Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

An Emotional Affair to Remember….or Forget

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“We didn’t do anything so it’s no big deal.”

“It was never physical.”

“It’s not cheating if it’s just a crush.”

“There’s nothing wrong with looking if there’s no touching.”

.…..lies…lies…more lies.

Christians and non-Christians alike will almost always universally agree that committing a physical act of adultery is wrong. Cheating on one’s spouse is not acceptable in most social circles, and yet there seems to be this false line of thinking that deems it okay to have an emotional “fling” with someone other than one’s spouse. As Christians we know this isn’t right. Jesus set the boundaries in place when He said this:

“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

No, it’s not okay to have a crush. It’s not okay to fantasize about someone other than your husband (or wife). It’s not okay to look. Jesus said those who follow Him will not look with lustful eyes. It may be in the heart but the consequences usually leave the heart and become much more “real”. We see it in the world. We sense it in the church. Oftentimes the internal, invisible evidences of an emotional affair allow it to go unnoticed for a long time, but not forever. A person can keep an emotional affair well-hidden from their brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even from their spouse for a long while. Then, in what seems like a sudden tragedy, the dam bursts open and sin floods into families, homes and the church.

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15

Sin begins in the heart folks. It begins in the deep, recesses of the heart where desire and longing simmer until they start to boil over. It becomes a stronghold for the enemy. It is adultery of the heart and it is sin. Make no mistake about it.

While statistics show men are usually more likely to commit physical adultery, women tend to be more prone to affairs of the heart. Call it what you will: a crush, attraction, a connection, a very close friendship taken too far, a fantasy….women who may feel less than fulfilled or satisfied at home may find their hearts straying, even if they are physically faithful to their husbands. It can start with a few flirting smiles, confiding in someone who seems more attentive and interested than the husband, or even just a strong attraction that leads you to fantasizing about being intimately acquainted with that person. It can start out so innocently and end up so tragically.

Guilty as Charged

It may sound like I’m being harsh. Well, there’s a reason. You see, I had an emotional affair once. Yes, I committed adultery of the heart, and it led me through a time of greater pain than I can even express. I can tell you that this sinful desire of the heart and strong emotions for a man that was not my husband brought me to a place of devastation as a Christian, a wife, a mother and in my calling in ministry. No, it never was physical. Yes, it was sin. Wicked, depraved, selfish, disgusting sin. As I look back, I see that the sin started in my heart but it seemed to build and build until I began to manifest it in other sinful actions. I began to become the “old” me…the person who had been freed from the chains of sin when I accepted Christ. While I loved my husband and my family, I found myself pushing them away. I saw myself changing into someone I barely knew. My desires overtook me and I fell back into the miry pit I had escaped by the grace of God so long ago.

No, it never was physical. It was adultery of the heart and it broke me and my husband. Praise be to God that He pulled me out again. He brought me to forgiveness. He empowered my husband to forgive me fully. I repented and was granted grace and mercy unspeakable! I am SO grateful! So thankful for this amazing grace. I praise my God with all that is in me that my family was not destroyed. God restored us to fullness and we are stronger now in Him than ever before. He has done amazing work here and has overcome in our hearts, our lives and our marriage. Hallelujah!

I want to make it clear, since this is a sensitive and personal issue, that my husband is a wonderful man whom I love dearly. I want to honor him, because he stuck by my side and forgave me for my offense against him. It killed me to see how much I had hurt him. I never wanted to hurt him, but sin hurts people. It hurts us and those around us. My husband is an amazing man and I just want to say here that I will never, ever stop thanking God for him and how he has forgiven and loved me!

A Warning

When I think of all I could have lost, it leaves me breathless. My husband could have chosen not to forgive me. My daughter could have experienced the pain of divorce that so many children go through. We could have destroyed our testimony forever and been unfit to minister. Oh, I shudder to think what might have happened because my heart allowed sin to enter in. God has been so good to us and so now I warn my sisters in the Lord not to allow emotional adultery into your heart. Flee from it with every fiber of strength! It is not innocent! It is not okay! It will destroy you like sin does!

I want to warn and admonish you, my sisters, to use caution and boundaries in your relationships outside of marriage. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Be cautious about building close friendships with men who are not your husband. You may think there’s nothing wrong with men and women being “best friends”, but the truth is that best friends share confidences and intimate details about their lives, and this can build feelings that you didn’t anticipate. Don’t confide in other men. Confide in your husband, your God and in Christian women you respect.
  2. Take sinful thoughts captive. When a thought enters your mind and heart that causes you to feel lustful or feelings of a romantic sort, immediately go to God for help. Cry out and ask God to help you capture and remove those thoughts and feelings. Read scripture. Sing worship. Talk to the Father. He will help you. If you need to, call a friend. Don’t allow those thoughts to simmer.
  3. Sometimes we need to break off unhealthy relationships. If you have a friend in your life that you find yourself attracted to, physically, emotionally or spiritually, it is sometimes necessary to stop seeing that person. You don’t have to be cruel about it. You don’t even have to tell them why. Your marriage and your walk with the Lord are more important. Be wise and be committed.
  4. Set up good boundaries. Make your own rules about what you should or shouldn’t do. For example, make a rule about not being alone in a private place with a man. Don’t confide your private feelings or emotions with a man other than your husband. Pray about it and make your own set of boundaries, and discuss them with your husband. It’d be wise for him to do the same.
  5. Don’t justify your sin. If you are having an emotional affair, a crush, or whatever you want to call it, don’t justify it. It’s sin. The Bible says it’s sin. Stop putting the words “innocent” and “crush” together. There’s no such thing for a married woman. You are cheating on your husband and it is sin in the eyes of the Lord. You need to repent and turn.
  6. Seek discipleship if this is an ongoing problem for you. If you are finding your heart straying often and you feel out of control, seek the counsel of a mature woman in the Lord who can disciple you in marriage and in what the Word says about matters of the heart. As you grow in the Lord, you will be more able to withstand and flee from these temptations.
  7. Work on your marriage. Let’s face it, if you’re having an emotional affair it’s likely that your marriage isn’t going well. Marriage is hard. It takes work and commitment. I’m married to the most wonderful, God-fearing man and yet we had problems. Thanks to God we were able to work through our issues and have grown tremendously in love and respect for one another. God has worked mightily in our marriage and we are happy. If you are struggling with an emotional longing for something else, what you really need to do is focus your heart on strengthening your marriage. Get help through your church if need be.
  8. If you are in a very bad marriage, where you are being mistreated and unloved, I understand complete why your heart would wander. My husband treats me wonderfully, but my parents had an awful marriage that ended in divorce. I’ve seen how hard marriage to an unloving and even abusive man can be. I want to encourage you that just because your husband is not treating you like he ought to or loving you the way you deserve doesn’t give you the right to have an emotional affair with someone else. I’m not saying this flippantly. I know it’s hard, but as long as you are married, having thoughts of intimacy or romantic love for another man is adultery of the heart, and God sees it as sin. It’s not ok. Seek help dear sister and be encouraged that God can work miracles.

I had an emotional affair. It was painful and horrific. It was sin that I have since repented of and been forgiven for. My incredible husband has shown me grace and love that is beyond what I could have hoped for and I am committed to never again betraying him or my Lord Jesus in this manner. I learned my lesson the hard way. I saw first hand the destruction that sins of the heart can bring. So now I have boundaries. Now I take my thoughts captive. Now I am willing not to have close relationships with people who may tempt me to stumble. What about you? How committed are you to your marriage? Your God? Your children?

Emotional adultery is sin. Repent. Flee.

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Choosing Peace Over Conflict in Marriage

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Every couple fights! It’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s just the way it is! Right?

There are probably very few couples out there who can honestly say that they never have a fight or argument. Hopefully there are many, many homes in which simple disagreements never escalate to the point of being classified as an argument and then further on to a fight. Yet for many homes, even Christian homes, escalations are indeed more common than one might think. In many homes they happen as frequently as taking out the trash (and sometimes triggered by a wife nagging her husband to take out the trash for that matter). Some couples are finding themselves in conflict monthly, weekly and even daily. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there is nothing “normal” or acceptable about a Christian couple fighting this much.

Here are three common reasons that a Christian couple may find themselves in conflict so often:

  1. External Stresses. Couples may find that when they are going through times of intense stress or pressure, fights occur more regularly. Stress often causes people to lash out or to assign blame. We oftentimes inexplicably take out our stress on those who are closest to us because we somehow feel more free or safe to do so. We assume they will continue to love us, despite our snide comments and rude remarks. We feel the need to assign blame, which just leads us down a terrible path altogether (ie Adam and Eve). In these times we are often afraid, and that fears leads us to unleashing our emotional storms on those we love. Not good. So what to do we do?
  2. Unrepented Sin. When we sin, we place a wedge of separation when us and the Lord. We quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we live in unrepented sin, our marriages and homes suffer. Sin is destruction and that’s all it knows how to be. When we allow it in the door, pain and suffering will follow. Whatever the sin may be, couples will find that conviction, shame and downright rebellion will cause an atmosphere of rottenness to develop in a home. Have you ever thrown something rotten in the trash and not noticed the smell was getting bad until you leave the house and come back? You walk in the door and the smell hits you like a plank between the eyes. Gross! No one likes a smelly house, and a house where sin is allowed to settle in will fester and stink and cause all kinds of problems. Whether it be something that is an outward sin, such as stealing, pornography or adultery, or one that is more inward, like pride, covetousness and hateful thoughts, sin issues in the home can cause division, disintegration of the family and lots and lots of really bad fights. So what do we do?
  3. Deeper Issues of the Heart. Sometimes couples fight because there are much deeper issues and wounds than can be seen on the surface. Some couples simply do not have feelings of love for one another. Either the love has faded or it was never really there at all. Some have deep wounds that have altered them, such as the loss of a child or a traumatic experience. Other couples experience conflict because of going through life changes and challenges. Infertility. Loss of a job. A move to a new place. Chronic illness. There are deep issues that can cause a lot of pain, confusion and oftentimes marital conflict. When our hearts are hurting, the words of our mouths can be more based on an emotional outcry than on logic. We say things we don’t mean. We sometimes try to inflict pain so that we aren’t hurting alone. So sad. So what do we do?

There is one answer to these common problems. There is one thing we can do to restore calm and unity to the family unit. It seems simple, but it really is profound and perfectly reasonable. What we do is….CHOOSE PEACE. We choose peace over conflict. We always have a choice about whether or not to be a part of conflict. We ALWAYS have a choice. We can choose peace over conflict and bring serenity back into our homes, by letting go of our own needs to lash out, be right, make a point, assign blame and share our hurt. We can choose peace instead and quiet instead of letting our tongues go unbridled. We can choose peace instead of taking out my hurt on my husband or daughter.

“For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11

Peace isn’t something that just happens to lucky people. Peace is a choice. Unity is a choice. Even love is a choice. The thing is, it’s a choice that sometimes requires sacrifice and hard work. We have to learn to control our tongues and our hearts. We learn to be wise about when to be quiet. We learn that it’s okay not to get the final word and that we don’t have to be right all the time. We learn to weigh out what is most important…..proving my point or peace? Being right or peace? Getting my way or peace? Indulging in sin or peace? God says we should choose peace. It’s that simple.

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

One last point I need to make here. If sin in your life is bringing you conflict, know that you cannot possibly choose peace if you don’t repent and get rid of that sin. Sin and peace cannot live in harmony. There is no such union in Christianity. Sin is the enemy of peace. If you are living in sin, repent of your sin and get rid of it. Then you can choose peace, and what a blessing that will be to your home, marriage and kiddos.

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18

“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.” Proverbs 12:20

CHOOSE PEACE!

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Won Without the Word

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

This verse says it all. What precious words of wisdom! Wives, be in submission to your own husbands. If they do not obey the word, they may be won over without the word by the chaste conversations of their wives. Now this is an interesting verse indeed and one that is sometimes looked at in the wrong way. It says “if any obey not the word.” The “word” is the Greek word “logos” which can mean just a portion of speech, but in most cases refers to the holy Word of God, or the precepts given to man by God. It is also the same word that is used as another name for Jesus Christ in John 1 when it says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, the scripture is describing a husband who is not obeying God’s Word and certainly not obeying Jesus Christ.

Now look at the second part of that sentence. It says he may “without the word be won.” Many people look at this passage and think it is saying the husband may be won without his wife saying anything, meaning without her nagging or instruction and so forth. Interestingly this is also the word “logos” and notice it says “THE word” not “A word”. Therefore according to context it makes sense that the scripture is saying the husband may be won over without the Word of God being constantly presented to him, simply by the conversation of his wife. Conversation doesn’t just mean speech either. It is the Greek word “anastrophē” which means, “manner of life, conduct, and behavior.” Husbands can be won over by the example their wives show in their own lives. What manner of behavior or conduct is that? Chaste and reverent behavior is what does the trick. A godly wife can win her husband to the Lord by her pure, good and honorable behavior and by the reverence she shows her husband as she submits to God’s plan for her life. Now that is incredible.

See the picture here ladies? If you husband is in sin, it is not fruitful for you to be preaching at him day and night, usurping spiritual authority over him. Rather, as you honor him, according to God’s Word, and live your life in a way that pleases the Lord, your husband may be won over. This is true also if your husband is a godly man in most respects but has an area of struggle with sin. Do not nag him or criticize him. Pray for him and continue to be the wife God wants you to be, remembering that your submission and respect unto your husband is not based on his love for you or his submission to God. If you refuse to submit it is God whom you are sinning against. If your husband refuses to go with you to church, do not lose heart. As he observes God’s love and truth in your life, he will see the Word being lived out in you. Ask the Lord to use you in this way to minister to your husband.

If your husband asks you to sin, respectfully refuse, explaining why you cannot comply. Pray for him and continue to walk in submission and reverence in all other areas. If your husband is in sin himself, share your concerns with him once in respect and love, if he will listen, and then leave it to the Lord. Pray fervently and be a good example in your own daily conduct. Do not treat him with contempt or look down at him. You should honor him because God says to, not because you feel he has or has not earned it. Just remember that God never wants us to sin under any circumstances, so this is the one area where you must not submit to any other authority.

Your husband is your leader. He is the one whom God desires you to follow. This is a crucial point. God desires you to follow and submit to your husband. By serving your man, you are serving your God. Where he goes, you should follow. His dreams must be your dreams. He is your primary ministry. You are his help-meet, by his side and close to his heart. One flesh blessed by the Lord of all Creation. Being your husband’s helper is so beautiful. Embrace it, ladies. Discover the peace and satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are in the center of God’s will for you, and experience the joys of having a heaven-blessed marriage. Meditate on this passage from the book of Ruth. In it, Ruth is speaking to her mother-in-law, but this is a lovely commitment that a wife can also make to her own husband.

“But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go. And wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.’” Ruth 1:16-17

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Covering Our Sins

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Covering our sins leads to failure, but confessing our sin leads to mercy. It’s funny that so often we refuse to see or acknowledge sin in our lives. We think that by ignoring it, keeping it a secret and pretending it just isn’t there we can get by. We think we can fool God. It seems that this vain attempt only makes us the fool. I’ve been that fool many times.  I thought that by covering up my sins, and not allowing others to see what I was struggling with, that I would escape consequences and correction from the Lord. I would be filled with conviction, but still unwilling to face it.

Thank the Lord that He is loving, patient and full of mercy. All we have to do to shed those heavy weights of guilt and shame is to confess our sins, forsake them and prepare for a mercy shower. We hide in the dark and we suffer, but it is when we allow the Light to chase away our darkness that we find mercy, peace and forgiveness. Oh, we torture ourselves so! We suffer needlessly! All we need to do is confess and turn from our sins and it’ll be over. We receive the new mercies of the Lord, sweet and unwavering. We feel His presence renew our hope!

As women, we love to talk. We talk about this and that. We love to share about our emotions and our thoughts and our opinions. We chat with our husbands, our friends and sometimes even strangers! Yet when it comes to confessing sin, we tend to leave that one alone. We talk about the weather before we admit we’ve been struggling with a sin issue. Ultimately every one of us wants to be thought well-of by our friends. We are afraid of being judged and looked down upon. Yet, we know from reading God’s Word that no one is without sin…including that one lady at church who just seems to have it all together! She’s fallen short of the glory of God too sisters! It’s just the way it is.

Now I’m not saying we have to confess everything to our friends or family. We can confess our sins directly to Jesus to receive forgiveness. What I am saying is that the New Testament church and the epistles tell us that confessing to one another and praying for one another in areas of sin struggle is a good thing. There is something about confessing that secret, dark sin that causes it to lose it’s grip on you. We let the light expose the darkness and the darkness hides! We also are able to help one another to walk through areas of struggle. We can be accountable to one another. We can bear each other’s burdens.

Sisters, we are a family in the Lord. We are called to help one another grow in Him. Let us no longer keep our sins covered, but rather confess, be transparent, forsake our sin and allow the mercy of the Lord to heal our brokenness. He wants to bless us. He wants us to do well. He wants us to confess so that the chains fall off and we are free. Do it now. Don’t wait. God bless!

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When Your Husband is in Sin

No doubt there are going to be times when your husband is in sin. We all sin and we are married to sinners. The Word says if we claim to have no sin we make ourselves liars, which is a sin! So dear, imperfect wife, your imperfect husband will most assuredly sin from time to time. If he is not a Christian, then he will be often in sin and without remorse or conviction, and you need to know how to deal with that.

First of all, it is important that you never attempt to take over the spiritual leadership of the household, even if your husband is not walking right with the Lord. He is still head of the house, and you must still be in submission. If he is in sin, and is open to it, share with him respectfully and lovingly where he may be in sin. Then leave the matter alone and commit it to the Lord in prayer. Do not nag him or continue to push the subject. Pray fervently and allow God to do His work in your husband’s heart. Remember, if your husband is not saved he will not have the conviction of the Holy Spirit, therefore attacking individual sins is only dealing with the symptoms of the real illness. He needs to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, so make that the top of your prayer list for however long it takes. And have hope sister! God hears the prayers of a wife who is in obedience.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

This verse says it all. What precious words of wisdom! Wives, be in submission to your own husbands. If they do not obey the word, they may be won over without the word by the chaste conversations of their wives. Now this is an interesting verse indeed and one that is sometimes looked at in the wrong way. It says “if any obey not the word.” The “word” is the Greek word “logos” which can mean just a portion of speech, but in most cases refers to the holy Word of God, or the precepts given to man by God. It is also the same word that is used as another name for Jesus Christ in John 1 when it says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, the scripture is describing a husband who is not obeying God’s Word and certainly not obeying Jesus Christ.

Now look at the second part of that sentence. It says he may “without the word be won.” Many people look at this passage and think it is saying the husband may be won without his wife saying anything, meaning without her nagging or instruction and so forth. Interestingly this is also the word “logos” and notice it says “THE word” not “A word”. Therefore according to context it makes sense that the scripture is saying the husband may be won over without the Word of God being constantly presented to him, simply by the conversation of his wife. Conversation doesn’t just mean speech either. It is the Greek word “anastrophē” which means, “manner of life, conduct, and behavior.” Husbands can be won over by the example their wives show in their own lives. What manner of behavior or conduct is that? Chaste and reverent behavior is what does the trick. A godly wife can win her husband to the Lord by her pure, good and honorable behavior and by the reverence she shows her husband as she submits to God’s plan for her life. Now that is incredible.

See the picture here ladies? If you husband is in sin, it is not fruitful for you to be preaching at him day and night, usurping spiritual authority over him. Rather, as you honor him, according to God’s Word, and live your life in a way that pleases the Lord, your husband may be won over. This is true also if your husband is a godly man in most respects but has an area of struggle with sin. Do not nag him or criticize him. Pray for him and continue to be the wife God wants you to be, remembering that your submission and respect unto your husband is not based on his love for you or his submission to God. If you refuse to submit it is God whom you are sinning against. If your husband refuses to go with you to church, do not lose heart. As he observes God’s love and truth in your life, he will see the Word being lived out in you. Ask the Lord to use you in this way to minister to your husband.

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