Before you read this entry I want you to focus for a moment. Think about the relationship you are in. If you aren’t currently with anyone, think about the last few people you have dated or slept with. Think about the feelings you had or have for the other person. If you are in a relationship outside your first marriage, think about how those feelings compare to your marriage. Think about the depth of connection you have for the other person. Think about sex with that person and how it compares to sex with your spouse. Think about your level of commitment to your partner.
Take a moment and think about these things.
And then read on.
The person you are with may be exactly the type of person you have been praying would come into your life. They’re the physical description of your perfect mate, they treat you well, they’re loyal, fun, caring, generous, beautiful…they are everything you were waiting for and hoping would come your way. Maybe you’ve been waiting a long while for this type of person to be in your life. You probably know that you deserve someone like this, you deserve to be treated this well, spoiled, cared for, appreciated. But I’m wondering if this seems good enough to you, even if outward appearances are perfect.
Stop for a second. Breathe. Think about it.
Is sex the same as with your spouse? I’m not talking about performance, endurance, positions etc. I’m talking about afterwards. After the act of being together, do you feel more connected? Do you feel like you’re closer to that person? Do you feel as though you’re at peace with that person?
Take a slow moment to think about it. Get deep. Assess what your heart tells you.
I’m not trying to convince you to feel one way or another, I only want you to really scrub out these feelings. To really think about what is happening.
Before I left my husband he asked me a question. I’m not sure why he asked me this or how it came about, but he asked me if I would start dating right away when I moved out. I remember my reply as if it was yesterday “I don’t know, but if I’m single for the next two years just to enjoy life, I’m completely ok with that”. I don’t know why that thought was in my head, I have no idea why ‘two years’ was a good timeline for me, but either way, that was my answer.
I ended up dating a few guys here and there during the next year and a bit, but there was a specific type of man I was looking for and praying for. I wanted a tall man, tattoos, tough guy, hard worker. I wanted someone who would treat me gently but wasn’t afraid to stand up to me. I wanted a man with a strong personality. I wanted a man who was a bad-boy but treated me like his princess. Ideally, he would have a motorbike and a nice, big truck. You might laugh, and I know those are things that won’t make a difference in a relationship, but they were on my “Perfect Man” list. I prayed for this man to come into my life. I begged God for him, I really did.
Early last December this exact man came into my life. Right down to the motorbike and truck. He was literally everything I had prayed for and we were adorable together. He would have done anything for me, and I melted at the sight of him. When he would drive half an hour in the middle of a snow storm to pick me up from work and drive me home, the sight of him at my door gave me butterflies. I knew, and thanked God, that he was the answer to my prayers. And, strangely enough, it was almost exactly two years since I had left my husband when this man arrived.
My new boyfriend was a gentleman. There was no pressure to become physically involved until I was ready, he was patient and waited until it felt right for me. Which wasn’t long. The act of sex was good, it was nice to be with a man in that way, a man that wanted and respected me, a man that appreciated me. But when sex was done, sex was done. That was it. It was purely physical and it actually confused me. Where was that feeling of intimacy? That feeling that yes, we are together and I am part of this man…? I cared for him, I loved being with him, couldn’t wait to see him and spend every moment with him. All the emotions seemed to be there. Everything ‘right’ was aligned. So why didn’t our sex connect us and draw us closer?
This man was everything, right down the smallest detail, that I had prayed for. He was my ideal man.
Did it not feel right because sex is meant to be between a husband and a wife? I know people who believe that. I believe that. But let’s go one step further. Sex is meant to be between the husband and the wife. It’s not because you’re not married to that person that you don’t feel that connection. It’s because that person, if this relationship is outside of your marriage, is not the husband or the wife you committed to in front of God.
You have become one with your spouse by committing to vows with them and God is holding you to it. When you are one with one person, you can’t be one with another person. That connection with anyone else won’t exist no matter what you try. No matter what the government says about your marital status or how perfect that person is, if they are not your spouse, you will not feel that connection with them. Period.
I know people are going to scoff at this. They’re going to think that I’m out to lunch. That I’ve gone a bit too far with my situation and that I’m bordering on, if not fully, fanatical for believing this. But I believe with all of my heart, the people coming to these conclusions about me are a) still with their spouse and have not tried to live a life outside of that marriage or b) not wanting to admit that they have been questioning these things too because that would mean admitting to something that is bizarre and scary and widely unaccepted.
We want to be happy, why wouldn’t we want to be happy and move on and be satisfied in another more fulfilling relationship? We deserve to be happy, we are entitled to be happy! I honestly think that media has skewed our way of thinking in this area. We see people on dating shows that have moved on from their marriage and seemingly happy, we see mixed families that are great together, movies show divorced people finally finding the love of their life…I’m not jaded or bitter or resentful of people finding happiness in relationships, I just know what I didn’t feel when I tried to move on. I know what is deeper than what the media is showing us.
Anyone who looked at my boyfriend and I saw happiness. They saw a couple that adored each other, that was in love, that couldn’t get enough of each other. They saw a handsome man looking after his girl and they saw a girl going the extra mile for her man. But what was really going on inside that girl was a lack of connection, questioning, the struggle to be happy but to also admit what she wanted so badly didn’t exist even with, what she thought was, the man of her dreams.
The media doesn’t show you this. Songs don’t have lyrics like this. Movies don’t have plots like this. Books don’t have storylines like this. Because this would be admitting that life isn’t about our satisfaction or happiness. It would basically be admitting that there is something bigger than us connecting us in ways that aren’t always the ideal in our human eyes.
I have no authority or right to tell you how to deal with your relationship outside of your marriage. I have no letters behind my name and no schooling to back me up. I am a simple Christian girl that God suddenly God a hold of and changed drastically. But I do have a few words to challenge you with.
If you are in a relationship outside of your marriage:
1) Separate yourself from that person for a short amount of time, at least, and spend that time asking God for clarity. Ask God to show you his will and to change your heart if he feels it needs to be changed. Read the bible constantly. Pray constantly. Surround yourself with Christian people.
2) Assess your heart. Journaling helped me a lot with this and using a friend as a soundboard. They don’t need to say anything, but voicing your thoughts really helps clarify them. There are times where I didn’t even know I was feeling a certain way until I said it out loud. Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and thinking about. Write it down, talk it out, and pray that God speaks to you.
3) Stop being busy. I filled my life with busyness in order to subconsciously ignore what I was feeling. Give yourself down-time in order to rest your mind and truly feel what you are going through. I worked two jobs for the majority of a year, so I know that this can sometimes be hard to do. But if you need to take time off from one job or hobbies or commitments, it is SO worth it. You owe it to yourself. Trust me in this. God tells us to “be still” for a reason (Psalm 46:10). He leads us beside quiet waters for a reason (Psalm 23:2).
If you are in a first marriage:
1) I would urge you to consider how you are surrounding yourself with the world’s view on marriage. Movies, music, books…It might sound dramatic, I know. But these things are in our lives daily and constantly. They affect our opinions and our decisions and our views. So why wouldn’t they affect our marriages? I used to love the movie The Notebook. I would have watched that movie over and over again. But I know that I just can’t watch that type of thing now. I know that that type of movie makes me think it’s ok to dream about someone other than my husband. It makes it seem like there may be someone out there that will satisfy me more than my spouse.
I love upbeat music, I’m a runner and it’s pretty much a necessity for me. But I know now that I can’t listen to most upbeat secular music because, honestly, it makes me want to go to the bar and dance all slutty and find satisfaction for the night…which is what my mind sometimes tells me that I need.
Without wanting to sound super spiritual I’m going to say that satan loves to use the media to skew our views on marriage and sex and commitment. Pray that God helps you change areas in your life that he feels needs to be changed. Pray that he convicts you where you need to be convicted.
2) Be honest with yourself on how you view divorce. Are you ok with the thought of divorce? How do you view sex outside of your marriage? Do you think it would be satisfying, fun, hot? Do you think it’s possible to find happiness in a relationship outside of your marriage? Whatever your answers are, pray for protection for your mind and heart. Pray that God is present in your marriage and that he shows you where and how you need to change.
3) Pray for your spouse and your marriage daily. Set specific time aside to pray for these things each day. This is SO important!
If you are in a marriage that is not your first marriage and you are feeling the things I have described, I believe that God is the only one that can lead you in what to do. I don’t feel adequate to suggest anything other than daily, concentrated prayer and time with God.
I have found a website that has really challenged what I believe and how I am living my life that you may find helpful. Rejoice Marriage Ministries is an incredible resource that I would suggest you look over.
Also, The Scruggs have an amazing testimony that is worth listening to and their book “I Do Again” is a must read, for any marital situation.