Protecting Your Husband from Other Women
I’m broken hearted! Three minister’s wives writing letters marked “personal,” pouring out their agony. Their husbands had committed adultery. Their lives and homes are now a wreck. What would you say?
Seldom does a month go by that I do not hear of the story of another moral collapse in the pulpit. It’s disheartening.
I’ve renewed my commitment to teaching in this area. I believe this disaster is often preventable. I’m not saying you can guarantee a husband’s faithfulness, as if it’s your fault if he sins. You can do everything right and lose your children, and the same is true for your husband. That’s free will. But you can cut down on the odds.
So, before I get one more letter, pouring out your sorrow, here’s my advice on protecting your husband from other women. Read it and act before you ignore it and weep.
1. Understand your man!
Men are different than women, especially sexually. Men are triggered visually and physically. They are biologically driven – on a time cycle established early in life.
Men frequently have a stronger sexual desire than women, at least in the early years of marriage. (We catch up later!) Men often struggle with temptation to impure thoughts more often than women. All of these are, of course, generalizations. They are the averages. If your man doesn’t fit this description, it doesn’t mean he is weird or abnormal – just that he’s not average.
Why know your man? Because the key to sexual satisfaction in marriage will be understanding each other. Learn your husbands needs and desires. Talk with him about sex.
The two least discussed topics among ministry couples are personal spiritual walk and sex. Schedule some time to talk about both. If your minister-husband goes into the pulpit being unduly tempted because you’re defrauded him (I Cor. 7:5), his preaching will lack the power it needs. So share frankly with each other about what makes each of you “tick.”
Study your man carefully to discover how you can light his fire. After all, someone else with designs on him might be doing that this very week. You may not even think he’s that attractive any more, but his position, power, prestige, and even his spiritual commitment makes him a special target for other women. Study hard, learn your husband’s ways, so you can beat them to it!
2. Lighten up!
Some of you are already tense just reading about sex. You don’t like sex, and you think it is dirty and shouldn’t be talked about by good Christians – even with your husband. Now, don’t start accusing the older minister’s wives of this – I find far more sexual freedom among them than younger wives. And don’t accuse conservative either – many of the most conservative ministers wives are more in tune on this subject than some of the most “liberated” females in the church. For some, young or old, conservative or liberated, sex is a heavy subject and you need to lighten up.
If you haven’t learned to lighten up, your attitude probably makes you “motherly” with your husband. What a turn off! You’re not his mom, neither are you his spiritual authority or watchdog. Lighten up. Some wives feel that if they start to really enjoy sexual expression it will ignite some sort of fire in their husband and he’ll go off the deep end. Give him and inch, and he’ll take a mile, you say. Wrong. Indeed, the very opposite may occur.
So, lighten up. Quit being Mother Superior. Start being the joyful playmate God intended you to be.
3. Share your radar alerts!
Women have a sixth sense about other women. We can spot a “strange woman” who has designs on your husband a mile away. We can even sense which kind of woman would be attractive to him. It’s god-given radar alert.
Why do you think God gave you this early warning system? To ignite jealousy? No. You are supposed to share these impressions with your husband. And share them before they turn green with jealousy. Then the two of you can protect your marriage.
The first time I did this was 18 years ago. At a camp where we worked all summer an attractive female lifeguard kept coming to my husband for spiritual counseling (on her way to the beach, of course). I couldn’t believe how dumb he was – like a lamb before the slaughter! He thought she really was interested in the Bible. I got jealous because I waited too long to tell him. My method and attitude was wrong. So was his response. He accused me of distrust. Nevertheless, he heeded the warning and ended his spiritual guidance of this poor lost coed.
Since that time I have learned to share my radar alerts with Keith right away – before my alert turns to jealousy. And, he has learned to listen. I’ve been right too many times, so he trusts my radar. When I go “beep beep,” he swerves!
You have these alerts too, don’t you? Share them with your husband. When bells go off, say so. You may save him from total moral disaster.
4. Keep the fire hot at home!
The single best thing you can do to protect your husband from other women is to keep your own fire hot at home. Take care of yourself – at least try. Take time to be romantic, especially throughout the day, (go ahead and call him at his office and say something surprising!)
Good sexual expression takes time and forethought. (Some of you will never have truly satisfying sex until you slow down – you’re simply too frazzled.) Take a nap. Get the kids to bed early. Arrange for a motel date. Take time to listen to your husband. (According to one study of the “other women” 95% of them were typified by their counselor as “good listeners.”) Learn to look him in the eye. Flirt with him. Buy a surprising nighty. Learn to relax. Learn to like yourself; develop confidence.
Learn what causes him satisfaction and excites him. Admire his physique. Get a bit silly sometimes. Do something crazy. Initiate things once in a while. Find out how he wants you to dress for him and then do it.
When the fire’s hot at home, he’s less likely to be warming his hands somewhere else. Get interested in this subject before it’s too late. Somone out there considers your husband attractive. They’d love to have him for their own. Fight back! Protect him, by working at your relationship. A marriage is a terrible thing to waste.
Protecting Yourself from Other Men
Now, what about you? Are you the one in danger? I keep running into wives with this moral problem. One pastor’s wife got involved with her riding instructor. Another got involved with her boss at work and was actually going to the library at night to meet him. One youth pastor’s wife got helplessly infatuated with the music director and said, “I just can’t break it off.” A middle-aged/empty nester was overtaken by a fire in her heart for a 35-year-old layman in the church they moved away from. Three other pastor’s wives simply left their husbands for other men.
What’s going on here? What ever happened to self-discipline, restraint, and moral conviction? I used to talk to wives about protecting their husbands from sexual sin. Now I need to warn the wives themselves. Are wives deciding that they need to get their fair share of sin and its penalty? Just in case you are the one in danger, here’s some of the advice I’ve added to the Yokemates seminar on protecting yourself from this sin:
1. Beware of emotional adultery.
Is there a particular man meeting your emotional needs – more than your husband? Is there someone at work, or at church who is feeding your ego and affirming you with warm words? He’s encouraging you and showing care for you as a person? Is there a man who takes time for you, talking about little things? Is there a man who is your best listener? Is there someone you just spend lots of time with? DO you enjoy his company? Is there any man you’d miss sorely if you had to move?
If there is someone meeting these emotional needs WATCH OUT! You are playing with fire. Every woman I’ve counseled in the last five years agreed that an emotional attachment preceded the adultery.
It all starts with an innocent glance, a whispered phrase, a caring pat, a kind gesture, thoughtful word, or gentle hug. A hurried hand squeeze or double-meaning kidding. These are the danger signals. The devil makes them all seem so innocent and warm. But he does not show you the ultimate torment and anguish they yield.
If you’ve got such a relationship, break it off and run home. Don’t wait another day. Stop going there. Quit the job. Find another person. Move, if you have to. You can’t scoop fire in your lap without getting burned. Emotional adultery gives birth to actual adultery sooner or later.
2. Don’t spend time alone with another man.
Is there one mane you keep wanting to be with? Perhaps the male partner of another couple you hang around with? Is there anyone who tried to arrange to be alone wit you? DO you work in a “one woman office” – just you and your male counterpart? DO you practice music with one particular guy regularly?
Be careful. Sin demands opportunity. This desire is wrong…but if you grant desire no opportunity, you will be safe. We think it’s foolish for my husband to counsel women alone – we either counsel together, or someone is always in the next room. He doesn’t even click the door. I follow the same rule. It seems silly to some – even to some church leaders. But we’re extra careful. We think it’s smart. It’s a law we can live with.
3. Control your thoughts.
I used to think impure were primarily a male problem. It’s not. Sure, women are different – less physical and visual in their fantasies. But the devil has some tailor-made sins for women. They, too, are tempted by impure thoughts.
If you are hooked on soap operas, romance novels, or other forms of “women pornography” watch out. You are tempting yourself. If you are daydreaming of romantic, warm relational experiences with any man other than your husband, stop now. These are not innocent fantasies. They are lust. Sin. “As you think in your heart, so you are.” (Prov. 23:7) Your thoughts will eventually lead to action. So clean up your thought life.
4. Drink from your own spring.
Work on sex at home (Prov. 5:15). If your husband is unresponsive, take your time and keep at it with tenderness and compassion until your sex life takes off. Plan a time to talk about sexual things. Try to find what blocks his interest. Don’t hurry. Consider Christian counseling, and be patient.
Don’t forget your commitment to him “no matter what.” Don’t give up. The problem may not even be sexual – work on all the other areas of your relationship. Focus your thoughts on him, not on other men. Give it time.
I realize that many who read this may feel they do not need it. But I don’t want to get one more letter of phone call from someone who “never intended it to go this far…” A marriage is a terrible thing to waste.