Husband Looks at Other Women

Is it fair for me to feel hurt and upset when I see my husband turn and look at other women? He’s always been faithful to me. I trust him, and he’s the last guy I’d characterize as a womanizer. But it bothers me to see him act this way in public.
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Don’t dismiss your emotions. A good rule of thumb in marriage is that if something is a problem for one spouse, it’s a problem for both.

You and your husband have been joined together in a one-flesh union. Part of what that means is that you need to do the hard work to understand each other — mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Prepare your heart first

You’ll need to have a conversation with your husband about his tendency to turn and look at other women. But before you sit down with him, take time to think through a few basic questions.

  • How long has this been going on?
  • Were you aware of this even before getting married?
  • If so, has it ever come up between you in the past? How was it resolved?
  • If it’s a new pattern, is there anything in your husband’s life right now that might account for the sudden change?
  • Have you been having difficulties in any other areas of your marriage?
  • Is there any reason to think that he feels his needs aren’t being met?

Having the bigger picture in mind can help you frame the way you share your concerns and hurt with your husband.

Another important point to understand is that men and women are wired differently when it comes to sex.

Don’t confuse normal sexual attraction with lust

Biblically speaking, there’s an important difference between simply looking and looking with lust (Matthew 5:28).

  • Sexual attraction is normal and natural. When a good-looking female walks by and a man notices (something that happens pretty regularly), it’s not necessarily the same thing as lusting after her.
  • Lust involves a choice and an act of the will. To a certain extent, it’s a conscious decision to pursue a desirable object instead of simply allowing it to pass on by. It’s a willingness to give in to natural impulse. That’s what happened in the biblical account when David, after seeing Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop, went the next step by sending messengers to bring her to his palace (2 Samuel 11:3-4).

Where your husband is concerned, the issue is whether his “turning and looking” is an intentional choice to pursue, or an unconscious knee-jerk reaction to a stimulus.

That’s not to say that “turning and looking” can be dismissed. We live in a sex-saturated, sex-crazed society, and any Christian man who wants to follow Jesus needs to learn to control his reactions to the constant seductive cultural messages.

The good news? Self-control is possible

The Bible makes it clear that personal self-control is possible. (Check out Galatians 5:16-25Titus 2:11-141 Peter 1:13-15, and 1 John 2:15-17.)

A man can learn to let sensory stimulation bounce off him without taking root in his mind and heart. It’s like this long-shared adage: You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.

Does overcoming lust take commitment and discipline? Absolutely — perhaps more for men than women. But struggle, discipline, commitment, and growth are all part of what it means to live as a Christian in this world. That’s the process of sanctification.

Finding support

We encourage you to talk with your husband as soon as possible because communication is an essential part of a healthy marriage.

If you don’t feel you can approach your husband about your concerns — or if he refuses to open up — there might be deeper issues that need to be addressed with professional counseling.

Would you let us help? Call us for a free over-the-phone consultation. We have trained family therapists who’d be glad to speak with you. They can also refer you to qualified counselors in your area.

 

Resources
If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

The Battle to Destroy Lust

Friendship or Flirtation? Danger Signs for Couples

When Good Men Are Tempted

Overcoming Sexual Brokenness (resource list)

Articles
Overcoming Lust

Copyright © 2015, 2020, Focus on the Family.

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