Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Question: You often hear about pastors who are addicted to pornography, but is it just a male problem? Can pastors' wives also find themselves addicted to fantasies?
Answer: I would like to address here (in a non-exhaustive way) a very real aspect of the fight led by women that is too often ignored: Female fantasies.
In a recent study on the state of pastoring in North America, the majority of pastor’s wives interviewed said the event that had the most destructive impact on their marriage and family was entry into the ministry!
Another study conducted by Focus on the Family documents that 84% of pastor’s wives are discouraged or struggling with depression.
Being a pastor’s wife in the States is no easier than in other countries of the world.
Women need deep intimacy on an emotional level; they will give sex to their husbands in order to receive love.
A woman’s body, mind, heart and soul are closely intertwined. They are energized by what they can hear. Their menstrual cycles influence their hormones and emotions. They are therefore vulnerable to falling into infidelity in the absence of a real and strong emotional connection with their husbands.
The blows taken in service for God, repeated frustrations and suffering also expose women to this kind of danger.
From a woman’s perspective, everything begins in private thought. Suffering and isolation, unfortunately, increase the size of this secluded place.
Here are some symptoms of women who struggle in this way:
The comparison of her husband with other men
"Ahhhh, if only my husband was more like this man..."
Comparisons at the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and/or social level do not produce any good fruit. They degrade the image of the husband in the eyes of his wife and do not engender respect but growing disappointment in the man whom God has chosen especially for her.
These feminine thoughts can be compared to the addiction of some men to pornography.
Gradually, the flame that was lit in the beginning of the relationship withers and no longer produces enough heat to warm the heart!
Making a list of her husband's unique qualities, strengths, peculiarities is a great way to rekindle that flame. A woman struggling with this should ask herself what some of the things that first attracted you to him were.
Matthew 5: 27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. "
Exposure to soap operas, romantic films, romance novels, reconnection with old friends or "lovers" or even a complete stranger via the virtual world.
By proxy, through the various media and modern means, a woman can cultivate an emotional relationship outside of her marriage, hiding behind a book, a heroine, or a computer keyboard. It seems so much simpler, more secure... We can pretend to be a different person, change our context, and embellish our reality.
We come to confuse the intensity of this virtual stimulation with real intimacy that is built one day at a time, on both the good and bad days.
Watching what you invite into your heart and your thoughts is essential. Exposure and overexposure tend to numb our judgment and our resistance to all these external sources of stimulation that pollute our minds.
Would I watch this movie with other people from my church? Would I have this conversation if my husband was in the same room or if he could see what I’m writing? Do I have to go through and purge my list of contacts and even books or films?
Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. "
Philippians 4:8 “… whatever is true, ...noble, … right, ... pure, ... lovely, ... admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
The fantasy of belonging to another man, made possible by the imaginary death of the husband
The feeling that with another man, marriage would be easier is an illusion that diverts the desire to invest wholeheartedly in the success of the current marriage.
Keeping your thoughts captive is essential to resist this temptation when the reality is too painful. David, in Psalm 26:2 says, “Examine me, Lord, and put me to the test; refine my mind and my heart.” He doesn't speak of his actions but of his secret thoughts!
Colossians 3:5, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness - which is idolatry."
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God."
May God help us to keep our thoughts and our hearts pure for Him, despite difficulties and disappointments, knowing that the plans He has made for us are full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Sow a thought and you reap an action;
Sow an act and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson