I have what many would say is a “good” marriage. We are loving toward one another, share openly about struggles, pray together, communicate, honor and generally respect one another. We are best friends—he is my dearest, greatest friend. Our marriage is good, but it is far from perfect. We have a lot of areas where we are consistently and constantly working to grow. But, I generally feel secure and content overall. That is, until I was not and realized I am far from above temptation.
Social media is one area where I enjoy keeping up with my friends and family. I love viewing pictures and interacting with readers of my work as I am able. I enjoy sharing with my friends and family all that I believe the Lord is doing. I also try hard to honor my husband when and where I can—mostly as a way to let him know that he is special to me—special beyond anyone else. This summer, however, I found myself tempted to envy another woman’s relationship. It simply looked better than mine. It all caught me off guard. I’m not generally tempted to be jealous, I tend to rejoice with my friends, but it was a perfect storm and I found myself longing to have what she had.
So, what contributed to this storm?
Busyness had crept in our lives and I was not communicating as fully as I usually did with my husband. As life and busyness continued, I was unknowingly sharing with others online what I had thought I had shared with my husband. All the while, we were becoming distant. So, when I saw this couple display their happiness, I became discontent. For a few hours I felt cold toward my dear husband. He hadn’t done one thing wrong. He was just the same lovely man who sacrifices each and every day for us, but at that moment I had forgotten.
As Joe Rigney recently said at the Desiring God conference, “Envy weeps at those who rejoice and rejoices over those who weep.” My heart wept as my friend rejoiced. Oh, how sad I was. Graciously, the Lord opened my eyes and I grieved over my sin and asked the Lord for forgiveness. I was able to repent to my husband over the comparison that should have never occurred. I am thankful to know that Jesus forgives and paid for that sin.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. There will be someone who looks like they are simply having a better time than you are. Are you ready to view it and rejoice with your friend? Or perhaps it’s better to simply avoid the temptation and stay offline. Your online relationship could affect your marriage. If you are searching for connectedness online because you are disconnected at home, don’t allow your online viewing to be your adulterous relationship.
The trouble with our relationships online is that they can so often go beyond just viewing. Do you long for the “like” from another man? Do you post in hopes to get the attention of a male who is not your husband? Are you emotionally attached to someone you barely know but you feel connected with because of your online relationship? Your online relationship could be affecting your marriage.
There isn’t anyone in the world I love more than my husband and yet how easy it was to despise him in a matter of 10 seconds. The Lord is at work in our marriage, we do indeed have a good and healthy relationship, but we never want to assume we are beyond great temptation. I want to live soberly, knowing that without the Lord’s grace and strength, there go I.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10: 12-13).