In my wisdom of Solomon class we are going through the book of Proverbs, and today we read through a collection that talk about the way in which men and women are to be wise. As someone who will soon be married, I paid close attention to how the men responded to women trying to ruin the men’s purity and commitment to their wives. In our culture, divorce is a common thing and many people don’t see anything wrong with it, however, as Christians we know there are only a few reasons people should really be divorced. That’s not what I’m going to talk about though, there are enough articles on divorce the world doesn’t need another one.
I harked on older adults in my last post, this post is to hark on married couples and those who will soon be married. Let me start with relationships from my past, in every relationships I have had, when the one year mark hit, my head would freak out. I would start to question where the relationship was going and if I really cared for the man in the way I was saying that I did. Needless to say, all of those relationships ended. With my relationship with my fiancé, I again freaked out at the one year mark, and I think he did too. We took a week break, and I have never been more devastated or distraught in my whole entire life, as I was that week. I realized, I truly loved this man and I wanted to spend the rest of my days with him. All of my doubt, all of my questions and hesitancies disappeared. I remember one day, sobbing in the shower, saying “God just tell me, whats going on? Is this relationship worth fighting for?”
Sure enough, the next week God answered me by saying, “Call him” and when I did, he said he wanted to talk, so i drove to his home, and we got back together, and will be married in June! I say all this to bring up the “C” word… “Cheating” Now, I think, as Americans, maybe even just as humans, we have experienced cheating and maybe some of us have cheated. There are many debates on what cheating is, and I don’t care to debate it with you but this is my view on what cheating is. When you text someone other than your spouse something flirty, when you think about another person in the way you should be thinking about your spouse, and then the obvious physical things. In the Bible God even says that just looking at another person lustfully is adultery (Mt. 5:28).
When we look at Proverbs 5, the word “adulterous” in the Hebrew text means “to be strangers” or “enemies of God”, another translation is “foreigner”. The same word is used in chapter six, seven, and eight. There are many reasons why people cheat, there is not feeling satisfied with you relationship, selfishness, feeling like your spouse is not there for you, and of course, accidental temptation. When we have these in our lives, it is easy to justify cheating and sin. The problem is, we really have no excuse.
Keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. -Proverbs 6:24-25
All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.- Proverbs 7:22-23
The author in Proverbs is basically saying, to cheat, and to go with this other woman, is essentially putting yourself to death, and therefore, your marriage. Marriages die all the time from this sin, so men I have a question, if you truly love that woman with all your heart, nothing she does, nothing that happens, should push you to cheat on her. Nothing should make you want another woman. I think as Americans we have such a skewed view of love, we think “I love you but only if you give me what I want, when I want it and only if you have something for me.” True love is, loving someone without expecting something back from them. Love is knowing that they are also a child of God and deserve someone who will treat them very well.
Everyone has value, and its more than what they can give us. Its more than their bank account, its more than their looks and more than just the good times. Love is not what we want. God created the design for family, God created love, and it is not what we think it is. Ladies, I have a question for you, why would you want to put to death your marriage/ relationship. Why would you want to kill yourself in the process? If you love your man, if you truly love him, you will have patience with him. Yes, he will do some dumb things but your job is to love him through it and correct him in the love of Christ. Nothing he does, if you really love him, will make you think even once about another man. its a dangerous game to play by texting or spending time with other men.
Now to both spouses, don’t put another woman or man’s number in your phone unless it is a coworker, and you have to use their number for work purposes. Even if you have their number purely for work, do not text them unless it is for work. Situations become very squarely when we don’t pay attention to the way that we interact with another person of the opposite gender. Marriage is held to certain standards in the Bible and God is very specific about what is good and not good in marriage. Lets take a look at two types of couples, couple A gets into fights every now and then but they always talk things out and make up, they don’t really sit down together and read the Bible but they have separate devotions and then talk about them with each other. Couple B almost never fight and go to church regularly and have Bible studies together. Couple A are open with one another, and never hold anything over each other and their marriage is thriving even though they get into disagreements sometimes. Couple B’s marriage has been struggling even though they read the Bible together and almost never argue. So, what makes these couples different?
While couple B is doing everything that would make it seem like they have a great relationship with each other and with God, they are not open with each other and they do not trust. The wife is secretly texting a male friend and flirting while the husband is desperately trying to fix the marriage. Couple A are open with one another and talk about what upsets them, and they don’t put themselves into situations where the other may have trust issues. These stories happen all the time and where, a couple may be like couple B without the problems, there are certainly B couples out there.
Listen, I am not ragging on one group or another, simply, I am urging you to make sure you’re staying committed, and pure in your relationships and marriages. There are four key factors for healthy marriages: Intimacy, commitment, empowerment, and grace. Intimacy is big, if you’re not sitting down and talking with each other about God, your day, and even just how you liked the weather outside, intimacy may be lacking in that area. Wives, part of intimacy is understanding that your husband, has a bigger sex drive than you do, and you should never withhold sex from him because you “don’t feel like it” or he “upset you” earlier that day. On the same hand, men, you should never force your wife to have sex with you just because you’re married and its her duty to you. You respect her and her essence in the way that God would have you and she will be much more willing to have sex with you on a regular basis.
Commitment, in the book “The Family” by Jack O. Bailiwick, he says “Marriage is not only a commitment to the institution but also a commitment to the relationship.”
You must be committed to the relationship regardless of how you feel day to day, you will wake up one day to find that it is hard to love your spouse that day, its hard to love them when they are a pain in your rear end. When you’re married you made a vow to go through life despite their faults and short comings and they did the same with you.
Empowerment is a big thing that is not regularly talked about in the church, to empower your spouse is to build them up and encourage them. Do not hold things against them, forgive and move on, do not criticize all the time, in love say “hey you did good…” or “I really liked the way you…” and not just with complements build them up by asking what they want to do, and when they have a goal help them to reach it. Give your spouse freedom to not be afraid to talk about their feelings. Empowerment is huge and it is never focused on but it is something that can make or break relationships.
Finally, grace. Grace is extended to us each day by our Father in heaven, therefore, we are called to do the same with our significant others day to day. Yeah, he may have said something really dumb earlier but you say dumb things too and God forgave you. Yes, she did just yell at you for accidentally getting the wrong thing at the grocery store, but you yell at others for their mistakes as well and God forgave you. We all have faults, and we all make mistakes, but we must learn to forgive and extend grace to our spouses.
I hope that this helps you to evaluate your actions with your spouse, I want you to look back on your relationship and ask yourself two questions.
1. Am I reacting in a way that is hurting my spouse?
2. Am I cheating on my spouse in any way, shape or form?