“What I want women to understand is that every woman’s battle concerns fantasies and not to compare their husbands to other men. I was in the process of doing that for a number of years. I compared him to my college professor. He wasn’t as intelligent. I compared him to my pastor. He wasn’t as spiritually passionate. I compared him to lots of other men —and in some way or another he didn’t measure up.
“If we look at the great things about other people, and then we look at our husbands, it’s not fair because we live with our husbands. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“You know, we smell the bad breath, we see the toothpaste left in the sink, and we see the cabinet doors open. We also see the dirty clothes on the floor, but we only see the good things in other people. We don’t see the good, the bad, and the ugly. With every unhealthy comparison, it breeds more disillusionment in your marriage, and it has the same effect as having an affair. You become so disheartened and disappointed that you begin to resent him.”
Radio Interview on the Issue of Fantasies
The above dialogue came from part one of a five-part radio broadcast interview. This interview was conducted by the ministry of Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interviewing Shannon Etheridge. At the bottom of this page we will provide links to their web site so you can read the rest of the transcript. You can choose to listen to the interview from their ministry web site over the internet. Plus you can read or listen to the other four interviews.
But first we want to give you a few more “previews” of what was said about fantasies so you hopefully, will be compelled to want more.
Dennis: I think our listeners need to know, that she (Shannon) wasn’t having an actual affair; it was an emotional fantasy.
Bob: I think that’s interesting, because men and women certainly entertain thoughts about people other than the folks they’re married to. But we entertain those thoughts differently as men and women, and I’m not sure that we really understand those differences.
Absolutely not, and to use the word “entertain,” I don’t want women to get the impression that it’s appropriate to entertain the thoughts. It’s only human that we’re going to have those random thoughts come up in our mind, but to entertain them or fantasize over them or obsess over them or use those as a measuring stick by which we measure our husbands, that’s when it becomes very dangerous.
Bob: Yes, in the same way that it would be inappropriate or wrong for a man to linger with thoughts of another woman, or to stare. In that same way, a woman has to be on guard against the emotional fantasy and that comparison. That’s where the romance novels and the soap operas really feed it.
It feeds it like crazy, and Internet chat rooms are the latest frenzy in feeding these unhealthy behaviors. Often people say, Every Woman’s Battle is about eating or shopping. When I tell them, “It’s discovering God’s plan for sexual and emotional fulfillment,” so often the response is, “women don’t really have sexual issues, do they?”
Or men will say, “Maybe women have some issues, but it’s not near as strong as it is for men.” I want to debate that. The visual stimulation is not as strong for women. But the emotional longings and the cravings of our heart and soul for love, intimacy, affection, and attention is just as difficult to deal with as the visual is for men.
Bob: What woke you up to this issue, personally?
After about five years of marriage, I was actually thinking of leaving, because I felt so disappointed and disillusioned. It wasn’t a particular man that I wanted to leave for. I cried out to my husband, “You just don’t meet my emotional needs,” and he spoke the truth in love to me. He sat me down, and he said, “Shannon, you have a Grand Canyon of emotional needs. Even if every man in Dallas lined up outside your doorstep to spend time with you, it still wouldn’t be enough.” He said, “Until you look to God to meet these needs that you have, there is nothing that neither I nor any other man on the planet can do to satisfy you…”
In this interview, Shannon then gave further testimony of what had happened in her life before and during that time.
Concerning Fantasies, She then said:
I hadn’t had as much of a transformation in my life as I truly needed until an aerobics instructor invited me to lunch one day. He had made a comment that I took that to mean that perhaps he needed Jesus. I went under the guise of “I’m going to share Jesus with him over lunch.”
Dennis: Now, you were married at the time. And you’re having lunch with another man?
At the time I thought there was nothing wrong, because I thought that my motive was to share Jesus. But on the way there, I was praying, “Lord, help me keep my focus because his biceps are really big, and he’s really handsome, and he could be a distraction to me.” I knew my weakness. but I was sticking my head in the lion’s mouth praying, “Lord, protect me from the lion.”
But over lunch he said to me, “Would you like to know why I invited you to lunch?” And I said, “Sure.” He said, “It’s because you have a neon sign on your forehead.” I said, “Well, what does that sign say?” He said it says that you’re hungry for love and attention and affection. I thought he was coming on to me. I said, “How do I get that off, because I’m a happily married woman?” And he said, “Do you really want to know?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You have to die to yourself.”
And he turned the tables, and ministered to me, and said, “Shannon, this is what I see in you. You come to aerobics class dressed not as much to sweat but to cause other men to sweat.” He said, “It’s the way you carry yourself. When you told me you were married, I was surprised. And when you told me that you were a youth minister, I was really surprised. The life that you are living is not consistent with the image that you are projecting.” That was a major wakeup call…”
More to Add on Fantasies
There is a lot more to this interview concerning fantasies that we wish we could add. But instead, we will send you to the web site for Family Life Today at Familylife.com. You can read or listen to the entire interview there. We strongly urge you to do so! It’s a compelling interview and very helpful!
— ALSO —
To help you protect your marriage we encourage you to read this additional article on fantasies:
• HOW DO I PREVENT AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR?
And then, here’s another article we encourage you to read that is written by Beth Spraul:
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Emotional & Physical Affair For Married Women
9 responses to “Guarding Your Heart Against Emotional Fantasies”
(MX) Finally! Finally someone is willing to be honest and talk about this issue. The weaknesses of self-control and sexual intimacy among women goes completely unspoken in the church. I know women are suffering from it. I know there are affairs happening even among Christians. Divorce rates are just as high as non-Christian families, but no one wants to talk about this. It’s too shameful to admit.
When sexual issues are brought up it is always restricted to pornography addiction or infidelity targeted right at men. And the male bashing goes on even in the body of Christ. It is estimated 60% of married men cheat, but 40% of married women cheat too. It is an issue for both sides. If we could just get this out into the open and confess it and get help for it, maybe less would stumble over it. FINALLY, someone addresses it so others don’t have to suffer alone in the shadows and wonder, "What is wrong with me?"
The following web site link was sent anonymously into this ministry. We highly recommend for everyone to read it! To do so, please click onto the following: http://sustainedhope.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/overcoming-sexual-and-emotional-fantasies/
(ZAMBIA, SOUTHERN AFRICA) Dear All, My problem is that I fantasize about other people when I am being intimate with my husband. I have been praying over this a lot, because I feel so bad afterward and I even fail or find it difficult to pray to God. Usually I think of the most awful things which make me feel so bad afterward because my thoughts include females that I interact with daily.
Please, if there is someone out there who has had this experience and has overcome it, tell me what I can also do to overcome this problem. I feel it’s the one thing the devil is using to really hurt me in my relationship with God.
(ZIMBABWE) Its tricky. It’s the times when I try to share with my husband my fears, my hopes, my pains and my wishes, that he doesn’t understand them and attacks me. Then it reminds me of one guy I once dated long back who could listen and try to understand how I felt every time. So when I am feeling all alone in the same bed with my husband, I tell myself I would be a lot better off with mosley than with this guy I married. Then I start to chat with him on facebook. Nothing sexual, but I share the deepest secrets of my heart. And as I remember, he understands. But now I know it’s wrong.
(GHANA) Well, this is a different article. It’s sending mixed emotions down my spine. I think this topic should have been dealt with in general, not for women only, but men too. Women are being told that they should guard themselves from emotional fantasies? Men should be told to guard themselved from sexual fantasies. Some topics are really wrong. A sister is allowed to feel she should be loved and no scale should be put on that.
(MALAWI) My husband just doesn’t meet my emotional needs coz he always wants it to be about him! I’m tired of it. Anyway, I try not to think of being intimate with other men (I really just don’t) but I find myself watching pornography instead. I know it’s wrong and I pray that God would deliver me from it.
I’m beginning to hate my husband and our marriage is on the rocks!!! Please help me as I feel that even though I get intimate with my hubby, I’m just not satisfied but I don’t want to cheat on him. Please help.
The “guarding your heart” part should start before you even begin thinking about dating, especially if you’re a man. You can’t just guard your heart from women anymore, you have to build high walls, dig motes and put gators in the mote because women are out to take everything you have. Men should not date or marry… period. The law isn’t on our side to do so. There was a reason Paul said we should not marry!
Yours is a personal experience from the lens of what you’ve experienced and seen. But your blanket statements about how women “are out to take everything you have” isn’t my experience AT ALL… nor is it my husband’s. We have a great (and very loving) marriage and work together as a team. I know many, many, many other couples that experience the same thing. So please… be careful about poisoning the minds of other men who just may end up with a wife who honors, loves, mutually serves, and works with her husband, rather than against him. Caution others to be careful, but to tell them to “build high walls, dig motes and put gators in the mote is going WAY too far. You may end up stopping a man from marrying a woman who will be good for him, and him for her. I hope you’ll consider this. I’m sorry you have encountered such bad experiences so far… truly. May your future be brighter, whether alone or otherwise.
Cindy Wright, What Anonymous MGTOW said is not just his personal experience. It is something far greater than that. We need to address those issues also if we want to create a society that supports marriages and help them last. Half of the marriages in USA do not work out. Of those other half of the marriages, how many of them are happy marriages? Divorced couples were obviously not happy and that’s why they got divorced. So, I think it is safe to say that most marriages are unhappy. So, as you can see what Anonymous MGTOW said is not just his personal experience. It is something that is far greater than that and something that impacts the majority of the people in the society.
The topic that this article discussed above is an important topic that needs to be addressed and handled properly between married couples, lots of who themselves came from broken families and thus did not have good role models for happy, healthy marriages.
The divorce court is heavily biased against men. When a man gets divorces, he loses half of his property, he loses his children, still pays child support and sometimes alimony. The domestic violence industry is also biased against men. A woman can lie about her husband hitting her and police will still arrest the husband. Media is male bashing and that is how little girls learn growing up how to disrespect men. After getting married, many times men lose respect, lose out on sex, lose friends, lose space. The society is becoming increasingly men hating.
For marriages to work there needs to be several things that need to be done. We need fair laws in the family court. We need to create a culture that respects husbands and fathers. We need to create a culture that honors and cherishes marriages.
I agree with you that there are lots of good women (and there are lots of good men too). There are lots of good women who care about the men’s issues I mentioned above. All good women should. Married couples have become minorities in USA for the first time in history. If men are opting out of marriages, it is a loss for the whole society and will ultimately destroy the society. Radical feminists’ bashing and shaming men will only make things worse.