When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
It happened again. I opened a message and read the words, “My husband had an affair, and he left our family.”
That message came after I reached out to a woman to ask if everything was okay. I noticed I had not seen her husband around, and she did not mention him. I wondered if something was going on with his health.
The devil is trying to take down another marriage, and it makes me furious.
Every night, we have a routine in our house. When the last person is going to bed, we turn off all the lights, check that the doors are locked, and ensure that our cars are locked. We live in a great little neighborhood, and it is relatively safe. We often joke that our police officers don’t have much action in this community compared to the city we border. I have been guilty of leaving my keys in the door all night after unlocking it and not realizing my mistake until the following day.
So, why bother locking the doors if my neighborhood is so safe? Because I know there is an enemy out there who would love to find an open invitation to commit an easy crime. We also have an enemy who would love to destroy our marriages.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
My dad, a prodigal who returned home to his family transformed, once wrote an article about the anatomy of an affair. The scripture above from James does a good job of showing us how sin grows, and it starts with a temptation.
What would happen if we stopped playing games in our marriages, friend groups, and church groups, and started being 100% honest with one another?
What would happen if a wife who has felt overlooked at home by her husband started receiving compliments and attention from a male co-worker? She would have a choice. She could be dragged away by her own evil desires, or she could lower her guard and be honest with those around her. She could tell her husband, “I am finding myself choosing my outfit for the day, wondering if my co-worker will like it. I am enjoying his attention and compliments.”
What do you think that husband’s reaction would be?
Some may get angry, and that one conversation could start the push of moving this woman further away from her marriage.
Or, the husband could listen to her words. Try to understand her desires that he may not be meeting, and offer grace to move forward as one flesh (Genesis 2:24), committing to work on the areas of their marriage that need attention.
What about the man struggling with an addiction to pornography? Instead of feeling like he needs to quietly battle the temptation alone, what if he could be honest with his wife and petition her help when he faces a battle? Could that wife offer grace to help him find healing and encourage him towards counseling to overcome this addiction?
I have no scientific evidence to back up my claims, but I feel that if we were honest with one another, we would be better equipped to put on the armor we need to battle the enemy.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
How do we start showing this grace through our honesty?
I am not suggesting that we give our spouses a pass to sin freely, but I am suggesting that we start being intentional about having dialogues with them and with our close friends about areas of struggle.
It will start with a conversation. Before you and your spouse are in a potentially compromising situation, talk about the grace you can offer. Let them know you want them to feel free to share any and all struggles with you. Pray that the Lord would send you a group of friends who you can feel equally safe with to discuss these important points of prayer.
I know of one man who noticed a woman paying more attention to him than was appropriate, and he approached his small group about it. He asked them to pray with him that he would be faithful to his wife and know how best to handle the situation. Talk about crisis averted!
It’s time to get real in our marriages. We need to be locking down the cracks that allow the enemy to come in and steal our joy.