fighting temptation

The Battle of Fighting Temptation

When World War I broke out, new military technologies were brought to the battlefields. Tragically, military leaders continued to use outdated strategies leading to catastrophic outcomes. Open field charges of enemy position may have worked in the 19th Century, but in the new era of the machine gun, it was a disaster. War became more complex and new fighting techniques needed to be adopted.

Our world continues to change every day requiring us to adapt, particularly with technology. One of the biggest dangers to marriages is in the area of sexual temptation. It leads to relational issues and, too often, failed marriages. This has been true throughout history. However, changing definitions of appropriate clothing and the emerging media-saturated culture filled with sexually charged images have made the battlefield more complex.

All Pro Dad founder Mark Merrill spoke with Steve Arterburn, author of Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time. Mr. Arterburn has counseled numerous men and women on this issue on the front lines. He shared with us some important ways of fighting temptation that will lead to more fulfilling relationships. Here’s how to win the battle.

Building Restraint

Consistent small acts of discipline become habits that form strong character.

Those who desire to resist sexual temptation must possess the ability to deny themselves instant pleasures. Fighting temptation starts by building the discipline of restraint. Those who desire to resist sexual temptation must possess the ability to deny themselves instant pleasures. That ability doesn’t just appear, it needs to be built. Think about it like training for a marathon. No one can run twenty-six miles without doing many smaller distance runs that lead up to it. Eventually, muscles and endurance are strengthened for the longer runs. Building up the ability to resist sexual temptation starts with practicing small denials. Consistent small acts of discipline become habits that form strong character.

Control Your Eyes

Images you view will form a photo album or video library in your brain. The more time you spend looking at something the more those pictures become vividly clear and permanent. That library profoundly affects our feelings and attitudes, particularly about our spouses. It becomes easy to compare them to the images we house. Practice the discipline of bouncing your eyes away from things that awaken sexual desire apart from your spouse. Reserve those looks for what belongs to you: your wife. Looking solely to her to awaken those desires will increase your wife’s attractiveness in your mind making it easier to connect.

Protect the Mind

There are thoughts, images, and ideas that will enter our minds. When they do, we have a decision to make. We can either continue to think about them or escort them out. The problem occurs when we get a tempting or potentially destructive thought that we nurture rather than eliminate. If there are things that enter your mind that don’t belong there, practice the discipline of stopping the thought process and changing it to something else. Perhaps shift the focus again to your spouse, God, or other things that are right to think about.

Be Open and Honest

Finally, it’s easy to justify something that is happening inside your head. The problem is that those attitudes never stop in the inside. They eventually find their way to the surface in attitudes of discontentment and coldness with a spouse. Even if those attitudes are ever so slight, they push couples in the direction of disconnection. First, be honest with yourself about the impact of giving in to sexual temptation. Next, find a friend or group of guys that you can be open with about how you are doing in building these disciplines. Give them the authority to hold you accountable to living a higher standard and provide them with the same encouragement. We were never meant to do this alone.

If you would like to listen to the interview of Steve Arterburn by All Pro Dad Founder Mark Merrill, click here.

Sound off: What techniques do you use to win this battle?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Have you ever seen something on the Internet that you think might be wrong?”