When someone confesses or is caught in an affair one of the first things they say is something to this affect, “I didn’t mean it.” Or “She/he meant nothing to me.” In other words they end up in a place they never wanted to be. Most people don’t set out to cheat on their spouse. It all starts small. It begins with a thought that goes uncontested, perhaps even nurtured into a fantasy. Those thoughts grow into an attitude and then the attitude grows into a disposition. That disposition erodes boundaries and clouds our sense of right and wrong.
This is difficult for most men. Our DNA is pre-loaded with the strong instinct to feel attraction and desire, yet life and morality demand that we are able to control those instincts. So how do we do that? For the sake of our marriages, relationships, or just spiritual well-being, we need to be able to find the answer. You are in a battle against sexual temptations and it’s important to win early. Here are 10 ways to battle sexual temptation.
1. Avoid tempting situations.
Winning early means staying away from traps. The last thing you want to do is find yourself alone with the object of your unhealthy desires, whether it is images or actual people. If contact with that person is a must, then make sure it is always in a public space and others are around. Set boundaries surrounding your phone, the computer, and TV. Find a partner who is willing to help you with accountability.
2. Consider the consequences.
While pondering the object of your desire, also ponder the consequences of action. Is it going to help or hurt your marriage? How would your wife respond if she knew? Think about where your actions can lead and then imagine your wife finding out. Do you want to deal with the fallout? Always think of the end game. Where do you want to be? Are your thoughts and actions leading you there?
3. Avoid pornography.
Besides the obvious reasons that avoiding porn will help guard against lust, there are psychological reasons as well. Porn creates unrealistic expectations and desensitizes our minds towards our spouses. They can’t possibly live up to what is viewed, and would we even want them to? This pushes the focus of your sexual desires outside of the home and can only lead to paths of destruction.
4. Use social media with caution.
There are many benefits of social media, but there are just as many pitfalls. We are reunited with people from our past and introduced to those who are new. Old sparks can be renewed or new ones can be lit. For a married man, this can be extremely perilous. Always remain alert to true intentions when using social media.
5. Question your intent.
Most times, when our minds wander sexually, we aren’t really seeking pure sex. We are seeking to replace something missing in our lives and our relationships. It could also be that we are trying to distract ourselves from dealing with something difficult. For each man, these things will be specific to his experiences. Figure out the root issue and work to correct it.
6. Practice sexual intimacy.
When our minds and hearts are occupied in the right place, sexual lust has little room to operate. While there is no way to go back to how you felt when your relationship was new, there are certainly plenty of ways to regain that level of relational excitement. Improving communication, date nights, passionate kissing and thoughtful gestures are just a few examples. When our minds and hearts are occupied in the right place, sexual lust has little room to operate.
7. Pray consistently.
Prayer is the act of communicating your thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams to God. Lift up the desires you are feeling and ask for help. God made you and knows you and can deliver you time and time again.
8. Choose your friends wisely.
When battling sexual temptation, there are plenty of people we can find that will encourage and enable it. You can still be their friend, but by all means, avoid joining them in their poor relational choices.
9. Keep high standards.
To be a gentleman is a choice. A very good choice, and this world today needs many more. Despite the vast amount of temptations that life throws our way, we should hold ourselves to the highest of moral standards. Self-discipline in all areas of our life leads to positive results.
10. Redirect your passion.
Rather than being controlled by untamed lust, direct that passion in positive directions. Use that energy to brainstorm about ways you can bless your wife. Perhaps focus on things that will make the world better like volunteering at a homeless shelter. Coach a youth sports team. Mentor troubled individuals.
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What is one step we can take to safeguard our marriage?”