Fantasy and the Christian Husband

November 14, 2014

in Uncategorized

A while back, there was a discussion in the comments about a secular source that said most men fantasise about other women while having sex. I thought the numbers given were way high, and especially so for men who are following Jesus. So, we did a Marriage Bed survey on the issue.

 Thinking of another woman © Alphababy | Dreamstime.com

First rates of “other woman fantasy”:

  • 40% of the men said they have not had a fantasy about another woman in the last month.
  • 12% said it had happened once.
  • 32% said 2-6 times
  • 9% said 7-15 times 
  • 4% said 16-30 times
  • 3% said 30 times or more

The last two groups have a problem, and either are not fighting it or are failing in their fight. I would say those who said once or 2-6 times are making a real effort to avoid sexual fantasy about other women. I say this because most men have sexual thoughts several to many times a day, so having only a few fantasies about other women shows either a lack of interest in such thoughts or a significant effort to not have such thoughts. Only 16% of the men are having other woman fantasies more than six times a month. For comparison, 15% of the women said they fantasies about other men more than six times a month.

Such fantasies are very rare during sex!

Of men who had such a fantasy in the last month, only 16% said it had happened while having sex with their wife. Women had a far bigger problem here, 46% of those who had such fantasies had them during sex. Figuring in those who did not have such thoughts at all, 10% of the men say they fantasize about other women during sex. More than twice as many women confessed to doing this!

I am certainly not defending any of the men (or women) fantasising about others during sex, but it does seem to be rare for Christian men. Why are the numbers on this survey so different from surveys of the general population? Believing it is wrong is part of it, but not the whole story. Most men want to have sex with their wife. Not with a woman, not with the only woman they are “allowed” to have sex with, they desire to be sexual with the woman they love. Not thinking about other women is easy when you thoughts are focused on the wonderful wife there with you. There is no empty spot in their mind for thinking about some other woman. Men are more likely to have wrong fantasies at other times – when their wife is not there to fill their minds

Other details:

Some may wonder if the men lied on the survey. While this is always possible, our surveys on things such as adultery, porn use, and going to strip clubs have given much higher results for sin than we found in this survey. I think we are getting good honesty here.

Are the men answering the survey really Christians? Less than 1% said they were not. Seven percent said, “Yes, but not in a big way”, 17% said, “Yes, moderately serious about it.” and 75% said, “Yes, it’s a very big deal to me.” The group is serious about following Jesus.

By the way, three quarters of the men who are having fantasies about other women said more frequent sex with their wife reduced such thoughts. No doubt, some would blame their wife, but others take responsibility for their actions while recognising how sex with their wife can help them win the fight. One explained it this way: “It’s definitely easier to resist the temptations if it’s been 2 days or less since I’ve been with my wife. It gets really hard to resist after a week, and almost impossible after two weeks. I’ve tried to help her understand, but I think it’s a completely foreign concept to her. Intellectually she understands, but because her body and mind don’t work that way, it’s harder for her to truly understand.”

The full survey results are posted on The Marriage Bed.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I only have eyes and thoughts for my wife!

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon November 14, 2014 at 3:15 am

Thank you for the information– although truthfully it saddens me and is very discouraging.

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IntimacySeeker November 14, 2014 at 6:29 am

Paul, I appreciate the perspective the survey results provide. I have learned not to ruminate on this as I once did and to focus on more healthy thoughts, but I still have the same conclusion: If I had known then what I know now about male sexuality, I would have remained single. The pain and sense of defeat damage a woman’s soul.

“…three quarters of the men who are having fantasies about other women said more frequent sex with their wife reduced such thoughts” I think wives long to be enough for their husbands without having to HELP their husbands want them and HELP their husbands NOT want other women. What woman with any sense of worth feels comfortable having sex with her husband when she knows he has been fantasizing about another woman? He might as well have physically done it!

Scary stuff. Thanks for your honesty.

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Anon November 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

I agree IS. 50% of married Christian men are indulging in thoughts about other women several times a month? Ugh. It is a defeating thought. Once a month is a heart wrenching betrayal. My being has been damaged by the things I’ve learned ab male sexuality and my heart hurts. I fear it has damaged my relationship w God also–I cannot understand why a loving God would have wired woman to need one thing in marriage but wired man to be the exact opposite way- and worse it isn’t just a simple unfulfilled wish or disappointment to her but He’s made it soul damaging pain to her. I’m an intelligent, talented person-my husband and will not have children and I wouldn’t have married with this information either-I love him! but I could have created a very fulfilling life on my own.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2014 at 11:39 am

I do not think God gave men and women opposite desires and needs. I think we have differences made for our good which sin has perverted and made bad. As we seek to grow and be healed we can become what God intended.
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IntimacySeeker November 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

@Anon I have been confused about the wiring also. And I am thankful that with, or without, my husband, I have a very fulfilling life. It has been a difficult year for me–learning that men can’t help but notice other women, keep a mental file of images, and sometimes fantasize about other women.
I have read that wives should be a safe place for their husbands to confess or share about their visual temptation. I could do that from a mothers/sister/pastor position, but from the naked-in-the-bed position…I don’t think so.
What about a safe place for us?

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Anon November 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

Yeah I don’t think I can hear that from the person who is in the position that I need to trust him more than anyone else in the world either. It’s changed who I am-my heart is not completely open anymore bc it isn’t safe.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2014 at 11:36 am

I agree the information is sad, but it is sad all around, not just what it says about men.

Women are MORE likely to fantasise about another man during sex. Does this not make men look better than women?

We are all sinful. We all struggle. We also decide which sins are horrible and which are not so bad, usually putting our own sins in the second category.
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FantasyMan November 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

IIRC it was unclear in the survey, to what level the fantasies were deliberate. The different levels of automatic and deliberate thoughts were discussed in detail on the TMB boards a while back.

In case “any” sexual thought not expressly involving my wife counts – no matter how brief or how quickly I chose dismiss it – then 30/month is a low number. 30/day is probably closer.

Does that mean I am putting on less of a fight than 85+% of Christian men? Am I doing it wrong? Are 85+% of men not “ambushed” by such thoughts as frequenlty as I am?

Or … have most men answered to how often they deliberetly dwell on sexual thoughts of some other woman? Then I’d agree some respondents have some rather serious issues, and then I understand the wifes expressing hurt.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

We left the definition to the user, so there is some ambiguity. In my mind fantasy is more than a fleeting thought, it is hanging onto the thought and playing it out in one’s mind.

Taking every thought captive means there are thoughts to take captive.
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IntimacySeeker November 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Points taken, Paul. I did not mean to imply that a man fantasizing is worse than a woman fantasizing. Nor did I mean to categorize sin in a way that makes men look worse than women. I felt compelled to share with Anon what these discoveries have churned up in my life and let her know she is not alone.

I should rephrase my comment: If I had known then what I know now about male sexuality AND HOW DEEPLY I WOULD HURT, I would have remained single.

If a husband learns his wife is fantasizing, does it have the same effect on him? Does he feel unsafe in the bedroom? Perhaps so.

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Paul Byerly November 14, 2014 at 2:08 pm

My guess is men would take it personally, and many would question their sexual abilities. On the other hand, I have heard some men say, “anything that gets her to have sex with me is good”. I suspect that is more about desperation than not caring what she thinks.

I am not really surprised at how many women are thinking of another man during sex with their husbands. I think it is because of some basic gender differences. I suspect much of this is not about the sex with the other man as much as imagining a man who loves and cares for her in ways that make her want to be sexual. A couple of the ladies said something like this in the survey comments. A couple others said they needed their fantasies to get aroused or to be able to climax. While some of this is probably about their husband not knowing or caring how to arouse and pleasure them, I suspect some of it is about relationship problems.

Still other women commented they fantasies about other men because they are angry with their husband who either refuses them or refuses to do what they need sexually. I’m sure men do the same thing for the same reasons.
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T November 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Dear IntimacySeeker and Anon,

I am sending you both a cyberhug. Marriage is a growing experience, and sometimes it’s very hard. I know it’s painful to hear these things, and fantasies about other women are wrong and sinful, end of story.

I was devastated when I caught my husband watching porn. We have worked past that, and I have also learned some things, that what goes on in a man’s mind isn’t necessarily what we make it out to be. When DH was watching porn, I thought I wasn’t good enough for him. I thought he was comparing me to other women. I thought he didn’t want me.

None of that was true. While what he was doing was wrong and sinful, it wasn’t really about me at all. Sometimes men just crave the excitement of the idea of sex, and don’t deal with it responsibly. A man can watch porn or fantasize about a woman, without actually wanting that woman. It’s more about stimulating the erogenous zone of his mind and may have very little to do with the actual woman. Sexual intimacy in marriage isn’t about helping him want his wife or not want other women; it’s about satisfying his cravings for sexual excitement to support him in staying pure in his thoughts.

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Paul Byerly November 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I agree that men (or at least most men) can watch porn without really thinking about the woman. Fantasy can be much the same. It is about certain body parts and what is done with those parts.
I think this is the default way men look at porn. Some men who view huge amount of porn may start looking at sex with a real woman the same way, which is a huge problem.
As T indicated this is in now way excusing sin, just explaining the motivations and reality of the sin.
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Dan November 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

“A man can watch porn or fantasize about a woman, without actually wanting that woman. It’s more about stimulating the erogenous zone of his mind and may have very little to do with the actual woman. Sexual intimacy in marriage isn’t about helping him want his wife or not want other women; it’s about satisfying his cravings for sexual excitement to support him in staying pure in his thoughts.”

I can’t say this is true for all men but I feel it is true for the greater majority of men. It IS NOT about the actual woman and is about stimulation. It is about a desired sex act perhaps, or a pleasing body type. I is about a lot of things, but does have little to do with the actual woman. If it were, there would not be millions of pages of porn on the internet. Only the hottest looking blondes with the biggest breasts that performed two or three specific sex acts would be on the internet. There are so many pages because the viewers, both men AND women are looking for variety of stimulation. Variety of images makes a case for fantasy or porn viewing to not be about the actual woman in the images. That’s my opinion anyway.

I applaud T for having an attitude that is more realistic and not overrun with emotion. At some point, we have to work past the emotional hurt (not saying forget or ignore those feelings) to begin to address the real problems.
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T November 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

If I’m realistic and not overrun with emotion, it’s only because I’ve had the advantage of time (10+ years) and healing, and growth of understanding. I wouldn’t want any woman with fresh or continuing hurts to feel insulted for her feelings. I just want to assure other women that a husband fantasizing is not necessarily a reflection on the wife’s value or appeal. When my hurts were fresh, my husband tried to explain this to me, but of course I didn’t believe him at all.

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Dan November 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I can understand why you didn’t believe him then and you and any other woman or wife is certainly entitled to feel what they feel. Fantasy often has little to to do with rejection or dissatisfaction with one’s mate. Not trying to shine a light in another direction and distract, but there are women who have to fantasize to achieve orgasm. I can’t say that they do or don’t have marital issues, only that fantasy is what puts them over the top.

Psychologist don’t understand the whys of fantasy: Why we have them and why we have the ones we do, only that they are a necessary part of our lives and not only sexual fantasies. Our dreams of professional success, where to go on vacation, what to do when we do, what our dream house will look like are fantasies in their own right, but unlike most fantasies they can be realized. For some fantasies, those having them do not expect or intend for them to ever be realized, but even if there is no chance of them being realized, they seem to perform a necessary function withing a healthy psyche. Whether of the husband or wife, an active fantasy life does not mean the marriage is fatally flawed or doomed. It actually may speak to how “normal” the marriage is. Some may want to argue that is an unacceptable normal, but I would then argue that they have expectations and standards that may prevent them from ever being able to trust their mate. It is what we do with our thoughts that builds character and relationships, not that they are always what others would have them be.

Thanks for understanding I meant no inconsideration toward anyone.
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Paul Byerly November 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm

And why would you? It sounds like he is trying to get out of something. When we catch someone in a lie (which includes hiding things from us) we have no reason to trust anything they say.
One huge value of comments on blogs such as this is giving unbiased information from a wide group of voices.
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IntimacySeeker November 15, 2014 at 2:40 am

@Dan ” I applaud T for having an attitude that is more realistic and not overrun with emotion.” Asking a woman to put aside her emotions could be like asking a man to put aside his sex drive. Our emotions are part of our sexuality. If men need more/different sex from their wives, they should “grow a pair” and discuss it, not retreat to porn and fantasies. A wife’s emotional reaction does not justify his silence.

There are two part of this issue that really trouble me:
1. I feel like the wool was pulled over my eyes. Whose responsibility was it to make sure I knew this stuff BEFORE I got married? I should have had the opportunity to make an educated decision about taking such a major life step.
2. Regardless of my efforts around my personal appearance, how I treat my husband, frequency/quality of sex, this will always be a battle. The game is rigged. All the shaving, exfoliating, masking, plucking, moisturizing, exercising, dieting, words of affirmation and appreciation, kindness, generosity, initiating, enjoying, expressing, respecting, tongue biting, teeth whitening, mani/pedi, unspoken fear while riding in the passenger seat, etc., etc., etc., at best decrease the likelihood of our husbands enjoying thoughts of sex with another woman. An unimpressive ROI.

“By the way, three quarters of the men who are having fantasies about other women said more frequent sex with their wife reduced such thoughts.” A conversation from The Generous Husband (3/1/14), comparing women to cheesecake, would dispute this:

My bid for affirmation:
Someone dieting has not had cheesecake in awhile and therefore it’s appeal would be great. However, if a man has had cheesecake served regularly, homemade by his wife, in his favorite flavors (which she has made a point to discover and rediscover), served on fine china, accompanied by fresh high quality coffee, enjoyed with his favorite jazz music in the background…his attraction to other cheesecake would be diminished considerably. – See more at: http://www.the-generous-husband.com/2014/02/27/what-is-not-on-the-table/#sthash.gT3Ds12U.dpuf

The response:
That is true, but the ideal is often far from reality. Cheesecake is wonderful because it is out of the ordinary and that makes it special. It might also be attractive because it is because it is full of sugar and fat…I digress. It would fantastic to have gourmet sex on a regular basis and it certainly happens at times, but it is gourmet because life is not like that most of the time. Some spouses crave sex because they are not getting it at a quality or quality that they need. Regardless, cheesecake can still seem awfully appealing even when I am too full to eat it, and poorly dressed women catch my attention even when my wife has loved me well.
– See more at: http://www.the-generous-husband.com/2014/02/27/what-is-not-on-the-table/#sthash.gT3Ds12U.dpuf

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Paul Byerly November 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Whose responsibility is to warm men about the truth? I think the majority of men feel they have been subjected to bait and switch over sex. Like you, they think the game is rigged, and most have abandoned any hope of every having the sex life they thought they had been promised.
As I see it, society lies to both men and women, and in ways that set them up for a horrible wreck when they get married. While the individuals certainly has some guilt in all this, I see it as a much bigger issue. At best society is doing this. Personally I’d say the Enemy is behind it.
The question then is this – do we form camps based on gender lines and throw rocks at each other across the desert between us? Or do we see this for the spiritual battle it is and work to solve it because we want to walk in what God intended. The world and Satan are pushing us to do the first. I’m advocating the latter.
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IntimacySeeker November 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Paul, I think the key words are “THOUGHT they had been promised.” When we mix the difference in wiring, the innocence/ignorance of newlyweds, and what the world and the enemy push, the train wreck is inevitable. Much more pre-marital counseling is warranted and I would advocate that counseling continue throughout marriage. We get our oil changed every 3,000 miles, have our teeth cleaned every six months, have our furnaces serviced annually, etc. We step into marriage with unrealistic expectations and baggage and think we’re good to go. Bless you and Lori for the work you do to help us get on the right track.

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Paul Byerly November 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm

You’re right – we don’t take marriage seriously enough. Not before we do it, not after.
I realise everyone thinks their thing is the most important thing in the world, so I am no doubt biased – however, it seems to me a good marriage is foundational. Wish the church as a whole would put more into helping couples have great marriages.
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IntimacySeeker November 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

Working through emotions and addressing issues may not be easy, but Dan is right when he says at some point we need to move on. For me, that meant accepting that I would never fully understand or resolve this. And I had to step back and recognize that my entire identity is not driven by my relationship with my husband. It helped me to study Proverbs 31:10-31, a picture of the ideal woman who embodies in human form the virtues of woman wisdom:
Her husband trusts her because she consistently treats him well and encourages him
She invests herself in meaningful, fulfilling work
She competently managed her household, exercising her leadership skills
She makes wise business decisions on her own
She takes care of her body–she is physical strong and healthy
She keeps a close eye on her business ventures and does what is necessary to ensure their profitability
She is a leader in her community, setting an example for others
She prepares for the future
She dresses well and stands tall with her head held high
She marries well and respects her husband
She discerns her gifts and uses them
She is dignified and respects herself; she trusts God to provide for the future
She is careful with her words, realizing the power with which she speaks
She prioritizes the wellbeing of her household
She is respected and admired
Her husband is privileged to be at her side
She is known for her character and accomplishments

A woman’s calling reaches well beyond her marriage. When we put sex in this big picture perspective, it loses some of its power over us.

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Anon November 15, 2014 at 7:56 am

I’m not sure why it has been such a painful issue for me-I’m sure there are certain things a wife could say or do that would have the potential to equally hurt or do damage to her husband and she might not understand fully but obviously the men do not understand the women’s pain in this area. I do know that when I discovered my husband of only 2 months had used porn it was like a bomb went off in my soul.( There have been other smaller but hurtful incidents w related things that feel like betrayals and made me feel disappointed in our marriage also.) He couldn’t understand my hurt (bc that wouldn’t be hurtful to him?), I’ve forgiven him so do not bring it up but the pain has not gone away no matter how many times I’ve put in Jesus’s hands. Somehow it was traumatic to me. (How could he be so dissatisfied already when we were supposed to be happy newlyweds just starting our lives together? Sex, variety etc has not been an issue for us. we did go to counseling w a male pastor who pretty much laid it out for my husband that he’d cheated and done damage and how and why it hurts a woman which I was really not expecting but was good to have a man tell him) I did come to understand after reading and considering things here that I’m am just tired of not being myself any more. I love my husband and think I’ve been a kind, supportive, respectful, sexually enthusiastic wife and he loves me and is a good husband. I’m just tired of being anxious, not sleeping well, sad ab the confidence and security I’ve lost. I originally just decided I’m tired and done and I’m just letting go of all expectations and shutting off my heart-I immediately felt peace and strength for the first time in a long time. But almost as quickly came to the conclusion that this will make a really bad marriage in the long run. I’m leaving. I’ve made plans. I’m both more than incredibly sad but also feel so good and strong and myself again. I dread now having to drop a bomb on his soul but I want to be my self again and I cannot see that happening if his real self is always going to be desiring variety and excitement of looking at other women. I would have thought me as a real, loving, sexual in the flesh woman would be a blessing-but it’s what he’s pulled to as a man I guess and I don’t want to hold him back from who he is and I don’t want to continue to crumble into something I’m not meant to be either. I can imagine the hurt of incidents will just increase bc I will age and there will always be a new batch of 18 year olds and better photoshopping. I just want to heal and be strong, confident and whole again! Just making decisions for myself and my healing makes me feel more empowered.

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IntimacySeeker November 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

In my journey, I had to do some painful counseling work to address my reactions to this issue. Connecting the dots from my past experiences and recognizing how my anxiety was linked to them was extremely helpful. Doesn’t mean I have no more struggles, but I understand myself better and can talk myself down off the window ledge. This requires considerable energy, though, so if it’s happening often, it is exhausting. So I hear you about the sleepless nights and anxiety.
Kudus on making decisions for your own health and wellbeing. You sound like an amazing woman and I wish you well and pray you find healing and wholeness.

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Paul Byerly November 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I do not know your situation, but unless your husband is a truly horrible man you can be yourself and be married. You can both learn to accept and even enjoy each other.
Sure he has his sins. And you have yours. And you will both have your sins as long as you live. But you can each learn to sin less, and you can work hard on the sins that hurt your spouse.

I would encourage you to tell him leaving seems like the only solution. Then ask him if he is willing to get help to find another way. If he understands the alternative he may be willing to get serious about change. If knowing the results of not working on change does not motivate him, then you will know beyond a doubt he is unwilling or unable to change.
You owe it to yourself to make the effort. If you do not, you will someday hurt because you did not.
You have my prayers.
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Henri November 20, 2014 at 5:13 am

I would like to chime in to the ladies here. I think there are things about the male brain that we just shouldn’t know. This for one. I don’t need or want to to know about his sexual fantasies, if he has them, how frequently. It is very damaging. It is not necessary to know, and I’m fairly certain there is no way we as wives can “help” our husbands in these areas. Yes you could say more frequent sex is the answer, but its not, and only puts pressure on us to have sex out of some fear or anxiety to keep him from having any outside fantasy. Why do we need that? And what kind of sex life is that? For us? For him? Its not saying the article is bad, but I don’t see how it helps to encourage women to better understand their husbands. In fact if I let it, it would completely deflate me as a women and turn me OFF from having sex or wanting to learn more about my husband.
No matter what we do, we will never EVER be able to change our husband, or shut off that function in his brain. It is not our responsibility. Nor should we ever feel like we need to have sex to keep him from struggling. Instead when possible, we should trust God to convict, and do only our part of the relationship. I am sure there are women out there who very rarely have sex. I know, as a friend of mine was complaining they had to have sex twice that month, which floored me because a bad week here is twice in a week. So my mind was blown. Despite a very active sex life, my husband still struggles. He probably has fantasies. He probably still struggles with porn, or looking at women. And I could let it destroy me as I have for 12years, and still struggle with. Or I could focus on the positives and realize its never been my job to keep him from straying. That is a lie that media has created, and its damaging women. My job is only to do my part and let God convict of the rest.
If women new the truth about men before marriage, we would never get married. Its far to damaging to us, because we see it as all relational. And it is, for us. But not to them. As I said in another comment, we need to focus on reading what is positive for us, whether by a christian author or secular, something that encourages us as wives that we are still ok. Or finding a close friend who can encourage but not be company to our misery. Just to let you know you aren’t alone in this. Otherwise this world (sin) will eat us alive. And Satan will have won.
To Paul – while I enjoy so many of your articles, I feel this one needed far more encouragement to struggling wives then was given. I know that my response is a day or so after the initial posting and that is because like some of the commentors, I had to spend some time resyncing my brain & heart from the panic mode I was sent into. While I don’t think women in general should be ignorant, I think this could have been either avoided altogether, or shared in a more encouraging way. We as women, especially when it comes to sexual things, need alot of encouragement that we are still ok, or better yet great! We live in a world already feeling less then par, and then we read things like this, and we just get very discouraged, and feel like why should even bother trying. And yes I realize that means pretty much everything you write needs an encouragement at the end, even if you already wrote a post dealing with it, but we need constant reminders of it. Please don’t take this as the wrong way. As I said so much of what I have read has been really good, and I appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

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Paul Byerly November 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm

This post came about because of something said in the comments of another post. There are those in the world who claim it is the norm for a man to have a fantasy about another woman while having sex with his wife. I don’t know if it is true for most men, but I have shown it is NOT true for most Christian men.
I can see how this could have had the opposite effect, but given the amount of coverage of claims from the world, I suspect most women thought it was worse than it is.
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Henri November 21, 2014 at 5:43 am

Hi Paul,
Thanks for that clarification, that does make much more sense when put that way.

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IntimacySeeker November 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

@Henri You certainly echo some of my thoughts on this. You use the term “deflated”–I too have used that to describe my reactions. You also share that reading on this topic sent you into a “panic mode.” That’s how I felt too–not this particular time, but for months before. I do wonder why this is so significant for some wives and no so much for others. It helped me to learn what in my makeup caused me to react this way.

As far as there being some things we should never know about our husbands and their wiring, there is the old saying, “ignorance is bliss.” But as a grown up woman, I would rather know the truth and make my decisions based on that truth. And if intimacy is God’s plan for married couples, and intimacy means being fully known, perhaps it is important for husbands to share these struggles with their wives. Sin is most powerful when we hide it.

A husband might say, even though I notice other women and am tempted to fantasize, that has nothing to do with how much I love you. This does not compute for some/most women. Likewise, a wife might say, just because I don’t ever want to have sex doesn’t mean I don’t love you. That does not compute for most men.

I agree about putting our focus and energy on positive things. We are not defined solely by our relationships with our husbands, and certainly not by whether they struggle with lust. I also agree that this battle belongs to them. It is their responsibility. We can’t do it for them; we cannot rescue them. But we can love them and support them.

A painful theme for me around this issue was feeling inadequate, that I could never be enough. Finally, I realized that I don’t need to be enough for my husband. I need to be enough for ME. I think that is part of what you have articulated.

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Paul Byerly November 21, 2014 at 9:52 am

Beautifully said – thanks so much.
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Henri November 21, 2014 at 6:37 pm

@Intimacy. Hugs to you. That feeling of inadequacy is a killer. Like you, I began realizing this year that my biggest problem is me.
I agree that sin is a killer. I just found for me and my relationship with my husband, I had to step out of the role of who he is accountable to. If he chooses to share something with me, I will listen the best I can, but I am working on not asking to just know. I would rather he be directly accountable to God. Some might see it as perhaps a childlike attitude, but I am okay with that. I have spent 16yrs of life with my husband feeling inadequate, asking those killing questions, being his conscience, holding him accountable to me. And I broke in a terrible way. I don’t want to go back to that person. In doing that, I think we have hit a level of intimacy that is beyond what I ever thought we would achieve when I was pushing to know everything. I am ok with leaving to God to convict and protect. It has helped me begin to heal and grow.

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Remmy November 20, 2014 at 6:33 am

As Paul suggests, have a serious talk with him, make it clear what hurts you and what you want him to change, he may also have issues he wants you to address. Do a serious discussion with him, and watch how he reacts to your statements. It hurts so much I know but leaving should be the very last resort. I had a challenge in my marriage (not of sexual nature) but we had to find time and discuss openly, we opened wounds but being Christians, we agreed to forgive each other and we both cried to God to help heal our marriage. We doing a lot better now and I am sure with God on our side, we are on the right track to having a great marriage. Praying for you.

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