Today we want to continue the thoughts on "The Internet & Your Marriage". One of our lovely readers read our last post on the topic (as well as the responses) and it stirred her to submit this post. She said she has never written a blog post, but couldn't not respond to this topic. I was touched by her story & the way she has chosen to move forward, despite her trial. While her trial did not begin because of the internet, she wanted to make the point that EVEN IF you have a really healthy marriage, you still need to be diligent about avoiding inappropriate contact, whether it is on the internet or otherwise.
And, I just want to tell this dear reader thank you for writing this. She said she has kept this experience from everyone as they have decided to not tell their children what happened to them & they are working on starting a new life as a family. But she struggled with not being able to share what she learned with others, and she was grateful to have this outlet to do so.
*****************************I, like Shiloh, felt like the luckiest girl in the world the day I married my husband. We were best friends and completely in love! 13 years of marriage and 4 kids later we were living the dream. We had a very healthy marriage. We had a group of friends that we would go out regularly with, even vacation with. I felt that a woman from this group was flirty with my husband. We talked about it and he reassured me that our marriage was safe. But, she started to pursue him through email and text. It started out very innocent - - she was asking him for help with something. As a friendship started, she would tell my husband how lucky he was to be in such a good marriage. She confided in him that she was not happy in her marriage. She began to ask for advice on how to make her marriage better. He felt sorry for her and wanted to help, but he soon recognized that their connection was getting inappropriate & told her it had to stop. The relationship was exposed and it broke my heart. My husband felt awful and vowed it would never happen again (even though technically nothing happened!) I was so hurt, and my husband was so ashamed that it was easier to bury it and pretend that everything was alright. We wanted it to just go away. I had been taught all my life to forgive. I had felt so betrayed by this woman, but again wanted to move on. I told her I forgave her and things went back to normal. We still would go out together and I really tried to put it behind us. A few years passed and it started up again. After 9 months it became physical. They were having a full blown affair. Through this process my husband had completely changed into someone I did not recognize. To spare you the ugly details, I will tell you that there is a happy ending to this story. Not to say that we both have not been to hell and back. My world was shattered, but not all was lost. You see, I can honestly say I am grateful for this experience. Our marriage is in a better place than it has ever been. We have both gained a stronger connection with each other and learned to overcome this trial together. And we have come to know God in a way that we would never been able to. I once again feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
My whole point in telling you this is that good, healthy marriages can still be vulnerable. Even if you're in what feels like a healthy marriage, you still MUST guard yourself from potential danger. No marriage is safe. And if you think yours is, it might not hurt to humble yourself and recognize that no one is immune to temptation.
My marriage was saved, because we packed up our kids and belongings into our truck moved, OVERNIGHT! We removed ourselves from the situation that had caused us so much trouble. I will add that my husband played his part in this. He absolutely had a choice. I want to make that clear! I believe not many go out looking to have an affair. It does not happen overnight. It does not happen because of email or facebook! But if you want to protect your marriage from that temptation, you need to be aware that the danger is real. It can happen to good people! Facebook is not bad, but Facebook does give you the vehicle to start a journey that will lead to something bad. There is an old proverb that says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step." Looking back, we should have severed that relationship when it became inappropriate.
Our biggest defense in protecting our marriage is identifying all of the potential dangers. Recognize how easily things can go from innocent to destructive. When you are preparing for a battle, you identify the enemy. You plan ahead to avoid any obstacle that you might face. Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but you should think ahead how you will react in the face of something inappropriate. It is very hard to resist flattery. We all want to be accepted. We all want someone to comment on our picture, or our post or we wouldn't put them on Facebook! If you find yourself seeking attention from this behavior, ask yourself some hard questions. Seek to find your acceptance from within or from some higher source.
I am an advocate of marriage. I believe there are few problems that cannot be solved ( if both people are willing to try). Marriage is the most amazing blessing. Don't give up on it without a fight! (Even if your husband has an affair on you!) I want to give that hope to someone who might be going through this right now. When faced with adversity, understand that it is not the adversity that is the test, but rather what you do with it. Learn, grow, let adversity teach you. I am grateful for the things I have learned and for the person who I have become through this trial.
UPDATE: Dear Readers, I meant to ask you...is there anything that you have changed or done to protect your marriage from crumbling? i.e. moving overnight? Or anything of the sort? I think it's inspiring to hear about couples' efforts to save their marriages and turn things around....it is a huge deal to do that, for sure...