This week just gone I spoke on failure in marriage.
Some of what I said was quite sensitive, and so I was going to have to edit the audio for a more public audience, but then, the audio did not come out right anyway, so I cant upload it at all.
But in response to some of the great thoughts commented in my previous post, here is some of what I shared in Sunday. Please be aware, this is written for me, as I would say it, and I have an idea what I am going to say, so apologies if it is a little unclear to the reader.
The pull of the other woman, or other man, is really strong.
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence,
It aint. IN fact the very thing that attracts someone to someone else, is very often the thing that changes post the affair. an affair is exciting, its different, it has promise, it is not boring…But all that changes after the affair. Even for those people who have an affair, and perhaps leave their husband or wife and go off with the new person, they generally find the same issues arise in the new relationship, because wherever you go, there you are.
How do you know if there are issues in your relationship?
thinking about it, hoping your spouse will have an accident, hoping your spouse will have an affair, wishing your children were gone so you could leave, forming emotional attatchments to someone else.
Jesus said, as we think in our hearts so we are.
The issue is not really the affair, the issue is that you have checked out of your marriage. That is the real issue. Best way to not fail and have an affair, that is to work on having a great marriage!
The ripples from an affair, like ripples in a pond, go way out.
An affair has the potential to rip apart your family, to cause children to lose good contact time with their mother or father Friends feel like their are forced to take sides. Mothers and fathers wonder about their adult children, and how they should respond. Adult children come to live at home for a while.
Economically an affair can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Being married, and lets be realistic here, can be a battle.
God is writing a love story really, the history of the world is God slove story, and intwetwined with that is marriage, where two people join together to live together, really actually to fight together, not against each other, but as co allies in this world. (Thoughts compiled from John Eldridge)
Because there are deep dark spiritual forces at work, that wont to tear thing apart, divide and conquer so the saying goes.
So God has instituted this beautiful relationship so two can become one, and feed off each others strengths. (Eccl 4)
8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The truth is verse 8 is often left out when people quote this, but I think it sets the scene, it gives the image of someone who has no real relationships. Now not everyone here is married, and possibly God has not blessed you with that, thats okay, and we are going to talk about that in a minute. But most of us I think would have real relationships and deep friendships with people and a reason to work. Marriage provides a man and a woman with somehting to work towards, something to build.
When the marriage fails, so does that divine purpose, that deep meaning for life, for many people.
Back in Eden when God created men and women, he fashioned us as glorious counterparts, the heart of a man is to love and protect and provide, he wants an adventure. and the truth is, ladies you need to hear this, a man wants to be admired by his wife. Whatever it is that he does. We cant all be muscle bound tradies, with tool belts. Okay, but we can provide for our families in some ways, and all men want to be respected and admired by their wife. In the heart of most women is a heart that longs to be desired, that longs to be wanted, to be affirmed as a woman. God brings those two different yet complementary characteristics together in marriage, in a passionate embrace.
Thats the ideal okay, and I fall short of that, as we all do.
But I am tired of watching marriages fall apart. Most affairs, for example, don’t start in one day. They occur over time as a person’s guard is let down and they ease into the temptations that exist for all of us. as the focus shifts from enjoying their marriage to it being dissastified.
Let me just stop here for a moment and address the realities.
Because there are people who who have failed in various ways in marriage and in relationships. Some of us here have failed greatly.
The common denominator in all that?
well 1 John 1.9 if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us from sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When you fail in a marriage context, you know that in fact the person you have offended most, even more than your spouse, is God. You need to seek His forgiveness first, and forgiveness will come, Gods grace towards you is immense.
and you will experience that if you come to God, there is always a way back to God, because knowing God is not based on what we do, but on what He has done for us.
So enjoy that for a moment.
But know this, that there are consequences for your sin.
Jesus in Matthew 19 says that if one of the partners has an affair, that is grounds for divorce. Know he said this in a society where men would divorce their wives because they burnt the dinner. seriously if your wife burnt your dinner, you could issue here a certificate of divorce. and what that meant for her, in those days, was that she was then penniless, without any means of support, she would not get the house or the horse. Men were very patriachal. And Jesus comes in and says, no, the only ground for divorce is sexual misonduct is the phrase. and this went for women as well as men. Jesus wanted them to understand that marriage is a covenant, a promise, a contract between two people and it not be broked, but if you have an affair, then you have broken that covenant. Hopefully the marriage can be saved, and their can be forgiveness and grace, but that is a long process. and as a result of your sin, you have broken your covenant which you made with God.
Men and women are different.
I was reminded of that fact again this morning by reading the story of a man in the Bible named Elkanah and his wife Hannah. (1 Samuel 1) Hannah had been unable to have children and it was the deepest pain in her life. (I wrote previously about that pain HERE.) Every year (and perhaps every day) Hannah would go to God begging for a child. God eventually blessed Hannah with a son, but in the midst of that story is one of the saddest, but funniest verses in the Bible (my opinion). It certainly illustrates the great difference that exists between most men and women. Here is the verse:
Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)
Do you see the mistake? Elkanah could never fully comprehend the depth of Hannah’s emotions. To him, life was good the way it was. He had other children through another wife and he and Hannah were free just to be happy with each other. He couldn’t sense the depth of pain that was in Hannah’s heart. To him it made sense that as a couple they were enough. Hannah, I suspect, could never fully comprehend how insensitive Elkanah seemed to be.
Therein lies what I believe to be one of the largest mistake men and women make in a marriage.
You cannot expect your husband to think like you, and husband, you cannot expect your wife to think like. But the joy in marriage is discovering the differences.