A few weeks ago, Todd was reading the news on his phone and I was scrolling through pictures of a friend’s wedding on Instagram. Looking through the photos, a strange thing happened—I felt sad. Grieved that when Todd and I got married, I lost a lot of my guy friends. Before I met Todd, lots of my closest friends were guys from church and college. But as we started dating, I sensed God (and my therapist, lets be real) leading me to invest in my girl friendships and create space in my guy friendships. *
We met and got married so fast I didn’t have time to process the social and relational changes, but as time goes on, there are moments I grieve the loss of those friendships. And in that particular moment scrolling through Instagram, I not only felt sad, but guilty. You don’t love Todd at all, do you? How could you be thinking about another man like that? You are practically having an emotional affair!
I threw my phone down and closed my eyes. Wait…am I being unfaithful? Do I secretly love someone else? I can’t tell Todd. He’ll think I’m crazy.
I opened my eyes and turned to my husband with his sweet brown-bear face and kind smile. He grabbed my hand and held it tight. You don’t deserve him. You’re thinking about other men.
I decided to ignore the whole thing and take the secret to my grave, but for the next five nights, I had dreams about cheating on Todd. I woke up in a panic. I went to sleep in a panic. I tried to read my Bible and pray and journal more, but nothing worked. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong.
Everything came to a head when Todd asked why I seemed frazzled. I was scared to tell him the truth but simultaneously started crying and word-vomiting: “I promise I love you so much and I love being married to you but I feel so sad that I’m not friends with those people anymore! I can’t even believe I’m telling you this. I’m not in love with any of them, I swear! I promise I won’t have an affair! Please trust me!”
He laughed: “You’re not having an affair, you’re grieving the closure that hasn’t happened in those relationships. I’ve gone through the same thing, too. It’s okay. Please don’t torture yourself for a full week anymore. Please tell me what you’re thinking, okay? Don’t be afraid to tell me the truth.”
I immediately— and I mean immediately— felt a million-pound weight lift off my shoulders. Todd didn’t think I was being unfaithful or running off with men in the middle of the night, but as long as I kept things hidden in the dark, Satan had the loudest voice in my mind.
What a reminder to come out of hiding and bring our secrets to the light. There are hidden mysteries God shares with us that grow our intimacy with Him and that’s a beautiful thing, but secrets will consume us if we don’t expose them. Living in darkness— in any area of life – will only breed shame. There is no freedom in the dark. There is no vision or weightlessness in the dark. Only fear and shame and confusion. That’s where the Enemy wants to keep us: curled up in a ball, afraid to share the truth, and confused about our identities.
I’m sure there are married people who’ve written about this before, but I want to join with the choir and let you know if you’re married and grieving the loss of relationships with the opposite sex, it doesn’t mean you’re unfaithful or in love with someone else. It doesn’t mean you don’t wholly love your spouse. It just means you’re processing change, and that’s not only normal, but good.
You don’t have to keep secrets. Secrets wage war against intimacy.
Telling the truth, no matter how hard it is, grows deep intimacy.
Tell the truth. Ask God for courage and opportunities to tell the truth.