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When Marriage Requires Confession

Have you ever been driving along and a horrible thought out of nowhere goes something like, “Drive your car off that cliff” or “Head into oncoming traffic”? Or other abnormal thoughts like wanting to jump someone’s bones whose bones aren’t yours to jump, or even hurt yourself, or hurt someone else? The mind is a curious place and can surprise even ourselves at times.

The wrestling came with feeling a sense of “attraction” to a guy at church, one I wouldn’t have found attractive at first glance. I was upset with myself for the random thoughts popping into my mind when he would talk to me, because I loved my husband. It was during a season when Jason and I were tired and busy new parents and he was working a ton. He also admits he wasn’t close to God during that time and we were in a marital season of going through the motions to merely survive parenting, a move, and a remodel.

I felt ashamed for being a “Christian woman in leadership” and feeling a spiritual connection to a man other than my husband. I did everything “church” had taught me to do when stuff like this happened: prayed, read scripture, “took captive every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…” I put on my armor every day and walked away from scenarios where the attraction could develop into anything more. But it was strong, and, at the same time, I resented Jason for what I perceived as being spiritually dry and disinterested in changing our relationship, so part of me wanted to entertain the thoughts further…because there was a “connection.”

Problem was, I was expecting Jason to meet a spiritual need in me that only I could find seeking God, projecting onto him some sort of spiritual role I had conjured up in my head, and of what I expected a “Christian” husband to behave like.

After trying to keep the battle to myself, not wanting to hurt Jason or ruin our marriage, but seeing the internal battle of containing thoughts was messing with my own head and heart, I finally confessed to Jason. I told him how I felt, the random thoughts, apologized for having unhealthy expectations, and how I wanted no secrets between us. I told him I didn’t want to jump the other guys’ bones, I wanted Jason’s bones, and how our marriage was important, totally worth it, but something was missing, and we needed to make God and our love the priority. He agreed. And the spiritual “attraction” to that other guy totally disappeared.

Rewind, and fast forward, to some other “random” scenarios, and hopefully this will lead me to my point…

Back to those random thoughts that come out of nowhere…throughout my mostly happily married life of 22 years to the hottest man in my whole world, there have been some guys I’ve met where I felt very uncomfortable and unnecessarily vulnerable around, and a thought comes out of nowhere and runs its course through my mind that has something to do with sex or attraction, and I’m like, “Whoa!?” or “What the heck?! Where did that come from?!” or, this, “Huh…that guy’s not ugly…” or “Wait! What is going on in my heart and marriage that a thought like that would come over me?!”

Being aware spiritually, and then bringing it to light, is key…even if it is just a thought, openly sharing it doesn’t allow a thing to grow and take root…it doesn’t allow it to stay hidden. Authentic sharing reveals everyone is tempted on any given day with any given thing. Confessing it to your spouse, even if you think it will hurt them, is being truthful with something that isn’t even a THING yet! When communication with our spouse is open, then saying, “Hey, will you pray for me? I just had a really random thought fly through my head and I don’t want to entertain it” diffuses and snuffs out something before it becomes a wildfire.

Recently, I had what seems to be a revelation about all of this…and I talked to Jason about it. See, I believe we are in a daily battle for our very souls. And I believe that battle is raging over us and in us and around us, whether we are aware of it or not…whether we believe it or not. I believe there are spirits waging battles against people to thwart their marriages, callings, families, livelihood, etc, but they are subtle at first…sometimes they come when times are tough, sometimes when everything is going great. And, if those subtleties, whether as “random” thoughts or about sexual temptation, or resentment and unspoken expectations like I had, go un-confessed, they can absolutely grow into inappropriate friendships and affairs. Scripture says, “Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces in this world.” In relationships, the subtlety can look like a battle with the other person, but the reality is, it’s rooted in something more.

So, then, what can we do with this information? First of all, no matter what, no matter the thoughts that pop into our heads, no matter our behaviors or choices, God who created us in His image, is totally and completely in love with us. Period. Any person who tells you otherwise is spreading lies.

  • We need to pray…I mean there are no secrets with God, anyway, so these thoughts aren’t shocking or a surprise to Him. How do you pray? I might pray something like this, “Lord, You know the thoughts that have been running through my head. I don’t want them there and I don’t want them to become anything more. Please open my eyes to see when these attempts at my heart are there, and free me more and more from their power. I need You and can’t do this on my own…”
  • We need to share these thoughts, the ones that AREN’T even a THING yet, with our spouses, family, friends, and trusted mentors, so they don’t become a THING at all.
  • We need to share because ISOLATION MAKES US WEIRD…when we sit with our own thoughts too long, especially ones we didn’t conjure up in the first place, yet “own” them as our own, then we start to wonder about our worth.
  • If the thoughts have already become a THING, it’s still not a secret even if you haven’t told another person (see first bullet above…) so the same course of action applies…especially since the longer it hides in the dark, the bigger it grows, and the more caustic the effects later.
  • And finally, instead of living in fear that there’s a demon under every rock, let’s simply be aware of the battles, call them out into God’s Light, and then, let’s get on with this beautiful, glorious life of loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others extravagantly.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your honesty, Adrienne. Everything you said, is right on.

  2. I think what you said here is valuable and practical for anyone, anywhere. I appreciate your vulnerability and the courage you have to start a conversation so many of us could benefit entering into.
    I also think there sometimes are deeper roots to this whole issue. I believe sometimes we go looking for in others what only God can remind us of; our true identity in love. I personally know that past wounds from times I haven’t been noticed or loved the way I should has left a hurt deep within. As this root of rejection is being healed from the inside out, through forgiveness and receiving Christ’s love, I slowly don’t feel the need to find this approval from others, even my husband. The responsibility is then on us. We take ownership of finding the things we need to be content within our own relationship with a love that’s bigger. We need community too, and we need to be able to be loved and known through sharing our inner thoughts (just how you described!). I wonder if there are other factors sometimes with why women need the approval of a man outside their marriage. I wonder if like you said, there is a battle, but maybe the battle is fought through the healing of past wounds and a desire to find our identity in God’s approval (which like you said, is already available, and up to us to receive it!) Curious what your thoughts are on this?? THANKS!!! I love your blog and your site! Hoping to start my own someday soon. xoxo

    • Katie, thank you so much for taking time to share this! I love the thoughts you bring to light and the questions. It’s difficult for me when I write some of these posts because my heart isn’t to write as if I know all the answers and, therefore, can write as if from an experts view, or a girl who has it all together, but to stir up “What if?” questions. I LOVE “Why?” and “What if?” questions because they cause us to pause and dig deeper and own our own stuff and forgive and release the rest…

      As far as women needing approval of a man outside their marriage, I’m not sure that’s a “thing” as much as we all want to feel valuable and know our worth. When we seek that worth from other sources and outside influences, I think we (humans) will always strive and never feel secure and content with who we’ve been designed to be. But I know for me, that’s the key…it’s a daily honesty with myself, God, and others. The days and weeks I feel heaviest in my head and heart are the one’s where I’ve tried to do it all on my own or pretend I had my act together. The most free I feel is when I expose all my crap into the light and simply stand on the truth that God is in love with me, made me, and desires relationship.

      Thanks for reaching out! These are great questions to spur on other questions and discussion and prayer. I’m excited for you and starting a blog someday! GO FOR IT!
      xoxox

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