In ministry, it is a blessing and an honor to come across older men and women of God who have learned such incredible wisdom through their years. I am very often blown away by something an elder saint speaks. A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of the fine women of our church (Mary Ann Almendarez) who recited something her husband (Max) always tells young couples in turmoil… This gentleman says to the young husband – “You need to love with your eyes.”
HUSBANDS (and young men) – Be honest with yourself… how often do you let your eyes wander? Any given day, you are enticed hundreds of times to take your eyes off of your beautiful bride and fix them on another woman. What is it about this other woman that rips your gaze away from the one whom you love and drags you into a curious glance? Most likely, it is the unknown…
I counsel lots of couples in marital crisis. If the husband is the one having offended (adultery, extra-marital emotional attachment, etc.), 99.9% of the time, he is a wanderer – metaphorically speaking. And what is so awful about this is that he usually doesn’t even realize it, or he thinks there is no harm in it. Men, let me give you a clue – YOUR WIFE NOTICES and SHE IS HARMED. Women have a sixth sense (or maybe it’s a seventh or eighth sense) about these things. Many times, they won’t say anything… probably because it causes them to feel less attractive and insecure in your relationship. But if you think you’re getting away with it, you’ve got another thing coming.
The Unknown – mysterious, curious, enticing, tantalizing… But never fulfilling, in this sense. Men, when your eyes wander, you are being suckered in to a fictional, unrealistic fantasy. Men who have extra-marital affairs (both physical and emotional) are blind to reality because of their curiosity toward the unknown. The relationship they have with the other woman is not real. They enjoy the emotional attachment (they once had with their wife) and the physical pleasure (they once had with their wife) but are not affected by the things that can bring difficulty and conflict into a relationship (they still have with their wife). What kinds of things?…
– shared financial burden
– daily house chores
– long periods of time together
– spiritual/religious differences
… and many more. The extra-marital relationship is void of these things. It is not real. It is fake. Fantasy. Dream-world. What is so sad about this is that these very things that are absent from extra-marital affairs are the things which can potentially draw a couple together. Conflict is opportunity:
In a conflict management class by Dr. Mike Smith of the SBTC, I learned that the Chinese word for “conflict” is made up of two independent words… “danger” and “opportunity.” The very things that we allow to drive us apart have the potential to pull us together, when dealt with appropriately. Conflict is not something from which to run. It’s something we need to embrace and commit to resolve. That’s how marriages/relationships grow. To live in a fantasy relationship where there is little potential for conflict is to live in a destructively fictitious world void of opportunity.
David allowed his eyes to wander (2 Samuel 11). Instead of marching into battle with his troops (like he should have), David stayed home during war-time. He got up from his bed and went up to the rooftop and… you guessed it… let his eyes wander. He saw Bathsheba bathing, and was filled with curiosity of the unknown. In Psalm 51 David cries out to the Lord because of the immense pain he has brought on himself. Pride –> Wandering Eyes –> Disobedience –> Pain.
“But it’s just looking and that’s okay.” “You can look but you can’t touch.” I hope I’m not the first one to break it to you, husband, but those phrases are not in the Bible. Many men think that wandering eyes are not sinful, and do not affect their marriage. Wrong.
Jesus says in Matthew 5 that if you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you have committed adultery. Yep, really. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But have you really applied it to your own life? If you’ve looked at a woman with lust in your heart, have you confessed that sin to God? That prayer might sound something like this: “God, I confess that I am an adulterer. Please restore me.” Have you ever confessed to God that you are an adulterer? You might think that seems kindof harsh… “I’m not REALLY an adulterer… it’s just a look.” Not according to Jesus. Maybe your spirituality is better defined than Jesus’. Maybe you know more about what sin against God is than He does. Perhaps He should ask you to repent only when you’ve violated your own moral standards.
PRACTICALLY, men, this may be a challenge for you. But that doesn’t change the imperativeness or urgency of the matter. In order to be restored, and to begin living a lifestyle of loving with your eyes, allow me to offer a few tips:
1. Confess. Call sin exactly what God calls it. Agree with Him that allowing your eyes to wander is sin. 1 John 1:9 says that He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you of unrighteousness, if you’ll only agree with Him that it is sin. Check your pride at the foot of the throne. Fall on your knees before Almighty, All-knowing God, and confess.
2. Pray. Constantly. Ask God to restore that sense of wonder and excitement toward your bride. Ask Him to show you how incredibly beautiful she is – to see her as He sees her. Get a God-sized perspective. Ask God to constantly remind you not to let your eyes wander. If you are really committed, ask Him to reveal your sin to you at the moment of its birth, so that you can get a grip on it before it drags you down to its destructive pit.
3. Look. At your wife, that is. Many guys are too caught up with their cell-phones, TV programs, and newspapers to get their eyes on their bride. Rediscover the intricacies of her gentle eyes… her flowing skin… her lush lips. What is it about your bride that used to make you stare and drool? We all did it. Good husbands still do.
4. Catch Yourself. If you’ve read this blog, this topic will most likely be on your mind the next time you see a woman. Seeing is one thing – “looking” is another. When (not if) you notice that your eyes are wandering, return them directly to your bride. If she is not there, put your eyes on the ground. Practice some self-control. Sometimes, calling your wife immediately will help. Whatever works for you – do it… quickly.
Grace and Peace,