Being a married man, the topic of marriage is one that is very important to me. I strive to be the best person for my wife and I like to believe for nearly 5 years my wife has been very happy with our overall development and growth.
With that said, marriage is hard work! Perhaps the hardest role I’ve ever had to embrace.
Warding off the temptations and lust of the world isn’t an easy thing to do considering men’s psychology and the world we live in.
Men are visibly stimulated and can be aroused psychologically and physically quite quickly.
On top of that, when we live in a world where sex and pornography is literally an epidemic, there could potentially be hundreds of cues stimulating a male.
Think about that.
Literally, men have things vying for their attention. Computer ads that feature models, movies with attractive female leads or sex scenes, or the random attractive person they may see daily. Men are getting it somewhere.
In fact, studies show that eight out of 10 men between 18-30 view porn at least once a month. That’s a lot of men settling for the second-rate instant gratification of the flesh.
Because men are visual, it doesn’t mean ALL men lust. Our development is not an excuse for poor behavior, decision making, or an excuse to give in to our fanciful whims.
What it does mean is that men need to take seriously the situations and responses that shape their attitudes.
I’ve noticed that in order to ease the clear signs of temptation or lust, some men have resorted to “it’s ok to look” as seeming less dangerous and threatening than actually having an affair or cheating.
When men, especially a married man, say “it’s ok to look” they’re basically window shopping. Just as one would go window shop to fantasize over materials they don’t have, the same concept applies.
You’re saying in so many words that the other person looks better than your spouse. So much so that you can’t keep your eyes off that person.
Concepts like “it’s ok to look” are a huge threat to marriage. As if the marriage didn’t have many already!
If men allow their imaginations to roam with sexual scenarios and ideas, then adultery is committed and the Sixth Commandment has been violated. This is evident when Jesus commanded that whoever looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery in their heart (Mat 5:28).
The practice of self-mastery or being chaste in our mind is one man (guilty or not) all need to embrace.
We could all benefit from being chaste. Self-mastery, although it seems hard to practice, is a daily and “long and exacting work (CCC 2342)” This commitment one makes to put away the flesh and embrace the Spirit working in their lives to break the stronghold of the flesh, our sinful inclinations, and passions.
Basically, it’s self-discipline. Instead of the flesh steering our body, we need the Spirit of God in us to renew our minds to eventually lead us to internal freedom.
Think about the instruction Jesus gave us to grow in self-discipline when he commanded us to cast out an eye if it causes one to sin (Matt 5: 29). What a radical departure from our self-serving world that would tell us to keep our eye in.
Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, having fidelity to the one you’re joined with is important. Your sexual thoughts and glances should all be dedicated to that person.
When we look at the news of Hollywood, entertainment, or the mainstream media and see so much sexual harassment and allegations, seems like men have underestimated the power of lust/temptation. Some would even probably scoff at the mention of chastity.
“It’s too restrictive”
“I want to do my own thing”
How little do they know of its potential benefits?
Overall, you’re bound to see someone attractive, but it’s what you do that matters most.
If you act on them by entertaining lustful thoughts then you consent to impurity which means you’re not honoring your vows in action and thought.
Men, let’s live out the vocation of marriage to it’s fullest and turn away from things that destroy marital fidelity.