Lies Men Believe About Sexuality
About the Guest
Robert Wolgemuth, husband of Revive Our Hearts host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, talks about the many lies men believe about sexuality, like: a little pornography is harmless, my sin isn't hurting anyone, what my wife doesn't know won't hurt her, and more.
Robert WolgemuthRobert Wolgemuth has been in the media business for thirty-nine years. He is former president of Thomas Nelson Publishers and the owner of Wolgemuth & Associates, Inc., a literary agency exclusively representing the writing work of more than one hundred authors. Dr. Wolgemuth is a speaker and best-selling author of over twenty books, including She Calls Me Daddy, the notes to the Dad's Devotional Bible, The Most Important Place on Earth, and What's in the Bible: The...more
Robert Wolgemuth talks about the many lies men believe about sexuality, like: a little pornography is harmless, my sin isn’t hurting anyone, what my wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her, and more.
Lies Men Believe About Sexuality
Bob: In Genesis 3 both Adam and Eve sinned. Robert Wolgemuth believes Adam’s sin was different than Eve’s.
Robert: If we were able to talk to him and we were able to say, Adam do you know that you were doing the wrong thing? What would he say? Absolutely. He’d gotten the instructions and he was disobeying. So what was going through his mind? I believe what was going through his mind was, I’ll figure this out. That’s what we do, we fix stuff. I think that is a male thing. Not every man but a lot of men. The big difference, I think between Adam and Eve, between the lies women believe and the lies men believe, is that women tend to be deceived, men tend to sin with their eyes open.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 31st. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
There are a lot of lies that we are susceptible to as men. There really is only one way to fix any of them. Robert Wolgemuth joins us today to talk about that. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
If you married somebody who has been meditating for more than a decade on the lies that women believe, and the truth that sets them free—
Dennis: What are you going to do? You going to have to write—
Bob: You’re going to have to at least think about the lies men believe and the truth that set them free.
Dennis: That is the name of the book
Robert: It is.
Dennis: —Robert Wolgumuth has written. Robert, welcome to the broadcast.
Robert: Thank you, Dennis.
Dennis: Robert has been in the media business for nearly 40 years. He was a former President of Thomas Nelson and one of his claims to fame is he is married to Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth, one of his best cheerleaders in life and who wrote the bestseller, Lies Women Believe.
Robert: Yes, she sure is.
Dennis: And so he decided to spend some time writing lies that men and women believe.
Robert: Yes. We were actually engaged and Nancy said, over the years men authors have said to me, there ought to be a ‘Lies Men Believe’ book. But she said, I never felt right about that particular person taking this mantle. So I said how do you feel about it now that you’re married to me? [Laughter]
She said, okay!
So, two summers ago we spent the summer on the deck behind our house writing. I wrote Lies Men Believe, and she wrote the updated Lies Women Believe. So when people would say, how are you doing, we would say we’re writing lies all summer.
Bob: Spending time meditating on this subject and thinking about ways in which we get tripped up because we’re thinking wrongly about God, about ourselves, about our world, about jobs. What kind of an impact did that have on you?
Robert: A lot! My mother used to quote Philippians 4:8 to us until we were tired of it, but I’m so grateful, because it’s about thinking right. Think about these things, whatever is pure, whatever is just, whatever is worth repeating. All those things, she drove that into us.
Romans 12, Renew your mind. Every life change begins with a single decision. This is what I’m going to do: I’m going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to read this book, I’m going to take this course, I’m going to change my career, I’m going to marry this lady. It starts with decisions like that. Then you’re feelings follow. It’s very important.
Dennis: You know the Bible as it unfolds the story of humanity after God created male and female there’s a lie. There’s a serpent who bids a question to the woman and the problem is, she bit.
Robert: The whole point of lies women believe is that Eve was deceived—'hath God said’—slight of hand. So she was deceived. Actually, the Apostle Paul in one of the epistles to Timothy, he says, Eve was deceived but Adam was not.
Dennis: He chose to embrace the lie.
Robert: Yes, that’s right. If Adam wasn’t deceived, then what was he? I think we’ve come up with the answer. We studied, we prayed about this, we talked to smart people about this, theologians—guys, women who’s doctrine we trust. Here’s the deal. Adam was there. We know that because Eve took the bite. What’s the next thing that happened?
Bob: She handed it to the man.
Robert: She handed it to him. She didn’t—
Bob: Who was with her.
Robert: She didn’t toss it across the garden.
Robert: He was right there!
Robert: So he had access to this conversation between his wife and the serpent. He decided to disobey God rather than embarrass his wife. He chose his wife over the Sovereign God.
If we were able to talk to him and we were able to say, Adam do you know that you were doing the wrong thing? What would he say? Absolutely. He’d gotten the instructions and he was disobeying. So, what was going through his mind? I believe what was going through his mind was, I’ll figure this out. I’ll cross this bridge when I get to it.
Dennis: I’ll fix it.
Robert: That’s what we do, right? We fix stuff. I think that is a male thing. Not every man but a lot of men. I’ve paid special attention in the last couple of years to the news. Guys who are pastors of big churches, authors, well-known Christian leaders who fall, they fall on their noses in public.
Now we are having coffee with them and we say, did you know you were doing the wrong thing? What will they say? Absolutely. I wrote about that, I preached about that. I told people about that. So then, what were you thinking? Well, I was thinking that I would be able to work this out. I’d get to the place where I be able to negotiate myself out of it. Or somehow, some way, I’d be able to not have to face what I just did.
The big difference, I think between Adam and Eve, between lies men believe and lies women believe is that women tend to be deceived, men tend to sin with their eyes open.
Dennis: Back last fall I led a group of men in some Bible study. I decided I would cover the traps—wasn’t talking about lies men believe. But I was coming at it from a different angle. I was talking about the traps that men step into.
Number one is pride.
Robert: There it is.
Dennis: Wanting to have it my way. I want it, I’m going to go get it, and it’s going to be mine. It doesn’t matter what God said. I’m just going to do it. That really is ultimately the bottom line of why Adam was disqualified from the garden. He wanted to be God.
Robert: That’s right.
Dennis: He wasn’t willing to submit to the God of the universe.
Robert: Absolutely! That is the first lie right there. The whole first section of the book, the first five lies, fall under the category, lies men believe about God. Tozer said what a man thinks about God is the most important thing that he thinks about. That is foundational to everything.
Now the average guy walking around the street doesn’t think about that but at the end of the day, his theology is who he is.
Bob: I remember our mutual friend, Crawford Loritts, was speaking one time, I’ll never forget him saying this, he said most of us—he wasn’t just talking about guys, but I think this is true for guys—he said most of us, when it comes to sin issues in our lives, we don’t want to mortify the flesh, we don’t want to put it to death, we want to manage it.
We think of it this way, we think of it as a pet we will keep in the corner, in a cage and we’ll just get it out and pet it from time to time. It’ll be a nice little pet and then put it back in the cage. What we don’t realize is that in that cage it’s growing, and it’s getting stronger and one of these days you let it out of the cage and it consumes you.
Robert: It’s not a kitty, it’s a tiger.
Bob: So this idea, I’ll fix it that you’re talking about we don’t realize all we are doing is laying up trouble that will one day come crashing down on us if we’re tempting God and His purposes.
Dennis: You talk about nine areas, and these are global areas, where men get deceived. Lies men believe: about God, about themselves, about sin, about sexuality, marriage and family, work and health, about circumstances, and finally the last one: lies men believe about the world.
But I love, Robert, where you start this thing. Because you quote one of my favorite quotes by Tozer. “The most important thing about you is what you think about God.” If you don’t think rightly about Him but, God forbid, you believe a lie, you’re really hung at that point.
Robert: That’s right. I grew up in a home with a great dad. He wasn’t perfect but he was really pretty special. I’m grateful for that. But guys that don’t have that, when you talk about father, talk about dad, and they cringe, they get a sinking feeling in their stomachs, they hated their dad, they didn’t know their dad, whatever. They’re forced to be cycle breakers when it comes to understanding the right concept of God and who He is and how He loves us like He does.
Bob: Part of what’s happening there is that guys are believing that the flawed father they have is the right picture of their heavenly Father.
The lie they’re believing is that God is like the human father I had rather than looking at what the Bible says true about God. And saying this is who God really is. If we have a flawed picture of who God is that’s going to infect our thinking about everything.
Robert: My favorite picture of God and I think this is why Jesus told this story and is Luke 15. The parable of the prodigal who is out wasting his daddy’s money, so my question to you guys is, when does the father forgive the son? You ask anybody and they’ll say, you know, when he came home. His daddy was big enough to run down the lane to meet him. Nope. His dad forgave him long before that. There’s nothing I can do to earn God’s favor or his forgiveness.
Dennis: As I was reading your book I kept thinking, are there a couple of lies that men embrace, that are unique to them as men? It’s not that a woman couldn’t embrace that lie as well. We talked earlier of how in the garden the serpent lied to both Eve and Adam. Eve was deceived, Adam chose to disobey.
So, there’s a difference there in how both of them handled the lie. As you think back through what you have written, and I know it’s kind of a challenge because you’ve got 40 different lies, but you’ve got nine categories. Is there an area where you think men get tripped up with lies more than women?
Robert: Every woman listening to this question knows what I’m going to say right now about sexuality. I remember the first time I saw pornography. I tell about this in the book. I was on college and there was a scuffle down the hall, guys hustling down to see something.
So, I went down, four doors down, and there was a guy with a magazine. That image is tattooed in my brain and I can see it. But guess what? This morning when I opened my laptop, there was something waiting for me there. I didn’t have to go four doors down, it was there, not necessarily porn; but it could be an invitation to buy a car, or insurance, or toothpaste.
I think my computer knows that I’m a man. Because the images that I see in the right margin of my computer screen—
Dennis: Are using sex to sell that stuff.
Bob: Robert, what’s the lie that’s at work here—when a man is attracted or when a man is drawn to sexual stimulation—what’s the lie behind that?
Robert: A little porn is harmless. Just a little click. Again, it is so effortless, but it is so insidious. Unfortunately, but maybe fortunately, I have had the joy to work with some guys that are deeply involved in pornography.
Getting off that train is almost impossible. It is such a relentless, daily challenge for them to stop. The lie is: a little porn is harmless. That’s the lie.
Bob: So a guy who would say, this isn’t hurting anybody, I’m managing this, it’s not getting out of the cage. Actually what’s the big deal? It’s probably helping me stay faithful to my wife because it’s not drawing me to away to real live women.
Robert: Well, you’re committing adultery. There’s no two ways about that. It sounds like I’m preaching. Even though I’m speaking into a microphone, I’d rather think of myself as having a cup of coffee back in the corner of Starbucks® andsaying this is the truth. I’m not shouting at you. I don’t have a podium, there’s no platform. I love you enough to tell you the truth. You’re in trouble here and you’re going to day by day stop this or it’s going to kill you. You’re being enticed to something but it’s a fraud.
Bob: What about the single guy. He’s saying I don’t have any other options. This is the only way that I can try to manage the sexual drive that’s in me.
Robert: You have to find other ways to get there. I know that sounds really crazy. But I believe, I mean the Apostle Paul, 1Corinthians 7, talks about the advantages of being single. There’s a very special calling for single people. When it comes to that—honestly? I don’t know, that’s the honest answer.
But if the Lord put that drive in you, the sexual drive, and He says, you know what? Put that away at least for now and pour yourself, the same energy, into introducing people to an intimate relationship with Jesus. That’s what God calls us to, to great things, to conquer, to be daring, to lead, all those things for Kingdom purposes. That is using that same energy for something other than selfish gain.
Dennis: But there is an enemy of our souls that whispered to David, ‘don’t go out to battle, look to other women’. One of your lies here is: what my wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her. What’s done in secret, God knows and it will hurt the marriage relationship.
Robert: Because it hurts you. If she doesn’t know, okay, I guess you can make a case that it doesn’t hurt her. But it’s killing you. It’s that grinding in your stomach that keeps you awake at night. You wake up in the night and you’re trying to go back to sleep. Isn’t it interesting in the night how things are bigger than they really are.
You’ve done this. You’re working on a problem, you’ve got something at the office, you have a problem to solve, a big proposal that’s coming in. All those things get bigger and bigger and bigger in the night. When you’re struggling with something like this, the antecedent is pornography, infidelity, whatever it is, lying, believing lies, it gets bigger and bigger and it keeps you awake.
Bob: I have to tell you, even if you’re sleeping soundly as a man, what you don’t know is that the seeds you have sown are having a subtle impact on the intimacy you are having with your wife. I don’t know how many times we have talked to wives who are saying, you know, my husband is just not as interested in intimacy as he used to be. Often times the reason he is not interested is because he’s getting fulfillment elsewhere, where it’s easier; and there’s no conflict. He’d just rather take the path of least resistance.
You don’t recognize that what you’re doing is pressing your marriage in the direction of isolation. What you are sowing will someday pop up in other parts of your relationship.
Robert: And she doesn’t have the man that she married.
Bob: That’s right!
Robert: It’s interesting, one of the symptoms of all that we’re talking about now is lethargy and passivity. That is an epidemic in this country.
Passive, lethargic men. Some of these are guys, 30 years old and coming back home to live with their parents. They’ve lost the will to do something daring.
Dennis, you have written about this. Your Stepping Up book, I loved it. That’s what it is. It’s a call to something greater than what you’re experiencing.
Dennis: To step away from self and step up to become what and who God made you to be. Barbara and I were sitting by the fire the other day and we were just talking about how we were made to share life together but also to minister to one another’s souls. I don’t understand all I know.
But I believe that sex in marriage is profoundly spiritual. I think it has an impact on our soul. I don’t think God separates all this in different component parts. I think God made us to be one physically but also one in our souls in marriage. To do that I think you have to delight in each other.
Robert: It’s a picture of what our relationship with Jesus is supposed to look like.
Bob: Mary Ann and I have had this conversation because there have been stretches in our marriages where there have been seasons where, for whatever reason, a lot of travel, or pregnancy, you can name the seasons, where you’re just not together as often as you might otherwise be in a marriage relationship.
Here’s what we’ve noticed. The dynamic of your relationship is different.
So the discipline of regular intimacy in a marriage relationship is a discipline that builds a tighter relationship, martially. So to the guy who is saying, I’m just going to take care of this another way, what you are saying is, I’m going to siphon off some of the relational dynamic. I’m going to waste it elsewhere and not build into the marriage as I ought.
Robert: God made us for each other and sometimes it doesn’t feel convenient. But, it’s interesting, if my goal is that sex is the expression of our relationship instead of the fulfillment of it that makes a big difference. If my task is to please my wife, then my joy comes from that not looking for it for myself.
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: Sex is not to please self, it is about self-sacrifice. If you are demanding, if you are not compassionate and understanding, and honestly, I look back on our lives when we started out our marriage and had six kids in ten years, and what it takes from a woman to be a mother of six before she even steps a foot into the bedroom to be my wife. I was not that compassionate. I should have expressed compassion and so I’m trying to make up for some lost years.
Robert: So what would the lie be there?
Dennis: Sex is about me, not us.
Robert: That’s it.
We got there by talking about pornography and I think it’s fair enough that we spend that much time on that because it is epidemic to a degree we can’t even conceive of. I don’t want this conversation to be just about that, but there are single guys that I want to be able to read this book, enjoy it, and learn from it.
But in this context, we’re talking about married men who believe the lie that this is about them instead of their wives.
Dennis: All of life is one long journey determining who you’re going to believe. And what you’re going to embrace. I think the lesson from today’s broadcast is turn away from fantasy. If you’re a single person embrace friendships but keep your distance sexually from an expression of sex toward the opposite sex.
If you’re married and you’re hung up on pornography, find a close brother, someone you can trust because you’re not going to get out of the trap by yourself.
Robert: That’s right.
Dennis: Confess it and then find the time and get the counsel that is needed and necessary to talk with your wife about it.
Robert: I have a very good friend who was caught up in it. He changed his password to Jesus on his computer. He just knew every time he put those letters in, that he had a friend closer than a brother, but a Sovereign God who was paying attention.
Bob: I think we come back to the main premise which is our behavior comes out of what we believe. When you are looking at pornography or when you are being pulled away from your marriage, you’ve got to come back and say what is it that I am really believing is true here, that I’m going to find more fulfillment outside than inside my marriage, that God’s ways about sexuality are restrictive and unhelpful.
These are the lies we have to correct with the truth. That’s where you take us in your book, Lies Men Believe, which is a book that we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go online to FamilyLifeToday.com to order a copy or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-358-6329 to get a copy of Robert’s book, Lies Men Believe.
It’s a great book to go through with other guys. You can have an extended men’s group study through this book because there are 40 lies addressed in the book. If you took a lie a week you’d go the better part of a year going through Lies Men Believe. Again order the book online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FLTODAY to get your copy.
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I hope you can join us back tomorrow. Robert Wolgemuth is going to be here again. We are going to continue to talk about lies men believe and the truth that sets us free. Hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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