Well, here I am at 3:00 a.m. unsettled and wide awake.
This time not from insomnia instead from nightmares.
Actually, my worst nightmare the one that leaves me breathless with such sadness I wake crying. It is a terrible feeling that is not quickly dispelled, and the worst part is- there is no real reason for the dreams. They seem to come completely unprovoked.
The dreams you ask?
That I catch my husband cheating- leaving me devasted and sick with rage.
As terrible as these dreams are- I sometimes wonder if they are a good thing because they make me pause and reflect on my relationship with my spouse.
A gut-check if you will -- Am I the best wife that I can be?
The answer every single time is “no;” because I realize that there are times that I’ve become complacent, selfish, and lazy.
Marriage is hard, and if we aren't careful, it can become so routine that we just coast, letting our guard down and becoming oblivious to the advances of the enemy- infidelity.
Infidelity can creep in and turn our whole world upside down!
Even the best marriages are vulnerable. According to data collected by General Social Survey from 2010 to 2016 over 20% of men and 13% of women reported that they'd had sex with someone other than their spouse while married with the probability of cheating rising during the middle-age years. Combine these stats with the introduction of virtual infidelity in the form of pornography, sexting, and virtual sex via videotelephony products like Facetime; infidelity rates have skyrocketed, and we are now faced with a new kind of infidelity that comes disguised as harmless because it isn’t “physical.”
Don't be fooled; infidelity is not always physical!
Sadly, some women reading this are living this nightmare of infidelity - blindsided and broken.
If this is you- please hear me, marriage takes TWO people to either build it or destroy it, and the ultimate enemy of marriage plays a vital part as Satan delights in destruction.
Infidelity is an evil beast that has no place in our homes!
Regardless of where you are in your marriage, we as wives can be purposeful in our defense tactics- make no mistake, it is a battle, and wise women implement strategies to try to protect their marriage and keep this beast away.
Here are a few techniques to consider:
Meet His Needs
Oneness in marriage is absolutely essential. It is God's design that marriage involves two distinct people becoming one. To ensure this unity, He creates each person with unique needs that are to be met by the spouse. We see this in the very first marriage of Adam and Eve. God created Adam and realized that it wasn’t good that Adam was alone. Eve was created and presented to Adam as a gift to fill the need of loneliness. When each spouse is fulfilling the unique need of their mate, true unity in the relationship is achieved. Understanding your husband's individual needs is something that may take time and exploration, some will be obvious and spoken, but others can be found in your spouses’ “weaknesses.” Weakness is where you, as his spouse, can bring your strength to fulfill a need. What does your husband need to bring happiness and fulfillment in his life? What are his weaknesses that you can bring your power? One of my husband's weaknesses is dealing with anger- when I meet this "need" with calmness and clarity we unite. I’ve learned, two hotheads never make a positive, united team.
Respect Your Husband
Respect is your husband's #1 need and is reflected in God’s explicit command found in 1 Peter 3:1 that wives “be submissive to your own husbands.” God’s #1 command to the husband is to love his wife (her greatest need), but He never told a wife to love her husband; rather be submissive or in other words respectful to her husband. The words "submit" and "respect" are interchangeable. When we respect our husbands both in our words, actions, and deeds, we are meeting his ultimate God-designed need, and in the process, He is loved. Most wives would say, “of course, I respect my husband.” However, I would challenge you to inspect your actions sincerely. Do you show respect in how you speak to him? Do you show respect in how you talk about him? Do you show respect in addressing his concerns and complaints, or do you dismiss them? Do you show respect in how you conduct yourself outside the home or with others of the opposite sex? Do you show respect by putting his feelings and desires above your own? Do you prioritize your husband? Do you allow him to lead in your home?
Communication is critical because romance and love will wither and die without it! We communicate for different reasons: women need to communicate to problem solve and build her confidence and emotional stability. Men correspond to convey a need or solution. Thus, men think before they talk, and women think as they talk. Words are powerful and can be used for building up or tearing down. The silent treatment and negative, hurtful words should be removed entirely from your language toolbox. Words spoken to your spouse should be words of encouragement, compassion, and respect. In times of discord, open-honest communication should be commenced without attacking and condemning; preferably from a place of sharing your feelings, trying to understand the position of your spouse and working together to find a solution. When my husband and I need to have a hard conversation, I have to remind myself of Ephesians 4:23, 32: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
This may be difficult to believe- husbands naturally desire their wives and actually do believe we are sexy regardless of what we may think about ourselves. They have this unique ability to see us minus the cellulite and stretch marks- like they have magical rose-colored lenses implanted into their eyes! As such, we, as wives, need to stop belittling ourselves and fixating on our perceived flaws and extending freedom in our relationship to verbalize wants and desires. We need to believe our husband’s desires are genuine and do our part of accepting ourselves and our sexuality. God designed us to be sexual creatures and to enjoy sexual intimacy with our spouse. We need to embrace a positive attitude towards intimacy and purposefully take steps that demonstrate our desire for our husband, which includes: taking care of ourselves emotionally, physically, and hygienically. When we feel pretty- we act pretty, so be willing to please your husband in your appearance and attire visually. Yes, even the scratchy negligees have a purpose as your husband is designed to be visually stimulated. Never dismiss that sexual expression should be celebrated and intimacy prioritized and practiced regularly.
Recall Your Youth
No matter how long you’ve been married or how old you may be- recalling your youth is essential. Trips down memory lane can work wonders. Reminisce over those early days of dating your spouse: what was your spouse like, what attracted you to him, what did you like to do on dates? Don’t just recall your youth, recreate it! Schedule a date night where you both dress to impress and do something that brings you both youthful joy! Maybe you loved going bowling, or going to the theater or even just enjoying a delightful dinner at an unusual restaurant. Recreating pleasant memories can help revive a lackluster marriage.
Remember Your Goals
There once was a day you stood before God and vowed to stand by your husband through everything that life had to offer- until death. Everything. No exit signs. Your goal- honor your commitments and give your very best.
Marriage is a process that takes two imperfect people willing to humble themselves, accept their shortcomings, be open to areas of improvement, and have grace and forgiveness ready to extend.
Remember … No person is perfect. No marriage is perfect. And there is a real enemy out there that wants you to believe love, submission and devotion are fairytales, and the grass is greener on the other side.
Ladies don't be deceived; we have the power to lead our relationship and win this battle over the beast of infidelity. But, we must be willing to fight and pray that our men are smart enough not to ruin a good thing!
Father, thank you for the gift of oneness in marriage. Help us to be wives that embrace our roles and responsibilities of giving our husbands the benefit of your insight, wisdom, and perspective. Help us to hold our husbands in high-regard extending respect, love, grace, and forgiveness. When our husbands falter may we trust in you above all else to redeem, heal, and restore.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” ~Proverbs 31:11-12