How to THRIVE in Your Wedding Vows Series - Part 6
Disclaimer - Because of sin, there is serious dysfunction in some marriages today. This series does not mean to whitewash any problems inside of broken marriages. Instead, I desire to uncover the beauty of the vows thru a Biblical worldview and how they are meant to play out in a healthy marriage.
My husband made a comment. I replied with a snarky remark. Without missing a beat, he quoted, “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” He had a twinkle in his eye which caused me to laugh, diffusing the fight in me. But it also made me stop and think,
"Are my callous remarks and digs causing my husband to want to be anywhere but at home with me?"
On our wedding day, promising to “love and cherish” our spouse seems like an easy task. Yet, how often do we hear, “We just don’t love each other anymore.” when couples choose to divorce. When I thought about skipping this line in the Wedding Vows series, the Spirit slowed me down and prompted me to dig a little deeper. What a treasure trove I discovered.
What does this line of the vow look like for the Jesus girl yearning to thrive in her wedding vows? My hunt began with the wisdom book of Proverbs. As I dug, I began to formulate a question to guide my research, "Which Proverbs wife am I?”
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Am I like the wise woman building up those in my household, starting with my husband?
Do I resemble the foolish woman by tearing down my house, beginning with my husband?
Proverbs 31 helps us answer these questions. Let's personalize them to see which wife we are.
The Proverbs 31 "Love and Cherish" Litmus Test
vs. 11 - The heart of her husband trust in her.
Wise wife - My husband’s heart trusts me, no question about it. Like a bird in a nest, he trusts his heart in my gentle, kind hands.
Foolish wife - My husband’s heart used to trust me, but now he’s not so sure I’ve got his back. Some days I’m encouraging and loving, but other days I slice and dice him with my words and actions.
vs. 12 - She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Wise wife - I do him good not evil ALL the days of my life.
Foolish wife - I do him good some days, but other days I do him evil if I am feeling hormonal or tired or I didn’t get my way, or he just isn’t living up to my standard of an excellent husband.
vs. 26 - When she speaks, her words are wise.
Wise wife - I only open my mouth when I have something wise and encouraging and edifying to say.
Foolish wife - I open my mouth with wisdom some of the days, but other days folly spews forth like a toxic brew.
vs. 26 - and she gives instruction with kindness.
Wise wife - My words and actions are those of a lover, rather than a mother. They are kind and gentle and patient with him at all times.
Foolish wife - Some days my words and actions are kind and compassionate, but other days, I nag and demean and belittle.
vs. 30 - But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Wise wife - I am a woman who fears the Lord and thus even on the hard marital days, love my man well for the glory of the Lord.
Foolish wife - I fear the Lord some days unless my husband irks me then I let my flesh take over.
Ouch! This litmus test hurts and is convicting. Proverbs 31 is the standard God has set for us Jesus girls. I fear I fall short more days than I care to count. But I want to measure up. I want God to find me faithful to this task He set before me.
On our wedding day, this task to "love and cherish" others well moves our spouse into the top spot below God. And... above our children. Goodness, that's a whole other post.
So, how do we "love and cherish" our husbands well thru the good, the bad, and the ugly? God in all His kindness provided us with a list full of attainable ways to "love and cherish" our men well. In the place of the word love, however, we're going to insert ourselves. Lol - come on, don't check out on me! We want abundant life for our marriages. No better place to start then on ourselves. Join me, my sister!
The 1 Corinthians 13 "Love and Cherish" Checklist.
I am patient - I will love with a long-suffering kind of love, through the good and the bad, with a "til death do us part" kind of patience.
I am kind - I will be mild and gentle in my manner toward you. I will do simple acts of kindness, a "just because" loving act, because I choose to be kind.
I am not jealous - I will rejoice when others prefer you over me for we truly are one.
I do not brag about my accomplishments to undermine you or appear superior. Nor will I trumpet the little or big things I do for you.
I am not arrogant. I will not look down my nose at you because you don’t know something or act a certain way. I will focus on your needs rather than my own.
I do not act unbecomingly - I will not be rude or disrespectful to you in my words or actions.
I do not seek my own way - I will not manipulate a situation for my own good or favor.
I do not provoke you - I will not seek a fight or a rise from you. I, in turn, will not be provoked by you, or become irritated by your ways or habits.
I do not take into account a wrong suffered - I will not hold an infraction over your head over and over again. I will let the past stay in the past and hope for tomorrow!
I do not rejoice in unrighteousness - I will not color the truth or paint a scenario to mislead you or negatively influence you about others or a situation.
I rejoice with the truth - I will stand on the truth in a loving, encouraging way.
I bear (or cover) all things - I won't go around telling all your deep secrets or faults.
I believe all things. - Even in the worst of times, I choose to believe the best of you.
I hope all things - Some days seem long, as do some seasons, of marriage. Yet, l will hope for brighter days and for the best in you.
I endure all things - I won't give up on you, no matter what. I will keep on bearing, believing, and hoping until death do us part.
And that's it. God's doable checklist on how to "love and cherish" our spouse well. It's a tough list, but through Christ, it is not only doable but also the way to thrive in our wedding vows.
Why do we want to "love and cherish" our spouse well? At the end of the day, we want to be the safe place where our spouse chooses to land. So, we will choose to be the wise woman and build our house by loving and cherishing our spouse for the glory of God and the good of our marriage.
I don't know if you or your spouse wish the other was living on the corner of the roof. But dear one, you obviously loved your spouse deeply at one time, or else you wouldn’t have married him. Listed below are some tips on how to rekindle that loving feeling.
How to Rekindle that Loving Feeling:
- 5 Love Languages - take the test to find your spouse's love language and intentionally serve him that way.
- Husband Encouragement Challenge - a 30-day encouragement challenge
- Love Dare - Take the 40 days Love Dare
- The Three Things Thankfulness List - Write down three things you’re thankful for about your spouse each day.
- One Act of Kindness - Choose to do one kind thing each day for 30 days for your spouse.
How about you? How did you fare on the Litmus Test? Which area do you need to move from the foolish wife to the wise wife? What about the Checklist? I know as I was writing there were a couple of areas the Spirit convicted me. Let's lock arms and cheer each other on in this race called marriage!
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? Who Knew? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do not Grow Weary "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
Content in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
You know what I love? I love loving on people. I love making people feel special and letting them know they matter. I am like a 98% extrovert, so meeting people and engaging in conversations come pretty natural to me. My husband on the other hand is the total opposite. He is an introvert by nature, but the Lord has really given him more extrovert characteristics through being in ministry. We like to say we balance each other out really well! I know when he needs some time at home and he knows when I have been cooped up and I need to get out! Ha!
We are in our sixteenth year of ministry and every year is getting sweeter! As I look back over the years, the one theme I find is that the Lord has been very gracious to give us favor with people. We have served alongside and ministered to the most amazing people and they have loved on us so well!
The one prayer that we as a family have always had is that we would be authentic, real, and love people intentionally right where they are. We view our mission field as more than just the church building. We strive to represent Christ and love people at the ball fields, schools, restaurants and wherever else the Lord may have us. Now, hear me out...we don’t always get it right and we have had to learn over the years how to love people well. It is a refining process that will continue until the day we take our last breath.
What would this world look like if we showed deep love for one another? What would this world look like if we were intentional and loving in the way we treated others and spoke to others?
I thought back over our married years and came up with four ways that we as a family have tried to show love to others. I hope they can help spur you on to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those you come in contact with.
First and foremost...BE YOU! Nobody wants a fake you. God created you for a purpose! Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. People are drawn to authenticity. When we realize that none of us have it together, the walls come down and real life happens. Whatever your struggles are, you can bet the people you are loving on have similar struggles too. We have so much to learn from each other, but that can only happen when we remove the mask.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
One thing that I hear people say about my husband is, “he calls me by name”. I am envious of that trait because I am not very good at it. Being intentional is not self seeking, but seeking good for that person. You loving on someone may not bring any benefit to you, but it may be everything that person needs to push them towards Christ. Scripture tells us to encourage one another! Let people know that you are praying for them and that you are interested in what is going on in their life.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
An important part of loving others well is being able to speak truth in love. God created each of us in His image (Genesis 1:27), so to treat someone poorly or to say things about someone that are hurtful is pretty much saying that what God created wasn't good enough. Have you ever thought about it like that? When people get to know the real you and see that you really care, my experience has been, they take truth so much better. People then begin to appreciate and respect your honesty.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
Have you ever heard the saying, “talk is cheap”? Our actions help solidify our words. Be there for people. Be present in their lives. There is nothing better than doing life together. Be aware and notice when people are not around. A friend of mine recently said that her family will begin opening their home one night a month for anyone to come and have dinner with them. She wants to create community and love on people around her dining room table. WOW! What a great idea! She inspired me to want to do the same in a different format for the women of my community. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just being there is all someone needs.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10: 24-25
If I have learned anything about being a pastor’s wife, it’s to be bold in my friendships, to not fear rejection and to just be me. What you see is what you get and I am thankful for a Savior that is molding me and making me into an instrument to be used for Him everyday. If you are not an extrovert by nature and building friendships is scary for you, know that more times than not, people are wanting you to notice them and engage with them. People want to be acknowledged, loved, and feel that they matter.
Maybe there is someone that you have been meaning to reach out to...go do it! Maybe you see the same customer come through the door or the same lady at cheer practice...find out who they are and call them by name. This is where the journey begins!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
When my blogging life started five months ago, I often found myself parked on our couch with laptop or notebook in lap as my kids carried on around me. This was the only doable solution if I wanted to be present with my kids and not hole myself away in a room, which never works well in my house. After the first few weeks of this new routine, my daughter began to pull out her own notebook and would nestle up close beside me and started writing, too. But, instead of blogging to an audience of many, she began writing to an audience of One. Thus, at the ripe age of 8, her prayer journal began.
She would let me peek at it once she was finished. Her words moved me more than any blog I could ever write. She asked God questions that were pressing on her mind such as, “How can you walk on water? Is it gravity?” or “How did you make weather? How did you make us? I just want to know.” She then moved on to praises such as, “Thank you so much for everything you do for me. Sometimes I don’t even realize that you do stuff for me.” And “I love you. You’re the best. I was wondering what I would do without you? I don’t know what I would do!” And, she always, always would include, “Can I have a baby sister?” (Bless her!)
A peek inside her journal. Shown with her permission.
Seeing her childlike faith and adoration spilt out onto the pages of her journal revealed an important truth to me – she’s ready to go deeper. Long gone are the days filled with The Jesus Storybook Bible and countless hours of Veggie Tales. Her faith has matured past animated talking vegetables and paraphrased Bible stories. She’s ready for more! And, because of the wonderful command to parents tucked inside of Deuteronomy 6 and 11, I knew it was my job to show her what going deeper looks like.
As Valentine’s Day approached this year, the Lord showed me a way to use this day to sow into her heart. This grand day of LOVE has the amazing potential to teach our children WHO loves comes from. Yet, we never use it for that purpose. Scripture tells us that Love comes from God 1 John 4:7. Why not shift our focus and make it about HIM instead of US?
Because I love a good party, especially when it involves giggly little girls, I proposed the idea to my girl about having a Jesus Loves Me Valentine party. She loved the idea! We texted a few friends’ mommies who caught our vision and they said they’d come in their Valentine best with Bibles in hand. I was giddy with excitement! I have never done Bible study with little girls. How would they react? Would they roll their eyes? Would they understand? I didn’t know these answers but it was a gamble that I was willing to take.
So, the day of the party came and I must say it will forever be a cherished memory of mine. My girl helped me with every detail. She thoughtfully planned out the seating arrangement which was based on who was friends with who and where she thought they'd feel most comfortable. We strung felt hearts from the chandelier and then she divided up the fruit evenly into cups and arranged the mini cupcakes and brownies onto a platter. This prep time with her was my favorite!
Simple decorations that cost only $1-$3
Once the party started, six sweet 8 year olds gathered around the table with me and did their very first “Bible study” – looking up and reading the verses on “Conversation Hearts” that I made (see printable at the bottom). It warmed my heart to watch them help one another find Zephaniah or pronounce words they didn’t know. I briefly explained each verse and they would add their insights as well. These verses about God’s love for them – His inexplicable, unexplainable, and undeserved love – filled both my home and their hearts. We talked about how He sings over us, how He goes before us, how He delights in us, how He fills us with joy in His presence, and how He will love us forever and ever. And then, we talked about how long forever is.
In addition to Bible study, I wanted to show them a way to go back home and continue growing in their faith. So, I made each one a “Praises & Prayers” jar, memory verse holder, and a Prayer Journal. These items are nothing fancy or expensive. Any non-crafty mama or grandmother can make these! Or, the girls may have loved them even more if I would have helped them make their own. Either way, I wanted to give them something special, something personal, that encourages ongoing conversations with the Lord and Bible study.
The Prayer Journal is a simple composition book from Walmart. I splurged an extra $1 and bought pretty ones with plastic durable covers and silver spines. Use stickers to personalize or find a friend who has a Cricut or Silhouette machine to make some for you!
We also had a craft that I thought of on a whim the night before and it was the biggest hit! I bought $2 wooden letters of their first initial and they painted away as they sang along to The Greatest Showman (their request). By the way, this age LOVES turquoise! They squealed with delight at the sight of the turquoise paint being squeezed out and they all called dibs on it.
After the letters dried, they took fine-tipped paint pens and wrote one word to describe each girl onto her letter. These letters with words of life written onto them will remind them how special they are to their friends.
The day ended with lots and lots of twirling and hide-and-seek. We all agreed that we need to plan a party for Easter and then for the Fourth of July and then… They kept going on and on. As I thought about it, I realized that we can turn any occasion into a way to point to Christ!
If you sense that your girl is ready to go deeper and grow in Christ, look for opportunities to share this wonderful experience with her. You will find that as you guide her in her walk with the Lord, your faith will grow, too.
P.S. Just before I was about to go live with this post, I had to drop something off at my daughter's classroom. I wasn't three steps into the room when one of the little girls who attended her party came running up to me and exclaimed, "Mrs. Rebecca! I've written in my prayer journal every night!" It made me smile big.
Give them a pen mamas and watch them go!
By Faith Kids - Conversation Hearts printable:
Join us next week as we share Raising Little Kids with Big Faith - Tools for Sowing Seeds of Faith into Your Children. This post will contain practical and fun ideas to spur both your girls and your boys onto a greater, more intimate relationship with the Lord as they grow in their knowledge of Him.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
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Fun Ideas to Show Some LOVE This February
Mailboxes- Audra's pick
At the beginning of February each year we pull out these adorable mini mailboxes that I found in the dollar section at Target several years ago. There’s one for each family member. For the first half of February, up until Valentine’s Day, we “mail” love letters to each other. The kids are thrilled every time they receive a new letter and it’s so sweet to receive them from them!
Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Laura's pick
I think chocolate covered strawberries scream Valentine’s Day! I have spent many years making them as gifts and I always spoiled my youth Bible study girls with them! Last year though, our daughter was preparing to go on her first mission trip and we had the idea to use strawberries as a fundraiser. It was perfect! She assembled the boxes, washed all the strawberries, wrote an individual “thank you” card to each person, and I dipped all of the strawberries (I’m a little OCD about that). She raised over half the money for her trip! What a blessing it was!
Crafts - Rebecca's pick
Valentine's Day has always been my favorite holiday for crafting! All the pretty pinks and reds and messages about love are so fun! My daughter is at the perfect age for crafting so I lug a Valentine craft box down from the attic every year and set it out on the table. We dabble in it whenever creative inspiration hits. Sequins and buttons and doilies litter my table the first half of February and I love to read all the heartfelt messages and ooh and aah over the things she creates. And, we love making Valentine boxes, too!
Valentine Coupon Book - Tammy's pick
I always have the best intentions to be more intentional with my kiddos but life gets in the way. A couple of years ago, we tried a coupon book with monthly date ideas. It worked. The kids loved cashing them in, and it gave us the one on one time we longed for. With two teens and a tween in the house, one on one time grows more scarce. Therefore, a coupon book is just the gift! Here are some great sources for ideas and printables.
Celebrating Sam- Joy's
Mine may be a little different. My son, Sam, was born on Valentine’s Day so we are celebrating him! Birthday celebrations begin first thing in the morning with waking up to the Happy Birthday song followed by a special breakfast. It’s a day full of celebrating his special day! 💕
“I am done babying him,” she exclaimed! "Whoa! What?" was my shocked response. You see, my friend had just been sharing about a time sensitive matter pressing on her and her mate. As the deadline approached, her man had called and texted throughout the day asking her different questions regarding the location of places and materials. She could feel her resentment growing with each of his requests for help. She concluded her narrative by stating that she was done babying him…he was a grown man…he had a smartphone and could find this information himself. Hmmph!
As she was fuming, I started thinking: How does a bride go from wanting to do everything for her groom to:
- despising his asking for help?
- considering his requests a burden?
- reducing him to a little boy in her mind?
My answer: It’s the slow fade, my friend, the mundane of everyday life dulling the glow of “happily ever after.”
In the thick of the day in and day out of everyday married life, "for better or for worse" fades into the background as annoyance, impatience, and complacency push to the forefront. Yet, our husband asking us for help is exactly the role we signed up for when we said, "I do." Look at Genesis 2:18,
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
The word helper means "to aid or help or succor." Wait. What? Succor? What in the world does succor mean? It means: “assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.”
To be our man’s succor during hardship and distress is much like a three-legged race. Depending on how athletic you are, walking together successfully is quite the challenge. There can be much stumble tripping, perhaps falling in a heap of laughter with the finish line oh so far away. But choosing to throw our arm around the other person’s shoulder and finding a walking rhythm to move forward productively is a step in the right direction to winning. A team effort!
And I think this is the key: to be our man’s succor victoriously, we need to adopt the mindset that we’re on the same team! Just like I’d help my 3-legged race partner up if they’d fallen or throw my arm around them so we could walk in sync, it’s the same for marriage. If my man is in need of my help, as his helpmate or succor, it benefits me and us if I joyfully give him the aid he needs to thrive!
To thrive at being our man's succor is choosing to live out the beauty of Proverbs 31:10-12:
"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
When I'm my man's succor, he can trust me... I greatly enrich his life... I bring him good, not harm... ALL the days of my life. That, my friend, is winning! Replacing the "me" attitude with a "we" attitude is the best way to win at marriage.
This post has caused me to take a hard look at myself. How often do I default to a "me" attitude instead of choosing a "we" attitude in my own marriage? Does my man trust me? Do I greatly enrich his life? Do I bring him good and not harm? These are good questions to check the barometer of my heart toward my man and adjust as needed.
We humans are drawn to the strong and despise the weak. But our husbands are just like us, fallen creatures in need of a Savior, in need of mercy, in need of a succor. By faith, I will choose to throw my arm around my handsome 3-legged partner and be his succor for the glory of God and for the win at this thing called marriage.
"Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you MUST clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:12
I'd love to hear from you! What do you think of this idea of being your man's succor? How do you push thru wanting to give up and press in for the win? Maybe you feel done. I'm sorry. That's a hard place. We can't change our spouses, only ourselves. Therefore, ask the Lord to show you what areas of Genesis 2:18 and Proverbs 31:10-12 He would like you to work on. Then do it for His glory and blessing. My friend, He blesses our obedience even in our hard places. I'm cheering you on!
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
My heart skipped a beat as he walked into the room. As usual, he engaged me in conversation by asking about my day and sharing about his. We could talk about anything, from light topics to in-depth questions. I enjoyed our conversations and realized I looked forward to them more than I should. Why? Because I was a married woman and this man was not my husband.
Emotional affair. I would never have guessed myself susceptible to fall into one. After all, I’m a believer married to a believer.
- That should be a recipe for success, right? Wrong.
- A safeguard against an affair, right? Wrong.
You see, even though I’m a Jesus girl through and through, my heart is still desperately wicked and prone to wander if I don’t keep a tight rein on it. Let’s put the spotlight on this sneaky enemy lurking in the shadows of one too many hearts.
The Making of an Emotional Affair
1. Emotional energy - Let’s start with a working definition:
“An emotional affair is when a person not only invests more of their emotional energy outside their marriage but also receives emotional support and companionship from the new relationship.”1
Blah. It hurts to read the above description and brings me to tears, but it was my reality. I was emotionally pouring more energy into & choosing to receive emotional support and companionship from this other man who was not my husband, whom I had promised to be faithful to mind, heart, and body as long as we both shall live. My emotions had strayed into forbidden territory. God, forgive me.
2. Subtle beginning. My emotional affair started so innocently. He’d sit down and look at me and engage me in conversation. He took an interest in me, and I allowed that interest to begin to woo my heart. My emotional tank began to be filled with this other man’s time, his attention, and his words rather than my husband’s. My heart was on a slippery slope sliding toward him rather than my man. Ugh! God, forgive me.
You see, this subtle beginning takes our feet from the stable path onto the slippery slope of being convinced:
- This other man understands me better than my spouse.
- This other man loves me more than my spouse does.
- This other man is my true soul mate, unlike my spouse.
These thoughts lead us into the danger zone because they are all lies from the father of lies, Satan, whose sole goal is to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages. Just like he whispered to Eve in the garden, he slithers discontentment into our hearts making us think the grass is greener on the other side. My sister, it isn’t. The “green grass on the other side” is filled with weeds, and moles, and bare spots just like your current relationship.
3. Danger Zone: By the grace of God, I heeded the waving red flag early on when God brought the issue to my mind, but that isn't always the case. We can become so connected with this other person emotionally that before we know it, we’ve entered the danger zone! We think about what it would be like to be in his embrace, to be kissed by him, and for scenes to unfold in our minds which should be reserved for our husbands. Too soon these thoughts lead to actions, and we are having sex with someone other than our spouse. God, forgive us! My friend, an emotional affair can be a gateway to a sexual affair. James 1:14-16 says it best:
14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
So, how do we slam shut the gate before we slide down the slippery slope?
The Unraveling of an Emotional Affair
1. Name it - When I realized what was happening, it caught my breath. I wrestled with the thought and denied it. After all, I wasn’t physically attracted to this other man…yet. But, the Spirit was gentle and kept bringing it to my mind. My heartstrings were starting to connect with this other man. I was in the beginning stages of an emotional affair. Psalm 51:6. Blah.
2. Confess it - My heart's cry is, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Lord!” I had to confess the ugliness of my reality. I was becoming emotionally drawn to a man other than my husband. This was a sin. It broke God's heart, and therefore needed to break my heart, also. I had to confess my wayward thoughts to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. Psalm 32:5. The Lord, in all His kindness, forgave me.
3. Cripple it - Once I realized what was happening, I knew I had to ask for help before it went any further. I talked to my man, told him what was going on, and how he could help. If however, I wasn’t comfortable telling him, I would have found a trustworthy person to confide in and ask me questions regularly. Questions like: How’s your heart? How’s your thought life? How are you taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to the Lord Jesus? 2 Corinthians 10:5 & James 5:16.
I love the saying, “The grass is greenest where you water it.” So true! So how do I water my own grass? I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade to keep my heart tethered to my Lord and to my man.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
The Safeguards against an Emotional Affair
1. Label - All men who are not my husband I now give the label “my brother”. If I feel the slightest twinge in my wayward heart, I mentally say the phrase “He’s my brother” over and over again to get my heart and mind back into focus.
2. Leave - If I can’t keep my heart obedient, I leave the conversation, the room, even the area if need be. Like Joseph left Potiphar's house in a rush, I leave the scene with or without my jacket.
3. Learn - I have learned that I have to be very careful with what I watch and read. My romantic heart has a fondness for a good love story, but that sweet love story can turn my “real life” love story sour. Just like I can’t measure up to an airbrushed model on a magazine cover or a real life beauty, my man can’t measure up to the make-believe man on the screen or in the book or in the figments of my imagination. I’ve learned my triggers and turn off the TV or close the book if it causes discontentment in my heart toward my marriage.
4. Love - This one is huge, and I saved it for last. When I truly love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and strength, other areas of my life line up, including my contentment with my man just the way he is.
God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 1 Thessalonians 4:3
So, how about you? If you’re married, are you taking your thoughts about other men who are not your husband captive? What tricks of the trade do you practice to guard your heart? If however, any of my story raises a red flag for you and you are caught in an emotional affair, I beg you to unravel the strings that have tied your heart to someone who is not your spouse. It is the right thing to do, to honor your Lord, to honor your vows, and to honor your integrity.
If you’re a precious single woman, the same slippery slope is ever before you. Do you have an accountability partner to ask you the hard questions and help keep your heart and mind pure? If not, pray for one. God, in His kindness, will provide one.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of dark chocolate, milky coffee, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.