The question in the headline is worth asking. Some men may blame women because of the way they dress and the lust it inspires in their hearts. Some women may not understand how men are hardwired.
Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, the founder of xxxchurch.com, have researched these issues in years and have some candid answers to the question. In their new book, Through a Man's Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men, the duo cuts straight to the heart of the matter.
Charisma News caught up with them to get some insights. You can still read parts one and two of this interview: What Women Don't Understand About Men Who Struggle With Pornography and Should You Tell Your Wife About Your Porn Problem?
Charisma News: What about women being aware of how they dress? How does that fuel the pornography problem?
Feldhahn: We can't leave that subject out, can we? It always gets me in trouble with a few women readers—ironically because they don't "get" what goes through a man's eyes when he sees the great body in the tight jeans, or the cleavage.
Here's the key thing: a man is 100 percent responsible for the choice he makes in what he looks at and how he thinks, but women have a responsibility too. This is a difficult culture for men who want to keep their thought lives pure. And if we women want to help a man honor women, then we cannot be adding to his difficulty by how we dress.
I can't tell you how many times, before a pastor and I go onstage to do a pastoral interview on understanding men, that the pastor will ask me, "Can we make sure to cover men's visual nature, and what that means for how women dress in the church? I know women don't always understand it and my hands are tied. They need to hear this from a woman."
Gross: Shaunti has convinced me that most women don't recognize that how they dress actually affects us in the way it does. We spend much of our time at xxxchurch.com telling men they must step up and take full responsibility for how they think and what they look at. But let's be honest about the fact that if women understood this struggle, I think many women would not want to make that struggle more difficult.
Charisma News: What would it look like if every woman in the church understood the visual nature of men?
Gross: Our hope is that women would recognize that the way God wired men's brains is no accident, and embrace the fact that despite the challenges men face today, this is still intended to be a good thing! After all, this visual nature is one of the key things that bonds a man to his wife. We love this visual nature when we are alone with our wives.
Feldhahn: If a woman understands this—truly understands—we think it could transform our ministry to all these men who currently are wrestling alone. Imagine hundreds of thousands of women who suddenly know how to be—and want to be—empathetic to their men, without endorsing any poor choices they might have made.
Imagine millions of women approaching this topic with both compassion and strength, and the ability to be a safe listening ear for a husband or son. Imagine what would happen if men and boys suddenly felt able to talk about this stuff they may have never talked about before.
Yes, I'm sure there will continue to be many men who make the wrong choices. We are imperfect people. There will continue to be marriages that are hurting. But as millions of women step up to this type of compassion and strength for their men, as people are finally able to talk about this safely in their relationships, we believe millions of men will be released from bondage and not only able but willing to step up to the high calling that God has for them.