Married Believer, Attracted Elsewhere
By Janel Breitenstein
Hey. Thanks for being open.
Over your mug, I saw your eyes’ concern. I know this isn’t who you want to be; that you’re afraid of your own heart. But longing runs deep.
If only “I do” meant our eyes never swiveled. But though marriage helps, it doesn’t flip that switch.
We can fail to discuss how our hearts are prone to wander until it’s too late. Emotional affairs can flourish because there’s not a clear line between appropriate … and not. We drift into them.
Plus, hidden struggles are like a fungus. A water spill that went undetected soaked my handmade baskets, causing fuzzy gray mold to grow. The best solution to stop the disintegration, of course: Flip the baskets over in the sunlight.
The same is true of our souls: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
So thanks. For telling me the truth and keeping yourself accountable, for the sake of keeping what God stuck together. For the sake of your family and your heart.
I wondered about the soul-hole underneath your attraction. Sometimes, circumstances leave us feeling vulnerable. I hear your legit desires—to feel attractive. Or maybe wanted. Appreciated. Connected. Happy. Free. But we can’t fill those outside their proper place.
Allow me to shoot you straight. Nobody can fill this gap for you. I remember a podcast from Tim Keller, looking through the story of Jacob in the Bible, who after seven lustful years of pining for Rachel woke up following his wedding night: Behold, it was Leah!
Keller says, “When you get married, no matter how great you think that marriage is going to be … in the morning, it is always Leah. You think you are going to bed with Rachel, and in the morning, it is always Leah.” He quotes C.S. Lewis: “You can blame the things and drop them and go try new ones, better ones. That is the fool’s way.”
When we’re unsatisfied in our souls, it shows up elsewhere. It’s when we finally satisfy those sucking holes that it’s a lot easier to get the rest of our desires in place.
Be fierce, friend. Fight in the way you’d want your spouse to fight for you.
The good stuff: But one day, when [Joseph] went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, [his master’s wife] caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. (Genesis 39:11-12)
Action points: What would it look like for you to flee this attraction? Whatever causes you to flirt with these fantasies or that emotional connection—cut it off. Flee in the battleground of your mind, too: “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When in doubt, ask yourself, How would I feel if my spouse were thinking of someone else this way? Don’t just flee away: flee toward. Toward your spouse, and toward God, hiding yourself in Him.
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