It's been long known than men like women. And I would like to break to you a shocking secret: Women like men.
In the past 10-ish years in Christian culture in America, it has come into the light just how much of a struggle men's innate attraction to the female body is. Thankfully, many conferences, books, and sermons have created an atmosphere in which men can feel more open and comfortable admitting their struggle with pornography. (Not that it is ever easy.) But at least there is often a culture of, "Hey, we know this is a problem and a lot of us are facing it; let's be honest and support each other."
When it comes to women, so many of us are keeping silent. With married women, our secret isn't typically porn. What many struggle with is the plain and simple fact that we still like guys. Married men are still attracted to women, and married women are still attracted to men.
When we got married, we didn't ride off in a pumpkin into happily ever after with a new brain. We woke up the same person with the same brain we had the day before - with the same impulses and struggles. We did not magically transform into beings who will never feel anything toward any other man on the planet for the rest of our lives, no matter how much the fairy tales imply otherwise.
I think we do women and girls a great disservice when we don't let them know this. Men are warned that they will still want to look at women. Girls, be warned that you may still get blutterflies in your stomach over some guy when you get married.
(Quick disclaimer: I hate it when anyone says all women are like this or that. We are each different with unique struggles. So suffice it to say that what I say is true of many women.)
Not every woman will face the same struggle, depending on her circumstances. If you rarely are in the company of other men except at church, then perhaps you won't have ample opportunities to face this. (Or maybe it will make your interactions with men seem like an even bigger deal!) But many women, like me, do live their daily lives around men. And I believe that every last person among us put in the right (or wrong) circumstances can fall.
Staying silent with this potential landmine is the worst possible thing to do. When we stay silent, we assume that we are the only person with this problem. We assume that no one else could possibly understand our problems. We believe that we are beyond help.
When our feelings of attraction for another man stay in the dark with only our own brain (which suspects we're the most screwed up person alive), they are allowed to grow bigger and bigger. What could otherwise be understood and dealt with is allowed to turn into a really big deal. And, eventually, if unchecked, it is allowed to turn into sin.
But, my married lady friends, if we will be honest with ourselves and others, we can be prepared for when we face the struggle. We will be able to say, "Hey, I am not the first person to ever struggle with this. I do need to get my actions and my emotions in check. I probably need to ask for some advice and put up some boundaries."
Let's all bring a little light into this area in our lives. If you are struggling with feelings for a man besides your husband, don't let it fester in the dark. Talk to a friend, ask for accountability and advice. She'll probaby be relieved that the topic is finally on the table.
It's important to know yourself and know your triggers. Watch out for the things that you know may spark something. In my own life, I travel for work, often with men. I might be spending time with a man for an extended period away from home. It may be someone that I would never like in "real" life, but I nevertheless know that this is a dangerous situation. So I prepare myself. I acknowledge that spending a lot of time in so and so's company might result in me feeling something. I make sure not to flirt. (I'm a recovering flirt.) I make sure to bring up how great my husband is a lot. I don't allow myself to wallow in what might seem like pleasant feelings at the moment.
I am not perfect. Obviously. That's why I'm writing this post. But I also know that when I'm seeking God, when I'm honest with myself and open with my friends, this potential landmine can become just another bump on the road.