, but not all men notice other women. My husband thinks breasts are unattractive on women and he doesn’t find them to be pretty either. He said he’s always been that way and he doesn’t like makeup either…..although I wear it because I’m a makeup artist. He really doesn’t care.
As if us Wives/mothers don’t have enough to worry about? Now we have to take responsibility for our husbands feelings/temptations/sins cause they aren’t strong/mature/respectable enough to make good ones themselves? I swear this is one way Satan is destroying woman by making us feel like the weight of EVERYTHING is on OUR shoulders. No. My husbands stuff is between him and God. Mine is between me and God. I will love him and trust him and pray for him not try to control him and treat him like a sexual cripple. This is his battle, not mine. Heaven knows I have my own! He’s man enough to handle this.
Thanks Sophia! I agree with you 100% that we are each responsible for ourselves and our own choices, regardless of what others choose.
Interesting perspective. As a non-Christian who is deeply committed to his wife, I find provocative imagery irrelevant. If a woman is standing in front of me, I know she’s a woman whether she’s wearing a burka or she’s stark naked. Either way she’s off limits! Even if the sight of another woman produces lustful feelings in me, my commitment to my wife is so deep that she automatically becomes the focus of those feelings.
I suspect that being so wrapped up in the concept of purity and so concerned about protecting men from lustful thoughts is evidence of a lack of commitment to the marital relationship and a lack of acceptance of how God’s design of men and women with respect to how they relate to each other.
Yeah, purity culture is a real corker. Even though purity culture is cloaked in bible verses and sanctioned by many conservative religious systems, purity culture is really just the flip side of porn culture, because in both purity culture and porn culture, women are blamed for tempting men and men are incapable of being reponsible for their responses. The real problem is that women are objectified in both systems while men are helpless… not a set of concepts that helps anyone deal with any kind of problem, ever! Thanks for pointing out the need for men to be responsible for themselves, and their ability to do so. Until purity culture figures this out, it will continue to incapacitate men.
#6. Have sex with your husband regularly and never get in the habit of refusing him. (should be #1)
Excellent article. Has your husband considered writing one, in leau with yours? Men as you may have seen will become objective to the womans perspective, and will disagree, intimidate, belittle, etc, all with ignorance. Just an idea.
Unfortunately i learned this as a child. I watched the actions of the one who molested me. I grew up studying the ways of this mans sick lust. And i knew when i was older, things i planned to do, preventives. I believed when i grew up, i would not tolerate such a perverted man. Or so I thought. I was with a 22 year old man when i was 16. He lived in a big country home with his parents and many older siblings. I was a runaway, he took me in. (From the frying pan into the fire) It didn’t take long to see his families porn addiction. Magazines could be found anywhere, at any given time. I would throw them away but it didn’t matter, his father, a retired pastor, had quite a collection. Everyone was welcome to them. No one seen it as wrong. Children were subjected to molestaation and the mothers knew, as if was normal. Sicker than you could imagine. The demonic spirit of lust lived there. It was a a horrific satanic nightmare. I cannot even begin to tell you all of the perverse actions that went on there.
Even moving out of that place, he still had his fix. Once, i begged him not to watch a movie his brother brought him, and told me how i was jealous of real woman, how he needed a real woman..He needed pleasure i didnt give… etc. (yes he was abusive in every way) He actually put me into the closet holding the door closed while watching a porn movie, blasting the volume. And then let me out for his fix… Being with him was as if i was being molested all over again… I was just the “feel.” There was no difference. I was nothing. To this day i have not met one man who has been different. This seems to be a “normalcy” for many. (There are even sick perverted woman)
I got with a man who claimed he was a Christian, acted like it, talked it. I was going to have a beautiful marriage, God based! (No tv,cable) We get married and i find out he is not much different from any other man at all. It doesnt have to be just mag covers, ads, it can be anything, anywhere. We have a couple of teenagers around our neighborhood who dress very provocate and act the same. They want the attention and they get it. From every guy around. My husband included. He sees every women, anywhere, moreso with her breasts half exposed, or in shorts, mini skirts, tight jeans. He sees magazines in stores, movies, tshirts, tattoos, another mans cell phone, anything perverted! His eyes magnetize to them, just like most every man i ever met. And i’ll say why are you checking her/them/that out? Instead of saying “I wasn’t,” he will flip out and say the meanest things to me. Telling me how i mean nothing to him, while showing me i am not good enough. And i get hurt, he gets mad and blames me for angering him. It has been a no win situation for me. He would sometimes be all turned on as he would get home. I didn’t do anything, and it was again like being just the “feel.”
No matter the preventives, (which are righteous acts, i might add) lust is being amplified in every way, just as the devil wants it. And it is all okay to the ones who lust, the ones naive to the fact, and the ones ignorant of the enemy. It is the ones who know and see what is truly happening, that it effects. The righteous men/women of Yahweh.
I see those who do not agree, use some type of self justification. It is only showing they are likely, guilty of those lustful sins. Those against righteousness, are against God. period. Only Gods people have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” No matter how much we try to make them understand. They have ears but do not hear, eyes but they do not see. They refuse to see Gods Way.
The stories above are very good. But I don’t believe woman are that naive as to unknowingly doing this. We are also lustful.
I’m wondering (or I missed it) why there is no comment about helping the situation by constantly making yourself as a wife available to your husband. Calling him during the day – sending a note when he travels. We’ve been married 39 years. I’ve gone through an ugly menopause and many times I’ve not had any desire. He had a short time on porn sites but let me know right away. We are still working through it.
Though it is tough wives must make it safe for their husbands to come to them with the guilt and shame or it will eat them alive. They can be afraid to let you know lest you totally lose it and make things worse. Things will need to be worked through. Was it loneliness, lack of attention? The “too tired” thing has been overplayed, but it’s not even necessary to have an orgasm each time. It’s the closeness and the connection that’s so important. When I keep myself looking attractive and make myself available to him, he is less likely to look elsewhere. He “worships” my body and tells me I’m beautiful. I see myself as average but he tells me I’ve become more beautiful as we age. It’s our souls uniting in a very spiritual way. I’m not a model. We don’t need to be! It doesn’t take much for men to still look at us in lust, but it is possible to take our husbands eyes off other women. Porn is truly gaggingly ugly if people stop and think of it! The air brushing – these “plastic dolls” don’t even have pores!! But if we as wives selfishly turn them away – we are inviting them to go there or worse, sending them to another women’s arms.
We were watching Marilyn Monroe’s sad sad story recently. The nudes came up. It would be considered soft porn, but I noticed that my husband was turning his head away – sometimes closing his eyes. Finally I asked if we should turn it off. He said, “Please!” Even though I was curious and wanted to hear the rest of the story, I turned it off. I am not willing to share my husband for 2 seconds or 30 minutes with a “prostitute” and I believe I can make things easier for him, so he can focus on the work he’s been called to do. He likes it when I sing Carley Simon’s song: “No body does it better !….. No body does it half as good as you – baby You’re the BEST!!” :)