I Never Thought It Would Happen to Me

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with
those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV)

“I never thought it would happen to me.” said the young woman sitting before me. Sue was very capable and managed a large department in an enormous company. She was known for her strength and problem-solving abilities on the job. Sue and her husband Don had four children who were bright and made good grades in school, as well as being involved in several extracurricular activities. Sue described Don as a wonderful man who was a great provider, father, and husband in every respect but one; Sue felt she was not emotionally cared for in her marriage. She had the image of having it all together and no one would ever have guessed that inside she was falling apart.

When Sue met Jim at work, they immediately hit it off. At first, it was just the casual conversation in the break room that drew them together. They would talk at the Keurig about their weekends and their families. It was in every respect a normal friendship between two people who were very much in love with their spouses and had no intention of falling in love with anyone else.

After several weeks went by, Sue realized she was looking forward to her coffee time with Jim. She began to arrange to be available during his coffee breaks, and the two of them would sit together and talk. Sue began to reveal to Jim several of the things that were burdening her heart. He was such a good listener!

Her husband, Don, while a loving and caring man, did not know how to comfort her. He seemed to be at a loss as to what to do when she was hurting, sad, or emotionally needy. Jim on the other hand, could hone in on Sue’s heart and always seemed to provide the right answers for the loneliness that Sue realized was present in her life. Jim was very compassionate and would empathize with Sue at the craziness of her life. He provided a measure of love and comfort she just didn’t get at home.

As Sue continued to share more of her life and struggles with Jim, she realized she was experiencing deep feelings for him– Much more than was appropriate for a married woman. She thought she might even be in love with Jim! While things never became physical between the two of them, Sue knew she was in trouble. As a test, Sue revealed to Don some of the things she would ordinarily tell Jim. Don seemed to have little emotionally to offer her. Instead, he would ask her what he should do to help her. He was focused on how to solve the problem and did not provide the loving comfort and attention that Sue had come to crave, and had found in Jim.

I wish I could say that Sue’s story was unusual. However, emotional adultery happens much more often than we realize. The busy lives that couples lead leave little room for them to continue to develop that intimate, connecting relationship that sustains a marriage. As more and more women enter the workforce at the executive level and bear the burden of heavy responsibilities on the job and at home, it is vital that couples pay special attention to their marriages. Women must be willing to tell their husbands the kinds of struggles that reside within them. We must also be vigilant in not allowing the seeds of discontentment to sprout in our hearts.

There is no room for another man in a woman’s marriage. It is never appropriate to develop any more than a casual or passing connection with another man. It is never appropriate to have “friends” that are men to the extent that you have lunch or coffee dates with them. It is never appropriate to share intimate or emotional issues with a man who is not your husband. I find these things are happening with regularity in the lives of Christian women. Do not be deceived, it is extremely dangerous.

By God’s grace, Sue figured it out in time. She cut off the relationship with Jim before things got more involved. Make no mistake, this was a relationship! Sue told Jim there could be no more coffee dates at work and nothing more than a casual hello in passing. She had to guard her heart and begin to talk to Don the way that she had been talking to Jim. She and Don got biblical counseling, and today their marriage is healthy and thriving.