Agur, the son of Jakeh, marvelled at the way of a man with a maid (Proverbs 30:19). He was not referring to tussles with her clothing. A man in love with a worthy woman works very hard to please her in the beginning of their relationship. He minds his manners. If he is ignorant about manners, he finds out what good manners are and puts them into practice. He watches what he says so as to not give offense. He looks for opportunities to be helpful. He keeps himself clean and smelling good. He might even ask advice from friends with good taste about how he should dress, so that he looks like someone the woman he loves would be proud to be seen with. And that isn't just when he is with her. When her friends see him around and about, he doesn't want them to wonder what she sees in him.
A man in love doesn't hog the conversation, but is interested in what his beloved thinks and feels about various issues, and invites her to tell him about her life experiences. He also gets ambitious about earning money so that the woman he marries can stay home and look after their children until they are grown, and he ensures that he doesn't do anything that would create a scandal and embarrass the woman he loves. A wise man continues to keep this up after the woman becomes his wife, and a wise woman makes it easy for him to want to serve her by serving him with willingness and sensitivity.
Common sense dictates that if one wants to attract a pure, sensible, admirable person, they behave attractively. Hormones make it easy in the beginning. Some people find it hard to make a commitment to one person because they are addicted to the high of the initial release of hormones when they meet someone who interests them sexually.
One of the ways I keep myself under control when I feel attracted to a man is that I imagine what he'd be like a year later, if I married him. I visualize the object of my interest unshaven, with bad breath, walking around scratching his belly, burping, and passing gas. Hopefully, the man I marry will have a lot more class, but even the best of men sometimes slack off. If I don't find someone's character so admirable that I can't imagine myself still feeling it a privilege to be married to him if I have to see him at his worst, my hormones take a nosedive. This exercise flattens them right out back to normal, enabling me to continue to attend upon the Lord without distraction until I meet the right person.
A similar method that works really well relates to men who have wealth. I am sure that it would also work well for men who feel attracted to wealthy women. I visualize what it would look like if I married the man who has caught my attention and he lost all his money. The swanky suit has been replaced by rags, the mansion is now a mud hut, and he is low in spirits, which has made him rather cranky. Without the money, does he look good anymore? Would I still feel it a privilege to be married to him? Or would I wish that I could ditch the guy? We have to be careful about whom we marry and make sure that we really are willing to forsake all other possible mates for him/her. God hates divorce and He won't let us off easy if we are frivolous about our marriage vows.
Marriages are like gardens. Some start off with more challenges than others, but all of them require work to get rid of the weeds and keep them from taking over again. Sensibly, we should want a marriage that is easy to maintain so that we can rest sometimes and enjoy it instead of always having to work on keeping our temper in check. Getting rid of emotional baggage and choosing a mate who has a high level of character makes for the type of marriage that is easier to enjoy.
Once the hormone high wears off, marriage to someone who is mired in mediocrity makes it seem a chore, and marriage is a nightmare to one whose mate is out of control. Being married, however, to a person who has a lot of character and their personality is compatible makes the challenges easier to bear. Also, it is less draining emotionally than being married to someone who is immature, or, who, due to the basic structure of their personality, finds it very difficult to understand a spouse who is not wired like them.
For people whose gift is to be married, it can be disheartening when years go by and the right person hasn't come along yet. Many single women turn to romance novels in order to experience romance vicariously. A lot of married women read them, too, when they are disappointed about a lack of romantic attention from their husbands. We must not confuse romantic attention with sexual attention. A woman can have plenty of sex from her husband, and possibly resent it because he hasn't been treating her with sensitivity and respect outside the bedroom. Unfortunately, a lot of modern romance novels do not stick simply to romance. Many of them promote lust.
There is truth in the legend that the unicorn can be tamed by purity. However, there is no virgin on Earth so pure in their heart and mind that can tame this beast, except the Anointed Lord Yehoshua.
A popular theme in romance novels is that of sweet, young virgins who tame arrogant, promiscuous men's wild ways. Usually, this occurs after the "hero" seduces or rapes the girl. Bleah! The madness of the unicorn infects the author and anyone else who approves this scenario. Why would a pure woman want to marry a rapist? A sensible one surely would not. What a horrible way to begin a relationship.
A woman who is impressed with a rapist can expect misery if she marries him, contrary to the fairy tales. Even if he repents, they both would be better off if she steered clear of him. The mourning of loss spurs a truly repentant person to better behaviour. A woman with sense and character waits until a man with a sordid past offers proof, not promises, of change before she marries him.
A woman who pines for a man who has defiled her either through rape, seduction, or capitulation to her own manipulation is a sexual addict, and he is her drug. This is the pathetic sort of woman many romance novels feature as their main character.
Modern romance novels rarely wait anymore to take the reader to the last page before the hero kisses the girl. People have become so jaded from over–exposure to sensuality through the media that few feel breathless to imagine the hero finally kissing her. That was how I used to feel when I read Harlequin Romance novels back in the early seventies. I think that most of the books I read in those days had been published in the sixties. I found them interesting for their exotic locations and descriptions of the heroine's wardrobe, as well as the romance, but in retrospect, those books encouraged covetousness, if not lust.
Many modern romance novels have the couple hopping into bed the day they meet. The really strong–minded ones with higher self–esteem wait until at least the second time they see each other. I used to be hooked on reading this sort of trash, too, though I preferred the ones where the couple got married first, and no intimate details of their sexual activities were given. However, in the 1980's, the milder kind of books became hard to find, and the adventure aspects of the stories attracted me. Many romance novels are demonic advertisements that lure people into giving their minds over to Lust and Covetousness.
I used to think it was possible to take a free ride on the unicorn when tempted while asleep. After all, it's only a dream. It's not like you're actually doing it, right? Well, nobody can get pregnant through having sex in a fantasy or a dream, but Yehoshua said that lusting after someone in our heart is, as far as He is concerned, the same as actually having sex with them. It does not excuse a spouse from committing adultery if their wife reads naughty books or the husband looks at porn, but it is understandable that a spouse would be grieved at this evidence that the wife or husband is not truly content with them. And if one takes joy in lustful dreams, that is a kind of unfaithfulness to the spouse and to the Lord, as well.
After my divorce, my children lived with their father for several years in another province without my consent. I was blocked from seeing them, but I knew God would bring them back to me and He did. God made me very conscious that I was a spiritual covering to my children through a dream, regardless of our separation.
During a yucky, erotic dream, a young girl entered and gracefully sat down in a chair. I immediately knew that she was an angel. The girl calmly folded her hands, inclined her head slightly towards me while keeping her eyes modestly averted and quietly said, "Lanny, there is no time or distance in the spirit realm. What you decide to do here and now will affect your children."
That rattled me. The next time I had an erotic dream, it featured a room full of people engaged in an orgy. I turned to them in disgust and said, "You're all sick!" Then I walked out of the room and that was the end of that dream. I laughed to myself when I woke up; it was fun doing the right thing.
In another cruddy dream, the Lord spoke to me concerning the transitory nature of the pleasures of lust. He said, "It's not worth burning in Hell forever for this." Yes, I agree. In Hell, there is no comfort that can be derived from the memories of sinful pleasures, or even legitimate, earthly blessings. Hell is an endless sentence of being subjected to stench, pain, weariness, hunger, thirst, horror, noise, hatred, loneliness, frustration, boredom, and bitter regrets. There is no sexual experience that is worth that price. God holds us accountable to renew our minds in His Word while awake so that His Word influences us at all times.
Eventually I stopped having erotic dreams – or so I thought. Then one night, I dreamed that I was in a bright, clean kitchen and there were red scorpions crawling across the floor towards me. I was horrified. Those things had a painful and deadly sting. Then Yehoshua spoke to me in my dream. He told me that I was responsible for those scorpions being there. I wondered how and He said, "You've been proud of how you've been celibate for twenty years, but you haven't been celibate. You have still been having dreams where you have been having sex." I then remembered a dream where I was in bed with a handsome, young man whom I had met years ago. I never remembered the dream upon waking, but in my dream, my memory accessed it.
I wondered what I was to do. How could I repent of sins that I didn't remember committing? Human flesh is so depraved. If it wants to sin, it will find a way to sin while helping us kid ourselves that we are completely respectable. But Yehoshua had the solution to my predicament. In my dream, He told me to stand on His feet, like the way an adult will invite a child when playing with them to stand on their feet, and then they walk around with the child, giving them a ride that way.
I stood on Yehoshua's feet (there is a wonderful play on words in that symbolism), embracing Him around the waist, and He held me so that I wouldn't fall. Then He walked across the floor, crushing the scorpions under His feet. In this way, He showed me a beautiful picture of trusting Him in a childlike way, standing before God through Yehoshua's work on the Cross (that's the feat), embracing Him as my Saviour, remaining "in Christ", and being held by Him so that I would not fall into sin. Praise the Lord! Yehoshua is so truly wonderful!
God also used a dream to show me that a former boyfriend, whom I had dated in my teens and had idolized, was totally unsuitable as a match for me. When I was eighteen, I refused to go out with him anymore after a wise woman of God advised that he was the wrong person for me, but I still had lingering feelings for him after I was married.
This man visited me when I was in a very fragile condition, having just recovered only the week before from a nervous breakdown due to the break–up of my marriage. With the assistance of a spirit of divination that showed him things about friends of mine, which I figured he could not possibly know unless God had shown those things to him, he convinced me that I needed to be delivered from demons, and that he was the only person who could help me in my condition. I went into shock. His meddling gave me another nervous breakdown, which lasted for three months.
This man had some strange ideas about how he supposed those demons were to be exorcised. I questioned his suggestions a lot, laying out fleeces before the Lord for confirmation, which were never answered, so suggestions that would have gotten me into a lot of trouble were not followed.
Because I was believed the lie that I was ill, however, I developed symptoms of mental illness, which included hallucinations. In my hallucinations, I thought that I was once again engaged in a sexual relationship with that man. It was degrading and I didn't understand why God was permitting me to be treated like that. However, He told me to just trust Him. Later I found out that those experiences had happened only in my mind.
I think that if my ex–boyfriend had been given enough time to get me completely under his control, he would have made those experiences real. A couple of years after I recovered from my illness, I heard that he was sent to prison for a sexual offense. This man tried to get me to move out of my house to an isolated property that he owned in an industrial area, a place where no sane and caring man would consider it appropriate for a woman to live there alone. But there were people praying for me, and I recovered my health before his plans were fulfilled.
Allowing that man back into my life, though, did a lot of damage. My ex–husband, though he had been unfaithful to me for years, was bitterly jealous that I had allowed my ex–boyfriend to visit me, but it assuaged his guilt over his infidelity to assume that I was actually having an affair with that man. My husband hardened himself to all of my attempts to reconcile with him after I recovered.
I knew what he thought had been going on, but I never tried to set him straight because I really should not have let that man visit me, considering that I was still legally married to my husband, and also because that man was married. I couldn't blame my husband for being jealous, even if the situation wasn't entirely the way that he thought it was. It wasn't a matter of him deserving to find out how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. As my mother always said, "Two wrongs don't make a right." And as the Bible says in Romans 12:17. "Recompense to no man evil for evil."
Though my ex–boyfriend was married, I figured it was okay to let him visit me because, when I saw him again after being apart from him for many years, I didn't think that I considered him attractive anymore. I thought that we could be just friends, and that there wasn't any harm in letting him visit, if all that we were going to do was have coffee and talk.
BIG TIP: Stay out of "innocent" situations that can turn into compromising situations. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." And when the Holy Spirit reminds you of Scriptures like that, DON'T IGNORE IT. It can take decades to clean up the mess that follows when you ignore God's warnings.
After I recovered from my nervous breakdown, it came to me through a dream why the Lord told me to trust Him when I was having those ugly hallucinations. I dreamed that I was riding on the back of a mythical beast that looked something like an Afghan dog. He was running like the wind and I held on tightly to his fur so that I wouldn't fall off, as there weren't any reins. I enjoyed the speed, and I thought that it didn't hurt the beast for me to hold onto his fur. I asked him, "It doesn't hurt you when I hold on to your fur like this, does it?" To my surprise, he said, "Well, actually, it does."
The next thing that I saw in my dream was a little monkey who was wedged in between a couple of pillows with his butt up in the air. He was wearing a diaper, and I thought that he was a cute, little thing. Like a little girl, I hopefully asked him, "Will you play with me?" He grumpily said no, and burrowed deeper into his pillows, wiggling his little behind as he did so.
When I awoke, it was obvious to me that the mythical beast represented my fantasies about my ex–boyfriend. He was tall and slim like an Afghan dog, and he had brown, shoulder length hair when I met him in my teens. The dream showed me that I had been clinging to my fantasies about him, but in real life, he wasn't what I thought he was. He hated women, and he hated for a woman to get a hold on him. He used sex to get women hooked on him so that he could humiliate them, and reject them the way that he felt that the important women in his life had rejected him. The speed that turned me on was symbolic of the adrenalin rush that co–dependent women get addicted to from being around an abusive man who keeps them on edge.
The little monkey represented my ex–husband. I wanted to reconcile with him, but he was all wrapped up in himself and behaving immature, refusing to have fun with me anymore. There wasn't anything that I could do about it. I suppose that the pillows represented his parents; he moved into their apartment complex after he left me. I was outraged by how he had it backwards; a man is supposed to leave his parents and cleave to his wife, not leave his wife and cleave to his parents. I felt wistful regrets that my husband did not want to try to recapture the good things that used to be in our relationship
It was interesting how the symbols for married love in my dreams were always so sweet and childlike and innocent. Of course, that's because the marriage bed is honourable and undefiled.
When I contemplated the part of the dream about the mythical beast, I felt the total peace about finally letting go of that destructive passion. My attraction to that man was like carrying an attaché case that I thought contained something good, but it actually was a time bomb that would have destroyed me, if I had not repented of my lust while God was still giving me opportunity to do so.
As difficult as my experiences were when I was ill, I was glad that God permitted them. I was so willful and stupid that getting smacked on the head with a 2 x 4 board like that was the only way that God could get through to make me finally realize, once and for all, that my ex–boyfriend was a very sick person, whom I was better off staying away from because he was more controlling than what I could handle. God was tightening the reins on the unicorn.
Click below to read:
Taming the Unicorn, Chapter 3
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 7, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.