Thursday, February 26

No, I can’t love my husband and Brad Pitt too

Today I have a devotion running at Proverbs 31 about the dangers of having an emotional affair. Believe it or not, this is a terribly dangerous situation that haunts many women day in and day out.

Maybe it’s a friend’s husband- a guy at the office- a past boyfriend- or a guy at church. No matter who it is, what may seem so innocent at first can quickly lead to disaster.

We women were made for emotional connection.

Our DNA longs for that man who will sweep us off our feet and carry us into the sunset while acting like we are light as a feather. He says the right things at the right moments, has the tenderness of our best girlfriend but the manliness of the Marlboro man.

Although, since I’m allergic, he can’t smoke like the Marlboro man. So, maybe that’s not the best example. But you catch my drift.

We want that connection that makes us the star of our own Jerry McGuire moment where he proclaims, “you complete me.”

That was a fine romantic moment.

So fine in fact it sort of ruined every real guy’s response since then.

I mean imagine a less Hollywood scene. Hubs comes in from cutting the grass only to be asked to please change Jr’s poopy diaper. I just can’t see him quipping back, “Absolutely dear- you complete me.”

Chances are, it’s not going to happen.

But what could absolutely happen is that another man suddenly starts saying all those things that you wish hubs would say. He makes you feel good- fresh- alive- like putting on lipstick again.

And so you do.

And you start going out of your way to see him. And you like that he notices you. And you like what he says to you. And. And. And.

And suddenly, you’re in trouble. Your husband can do no right. This other man can do no wrong.

The problem with this is that by the time you realize this other man also wakes up with morning breath, has traits that will grate on your nerves, and will stop saying “you complete me,” it’s often too late to reverse all the damage done in your marriage.

I once sat across the table from a friend who’d traded her marriage for someone she thought might be her “real soul mate.” In tears she admitted it all started with simple emotional flirting. Now, she’d give anything to go back and make different choices.

This week, we’ve been talking about watching our words but it’s equally important to watch our thoughts as well.

For where our thoughts go, our emotions will quickly follow.

Why not recapture some of those amazing thoughts we used to ponder about our husbands. You know the ones during those days where we doodled our first name with his last name on every spare napkin? Don’t pretend like you didn’t do that too!

Anyhow, let’s take each of our thoughts captive today. Let’s intentionally fill our minds with a list of all that our husband does right.

And then when he walks through the door tonight, let’s throw our arms around that husband of ours and proclaim, “you complete me. I just had to make sure you knew that.”

He’ll totally pretend to look at you like you’re crazy— but deep inside he’ll love it.

After all, the grass isn’t greener on the other side- the grass is greener where we water and fertilize it.

Discussion

  1. 51

    I’m not trying to plug my blog but you should read this story here: http://swile67.blogspot.com/2009/02/resolved.html

    As a single woman, I have to keep things in check to. It is a story of God’s grace to help me see “the grass isn’t greener on the other side!”

  2. 52

    Wonderful and timely blog post!

  3. 53

    Such a good post! I find that when I begin to be disillusioned with my marriage, it’s because my eyes are on me—again! When my eyes are on Christ, and I concentrate on the vows I made before him to my hubby, my hubby just looks better than sliced bread to me! Some days it’s not easy to water and fertilize, but that’s when I need to the most and pretty soon the Lord straightens out my stinkin thinkin and life is good again!

  4. 54

    I praise the Lord for you Lysa! I also thank God for a godly husband who is wise well beyond his years and knew all about the dangers of this type of thing from the very beginning of our relationship (and thank the Lord for my husband’s patience with me, a baby Christian). We both worked very hard to establish and commit to our boundaries with the opposite sex from day one. I work in a factory that is roughly 70% women and both sexes seem to be constantly on the prowl. The worst part is that affairs seem to catch like the flu. I find that when I start to repeat what another man has said one too many times, etc., that is when my husband will bring it to my attention and I reevaluate how often I am talking to the person, how much joking around, etc. It absolutely has never been anything more than just talking with someone more than is wise, but I see too often how it turns into a very slippery slope for those longing for an emotional connection. I pray for all the women who have posted that God will restore their relationships, and protect all of those whose have not been broken.

  5. 55

    This happened to me not too long ago with someone on staff at our church. My husband was into porn and I turned to the man who was counseling me. He was gentle and kind and always told me how beautiful I looked. I never got that from my husband. This started out emotional but led to something physical even though he wasn’t the most gorgeous man I had ever seen, I was willing to settle. God has restored my marriage but it is a work in progress every single day. Although this was a terrible thing that happened to me and my husband it brought a lot of things to light that neither of us would ever have been willing to talk about. His porn, my loneliness. We both see what we could have done differently to keep this from happening. I know that one of them would have been to praise my husband more and to show him more “physical” attention. Although that is hard for a women to do when she feels like she is being compared to these beautiful skinny girls that he is looking at on the computer. I should have dug my heels in and fought but it was so much easier to turn to this man who was already giving me attention. I just want to warn ladies who may be in counseling to always, ALWAYS make sure someone else is in the room with you. Most churches require that but not all of them. Afterall, those pastors and counselors are human too and who knows what is going on in their marriage. Thank you Lysa for bringing this to everyones attention. Blessings to you and your ministry.

  6. 56

    When I was a child, our pastor started counseling a single Mom and before he knew it, he was divorcing his wife, marrying the other woman and changing professions. Yes, as the song states, it really does start so innocently, maybe just trying to help someone else. This is something, I have felt extremely adament about since I got married. Unfortunately, my husband did not agree even though he was a believer. His relationships with other women have been extremely detrimental to our marriage. He would always tell me he was just trying to help another woman. After much discussion, begging and eventually screaming for him to end these relationships he still refused for many years. Our daughter even said one woman was Daddy’s best friend and not Mommy because of what she observed. This still did not make him change. His reply was that our daughter is only a child, what does she know? Finally, after much prayer, God gave me the strength to stand up to him and say I was tired of him putting other women before me and basically gave him some ultimatums. That worked, but only because I followed what God was telling me to do. I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise or it could destroy your marriage. It truly has to be God given and not lies Satan is telling you. My husband finally understands that his behavior was unexceptable and has apologized but that took 10 years. Now, I struggle with trust every single day. The road has not been easy and probably won’t be for a while, but I know that only through Jesus can things be made right and we can weather any storm. I also know that God will eventually make our marriage even better than if we hadn’t gone through this. I know that my relationship with God has definitely grown because of what I went through. I had to cling to God and his word day and night. Hind sight it was worth it, even though it was extemely painful because of the strength I have now found in Christ.

  7. 57

    been there, done that,still there sometimes
    I’m glad you brought it up, it is so easy to fall into something that seems so miniscule at first, and ends up major. Very painful yet heartbreakingly wonderful when it is in the beginning stages. I do not know how to get out of it, although it has caused much pain to a lot of people. I am finding it very difficult to believe God can forgive me for this and to believe anyone would want me after hearing what I’ve done. Again, thank you. Hopefully, others will listen.

  8. 58

    Thank you, Lysa. You are such an encouragement. I heart reading your blog.

    The verse about fleeing reminded me of something my husband used to do with some of his friends and accountability partners in junior high school. If they ever saw or heard something or someone that caused them sexually immoral thoughts, they would literally RUN from that place.

    That would be interesting to see if everyone did that. :)

    ara

  9. 59

    What are you supposed to do when your husband is constantly berating you for something you did or didn’t do? He’s even told me he loves our daughter more than he loves me, while I was in labor with his second daughter nonetheless. I’ve recently been in contact with an old boyfriend who is saying all of these wonderful things, making me feel loved again. I know it’s wrong. I keep praying that God will intervene and do something soon.

  10. 60

    Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!

    I so want to give my man a big smooch right now! :) Thanks Lysa! (I’m sure he’ll thank you too!)

    That is unless this emotional high wears off between making dinner, breaking up fights, and cleaning the kitchen! OR I could just be intentional and give him a big smooch anyway! :)

  11. 61

    I think everybody has to fight off an attraction to another at some point (if not more than one) in their marriage.

    I love the timeliness of this post. Yesterday, an old fiance came to mind out of the blue. I fought off the thought of him all day and kept trying to think about my husband instead. Then I had dreams of him last night. And so this morning I spent time in prayer over it again. I really feel these thoughts were brought on by the enemy and now I have to submit my mind to Christ over and over again.

    My husband is a good man and I love him dearly. I wish my mind would only think or dream about him automatically!

    God intervenes by giving us His Word. He expects us to obey it. I know to think about another man is sin, so I have to avoid the temptation as much as is in my control and then submit my mind moment by moment. I have to trust in the Lord.

    To give into entertaining the sin in my mind would mean I am putting myself and MY happiness in a place that only God should occupy. No matter what is going on in my life, I would be responsible.

    If your husband is treating you horribly, please consider that if you are considering separating for biblical reasons such as adultery or abuse…are you willing to make Christ alone your Husband and walk in singleness?

    If not, you are separating for selfish motives and the Lord will not bless it.

    For those of you struggling, I will be praying for you too as I pray for the Lord to keep my mind pure.

  12. 62

    Thanks for the reminders. My husband travels a lot for work and I am at home with my two young children. I get lonely but will do anything to get my marriage and family together. One thing I have chosen not to do is participate in Facebook and sites of that nature. Yes, reconnecting with old friends would be enjoyable but I am closing the door to any type of temptation of attention that might come my way. I have decided at this stage in my life, it would make me vulnerable. Thanks again.
    JH

  13. 63

    I know we are supposed to look for the good in everyone but sometimes if we look at what we don’t care for in the “other” man it will help us appreciate “our” man more and we can go on without getting involved.

  14. 64

    Lysa,
    This is the first time I have read your blog and I can't believe how relevant it is to me today. This morning my husband and I had an almighty row – I took off my rings and he basically gave me an ultimatum. We made up after both dissolving into tears, but I know that this is just the start of sorting out a lot of issues between us. Just after Christmas I went to a Christian convention & met up with a group of friends. One of them has been a good friend to both my husband & I, and as the week progressed I found myself watching him more, thinking about him more & then getting frustrated and annoyed at myself. I thought this would be fine when I got home, but actually it just made me look at my husband and immediately see all his faults. Its taken me all this time to forget this, but we're having a quiet night in this evening and I really do pray that God can break us both separately and then build up again – this time together. Its so exciting – so your advice will forever be written in my kitchen!!

    Thanks again.

  15. 65

    Thank you for the gentle reminder, Lysa. I needed to hear it today.

  16. 66

    Hi Lysa! i re-posted your blog in my friendster blog.. Your passion and love for God, your family and kids has blessed me so much.. you are one of my role model as a new wife.. i havent seen my husband for 17 months already because of his job.. your blog was a great reminder for me.. hopefully to all my friends in friendster too! :)

  17. 67

    All I can say is, “Amen!” I thank God for women like you who aren’t afraid to speak the truth. We’ve all been here. Our imagination is just as strong as a mans when it comes to these things, though typically one is emotional and one is physical.

    I see a good many women being ministered to just by being able to tell come clean here about their past. That speaks volumes. Thanks, Lysa.

    btw… I told Brad Pitt that it was over! :)

  18. 68

    Lysa,

    I am getting caught up on your blog…such good words here lately!!

    I cannot believe you’re going to be in Dallas and I can’t go…I’ll be celebrating and recreating a date from 15 years ago with the hubs. I’m looking forward to it greatly. Although,I’ll be missing you greatly too.

    As the song goes…Come back to Texas!

  19. 69

    I’m definitely not married yet, but I appreciate this reminder. In the Tyler Perry movie, “Why Did I Get Married?”, they called it the 80/20 rule. You get 80% of your needs met by your spouse. When someone comes around and offers you that 20% that you didn’t even recognize that you were missing, you risk losing the 80% that you love and end up with less than you had before.

  20. 70

    My post for tomorrow’s Marriage Monday on my blog is about this same EXACT thing. One friend told me last week about changing her life to avoid a relationship that was becoming flirtatious. I was SO proud of her. Later that day, another friend called me in tears, trying to put her marriage back together after a relationship of hers went too far. I am SO sad for her. Lots of lessons to learn from both sides, I think. The main one being: no one sets out to have an affair. Thank you for being yet another voice for our marriages.

  21. 71

    Lysa,

    Thank you for this. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

    Humbled,
    Sandy

  22. 72

    Thanks so much for being an honest voice in a faith that loves to only show the flowers and not the dirt. I really think your honesty causes many people to be honest with themselves. God sees all and knows all and yet died for all.

  23. 73
    Anonymous says:

    This was a very powerful read. I am currently in a similar situation. I do love my husband dearly but this friend is someone I can confide and talk to about anything. I’m not trying to make excuses for comunicating with him. I’m just finding it difficult to walk away because we have been friends for many years. We are both married and he is currently unhappy in his but knows my marriage is okay. He never pressures me to be unfaithful. He has even distanced himself from me as not to jeopardize my marriage. However, we always seem to find our way back to one another after a time of separation. How do you explain that? I want to be faithful in my marriage but I also don’t want to loose the best friend I’ve ever had. It’s just unfortunate he’s a male and there is an attraction between us. I’m so messed up behind this and I’m praying about it.

  24. 74

    I love the last statement. Well said. =)

  25. 75
    Anonymous says:

    It’s nice to know that I am not alone in this. I considered myself a very strong Christian also. I felt so ashamed and I struggled with my emotional affair for 12 years! As much as my husband and I went through marriage counseling and whatever else was suggested, we never made it. He just let me go. After 3 years of living like a brother and sister I could not take it anymore and I left. 2 months later he got involved with a younger woman at our church who I sang with in our Praise and Worship Team, and he then filed for divorce. I am sad in one respect, and that is that after 30 years of marriage it failed and came to an end. The guilt and the shame I felt was horrible and I had so much emotional turmoil. After trying to reconcile with him I told him he would have to give up his friendship with this other woman, and he told me absolutely not. He would not give it up, that he did nt love me or have any feelings or emotional ties for me. Just like that. Needless to say it is 2 years now since the break-up of our marriage. We went for a legal separation because I did not agree with his reasons for the divorce. I wanted it based on truth not lies. This July our divorce will be final. I have my regrets and I pray the Lord will forgive me, I know all too well what the scriptures have to say about this. But he no longer wants me. In the meantime, I believe God has given to me a man who is everything I have ever needed. He’s kind, compassionate, patient…this has been a difficult situation for me, my marriage splitting, but as my christian counselor said, Scripture says “Whom GOD has brought together, put not asunder.” I was warned by a christian friend not to marry my soon to be ex-husband, but I did not listen and I suffered for it for 30 years. God is always good, and we should always listen to Him, because He is our Heavenly Father and He always wants the best for us….He loves us. Love in Christ, Diane

  26. 76
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Anonymous, (March 2nd, 2009)..read my comment for March 4th. That’s how it all begins…we have a void or need and good old satan comes along and manages to fill it somehow. The “pull” of the “flesh” can be “very” strong and decieving. If you love your husband as you say you do, start cultivating with your husband everything you are cultivating with this man or friend. We as emotional women or creatures can get tied up in our emotional needs so easily. Sometimes we need to “think” with our “head” and not our “hearts” (emotions or feelings). And don’t look for “signs”. Your comment, “However, we always manage to find our wat back to one another.” That is one of the strongest tools satan will use. I always loked for a sign like that, and thought, “Oh, this has got to be.” But God will “never” lead us to sin, He will always give us a way out….read it in scripture. It might be in the Book of James. I feel for you sister, and I know the torment and turmoil (emotionally). Ask God to help you to “think” with your head and not your heart. Ask Him to renew or rekindle that intimate time with your husband, and i don’t mean sexual. Sometimes we are more intimate with our husbands when we share our thoughts and ideas, then we we are physically involved. I will be praying for you too, that God will strengthen and help you. If i can beat the enemy at destroying another marriage that will be fine with me. Love in Christ, Diane

  27. 77
    Anonymous says:

    Hi, I hope my message yesterday, March 4th, was not taken as being critical. It was not meant in that spirit. I meant it as a “I know how you are feeling, hang in there.” Sorry if it was taken otherwise. Love in Christ, Diane

  28. 78
    Anonymous says:

    Wow…I’m glad I’m not alone. Had an old boyfriend asked to be let in in my Facebook and old emotions came rushing in. Then I had to tell my husband and asked for his help to block him from my FB because just imagine what “connections” will pop up from that one. He’s all blocked and his brother and sister too. But still, there are these thoughts that come in…”Wouldn’t it be fun to reminisce?”…Gosh, the flesh will cry out all the way to the cross!

    Thank you for your blog Lysa. God bless!