Does Looking at the Opposite Sex Undermine Your Marriage?

By  Dr. David Hawkins

Dear Dr. David:

My husband and I argue about him looking at other women. I don’t like it and it makes me feel inferior, since often the women have better figures than I do, or are prettier. He says it is natural for men to look, that he cannot help it, and that it is a “man thing.” He knows I am affected by this and feel very hurt. Is it okay for a Christian man to look at another woman? We agreed to listen to your advice on this subject. ~ Tammy

Dear Tammy:

You ask a wonderful question, and certainly an issue that pertains to many couples. Many women share your hurt and frustration and want an answer to this problem. Men, and women too, often look at someone attractive of the opposite sex and it creates insecurity within the relationship for obvious reasons. What is the answer?

First, yes, it is natural to look. I will grant your husband that it is natural to take a first look. But, there is certainly a difference between looking and going a step or two beyond that to fantasizing. Fantasizing, as you may know, is looking at someone while engaging in additional thoughts and images in their mind. They may compare your looks to theirs; imagine being with them in a sexual way; imagine what kind of personality they have—Pia Melody, author of books on love addictions, calls all these behaviors “euphoric recall”—little emotional hits that make us feel better and give us a momentary high. They are dangerous in that they take us away from our primary love relationship and can actually be addicting.

Second, while natural to look or glance at someone lovely, we are warned in scripture to guard our eyes and our thoughts. I John 2: 15 says: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boastings of what he has and does, comes not from the father but from the world.”

Third, there is the issue of your hurt. Your letter suggests that he is insensitive to your pain while defending his position, and that is alarming. Even when his glances are innocent, he must take your pain, including your insecurities, into consideration. After all, love means extending ourselves for another’s well-being—and that includes their personal past and personal issues. Even if it’s your “stuff,” he has some responsibility to help you through these challenges.

I hope this helps and feel free to write again regarding results. ~ Dr. David


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