I sat down at the dining room table the other day and started making some notes. I decided I wanted to have an affair and I needed to make a check list of who I might want to start with. You know, make a list of who I wanted to have an affair with, places we could go together and ways to keep it on the down low…said no one ever…in the history of the world. (I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I? Ha!)
Comments such as “Hayden and Cameron are getting divorced because Cameron had an affair with the assistant coach” and “Reese and Taylor are getting divorced because Taylor had an affair with the secretary” are becoming so prevalent. The list goes on and on.
Who walks that magical aisle on their perfect day assuming they will one day have an affair? Who picks out honeymoon locations thinking in the back of their mind “Oh, in just 29 short years, I’ll be picking out my affair partner”? No one. No one does that.
It is often said in disgust, “they made the choice to have that affair, now they have to deal with the consequences”. Really? Did they make that choice? Did the guilty parties ever sit down and mull over the specific question…to have an affair or not to have an affair? My guess is no. My guess is that specific decision never ran through their minds.
Well, if that decision never ran through their minds, how did it happen? How did an affair occur? How could she agree to sit with him at that bar for two hours while they shared marriage woes? Because he had been coming into her office at work to chat most afternoons and they had developed a friendship. How could she decide to meet him for a scheduled and planned drink? Because she had accidentally ran into him at the pub two weeks prior, had fun and had gotten the attention she craved with two hours of conversation before going home to a spouse that is disengaged. How could he decide to buy her that single rose and place it on her desk at work? Because he knew she loved roses, she seemed very appreciative of the drink he bought for her the other night while his wife no longer shows appreciation for his gifts. How could she decide to meet him at the beach for the day? Because they had already met for drinks (one accidental, one planned) she was given a rose which was so romantic and she was getting the attention from him that she used to get from her husband and by this point, probably felt the proverbial butterflies with all of the attention. Why did he ask her to meet him at the beach for the day? Because he wanted to be more intimate and cozy with her, away from prying eyes, eyes that might recognize what was going on between them.
If he had invited her to the beach for the day without all of the initial chatty afternoons, chance meetings and romantic gestures, would she have agreed to it? Probably not. Would he have ever asked her for such a bold step? Again, probably not. Would either of them have moved past an accidental meeting for drinks if their needs were being met at home? Why would they need to? So nope.
The baby steps we take to the edge of that cliff aren’t as noticeable as the huge leap over. Casting Crowns is a band known for their song Slow Fade that sums up the descent so nicely. Excerpts are as follows:
Be careful little eyes what you see. It’s the second glance that ties your hands, as darkness pulls the strings…
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away. It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray. And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid, when you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day…It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade…
The journey from your mind to your hands, is shorter than you’re thinking. Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking….
Basically, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
So, how do we guard our hearts against an affair? How do we make our marriage a priority when we wonder if it’s even worth it to bother?
For all of us who have been married more than 20 years…or over one year for some…we all know what it’s like to feel ignored, unattractive, undesired, unimportant to the one person who vowed to be our person for all time. Gosh, we all get lazy in our pursuit of this person we chose to be our mate. We get complacent in our quest to win this mate because we already won that race, right? We already have our prize, right? We have their hand for all time, right? Wrong.
I’m pretty certain this “pursuit” should continue until “death do us part”. If not, you both are destined to have a fairly miserable life. We all want to feel loved, cherished, respected, sought after. If not, it’s very easy to be tempted by the first set of eyes that give a little attention. Slicing-through-warm-butter easy!
Spouses, you better be flirting. You better be setting up appointments to date your mate. You better be intentional about making your mate feel as if they are your priority. You both had better be attentive to intimacy needs…out of the bedroom as well as under the covers. You better be giving compliments to each other…in front of others. You better be putting your marriage before your kids, they are moving out one day, your spouse is not. (Settle down, I don’t mean neglect your kid’s true needs.) Spouses you better be seeking ways to serve others together. Spouses you better be constantly setting goals together, working toward them together, then setting more once they are reached.
Sipping coffee at midnight, thinking about our date tonight that was planned 100% by my honey as a surprise…feeling loved and cherished. Do I always feel loved and cherished? Nope. But do I tonight? Yep. ~paula