Through a Man's Eyes: What Women Should Know
ATLANTA -- For centuries, in most cultures, the only woman a man would ever see intimately would be his wife. Now males are bombarded with visual temptations on billboards, magazines, and screens of all kinds, as well as on the streets and beaches.
Much of how this impacts men comes from the fact that they are super-visual. Their brains work so differently from women's that it's almost like the brain of a different species.
The differences between men and women have been studied and dissected for years. Remember the best-seller Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?
Many of these differences are psychological. But sometimes they're physical - like when a man's eyes see an attractive female.
In his brain, the amygdala, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbens automatically light up in an involuntary, biological reaction. It hits him like a beautiful bowl of ice cream hits a starving person or a pile of cocaine hits a drug addict.
Most women don't experience the visual like this, so it can be hard for them to realize what it's like for men in today's hyper-sexualized culture.
Through a Man's Eyes
To enlighten them, marriage expert Shaunti Feldhahn has teamed with Craig Gross, head of the anti-porn ministry XXXchurch.com, to write Through a Man's Eyes.
The book also lets women know how they can team up with the men and boys in their lives to help them battle this temptation.
"The book is for women," the Atlanta-based author told CBN News. "It is for us to have our eyes opened to this and to be called to handle it in a healthy, mature way."
Feldhahn and Gross know well from their ministries that in today's culture, men can easily fall into sexual sin. For instance, some 80 to 90 percent - even in the Church - have a porn problem.
Plenty of books, programs, and ministries tell men to repent and get free, but Through a Man's Eyes shows women what they can do.
"What am I called to do?" is how Shaunti put it. "Not just 'What is he called to do?' That's a whole other book, right? But what am I called to do as a woman, as a wife, as a mom?"
Working out of their Atlanta home, Shaunti's husband Jeff has helped with her research for years. He wants women to know this is almost every man's struggle.
"Perhaps there are some men who have overcome and never feel this struggle or strain or draw," he said, joking, "I don't know those guys, but they may be out there."
'She'd Flip Out if She Knew!'
Shaunti has discovered over the years that if some men had their way, their wives would never find out about this visual battle men fight.
"After my presentations or at a book-signing, a guy will come up to me and privately kind of get in my face and say, 'There are some things that a wife shouldn't know,'" Shaunti shared.
She recounted other men saying of their wives, "'She's going to flip out if she knew what I wrestle with in today's culture.'"
That's why Shaunti gives women a clear warning before they start reading the secrets Through a Man's Eyes shares.
She said she tells women, "If at any point in the book you find yourself starting to flip out about this - which I've done - just stop reading and pray and say, 'God, walk me through this.'"
But the authors point out it's important their female readers hang in there and read all the revelations.
"This is a huge thing he struggles with. This is a huge thing our sons are dealing with in this culture," Shaunti stated. "And we're trying to parent them well and call them into life and into responsible manhood."
The Crucial Role of Wives
Shaunti said while others can help, a man especially needs his wife in this battle.
"The woman who has pledged to walk alongside him for the rest of his life, he most needs that woman to actually walk alongside, even through something that is hard to hear," she said.
Jeff said he's gained victory in this area and owes much of that to his wife.
He said triumph came "because of Shaunti's belief in me, because of her willingness to stick in this thing and to walk with me and to be a safe place for me."
Shaunti said sharing in this area can revolutionize a couple's marriage.
"They start talking about it and all this stuff comes out that he's kind of felt like he had no choice but to hide, and suddenly there's so much more closeness," Feldhahn said. "There's not that wall that might have been up before. And suddenly it is truly what a marriage is supposed to be."
Practical Steps to Take
Through a Man's Eyes also walks wives and moms through plenty of practical steps they can take:
- Like ensuring their home and all their family's computers are porn-free.
- Like installing accountability software.
- Like making sure none of the teens have phones with Internet access.
- Like advocating the men of the family be accountable to other men who can help them walk the straight and narrow.
The co-authors also recommend wives up the intimacy in their own bedrooms because letting husbands know they're desired, appreciated, and loved is powerful armor.
"It sounds funny to us as women, but it gives them a sense of well-being and confidence in every other area of their life," Shaunti said.
"And not feeling desired kind of gives them a sense of depression and a lack of well-being," she explained, which makes them all the more vulnerable to temptations.
"When we women understand that, suddenly we see 'Wow, I can be part of really building my husband up in this amazing way, and being part of this huge, emotional need that he has that he can't get met any other way," she said.
Victory Is Possible
The Feldhahns believe men can truly see victory in this area of their lives, especially if they know they have a strong, compassionate ally in their corner.
As Jeff put it, "Just because your husband might be struggling with something right now, if you are there and you stay with him in it, he can get to the other side."
In Through a Man's Eyes, the co-authors shared the following note they received from a couple who've reached that other side.
"We don't have to hide things or hold back to protect ourselves. We can share the real deal and support each other, even when the real deal is sometimes hard. Being able to actually share everything and know the other person is safe and is able to hear it has transformed our relationship," the couple said.
Shaunti said one of the main reasons she and Gross wrote Through a Man's Eyes is to help bring that kind of transformation to many marriages.