I’m gonna get pretty real with y’all here.
As if I don’t already.
In the terrible moment when I was saying goodbye to Lane for the year, some of the final words I said to him were: I will be faithful to you.
Melodramatic? Awkward? I don’t know.
But I said it because I needed to.
I said it because I know women’s hearts. I said it because I know my own heart. That in the absence of my husband, it can be all too easy to look for validation, love, emotional connection somewhere else.
Would I ever act on anything and let anything cross a physical boundary? Never, no never.
But A: Affairs don’t begin that way; they begin much more innocently, much more deceptively. B: We become unfaithful to our husbands the second we entertain a thought about someone other than him, let a smile in a coffee shop linger, look for ways we can cross paths with that dad we saw at the park last week.
See, our faithfulness to our husbands includes a bed but it also includes our mind.
Are you with me?
I know our husbands are busy. I know the long hours they work, how much they travel, how lonely we can be.
I know kids are demanding. I know how constant it is, how tiring it is, how thankless it is when we rise early in the morning and fold the laundry and make the lunches and enforce discipline and put them to bed and do it all again the next day.
Sometimes we just want to be noticed.
Sometimes, in that loneliness, in that emptiness, it feels good when we actually are noticed. Sometimes, when our husbands are so busy, so distracted, so gone on that business trip, it just feels good to have a handsome stranger smile at us at the store.
Sometimes, it just feels good to be seen.
We love the emotional connection, love to feel important to someone else, love to be recognized.
Girls, listen to me here because this is so, so very important: If we let ourselves travel down that road, it is going to take us nowhere we want to go.
We never start out trying to be unfaithful to our spouse, it always begins much more innocently than that. It begins with a friendship with a coworker, it begins with a comment, it begins with a smile. Rarely does it look dangerous, rarely do we initially feel like it might compromise our marriage. This is why we can be so caught off guard.
Compliments from coworkers or a first glance with a stranger all might seem innocent enough. Or, it might feel rebellious enough, good enough that you find yourself wanting to linger.
It’s not real.
All it is, is a mirage. A mirage appears real, but it’s not. It looks like that which will satisfy, but it won’t. It looks like it might save your life, give you hope, add some spark to your lonely days, but it’s only a false image of the real thing.
Yeah, in order to see a mirage in the first place, you’re wandering through a desert. In order for the false image to look appealing, the real thing is coming up empty. Your marriage might be in a dry season, a desert season, and if you’re at a place in your marriage where being noticed someone other than your husband is a real temptation, a real threat, a real appeal, then there is already work to do.
If your marriage doesn’t feel like it’s offering what you need, isn’t what you signed up for, it might sound enticing to look somewhere else. Here the thing though: I assure you that the false image isn’t going to fill you either.
This is what you need to do instead: Find real water.
When Jesus encounters the woman at the well, he knows that she has been looking to find real life with many different men. She thinks that she is giving him a sip of water to quench his thirst, but instead He promises her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
As we draw closer to Jesus, we find the real water which actually satisfies. As we encounter the living God who sees us, hurting at the well, lost and lonely and looking for love in all the wrong places, he assures us that we are not invisible.
As we sit in the presence of real, unfailing love we will finally realize that we have been noticed all along.
As we look to God to satisfy our deepest needs, our deepest hurts, we will become our own spring of water, bringing life to everything we encounter, no longer seeking the false image of the real thing.
May we be willing to have honest conversations with our husbands and may we have honest conversations with ourselves and realize the places in our life where we have been seeking satisfaction from a mirage. And may we have the courage to do the work of love, to find real, living water, and pour ourselves back into marriage, believing it can become real once more.