In Part 1, I introduced the topic of fighting lust and encouraged 1) finding true satisfaction in Christ and 2) fighting with other believers at your church. In Part 2, I encouraged rich biblical meditation as a key strategy to fighting any temptation. Part 3 encouraged you to find and remove the roots of the sinful lust.
In this short series of posts, I can only highlight some key graces God has used in my life to help me fight lust as a Christian dad. But in this final installment, I want to point to one final grace from God: your wife.
Strategy 5: Engage your wife
Getting married doesn’t fix lust problems—it never has and it never will. But that doesn’t mean your wife has no role to play in your fight against lust. She is God’s gift to you and is a key tool in your fight for the full life.
Let me ask you a few questions:
- Who in this world loves you more than anyone else?
- Who in this world is most concerned that you be pure?
- Who in this world is most committed to help you?
- Who in this world has God given to you for your sanctification?
- Who in this world is a gift to you for your sexual needs and vice versa?
Your wife is certainly more than all those things, but she does fill each of those roles. In my final strategy, let me encourage you to engage your wife. By this I mean two things: enlist her help and devote yourself to her.
Enlist your wife’s help
Your wife cares about your purity more than anyone else you know! So ask for her help!
You certainly should have other men holding you accountable (as I suggested in my first post) and you shouldn’t make your wife your “accountability partner.” But your wife can still help!
Here are a few ideas of how your wife can help you:
- Prayer: Ask your wife to pray for you to cherish her and to be faithful to her.
- Accountability: Give your wife full access to your computer, your phone, and any other device or area of your life—technology or otherwise. Make a rule in your home that if you need to stay up late, you will give your wife a full report of how you spent your time the next morning.
- Confession and Safety: You need to make a practice of confessing your sin and asking for forgiveness. To protect your wife from your repeated sin, however, set up a safeguard for her. For instance, weekly communicate with your accountability partner about times you confessed to your wife. This allows you to openly confess your sin to your wife while putting a safety in place so she doesn’t feel trapped if you escalate in your sin against her (i.e., someone else knows and will step in to help).
- Temptation level: When fighting sin, we often don’t take account of how strong a temptation feels. Whenever you’re fighting any sin, let your wife in on your fight. Let’s take anger, for example. If you rank your level of temptation for anger from 1 (a day of very small temptations to anger) to 5 (constant pressure to blow up), you can communicate to your wife very simply how much pressure you’re feeling to blow up in anger. Consider keeping a log (digitally in a shared note or perhaps on a piece of paper on your bedside table). Each night, write down a level of temptation you faced, whether or not you gave into the anger, and how you responded in repentance. If your wife sees you have faced high levels of temptation for several days in a row (whether or not you’ve succumbed), she can begin to intervene. The same would go for lust. Before submitting to lust, you almost certainly have had 2–3 days of heightened temptation. What if your wife knew? How might she help? How might her knowing help you? Communicating your temptation level will help your wife—your closest companion and the one most interested in your purity—to help you.
These are a few starting ideas. And they’re not limited to temptations of lust. Your wife is one of God’s primary graces to help make you holy, and it would be foolish not to engage each other each day for spiritual encouragement, help, and care.
Devote yourself to loving your wife
The New Testament is full of commands to “love your wife” (in part) because our hearts are in what we treasure (Matt 6:21). What you invest in, you’re certain to love. If you invest your time, energy, money, and effort into your wife, you will begin to develop a deep love for her.
Almost nothing will help you fight temptation like committing yourself daily to choose to show love to your wife. How can you show love to your wife? I’d ask her! She’ll be sure to give you some ideas. But don’t ask if you’re not going to do it!
Here are a few ways to help get you thinking:
- Tell her you love her.
- Kiss, hug, and hold her (without sex).
- Listen to her.
- Ask her questions. (Your wife changes over time—so there’s always more to learn!)
- Go on walks together.
- Read books together.
- Write her notes.
- Read the Bible with her.
- Buy her gifts.
- Call her from work.
- Give her a massage.
- Go on dates.
- Love your children.
- Praise her in front of your kids.
- Pray with her.
- Show interest in her hobbies.
- Tell her how much you appreciate her as a mother.
- Share common hobbies.
- Praise her in front of others .
- Clean up after yourself.
- Do some of her daily tasks without crediting it to your account (e.g., if she cleans the bathrooms in your home, go clean a bathroom, don’t tell her, and don’t expect anything in return).
Your wife may not love all of these ideas because she’ll prefer to be loved in her own way, so be sure to ask her! For more ideas, see John Pate’s post, 31 Ways to Help Your Weary Wife.
Fighting lust is bigger than lust. God is inviting you into a full-life wholeness and lust is fighting against that experience. God is inviting you to something greater—a life of lasting satisfaction without the guilt and shame lust brings.
He’s inviting you to rest in Jesus’ work for you and to enjoy all his good gifts. With his help, it can start today.