The Other Man & My Marriage Friday, December 9th, 2016
He’s kind and brave and steady. He’s gentle and loving and intentional. He’s everything I ever wanted him to be and so much more…
I thought about this guy for many years in my early married life. Truthfully, I began thinking about him long before I ever met my husband.
If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that I was married young. My husband, Jared, and I met when I was just eighteen and were married shortly after my nineteenth birthday. Sometimes, I shake my head thinking about how much I didn’t know back then. As you might imagine, there are plenty of opportunities to struggle as a couple when you’re married so young. We lived through many of those opportunities.
But by God’s grace alone, this year my husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. It’s a miracle, really, because in those early years, when I wasn’t feeling loved by my husband, I would think of this other guy. Now, don’t get confused. He wasn’t anyone I knew, he was just a thought… an idea. He was just someone I made up “out there” who could love me better or understand me more than my husband could.
When we were struggling, I would wonder, “Maybe I married the wrong guy. Maybe we were too young. Maybe this will never work. Maybe there is someone who will make me feel more loved.“
Those thoughts were dangerous. The idea of an imaginary guy who was just waiting to love me better than my husband could was perhaps the most threatening thing to our marriage. It could be the most threatening thing to any marriage, because essentially it is an emotional affair with a person who doesn’t really exist. We turn our hearts away from our spouses and wonder what could be with someone else… even if the other person is just an idea. It’s like asking our husbands to measure up to a fictitious character and being disappointed when they don’t love us as well as our imaginary boyfriends.
Worse, the idea of someone else “out there” doesn’t just put unfair expectations on our spouses, it can open the door to real emotional or physical affairs. It lowers the defense of our hearts from the threat of outside pursuit. Truthfully, the idea that someone else will make us feel more fulfilled is one of the most dangerous threats to any marriage, because it sets our hearts down a path they were never designed to go.
Our hearts are programed to love in response to love. We are designed to love back. But how are we supposed to continue to show love when we don’t feel loved? And how do we keep our hearts from wandering toward the idea that someone else could love us better?
Listen, I don’t know where your marriage is right now. I don’t know if you’re struggling like I was in my early days of marriage, wondering if you made the right choice. I don’t know if you have thought someone else could love you better, or if the guy has an actual name and you’ve let your heart go down a path it never should have gone.
But I do know this for certain.
The Word of God says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” Stop. Replay that. We love because He first loved us.
We were created to love in response to Love. We were created to love back, but it was never supposed to be in response to the love we feel from others… our spouses included. God asks us to love each other in response to His Love. And if we love our husband in response to God’s unfailing love for us, then the love we show our husbands should be unchanging no matter the circumstances of our marriages... and whether or not we feeling loved well by them.
The same is true for our husbands…
God doesn’t want you to dream about replacing your marriage. He wants you to trust Him to restore it. He wants to be the other man… the one who will love you perfectly. The only one who can actually fulfill every need in your heart. And when we choose to love our husbands in response to His Love, everything changes.
Because He is kind and brave and steady. He’s gentle and loving and intentional. He’s everything we ever wanted Him to be and so much more…
My new book, Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood is a 21 day journey to love your husband in response to God’s love for you. It is 21 days of intentionally loving first. Click the image below to find out more and to get the first five days with an immediate download. Join thousands of women who have already experienced transformation in their homes… before the book even releases January 3rd!
Please note: The advice on this blog is not intended to replace professional advice. If you’re in an abusive relationship, please go to a safe place and seek counsel. You do not have to remain in an abusive relationship.