Today I’m sneaking in my second-ever guest post of the masculine persuasion – John, the husband half of the writing duo over at The Whitford Life. I’ve been reading this married couple’s blog for a couple weeks now, and when I stumbled upon this post I knew I wanted to invite them to share it here. Suzi and John have one little lady who keeps them running and another on the way. Hope you enjoy getting to know the man of their house.
“You can look, just don’t touch!”
I hear it all the time. A seemingly innocent joke as she catches her husband’s eyes wandering a little too long.
“It was just a harmless peek…” he will defensively retort. “I’m a warm-blooded American man! You know you’re the only one for me.”
Well gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that peek is not harmless, and lust weakens yourself and your relationships. Put lust out of your life; it’s time to live intentionally.
Before we get into it, this is not a holier-than-though speech. I struggle with this every day of my life. I know my weaknesses, but also know what I have to fight for. And it is so worth it.
Lust Breaks You Down
Lustful thoughts slowly break a man down. Every time I slip, whether in thought, word, or deed, I can feel the guilt. I just broke the promise I made in front of God, my wife, my family, and my friends.
Lust is an addiction. Pornography is as addictive as alcoholism and gambling, and has its own rehabilitation programs to overcome. These addictions take away your freedom. You become a slave to your impulses.
And as with all addictions, the more you indulge in lustful behavior, the more you need to satisfy your ever-growing urges. We reduce ourselves to base animals, simply following instinctive behaviors and disregarding the willpower and sense of right and wrong that were given to us by God.
If we accept the weakness of our lustful behaviors, we begin down the slippery slope. Additional vices are not far behind. And as our self-control slides further from reach, so too does our effectiveness as leaders.
Lust Breaks Down your Wife
Every time we fall, we chip away at the sense of self-worth of our most precious gift, our wives. When she sees our eyes wander, she begins to doubt herself. She wonders if she is meeting our expectations, if she is pretty enough, or if she has done something to lose our interest.
You are called to lift up your wife, not break her down.
But lust isn’t confined to impure thoughts of other women. Lust can be equally damaging when we lust after our own wives. It becomes so easy to objectify your wife, and skew the lines of love and lust in marriage. We forget that sex is intended to deepen the bond of marriage, not just provide physical pleasures.
Lust Breaks Down your Family
We are called to be leaders in our family, the foundation upon which it stands firm. It is our job to protect the souls of all those in our care.
Your daughters will seek out your behaviors in their boyfriends. Your sons will mimic your every move, whether in vanity, humility, charity, or greed. Act accordingly.
If you create self-doubt in your wife, your children will see it. They may not fully comprehend what is going on, but that self-doubt will be transferred to them. They may think it is their fault. You may come from a broken family, a broken past, but we all have the decision to make of what legacy we will pass on.
So what are you going to do about it?
Build Yourself Up
To be strong in virtue, it helps to be strong in body. Eat right. Get enough sleep. Go for a run. Treat your body like the temple it is. The weight of the devil on your soul and a weak body and mind, is a recipe for disaster.
And when you do fail, go to confession. Just as the addiction is enslaving, reconciliation is liberating. Be a man, take courage, and face your failures.
Build Others Up
If you won’t keep yourself accountable, find someone who will. I meet every month with a group of young fathers. Discuss your struggles, pray for each other, sharpen the saw. In helping others, you will learn volumes about yourself.
You are not alone. But are you man enough to ask for help?
Build your Wife Up
Remember your dating days, the effort you put in to every planned date, every perfectly timed compliment.
How has it gone since marriage? Since children?
For a while, my date nights became more like status reports: Listing out future chores, reviewing the upcoming calendar, discussing our struggles at work.
I wouldn’t even notice the dress she was wearing…
Once I realized how much I was neglecting my wife, I committed to:
Regularly tell her how beautiful she is
Splurge on occasion to remind her she is special
Ask about her day, every day
Focus on couples-based ministries together
Learn and practice her love language
Remember, it’s a journey
Your lustful habits did not develop overnight. They will not be gone tomorrow. But I urge you to embark on the journey to reclaim dominion over your instincts, and to become the man that He has called you to be.
Love your wife, love your God, and you will succeed.