Can You Forgive? Are All Men Checking You Out, and More!

by | Apr 25, 2019 | Uncategorized | 55 comments

Podcast: Are All Men Lusting
Merchandise is Here!

It’s time for a new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast!

I hope you all will listen, but if you don’t have time, I’ll have some links and rabbit trails below so you can read all you want as well!

Remember–to access all of the podcasts, you can click on “Podcast” on the menu, or better still, just subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen!

But first, here’s the podcast:

Main Segment: Can You Forgive and Move Towards Intimacy Again?

We’ve been talking this month about finding the balance between justice and mercy in marriage, and I thought some of you may need this message on forgiveness and moving past something difficult.

Forgiveness is a hard topic, because we certainly don’t want to rush forgiveness (and far too many of us do that!). And someone who has betrayed you does need to rebuild trust before full reconciliation is possible or advisable. However, at some point, if the person has repented, and has done things to rebuild trust, you need to make that decision to forgive and move on.

I hope this helps some of you dealing with a difficult marriage today!

Reader Question: My Husband Says He’s Tempted by My Best Friend!

Here’s one of those scenarios that makes me go, “Oh, man! That was so avoidable!” As I shared in the podcast, I may not be in the majority in terms of marriage advice on this one, but I do not believe that every temptation needs to be shared with your spouse, AS LONG AS you have someone else holding you accountable and you have confessed to someone else. I think you have to look at the bigger picture and ask, “will this help my marriage or hurt my marriage?”

Here’s the scenario:

A while ago he confessed to me that he has feelings of attraction for my best friend. He had talked to a mentor about it several months prior, which had taken care of those feelings. However, they resurfaced during a trip we took with this couple. ,,,All of this really devastated me. He insists that he has guarded his thoughts very well, not fantasizing or allowing his thoughts to wander, and that this is a normal thing that many couples face. He doesn’t feel a need to limit our contact with this couple. We talked with some mentors and a Christian counselor about this, and the counselor agreed that there was nothing to be concerned about. He tried to explain the male sex drive to me, and the difference between temptation and sin. …I feel like my normal meter is broken. Sheila, what am I missing? How do I get over the anxiety and pain? How do I thrive in my marriage again?

I’m left wondering–why would he tell her? Why would the counsellor think he should tell her? And now it looks like she is the one with the problem because she can’t get over it!

(She can likely benefit from the forgiveness portion of this podcast, but I’m not sure if she can even do that until the husband and the counselor recognize that he also has to rebuild trust now).

I wrote a bigger post a while ago about 10 things you shouldn’t share with your spouse, and here’s what I said there:

From 10 Things You Shouldn't Share with Your Spouse

I know a few couples who are super confident and who share everything, and who even keep each other up to date on who they think is hot at church, so their spouse can hold them accountable.

So perhaps some marriages can get away with this.

But in general, it’s not a good idea to tell your spouse you think someone else is attractive.

Here’s a story one Facebook commenter left:

I had a newlywed friend years ago who called me in tears because her husband confided in her that he didn’t find her as attractive as her sister. He wasn’t lusting after her sister or spending extra time with her or talking to her secretly. They barely knew each other and didn’t even live close, and she was much too young for him. This was just him matter-of-factly telling his young bride that she wasn’t as pretty. It killed her self-confidence.
She goes on to explain that this young man just wanted to start marriage right by being 100% honest and preventing problems before they occurred. But in this case, it just caused more problems when an affair with the sister wasn’t even a real threat.

Besides, talking about lust or finding someone else attractive just feeds those feelings. Keep your eyes on your spouse. If you notice someone else, instead of mentioning it, why don’t you take that moment to kiss your spouse and fill your mind with all the things you love about your spouse?

I have more I’ll say about this in just a minute, because in the comments section I talked about something similar!

Comment: Do We Know the Effect on Women When We Keep Talking about how All Men Lust?

I like to share a comment that someone has made on social media or the blog each week, and this one came out of a Facebook status. I was talking about how sometimes we’ll read things about how all men lust, and it’s important that women not become paranoid. If your husband has not given you reason to think he lusts, then it’s okay to trust him. Pray that God will reveal to you if you ever need to know anything, but remember that your husband honestly could be a good guy.

You can read it here!

Yes, some men struggle with lust. BUT NOT ALL MEN DO. If you have never had any reason to doubt your husband, then don'…

Posted by To Love, Honor and Vacuum on Sunday, April 14, 2019

That led to some interesting comment threads, but one discussion between Rick and Alice was interesting. Rick was saying that studies show that huge numbers of Christian men use porn and lust, and so we need to understand that.

And then Alice left these comments (I’ll combine them here):

Do you not see how knowing these facts and statistics could make a woman really, really cynical, and cause her to have huge trust issues with the men in her Christian community? I mean, the fact that the chances are even Steven that your pastor is doing porn on any given day? Yuck. Just super yuck. I have been dealing with the fallout from this sort of thing for DECADES. This also means that a huge portion of the Christian or church men that we deal with every day are very accomplished liars, as well. Another sick-making thought.

(and then replying to the idea that lust is just a sin, and all people sin):

I get what you’re saying about sin, and everybody in a church being on a level playing field with God. But please try to put yourself in my (or someone like me) place. If I’m standing around chatting after the weekly church service, and I stop to say hi to the pastor, or a guy who’s in my husband’s small group, or whoever. I’m standing there with my 15-year-old daughter by my side. I do not feel threatened by a man who struggles with the sin of gluttony. But I do feel threatened by the thought that there’s a 70% chance I’m talking to a guy who uses porn. I just do. Because I know that it is eroding his ability to see me and my daughter as human beings.

I think Alice makes an important point.

We simply need to change the language around this. When we say so loudly “all men lust” and “it’s every man’s battle”, we end up normalizing lust, which the Bible does not do. The Bible says that men who live by the Spirit should not lust. So we should start calling out this idea that it’s a sin that can’t be defeated.

Besides, all men don’t lust. Even if 70% of men say they lust, that means that 30% don’t. When we treat lust like it’s universal, then guys don’t think they can fight against it.

I know that so many of you who read this blog have husbands who struggle with porn or who use porn. I am so sorry for your pain. I have written so many posts about how to handle this in marriage. It is a huge issue. I was in Kingston last night watching a documentary on porn’s effects on our teens. It’s horrifying.

But it is not universal. And I want you wives especially to know that your husband can and should defeat this. God does not say that lust is the only thing a man will always struggle with.

Here’s a few posts from a series that I wrote on this a while ago that may help:

One more thing: Noticing is Not Lusting

I think I’ll write a whole post about this sometime, but one of the commonalities I see between the reader question and the comment is that too often I think we equate noticing a woman is attractive with lusting after her. I’ve seen that in the studies that measure lust as well. If you look at the wording in many of these surveys, my husband would likely be in the category of “man who struggles with lust”, even though he doesn’t, because the surveys equate noticing a beautiful woman with lusting.

If we tell teenage boys that noticing = temptation and they have to guard against temptation, they’re going to think they’re being tempted constantly. You can notice someone is attractive and then do absolutely nothing at all with that thought. At that point, it’s not even a temptation.

This man who confessed to his wife about the best friend could simply have been attracted to the best friend. But if he grew up hearing that being attracted to someone = lusting after them, then he may think he has a sin he needs to confess.

Then he confesses to something that actually isn’t a big deal, but he’s now ruined her confidence.

Look, some people are objectively very attractive. I am quite aware that there are many, many women more attractive than me, and I do not expect my husband not to notice that other women are attractive. I do expect my husband to only think about me sexually. There’s a big difference.

Maybe if we started talking about this better, we wouldn’t have these statistics floating around that say that 80% of men battle lust. And I think that would be far healthier. Yes, many, many do. And if they are fighting it–then that’s wonderful! But not everybody does, which is also good news, because it means that those fighting it can get over it.

Does that make sense? What do you think? Let’s talk in the comments!

PS: I didn’t do a millennial marriage segment this week because I was pressed for time. My cousin was visiting with her daughter, and I took them to visit Tammy (who works on the blog) and who currently has 11 border collie puppies at her house. Here are two pictures from yesterday!

So let’s talk! Is forgiveness too hard? Is noticing the same as lusting? Should we confess being attracted to someone else to our spouse? I’d love to hear what you think!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Sleepy

    I also saw you’ve post on Facebook and you are right. That Rick guys view on temptation is really damaging. To say that just feeling a sexual attraction to someone is sin is dangerous. I do understand that this mindset exists because sex is so taboo and seen as so sinful that sexual feelings is also seen as sinful. But the thing is that it brings shame and shame beings you deeper into sin. As you say the number of men who struggle with real lust would diminish if people understood what real lust really is. And a lot more wouldn’t freak out over their feelings if they knew that attraction isn’t lust. As a teen I thought I was lusting for my wife’s aunt. I knew here before I met my wife and she is a very good looking woman. I had a book where I wrote down my sins and asked God for forgiveness and I wrote there often because I thought I was lusting because I found her attractive. It wasn’t until I read your series on lust and HHH post on what lust is that I realized that all these years I hadn’t lusted after her, I just thought she was attractive and even if that caused a bodily reaction at times I had actually never had a sexual thought about her. She still looks very good but I am thankful that I can now talk to her without having to look away because I am too afraid to lust because I know I am not doing that.
    It’s a small example but knowing what lust is has really helped me. I know what real lust is because Porn has been a struggle (thankfully on the path of freedom) but I think this is a struggle for many young men. When they are shamed for their sexual feelings they get deeper and deeper into it and then are stuck.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Sleepy, what a great comment! Thank you for leaving it. I’m working on a new book series and I’m going to save this for it.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Just talking to Joanna (part of my team) about your comment and she had an interesting thought. I wonder how many guys who get sucked into porn do so because they think they’re already struggling with lust and that they’re already sexually sinning? Does this make it easier to get hooked? I think it very well may, which would likely explain why porn use is higher in Bible belt states than other states.

      • Sleepy

        Yes I think the shame factor is a very big part of it because shame usually tells us who we are, even if it is a lie. Guilt helps us see why our actions is wrong but shame makes us feel like we are horrible and disgusting sinners. And while that is true it doesn’t show the whole truth of who we are. It shouldn’t define us but when when we hear that sex is wrong and sexual feelings are wrong we start to feel that there is something wrong with us. We are bad and horrible people and I am pretty sure I have read in the Bible that it says that how a man think about himself thats how he is(will try to find the verse) but I think that’s true. We start to see ourself as sinners and perverts and we may think it helps to see ourself like that but It doesn’t because that only draws us deeper into it. Because if we are lustiful monsters then why would we act different? I mean you can put a tuxedo on a pig but it doesn’t make it human, right? That’s the same many men think about themself when it comes to our sexual desires . We see ourself as monster who have to contain this monster we have inside and there will be a day where we can’t control it because we are monsters. If we see ourself like (often unconsciously) we will act like that.

        One thing that helped me tremendously when it came to porn was changing my way to see this. My therapist who wants Christian told me that when I fail I shouldn’t get stuck in that feeling of being worthless and disgusting. Even if I start to fail by searching I shouldn’t because it doesn’t help. Instead I should say ok, I failed, what made me fail? How can I fix that? What was the trigger? How do I avoid this next time? I should feel guilt bit feeling shame to the point that I should hate myself doesn’t help. That helped me so much because I started to see that my failure didn’t define who i was or who I was striving to be. So instead of getting stuck in shame I have let my guilt motivate me to change. That has helped a lot,

        So I do think shame is a big factor in to why teens fall into this and stay there. And that combined with the taboo factor where sex is seen as so taboo that it creates a desire for it makes things worse. Churches need to talk about sex in a way that makes it less taboo. I don’t know how but in some way make sexual feelings and desire normal and not shameful and from there work on the reasons and benefits to wait until marriage.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Great thoughts, Sleepy! Thank you. And your therapist’s advice about looking for triggers and how to deal with slipups is very wise. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

      • Lisa

        I agree. I am married to a wonderful man who used to struggle with lust and doesn’t anymore. And no, he doesn’t bounce his eyes or avoid women (50% of the population). It’s simply not true that every man will battle with lust until his last breath. My husband does believe that the way he was raised contributed. He’s not saying it’s completely preventable but church culture and parenting methods can make it harder.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I really do want to get to the heart of that in my next project, Lisa. What is it about church culture that’s contributing to the lust problem? I’d like to study it and suggest some real solutions, because talking about how it’s inevitable is NOT helping.

          So glad your husband’s on the other side!

    • Anon

      Sleepy, with respect, as a woman I really don’t want to know that you sometimes had a ‘bodily reaction’ regarding this woman. That part of your comment is offensive to me. I don’t want to think men may be having a ‘bodily reaction’ when they see me. Yuck. That just gives me the creeps. It also makes me paranoid about my own husband. You seem like a really nice guy and I’m sure you wouldn’t mean to offend. But I really didn’t want to read that.

      • Natalie

        Just like you have a blog post about redefining sex, you need a blog post about defining lust and whether or not we as the Church need to either redefine it or at least refine our definition of it so that it’s more succinct. I feel like the definition of lust I grew up with was so broad and basically covered all sexual grey areas as well as the blatant, obvious ones (like mentally undressing someone and imaging yourself having sex with them. Obviously, that’s lust). For example, I was told masturbation was wrong because it was a form of lust and was taking the place of something that should only take place within marriage. Now as a married woman of five years, I’m finally healing from that false teaching and coming to terms with the idea that it’s okay for me to touch myself down there on my own time when my husband isn’t around just so I can figure out what exactly feels good to me. I had nooooo idea for my whole teens and 20s because I didn’t want to be sinning by lusting and doing actions that would cause me to lust. And even when I was married, I’d still feel guilty for touching myself even during sex and in my husband’s presence.

        • Natalie

          Sorry, I meant my comment to be it’s own thread. Not sure if you can switch that on your end. It was not a reply to Anon or Sleepy.

        • Anon

          Oooh Natalie…. Careful. You’re treading on shaky ground here. Sheila has written some brilliant posts on her blog about the dangers of masturbation. I personally am in agreement with what she says in those posts. Masturbation is wrong – not right. Harmful and damaging. Maybe take some time to read through her posts surrounding that topic.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I think the issue is really the purpose of it. If we’re turning to masturbation INSTEAD of our spouse and relieving sexual energy that way, it’s wrong. If we’re exploring to get to know how our bodies work, I don’t think so at all. If we’re having a major fight or roadblock with our spouse, and we masturbate so as not to burden our spouse, then that can be counterproductive too because it relieves tension so that we don’t have an incentive to work on the problem that is separating us from our spouse. Does that make sense?

          • EM

            Yeah, I gotta say for some couples it may be necessary for the woman to touch herself, at least to know how things work so she can show her husband. I definitely see that as a step to building intimacy, and in no way wrong. If you don’t need to, great, but don’t make someone feel guilty about it if it’s helpful in her marriage!

  2. Kate

    Sheila, i screamed when you thought Denzel was handsome. He is sooo handsome to me too. But i have never lusted after him nor think about him until you mentioned him, lol. Sheep’s comment above was great and i agree with what you guys were discussing in the comments.

    I have said this before but i need to thank you again for getting straight into the topic. Recently i had to unsubscribe from 3 podcasts because they went on and one about their week day activity for 15 minutes. These people act like they have interesting lives, i don’t care about your clogged up toilet!!! Darn it!

    Enjoy your time with the puppies! 🙂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Kate! I do try to avoid personal stuff in the podcasts. If people want personal stuff, subscribe to my emails! 🙂

  3. Andrea

    In my fantasy life I am a sociologist of religion — ha! I bet when I said “fantasy life” you thought that was going to go in another direction — and I write about Christianity and masculinity. So in that capacity, I have a theory I’d like to float by you all if anyone else is interested in playing amateur sociologist for a bit: in our unfortunate culture THE mark of masculinity is bedding as many women as possible. Yes, there are others, such as not displaying emotions (except for anger, of course), but a lot of them are also in the service of getting as many women as possible (fancy car, money, swanky bachelor pad…). So I’m wondering if churches overemphasize men’s propensity for lust as a way of preserving some semblance of masculine dignity for their men, who, if they’re doing the right thing, are sleeping with one woman only for the entirety of their lives. Do you see what I mean? If their desire for multiple partners is as strong as secular men’s and then add to that the very masculine “battle” required to overcome it, they are still rah-rah men. We talk a lot about how women get hurt in such a culture, but men are also forced to follow a script, and if women need to downplay their sexual urges, men are pressured to play theirs up. We should also remember that this kind of thinking about men and women originates not in the Bible, but in evolutionary psychology, which many U.S. Christians strongly oppose. (Seriously, if you think the earth is 10000 years old, you cannot believe that men are more lustful than women.)

    Regarding secular v. Christian men, I’m not even going to go into how the latter should be a new creation because I know there are some theologians who comment on here and they can do a better job, but I do want to bring up a book about mostly secular men by an actual sociologist of masculinity, Andrew Smiler, called “Challenging Casanova.” In anonymous surveys (so no pressure to conform to masculine standards in front of your peers) most young men do not express a desire for multiple partners. More men than women do, so men are more lustful than women, but it is still a minority. Regarding porn, most boys are actually traumatized when they first stumble upon it, except that the culture requires them to be thrilled with it, while women addicted to porn have been (wrongly) seen as an anomaly, as has recently been discussed here. When I asked how women could be turned on by such stuff, someone said it was disgusting and alluring at the same time. Men probably feel the same way, but they have been acculturated to emphasize the alluring aspect.

    • Budgie

      I tend to agree with you, Andrea. Sex is central to what everyone says a man is and it’s so important for men to conform to that. In the church we see a lot of celebrating of masculinity, but a lot of it really comes straight from how the world sees being a man. It’s not the Bible’s view of being a man.

      I can’t believe that men will inevitably lust when they see body parts or attractive women etc. If that was the case, God set them up to sin. And Jesus lived on this earth as a man and He never sinned and He didn’t have marriage as an outlet for any feelings He would have. I think of the woman caught it adultery – if we really think the story through, the woman would have been dragged to him naked. But I don’t see Jesus fighting really hard not to look at her or “bouncing His eyes”. He was so concerned about her as a person, He wouldn’t even have thought about her body that way. And that’s the way Jesus wants His men to be, I believe. The answer to lust really is to see people and value them. I’m not saying it’s easy, but God wants to make us like Jesus in every way.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Exactly, Budgie!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Andrea, your whole comment is so fascinating! I had never thought of the whole lust battle in terms of helping men feel like real men, but I think you’re actually on to something here! I’m going to chew about all of this (and Joanna said she already wants to get that book you recommended!)

  4. Phil

    AMEN Sheila – no need to ruffle the sheets with too much information. It would have been so much better to admit he had feelings for someone else and you are being honest and that you are working on it. Thats enough information to be honest with your wife as long as you are being honest and genuine with GOD. Telling something like this was something that can be damaging to the wife like this? I can’t stand when guys I work with do this. Amen Sheila.. 100% agree with everything you said on that topic. Grace knows I was unfaithful in many ways and she knows general details such as porn use, phone sex, strip clubs. But she does not know all the crap I did in those scenarios and doesn’t need to know. I hurt her enough, I don’t need to add to it. Today She understands that, but at the time of coming clean she thought she wanted those details…..NO SHE DOESN’T. It doesn’t change anything and it certainly doesn’t help forgiveness and healing

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Completely agree, Phil! I think it comes down to WHY you’re sharing the info. Often it’s so that men can stop feeling badly, but all they end up doing is transferring their guilt onto women.

      • Phil

        yes agree with that too…

    • Phil

      And furthermore “you either want to rebuild or you don’t” Knowing the details doesn’t help rebuild. I have been watching several guys who’s wives want details and struggle so much to stay in the marriage….they are trying to find all the details and why he behaved that way (which often has very little to do with the spouse directly) and then find a way to love the person based on that information. It doesn’t work. YOU EITHER WANT TO REBUILD OR YOU DON’T. If you do want to rebuild then focus on rebuilding not that garbage! BOTH OF YOU. The scary part is if the spouse is a serial repeater. I got my chance and took it. No repeat for me thank you very much. Today I am so grateful. I pray for those who are working on the rebuild that you both can focus on the rebuild and the offender does not repeat…..sigh.

  5. Anita

    This makes a lot of sense, telling your partner that you are attracted to someone else can be devastating. It can make one loose their self esteem and it can be very dangerous to a marriage. You are right though, not all men are bad, and noticing is totally different from attraction. I just wish we had more good men that we currently have today.

  6. Samantha

    There is a lot I agree with you on Sheila, but I don’t think it is ever a good idea to purposely keep things from your spouse. Not ever. We need to remember that Adam and Eve were naked with each other in the Garden. Naked with each other and also with God. We look at the physical nakedness and tend to focus on that, but they were also naked in all other areas: mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Think about it. Before they ate the fruit they didn’t see any reason to hide their physical nakedness from each other or from God. I think it’s safe to assume that they also weren’t ashamed to share their other forms of nakedness with one another as well. But eating the fruit changed everything. It made Adam and Eve aware of their vulnerability in EVERY aspect, not just their physical nakedness. We cannot have the kind of relationship we should have with God unless we are ready and willing to make ourselves totally vulnerable to Him in every aspect of our lives. At the very least we have to be willing to try to do this. So it stands to reason that we cannot have the kind of relationship we should have with our spouse unless we make ourselves vulnerable/naked to them in every area of our lives as well. If we are having the kinds of thoughts about other people that would hurt our spouse if they knew about those thoughts, then we should absolutely tell our spouse about those thoughts. Marriage isn’t a game where we base how honest we are going to be on whether or not the truth will rock the boat too much. If that husband is struggling with attraction that is obviously greater than just your average “hey that person is attractive, now let’s move on” kind of way, then how in the world is that fair or constructive for him to hide that from his wife?

  7. Samantha

    As a woman who has been betrayed by and lied to by her husband, I can tell you 100% that I would NOT want that kept from me. In that scenario it should not be the husband’s decision whether or not they remain friends with that couple. That choice belongs to the wife. HOWEVER, it should be the husband who expresses the fact that making his wife feel comfortable and secure is far more important than keeping up a friendship with that couple. Frankly, the husband should say something like this: “I have been guarding myself very well in this area, but I don’t want to needlessly put myself in a situation that could potentially cause temptation in the future. You and our marriage are far too important to me. For that reason, I don’t feel the need to continue our friendship with this couple. I don’t want to end this friendship because I am afraid of what my feelings for this woman might become, but because I value your feelings and your sense of security. Making you feel safe and keeping you the only woman in my life is my number one priority.” What you see here is a husband who would be totally vulnerable to his wife and also totally selfless. He wants to be honest with her and to make sacrifices for her to give her a real sense of security. He doesn’t want to give her a false sense of safety by keeping her blissfully ignorant about what is going on with him when they are around that couple.

    I don’t think people are fully aware of what it does to us inwardly when we willfully hide things from our spouse. It creates an inner dialogue within us every time there is something to tell. We stop and ask ourselves, “Is this something I should tell my spouse or something I should keep to myself.” We are metaphorically covering ourselves with fig leaves when we should be getting naked. I don’t want there to be any fig leaves coming between me and my husband. We may live in a fallen world and we may be fallen people, but I want to at least STRIVE to have a Garden in my marriage. I want my husband and I to be naked in every area of our lives with each other and with God.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I guess here’s how I would say it, Samantha.

      Our thoughts originate from different sources: our sinful nature; outside negative spiritual forces; our own spirit. Just because a thought enters our head does not mean that it is part of who we are. It is simply something going through our brain. If we act as 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to do and take every thought captive and dismiss it, then it is not part of us.

      I don’t think there’s a reason to share things that aren’t part of you. It’s better to give them absolutely no attention at all. When you share them, you elevate them. They actually become part of you, because you’re now thinking about them deliberately. But if it’s a random, fleeting thought that is dismissed, then it’s not part of your spirit or your identity.

      Let’s take it out of the realm of sex. Let’s say that I’m listening to the news and I have a fleeting thought of anger about a news item. Let’s say that I then tell myself, “You don’t know the whole situation. Stop making judgments.” And I let it go.

      Is that thought part of who I am? I have dealt with it. It is done. It is not affecting me, and it may not have even sprung up from me. Is my marriage worse by not sharing that?

      That’s what we’re talking about here. I believe that this man has been taught that noticing a beautiful woman = lusting after her. Lusting is a sin, therefore it must be confessed. But what if it’s simply a fleeting thought that he is taught that he can dismiss? Does she then need to know? How does that help her or their marriage? It elevates a fleeting thought to far more significance than it’s supposed to have. It makes both of them think of this thing in a huge way, rather than “taking every thought captive” and dismissing it. And that can be very hurtful.

      Again, if we’re talking about a major sin or someone at risk of an affair, it’s a different situation. But this is more like a fleeting thought, and that would be much better handled by dismissing it and not dwelling on it, in my opinion.

      • Samantha

        Sheila, I think you are minimizing his thoughts about this other woman. I don’t know their whole story or situation, but it sounds like this is an ongoing effort for him. If it were truly just a passing thought and he was struggling because he has not been taught how to deal with fleeting thoughts in a healthy way, then he would be struggling with almost all of the women he comes into contact with and not just this specific friend. And who knows, maybe he struggles with all women in this way. But that is not what is expressed. It sounds like there is more to this than him just having a passing thought. It sounds like the same thought keeps passing through and at that point you can’t simply write it off as fleeting. It sounds like it is trying to set up camp. And they go on vacations with this couple. It isn’t just a “see you at church” kind of relationship where they only come into contact with each other in public or once a week. If it were that sort of thing it would be totally different. You become emotionally invested in friends and if he is having to intentionally fight “more than a fleeting thought” attraction to this woman, then being emotionally invested in her as a friend is a recipe for future temptation. Not saying he will eventually sin. He could continue on seeing this friend and never give into temptation. But why entertain the possibility of temptation? Why invite it to the party? Does God want us to be so arrogant that we purposely put ourselves into situations where we know we will be tempted? Let me put it another way. Would He rather we go look for a fight or would He rather us be confident that He will help us to overcome temptation when the fight comes to us?

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Samantha, I can only go with what the woman told me that her husband and the counselor said. They said it isn’t a temptation; there is no danger of an affair; and he isn’t scared of seeing her. This sounds to me like an attraction, not lust.

          In another situation, I would say that it is better to cut off contact. But taking the fact that he has confessed to multiple people and is sure that it’s nothing, then we can believe that.

          Now, some men are more susceptible to this, and if a guy is honestly worrying that a woman is popping into his fantasy life, that’s a different story. But I don’t think that we should give mere attraction the power to consume our thought life and our attention in marriage, if that makes sense.

          • Aubrey

            I agree with Samantha. If he had to set accountability partners then it’s enough of a problem that he needs to tell his wife and I also agree about not spending time as a couple any more, that could be adding to the problem he has of not thinking of her.

        • Anon

          Samantha, for what it’s worth, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you are saying. I do not agree with Sheila’s viewpoint on this, nor her daughter’s. You are trying desperately to make a very valid point and it’s falling on deaf ears. Just know that someone in the world agrees with you!

          • Samantha

            Thanks Aubrey and Anon. My stance comes from the perspective I have gained from being betrayed by my husband. It has been a very difficult road to travel, but I am blessed that my husband has the desire to change and is putting in the work to strengthen his relationship with God and me. Part of that work is learning what it means to be totally open and honest.

            One of the things that I see lacking in Sheila and Rebecca’s responses about simply letting thoughts pass through is that there is no action taken against those thoughts even when they are truly fleeting. And let me just say right now, this guy’s thoughts about this other woman are about as fleeting as a reoccurring nightmare. They are not fleeting if you have been having them over and over again. Having said that I think too many people just accept that we will always notice other attractive people besides our spouse and that is okay as long as we don’t lust. I think that can get pretty dangerous after a while if there is no positive action taken to elevate our spouses above those people. I’m not saying that noticing that another man is attractive is a sin by any means. But I don’t think we should simply allow those thoughts roll through our minds and then pretend that we never had them. I think we need to counter them with positive thoughts about our spouse. For example, if I found myself thinking that another man besides my husband was attractive I would not only take that thought captive and submit it to God, but I would replace it with a positive thought about my husband. Thoughts about other members of the opposite sex are like weeds. Simply pulling them out will just allow them to continue to grow back only to be pulled back out again and again. It doesn’t kill the weed. Taking those opportunities to reinforce our positive feelings towards our own spouse, to elevate the qualities of our spouse above what we noticed in another, is like spraying weed killer rather than simply pulling the weed out. The more opportunities we take to elevate our spouse above other members of the opposite sex, the stronger our attraction will grow to the specific qualities of our spouse and the attraction to qualities of others to diminish.

          • Samantha

            I don’t like the subject of attraction to other members of the opposite sex among married people treated like it is somehow silly and innocent. It really isn’t. When I see another man who happens to be handsome I don’t have to pretend or lie to myself that I am not attracted to him. I’m actually not. I have elevated my husband above other men so many times and in so many ways that it is simply the truth for me. It is a fact that cannot be altered even if the world’s idea of the most handsome man crossed my path. What if that is what this man was encouraged to do rather than simply allowing the attraction to this other woman to continue to pass through his mind without any action to elevate his own wife above this woman? I actually listened to the podcast and the issue isn’t that he shared his struggle with his wife. The real issue is that he isn’t doing anything to reject the traits that he is noticing in this other woman and elevating the traits of his wife. I also don’t like that everyone is telling him and his wife that it’s not a real issue. If this man continues to place his attraction to this woman’s traits above the traits of his wife who he is supposed to be delighted in, then that IS a problem. Proverbs 5:19 says, “…may her breasts SATISFY you ALWAYS.” It doesn’t say, “enjoy your wife’s breasts, but feel free to notice other breasts as well. Oh but just be careful that you don’t lust. Then you’ll have to tell her about it.”

            I realize that it may seem like my comments on this are overkill, but having been betrayed by my own husband, I don’t want any woman to think that honesty was the problem in this situation. It was not. The problem is that no one is helping this man to grow his appreciation for his wife. Everyone is treating his attraction to this woman like it’s no big deal. If he can’t honestly put his attraction to his wife above his attraction to another woman then that’s a big deal. His wife has no real security or assurance that her husband is being intentional about elevating her above this other woman. No wonder she’s having such a hard time with this.

          • Lindsey

            Hi Samantha,

            First of all, I’m so sorry for the betrayal that you’ve suffered. I pray you find full healing in your marriage.

            Even though I haven’t agreed with all of your thoughts, I 💯 % ageee with what you’re saying about her husband not elevating her over this woman. Since the traits that he finds attractive in the other woman are traits that his wife says she lacks, I think this is a very dangerous situation. It’s more than just noticing someone in a movie is attractive, because you can also tell yourself “there is airbrushing, makeup artists, they get paid to look good, etc.” and I don’t think that it really has the same potential for taking your own spouse for granted as when he’s experiencing a recurring attraction to a “real” person. He is not making his wife “his standard of beauty”, and he should be taught and encouraged to do so. This is something that I feel his “mentor” should have done, and left it at that. I still don’t think he should tell his wife “I think your best friend is hot, but no worries we can still hang out with them.” If he didn’t think it was necessary to end their relationship, he shouldn’t have mentioned it at all, IMO. However, I wholeheartedly agree that this man needs to seriously reevaluate his thinking, because elevating traits that your wife lacks is a sure way to become less and less in love with his wife.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Lindsay, I think this is a good middle ground here. I think the difference is the idea of (a) just attraction and (b) someone actively experiencing more than just the whole “She’s attractive” attraction where they are more emotionally entangled with the person.

            My mom and I were more talking about the first; being fleetingly attracted isn’t wrong. Yes, you need to take all thoughts captive when you’re married to make sure it doesn’t go further, but it’s not a big deal.

            What we were trying to get across is that we villify things that simply aren’t wrong. If you are attracted to someone in that beginning dating stage kind of way, yes that’s inappropriate. But we were just talking about noticing someone is attractive. That’s very different, not a threat to a marriage, and not sinful in the least. It’s just noticing God’s beauty where it exists.

            Again, we also understand that many women have been really hurt by their husband’s betrayals. And I think if you are in one of those situations, yes you need to have stricter boundaries in this area. Just like how an alcoholic shouldn’t have any alcohol in the house or ever be in a bar whereas that may not be a stumbling block to someone who has never struggled to stay sober.

            My concern is mainly that we do not turn things into sin that are not wrong. It’s about having wisdom for your situation, and working within that. In my marriage, I don’t want to know if my husband finds someone attractive (although honestly I don’t even think I’d be bothered since he’s allowed me to trust him so completely). But in others, it may be a different situation. In this situation (in the post), though, a husband saying “I’m attracted to this woman but I don’t think it’s a big deal” is just cruel to the wife for no reason.

            My perspective on this is that attractiveness doesn’t threaten me because I know that to my husband, I am so much more than my looks. He may meet someone prettier than me, but she would not be more Rebecca-er than I am. If that makes sense. And so he wouldn’t want her. Once I realized that and internalized that message that my looks were not who I am to my husband (although they are a part), attractive women stop being such a scary threat. It seems backwards, but that’s been my experience. And it helped me in my marriage, too.

            But our concern is that by telling people they shouldn’t notice beauty we are heaping shame where shame doesn’t need to be. I just think that we need to be careful not to pathologize God-created human experience, like noticing someone is attractive. But sometimes that can be a trigger for men who have been unfaithful in the past, like an alcoholic in a bar. But those are special cases, not the norm.

    • BJ

      Maybe not every marriage has to be the same, handle this situation the same way.
      In that situation Sheila mentioned, we don’t actually know for sure what “lusting” was comprised of to that man. He may have only been noticing her attractiveness.
      My husband grew up around the message of the conservative church that basically convinced him that he shouldn’t even be friends with women he was not interested in. Now that he’s no longer single, he’s terrified that he will be weak and cheat. And this is even AFTER a very direct opportunity presented itself and he withstood it. He was thousands of miles away and we hadn’t seen each other in over two months but he resisted and told me about it right away.
      I do know there are times when he will notice a woman’s attractiveness and then take it the step further of imagining something because he’s admitted it to me. I think though that the fact that noticing and lusting are so rarely differentiated, that it’s so easy for guys to grow up thinking well I’ve already looked at her with “lust” so okay to lean into it as long as I don’t cheat. THEN, the teaching seemed to be that well, you can’t even look at women without noticing them, so you shouldn’t even be friends with any of them!
      Instead of learning how to function around women, about how to recognize the reactions for exactly what each are, they are taught to flee the situation and are never taught how to function.
      Then when they are adults and end up in work or social situations where they can’t flee, they don’t know how to navigate and probably already feel like they’re in a danger zone.
      My hubby’s parent’s wouldn’t even meet his girlfriends growing up and one girl who was only a friend dropping him off from an event was chased from the driveway by his mother.
      He now seems to have no self confidence in dealing with women he’s not trying to date, in dealing with them as human beings and I feel like a lot of this has fed into wider problems for society as a whole.
      Instead of being taught HOW to deal with the dangers of potential lust, how to function, how to treat women like fellow human beings, they are just removed from the situations and never taught anything there at all.

      Anyway, I would NOT want to know details, as I know my pain would not serve him, or help him. I would want to know the struggle. And then I would support him in it, not try to blockade off any area that scared me or where he MIGHT stumble. What a way to completely destroy a man’s feelings of competency, destroying his chance to fight against temptation and WIN, because that’s what God can help us do.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, BJ, what a great comment! I think you’ve diagnosed the problem so well. Far too many men are just not equipped to handle relating to women in a healthy way. The church has really failed us in a big way, and that whole “Every man’s battle” idea has set men up for failure. Thank you!

  8. Samantha

    Now, I will be honest and say that I have not listened to the podcast, but I do have some opinions on the subject of finding other people besides our spouse attractive. I am fully aware that the human race has always judged others based on their looks. Rachel and Leah is a prime (and potentially THE prime) example from the Bible. And I have a real life example to compare to the story of Leah and Rachel. My husband recently took our son to the doctors. After the appointment my husband told me that for a brief moment he was tempted to think about the female doctor who examined our son in a sexual way, but that he resisted the temptation. I asked if she was attractive and he said yes. Later on when we were discussing this situation he also told me that there had been a female nurse who examined our son, but that he wasn’t tempted to think about her. When I asked if he found that woman attractive he said no. Do you see how wrong this line of thinking is? And you don’t even have to be struggling with lust to think this way about the people around you. All human beings are guilty of separating other people into Rachel and Leah categories. Sheila, you did it by pointing out that there are women out there who are more objectively attractive than you. And you are ok with saying that publicly because it is self-deprecating to point out that there are other women who are more attractive than you. But what you are far less likely to express publicly is the fact that you are also aware that there are women out there who are LESS attractive than you. And you would be even less likely to point one of those women out. You’d be quick enough to point to a woman and say out loud, “she is so much more attractive than me!” But you would never ever dare to point to a woman and say, “she is so much less attractive than me!”

  9. Samantha

    Don’t you see? We are always so focused on judging other people as attractive that we forget just how messed up it truly is because we purposely omit and ignore the flip the other side of it. We don’t want to talk about judging other people and finding them unattractive or less attractive than us because it makes us look mean. And we are mean. It is cruel for people to go around and mentally separate others into Rachel and Leah categories. Sheila, you have two daughters. So do I. Do we view one as being more beautiful than the other? I think I can speak for you and say no. Does your husband, as a man, view one as being more objectively attractive than the other. I think I can speak for him and say no. If we can view our own children through the lens of God as being equally lovely because we love them, then why do we view it as such an impossibility to strive to view the rest of the world through the same lens? Aren’t we supposed to love others? Couldn’t it be possible that one of the ways that we strive to love others is by putting in the effort to stop separating them into Rachel and Leah categories? We can argue all day long about how physical attraction is real, how we feel it for our spouses, and how single people can’t avoid it while they are looking for a person to marry. I do believe in physical attraction, but is it possible that physical attraction is one of man-kinds secret idols? The one we continuously justify as something beyond our ability to control or change? We are to strive to be like Christ in all areas of our lives and yet we are perfectly comfortable with continuing to judge others based on their physical appearance and to even make light of it by pointing out who we find attractive besides our spouse.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hi, Samantha!

      You brought Sheila’s daughters into this conversation, and as the objectively less attractive daughter, I can say that it is OK to say that someone is less attractive to you.

      Objectively, Katie’s face is more symmetrical than mine. She’s more hourglass figure and I’m more pear-shaped with a bit more weight than she carries. My hair is void of colour–like it’s hard to explain but I’m not blonde, not a brunette, and I’ve been highlighting it since I was 13. People PAY to get Katie’s hair colour! 🙂 I may be more attractive than some women, but I am not more attractive than my little sister. That’s just how life is.

      As a wife, I am perfectly OK with my husband finding other women attractive–heck, I’m even OK with my husband finding women objectively MORE attractive than I am. Because I trust that my husband can find someone more attractive than me but still not want to sleep with them because they aren’t ME. I am MORE than my looks; when we say this whole “We have to see everyone as equal in our looks” I feel like we accidentally put women’s value back in how they look. I did a whole video on this you can see here explaining how I came to be self-confident in how I look.

      We all have insecurities. The reality is, there’s only one woman on the earth who doesn’t have anyone more attractive than her. But it’s OK if we’re not all the same, because marriage and attraction within marriage is about so much more than whether you’re a 7 or a 10. It’s about the person. And I think that what you’re saying about Leah and Rachel is giving looks too much power–Leah’s worth was not less because Jacob didn’t find her beautiful. She still had value. It was just objectively true that Rachel was more attractive. Doesn’t make her more valuable, just makes her Rachel. We need to stop giving beauty power that it doesn’t need to have by insisting that we as women can’t be honest about how we look.

      The reality is, I know that my husband has found other women attractive. I’ve found other men attractive. I don’t then tune him in every time I notice a guy’s six-pack. That would be mean and unnecessary because it’s a fleeting thought I don’t dwell on. Likewise, if every time my husband thought someone was hot he was like, “Woah, babe, she’s hot,” I’d be annoyed because there was no point.

      If there is risk of an affair and he can’t trust himself, YES he should disclose and take precautions. But in the vast majority of cases, that is not what we’re dealing with. And that’s what Sheila was talking about in the podcast.

      • Samantha

        But my point is, Rebecca, that we don’t go around and point out when we judge someone as less attractive than us. Some people do and we have special names for those types of people. One of those names is jerk. But somehow we aren’t jerks if we just keep those thoughts to ourselves? You generally said that you realize that you are more attractive than some women, but would you list those women by name? You are quick enough to name your sister because you judge her as more attractive than you, but if you judged her as less attractive would you be saying it here? No, of course you wouldn’t. Why do we have this reservation? Why do we realize that it is socially acceptable to vocalize when we judge someone as more attractive than us, but not less? Because deep down we know that it is wrong to make that judgement about someone and it would be damaging to that person’s self worth and hurt their feelings if you said it. It would be regardless of how confident that person thought they were. We dance around the subject, only speak from the point of view of the one who is less than (unless we speak in general terms like you did about being more attractive than “some women”). In my humble opinion, we should try to live our lives in such a way that we shouldn’t be ashamed to vocalize exactly what we are thinking. If we are having a thought that would be too mean to vocalize, shouldn’t we be rejecting that thought altogether rather than just deciding to keep it to ourselves?

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          That’s not true at all, Samantha, because it’s not just about beauty. I got really high grades at school but I wouldn’t list which of my friends I got higher grades than because it’s rude to brag. Similarly, I play piano but I wouldn’t list out a bunch of people I think I play piano better than because, again, it’s rude.

          It’s not just about attractiveness–it’s about not bragging or pointing out the ways you exceed at the expense of others. The problem is that thinking “I’m more attractive than ____” is the same as thinking, “I get better grades than ___” or “I play piano better than ____.” It’s a fact. We don’t reject facts because they’re the truth and we strive to live in truth because we know who holds our worth.

          In fact, in the Bible GOD says that some people are more attractive than others! He’s the one who initially said that Leah was less attractive than Rachel. Attractiveness has as much to do with value as piano playing or grades do–exactly as much as we give it. If we don’t give it power to define us, it just remains another fact about us.

          The problem is that I think beauty is just a touchy subject. If your kid goes to someone’s house and thinks that the food they cook tastes like dog poop, you would hope they would keep their mouth shut because that would be rude and unnecessary. You would only want the kid to say something if there was actual reason to say so–like if there was a danger of people ingesting actual dog poop. With attraction, I think it’s the same thing. If my husband finds someone attractive but it poses no threat to the relationship, he can keep it to himself and not put that on my shoulders. If he finds someone attractive and it DOES pose a threat, than we need to be in it together to draw boundaries and seek counselling potentially.

          • Samantha

            I do respect your different opinions, Rebecca, but I just see things differently. I don’t think that a person’s appearance can be compared to skill sets like academics and piano playing. Physical appearance is something that you are born with you have no control over. It’s God’s design. Piano playing and academics might be special skills that God has gifted us with, BUT our choices heavily influence the strength of those skills. You would not have made better grades than your friends if you had not made the choice to study. You would not play piano better than some if you had never made the choice to start playing piano and then practicing to get more proficient. Along those line academics and piano skills are something that can be measured by a set of standards that is the same across the board. You can test knowledge in academics. You can test a person’s proficiency on the piano. You cannot test a person’s looks. Yes, I am fully aware of the “science” out there that claims that there are set standards for attractiveness. However, they cannot explain away personal preferences. For example, three of my sisters and I have all married men who look VERY different. “Science” would rate them all and put them on a scale and I can guarantee you that the only sister who would agree with that scale would be the sister whose husband was on the top of the list. Growing up, my sisters and I all had lots of different crushes on a lot of different guys and we very rarely all liked the same one. We all had different preferences and each of us would have said that we had the best taste in men.

          • Samantha

            You said that we can’t argue with facts, but how a person’s looks compare to others is not a fact. Personal preferences, opinions and feelings keep such a thing from becoming a fact. For example, you say that you consider yourself more attractive than some women. So say you are standing with another woman and rate yourself as more attractive than her. What if someone came along and said that they disagreed with your assessment and actually consider the other woman to be more attractive? Would you tell them that they were arguing with facts and that you actually were more attractive? Or would you have to admit that levels of attractiveness are subjective and personal?

            Do you see what I’m saying here? You cannot do the same thing with academics or piano playing. If a person gets higher grades or plays more proficiently you cannot use personal preference to change that. Someone couldn’t come along and say, “So and so actually has the highest grades,” when they really don’t. I cannot argue that I actually have better piano skills than you because I can only plays simple songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you can probably play music that is much more complex. The measure of those skill sets are not subjective.

      • Samantha

        I realize that I may coming off as though I think looks have some kind of supreme value and power, but it is quite the contrary. I’m suggesting that when we have the kinds of thoughts that place other people on some sort of “attractiveness” spectrum that we make a conscious choice to reject that judgement. I personally don’t want to ever think to myself, “I am more objectively attractive than that woman.” Have I had those thoughts? Yes. But I recognize that that opinion is coming from my own pride. It’s like a woman can live with the fact that she is less attractive than some if she also knows that she is more attractive than others. Am I wrong here? I’m suggesting that we don’t have to fall into trap of judging others in that way, it’s you who is suggesting that it is a force that cannot be denied. The truth is that our looks are a very personal part of who we are. They do matter to us despite all the talk of being comfortable in who we are on the inside. I personally don’t ever want to view another woman as less than me in any way even if it is in my own thoughts. If I wouldn’t ever say it, I don’t want to think it either.

      • Kate

        I agree 100% with you Rebecca! And i had no idea you had a YT channel, subscribed!

  10. Samantha

    1 Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Are we willing to accept the challenge of at least TRYING to see as the Lord sees? Or are we going to continue to say that it is impossible for men and women to not notice the attractiveness and unattractiveness of the opposite sex, judge them accordingly, and accept our judgement as the truth. The inner dialogue would go something like this: “I see that man and I find him physically attractive and I see that man and I find him physically unattractive. It is good and acceptable for me to see them this way.” We let ourselves get away with it because we focus on the positive side of finding others attractive. We like to ignore the other side of it so we don’t feel like we are being mean. So now that I forced the two sides back together, do we really think that it is ok to have these thoughts about people? I don’t think it is. I will admit. I do think certain people are more lovely than others. My husband and my son blow every other male on this planet out of the water because the love I have for them blows every other male on this planet out of the water. The same can be said about my two girls. They are the two most beautiful girls in the world because the love I have for them makes them so.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Samantha, I think beauty is just beauty. It is. What you’re conflating is beauty and worth. God is not saying that He doesn’t notice whether or not someone is attractive (it’s God Himself who called certain women attractive in the Old Testament); what God is saying is that it is not attractiveness that matters.

      God knows that some people are more attractive than others. It’s just not that important, that’s all.

      I think if we are to see as God sees, it’s not that we don’t notice whether someone is attractive or not. It’s that we place value on them because of the inner character, not the outer shell.

      • Samantha

        Sheila, I realize I’ve done a lot of commenting here today and I’ve expressed a lot of opinions on how I view all of this. I don’t think either one of us had our minds changed by the other though and that is ok. I come from the perspective of a wounded wife and a person who has struggled with self-image issues for as long as I can remember. I just have a different way of looking at all of this. I personally find great peace in striving to focus on the fact that every individual has a unique beauty that deserves attention rather than focusing on how some possess greater physical beauty than others. I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other women for too long. I have found pain in judging others as more beautiful and comfort in judging others as less. To me the whole business is disgusting. Even if we claim that beauty status doesn’t matter it is still cruel. I’d much rather focus on beauty without creating or accepting a spectrum for it. I’d rather see beauty in every man and woman without putting a rating on it. I appreciate your time and respect your different perspective.

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          And can I just say, Samantha, that we may disagree on this but thank you for handling these differences with such grace and understanding. I love seeing you in the comments section and you’ve always got really interesting stuff to contribute. 🙂

      • Andrea

        If I could jump into this beauty debate with more secular research we Christians should be at the forefront of instead of following behind… An article in the New York Times with the hilarious title “So You’re Not Desirable.” This is by a former colleague of mine who is fighting old school evolutionary psychology (even though he believes in evolution) because his research shows that people ultimately value uniqueness over attractiveness in choosing romantic partners. It’s pretty much just what Sheila was explaining above, with numbers to back it up. If secular (and supposedly horny) undergrads can value the inner character over the outer shell, surely those of us who believe we are each a unique creation of God’s can.

  11. Emmy

    Such an interestng pod cast!

    About The Guy Who Convessed: I suppose he had beed reading Love and Respect or something similar.

    About lusting after: I was thinking about how very unpractical or dull our life would become if we would apply “Findinc Someone Attractive Is Lust” to other things we are not supposed to lust after. God tells us not to covet our neighbors house or servant or anything (s)he has. Juts imagine, if we would be guilt of the sin of coveting our neighbors things, when we realize one eighbor has planted a nice tree in his garden, or we see another neighbor has a cute puppy and a third one has bought a cool car…And the poor neighbors! They could not invite us to their house for a cup of coffee because that could make us “lust” after their new coffee machine, and they must walk their puppy dog in the middle of night so no one would be tempted to “lust” after it.

    I’m glad that’s not the case. We are completely allowed to see all the good things around us. We can’t and we don’t need to HAVE them all and we are not to take anything that’s not lawfully ours. But we are completely free to find our neighbors cherry tree beutiful and their puppy dog cute, and we are even allowed to get our own cherry tree and puppy dog.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Emmy, this is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  12. Lindsey

    I think the sticking point may be the word “attracted”. I can notice both men and women who are beautiful. No one would fault (or should fault) someone for noticing that someone is beautiful. Just like a beautiful sunset, or a beautiful garden. However, to me there is a difference in thinking someone is beautiful and being attracted to them. I think many men are good looking as I’m looking at them, but because there’s no “rush” of attraction, I am never tempted to think of them when I’m not looking at them (in conversation or on a screen). I would never think that I needed to counsel or confess that I realize someone is beautiful. But if I found myself increasingly caught up in thinking of them, or reacting physically to them, that’s something else to me. At that point, I would assume that limiting contact would be the most appropriate response, and this man didn’t seem to think that was necessary. I’m really confused about the whole situation because either he’s confessing to noticing that a woman is pretty the same way that he might notice that a man is handsome (that is to say, in a non sexual, objective way) or else he is struggling with what I consider attraction (being emotionally and sexually drawn to someone, where they are in your thoughts even when they aren’t around or you have a visceral reaction to their presence) and he isn’t breaking off contact in order to end the feelings. Neither situation makes sense to me.

  13. Emmy

    I agree, Lindsay. If you feel attracted to someone in the sense you are very occupied with that person, tha certainly is a reason to be extra careful.


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