When I realized what was happening, it caught my breath. Was my heart starting to lean toward another? I wrestled with the thought and denied it. After all, I wasn’t physically attracted to this other man…yet. But, the Spirit kept prompting me and pointing to the truth: my heartstrings were starting to connect with this other man. I was in the beginning stages of an emotional affair.
What in the world is it, and why is it important to know what it is? Because one too many of us are playing with fire and need to flee before we and others get burned.
Emotional affairs start so innocently;
- catching up with each other from the weekend or
- getting to know each other better at the office water cooler or the church coffee pot or our children's ball games
- the list goes on
But then the relationship starts to increase in frequency and intensity, and we've tumbled into the danger zone.
Tell-tale Signs We're in the Danger Zone*
1. Your thoughts stray to the other person...often.
2. The comparison game begins, "______ is wrong with my marriage." "I wish my spouse would ___________.", etc.
3. You find ways to spend more and more time together, either physically or electronically.
4. You hide the relationship from your spouse.
5. If you know you're going to see them, you spend time "prettying" yourself.
6. You contact them outside of regular times you would be together.
7. Your heart skips a beat at the thought or sight of them.
8. Intimacy decreases with your spouse as thoughts of this other person increases.
Longings unfulfilled and hopes unrealized fertilize the seeds of an emotional affair. And before we know it, we're emotionally connected with someone other than our spouse.
God forgive us.
Do we throw in the towel and declare our marriage as hopeless or beyond repair? No!
Do we sweep it under the carpet thinking we aren't hurting anyone? No!
Do we continue on believing we deserve this "innocent" flirting because our spouse isn't who we think he needs to be? No!
No matter how far we've strayed, our marriage is never beyond hope or repair because of Jesus. We girls who claim Christ as Savior have His resurrection power alive in us! We must tap into it and live victoriously.
God is very clear about His will for us physically and emotionally:
"God's will is for you to be holy,
so stay away from all sexual sin."
1 Thessalonians 4:3
It is God's will for us to be sexually pure, therefore He'll convict us and equip us to be sexually pure in our thoughts and actions. Praise God He doesn't leave us in our mess!
So how does one unravel the strands of an affair?
1. Name it
I don't know about you but I can be my own worse enemy. I can ignore the Spirit's gentle nudge, and lie to myself, "Oh, he's just a good friend." or "He's such a good listener." etc., etc., etc. But the hard, cold reality was this was a man other than my husband as to whom my affections were starting to favor. If I wanted to live with peace and joy, I needed to stop sugarcoating my emotional pull and call it what it was, sin.
"Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,"
2. Confess it
I had to confess the ugliness of my reality. I was becoming emotionally drawn to a man other than my husband. This 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.
"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin."
3. Cripple it
Once I realized what was happening, I knew I had to ask for help before it went any further. After much prayer, 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?
"Restore to me the JOY of Your salvation;
And make me willing to OBEY You."
I love the saying, “The grass is greenest where you water it.” So true! So how do I water my own grass? Next week, I’ll share a few tricks of the trade I actively use to keep my heart tethered to my Lord and to my man.
Until then, I need to ask: does any of my story or the telltale signs above raise a red flag for you? Are you caught in the web of an emotional or sexual affair? I beg you to unravel the strings that have tied your heart to someone who is not your spouse today. Get rid of the excuses. Stop feeding the lies that counter God's will for you to be sexually pure.
Unravel Your Affair:
- Name it for what it is: an affair = a sin against God and contrary to His will for your life.
- Confess it to our gracious and forgiving Lord and Savior.
- Cripple it by actively taking steps to safeguard yourself.
Today is the day of freedom, my sister! Claim it! I'm praying for you. <3
The Path to an Affair - Part 1
1. * Good Therapy
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.