It all started with that first happily ever after movie, preaching the same old story of perfection found in a prince. He would be dashingly handsome and his charisma would forever sweep me off my feet. We would live, always fully enthralled with each other’s affection and never tempted to glance away.
Or so I thought.
They Lied To Us
Movies and Christian romance novels have lied to us, ladies. So many of us believe that once we find the right “prince,” our affections will never waver and our eyes will never wander. But that’s a lie…and a dangerous one.
Here’s the thing. Saying your vows isn’t like taking a love potion. At some point in your marriage, you will be tempted. We don’t like to talk about these things because of embarrassment, but there’s truth to be heeded here.
It’s no secret that I think my man is pretty hot. (He’s totally gonna blush when he edits this.). And I’m happily married. Like the: I-miss-you-when-you’re-gone-for-five-minutes kinda happy. But I, like many women, have been tempted to want attention from other men.
I was completely blindsided by this.
I crumbled into a little ball of despair and rolled myself into a ditch of darkness. I felt ashamed, alone and confused. I had no warning. No heads up that, “Oh hey, by the way, marriage doesn’t cure your lust for attention.” It seems pretty simple, but in my fairy tale mindset it never occurred to me that it was possible to want anyone’s attention but my husbands.
It is possible, and I dare to say it happens to the majority of Christian women, though most never speak of it.
A Murderous Lie
So why does this need to be addressed? Well, marriages have ended because of it.
If you believe you will never be attracted to anyone else once you’ve found “the one,” you won’t guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23). If your heart is not guarded, there may be a day when you wonder if you’ve married the wrong person. You can be sure you’ve married “the one” if you’re married to them. God is the author of every biblical marriage. If you’re in one, then that’s where he wants you to stay. Only he gets to decide when a marriage ends. (Not speaking about marriages that include infidelity or abuse here.)
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:9 ESV)
This fairy tale lie is threatening to the life of a marriage. We have to confront it head on or it will overtake us. We will either give in to sin or we will allow ourselves to be entrenched in shame. Both are not what God intends.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)
Christ died to set us free from sin and shame.
Burying yourself in shame because you were tempted is unnecessary and unbiblical. Jesus was tempted. Therefore, temptation alone is not sin. Don’t heap guilt on yourself for sin you haven’t committed. We must put off the tempting thought and replace it with what’s honorable. (Philippians 4:8).
And, don’t get caught up in believing you’re the only one struggling with these unwanted thoughts. Remember, no sin is uncommon to man. (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I have learned that we all believe we are stronger than we actually are. Because of this, it’s essential to put up a healthy amount of safeguards to protect your marriage.
Each person will have to pray about and decide what is best for her. For me, I try to never be alone with a man who isn’t my husband. I also don’t go out of my way to have a conversation with other men. I’m not rude, but I don’t want to make provision for sin. Your boundaries may look different from mine, but I encourage you to think about ways you can protect your marriage.
We are on the defense against sin. We must have our armor raised and our minds ready to fight. (Ephesians 6:10-19).
Don’t be caught off guard when temptation comes. We are promised temptation, but we are also promised a way out.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
So you bought the lie that you ought to be exempt from temptation? Remember, you still have a flesh that is naturally bent toward sin. But praise God, he is changing us from one degree of glory to the next! (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Love Your Husband
Now that we’ve addressed the issue at hand, we can live in the freedom Christ bought for us on the cross. You have the ability, through God’s grace, to say no to coveting another man’s attention, and replace that desire with one that honors God and your marriage.
Think on truth. Truth about God and his goodness, and truth about your husband whom God has graciously placed in your life. And ask for God to increase your desire for your man, the one whom your soul loves. (Song of Solomon 3:4).
List off all the ways your husband provides, loves and serves you. Think about the features you find attractive, physically and within his personality. How does he inspire you spiritually?
Even if you feel your husband only lacks in all these areas, (which would probably be a lie), there are many beautiful truths about your Lord that you can renew your mind with.
So let’s be honest about this struggle so that we can address it and get to fighting! And if that day comes where your desires are out of whack, have your mind prepared to combat them with God’s truth.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV)