Friday night has become our date night. We usually head to a local pub for pizza and drinks. The conversation is never Big Stuff. We talk about our work days, chat about updates we’ve seen our friends and relatives post on Facebook, daydream about things we’ll do once we’re truly empty-nesters, and laugh.

The other night, my husband dropped a bombshell—only he didn’t even know it was a bombshell, so my reaction caught him off guard as the bombshell caught me. Okay, maybe it wasn’t really a bombshell, even though it felt like one for about 15 seconds. It was a stark lesson that our marriage had been further along a path to destruction than I’d ever guessed.

During our sexual desert years, my husband got hooked on an online game where people had to join together in clans to fight wars. He became Facebook friends with most of his clan members. One of the people in his clan was a woman. I frequently noticed him involved in Facebook chatting and would occasionally ask him who he was online with. A lot of times, it was this woman. She had a series of bad relationships and bad jobs, and my husband and others in the clan served as a sounding board for her. A couple times, it would strike me as odd that he was chatting with her so much, but I was also spending time chatting online with people I’d never met in real life (not men, though), so it felt hypocritical to say anything. Besides, he was telling me about their conversations; he would even ask me for advice and wording suggestions sometimes. How bad could it be if he was telling me about it?

Eventually, he stopped playing the game, and I  wasn’t aware that he was still in contact with her other than occasional chats when she went through another breakup. My husband is a good guy, and I know that he was talking with her as he would if it were my sister.

But….(you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?) the other night, as part of our casual conversation on our date night, he mentioned that he used to call her his “sister wife.” (HBO’s Big Love was at its peak in those days).

Say what? Sister wife, as in your other wife? I could feel the blood drain from my face. I don’t think a man would use that phrase in reference to another woman unless there’s a part of him that wants to have a deeper relationship with her. I’m pretty sure that if another man referred to me as a sister wife, my husband would be pretty unhappy and would think the man was hitting on me.

He sat there, truly puzzled as to why I was upset. He knows that nothing inappropriate is going on between them, she knows he’s married, and he hasn’t even called her a sister wife since our sex life started improving. (Uh, big guy, that right there is an indication that something in your relationship with her was connected to your sexual unhappiness with me.)

While I feel completely safe and secure in the marriage we have now, it was an earth-shaking sign that showed me that I had made my husband more vulnerable to temptation than I had ever realized. I knew I’d been pushing him away. I knew he’d been feeling unloved and disrespected at home. Here was a woman who sought and respected his advice, when I refused to take any of it at all. Here was a woman who enjoyed chatting online with him, when I could barely spare a minute of the day for a meaningful conversation with him. I shouldn’t have been surprised that his emotional starvation had made him desperate to be fed by anyone. I shouldn’t have been surprised. But somehow, I was.

I’d been oblivious to the fact that my husband had taken a step on a path that could’ve led to an affair. The hardest part of any journey is the first step, and once that first step is taken, every step thereafter is just a bit easier.

I’ve known in my mind that my sexual refusal put my husband in a place of vulnerability and made him ripe for temptation. My sin against him and against God easily could have created the environment where it was harder for him not to sin. But Friday night, I realized it with my heart. By not being the wife God called me to be, I easily could have led my husband to sin as well.

I had a glimpse of a reality that didn’t happen—but it so easily could have. Had my husband continued down that path, that sin would’ve been completely on him. But his vulnerability? That one’s on me. It was a closer call than I’d realized.

Image credit ~ morgueFile.com

9 Thoughts on “Ripe for Temptation

  1. Bluemoon on May 13, 2013 at 8:41 am said:

    Temptation is charming and beautiful and whittles you away one compromise at a time…

  2. Linda in NC on May 13, 2013 at 11:46 am said:

    WOW! My husband and I just recently encountered a close call JUST LIKE THIS. However, a few things were different…”SHE” was a “casual long time friend from the gym” that really enjoyed my husbands help so much that they started texting. He was just being the “big brother type” for her in his eyes. I think she wanted more than a big brother of course. With the Lord’s help my eyes FINALLY opened and I too realized I was pushing my husband away for YEARS. I had done it so long that I didn’t even realize it. :~( Needless to say she is out of the picture and our almost 25 year marriage is flourishing. 🙂

    • It sounds like our husbands both had good intentions. It would have been too easy to just keep taking one more step, though. I’m glad we both came to our senses and worked to strengthen our marriages.

  3. Thank you for your vulnerability and also the ownership you have taken for your part of the marriage. A true sign of humility. It is great to hear the wife’s vantage point on this. For the guy, affairs do not usually start out as a quest for sex, but sexual starvation does create vulnerability. I know that was true for me. http://choosetotrust.com/2013/05/when-numbers-are-not-enough/

    • It was the first time I saw that an affair actually could have been possible. My husband has such a strong moral backbone, and if an affair had actually happened I think I would have been able to forgive him long before he could have forgiven himself. He never would’ve sought it, but I was starving him of so much.

    • And thank you for your vulnerability in your post as well. Owning our sins plays a vital role in healing.

  4. “Had my husband continued down that path, that sin would’ve been completely on him. But his vulnerability? That one’s on me.”

    This is what I try to tell ladies that will listen to me, Yes, he is the one that sinned if he had the affair, and many will tell you what a dog he is. BUT, why was he vulnerable to that sin?? Exactly the way you put it in this article. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Lisa on May 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm said:

    Not all affairs are caused by one spouse not meeting the other one’s needs. I would hate for anyone to take on guilt that was undeserved on top of the betrayal of an affair. And, no, neither my husband nor myself have had an affair.

  6. Nunia bizness (jk) on May 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm said:

    This is exactly my view point of my marriage. I begged and pleaded and begged yet again for years and years for a relationship with my wife. I finally started changing my tune after years of loneliness and neglect: I simply stated the obvious, “don’t you dare be surprised WHEN, not if, but when I find myself longing for female companionship and someone chooses to be there. No, I won’t look for it because I won’t have to. It will find me because it’s written all over my face!”
    Sure enough I found my insanity and loneliness dominating and someone else was there to whisper, “It’s going to be alright.” And you know what, I didn’t even realize how insane I really was for all those years. Yep, it was totally wrong. Yep, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t even want sex. You know what I really wanted? Was to feel wanted! Needed! Desired! I wanted to enjoy someone else enjoying ME for once! And it felt GREAT knowing that someone actually wanted to be with me, near me, talk with me, ENJOY my company. You don’t get that from sex but I wasn’t getting that at home either.
    Anyhow, my point is, I had no desire to cheat but did so if YOU don’t want that to happen with YOUR husband then maybe you should at least TRY. I’ll say it again, at least TRY.
    Doing nothing is not an option: actions speak louder than words but IN-ACTIONS scream in the ear every minute of the day!
    … so there ya go.

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