Lust and love are like oil and water; oil will not satisfy the thirst
Lust is often thought of as a natural expression of sexual desire. It is not. Lust is self- medication, and it is rooted in pain. It uses a physical rush as a 30-second salve that never fully puts out the internal fire that gave it birth. It hijacks what could be the most powerful bond and the greatest place of beauty that can form between a man and a woman.
Lust is impersonal. It doesn’t care who is on the other end. We were not made for this. We were made for relationship. Sexual union is about bonding human relationship at the highest possible level. When lust enters the marriage bed, the impersonal touch is felt, clearly communicated without using words. It spreads pain, not love. It doesn’t matter whether the recipient is the man or woman, the result is the same. But I’ll talk about it from a woman’s perspective.>
No matter how beautiful a woman is, in the marriage bed she will still wonder if she is enough for her husband. In this place, she is at the peak of physical and emotional vulnerability. She needs him to look into her eyes and know that he sees her and everything she has committed her heart to with him, and know that it is returned in kind. She needs to feel this in his touch and in his embrace. When it is not there, his nonverbal language can scream its absence into her heart.
Whether we realize it or not, the man is the emotionally stronger of the two. Men don’t realize this because we don’t know how it feels to be a woman. In our marriage bed, our wife needs emotional validation through physical touch. She is looking for her heart to be touched and validated, not just her body. When that doesn’t happen, emptiness is soon to follow.
When a man brings lust into the bed, he is looking for satisfaction for wounds. It is no longer about his wife. His focus is inward. His motives bubble up from childhood pain where he is frozen in his past, places of the heart too deep to see in that moment of passion. But she feels it, and emotional reversal follows like night follows day. She is now the validator in the place where she needs to be validated. She becomes a temporary medication, rather than a wife, bonded in the most mature relational expression given to humanity.
The emotional role reversal will follow them out of the marriage bed. The husband wants to know when this inner adolescent will be medicated again. She grows tired of being used. “Will you just leave me alone! I’m trying to keep a family running!” Emotional wounds become a relational cancer, hiding just below the line of sight.
Pornography puts all of this on steroids. It drains what should be given to her and becomes an emotional black hole in their marriage. The bond she could experience with her husband is sacrificed to a god of self-medication that is never satisfied. The more he medicates, the more he needs. It is emotional rape, violating the soul of the most important person in his life. The one who trusted not only her heart and body, but her entire life to him, is trampled into non-existence.
But when you get this right, that which gives life happens in equal measure to that which would destroy. The bond that forms between the two of you is so deep, so private, so beautiful, so uniquely yours, that absolutely nothing else can find a way in. You could walk down Daytona Beach at spring break without being distracted, because it just isn’t worth it. You won’t let anything else, even for a minute, weaken the bond that you have together. The longer you are bonded in this way, the stronger it grows. You will notice beauty, but it will not be coupled with desire. Lust doesn’t dwell here because your desire follows your heart, and your heart is for her. I am very fortunate to say that I can personally testify to this truth.
I remember looking into the eyes of my wife early in our marriage. I saw a satisfaction in her heart that was too deep for words. It scared me. I thought, “I’m not that good of a person! At some point she is going to be disappointed, this will crash, and she will be hurt.” Then God spoke, “As long as you keep one hand in mine and the other in hers, she will trust you because she trusts me. She knows you are following me.” She had just felt the touch of a love that I know was authentic and real, and it had reached her soul. This is the fruit of two hearts that are not medicating wounds but communing with God at the heights of the most beautiful love triangle in existence. This is God’s design for marriage. This is why you protect the marriage bed, not just physically, but mentally as well.
So how to you deal with lust, or pornography? You have to get to the wounds that drive the lust. They are in broken places where our childhood is buried; places where we didn’t receive the emotional nourishment necessary for the heart to fully mature. They are hidden in the crags of the heart. But they are there.
Computer filters and accountability partners are fine, but they don’t heal the soul. This fire has to be put out by the voice of God, reaching the heart with the validation that was needed, so many decades ago. Just as deep follows deep, God follows the heart into your past. As he heals each wound, the heart catches up, as if it had lost nothing. Only God can do this, reaching into the past to make the present whole.
God will answer the prayer for a marriage bed based in love rather than lust. He wants to take care of his children and turn what used to be destruction into a fountain of life. But we have to pay attention to the full counsel of his Word. He said he came to bind up the brokenhearted. This is one of the reasons why.
To see an in depth view of how brokenness affects a person’s life and how it is healed, see the videos on our The Path to Freedom page.