I’m assuming your husband wants to do the right thing with his sexuality. And you want to do the right thing also. As a wife you can either help your husband with his sexual integrity a great deal, or you can make his struggle much more difficult.
So how can you be a help to him? Do you constantly check his computer for sexually explicit material? Do you monitor his TV viewing? Do you call him on every glance he makes toward another female?
If your husband makes you feel secure by the way he directs his sexual desires only to you, be grateful. There are men who have learned to harness their sexual energy in a healthy, godly, and marriage-affirming way, and I hope he’s one of them.
But if your husband struggles with pornography, crude sexual jokes meant to demean you, uses threats of infidelity to control you, or has had an emotional or physical affair, you know how painful and marriage-destroying it can be. Please know that if he struggles in this way it has nothing to do with you. Really. It doesn’t! He’s completely responsible for managing his own heart.
But you do have a role to play. God created you to be a help to your husband in many ways. As a woman you have a measure of insight, intuition, and wisdom that your husband probably desperately needs. What matters is how you offer those gifts.
How you can help him
If you want to be the best support possible to your husband as he wrestles with his sexuality, first of all pray. And then if your husband is seriously committed to a life of sexual integrity, here are some ways you can help:
- Respect his sexual nature. It’s likely your husband thinks about sex much more often than you do. That’s the way God made him. If that truth makes you cringe, then it’s time to get some help for yourself. Don’t take it out on your husband. If you cut him down whenever he makes a sexual reference or talks about the challenges he faces in managing his sexuality it will only drive his desires underground. If you hate his sexuality it won’t make him less sexual; you’ll just hear about it less often.
- Don’t be his mother. Controlling him, making condescending comments, and micromanaging his life will only push him away. Sometimes we women think our men need a lot of help, and perhaps they do! But treat your husband as the grown man he is, expect the best of him, and he’s a lot more likely to live up to what you need him to be.
- Allow him to get his sexual needs met with you. Yes, that means saying yes to sex when possible. But it also means allowing him to catch you partially dressed or getting out of the shower. It means dressing with him in mind when you can. It means doing your part to be physically appealing – to him alone. He will get his eyes filled somewhere; allow him to fill his eyes with you. He’s completely responsible for what he does with his eyes (and his hands and his . . .), but you can help him here.
- Be willing to discuss his sexual challenges. Your husband needs good Christian men in his life to help hold him accountable if he struggles in this area, but you can also be a vital support. If he does choose to confide in you where he is struggling, do your best to remain objective. He needs you to know him and to love him anyway. He honors you when he confides in you, and how you respond will determine if he will confide in you the next time he needs support.
- Keep your own soul filled up. God may well use your husband to meet many of your needs, but no human being can ever be everything another person needs. Cultivate friendship, communication, and intimacy with your husband. But also look for healthy ways to keep your soul filled up in other areas where you need it: girlfriends, artistic activities, your own job or business, time in nature, volunteer activities, a growing relationship with God. You’ll be happier, and you’ll have more to give your husband.
Remember that your husband is responsible first to God for his behavior in this and every other area. And you’re responsible also to God for how you respond.
I know the idea of helping your husband with his sexual integrity may stir up strong feelings, and I’d love to know how this applies to your marriage. I’d be so glad if you’d leave a comment below.
Your Turn: What are the ways you believe you are a help to your husband in the area of his sexuality? Leave a comment below.
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