Beware of Quicksand: How One Stranger’s Comment Changed My Marriage Forever

FullSizeRenderI called my husband to ask him a quick question. I knew that he was busy at work, but I hoped my short conversation wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience. I was wrong. He was right in the middle of an important project. My call had not only taken his attention, it had added the pressure of what was going on at home to an already stressful day for him.

I didn’t take it personally. He wasn’t in a rush to get off the phone because I was the one who had called him. He was in a rush to get off the phone because he was in the middle of doing something else. So, I went on with the rest of my day and didn’t think much of it… until the guy in the store said something that changed my marriage forever.

“I hope your day gets better.”

We had already walked past him, but from over my shoulder this strange man’s words hit me all at once. I looked back and was met with the kind smile of a nice looking guy about my age. I had taken my kids clothing shopping, and I wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding how exhausted I felt apparently.

“How stressed must I look today,” I thought as I walked toward the checkout. “Who was that guy? And how long had he been watching me?”

His comment might sound creepy, I suppose…. some random guy wandering the store watching closely enough to notice that I was not having the best day. But in that moment… it didn’t feel creepy. It felt… thoughtful. Like someone had seen me in the middle of my day. It felt like someone actually saw the woman and not just her mess of kids and life.

Did he mean anything by it? I don’t think so. Did he have any motive to his words? Probably not. But it was how my heart responded that was dangerous.

It wasn’t until I had loaded the kids into the car and started our forty minute drive home that I had a chance to think about what had taken place in the store.

At first, I was flustered. “I must have looked so exhausted for that guy to think he needed to say something to encourage me.”

And then… then, I was a little flattered. “It really was nice of him to stop and say something. What a nice guy.”

And then, I looked down and realized I was standing in quicksand.

My husband didn’t have time to talk to me. Another man had noticed me. And just like that, I realized that I had been invited out onto a moment that wasn’t designed to hold any weight. I could have easily found myself sinking into a carefully placed trap of the enemy of our hearts.

Because, you know, the most dangerous threats to our marriage don’t always look like steep drop off. They don’t look like a place that is obviously hazardous that we can easily avoid. Sometimes, the most dangerous threats to our marriage look like a friendship with a coworker, or church member, or that nice single dad in the car-line at school. They look like a safe unassuming kindness of a stranger in the store that makes us think that perhaps we could go back on a different day at the same time and see that nice man again who would pay us more attention.

I picked up the phone and dialed my husband again… this time, hoping it would go to voicemail. I was glad when it did.

“Hi. It’s just me. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for bothering you earlier when I knew you were busy. I know that I’m technically doing that again now… but I hoped this call would go to voicemail so that I could tell you I love you, and I hope your day gets better. Okay, talk to you later. Bye.”

When Jared got home later that night, I told him about what had happened in the store. I told him that I knew I had two options.

I could entertain the idea of how good it felt to be noticed by this strange guy. Or I could use that man’s words to help me see that I needed to encourage my own husband. I could use the words that had the potential to turn my attention away from my husband to instead help me strengthen my marriage. I could recognize that my husband deserved to be noticed in the middle of his day… and I should be the one to encourage him.

Friend, we are fools if we think for a second that marriage isn’t a battlefield. We are fools if we believe that the enemy doesn’t have carefully laid plans in place to destroy our families. But we don’t have to live as though we are naïve to his schemes. Should you be afraid of every encounter with someone who is not your spouse? No way. But should we let every outside comment and kindness turn us back toward our spouse? Absolutely. We should remember that the love that we crave from our spouse is often the love that we have to give them.

And we should remember that quicksand looks like solid ground until we step onto it and find ourselves trapped and sinking.

It is my prayer that this post serves as a reminder to wake up every day and place your feet and your marriage on the only Rock that can safely hold both.


Think I looked too much into this situation? Perhaps you missed the point of the article.


We Need to Better Define “Unfaithful”affair article image


  • Sarah says:

    As someone who’s engaged to be married, I think these are the most powerful words: “But should we let every outside comment and kindness turn us back toward our spouse? Absolutely. We should remember that the love that we crave from our spouse is often the love that we have to give them.”

    I love that our experiences should turn us inward toward each other to encourage and strengthen us instead of pull us apart.

  • Meghan Field says:

    LOVE this post- its so incredibly true! And I have been reading your book – it is incredibly inspiring and truly nourishes me in a way other books never have. Thank you!

  • Chrystan Ferrell says:

    This really hit home today. Thank you for transparency, I believe very strongly for transparency. Just know your words gave me a good reminder today.

  • Cherrise says:

    Thankyou this was just what I needed to put me back in focus of my husbands needs
    I was falling for the wrong Person at work

  • Marissa says:

    The love that I crave from my husband is the love that I need to give him– so convicting. Thank you for posting, I needed to read this. God is speaking to me over and over on this subject and I feel my heart softening. I pray every women learns this, it’s not easy, but everything that involves God is with it

  • Brittany says:

    Wow! This is GREAT. Thank you for sharing your heart through this preemptive post and warning us to guard our hearts from the enemy.

  • Michael says:

    As someone whose wife fell into the quicksand, I can say that you are a very wise woman to have recognized the danger and moved away from it. I hope more follow your example. “A wise woman BUILDS her home, but a foolish one tears it down . . . “

    • Samantha says:

      The husband is also responsible for putting the opportunity for the quicksand. Stop putting it all on the shoulders of the wife. She should be his 1st and last thought as well

      • Michael says:

        I know you do not mean to imply that the wife has any justification for her actions. This article is concerned with what the WIFE needs to guard against, so let’s keep the focus on that, here. If you want to wander over to The Good Men Project, there you will find men holding themselves and each toher to a higher standard so this type of thing might ~ MIGHT ~ not happen.

        • The Good Wife says:

          As the good wife who DID go home to her husband, build him up, dote on him, offer sex as stress relief… You name it, I was building him up and was STILL ignored for over 25 years. This pisses me off that the wife still gets all the blame. I am tired of apologizing for being devalued, ignored, & put down. Or apologizing for finally being HAPPY with someone who loves, values, & cherishes me the way it should be!

  • Chris says:

    I am a 35+ years of marriage bride and I want to thank you for these reminders: marriage is a battlefield, constantly, but a battle worth fighting and that the love I crave from my husband, he craves from me. We can become so comfortable in our marriage that we can become complacent. That is never a good thing. That is when the enemy will strike. I truly appreciate the reminders.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, I really needed to see this.

  • Amanda says:

    This really hit me! You know, you may have hesitated to even post this but boy do you never know who your audience might be.

    I’m a mom of 2, my youngest is 10 months and it’s been the roughest 10 months since she made her appearance. We love her, she’s truly a delight but man, can she be grumpy, stay grumpy and isn’t fond of naps or sleep.

    So I’m am EXHAUSTED all the time. I seriously need a coffee IV.

    But I frequently find myself, not tempted, but having to push myself to be the wife I should be, I need to be and I want to be.

    It’s hard when you’ve have little hands grasping at you all day to want to even hug another person. And giving my husband the time and attention he also deserves is a challenge in itself. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I even greeted him when he came home! Or was I wrapped up caring for a child or zoned out in a rare moment when a child didn’t need me.

    I know the same goes for him, we both feel it. We’ve both expressed the frustration our current life has made us feel and how the squeeze of finances and time keeps us from getting away, just us.

    It’s encouraging to know you’re not the only one that feels like they’re sinking some days. Not the only one that has to pull themselves back together and make the right decisions for your marriage and your family.

    • CJ says:

      I have been where you are. My husband and I have been where you guys are. We would have to remind ourselves it’s just a season. Everyone would tell us time and again that they are only little once and to enjoy it. It was overwhelming! I would be like, I am TRYING to enjoy it as much as possible, but I just so tired! So I would pray (and cry) a lot. My husband and I made a point to have date nights. I know sometimes some of us don’t have access to sitters, but if possible date nights help immensely! Even if it’s (once in a while) drop the kiddos at evening church and have a 45 minute coffee date! We call those minidates! But no matter what just keep reminding yourselves that this is for a season and it will get better! (And it does for sure). For today grab you husband’s hand, remind him of that, and just hold each other for a few moments amidst the chaos. And of course pray. A lot.

      • Laurie D says:

        We often had “date night” at home when our kids were little. We would feed them early and then when they were in bed, we would have a special dinner and watch a movie or play a game or just visit.

  • TXSwimMom says:

    As a former divorce attorney I have to add watch out for the quicksand before you take the vows. Not one time in my 22 years with my husband did I ever look at another man or even consider another. The reason why is I took a very long time to commit, I was analytical, I did not act on solely my heart but also my head with I got married. Lastly being married is hard work and takes alot of compromise. If you can’t comprehend that from the beginning you will be in quicksand from the very start.

  • Christi says:

    This was a well timed article for me. I have been battling my thoughts about a comment made to me that was much more overt. Being called beautiful by anyone is flattering and I was having a hard time not dwelling on how good it felt to be noticed. I, too, came home and made a concerted effort to be present in my relationship with my husband. It hasn’t been easy staying away from thinking of the situation and I am thankful to know that I am not alone in these kinds of struggles.

  • Rachael B says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This exact thing happened to me a few weeks ago; different details, same story. It’s pretty incredible how quickly I went down an emotional path with someone I never even spoke to, and how strong my feelings were for a couple of days. I prayed about it, and God took away the feelings I had towards the man. I didn’t tell my husband about it. Marriage is a battlefield, you’re right. Sometimes these things come out of nowhere and hit us right in our weak spots. Stay faithful. That’s my goal too.

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Interestingly tomorrow marks exactly 4 years since my “perfect” little world came crashing around me. It all started as kind words of encouragement from my husband to a lady at our then church. We were high school sweethearts, 5 months pregnant, expecting our first born. I thought we were unstoppable and impenetrable. Boy was I wrong. The enemy turned those encouraging words into something that quickly escalated into an emotional affair that almost ended our marriage. Long story short, God was the only thing that saved our marriage. We couldn’t have made it without him. He turned everything around and restored our marriage and together we are raising an amazing little girl. I needed this reminder that we should always guard our hearts and fight for our marriage.

  • Caley says:

    So so true – and how quick!!! Love the quicksand analogy and a reminder to always be on the lookout for these situations x

  • Mary says:

    Your story made me open my eyes and realize that the enemy in fact is always lurking and hoping that one day
    they will find our weakness so we can fail. The world is a better place because of people like you.
    God Bless you and your family.

  • Kevin says:

    A very similar thing happened to my now ex wife, however she decided to take the attention and run with it. After 9 years (ours) and fifteen years (his) two marriages and two families (totaling 4 children) were shattered. It’s an effect that never goes away. Life never returns to formal afterwards and life certainly didn’t become greener for her on the other side.

    Marriage requires yourself and your partner to work together to overcome obstacles, nothing can be resolved working against each other.

    Communication is critical, if you’re unhappy tell your spouse you are and why. Many times what is obvious to you, is oblivious to them.

  • D'ondra says:

    Loved this post!

  • Tera says:

    So I found you because an acquaintance shared this post on Facebook. I was so moved by that post. I’ve always said that my husband and I stay away from situations that might cause temptation. But I’ve never really thought about how a small encouraging word can wedge it’s way into our marriage. So Good! I always try to be uplifting and not complain about anything (I don’t have much to complain about!), but choosing to encourage my husband in moments when I myself feel like I need to be encouraged- well, that’s just never occurred to me. Thanks for being transparent!

  • Jane Holland says:

    I recently discovered that my husband nearly had an emotional affair (or HAD an emotional affair, depending on the way you look at it) 9 years ago. She was a graphic designer that worked occasionally with his company. Even though it didn’t go beyond a few personal phone calls and texts (as opposed to work-related calls/texts) – he wrote extensively about the pull of his heart towards her in his journals from that year – which I found after he admitted to the affair. Though he wrote in code, I was able to decipher exactly what he meant. It was a rough year for us – we had 3 small children and a struggling business, which he felt way over his head in. Regardless of whether I was 100% attentive or not during that time – I feel like we BOTH were severely lacking in that area towards one another – he allowed the enemy a foothold by not putting up the proper boundaries on his working relationship with this other woman. She was single. They shared a lot of the same interests. She thought very highly of him and encouraged him to “go for his dreams” etc. etc. It’s not even that I wasn’t meeting his needs as much as it was a diversion from the everyday… a temptation. I thank God that it didn’t go any further than it did… but even the knowledge that he THOUGHT about it hurts so deeply. We’re currently in counseling and doing really great… but I have this urge to run up to every married couple I know and shake them and say “stay alert! be on guard! don’t live in fear, but take REALLY GOOD CARE of what you’ve been given.”

  • Janetta Fudge-Messmer says:

    Outstanding post. Outside influence kills more marriages than anything inside the four walls. Thank you for your words.

  • StarWarsFans says:

    Reading this through tears. I recently found myself in a similar situation as you. I wish I could say I realized it as a quicksand trap set by the enemy, but I didn’t. It wasn’t until I was about knee deep that I realized I was in a spiritual battle and had been caught without my armor on. God has been faithful to help me crawl out. One of the ways he has helped is by putting books, sermons, Bible studies, and blog posts like this in my path. Thank you for sharing.

  • Beverly says:

    Thanks for this reminder, especially now when I think this could have easily been me falling into the quicksand because of the stress our lives have been lately because of so many things that are weighting us both down, we both have not been very loving lately and we often have said harsh things and when we aren’t saying harsh things we are just complacent or not talking to each other much. I really needed this now, I know my husband loves me as much as I do him and I hope we can remember to help each have better moments that will lead to better days.

  • Karan says:

    I fell for kind words when I needed them. I fell right into Satan’s trap. Although we ended up divorced, I begged God for a 2nd chance with my husband. I woke up and realized what a horrible mistake I had made. It took 2 years. Lots of soul searching and thousands of prayers from me and many others. I thank God everyday that I got my family back and I will never ever make those mistakes again.

  • Andy Fox says:

    My wife of 23 years stepped in the quick sand and I and our family sank out of site. Now all I have left is heartbreak, hopelessness and hundreds of unanswered prayers. Ironically I feel for her and pray that eventually the love of my life will be enlightened by the truth, not an illusion that seems like it. Thank you for loving as much as you have been loved.

  • Mrs. S says:

    Your post is so very, very poignant to me because I had the EXACT same experience in a grocery store. Only the guy looking at me with a twinkle in his eye was someone I knew 15 years ago as a friend and whom I find very, very attractive and alluring. I dwelt on it for months, allowing it to cause some major issues in our marriage. Thanks for sharing this experience with the world wide web.

  • Amanda says:

    Wow!! I seriously just finished having an argument with my husband of almost 16 years when I checked my email and had a notification from you with this blog entry. It’s exactly what I ((WE)) needed at just the right time! Once again, I’m in complete awe of our amazing {right on time} God! Just WOW!

    You are truly amazing, Becky! I completely admire you and although I don’t know you personally, I feel as if you are my best friend, sister, mentor, etc. You are, without a doubt, the only positive role model in my life. I am 100% positive that God sent you to me through your blog because He knew that I NEEDED you in my life! I relate to you more than I’ve ever related to anyone else before. Thank you for allowing God to use you to touch so many of our lives, for sharing your life with us and for being brave enough to put into words what we are all thinking and feeling! You are simply amazing and you never cease to amaze me with your wise words! Again, THANK YOU for everything, especially for the positive impact you’ve had on me! xoxo

  • Felicia Hayden says:

    I have been married for 38 years and this is good advice. I know how important that encouraging word is to my husband hu st as it is to me. Be the sail in his ship and the relationship only gets better and better. Go places deeper than ever before just as a with the Lord. Thanks for sharing.

  • Deja says:

    What a good reminder. I have also fallen into this trap and it definitely takes a tole on your marriage. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Greg Byers says:

    Thank you so much for your post. Marriage is truly a battlefield My Wife & I will soon be married for 43yrs & I can tell you over that time Satan has tried to split us apart. But only through our Love for The Lord & his HELP
    we have kept it together. I don’t know where we would be without his HELP. But it’s also been inspirational observations like yours that also have helped us. Please continue to post this HELP to not only my beautiful Wife & I but also many Young Married couples that need to read them.. God Bless, Greg

  • Susie says:

    I needed to see this today. Almost 20 years into marriage and it still applies. Just when things were feeling less than perfect with my husband, I took one of those crazy “what letter does your soulmate’s name start with” quizzes on Facebook and it brought up the initial of an old flame. Just enough for the devil to squirm into my thoughts. Marriage is indeed a battlefield and we always need to be wearing the armor of God.

  • Sarah says:

    I totally get what you’re saying and those are wise words. However, I can’t help but wonder if maybe he didn’t mean anything creepy about it at all, maybe he honestly just saw you having a stressful day and sincerely hoped that it would get better. Sometimes when we see someone struggling, there’s nothing we can do except wish them well.

  • Alice says:

    Having been the one standing in that quicksand and somewhat quickly dissolving my marriage, I appreciate your message! My husband, saw the signs and helped pull me back out of the depths of my own wanderings!

  • Mike says:

    What a great look into the complexity of our human hearts, and a great encouragement to guard the depths of our heart in every single life situation. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Mamma says:

    I wish it were that easy. Mine is crumbling at the seams because after giving and giving until there is no more to give I feel robbed. I feel it’s all one sided. I feel resentful. Is it better to be alone or feel alone in the journey? I’m in the middle of making that decision. When you stop bringing out the best in each other, when the bad outweighs the good? Who knows. I will continue to nourish and care and put the needs of him first because the alternative is Divorce. I’m selfish to even consider breaking up the eternal family because I hunger for love affection or a compliment? Press forward right. Feel like this eternally. Be the example of a loveless careless marriage to my daughter’s and show my son that to have a wife requires absolutely nothing from the man. That he’s entitled to his hot dinner and clean house. Whatevs! Sl

  • Marsellus Wallace says:

    What a powerful story. I really appreciate you having the courage to share this. I never stopped to think about how vulnerable women around me might be can how easy it would be to take advantage of that.

  • kiki says:

    i loved this. marriage is something that has to be fought for every day, in every moment, just like you said. what an awesome insight that you had and a perfect post, that i hope millions will read. <3

  • Steven says:

    Most people don’t overthink small events like this and just move on with their lives.

  • Lynne Dorrough says:

    I had a similar thing happen to me back in December. ( my husbands busy time at work, when I can feel neglected). A male customer I had at work texted me a few days later, thanking me for helping him. At first it felt kinda nice, the attention, then I was like wow how did good customer service go to this. I had a choice, do I reply to Him,the customer, ( the enemy’s trap for me?) or not. I choose not to, but I will admit it felt nice. Then a couple weeks later the guy came to see me again, asked if I got his text. I replied yes. He asked something about my marriage, my reply I am in it for better or for worse that’s what my vows were, soon to be 30 years ago. Haven’t seen or heard from him since & it made me aware of the “quicksand” out there. Guard your hearts lad does & gentlemen. Be blessed!

  • Bianca says:

    Living in the world today where hate and criticism and are part of the Christian circle, these words are very encouraging. It is a battlefield and we need to help each other in this way, not bring each other down.

  • Lindy says:

    On a related note – I’ve been happily married 27 years. One key: how we respond to the ‘small things.’ Last week, my husband borrowed my favorite travel mug to go volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. When I was looking for it the next day, he said, “I’m so sorry, I just realized I forgot it at Habitat. I know that is your favorite mug” I hugged him and told him, “I love you way too much to let something like a mug come between us.”

    On the flip side, last week I made a mistake and forgot to tell our son to pick up his dad when he was done helping me. Two hours later, I received a message from my husband asking when our son would be ready to pick him up. I felt TERRIBLE and let him know. I’m also figuring out how to keep that from happening again. He forgave me. The bottom line is that we respect each other, are honest with each other, and try not to sweat the small things…

    • Lindy says:

      It’s when you let resentment build up that you head into quicksand. Whether it is from forgetting something, interrupting something, or being short with someone, it always helps to show mutual love, kindness, and forgiveness.

      And stay far away from the slippery slope of little white lies…

  • In a marriage that's healing says:

    Thank you for this…. I needed to read this today. So much truth in this! Thanks

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for posting this! I needed to read it!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Is it possible the guy was just being nice person? They do still exist, you know.

    • Katie says:

      I don’t think the guy’s motivations are really in view here. He probably was being a nice guy. His observation isn’t the quicksand, it’s the choice to take his remark and potentially run with it in a dangerous direction that is the quicksand. I don’t think the author is saying we need to be skeptical of kind/encouraging remarks from the opposite sex–just keep them in perspective and overall fiercely guard our marriages.

  • Cris says:

    This is so true. The grass is not greener. You married that person for a reason and you need to remind yourself of that daily. I have a few co-workers (men) that I consider to be friends, but we don’t talk about our marriages in any negative way. It is also important to let them know you are in no way available. There are too many men and women that seek validation from others outside of their marriage. I don’t need it and it’s not because my marriage is perfect, it’s because I am committed.

  • Joe Blow says:

    What a great post! I agree with everything in it so…

    I hate to even add this but please accept it as its meant to: Not all single dads are dangerous. I’m a single dad, and being treated like a leper by all the moms at school is downright discouraging somedays. I’m not dangerous, I’m not out to get them, and I can’t help it that I’m usually one of the only men in the room at whatever school meeting is going on. I can live with it, but some days it would be nice to be let outside my bubble and actually talked to like a human being.

  • Bobbie Kay Adkins says:

    Thanks for sharing

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words, I need them now and everyday.

  • Rachael says:

    This was so perfect for me to read last night. Such a great perspective for exactly where I am in our marriage right now. Thank you :)

  • Bek Hibbert says:

    So well said Becky! Thank you for your honesty.

  • Jen says:

    Great reminder!

  • HeatherCaskey says:

    Thanks for sharing

  • JoDee says:

    Couldn’t this man’s words have just been interpreted as someone who was seeing another human being struggling and trying to offer words of encouragement? If it were a woman who said that to you, would you have had the same reaction?

  • Megan says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding me :-)

  • Andy says:

    I have been married for 7 years, and used to work in a profession where I was the only man in the company of 6-8 female co-workers, all of whom were approximately my age, or younger. Almost every day I would receive positive comments that, whether intended to or not, appeared to lead down that “quicksand” road.

    God gave me the strength to always stay away from that road and I thank him endlessly for it.

  • Jaclyn Marie says:

    This was powerful and spot on! Thanks for these reminders!!!!! I will be ordering this book to read asap!!!!

  • Pam Halter says:

    Oh. My.

    Thank you.

  • Amanda T. says:

    This really hit home for me today, thank you so much for your witness. It is not always the big things but the little foxes.

  • Laura says:

    Yes, marriage is a battlefield. Yes, there are moments of quicksand. And yes, when we are feeling empty in our marriage, the best way to fill our cup is to fill our spouse’s. You have beautiful words, and a beautiful message, but I can’t help but react in a little bit of sadness toward parts of this message. You may not have meant this at all, but I am wary of words which direct us to be looking for the quicksand. We have a Helper who healed the lame and made the blind to see; surely He can make the quicksand firm; surely He can guide us to not just run from these moments to safety, but to accept the blessing of these moments.

    Jesus met the woman at the well with compassion; He saw in her eyes, her demeanor, the exhaustion she felt. And He gave her hope. He was not leading her into a moment of weakness. Jesus is not here in flesh today, but WE are His hands and feet and words. We speak the hope into a world of tired mamas and more. He guides us to lift each other up, to be placed in moments which can inspire others. When a stranger sees me haggard and at the end of my rope, dragging 4 kids through the grocery store, and offers me a wish that my day improves, I see Jesus. I see a moment where I exist outside the exhaustion, and there is hope. I have been seen. And those simple words do make it easier. They do inspire me to carry on. And to pass it on. To encourage the next person I see in need of a few kind words. Whether male of female.

    Had your encounter been with a kind-looking older woman, I feel you would have been inspired differently. It would have been viewed as just encouragement. And I understand you are not saying to fear every comment. That you want us to take the moment as a reminder to look back toward your spouse. But I also want you to see and accept that moment for its encouragement. Plain and simple.

    I have a husband who travels for work frequently. He tells me stories of women on airplanes with their babies who have cried the whole way, and the looks they get from other passengers, and how he feels such compassion for her. How he wants to offer to hold her child like he has done for all of his babies; how he wants to offer her words of encouragement…but he settles for a kind smile in her direction because he isn’t sure how to approach without seeming either intimidating or “sending the wrong message.” And while my heart fills with love for this man, I am also pained by this idea of every situation of kindness possibly being quicksand, which then actually keeps us from serving those around us.

    Arm yourself with Christ, and live boldly. Love boldly. Reach out, and allow yourself to be reached. We can’t live in fear that every sandbox is a pit of quicksand, or it will be.

    I am sorry to be so lengthy, and I am happy to be corrected; this was my first visit to your blog, as I had seen a friend post it, and also saw the release of your book on Waterbrook Press. I am not trying to tear you down, so please do not take my comments as argumentative. I simply read this when I got out of bed this morning, and it was heavy on my heart to say something. Please take it in love. <3

  • Janna says:

    I don’t agree 100%. I crave those words of affection, and yes, it makes my life difficult when I hear them from other people, but my husband doesn’t like words of affection. He loves a listening ear. So, no it doesn’t translate equally. But we should perhaps recognize what our spouses need and respond to that need. Now, how do I get my husband to say those words to me?

  • Stephanie Bybee says:

    I totally get what you are saying however this is my issue. There are all these articles that tell you to push through, be patient, be kind, encourage, etc…. This sounds amazing! This sounds so true and in turn encourages people to stick things out. I’m a fighter and think it’s a must in a relationship. But when is enough, enough? If you have the fighter mentality and compromise on things….. If that isn’t reciprocated, then fighter turns in to door mat and compromise turns in to self sacrifice. If your partner isn’t on the same page, then efforts are lost and time is wasted.

    • Kimberley Kendrick says:

      I totally agree. My companion and I went through some very rough waters because of this. What he calls “just being friendly” I call flirting and flattery. He mainly worked around women and would often confide in them problems in our relationship. I know this because I witnessed it and heard it for myself from the next isle over where he was working. I found myself very insecure and doubting everything he said to me..because afterall I heard hom more thsn once telling other women about me. To me thats not being friendly. Thats flirting in a way as to seek attention and feed the ego. I found it strange how he spoke about his females coworkers when describing them…”Oh she’s a short little thing” ..for instance. Really? Glad he was paying attention and pointed that out to me. Anyway he no longer workers there which doesnt matter because he will never change how he interacts with women. Walking a very fine line.

  • Jay says:

    What a load of pretentious crap.

  • Cynthia A Camble says:

    I am doing a women’s conference in July. I would love to be able to use this story on the heart issues. One of the topics is how do you treat your spouse. Of course, I am going to get a few copies to hand out. Just wanted permission. thank you and God bless

  • Jennie says:

    What an apt word. Thank you. Just a short while ago I was feeling quite discouraged from not feeling appreciated/valued and really needed this extra encouragement to keep in the battle. Thankful for my friend sharing it at just the right time too.

  • Sinking says:

    This is so very true. Unfortunately I have fallen in the quicksand and don’t know how to get out. Thanks for the great post I hope it helps others so they don’t end up like me…sinking!

    • Mary says:

      Please don’t give up the fight. I, too, am in the quicksand right now. Some days just the bottom of my feet are caught, others I’ve sunk down some. Every day is a fight in prayer, reaffirming my choice in God, what is true, my family and what I truly want. One day my feet will be on firm ground. God did it for David. My husband knows of my struggles and his faith, love and trust in me is staggering. Satan can’t have my family. My prayers are with you. Keep the faith. Hugs!

  • Bryanne says:

    I think you are wise to turn your thoughts back toward your husband. However, I caution you against seeing every remark as an attack on your marriage. If you are an attractive woman, men will notice you. If your husband is an attractive man, women will notice him. The guy in the store probably thought you looked tired or stressed and was trying to be kind. You were in an emotionally vulnerable moment because you were affected by your husband’s reaction to you over the phone. You did the right thing by telling your husband about it, but could you guys set something up in the future so that this doesn’t happen? Maybe if you have a question you could send him a text or email instead of call him? That way you don’t catch him in a stressful moment and that way he shows kindness to you?

  • Kari Wall says:

    This simply written post came just in the knick off time. I appreciate you being transparent and open.

  • Robbie stinnett says:

    Wise words. I have been married 42 years and sometimes become complacent in my marriage. I need to remember that both my husband and I still need that ever present encouragement, admiration and love. I pray daily that God would put a hedge around our marriage and those of my children. Thanks for your post!

  • Swindoll2 says:

    How true these words are – I know. It happened to me. It happened to my marriage. It almost destroyed my life 25 years ago. Marriage is a battleground. You have to protect your marriage from intruders. Take it from someone who has walked this road. There are people out there that will invade your marriage if you let them. When we feel alone or neglected, the devil slips in and does all kinds of damage. Thankfully, we realized where we went wrong as a couple and what circumstances put us there. I am so thankful to God for allowing us to work it out and we have been married for 33 years now. Never and I mean NEVER put yourself in the position of letting anything or anyone come between you and your mate. It seems so innocent in the beginning. It takes a lot of hard work to get back trust in a relationship once it is compromised. Pray a hedge of strength around your marriage every day.

  • g says:

    loved how God helped you discern and turn back the plot of the enemy to strengthen the marriage instead. love the Lord for He alone is good. thank you for sharing.. <3

  • teresa says:

    I love that comment that was made earlier about the quicksand and I have been married to my childhood sweetheart for almost 40 years and I require and demand that attention that I don’t get not sure what to do not sure how much longer I can hold on those words meant a lot trying to go forward and stay strong I try to stay prayerful because you require so much more attention than what I’m getting I try to relay that to my husband but he just totally ignores me and don’t know how long we’re going to stay married I pray it’s forever working to find an answer to this solution thank you for your kind words

  • Susan says:

    Excellent post! I often think of the song Slow Fade from Fireproof. The words speak of the same thing. I send it to my sons often. One is married and one will be in July. I am going to get the book for both ! Great Christian men, but There is a battle going on for sure! Even those of us that have been married 42 years need to watch the Quicksand and the Slow Fade.

  • Ray says:

    I’m a preacher. I came here from a friend’s share. I am blessed to have done so. Some excellent quotes, especially how it looks like solid ground but is really quicksand. So applicable not only to marriage. Your husband is a very lucky (blessed) guy. Remind him I said so. :)

  • Beth says:

    I enjoyed this post. Marriage truly is a battlefield, but a battle worth fighting!! As a 26 year bride and Pastor’s wife, I see so many that need to get a hold of this truth and not let go. Satan would like nothing better than to destroy every home and he certainly offers every opportunity. Thank you for writing this, I will be sharing on my facebook in hopes that every friend I have will read it and share.

  • Summer says:

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. That situation you described is one I fell for and my choices led me down a very different path than yours. I praise God that you had the ability and self awareness to listen to what the spirit was speaking to you and I beg anyone who is reading this to please take this blog and apply it to your marriage. It’s worth it. And if your situation was more similar to mine all I will say is that there is hope. So much pain and so much struggle and a long road to healing but there is hope.
    Bless you all, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Pam says:

    My 95 year old mother has often told me that any relationship worth having, is worth fighting for and working on. After spending the last 41 years with my husband, I understand and respect this point of view. No relationship flows smoothly all the time and often the cracks and bumps you encounter have nothing to do with your personal relationship. It is definitely the work of all the evil forces in our world today. Always remember that there are three people in a relationship and that as you aspire to get closer to your partner, you both, will also get closer to God. The hateful things that happen to and in a relationship will do one of two things: tear you apart or bring you closer together. Remember to not fight over the tiller during a storm, but to combine your strength to overcome together whatever ravages the storm may bring, and bring control and peace to your lives again.

  • Cambri says:

    I came across your blog today and am in love!! You’re such an inspiration and example – even to a twenty year old that hasn’t yet experienced life as a wife and mother. I’m excited to continue reading your posts!

    I blog, too!

  • Randy Hall says:

    “We should remember that the love that we crave from our spouse is often the love that we have to give them.”
    One of the most significant statements I have read in a long time–and I do a ton of reading (and writing). Keep it up Becky. Your thoughts eminate directly from your heart, which I believe, are enhanced by the light of Christ.

  • Kenny says:

    Found your post by way of a Facebook share. You have the gift of keen insight and creating a positive experience from a “quicksand” situation. Thanks for sharing.

  • Darby Dugger says:

    I’m new to your blog… and this is an amazing post is the first of your work that I’ve read. I can’t wait to subscriber and comb through past articles. This was spot on… so true! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Laura Lester says:

    I am getting married tomorrow. I am 51 and he is 53. We both have lived through difficult times and we are smiling at the future.

  • Sarah Gallucci says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I am going to be speaking at a bridal shower this weekend and this is a great article to share! May God continue to lead and bless your marriage.

  • Megan says:

    Thank you for writing this. I wish I would have seen this four years ago…I was once the fool fallen into the quicksand. We have survived the affair all in thanks to God, and daily I do not forget the grace I’ve been given. However, one fall doesn’t mean satan leaves you alone and yes, those moments are so subtle. We’ve been married 15 years now and the walls around our marriage are a constant battle from attacks.
    Thank you again!!

  • Abby says:

    Thank you for writing this. This is something I needed to read today.

  • Jennifer says:

    This does go both ways… we both have needs that need to be met. We both have attention that we need… we both should encourage eachother..

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  • Rhonda Tanner says:

    Wow, hit the nail on the head. I always say if people placed as much attention on the relationship they have, as they are placing on the relationship they’re wishing to start , how much better marriages and families would be.
    I’m sharing this find of a gem with my church. Thank you so much.

  • Mara says:

    Love this… I have been married for 27 years and been with my husband since we a were 16 , now 50….. Marriage is a job.. I try to wake up everyday and think how can I make ,my husband happy… I also believe work hard toward a good relationship when it’s good, don’t wait until it gets bad ☺️

  • Jen says:

    Love this girl! I had a similar interaction not too long ago. The enemy is so sneaky, we have to guard our hearts. Love your honesty. Praying for you!

  • Patrick says:

    I make a point of answering my wife’s calls when at work, or at least texting her back. She stays at home with the kids and I know its so exhausting, answering a call is the least I can do. I might not be the best conversation partner, but at least she won’t feel alienated. At the end of the day, the only person you should confide in is your spouse, and the don’t ever be alone with a member of the opposite sex where you can be tempted, because sin is lurking at your feet / door…

  • Adam S says:

    As a guy, this has been confronting to read. I don’t know why exactly.

    Perhaps it’s because I don’t think the guy in the store did anything wrong by saying that to you.
    Maybe he didn’t, and it’s not about him – it’s about what was happening through his words, and through that temptation of the heart.

    I guess as guys all we can do is check our motives, I guess.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  • Nellie says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately in my marriage I was giving and not receiving. After 23 years of daily criticism, put downs, name calling, no affection, never hearing the words I love you , I fell. However before that I told him Ives done. I would not take it anymore. My heart closed. So spouses, please listen to the needs of your mate and nourish. At some point if it’s not nourished love will die.

  • k says:

    Thanks for the reminder. My husband is talking divorce because he is looking at everyone else and asking why I can’t earn money like they do, or dress like they do, or automatically accept his church’s teachings and the prosperity gospel like they do.

  • Michele says:

    This is probably the best post I’ve read on the Internet in a long time. Thank you for several things, especially thinking this way, and sharing those thoughts. I can honestly say you’ve changed me for the better and I intend to practice this from here on out.

  • Adelina Priddis says:

    I have been so guilty of stepping into that quicksand. What a powerful reminder, thank you!

  • Lori says:

    Please pray for me. I am struggling. I do so crave kind words, a warm hug, an understanding look-anything from anybody that acknowledges that I am a human (let alone a wife, mom, caregiver etc) I feel like I am about out of LOVE incoming and outgoing.

  • Erin says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve had this happen before and it is as you describe “quicksand”. Its so easy to blame after that and start spinning those gears. Its like being on a boat and focusing on the horizon…just hold on to that point <3

  • Nadine says:

    I am commenting because I wasn’t the one who was standing in quicksand in my marriage, that will end soon as a result of him standing on quicksand (and other things). This kind of thing happens a lot with men!! My husband was never completely devoted to me, he never gave me all of himself as I did to him. This problem isn’t just about women, men I think are distracted more easily by others then women are!! I think you should at least mention it from another point of view!!

  • Robert says:

    Becky, thank you for this post. This is the first I’ve ever read of your work. What a brave (and scary) thing to open those honest feelings for a bunch of strangers to read. You’re right…it is soooooo easy to let stress, a perceived slight from a loved one, and a kind word or attention from a stranger turn into a disaster if we entertain it long enough. You were quick to perceive the danger from within and act quickly. Good for you!

  • Johni Hendershot says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this post. I read it last week and had to go back and read it again today. I’m engaged to be married and reading this has encouraged me in a whole new way! It is so true that the love we crave from them is the exact love we need to show them. Again, thank you!

  • Rabia says:

    Amazing. This gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing.

  • Trinda says:

    “quicksand looks like solid ground”

    This statement really resonates with me. And not just as far as my marriage. How often do we set our selves on what looks like solid ground, only to find it is quicksand, in all areas of our lives.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and the encouragement to look at these traps with a new perspective.

  • Levi Westphal says:

    Great article. You said in there a brilliant point that I would just like to add a bit to. You said: “Friend, we are fools if we think for a second that marriage isn’t a battlefield.” to which I would add, “our battle is not against each other but alongside and for each other.” No where is the command to “Bear ye one another’s burdens… (Galatians 6:2)” more prevalent than in the marriage/home. If we let ourselves lose this aspect, we begin to tear each other and our marriage down. If that happens (and it is so easy to become distracted from the true focus/enemy) our enemy wins.

  • Sarah says:

    As a divorced mom, a woman who has “failed”, I hope your words touch thousands of spouses. I wasn’t the one who cheated, but if I had been always the one to encourage him and make him feel valued by me, there wouldn’t have been any cheating. Take joy in your marriage. There is more satisfaction and happiness to be found in making your spouse happy than in all the attention you could be flattered by from someone else. And accepting that flattery can so easily lead to a situation that causes unbelievable hurt and harm to the people you are supposed to love. Thank you for writing this post.

  • Nella says:

    I agree with your post that sometimes dangerous relationships start just with seemingly innocent moves. I am certainly aware that we should always be careful about quicksands and situations that could bring troubles in the marriage. On the other end it is possible that the stranger comment was just genuine or that it didn’t have any deep meaning at all. I grew up in Southern Europe and I guarantee you that even my 90 yo grandma in a grocery store would get some flatterying comment but it would be considered only a way of keeping the customer happy and part of the cultural setting.

  • PaigeP says:

    This post had so much meaning for me….”Quicksand” is a great way to put it!

  • Jenni says:

    For years I have played soccer in a co-ed league. One day after a game, I was walking home in the pouring rain and a male teammate (we have known him and his wife for years) stopped and didn’t even ask if I wanted a ride. He just leaned over and flung open his passenger door. As his two kids were jumping in the back seat he yelled, “Hop in!” as if it was a no-brainer that I would, given the circumstances. I politely (I hope) declined and walked home the mile and a half. At that moment of decision, all I could think of were two things 1) what would my husband think/feel when I hopped out of this car in our driveway at home, little kid chaperones or no, and 2) when the enemy gets a foot in the door the battle is really on, so I firmly closed that door. I’ve never regretted it. And my husband appreciated it too.

  • Alexis says:

    I’d never be able to tell my husband a man said something like that to me. He would think it inappropriate of anyone to say something especially a man, he’s very old school and a bit of a prude. Even if I did think ‘oh that was nice’ or ‘ I should encourage my husband more’ it would be better to leave it at the comment of a random stranger in a store, to be ignored and forgotten.
    You are lucky to be able to speak with your husband about what mine would interoperate as affections from another man.

  • Kim says:

    BRAVO to you, for recognizing quicksand when you’re standing in it. Sometimes a minute is all it takes for temptation to grab hold of you.

  • Aida says:

    Bless you and thank you for a deeply personal post but an incredibly important one. You outlined exactly what to do and how to do it. You made the mind shift clear on how we must be diligent in protecting marriage. It’s fragile and the world wants to destroy that. Bless you.

  • Nicole says:


    I’m so thankful for your article. I read it several months ago, and showed it to hubby, and we both agreed it was good and true. And you know what? Tonight I was tested. The enemy tried to tempt me. And in the past, I might have been to embarrassed, or wanted to avoid possible conflict, but instead, because of your words, I knew EXACTLY what to do. Thank you. Marriage is a battlefield, and it’s WAY easier when we are on the same team! ❤️❤️

  • Simo says:

    I needed to read this today, thank you

  • Melissa says:

    I’m curious as to how your husband responded when you told him that. If I told my husband that, he would freak out. He once accused me of having an affair with a coworker because I poked him with a pen.

  • Jamie H says:

    I love this! I especially relate to “We should remember that the love that we crave from our spouse is often the love that we have to give them.” I found myself feeling resentful of being the one who ALWAYS cleans the house, ALWAYS watches the kids, etc. and it was really making me treat my husband poorly. In a totally immature moment, I decided to stop helping him with the things outside, like mowing the lawn and such, in a way to “get back at him.” I’m not sure I had actually thought it through that way, but I recently saw it for what it was and was so humbled by God. Maybe my husband doesn’t always jump at the chance to do housework, but he works hard so that I can be at home with our kids. It would be easy to fall into so many lies that cause marriages to slowly erode, but when I saw how immature I was acting, I felt compelled to change that attitude. I mowed the lawn, and you know what? It felt really good. I don’t want my marriage to fall apart over something so stupid as mowing lawns or housework! Marriage is worth fighting for!

    • Pam Halter says:

      ohmygosh – yes, Jamie! I’m a stay-at-home mom, too. Have been for over 25 years. Pretty much always will be since our oldest daughter has extreme special needs. I’ve been guilty of feeling the same way you have – why doesn’t he help more around the house? I can’t even sleep in the same bed with him since Anna has uncontrolled seizures. Doesn’t that merit some help? :) But he works hard to provide for us. He’s a great daddy. And he loves the Lord. He’s gentle and kind to me, even though I’m frazzled almost all the time now that we live with his mom, who has Alzheimer’s dementia. It’s a double whammy for me, but it’s the right thing to do – and he is always supportive and loving, even on my worst days.

  • Amy says:

    So, so true. We struggled through something like this and I know that if I had given my husband the love he needed, it could have gone much differently in a good way.

  • clare says:

    I respect you for sharing your true feelings in the moment it is very easy to get caught up in a few flattering words or gestures intended on a superficial level but we take it deeper out of our personal me a great reminder for all

  • Tam says:

    Thank you for this!

  • Melissa says:

    Found your post through a friend on FB… This happened to me last week at a friends birthday party. My husband and I met our good friends at a restaurant for her birthday dinner and I saw another couple there that I hadn’t seen in YEARS. I was excited and happy to see them as we were old college friends. We all talked about old times and their new baby girl. I even mentioned a house warming party that we’d be throwing in a month or so and how I’d love it if they came. At the end of the night, we all said our goodbyes. My old friend–let’s call him John, came over to hug me goodbye and right at that moment he whispered, “you’re still beautiful”… MY HUSBAND WAS STANDING RIGHT BEHIND ME AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT HAD HAPPENED. I remember feeling wrong about it but just shrugged it off and dismissed it as just a friendly comment. That night before going to bed I realized that what John said to me stayed with me and I didn’t like it. I felt a range of emotions and I went to bed with them on my mind. The next day I told my husband what had happened the night before–he was a bit heated about it but then realized how much it was bothering me and wished I had said something sooner. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband and I want to keep it that way.

  • Chelsea says:

    I don’t disagree with the overall message of this, but IMHO, this actually disturbed me a little. I try to spread kind messages and smiles and love, like the man did in your story, to strangers every day. If someone takes it the wrong way, or differently than how I meant it, that’s their problem and not mine. Same for this. I think it’s purely your personal perception of his comment that made you feel the way you did. Not the devil or some other unnamed “enemy.” As humans, many aspects in and of who we are informs how we perceive things. I don’t think it’s healthy to place that blame elsewhere in a situation like this. If a simple, nice and totally appropriate comment made me feel that way, I’d want to dig deep to figure out why. Certainly, I don’t discredit your feelings or the courage to share this story. I respect that. And the moral of the story still holds true; I love how you chose to see the situation differently, but I think personal reflection and understanding why we are the way we are as individuals is so important, in any and every relationship. Especially with ourselves. This is something I feel passionately about, so I just had to share. <3

  • Charity says:

    I think this was a wonderful post… Very needed. However, as I was reading some of the comments, one of my initial reactions came back even more strongly – it’s not just the wife’s fault. Yes, I know she was writing for women and I admire and applaud that. Just remember, guys, you bear the responsibility of leading the marriage. I know you’re not perfect and I know you’re busy, and THAT’S OKAY. But you better be making it a HUGE priority to water your wife’s emotional garden so it’s not as tough for her to resist these kinds of things. This man could have just very well been trying to help, not flirt with another woman. Long story short – I think we ALL need to be VERY careful. Love your wives. Love your husbands.

  • Joyce Bernard says:

    Love this story, just found you, wish I would’ve known you in my years of raising children, I know you are far younger than I am, I was a single mom raising 4 children by myself and I made mistakes, but My Jesus got me though, my children were my whole life, there father never paid a penny of his child support, it was all left up to me, and had to work every job I could get to keep a roof over us, and food on the table etc, funny, have never spoken of this to anyone, keep up your good words, Jesus is my everything today.

  • Dee says:

    “We should remember that the love that we crave from our spouse is often the love that we have to give them….”
    Powerful and true. I had a situation occur this morning with my husband of 31 years in which I wanted to react negatively. I prayed several times for the Lord to help me say/do the right thing according to Him. Even tho I was in the right and wanted to prove it, I waited for His direction. He led me here, to this post. I don’t need to prove I’m right, I need to love and forgive and “let it go” as the song goes. Thank you, thank you.

  • Sara says:

    What a powerful reminder of how quickly we can step in the wrong direction with our marriages and our thoughts. Thank you for this.

  • Adam says:

    As a man with a Godly wife I love this and also need to say it takes 3 for marriage to work God, wife, and husband.

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