Ladies, there's a battle going on for you right now.
It's a battle for your feelings, for your mind, for your heart.
On one side is fantasy. Fantasy puts up a good fight. It's creative and crafty. It's intriguing and interesting. It's tempting and tricky. Fantasy makes you think that there's something better out there. Someone hotter and more romantic. Someone sweeter and more loving. Something less complicated (or more complicated, which oddly enough is sometimes tempting). Something that just falls together without work, without consequences, without commitment. Something easy. Someone more perfect. Fantasy messes with your mind and tricks you into thinking you don't have enough. You wind up wanting more and less all at the same time. More romance with less work. More love to receive and less you have to give. More excitement and adventure with fewer or no consequences. More enjoyment with fewer rules.
Fantasy gives the appearance of nothing but fun. Watch the movie. Read the book. Get sucked into someone else's love story. Let your eyes see what they want. Let your ears hear what they will. You're just watching the screen or reading the words. You're immersing yourself in this fantasy world. Who are you hurting? What are you compromising? What are you risking?
Maybe more than you think.
On the other side of this battle is reality. Reality also puts up a good fight. It's creative and crafty. It's intriguing and interesting. It's tempting and tricky. Reality shows you what's in front of you. Your imperfect body with its belly, cellulite and graying hair. Your husband's imperfect body with its scratchy beard stubble, slight gut and strange odors. His weak attempts at romance. Your far-too-busy life that leaves little time for intimacy of any kind. The excruciating work of a committed marriage that, at times, is anything but easy. Reality can seem like too much at times. You give without always getting in return. Adventure, over time, gives way to the monotony of every day life. The rules of marriage appear to be less about enjoying each other and more about restricting your freedoms.
Reality gives the appearance of nothing much fun. Don't do this. Do that. Repeat again tomorrow.
It looks like reality is more on the losing side of this battle.
But, wait! Look again at reality's fight. Reality does take a beating at times. But reality is resilient. Reality has something that fantasy doesn't have.
Reality has... reality.
Yes, reality can be incredibly harsh and difficult - the exact opposite of the life that fantasy tries to offer you. But the harder truth is that reality is where you actually are... and where you actually need to be. Ladies, we need to get out of this fantasy world and back to whatever reality is for you.
Because what you hurt, compromise and risk in the fantasy is your reality.
If you're a wife, reality is your husband. If you're a mom, reality is your family. If you're single, reality is your real friendships and relationships. If you're a Christian in any of these roles, reality is even greater.
The fantasy we're so easily drawn to as women can potentially be just as dangerous as the fantasies that threaten our men. When we're drawn to the handsome, romantic, sexy man on the screen, we're drawn away from our husbands. When we let ourselves get so caught up in the love story of someone else, we begin to abandon our own. The fantasy man makes us wish our man was more like that... our love was as exciting as that... our romance was as fiery as that. And soon we're led into a lie that our lives, our families, our husbands, just aren't enough. The fantasy makes us love our reality just a little less each time we're drawn into it.
So what are women to do? Give up our romance novels and chick flicks? Not necessarily, but we have to be incredibly careful. We have to recognize the difference between the fantasy and reality. We have to understand what's behind the fantasy and how Satan could potentially use the fantasy to build a wall between us and our husbands. We have to understand our individual realities for what they really are. We have to practice seeing through the harshness of reality to the beauty that God has placed there for us.
Behind your imperfect body is a woman who needs real love for who she really is - from a real man given to her by an even more real God. Behind his imperfect body is a man who craves real respect - from a real woman given to him by an even more real God. Behind his attempts at romance are real feelings of awe, adoration, love, and devotion - for you. Look harder through your crazy busy life and see the abilities and talents God has given each of you to serve others. See the blessings of jobs, entertainment, friends and family. Experience the fun of hobbies and recreation - and enjoy them with your husband. Peer deeper into the bonds of your marriage commitment to each other and find the rest and contentment that comes from an intimacy that goes beyond a purely physical connection. Those marriage "rules" provide security and safety that you can't find in an intimacy outside that bond.
And when reality is just too much? When the temptation to fall back to the fantasy is just too hard to resist?
Know that you have a loving Father who is ready for you with open arms. Run to a full life in Him before you run to an empty fantasy. God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your greatest needs and deepest desires and He promises that when you seek Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. Taking those needs and desires to Him may not be easy, but the results will be so much better than the risks involved with turning to the fantasy.
Friend, you are worth far more than anything a fantasy is willing to offer you. Stay in the fight and keep fighting for your reality. I'm fighting right there with you. And our God has most definitely already won the war for us, so with Him we have nothing to fear.