Man’s Lust and Woman’s Fear
It seems that a man’s lust is equal to a woman’s fear. As a man is prone to lust, and lust is a powerful force in his heart, so too a woman is prone to fear, and fear is a powerful force in her heart. I do not think it can be said that lust and fear are the greatest forces in all men and women but they do seem to be prevalent in most.
Lust and fear are like fraternal twins – the DNA is the same but the manifestation is different. Both are consuming. The compulsion of lust and the compulsion of fear is the same. On these grounds the one in lust has a great history with which he can empathize and understand the one in fear. Likewise, the one in fear has a great history with which she can empathize and understand the one in lust. No one is able to say, “Well, you just don’t understand!”
Furthermore, both use the imagination of their hosts to war against faith and oneness. The one in lust imagines an unattainable sex life. The one in fear imagines a variety of unattainable life scenarios. The imagination is effectively used in both against faith.
Are these fantasized scenarios always unattainable? No. But pursued in lust or pursued in fear the journey to those lives is sinful, disobedient, and dismissive of the other spouse.
The force of these twins, of course products of sin, must be appreciated and respected.
Peter implores his disciples, both men and women, in 1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you, as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” Certainly lusts is a catch all describing everything in us that pulls us away from faith, including fear. Feel the magnitude of the force. You have an internal war that is not polite or manicured or pretty. Your internal war is nasty and ugly. And in you there are fleshly lusts – specifically in this post sexual lust in men and fear in women – that lean into and want to drive your soul. If you do not understand and respect that power inside of you then you will have no victory over it. None.
The Apostle Paul says the only antidote strong enough to buffer lust and fear is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
So what do we do with this in the context of marriage? Watch this. God has given woman to man to be the sole source of sexual satisfaction. When a man does not have regular sex he experiences physiological changes that tease and incite his lust. He sees women in a way he would rather not. He fantasizes more. He is more and more prone to sexual temptation.
The only person in all creation who can alleviate and satisfy the man’s desire is his wife. God has made this woman for him, in part, to be a physical refuge and source of pleasure. There is no one else with whom he can have sex. “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19). In the marital covenant she makes herself available to him to be his satisfaction and his satisfier.
In the same way, and this is the rub, the husband is the only one who can alleviate and satisfy the woman’s fear. A woman’s girlfriends can help. Counseling can help. But no one is gifted to minister to a woman like her husband. The wife needs the strength and conviction of her husband, needs to know that he sees her, hears her, and cares about her. “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7). No other person in creation can satisfy those needs.
In the same way a man’s lust intensifies as time lags between sex encounters with his wife, a woman’s fear intensifies as time lags between conversation encounters with her husband.
Now, this must be said quickly, it is unreasonable for a man to expect that a woman can satisfy his unbridled sexual desires. There is a difference between godly sexual desire and ungodly sexual lust. Man must rest his desires unto the Lord and let our Father show him what godly sexuality is and how fully satisfying godly sex is.
In the same way, it is unreasonable for a woman to expect that a man can satisfy her unbridled fear. There is a difference between godly concern and ungodly fear. Woman must rest her fear unto the Lord and let our Father show her what godly concern is and how fully satisfying our Father’s faithfulness is.
In the Lord, wives must be attentive to the sexual needs of their husbands and husbands must be attentive to the communication needs of their wives. And both husband and wife must engage their own war against ungodly lust and fear, not abusing their spouses because of laziness.
Do you need to schedule time for sex? To some this is repulsive and takes away spontaneity. And it can. But it may also be helpful for seasons.
Do you need to schedule time for conversation? To some this may be rigid and “forced”. But if the desire of the husband is to love his wife then it will not be – it will be a step of wisdom.
It is ignorant of a husband to demand sex, or be frustrated by lack of sex, who does not first offer conversation. (Genuine conversation, not conversation-so-that-I-can-get-sex.) And it is ignorant of a wife to demand conversation, or be frustrated by lack of conversation, who does not first offer sex. (Genuine, fully present sex, not get-this-over-with-so-we-can-talk-sex.)
How can the husband deny, diminish, or placate the wife’s fear but demand his sex? And how can the wife deny, diminish or placate the husband’s sex but demand her fear?
Does not the woman want the husband fully present to hear her, be with her in the way she needs him to be with her, and explore her fear with her in a way that she is not made to feel stupid or belittled? Does she not desire her husband’s attention in a way where she can be vulnerable?
Does not the man want the wife fully present in their sex, to be with him in a way that he needs her to be with him, and explore his sex in a way that he is not made to feel stupid or belittled? Does he not desire his wife’s attention in a way that he can be vulnerable?
What if God has made the man to minister to the woman’s heart and the woman to minister to the man’s body? What if there exists bodily pleasures man can open the woman to and there are communication pleasures woman can open the man to?
Surely both sex and communication are of the Lord. Surely both are elements of the image of God. “Let us make man in our image, male and female, let us make them” (Genesis 1:26). Surely there is glory and pleasure in both.
Fear and lust is a two-headed, poisonous monster aggressively working to destroy faith and love. Followers of Jesus respond in wisdom, in the joy of the Lord, and live a different way.
Our Father knew what He was doing in creating marriage and in creating oneness for marriage. It is absolutely impossible apart from His abiding presence!
A brief word on some of how lust and fear work.
May the Lord give us rich wisdom to walk in His will by His grace!