Q&A: Admiration Vs Lust

My husband is a very visual/artistic man and says that for him, for the vast majority of the time, looking at beautiful women in bikinis, lingerie, etc is the same as looking at a beautiful car or art picture. He enjoys it for it’s beauty and it has nothing to do with his love or desire for me, nor does he use it for sexual fulfillment.

As I step out to tackle this issue, I am fully aware that there are as many opinions on this matter as there are variables to consider in determining what is right. And honestly I believe that this is one of those topics where there is not one right answer for everyone. We all have different weaknesses and areas where we are more prone to sin, and I believe that two people could be looking at the same thing and one of them could be sinning while the other is not. Your heart before God is between you and Him, and I won’t attempt to determine for anyone whether or not admiring a beautiful person crosses over into lust. What I want to do is create a space to consider what we should be aware of with this issue.

To begin with we need to keep in mind that although there is much grey in this issue, there is no grey in the fact that God is clear that lust is sinful. For more information on this you can read our article on lust, but suffice it to say that if you are unable to look at beautiful people without developing a sexual desire for them then you need to figure out how to manage that. You are going to have to maintain sufficient boundaries to protect your heart.

The grey area is in whether or not you are able to look at people who are in situations that you associate with sex, and not lust after them. Men in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. Women in a Victoria Secret catalog. Nude sun bathers on the Mexican Riviera. Artistic paintings that portray intimate acts. I can not draw a line for anyone else in these situations because our weaknesses are different. Where one person sees nudity as being redeemed through Christ’s death on the cross where he removed our shame, another person has only ever seen nudity with a connection to sexual acts. How can we possibly establish a black and white rule that would apply to both people? That is why we need the Holy Spirit to lead us, because He knows us and will guide us in how to be self-controlled in our thought life.

So I do believe that the husband, in the case of the writer of the above question, could very well be able to look at beautiful women and admire her without becoming sexually desirous or covetous of her, but if in fact he sees an attractive woman in lingerie and admires her and then desires her, he needs to be accountable for that sin. In either case, an important factor is that his wife is uncomfortable with it. In order to be loving toward her, when he is with his wife and an attractive woman is near by in a bikini I think it would be respectful of him to keep his focus on his wife in these situations. I think it’s important for a couple to be able to communicate these sorts of things to one another and so it’s good that this man could express his perspective on it and perhaps at some point this writer will adjust her own perspective and there will be more unity between them. For now, though, it would be beneficial to their relationship for them to extend a lot of grace to one another.

We need to remember in all of this that nakedness, in and of itself, is not sinful. It’s the circumstances around how someone is or isn’t dressed that determine if it is sin or not, and because we live in a fallen world, we do need to be mindful of the fact that to see immodesty is a struggle for a lot of people. This is why I believe that a certain amount of awareness of the impact of  how we dress is important. Having said that, I also believe that the onus is not on us to manage another person’s sin for them. If a man or a woman looks beautiful and they dress well, people are going to notice and will choose where they allow their thoughts to go.

Another woman wrote us the following:

My husband continues to point out beautiful women that we see in public, on the internet and on TV.  I’ve told him that this hurts my feelings.  I am a beautiful woman and I’m happy with the way I look and he agrees.  He feels it’s better that I know that he his looking at other women, than keep it a secret.  He is very communicative about all things and that’s usually a blessing, but his commentaries on beautiful women bothers me.  Should I just get over it or tell him again to please stop?

This is another situation where not every solution will be appropriate for every couple. I have friends who are very expressive with their spouse about the attractive people they see and they are fine with that, but the fact remains that if this writer has told her husband not to mention the beautiful women he sees, he should be respectful of her wishes and keep those observations to himself.

So what is your opinion on this? How do you feel about your husband looking at beautiful women? Do you think it’s ever possible for him to look and not lust? Are you able to look at handsome men and admire them without lusting? I’m interested to hear your perspective.

40 Comments

  1. I have no issue when my DH sees a good looking woman. But it is disrespect to stare. But we have an active sex life that includes sensual lovemaking, a good spanking now and then, fun sex in the woods, and I even peg him once or twice a month. Truthfully he has no time to wander as I keep he satisfied. Find out what turns him on and do it. Then your DH will have no interest when he has the good stuff at home

  2. Honestly I believe the issue here is not lust but nature. How could a man (or woman) not look at a beautiful woman and not find her beautiful? It would be no more difficult as looking at a sunset over the Pacific and not finding that beautiful.

    I think the real issues hidden in questions such as these are our insecurity and jealousy. Are we really so insecure and jealous that we would want our man to lie about what he does or does not find attractive just to please us? What else than will they then be “forced” to lie about just because they’re afraid of hurting our oh so fragile feelings? What wedge will that drive into our relationship?

    My advice? Go with it. Instead of being jealous be the sexy woman that your DH thought enough of to want to spend the rest of his life with. Maybe something like this… mmm honey she’s definitely gorgeous I just hope you’ll find me equally gorgeous when I’m rubbing your back and licking your XXX tonight well you get the idea… see what his response into that and I’m sure it will be winner.

  3. i have to admit that this would probably bother me. i wouldn’t feel threatened or jealous, but i wouldn’t feel great either. i was the ‘ugly duckling’ growing up and was made fun of for my looks. even though i think i’m a beautiful woman now, i still struggle with insecurity (not often, but occasionally). my husband makes me feel like i am the most beautiful woman around and since being married to him my self esteem has shot through the roof. every woman wants to feel like they are captivating to their husbands and if my husband did this i wouldn’t feel i was the most beautiful to him. i had a sexual awakening a couple of years ago and since i’ve been meeting my husband’s need completely and totally it’s like he doesn’t even ‘see’ other women any more.

  4. Personally, as a female, i am definitely able to look at a sexy, or handsome piece of man candy and NOT lust after him, or even be sexually stimulated by the sight; but then again, generally speaking i’m not sexually stimulated by vision, as most women are not; i see that it is different for men. I believe that some would call that sexist … and they would be right. Humans are all the same … but men and women are entirely different (who do you think rents all those “chick flick” movies)

    I see it as a sin issue. You know when Paul said that some found it offensive about eating the meat that was offered to idols, so he said he wouldn’t do it anymore; not that he believed that it was sin …. etc. But that to show the love of Christ, he decided not to eat it at all anymore. Well, in this case, she could be being sinned against by her husband; she said she doesn’t like it when her hubby does it.

    I wouldn’t like it either, and would consider that my hubby wasn’t loving me, not the way Christ loved the church (as in to die for her). I’m neither jealous nor insecure about my looks or my sexual ability … i still see it as disrespectful and detrimental to a marriage for one spouse to do to another what is knowingly hurting the other.

    That being said, if sinning against me were to continue, I would be forced to institute the forgiveness of 7/490 and NOT take it out on my hubby, but go to war with the obvious culprit … satan.

  5. My husband is also an artist. He is very particular about what he finds attractive or beautiful in a person/woman. He tells me I am beautiful to him.

    But he also has a habit of occasionally looking at pornography throughout the years of our marriage. That leaves me feeling vulnerable and questioning of his view of my body. He is a Christian and tries not to look at women lustfully, but he definitely struggles in this area. He always points out beautiful women to me, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I like that he tells me and doesn’t keep it a secret. But I also experience quite a bit of pressure from him and myself to “look good” with wardrobe, makeup, and weight loss/exercise.

    I have had several comments lately from other people that I look nice, but I can tell I really am struggling with self acceptance. I even ordered colored contacts because my husband prefers another eye color. I just want him to pay attention to me, so I’ve begun to dress in a more seductive way and offered myself sexually much more often. I can tell he’s happy with that. That makes me happy. But I still feel compared with others and unattractive to myself.

  6. Personally I do think it’s possible to look at someone beautiful and not think anything but that persons attractive, but I do think it’s disrespectful to the wife & husband if your thoughts go past that and are put into words, which mean you are lingering on the thought of them. Every women wants to capture her man, and wants to be the most beautiful to someone, to be the most desired the special one, why do you think as little girls we play the princess and dream of that prince who will sweep us off our feet? Does any little girl ever picture that same scene but with prince charming looking over your shoulder and commenting on some other princess? Of course not! We want to be the most special, beautiful, desired to that one person.

    We are made in the image of God, as men and women I feel that we both hold different personality trates of our father. He made us as men and women to have certain desires, women want to feel beautiful, charised, desired, loved. Men want to feel respected, honered, strong.

    I see a lot of people saying that oh, your just insecure that’s why your husbands looking at other women makes you feel bad, you need to get over that. I really just feel that that’s our god given desire to feel charised and loved by someone fully. And when you feel like someone else is in your husbands heart it hurts you, and I can say that there maybe a few women out there that truly don’t care when their guy looks. But most woman are affected if not hurt by it in some way, and I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with that. Even god himself is jealous for us! He wants to be desired above everything else in our lives. See what I mean by trates?

    The core of women is to feel beautiful, you can see that just by looking at us, we wear make up and try to look nice especially for our husbands. We spend lots of money on makeup clothes and excesseries every year. Dieting, there are multi billion dollar companies that exist solely because of this huge desire in our lives. Plastic surgery. I could go on and on. I know men also need to feel desired, but for us women it’s more our core, god made us to want to be sought after, chased, to be slowly opened up and understood. We want to be savored our whole life. We want to be learned, interested in, it’s one of our worst fears to feel that you have lost interest in us, one of the worst pains to our hearts. To see our husbands looking else where is almost like hes rejecting us.

    We have to give our husbands grace because they aren’t perfect and are going to mess up like this, even tho it sux! But I do feel that we as women are created with these feelings not by accident, but the fall just causes us to feel the hurt if we have been betrayed in this way. We have to forgive them and let god heal our hearts, but we shouldn’t feel like it’s just a normal thing and we should just accept it. It’s hugely apart of who we are.

  7. “Truthfully, he has no time to wander as I keep him satisfied.” I love that! That’s wonderful! Just curious, Mary: how often do you and your husband have sex? And do you orgasm every time? My husband would love to have sex with me every day but my drive isn’t quite as high as that. Are you jumping your hubby every chance you get? Or is he the one that initiates more? How do you do it? I would love to hear more.

  8. There is a huge difference between a beautiful woman and a sunset, or piece of art or nice car. The difference is that men have sex with women, not sunsets or art or cars. The other difference is that sunsets, art and cars don’t have feelings wives do. I am extraordinarily blessed with a man who does his best to not put himself in situations where he is noticing and enjoying beautiful women. Does he ever look? I am sure he does, he is human but not when I am with him and he does not tell me about it. I don’t think that is lying it is respectful. God tells a man and wife to become one person and that no one else is to come between them. Men are visual and women long to be desired. God made these two things to go together and if kept in the marriage it is beautiful. If either partner goes outside the marriage to get these desires met it becomes a springboard to temptation and sin. One thing I have noticed – a lot of the wives of men (not all so please don’t take personally) who admire other women feel the need to be desired by other men. They want their looks validated by someone.

  9. Wow, Cinnamon Sticks, you composed this article far more carefully and objectively than I could imagine doing! I agree with Wynterrs comments that there is a big difference between a woman and art. I’m a pretty sensitive person and I would be (and have been in the past) extremely distressed if my husband thought the same way as the examples provided in the article. Although I cannot relate to most of the comments posted on here so far, my perspective could be influenced by our past experiences. In the first years of our marriage, he was addicted to pornography and also to lustfully observing other women (movies, joggers on the street, etc.) He finally found healing through the book “Every Man’s Battle” and healed himself and thereby, our marriage, for which I’m very thankful. 2 years later, he still faithfully follows the advice of that book by “bouncing his eyes”, etc.

    I agree that the wife can make a difference by satisfying the husband so he is not inclined to “wander” in any way…but it is also the husband’s responsibility to save all of his “love tank” or “sexual bowls” or whatever to be filled ONLY by his wife, and allow her the opportunity to do so :)

  10. totally agree! theres a big differance between art, cars, sunsets and beautiful women. men don`t lust sexually after cars and sunsets!! they do lust after beautiful women. we live in a world completely saturated in sex, we see softcore porn on day time tv, billboards, magizines. we see mostly nude pervocative women on everything, even on things that completely has nothing to do with sex like fire stone tires! and these days seeing women dressed in corsets and heels & in sexually sugestive behavor is considered kid friendly! & even if a man can look upon women without lusting as if looking at a sunset (and im refering to men like the one above who wants to admire every “curve”not men that are trying to guard their heart and keep their thoughts captive, that can see a women walking by and even think shes attractive & then think nothing else, come on ladies! none of us want our husband to dwell on any other women but us. which is hard for any man) even if my husband tried to convince me what the husband is saying it would still be very hard not to wonder if he was thinking of her and lusting, very hardto believe if he was openly drinking her in and staring. to me thats opening doors and not taking your thought life captive, thats playing with fire.

  11. Yes, hispepper. It IS playing with fire– but not feeling the burn: the pervasiveness of sex and pictures of provocatively dressed women that you speak of causes people to become desensitized to it, without realizing that they are. Both men and women. Because it is normal/common, people mistake that for “acceptable”.

  12. I have friends who are very expressive with their spouse about the attractive people they see and they are fine with that, but the fact remains that if this writer has told her husband not to mention the beautiful women he sees, he should be respectful of her wishes and keep those observations to himself.

    So what is your opinion on this?

    I agree 100% – that is being respectful!

    How do you feel about your husband looking at beautiful women?

    This does not bother me in the least.

    Do you think it’s ever possible for him to look and not lust?

    Most definitely possible.

    Are you able to look at handsome men and admire them without lusting?

    Most definitely!

    And I totally agree with the ladies here. Keep you man happy at home and you should not have a problem. Why on earth would he wander when he has me for all he could ever imagine? I keep my man more than satisfied and his eyes never wander sexually. He sees other people but never acknowledges them sexually and always asks, “I wonder if they know Jesus and are going to Heaven?” Clear heart, clear mind.

  13. Right, very true. I am deff not used to it myself. We ristrict movies containing sex and things like that from our household. I grew up watching my father and his lust addiction to looking at women. So I’m very keen on trying to make sure my hudband is satisfied and even tho i dress sexy for him, give him plenty of OS, and never turn him down(although he turns me down alot, and doesn’t want sex very often, has a low sex drive) he actually cheated on me with a 17 yr old girl that we were reaching out to. ( he had a sexual conversation with her over text which is cheating! And is just as painful) he told this
    Girl things that I have been longing to hear from him( begging even) for the two years we’ve been married. Still getting over it. Trying to get it outta my head. But it’s reallly messed with how I think he sees my body. I have only told a small handful of people about this. So pray for ke and my marriage. Pray that my husband will desire me more. And that I can believe him and trust him. Because now I have to wonder about what he’s thinking all the time when it conserns beautiful women around us. I mean this girl did nothin for him you know? And I have been giving and giving to him and this girl got his passionate words for nothing at all. When this is what I have been needing from him fr so long.

  14. excellent response wynterr! i think you said it perfectly!!

  15. This is a tough one. It’s one of those horrible situations that if we come down hard on the wife’s side (since we women have a “we have to stick together” mentality, it’s easy to do). But if the wife reads that, then she could use it as a club on her husband, “See, honey! See! I told you so. You need to respect my feelings & wishes.” Bad, bad situation.

    Honestly, I see this as a “give-give” situation for both of them. It’s an opportunity for both to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their spouse’s peace of mind. If I were talking to the husband, I’d tell him he needs to respect his wife’s wishes & keep his comments to himself. Recognize her struggles with insecurities & do everything he can possibly do to not contribute to those feelings. At the same time, I’d turn to the wife & explain she needs understand where her husband is coming from & the potential he sees for sin by keeping his observations bottled up inside. Silence the devil’s attempt at unseating her faith & trust in her husband’s fidelity & thank God that she has a man that wants to be so incredibly open & honest with his wife.

  16. P.S. I went back to the questions & realized I strayed from the original questions. So here is goes, my 2 cents on the matter. I know my husband can look at a beautiful women & recognize her looks as a thing of beauty without lusting after her. He is simply acknowledging that God blessed her with an attractiveness above the “average” woman. And if he comments on it, he is careful to use non-sexual words — things like “She’s cute.” In fact, I have even on occasion pointed out an attractive woman to him — sometimes I’m surprised that he had failed to notice her up to that point. But if he were to say things like “Wow! She’s hot!” Or, “Look at those legs.” Or, “Nice rack!” I would definitely feel slighted & under-appreciated & just downright ugly.

    And I, on the other hand, have taken notice of an attractive guy — I’m a sucker for gorgeous hair & fine, thin hands. My husband has the lovely hands (and by lovely I do not mean feminine, but simply thin, long fingers, long palm that isn’t very thick), but he doesn’t have the stunning hair. *Sigh* And I have explained that to him & he’s ok with it. So when I see a guy with hair that I would have no problem killing for, I notice it. And every so often I make a passing comment, “Oo. He has nice hair.” But (and this is key) I do not dwell on it. I make a passing comment, give him time to look, & move on. Because, in my mind, I’ve moved on long before my husband turns all the way around to look. If I dwell on it, then that means I’m dwelling on it in my mind & at the very, very least I am playing with fire, if not full-blown lusting.

  17. I think that a husband can put pressure on a wife to look a certain way. One of the ways that he does that is by making comments of comparison between his wife and other women. I recently began questioning my husband about what he finds attractive in a woman and studying those same women when he points them out to me.

    As a result, I’ve strived to present myself in a similar fashion regarding clothing, hair, makeup etc. I’ve been surprised at the attentiveness my man has had in helping me acheive “the look” that he prefers. In fact, he went so far as to say that he wishes I had “a body” that look like that. Could I work out more? Keep dieting and just look the best I possibly can? He says he doesn’t wish he could “have” that woman, he would just like me to look like that. So, he isn’t lusting….

    His attitude is this, that he covenanted with me for life. If I’m the only woman he can have sexually, then shouldn’t he care what I look like? And if he wants to pay attention to me, shouldn’t I care that he cares that much what I look like?

    So, I am helping him not to look at other women by changing my appearance more to his liking. He’s very grateful for the changes I’ve already made. But won’t I look even hotter if I lose 10 more lbs??

    I want to be pleasing to him. I want to help him not to look at others. That is my heart, and I believe it’s what God would want too. But, it does feel like a lot of pressure to me. I guess I want to know that if for some reason, I began to look unattractive, say due to aging, or illness, that he would still want me. Is that my own insecurity? Or is he making me feel this way, even as he appreciates the changes? What does everyone think of this?

  18. I read your post a few days ago and have prayed for you a few times. I kept hoping that someone else would answer you who was better at this than I am but they haven’t so here goes.
    I see a difference between a man wanting his wife to look her best or looking like someone else’s best. I think you are far more secure than I am as if my husband had said all of this to me I would be a mess. I showed your post to my husband and his comment was “Wow that is hard on the self-esteem”. Perhaps your husband doesn’t realize what he is doing but he needs to be told. Him looking at others is not your responsibility, it is his responsibility to control his eyes and thoughts. Jesus did not say that looking at a woman lustfully is adultery well, unless your wife isn’t putting out or is overweight or is ugly.
    I too want to be attractive to my husband. I will bring home clothes and model them for him, he doesn’t like something I take it back. I have cut my hair in styles that he isn’t fond of and so I don’t ever do it again. I don’t know how your conversation got started but I have told my husband I want to know what he finds attractive on me. Maybe by asking about other women you opened the door to far for your husband.
    I am praying for you and your husband. Him to love you based solely on who you are not what you look like and you to be the best you that you can be, not comparing yourself to others.

  19. I think your heart is in the right place but your husband’s in not. Yes, it is a very good thing to want to look YOUR best for your husband. It is a good thing to dress in a way that pleases him as long as its not overly sexual. I try to buy clothes he likes but I am not trying to conform to someone else’s look. He married ME, he chose ME, not some other woman. There is nothing wrong with cutting your hair in a style he prefers but not to be like some other woman. You should be his standard of beauty, not someone else. If you gain 20 lbs then he standard of beauty should change with that. He married YOU not other women. Yes, he is covenanted to you for life. So, that means he needs to love and appreciate you for life, not what you can become.

  20. I knew someone could say it better than me.;)

  21. My husband never says anything to me about other women, but I’m sure he’s aware of them. The way I see it, men are all going to look. As long as that’s all he does, I don’t really mind.

  22. Thanks so much for your comments and prayers! I’ve really been feeling down on myself lately. I have so many things swirling around in my head. My husband has looked at porn off and on for our whole marriage. 15 years. I’ve told him how much I hate it. I feel compared to the “perfect looking” seductive women, even though he says he doesn’t see it that way. He knows it’s wrong, and feels ashamed and doesn’t want to look, but it’s addictive and just acts as a drug high. It’s been a month since he’s looked at it now. Thankfully. I get hopeful then that he won’t do it anymore, but then when he slips up, it hurts all over again.

    I had a baby a year ago. Gained 63 lbs for medical reasons. In fact, I’ve had a thyroid prob, undiagnosed for most of my life. Definitely overweight, but not obese. I was a size 14 when we got married. Now, 15 years later, I feel like either he’s changed since then, or he’s finally telling the truth. He says he has always been disappointed with my weight and lack of muscle tone, even when we got married. I asked what he wanted me to look like. He says Kim Kardashian.

    So, over the last year, I’ve lost now 65 lbs. Mainly through nursing and dieting, not much exercise. Still flabby, but grateful to be a size 10. Many people have told me I look great, including my husband. He’s glad I’m not fat now. He says he worries I’ll end up like my mom, who is obese.

    And since I’ve lost all this weight, I literally have had nothing to wear. So, this fall, I’ve worked hard going to yard sales, stores, thrift stores, etc. to put together a wardrobe. It’s been really hard work, but he has watched the baby a lot, so I can shop. He’s shown support with this makeover, both financially and by being interested. We went through all my old things and donated almost all of them. I am going to do my best to not go back to the old sizes.

    My husband has a job at which he sees literally thousands of people. I know he sees many “hot looking” women at his job. He tells me, as much to confess to looking at them as anything, because he doesn’t want to hide it. And he says he thinks my face is beautiful, so that is reassuring. But he’s really hoping my figure will change more.

    I have been trying to dress in a more seductive way. He says that he wants to look at me, and it gives him pleasure, if I show my figure through my clothes. I was raised in a home where modesty was very important and sexuality not discussed. I’ve never had trouble feeling sexual with my husband, but now I come to realize that I haven’t been “turning him on”. At least not until now. He says he thinks all men probably think fat is unnattractive but just don’t say it out of kindness or fear of getting in trouble.

    I’m grateful for his honesty, but I am having a lot of trouble with my thoughts and feelings. I have read most of this website and a few others trying to understand why I haven’t felt like a “sexy” woman most of my life. What I’ve learned has been very helpful, and I find myself really wanting to change. I’ve told him I want to find ways of coming on to him, wearing sexy cothing, and learning how to be attractive to him. Even asking things like, do you like this color lip gloss? I never worried about any of this before.

    I feel like I’ve been in the dark, just believing that my husband loves me just the way I am. I know the Bible says that man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. I guess I always assumed that a godly man would look at the heart.

    My husband says that despite my flaws, he loves me, and thinks I’m a sweetheart. I’ve always dressed in a “pretty” way, but not seductive for him at all. But I’ve put his sexual wants and needs on the backburner. Not intentionally though. I’ve been as available to him sexually as I feel I possibly could be, considering my health issues. And now my health has improved, thank God!!!

    I wonder if I’m compromising myself and standard of dressing to be attractive to my husband. I know we’re supposed to please God by how we clothe ourselves. I’ve wondered what modesty is. I live in an area where many women wear bonnets and black dresses from many dif. denominations. I have always worn clothing that doesn’t reveal my figure. I’ve read what I can find on the web about Christian’s dressing modestly. I think dressing like Kim K. does would displease God if I went into public like that. But what about tightfitting, hip hugging jeans? Or a tight fitting sweater that’s low cut but not revealing too much cleavage?

    I’ve bought new shoes, belts, undergarments, jewelry, and clothes for winter. He likes it so much, it’s brought tears to his eyes sometimes. I feel so bad for not understanding this before. That he feels loved by how I present myself. I’m large busted, even more so while nursing. Men do look at me in public, especially now.

    Tonight we went out. I got decked out, and felt like I looked nice, but definitely more sexy than the way I’ve dressed most of my life. My husband pulled me aside at one point and said “I’m proud to be with you”, and I had such mixed feelings.

    On the one hand, I felt appreciated, valued for the hard work I’ve put into this new me, and pleased. On the other hand, it brings up the fears that this is only temporary. What if I have another baby, gain the weight back, become handicapped, face scarred, etc.? I know fear is from the devil, but this fear feels crippling at times. What if I don’t get in shape anymore than this? He’s said he’d be “very disappointed” if I stopped trying to lose weight now. In fact, he’s communicated that he struggles with his own fears if he sees me eating ice cream.

    After reading Wynterr’s comments and knowing she was praying for me, I got up the courage to express some of my feelings to my husband. I burst into tears at one point. He reassured me that he doesn’t want any other woman. He loves me, loves how I look now. He sees that I’m trying to show him love this way, and it’s working. I felt reassured. I know that God helped us through that conversation. And we made love, and it was wonderful. He was so happy I shared my heart with him too.

    I feel confidant that I need to keep this up. But even with prayer, I still feel very undermined by all the years of my husband looking at women, either at his job or in porn. He insists he doesn’t want to, and he is trying not to lust. I want to believe him, and right now, I do. I want to forgive him, and I’ve said that I do, but the hurt lingers.

    I wonder if my fear is what is motivating me to make these changes? If so, then I have mixed motives, because I know I love my husband and want to make him happy. But if his happiness is so affected by my appearance, isn’t that a lot of pressure on me? But he doesn’t ever pick on me or my body or nag me if I’m in my nightgown all morning. But I do feel that I’m in competition for his attention with all the other attractive women everywhere.

    Please tell me what you are all thinking?? Thank you so much!!

  23. I’ve been praying for you since I read this, Hispepper! That God will work in your husband’s heart and in your marriage. I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling. I’ll keep praying for God’s protection over Satan’s tempations in this situation.

  24. I read your post and stopped to pray for you and your hubby. I hope that your husband has taken the time to think about where Satan first got his hooks in on that one. Often when we screw up we want to say we’re sorry and just get over it, but we need to feel secure enough in the love of God to take the time to let the Holy Spirit (sometimes through other godly people) show us where we *first* went wrong, and deal with the real issues. I also prayed God would build trust between you.

  25. OK. There is a lot that I want to say, but I will say the two things that stand out the most to me.
    1. I think that dressing attractively is great. I love seeing a woman who has clearly put in the effort to look good and is well dressed. We do have a Modesty category that you can look through for some guidance on what is acceptable, but you’ll have to determine that line between attractive and immodest for yourself. There isn’t a clear line for everyone as we all live in different demographics and what is considered modest where I live, might not be modest where you live.
    2. I really believe that your husband is sinning against you in his actions regarding your appearance. First of all, who is HE to tell you that he wants you to look like another woman. I am certain that he isn’t perfect in his appearance and you can no more change how you look than if you told him, “I’d really like it if your eyes were set a little more deeply and that they shone a little more like [Tom Cruise].” Secondly, the Lord commanded him to love you like Christ loves the church. Christ laid down all that he had to show love to mankind. And how does the Word tell us he makes the Church beautiful? With the washing of the Word. Your husband needs to be the voice of Jesus to you. The voice that brings life and joy, but rather he is hung up on the false image of a celebrity. This is a picture that shows that Kim K. looks like any other woman most of the time. Celebrities get an entourage of professionals to do their hair and make up and choose their clothes. How a celebrity looks in a photo shoot is completely made up and the photo is then edited to show her as flawless. It’s not fair and your husband has bought in hook, line and sinker. He seems to be in great need of a large dose of humility and I pray that another man in his life will call him out on his actions and challenge him to be a better man. I also pray that God puts enough humility in his heart to somehow hear your heart when you tell him what his actions have done to your soul.
    I am sorry that you are in this struggle, but I do hope to hear that you gain some victory in this battle between how you want to look and how your husband wants you to look.

  26. Ah, transformed, I agree so much with cinnamonsticks, your husband is sinning against you. I am so heartbroken when I read your post. I am still praying BTW.

    If your husband has a problem with lust and/or porn it is not because of you. It is not because of how you look. It is a change he has to make, not you, it is his heart, not you. I just want to repeat “it’s not you” until it sinks in. I didn’t understand that. I dated a guy who was into porn. I thought it was somehow my fault. I had 34, 19.5, 32 measurements, was being offered modeling jobs and he was looking at other women in RL and porn and I felt like it was MY fault. I wasn’t pretty enough or my body wasn’t good enough. I thought if my breasts were bigger or my thighs smaller he would stop looking elsewhere and be satisfied with me. It was a LIE. I finally realized it was his problem, not mine. You are trying so hard to be perfect for your husband but even if you were that would not change his heart permanently. Only he and God can do that. How a woman looks does not excuse a man of sin. You should not have to compete. Your vows said he would forsake all others. As far as wanting you to look like Kim K….. well with the right photoshop editor you would, anyone would.

    I understand thyroid issues. I went from a 0 to a 6 in less than that number of months. I know that is still small but it was over 30 pounds of weight that suddenly came on. This was after marriage to a husband who has helped teach me that marriage and love is about loving what is inside not what is outside. I miss my body. Honestly I do. I wish I didn’t have thigh dimples or chubbiness on my belly. I wish my legs didn’t swell and turn colour. However, I have come to accept who I am, to know that God LOVES me just as I am. Just as God loves you the way you are. I now exercise to for my health which is more important than being skinny.

    I don’t know you, I don’t know your husband but I think you need to love yourself for who you are. For who God made you to be. Be the best you, not the best someone else. A wrinkle or cellulite does not make you ugly it makes you REAL. Be healthy but be happy. As for your husband, well can the two of you talk to anyone? A counselor, an older couple at church? You are married to him and you must forgive him for his past mistakes, for him and for yourself.

    I will keep praying for you and your husband.

  27. Thank you so much for these wonderful and encouraging comments. I’ve thought a lot about what cinnamonsticks has written and the issue of being sinned against. I’m sure that’s why I’ve been feeling so insecure, uneasy, and confused. Somehow I figured it was something wrong with me, my own fears and self consciousness. But the Holy Spirit confirmed to me the truth of my husband’s sin. Even if he doesn’t see it as sin, now I’m convinced.

    I think what I’m hearing in all this is that I need to take care of my appearance and my health for myself, my husband, and for God. I’ve been torn in different directions, because I’ve always just dressed for myself, my comfort level, and what I thought God wanted- extremely modest. That way men did not look at me. But neither did my husband enjoy looking at me either. Not that I looked bad or ugly. Just modest. And overweight.

    If I dress trying to look like “someone else”, then I am not being true to myself. I have to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own skin, regardless of whether or not my husband is pleased with me or looking at other women. I want to believe that God is pleased with how he made me to be. I’ll choose clothing, etc. that honors him, but also pleases my husband, if possible. I need to learn to love myself regardless of what I look like, because God made me the way I am. With cellulite and all!

    I have been trying to discuss these things with my husband. It hasn’t gone well. He feels justified in what he thinks and is defensive and thinks I misunderstand him. I know a couple who counsel and I’d feel comfortable talking to them, so I’ll do that.

    Thank you for sharing and caring!!! I’ll keep everyone updated with what happens. I really appreciate your prayers.

  28. “I have to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own skin, regardless of whether or not my husband is pleased with me or looking at other women. I want to believe that God is pleased with how he made me to be. I’ll choose clothing, etc. that honors him, but also pleases my husband, if possible. I need to learn to love myself regardless of what I look like, because God made me the way I am. With cellulite and all!”

    Amen!!! Please do keep us updated. Last night I was reading and suddenly you popped into my head and I had to stop and say a prayer for you. I’m not usually a prayer warrior type, so it was odd. I will keep doing so though. God Bless.

  29. At risk of sounding naive, what is “peg him”?

  30. Hi Everyone!

    It’s been some time since I have written here. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I brought this issue and others up to my husband. He tried to clarify his thoughts further, and it was helpful. Also, I had an eye opening experience while trying on clothes with my mother. I realized that I never had an appropriate model for dressing attractively, either from her or my church growing up. I had to learn how to clothe myself in a pretty way, not ever venturing to try to look sexy to please my husband. So I am proud of how far I’ve come.

    In the mean time, things became unbearable between me and my husband. I agree that he has been sinning against me. I see it clearly now. In fact, I separated from him for the month of November. It was a very hard time, and I am only home now for 2 weeks. God has done a great work in my husband’s life during that time, praise him! I am feeling loved and respected by my husband now. We worked on many of the issues, trying to understand each other better. God has changed my husband’s heart, and I am so grateful. I didn’t know if he would want to get back together with me. And we have two young kids and been married 15 years. But now, I’m feeling so much happier and hopeful. We are praying and reading scripture together. Have forgiven each other of the past. No more comparisons to Kim K.!!! He loves me for me. All your prayers helped make the difference. Thank you.

  31. Hi transformed,
    I am so happy that you wrote in again. I have prayed for you and your husband. I will keep doing so. I am very happy to hear that your husband is treating you with love and respect. I am also happy to hear that you have both forgiven each other, how powerful God is! God Bless you both as you start loving each other all over again.

  32. Interesting discussion. I agree with much of what is said but let me point something out that I disagree with whole heartedly, as a woman who has been married 10 years to a wonderful, respectful, responsive man whom I care for deeply.

    If I gain 20lbs his opinion of beautiful should not change with my weight. I married at a specific size and I have worked via diet and exercise to keep myself around that same size or more fit. To marry a man at one weight and then to gain 20lbs (given there are no medical issues involved or they weren’t unhealthfully thin before) is, from my perspective, incredibly unthoughtful and disrespectful. If he did this to me I would be VERY frustrated. I would still love him but the sexual attraction would settle around zero and that’s how it would be for him too.

    He married ME, yes, at a specific size not what I might become, a larger size… so although he may love me he has no obligation to be sexually attracted to me; that’s my job to make sure I stay sexually attractive.

    I have chosen the physical aspect of attraction while realizing there is more to sexual attraction then a specific size. We all have a range of acceptable and a range of unacceptable. We all are attracted to mental qualities and personality but the physical part cannot be denied or overlooked. It’s not easy but it is possible.

  33. Wow thanks for keeping us updated I love to hear how people are doing after the fact! I hope things are better now I know it’s been a few months since the last post even but my heart so goes out to you and I hope things are still improving! Maybe the time you guys spent apart was humbling to your husband and what he needed to see to help him change! Anyways just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and praying for you!

  34. Thank you for that. This is something I’ve felt strongly about for some time. I find it extremely hurtful when I catch my spouse checking out half naked women at the beach or if he goes to any of those wing house restaurants where the waitresses bodies are on display. It’s also disturbing to me that so many women are o.k. with it too. They do tend to judge a person for being insecure. But whether out of insecurity or not, it is inappropriate for men to look at these women in a sexual way. Knowing how visual and sexual men are, I find it difficult to believe that sex doesn’t cross thier minds when they look at another half- clad woman. I appreciate your elequent observation on this matter:).

  35. Realizing I may be entirely on my own on this one, I venture. :) I seriously don’t mind if my husband notices a pretty woman. In fact, I ask him sometimes…”Did you think that girl was hot that just walked by?” He asks me too about different men. It is strangely…comforting to me that my husband notices women that are beautiful. It means he is normal. I would never in a million years want to change that about him. I’m not sure why wives feel threatened by that.

  36. C’mon, let’s get real. Any man with a sex drive will look at a sexy woman as “sexy”. If a man sees another woman as sexy, then, well…

  37. Pegging is a sexual practice in which a woman penetrates a man’s anus with a strap-on dildo.

  38. Very well said, hispepper!

  39. I thought you said it very well!

  40. Thank you for saying “…but it is also the husband’s responsibility…” I believe that it’s wise and healthy for us as wives to do what we can [within reason] to make ourselves as attractive and available to our husbands as we can, but our husbands have the responsibility to guard their own hearts in regards to how they view and relate to other women. There’s been too many moments where my husband and I had beautiful and fulfilling intimate sex together, and then soon after he’d be looking at porn… There’s obviously a soul issue that needs to be healed in him, and he’s taking that responsibility to have that soul issue resolved. It’s not about me; it’s about him. I’m so thankful that he’s willing to be healed and accountable!


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