Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Avoiding Affairs, Part 3 – Emotional Entanglement

September 4th, 2009

broken heart

Today’s post is from Sarah Markley, owner of the blog The Best Days of My Life.  She would love to sit across from you and tell you her story in person, but for now, she’ll settle for her blog as a place to meet and get to know one another.

My affair began because I was a crazy emotional mess.

What led me down the road to eventually sleeping with someone else’s husband in the beginning was the fact that I was unable (and unwilling) to find a valid outlet for my emotions.   My husband was “over it” and there was someone else who was willing to listen.

Simply that. That’s how it begins. Or at least it did with me.

It wasn’t my husband’s fault.

It was ultimately mine.

However I was living in a marriage with diseased habits where my husband was willing to let another man emotionally fill what he should have been his responsibility.

And now here are all the “shoulds”:

We should have created routines and rules for talking things out when I was feeling depressed or unable to control my emotional instability.

If my husband wasn’t willing to listen to me, I should have poured my heart out to God.

I should have begged to go to counseling so that we could find ways to love each other better in the midst of my emotions.

I should have been aware enough to find someone to help us.

But instead, I turned to someone else. And I poured out myself, my heart and eventually my body to another man. One that wasn’t mine.

And we became inextricably entangled.

It’s been 6 years since that affair ended. Six years of healing, miracles and restoration. My husband and I have created new methods for working through my emotions, I’ve recommitted my heart to both him and to God, and frankly, my emotional swings are not nearly what they used to be.

My advice to women: Avoid becoming attached emotionally to another man. It won’t just stop there. Or at least, you won’t want it to. Instead, entangle yourself with Christ.

_____________________________________________________________

Over the last three days you have heard from women who have put themselves and their sin out there for you to read, explore and critique.  My hope is that someone out there will be helped by these stories and that marriages will be stronger as a result.

My goal for next week is to have some uplifting, wise older women who have gone through the ups and downs of marriage faithfully share their wisdom with us all.

Let’s pray for one another in love, grace, and truth.

Avoiding Affairs, Part 1 -I Married The Man I Had An Affair With

Avoiding Affairs, Part 2 -”How Could She Do That?!”

Avoiding Affairs, Part 2 – "How Could She Do That?!"

September 3rd, 2009

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Today’s post is from Amber Haines, faith writer of TheRunaMuck.com and recipient of The Mother Letter Project.  She inspires me.  She will inspire you.

Once I spent days and days of grief over a friend’s wrong choice to sleep with a married man. I repeatedly said to myself, “How could she do that?! I would never do that!” (I did the same thing to another friend before I had my abortion.) I learned the hard way that nothing but grace holds a soul on the straight and narrow, and there’s nothing like pride to make the Narrow feel like a loosening tight rope.

I know that Be Humble doesn’t sound like very practical advice because it deals with the invisible, but really, only a few things about my affair weren’t invisible. There’s not a stitch of advice  (and certainly no rule) that anyone can give that will speak louder than pride, so if you’re in the garden with all your choices, and a slithering at your ear brings to mind what all you deserve, read Hosea, realize your position within that story frame, and repent. That’s what I did, but I did it on the backside of failure to live in humility.

There is one thing, too, I wish I had known when I got married: other men will still be attractive to you. I had no idea! Know that sometimes you’ll just click with another man in that soul way, and it’s innocent and human and probably why you landed your husband in the first place. This is why, right now, you should make a date with your closest girlfriend and then agree with her to always tell her when you feel that soul connection toward someone else, and she’ll make sure you’re not making ways to deepen that connection. You don’t have to be alone with him to feel it, by the way, and to be attracted to someone else does not immediately iron-on the Scarlet Letter. Don’t walk around in guilt. The Scarlet Letter only comes with the harbored secret, so get the secrets out in the light.

Click here if you don’t want to miss a post.

Photo Credit: The Scarlet (-ish) Letter

Avoiding Affairs, Part 1 – I Married The Man I Had An Affair With

September 2nd, 2009

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Today’s post is from Serena Woods, author of Grace is For Sinners.

Just over four years ago, I had an affair and destroyed two marriages. There are many others out there who have done the same and they can sit next to their original spouses and share the story of healing, forgiveness and restoration. I did not stay with my husband. I married the man I had an affair with.

During my healing process, I wondered how I could have anything of value to say since it looks like I got everything I wanted. I thought that my testimony of healing would make more sense if I were left broken and alone while he
healed his relationship with his wife. If I discovered, after all, that he was not the fantasy that I fell in love with, then I could use that to get others to rethink their decisions. I could have been a living-breathing example of things not working out well and the fantasy not being real. A woman in that situation, however, does not believe that she will fail. She’ll believe that, although it didn’t work out for me, it will for her because what they have is different and no one understands how powerful it really is.

Then, God asked me a question: ‘Was it worth it?’ He clarified: ‘Was what happened in your spirit worth all the love and joy with your lover?’ My love for God outweighs my love for myself and for another human and I didn’t realize that until I had what I wanted in my hands and felt what it felt like to have God turn His face from me.

If you are focused on the here and now and living for the moment with no regard for anything beyond your self, then in my case, it was worth it. If, however, you have even a speck of a relationship with Jesus then, I promise you, no romantic love in its most extravagant brilliance can come close to easing the pain of what it feels like when God turns His face from you. The absolute hopeless devastation of feeling God’s cold shoulder is enough to crush the most blatant moral criminal. Even if it’s only for a moment, you will never forget the spiritual blackout that rivets your soul with the fire studded jewelry of death in your funeral procession.

I want to turn people away from this kind of mistake if at all possible. That’s why I want to stand at the entrance of this path with a big sign that reads: BEWARE: LOVE ISN’T EVERYTHING AND LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH.

Romantic love isn’t everything because there is so much more to marriage than romantic love. There are things that you will lose that you don’t even know are there until you have to savagely cut them out of your body in a divorce.

Romantic love isn’t enough because no matter the depth of love you have for your lover it will not be enough to shield you from the spiritual pain that you will positively endure, assuming you have any sort of a relationship with God. No earthly love can touch that pain.

Romantic love isn’t enough to make sin worth the leap and the lack of
romantic love isn’t enough to make sin worth the risk.

Now, back to God’s pressing question: ‘Was it worth it?’ My answer is as informed as one you will ever receive.  No.  It’s not worth it and I know this because I have what they hope for.

My top 10 (or so) tips on avoiding an affair:

{1} I have never been a cheater. I am a romantic who believes in soul mates and true love. The thought of two
people who once loved each other enough to get married going and giving themselves to someone else repulsed me.
The biggest mistake you could make is believing you would never make this mistake.

{2} Something that I notice in my marriage now that didn’t exist in my original marriage was respect. Somewhere
along the line I lost all respect for my first husband. I refuse to let that happen in my current marriage. If you don’t
respect him, then you are better than him and there is someone out there who is better than him.

{3} My first husband and I were not one. We were two separate people making a family and a home together. I had
no problem keeping secrets from him. I had a set of friends, male and female, he had never met. I had a life that did
not include him at all.

{4} I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s pain. If a male friend confides in me and makes himself vulnerable, I feel
the responsibility to protect their secret and protect them from being misunderstood.  However, this has gotten me in
situations that are not healthy for my marriage. I learned to hand those things over to my husband. He is just as
understanding and compassionate as I am and he will have more wisdom and insight. Emotional attachments form
from keeping secrets. If he’s not your husband, he’s not your responsibility.

{5} If I were faced with the same marital assault that I faced in my first marriage, I would listen to that cautious voice
in me, even if I looked stupid. When you’re out shopping, sitting in front a mound of chocolate, on your computer,
having drinks with friends, or about to reply to a suggestive text message, there is a choice to give in to self-
gratification or to use self-control. I gave in repeatedly to a lot of that list because I thought I could get out easy and
I deserved a little harmless fun.

Boundaries:

{6} I give my husband all of my passwords. There is no part of my life that I haven’t given him access to. If there is
ever a point where I am tempted to behave in a way that would hurt him if he saw it, I imagine him actually seeing it.

{7} I show him all of my messages, any form, from any man, period. He looks out for me and I trust him.

{8} Aside from tucking myself behind my husband and placing him between the world and me, I know what it feels
like to have an affair. Hurting people isn’t really the deterrent. That only gets you so far. The thing that deters me, is
the searing memory of my time in the dark. I never want to go back there.

Tomorrow you will hear from another woman on how to avoid an affair.

Click here if you don’t want to miss a post.

Avoiding Affairs, Part 2 – How Could She Do That?

Avoiding Affairs, Part 3 – Emotional Entanglement

Avoiding Affairs, Part 4 – In Love After 31 Years of Marriage

Photo Credit: Lonely Woman on Brighton Beach

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I Had An Affair

August 24th, 2009

*Apr 26 - 00:05*

I’m hearing those words quite a bit lately…from Christian women.

Serena, Amber, and Sarah have been courageous enough to share their fall into affairs, and I am grateful for what we can all learn from their stories.

Friends, I know that affairs can be avoided if we guard our hearts and our minds…if we set boundaries and stay before the Lord.

If you are struggling with thoughts of another man, whether real or imaginary (movies, books), or you’re just not contented with your husband, please read my series, “Ex Prep.” I wrote the series in response to my own fears of not being able to control my emotions or my self if.   Below are the links:

Ex Prep – What Would You Do If An Ex Called?

Ex Prep, Part 1 – Who Does Your Heart Belong To?

Ex Prep, Part 2 – One Woman’s Story (Guest Post)

Ex Prep, Part 3 – Your Loyalty & Your Heart

Ex Prep, Part 4 – I Can’t Help Who I Love

Ex Prep, Part 5 – How Do I Know I’m Married To The Right Person?

Ex Prep, Part 6 – It’s Not A Mistake Who Your Spouse Is

Ex Prep, Part 7 – Something Greater

I also encourage you to read through my Core Lies series – so many of us operate out of the lies we believe and we don’t even know it.  Figuring out and dealing with my core lies has been a tremendous help for me in my spiritual and emotional maturity.

Breaking Free From Your Core Lies

Remember, we have a God who will help us.  We are not alone in the battle.

“In order for any affair to happen, a man and a woman must be alone at some point.  Don’t be alone with another man or woman and don’t engage in deep conversation with another man/woman and I guarantee you won’t have an affair, whether emotional or physical.” My man’s two cents

Learning To Lose Myself

May 1st, 2009

My long-suffering husband said to me yesterday: “You need to find yourself.”

I replied: “No, I need to lose myself.”

I have decided to really take a look at what it truly means to lose myself. I don’t want to escape my life, I want to embrace it and be joyful. I want the hard stuff to push me and stretch me towards being more like Jesus. I want my children to see the value in persevering in grace, love, patience, and forgiveness. I want them to see a woman who wouldn’t trade staying home with them for the world, not because she has to to fill some role, but because it is a blessing to do so. A smile on my face sometimes fades in the midst of it all, but I don’t want the smile in my heart to ever fade.

More to come on this topic next week.

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Who's Sick?

April 10th, 2009

I am.

Blech…..

While I’m out, here are some articles from the blogosphere that I’ve enjoyed this week:

Lisa’s One Year Blogaversary Party – lot’s of prizes

“It’s finally officially my Blogaversary!!! Woo Hoo!!! Welcome! Let the party begin!”

Joyous Passover For Little Ones – Great ideas for celebrating passover with your family

“This week we celebrate how God has freed us from our slavery to sin.
We celebrate that He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We celebrate the magnificent fact that because we are covered by Jesus’ blood, Death has passed over us and has no sting.”

What A Waste

“A number of years ago someone asked me, I don’t remember who it was exactly, “Why don’t you have a job?”I replied without thinking, “Because I’m not stupid.”…What if I were to be so drained from pouring my life out for someone else’s dream that I had no more time and energy for such foolish, “meaningless” things?”

His rib

“As a wife and the closest person on earth to him, you decide what kind of existence he will have. If he will enjoy his life at home or will he avoid his home altogether.”

Beast Woman Escapes (A.K.A. The Neck Biting Incident)

February 24th, 2009

Many of you seem interested in the whole “I bit my husbands neck” thing, so I suppose I shall elaborate for your, um, edification.

I really should have hubby do this, but I think he’s at the doctors having his rabies shot…

One of you asked how I could have been in the position to bite my husbands neck. It was quite simple, actually, because I had him in a head lock. I was lying on my side and he was standing next to me hunched over. My sweet little face was burrowed in his neck when one of those darn contractions came mixed with trying to push out baby. Well, there was his neck, ripe for the taking. Now mind you, I did not do this on purpose really, I was very out of it because of the pain. I think I also bit his arm. He told me later that it almost made him mad that I bit him, but he realized he better not say anything considering the circumstances.

I told him that was probably a good idea.

Or I would have bitten him again. ;)

 

The S.W.A.K. Carnival!

February 13th, 2009

*I’m over at Is This Modest today, so if you have time, drop by and say, “hi!”

I may be a little bit late for the Kiss Challenge….

But it’s never to late to kiss! So, in honor of the S.W.A.K. carnival, I am showcasing three of my favorite kissing pictures! Yes, I realize in the second picture we are a little off, but I’m sure we managed to get it right at some point!

Now I’ll share with you with our love story…

It all began one fall evening when I was a freshman in college. I was at a “Nav Night” (a time of fellowship and worship with an on campus ministry group, the Navigators) when a friend introduced me to her younger brother. He was 17 (and in high school), I was 19. It was a very brief introduction – more like a blip on the radar screen of our love story. He doesn’t even remember, but I do.

Fast forward to my Junior year of college. I was going on a missions trip to Memphis TN with the Navigators. My friend was also going…and so was her brother. I remember seeing him in the parking lot before we headed off to Memphis – I thought he was cute.

While in Memphis, we hit it off. We stayed up each night till about 5 am, talking on the kitchen floor of the place we stayed. We had to be up before 7 am. We were crazy. We also really liked each other. One problem though…
He was 19, and a freshman. I was 22 and a JUNIOR. Juniors do NOT date freshman!
He was a persistent one though.
On the last day we were on our trip, we took a little drive and he told me how much he liked me and that he didn’t want to lose me. So sweet! I still wasn’t sure…
Once we were back home, I kept thinking about him, but I also knew that I had some issues of my own to deal with. I was a relationship jumper.
I ended up dating someone else, but then realized he wasn’t the one. I couldn’t get Jesse off my mind. After some difficult conversations, some let downs, and some persistence on my part, we finally began dating the following fall. In fact, my Jesse told me (after I told him I wanted to take it slow) that he was interested in pursuing me for marriage! He wanted to be intentional about getting to know me to see if we were compatible as “man and wife.” I just melted.
We were engaged four months later.
We were married a little less than five months after that.
It’s now been five and half years and we are still in love, and still kissing! We have our hard times (marriage is hard), but I am so thankful that we have each other.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
(Now go kiss your husband!)

How To Prepare For Marriage Without Expecting It

February 7th, 2009

How do I prepare for marriage and at the same time guard my heart? As women, this is an incredibly difficult task because we were specifically created out of man for man. However, if we trust Jesus, we can trust that He has the best for us – whether that be a life of singleness or marriage. I think it is wise to prepare to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. If we stay single, these skills will serve us and others well – our families, our communities, and any domain that God grants us ministry in. Set your heart before Him, guarding it in purity, but keeping it tender in hope.

Five “Rules” For Women:

Don’t…

Assume

Expect

Initiate

Manipulate

(And if it’s from God) Don’t fight

What are some ways I can prepare to be my husband’s helper/completer?

There are so many things I wish I would have known to learn or areas I needed to grow in before I was married. It is with this hindsight that I offer to you my list of “to do’s” before you become married (remember, these will also serve you and others well as a single woman living for God):

Know Jesus Christ.

You will not be able to fully love and give yourself to a man until you have let Jesus into your heart to change it, heal it, and nurture it. Love Him above all else.

Purity.

If you have struggles with attachments to men, sexual addictions, past abortions, sexual abuse, commitment issues, etc., deal with these now. Do not let a day go by that you hold onto any brokenness or sin that needs dealt with. Submit yourself humbly to God and He will help you. Get help from others as well. Remember, Jesus heals the broken-hearted.

Deal with your “core” lies.

We all have lies we believe about ourselves and Satan wants to use them to tear us and others apart. To determine your “core lies,” watch for things that make you angry, anxious, or depressed. The core lies are usually under there. Whatever goals we’ve created because of our core lies have to go. For example, one of my core was “I am not good enough.” If I felt threatened in a situation that hit on my lie (”why did you let the kids watch T.V. today?) and I would get very angry and defensive. I had to let go of that lie because it would affect how I treated my husband. I also had to learn the truth – that Jesus loves me so much that He died for me and He is the ONLY one who has the authority to tell me who I am.

Choose now to let your future husband be who he is and that “he is enough for me.”

Men struggle with feeling that they are not enough. Be a refuge and place where he can experience freedom and grace. Be his biggest fan.

Become a wise steward of your finances.

Learn how to balance a checkbook, budget (and stick to it), and save. If you have debt, work diligently now to pay it off.

Learn a few “domestic” skills…

such as sewing, canning, knitting, painting, crafting, etc. (These come in handy if you have to live frugally and when you have kiddos).

Let go of your independence.

I cannot tell you how much you holding onto your own “rights” or independence will harm your marriage. Here is an excerpt my friend Laura wrote regarding this:

“Perhaps the most significant thing you will sacrifice is the spirit of independence which is destroying women. There is no room for the independent spirit in a woman’s life: we simply cannot love a man, children, or others well if we are entangled in this popular mentality that we are the center of the universe and we should have everything our way and we should be able to accomplish everything we desire and we shouldn’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves.
If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.
In the world’s eyes, you will be sacrificing so much, but in God’s eyes, you will be the lifeblood of His next generation, a generation who will praise His name.”

Recommended Resources:

Five Aspects of Woman Bible Study by Barbara Mouser.

Preparing To Be Homemakers, by Lindsey at Passionate Homemaking

Ex Prep Part 7 – Something Greater

February 5th, 2009

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31,32

Don’t be quick to leave because you already “know this” truth. Don’t be quick to leave if don’t know it, but but aren’t sure you want to hear it. Stick with me a minute.

Can we just soak a magnificent truth in awhile? The truth that we have a God who is so in love with us that He gave us a relationship (marriage) on earth to show just how faithful He is.

Marriage is hard! Can I get an AMEN?! Guess what must be harder? Creating people in your own image and having them leave you for someone or something else. Having them completely rebel against you. Not only do they rebel, but they do horrible things to each other and all that you have created.

Imagine loving someone and they left you heart broken.

God’s heart must have been broken when Adam and Eve trusted a snake over the goodness of God. His heart breaks now for those who still don’t trust His goodness.

I don’t know what you would do if your spouse cheated on you, said horrible untruths about you, and/or did wicked things to your family, but I know what God did when all these things happened to Him.

He came to earth to tell His beloved to come back to Him. Then, to show His beloved how faithful He was even though they weren’t, He died on a cross naked and shamed to take their place…our place…He got what we deserved.

Then…

He showed His power – He came back to life. He wants you to join Him – whether that be a new life with Him, believing Him and giving your life to Him, or a renewed life.

He’s waiting. Go.

“Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.” John Piper, The Momentary Marriage
Book Recommendation:

If you want to journey with me through this crazy life, click here so we can continue to walk together.


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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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