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Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Self image, being intentional, sexual awakening, nudity, modesty limits, likes/dislikes, sex language
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LBD
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Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by LBD »

I struggled with porn for many years. My wife knows this. We had a “D-day” about 15 years ago. She also knew/knows there would be future struggles. She trusts me to handle those. She has specifically said she has no desire or need to hear about every one of them. So I give her that. When something comes up that may present a particular difficulty, I might say something like “ I am struggling with this or that.” She then makes appropriate adjustments if she can or just helps in any way.

Someone said in a previous post how the felt “need to disclose” can be selfish. I think we should seriously consider that, because in my estimation, it often is a selfish need to “get it off our chest.” Who’s chest? Scripture says to bear, or take another’s burden - that’s an act of helping or serving your brother, me taking a burden off you. But for my burdens, we are told to “cast our burdens” on Christ. If I have a problem, my first responsibility is to get to work on it myself. Part of that should be bringing God into the equation, and can can also include my brother or spouse. But if it is going to hurt them for no good reason other than help me have a clearer conscience...that’s just a selfish move.


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Last edited by LBD on Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance. -Thomas Sowell
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by WirelessRouter »

SeekingChange wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:33 pmFrom what I have read in Christian blogosphere, that attitude would seem to be pointed to "unhealthy", or creating an "unsafe" environment in a marriage. But, wouldn't it be a good thing for a person to recognize what they can handle or not, and the effects it could have on them personally and/or on their relationship, and trying to prevent it?

Seriously, is there something really wrong with one being aware of their weakness, and accommodating it (like allowing them to seek support from others, but not wanting to know themselves), in order to keep themselves in a good place and their relationship strong?
I would say being self-aware, like you describe, is by itself a good thing but also add chosing to stay in that state perpetually is not. It seems to me if someone knows they'd have a struggle with knowing their spouse's random crush then they should, at some point, work to heal whatever personal or relational insecurity is causing them to feel that way.
I bet a husband telling his wife or vice versa about things like this could be helpful for the situation and good thing for their marriage because one could respond by doing something special that helps the other remember how great life is together, but the marriage wouldn't get that laser guided love bomb if they don't talk about it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Just 2¢ from the dude who's never been married.

I also want to add, I really hope I'll have a marriage where my wife and I can share things like this without issue. Having to hide feelings from (avoid honesty with) someone for fear of how it might affect them is an awful feeling situation and utterly anti-intimate.
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one_woman_man
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by one_woman_man »

Knowing your spouse and what they can handle is a good thing. So, for some couples, I would say there may be times when it is better not to share everything - but not use that as an excuse to let things get out of hand or not be dealt with. So for me to talk to my pastor about lusting, but not talk to DW about it, I don't see that as irresponsible or unloving or unfaithful.
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by DoveGrey »

LBD wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:18 pm
Someone said in a previous post how the felt “need to disclose” can be selfish. I think we should seriously consider that, because in my estimation, it often is a selfish need to “get it off our chest.” Who’s chest? Scripture says to bear, or take another’s burden - that’s an act of helping or serving your brother, me taking a burden off you. But for my burdens, we are told to “cast our burdens” on Christ. If I have a problem, my first responsibility is to get to work on it myself. Part of that should be bringing God into the equation, and can can also include my brother or spouse. But if it is going to hurt them for no good reason other than help me have a clearer conscience...that’s just a selfish move.
I adamantly agree with this. It reminds me of a scene in the show M*A*S*H wherein BJ sleeps with someone in an emotionally fraught situation. In guilt, the first thing he does is sit down to write a confession to his beloved wife. Hawkeye stops him, telling him that all he's doing is foisting his own guilty conscience on his wife, and he's going to hurt her in the process. Obviously there are extenuating circumstances there, and I like to think that he'll tell her after he returns home. However, Hawkeye's remarks about how selfish BJ is being always resonated with me.

I don't need to know if my husband is attracted to someone. It would cause me insecurity. Furthermore, I always end up meeting any female he might be attracted to, and I think it would affect how I view her. I'd act awkwardly, and that wouldn't be fair to her. Attractions happen. I trust him not to act on it.

Both my husband and I know I have a weakness of being attracted to other men. It's happened twice in our marriage. He knows about the first one, which really snuck up on me. No one ever told me that you might be attracted to someone else after marriage. It was an emotional affair before I knew what was happening. Once that was out in the open, we acknowledged that I have an issue. He was far more forgiving than I deserved.

We decided that we would handle the issue by spending quality time together both before and after we spend time apart. Lack of quality time was a contributing factor to the first situation. That knowledge of my weakness helped strengthen our marriage.

With the second attraction, I saw it coming and recognized it for what it was. It indicated that there was something I was missing in my marriage. It's that missing link that I addressed with my husband, a conversation about needing to do a specific activity more. Plus, I brought a lot more prayer into the situation, and sought out advice from a trusted Christian girlfriend. Instead of causing another problem by forcing my husband to compare himself to another man whom he sees a lot, I rectified what was actually wrong. Once we fixed that, my attraction ended. Had it continued or threatened my marriage, I probably would have said something, but only because at that point I would need my husband's help to get over it.
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by HerKnight »

SeekingChange wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:29 pm Doesn't this go both ways? If someone or a couple knows that there's something that triggers one of them, isn't that knowing?
Agree - We need to "know" that as husband and wife, we will be at different places in our spiritual & emotional journey at different times and we need to honor that and not try to rush it. There are things I can share with DW now that I could not 20 years ago because of her insecurities at that time about herself compared to others. To have insisted that she be my "confessor" would have be selfish on my part.
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by LovingHimAlways »

DoveGrey wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:54 pm

I don't need to know if my husband is attracted to someone. It would cause me insecurity. Furthermore, I always end up meeting any female he might be attracted to, and I think it would affect how I view her. I'd act awkwardly, and that wouldn't be fair to her. Attractions happen. I trust him not to act on it.
I am in the camp of "Not wanting to know". I can appreciate that he is being honest and upfront about it but, I know my own insecurities. I know I would not handle it well. Having knowledge that he has an attraction, however small, to another woman would make things worse not better. I know that my reaction is something that I need to work on within myself.

I pray that he would talk to someone (pastor) if the attraction is more than fleeting and could become a problem
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by SeekingChange »

PaulB wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:50 pm
Of course, you have to know your spouse won't take it personally, won't attack you, and won't play cold fish. For a mature Christian couple that should be easy. But most of us were not mature when we got married. :roll:
I am not sure I agree with this, but it may depend on what you mean by "mature". I know that being a Christian for 40 years, and I do believe I have come a long way in my spiritual maturity, doesn't necessarily put me in the same place of those who have decades on me....but in these bodies, isn't our flesh always right there waiting? I would love to hear from the mature Christians who no longer deal with their weakness nor have their flesh triggered, and how they do it.

I can choose my outward reaction, I can remind myself "it's not personal", I can choose not to attack (that should be defined in each relationship), and I can choose not to become cold (and this should be defined too)....but there's not much of a choice in how we naturally react, or are triggered, within. Just because I can know in my head "it's not personal", doesn't mean that it doesn't inflict our weak flesh and we have a heart issue/pain to deal with, that feels very personal.

On a different topic, my husband and I were having a discussion on how much he should share and when. The truth is, I want him to have the freedom to share and ask for what he needs, but he also needs to realize that it could create in me something I need to work through, and that requires space (mental, emotional, and physical), and I can't say how long that will take, which is the opposite of what he feels is intimacy....he may define or feel it is an "attack and/or cold". Therefore, if a couple feels like closeness is where intimacy and security is, to create an environment where one is needing space, seems to potentially be a backfire, eh? Is it really much about maturity or more around what our personal makeups are like (personality, giftings, weaknesses, strengths, histories, etc)?
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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newwifenewlife
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by newwifenewlife »

In all secret things, confession is the key to bring "darkness" (the attraction) out into the "light" (no longer secret). The question seems to me then, to whom should the confession be made? That is the question asked, should it be the spouse? Or another?

I've fallen on the "no secrets" side of things. I'll admit, I'd rather over share than under share. Personally, I'm having to ask myself, is this to make me feel better or to help clear the air when I share my thoughts & opinions? I'm sure I've done things for both reasons but at this point, I'd rather over share than under and create a situation where my wife is hurt because something blindsided her. It does expect and maybe even demand a maturity on the spouse's part...which is part of what I find being married to be about, maturing emotionally, spiritually and relationally.

There are times when I'm asked (or expected) to keep something from my spouse for work so as to not put her in a situation that will create issues of privacy or ill will towards someone. It's at those times when she has to trust me, it's for her emotional protection...maybe even my employment protection, but I don't like those situations. There's nothing greater to me than being completely transparent, good...bad...ugly with my wife, knowing that she knows it all and still loves me and vice versa.
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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by Hiswifeagain »

I’m not criticizing anyone that wouldn’t want to know about a spouse attraction and I’m not trying to convince anyone to try to change how they feel about the situation. My husband and I had many fights in our first marriage because he tried to get me to change my feelings. Sometimes I know that I didn’t want to change how I felt about something because it seemed like I was letting him off the hook about what had hurt my feelings. I wonder if most people don’t like others to try to get them to change their feelings?

That said though I wonder if this issue is any different than other issues that are affected by our feelings? Like if we figure out what thoughts are causing our feelings we probably would be able to change them. What is the meaning we give to the information that our spouse feels attracted to someone else?

When my husband told me that I had some thoughts like “I’m not attractive enough, I’m getting old, I’m not tight and young like in used to be, I’m not fun to be around, etc. Of course I would have feelings like that at first. What woman wouldn’t? But then I told myself the truth. My husband loves me. He’s attracted to me. I work at keeping fit. We laugh together a lot, etc. This momentary attraction doesn’t mean anything about me.

I understand that because my husband doesn’t have a background of frequent porn use it might be easier for me to accept the truth that it isn’t a reflection of how he feels about me. I think that would make the feelings harder to fight because it seems like his porn use would appear to be proof of my flaws. But I think even those feelings can be changed by changing one’s thinking. We feel based on what we think. So if we change our thinking we will change our feelings.

Just something to keep in mind, I guess.




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Re: Hearing attraction/sexual struggles

Post by Oldbear »

Every couple needs to be in sync with respect to their comfort level of communication transparency. They need awareness and sensitivity.

We are very comfortable with sharing everything - hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and all matters of a sexual nature. For example, if I notice and remark about another woman’s beauty and form or Mrs. Oldbear comments on the poise, personality, and rugged good looks of another man, we view that as normal and complimentary to that person and each other. The mention of it, doesn’t raise and eyebrow for either of us. We trust each other and know that the comment is an acknowledgement of fact.

That may not be true for other couples. Perhaps a deep hurt has left the scar of a hurtful memory or the scab of mistrust. Other couples may not be comfortable with total transparency, particularly if there is a concern that the notice of attraction could be an indication of a deeper interest. Also, mentioning the attractiveness of another person several times over the space on time could lead a spouse to question their own attractiveness or the attraction turning to lust and possible(?) action by the sharing spouse. That would be a danger signal.

I know of a friend that committed an indiscretion with another woman and he was devastated. He sought my advice because he felt compelled to confess it to his wife. After an agonizing time of conversation (several) and sorting out the factors that led him to be inappropriate, he came to grips with his failure, confessed his sin, and desired to be held accountable by me. I urged him not to disclose it to his wife - confessing it would cleanse his conscience, but damage his marriage. It was a painful moment in his life, and I know from my close relationship with this man that he not only walked away from that indiscretion, but placed boundaries in his life through spiritual growth and accountability with me so that it wouldn’t happen again. For decades, they’ve enjoyed an amazing marriage because he confessed his sin, sought accountability, and turned his back on allowing attraction to move to lust to acting on that lust through the power of the Holy Spirit.

He still bears the scar of that indiscretion; it’s a reminder to his failure and redemption. It serves as a lust suppressor. Should he have confessed it to his wife? Some might say that he should have done so. Then the question of what that knowledge would do to her, the hurt, the lasting scar of mistrust, etc. needs to be considered. Theirs is a healthy, happy marriage. It’s in his past and she is free from being reminded of his past.
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