“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27
Sorry ladies, but this scripture is not focused only toward men. I emphasized with her, because we as women can help protect other men…married men…single men….from lusting by the way we dress, by certain environments you put yourself with another man, and letting our minds linger on thoughts that only turn into sinful actions.
These 3 areas are all dangerous:
1. strutting our stuff in front of other men/women. (if you can not wait to get to work, church, or wherever to see that other man/woman….talk with someone now, before it goes too far) All sin begins in our mind….”so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:12-13 Those last words were always my encouragement during times of temptation, but, you know what is sickening about sin, and how strong sin can get if you let it….we have the dang choice to choose the right way, we know there is a way out…but, sin FEELS good, for one short moment! Then, in a blink of an eye when its done, its gone…and you are left sitting there all alone….wanting to throw up your sin….and hopefully become broken and cry out to God to cure you from this wretched sin that wants to take you to your grave.
2. one on one time with the opposite sex while married. My husband and I made an oath before we were even married…to never be in a car alone with the opposite sex, a room alone…wherever, for one, what witness could that portray to others…two, why put yourself into a situation you had no idea could evolve into something?
3. fantasizing about another man while married (this one is scary, because, this scripture blatantly says, one who looks on another lustfully has already committed adultery) I think with all these fiction books that are basically porn in words are horrible for a marriage. It only leads to lustful thoughts, and fantasizing about something/someone that does not exist, but wishes he did. All this leads to is dissatisfaction in a marriage, and separation in ones marriage. run away as fast as you can from books like these….
Sex is a gift from the Lord for a husband and wife….um, hello amazing gift! But, as any gift, at first the newness is amazing and fresh. We can not get enough of it, we want to play with it all the time. (yep, play…We can not let this amazing gift ever get dusty, we have to keep it polished, and keep finding new buttons! The connection between a husband and wife is closer than any other relationship you can ever have with anyone else…. “women and men alike need to grasp the trust that God is pleased when His children enjoy His gift of sex within the boundaries of marriage.” Tim Gardner
I am not saying sex is the key to an adultery free marriage…especially if one is not truly in tune with the other while in the moment…but, I do believe a healthy, happy bedroom is a great start to protecting our marriage.
My husband and I have been graced by the privilege to know such a couple as Angie and Jon in our church, and they have willingly shared their own story or restoration, forgiveness, anger, almost divorce…all because of adultery…
It is by God’s grace, I made it through this time. When I first found out that my husband had a four-month affair with another woman, no words can describe the sick feeling of anguish and distress that filled my heart and my soul. I was more than heart broken. I was crushed. I tried to spend one night in the house with him after he told me the truth, but I could not get visions of him and the other women out of my mind. I initially asked Jon to leave, but after seeking the Lord, I clearly heard Him tell me to, “Love him. He is hurt.” This began a long journey into my understanding of God’s infinite mercy for sinners. I tried to love Jon at first with that same head-strong, over-achieving spirit that I had always relied on, but this time the hurt and suppressed anger would not allow it. Depression and anxiety took a deep hold on me. Despite my constant searching of the scriptures and desperate cries to the Lord for help, my symptoms grew progressively worse. Nightmares kept me up at night and vertigo overtook my mind by day. I got so ill that I could no longer stand up anymore and take care of my children. Finally, the decision was made to move me and our two kids to my parents’ home for awhile to see if I could get better. Once I was away, God used medicine, a good psychologist, and the prayers of many people to pull me out of a mental spiral that had me headed towards a mental institution.When I was trying to “love” Jon as God had told me to do, I had actually been so legalistic and hard on myself that I did not allow myself to show any of the anger that I felt toward him and his sin. The suppressed anger had nearly eaten me alive, and my psychologists advised me to start letting it out before it consumed me. All the time that I thought I was being loving and really trying to forgive, I was actually just a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any minute with eruptions of fire and brimstone. I didn’t understand why God told me to “Love him,” and why did God say that Jon was hurt. Why did God lead me to the passage about Hosea, keeping an adulterous wife, Gomer, instead of pointing me to the passage about divorce? I couldn’t even find it in my Bible, but I knew it was there. Couldn’t God see that I was hurting here? Plus, it seemed like the more mercy I tried to show my husband, the more he turned away from the Lord. Shortly after I told Jon that I wanted to try to work things out, he started cussing like a sailor, got a large tattoo of a dragon on his arm, and told my mother that he would do whatever the hell he wanted to do.Who was this guy anyway? I didn’t know, much less, trust this man, and to top it off, he could not even tell me that he would never do this to me again. I was terribly afraid of giving him my trust, and then, watching him walk away with another woman. I did not want to trust him again with my heart. In my disgust, I told Jon that I was ready for a divorce, and I deserved to find someone that would love me and the kids the way God had intended. It was not long after my divorce announcement that I began to see my husband change. Suddenly, He was not as arrogant and confident as he had once been. In fact, he was actually very tender toward me and truly seemed remorseful in our brief interactions. God was beginning to work in Jon’s life as he called on Him for help to hold his family together, and when God began to work in Jon’s life, I gave Jon one last chance to be the husband and father I had been praying for.Since then, Jon has accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, and God, in his infinite wisdom, has also used one of our four children in a miraculous way to grow my trust back in my husband. Nothing has spoken the changes that Jesus made in my husband’s life better than watching Jon care for our third child, Solomon. You see, Solomon has multiple disabilities and special needs, and he requires nearly constant care and attention. Jon walked out on me before when the responsibilities of having two small children were burdensome to him, but this time things are different.Solomon is always with his Daddy, and Jon is happy to be with him. He feeds him and bathes him, holds him, and puts him to sleep. I have to beg Jon to have my turn to love on Solomon. Solomon is Daddy’s Little Buddy, and we both call him our “healing point.” When I saw how Jon loved Solomon despite all the extra time and care he requires, I truly began to trust him and God’s work in his life. I also began to believe that Jon truly loved me when he said it. This was a big deal because after the affair I didn’t trust anything he said or did in regards to me and our relationship. I was only a shell of the girl he had married. I still felt dead and depressed inside, but Jon showed genuine love to this broken and lifeless person in his house. Because Jon loved me when I was broken, I began to fully understand God’s love for broken people. If Jon could love me when I wasn’t at my best, and Jesus loved me more than Jon ever could, then, Jesus could be trusted with all my ugliness, all my faults, and all my failures. Being a perfectionist, I had never fully believed that Jesus’s love covered all my sins. I was really hard on myself and others in their sin because I truly thought I had to be good to stay in God’s good graces. Mercy finally sank in, and this girl who had been striving to please God and work for her salvation finally got a picture of grace. I unashamedly called out to God to save this wretch from her sins without fear of His rejection, and I felt the grace of God come down and cover me.
4. How did forgiveness and restoration play into all of this?What made you not choose to divorce, even though scripture gives us the freedom to do so when there is adultery.
Jon saw a glimpse of God’s mercy and forgiveness when I tried to love him through my pain. The words, “He’s hurt. Love him,” mean so much to him. I also saw God’s mercy in these words, though I didn’t understand them at first. I thought I was the good one and I didn’t deserve all this pain, but God did not love me because I was a seeker of good works. He showed His love for me in that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. God used these loving words toward Jon to expose the lies the Devil had fed me. I thought I had to be something for God when all along I just needed to rest in His love for me. By accepting God’s complete forgiveness of my sin, I was finally able to completely forgive my husband and no longer dwelled on his sin or my hurt. I couldn’t be bitter once I admitted the full weight of my own son and understood the fulness of God’s love for me. His love freed me from the pain and hurt by putting me on equal terms with my husband. Both of us were sinners in God’s eyes, and both were loved enough for Jesus to be the sacrifice in our place. I saw that Jesus sees sinners as hurting people that need His love, I believe God brought us through this trial to make Jon aware of his sin and his need for forgiveness and to make me grasp the full extent of His mercy.
Come to think of it, this cross/ trial in both of our lives has grown both of us in so many ways. I am no longer depressed, but truly happy. I love my husband more today than when we first got married 16 years ago. He actually became the love of Jesus to me by complimenting me and showing me love when I was still depressed and anything but lovable. God’s kingdom work has been accomplished in both of our lives. Mercy begot mercy. Lost people were found, and beauty has come from ashes. God can bring beauty from any ashes.
”Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
5. And what words of encouragement can you share with other couples.Jon- Men, you HAVE to keep your eyes and heart pure. Be careful what you watch. If you can help it, stop watching TV, it’s only going to make you fat and lazy. You also need a men’s group. Iron sharpens iron. Whether it’s a Bible study group or a breakfast club. Do it. Talk about your struggles and your failures. Stop settling for your mediocre life. Stop making excuses. Your wife and family deserve better. Man up.
Angie - I remember asking God once, “Why would you let me marry this person if you knew he was going to hurt me this deeply. I distinctly remember hearing God’s voice in my head, “Jon might have loved you, but he would have never loved me.” Whoa! God is truly about kingdom work.
What are some ways you and your spouse protect your marriage?