Lusting the Untouchables

I watched a television show the other day about a woman who was playing the role of Secretary of State.  In this particular episode the children of the family were ribbing the father about some attention he was getting in the media and they announced to their mom, “Dad made the news today.”  What was all the hype?  He had been placed at the top of the list of “Best Arm Candy” men in the US.  They were honoring him as being the sexiest and most desirable man attached to a powerful and famous woman.  The husband and wife had a few laughs about this honor and the show moved on to other topics.

In the midst of this I heard the Lord speak to me gently in my heart and say, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”  I started to think about how many women find it perfectly acceptable to look at famous people and lust over their hot bodies.  Idris Elba and Anderson Cooper are names I’ve often heard passed around my own home by my single daughter as a few of the hottest men on TV.

Movies like Magic Mike drew crowds filled with women who would never go into a strip club but were thrilled at the opportunity to see a bunch of hot guys take it all off on the big screen.  I remember wondering how husbands felt hearing their wives lust over men they would obviously never have the opportunity to actually meet.

But what about the single women?  They aren’t married so they aren’t mentally cheating on anyone.  What’s the harm?  This television show made me see something that I had never considered before.  These men who hit the sexiest man alive, and hottest guy in long pants lists are often married.  The fact that they are movie stars, models, and rich and famous doesn’t make them imaginary beings.  They are real people with real lives and often times have real wives.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” isn’t just a directive to men.  The implication here is also, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s husband.”  Women (and men) think it is safe to lust after TV stars and other famous people because they know that there is no chance of them actually ever having an affair with them.  But the destruction to your marriage happens in your heart every time you look at another person and think, “Wow, I’d love to get a piece of that.”  It opens your heart to the possibility that there is another human on earth that is more desirable than your spouse.

Every time a person sees or hears their spouse lusting over another person a little piece of their marriage dies because of unfaithfulness.  Hearing other people lust over your spouse is even worse!  I wouldn’t trade places with one of these famous wives with the “arm candy” men for all the money in the world.

Can you imagine constantly hearing women drool over how sexy your husband is?  When you call someone sexy you are saying they stir up a desire in you to have sex with them.  How does it feel to have women openly declaring this about your spouse?  How often do they wonder, “How long until someone more desirable than me comes along and he takes them up on their offer?”

It is time for us to open our eyes, ladies.  Lusting after these untouchables is harmful to our marriages.  It is harmful to their marriages.  It is harmful to us if we are single because our future spouse will never measure up to the imaginary Prince Charming.  It is harmful to their future marriages because when they finally do find a wife she has to compete with the world for her husband’s affections.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”  God didn’t just mean the ones that live next door.  He didn’t institute this commandment because he was trying to take all the fun out of life.  He knows what will destroy us and gave us boundaries to keep us safe, happy, and healthy.

These are the thoughts I’ve had spinning in my head on this topic but I would love to hear your comments and perspectives.  What do you think?

What Do Others Hear When You Say, “I Love You?”

“In my mind I know that he loves me,” she said, “but there’s a huge disconnect between what my intellect knows is true and what my heart believes.”

How can a person know they are loved with their mind and yet not know it with their heart?  Because love is something that, as humans, we must experience no only with the intellect – but with the emotions.

It is one thing to know that we are loved with our intellect, but when our emotions cannot validate this truth through the experiences that tell us that we are truly loved there is a conflict that we have trouble resolving.

So, why the huge gap between what the intellect needs and what the emotions need?  Gary Chapman explains this phenomenon in several of his many books and calls it our emotional “Love Languages”.  He explains that each person speaks and perceives love in a different manner – through a different specific language.  The primary language in which a person perceives love is the language that will cause them to feel emotionally connected to other individuals – and even to God.

When individuals are not recipients of the love language they are expecting they do not feel emotionally connected and are not assured with a confirmation and belief that they are truly loved – therefore, the conflict comes between their emotions and their intellect.

The 5 Love Languages Chapman describes in his several writings are:

  1. Words of Affirmation – Words of affirmation include specific words of encouragement or praise for accomplishment and for effort.  It includes saying thank you.  Words of affirmation can be given one on one, in front of someone the person views as important, or publicly.  This appreciation language focuses on the words being said to the person receiving the words of affirmation and it is about their contributions or character traits that are valuable and appreciated.
  2. Quality Time – Quality time includes focused attention and quality conversation.  A person who speaks this language feels valued when someone shows a genuine interest in them.  This language focuses on hearing the person receiving the quality time and about participating focused conversations with them.  Quality time also includes a sharing of life together in focused activities.
  3. Acts of Service – Acts of service is characterized by helping with tasks that need to be completed.  Some key things to remember with acts of service are: 1) Get your own work finished before offering to help someone with theirs, 2) Ask before helping, 3) Make sure to do it their way if you are going to help, 4) Finish what you commit to do and make it clear what you can commit to finish.
  4. Receiving Gifts – Receiving gifts is the vehicle for some individuals that sends the message that says, “You are valuable to me and I thought about you when you weren’t with me because I love you.”  The dollar value of the gift is not what is significant but the emotional thought about the person that drove the gift to be given.  For people who speak this language, the gift becomes tangible evidence that they are valued.  It is a constant reminder that they are loved.
  5. Physical Touch – For some people this is the language that speaks the loudest to them that they are truly valued and appreciated.  This physical closeness could vary depending on the relationship and should always be tailored to what is acceptable and desired by the recipient.  Hugs, handshakes, high-fives, wrestling on the floor, holding hands, etc.,

Everyone perceives love primarily through one of these love languages and often a secondary language.  Learning and understanding how these languages impact us personally and the individuals in our lives can have a tremendous positive influence on our relationships.

Learn more about this topic in Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages.