Happily Married but………
This is my first post with this user ID, however I did have an account when was I was first married (been happily married 16 years!!!).
I have a fairly serious issue and was wondering what you would do in this situation.
First, like I said I am very happily married! My husband is awesome! He does so much for me – like sometimes I put in 10%, he puts in 90% you get the idea. I love him very much.
That being said, somehow, someway, NOT BY CHOICE (and I still can’t believe I’m writing this) I have developed a crush/attraction/whatever you want to call it on another man from my church. My husband and I work with him and his wife in a weekly ministry program. I can honestly say it is not a physical thing, as my husband is probably 10 times more attractive than him, but perhaps more of an attraction to his personality thing. While my husband is a spiritual leader and is better than most, this man is perhaps the type of man I had intended to marry (he is a minister but not the main minister at our church) before I met my husband.
I have prayed and prayed for this crush/feelings/whatever to GO AWAY and it seems to get worse. This really doesn’t even need to be said – but just in case – there is ZERO ZERO chance of course that I would act on this.
What would you do in this situation?
As far as telling my husband, I personally think more harm than good would come out of that. I would be so DEVASTATED and HURT if my husband told me that he had developed a crush on my friend. I don’t see how telling him can be a good thing?
Can I ask has anyone ever had this happen in your marriage?
I think this is more common than people like to admit. Yes, I have dealt with crushes. I have never told my husband, I have just worked through it on my own. I had learned to use those feelings and turn them towards my husband. The things you like in that man, look for it in your husband.
I do know that sharing those kind of things can take away the power it carries over you.
Another thing that has helped kill those feelings or keep them in check is to truly consider the damage it would cause. I remember, during a time I was crushing, being convicted by a study of King David and seeing the generational sin and damage his choices caused in his children and grandchildren. Consider, and maybe even write out, every person and every way letting a relationship go further could hurt, damage, or even destroy things or people. I know you say it won’t go further, but this could be that step that actually keeps that possibility from growing even bigger in your mind and heart.
All that said, I was one who said “never me”, and then things get so worn down and you are less guarded and not near as strong, and you find yourself emotionally connected with another. And even after all of that, I am still a proponent for people to learn to fight for relationships and fellowship with all sexes in the body of Christ. To learn and train themselves to fight the flesh and learn to walk in the Spirit, rather than to always “flee”. I am against the hypervigilance I see many Christians take, because I actually believe it does more damage to the health and wholeness of the body of Christ.
I think you can meet someone you have an attraction for and maybe even like their personality more than your spouse, it happens. The thing is, the line gets crossed when you act on your feelings. You said there is zero chance you would act on it, that is great, keep it that way. Don’t tell your husband how you feel, it won’t help and there is nothing he can do to change your feelings.
After you get to know someone else for a while, you may learn they have qualities you don’t like and you will think, “I am glad I didn’t fall for that person”.
My DW & I come from previous marriage where our spouses committed affairs. THE NAKED MARRIAGE podcast talks about having NO secrets. They say secrets destroy intimacy and errode trust. While I understand your hesitancy, I think it’s a dangerous game to play. While you may not, if the circumstances are right, it can quickly go to an emotional affair and destroy your marriage. Like no one has ever done that while serving in church together? (Sarcasm included).
Can you find a different ministry? A different church? What would it be like to go to a Christian counselor and discuss it? It helps to get things out in the open because darkness doesn’t like light. It can, with the right help and plan, draw you closer as a couple by seeing the length to which you are willing to protect your marriage…BUT yes, it could be a difficult road to go if he has a hard time processing it.
I would also recommend that you see a Christian counselor. I would also like to suggest an accountability partner – but from outside of your church, because it would be complicated if that person was from your own church. It might also be good to step out of that ministry for a time.
Also, another thing would be to do a reality check. Remember that this man too is but a human and has his faults and probably appears much better to you than he really is. No, don’t make him out to be a bad guy, but be real. He isn’t all that he appears to be – just like I’m not. And be real about yourself. If I may say so, neither are you all you appear to be. You are struggling with something that your DH doesn’t realize is happening. Furthermore, who knows what all the other man is hiding from people.
Yes, I had a mini crush on someone years ago that my spouse worked with. I only saw him once or twice a year, so it wasn’t a big deal. Years later, I told my husband and kids and they got a big kick out of mom ‘liking Mr. X.’ We still see him and his wife socially on occasion and the intense feelings I had are long gone, but I still think he’s a wonderful man. All that to say, I think you are normal! We don’t get married and suddenly think no one else in the world is attractive.
Your real issue is that you are in a ‘working relationship’ with this man at church and have to spend time with him on a weekly basis. You didn’t mention how long you have had these feelings. A few weeks or has this been going on for months now? If it’s been a few months and your feelings are not diminishing, I think it’s time to leave that ministry. As Doug said, you know your spouse better than we do, but I feel as though you need to be honest and at least say that you find the man attractive and it’s becoming hard for you to focus on the ministry. Leaving the church seems a bit extreme to me.
I can related to your crush because I had a crush on a sister in the Lord and the comparison game started in my head and heart. Did I marry the right person? This person would be a better fit for me.
This sister is oblivious on how I felt and does not need to know to be honest.
I had to limit myself around her, cut off any contact with her, and even if I see her I limit my time around her and/or being in the room with her.
A friend recently told me that often times what we are desiring for elsewhere, is actually reflecting needs we are missing in our marriage.
This seems to be like a prime opportunity for you to do some introspection. What is it that you are longing for? What might be the actual root to that desire? Is it, or how is it, being provided in your marriage? How can you and your husband work together to provide it for you in your marriage? What’s the Lord desiring of you and what’s the Spirit convicting you to do in this situation?
Does God truly desire dissention and separation in His people? Do we really think we constantly need to be fleeing from the opposite sex…..all the girls over here, and the boys over there, because you are a bunch of heathens who can’t control your sinful urges? Um, no, and when we believe this and teach it, in the name of “holiness”, I think we are missing the whole gospel of Christ. Have we forgotten Who lives in us and the power and authority we have because we are in Him and He in us? Jesus prayed, “ I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may ALL be ONE; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, SO THAT the world may believe that you sent Me. The glory which You have given me I have given to them, that they may be ONE, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be PERFECTED IN UNITY, SO THAT the world may know that You sent me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (Jn 17:20-23, emphasis mine)
It’s obvious you will get different opinions, but I hope you use this as a growing (maturing) opportunity and learn to fight against the enemy, which is not flesh and blood (aka not the other man, nor your husband), take a stand against that enemy and not let him destroy the unity and love that Christ prayed for us ALL. Choose to love that man and his wife as your brother and sister in Christ, and as He loves them. Pray for God to help you see that man, and his wife, as He sees them. Start praying for that man and his wife and their marriage, and that God will bless it…and even better, pray for them with your husband! Take all your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.
If a child of God can’t grow up and doesn’t know how to take a stand, by all means, “flee” as Scripture says in one place, there’s not a better place to run than into the arms of Christ. But we are all to be growing and maturing from being a babe in Christ to becoming a “spiritual man”. A “spiritual man” learns how to fight, how to stand, and how to walk in the Spirit, and not by his flesh. A “spiritual man” will see past the “flesh and blood” and see the spiritual behind it. A “spiritual man” will humble themselves before the Lord, knowing that it will only be by Christ in them and through them, that any good will dwell in them, and that they have authority over the enemy that is coming in to steal, kill, and destroy. A “spiritual man” will desire unity in the body of Christ. A “spiritual man” will know how to love, Every. One. I sure wish the Church would grow up and become a “man” like their Father!
Can you tell, I have a passion for Christ’s Bride. 😉
< stepping off my soapbox >
Prov31, let this draw you near to Christ and draw you nearer to your husband. May Christ give you the wisdom you need, may you hear His voice only, not mine, nor others’, but His words, no matter who speaks them. I pray that the Spirit fills you up so that you can overflow with His fruit in ALL of your life, to ALL others in your life. I pray that you will walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. I pray that the world will know and believe that Christ came, because you and your husband, that man and his wife, and all of us, are one, and that we will be known by our love. In the name of Jesus.
” there is ZERO ZERO chance of course that I would act on this.”
I have no doubt that you have no intention of acting on it. But, affairs rarely happen because someone was planning it.
I would cut contact with this man, except for what is absolutely necessary. Casually avoid him. If you’re forced into talking, nothing but the weather.
Like Seeking Change mentioned, it’s a good idea to see if you have a need that is not being met. You obviously know that your husband is a wonderful man and that he loves you. Do you FEEL loved? It’s one thing to know you are loved and quite another to feel loved. Your husband puts a lot of effort into the marriage, but is there a blind spot? For example, if he does 90% of the chores and brings you flowers once a week, but your love language is quality time and he rarely looks you in the eye while you’re talking, you might know you’re loved but have trouble feeling loved. Or maybe he is a good man but rarely expresses his passion for you and you wish to feel desired; you miss the intensity of the early relationship. Etc. etc.
NewWifeNewLife is correct about keeping secrets. Shirley Glass (“Not Just Friends”) and other authors teach that keeping feelings a secret usually increases the intensity of the desire. OTOH, I will not comment about whether it’s wise to tell your husband or not. What I will suggest is that, if you feel you cannot talk with your husband, find a female accountability partner in person to whom you can confess. Keeping it a secret only increases the intensity of the forbidden desire. Also, feeling guilty can do the same thing; if you can tell someone else, and forgive yourself for being a healthy female who finds others attractive, those two things can help you to release the infatuation more easily.
“Not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass is the most respected resource for safely navigating feelings for and relationships with the opposite sex. I have had a long history with this issue, and this book was recommended to me by multiple people on marriage forums, and by my level-3 Gottman-certified marriage therapist. The title indicates that it deals with recovering from infidelity, but it actually is also a wonderful guide to how to prevent infidelity and handle our feelings. Kindle version is $13.99 but you can buy it used as low as $6.00 including shipping.
Excellent conversation on this important topic/concern. SC and ShadowSpirit say it very well – use this as an opportunity for constructive and instructive reflection on your marriage and met needs. Be very cautious about sharing your ‘crush’ with your DH – lean toward the advice to not do so. Be careful not to let your guard down by saying, ‘there is a ZERO ZERO chance’ without equivocation; the fact that you honestly shared your dilemma is terrific. However, be on your guard.
Many years ago, a friend found himself in a similar situation. After months of dancing along a line of tantalizing intrigue and receiving tempting feedback from a co-worker, he realized that his drivenness and career success was leaving his wife, who he loved and was devoted to, behind. Instead of spending quality time with his DW and truly understanding their unmet needs he benignly careened down a dangerous path. Thankfully, he asked me for advice and accountability. He told me of his emotional attraction, yet knew he wouldn’t act on it. I told him to do two things: 1) Don’t tell your wife, just to cleanse your conscience and 2) Limit your relationship to professional level contact – never be alone with her and never engage in any verbal or body language innuendo. It took him two years and several ‘near misses’ before he completely cut-off all contact. Thankfully she left the company. We talk from time to time and he continues to be accountable. He continues to have a great marriage and learned from a nearly disastrous time of vulnerability.