Do you think about you and your spouse as being on the same team when it comes to sexual temptation? Very rarely does a husband or wife even discuss how they are tempted sexually unless one of them catches the other in the act: sending flirtatious texts to a coworker, watching something sexually explicit, reconnecting with an old flame on Facebook, or lying about why you were late coming home from the office.
Regardless of which of you is tempted, when you are a team, you’ll begin to see it as your problem together as a couple.
Because of the shame and feelings of rejection associated with sexual temptations, most people keep it a secret from their spouse. That compounds the problem and causes an even greater divide. I don’t mean that a wife should take responsibility for her husband’s purity or vice versa. However, when sexual sin and temptation hits one of you, it affects both of you. Satan will use pornography, inappropriate emotional attachments, and other forms of temptation to further divide you if he can define your spouse as “the problem” or “the enemy.” As long as you’re fighting each other, you cannot stand together.
So how do you become a team? Here are a few strategies:
First, you have to learn to communicate to each other without judgment. Over the years, my husband and I have learned to ask each other questions like, “How are you doing? Are you struggling with (specific temptations we have shared in the past)? Is there anything I can do to help you focus on us?” Initially, this can be a difficult conversation but it’s critical to becoming a team. We don’t ask these questions because we are paranoid, but because we know the reality of marriage.
Second, you play defense together. Where is your marriage vulnerable? What needs do you have that are not being met, leaving you open to temptation? How can you put up “walls” or “hedges” to protect against temptation?
Third, play offense together. Don’t just wait for temptation to attack your marriage. Work on your sexual and romantic relationship so that you do not leave room for the enemy to attack. Christian marriages are far more vulnerable to sexual temptation when there is no romantic adventure or sexual excitement.
How are you doing “fighting as a team?” Talk together about how you can support each other in the temptations you face.