This is the second lesson in the series “The Path to Infidelity” which I have entitled How to Lead a Healthy Life. After our discussion in the first lesson, we can now say,  Okay, you are God’s Person. But what does that look like? First of all, if you are married, it means that you are to have a robust, healthy, active sexual relationship with your spouse. That statement may sound trite and simplistic.  It is until you look at it more closely. If you love your spouse, you will want to make that other person the healthiest, strongest and most faithful person they can be. They need your help! Men and women were created to be very different. The temptation is to say, “You were born the way you are, so you must deal with it!” Certainly it is true that you cannot take total responsibility for someone else, but you did take a vow to do your part to help them stay healthy!  The basic concept is that you will spend the rest of your married life learning how your spouse is put together and what it takes to meet their needs.  Nothing will help them more than to have a healthy, robust sexual life.

The “Father of the Reformation”, Martin Luther, had much to say about a healthy marriage. Having lived as a celibate Catholic priest and then later as a married Lutheran pastor, he had an interesting insight into how to fight the urges, desires and drives that are a part of life. He had followed the strictest form of discipline and rigorous prayer. He had committed to a life of complete faithfulness to God’s command without compromise. He had resisted marriage for himself long after he had discovered not a single scripture that commanded anyone to stay single and celibate. A former nun, whom he had helped escape from the Catholic Church, refused to marry any of the men he encouraged her to marry saying she would prefer to marry him! Martin Luther was very clear on the point that his beloved wife had done more for him in his struggle to control his desires than any of the efforts he had made in his earlier life as a priest. Truth does not change over time.

Why does such a simple truth seem to be so difficult?

Think of your sexual relationship as the penthouse in a tall skyscraper. It sits at the very top of the magnificent structure of your life. Now, picture an earthquake and the tall building starts to move a little bit. What part of the building will feel the effect of that movement most dramatically? It will be the penthouse! The small tremor at ground level is magnified through the structure of the building and the top floors move even farther!  In you sexual relationship, things that don’t seem to be related to what happens in your private lives has a huge impact in unexpected ways. Children get sick, jobs change, people relocate, families grow and change, some will have money problems, one goes back to school and goes into a different profession, one person faces personal challenges and suddenly we look back and say, “Why have we had difficulty staying intimate?” Well, the “building of your life” has been shaking a little bit and the folks in the “penthouse” are just hanging on for dear life! In a time of massive changes like we have seen in this recession, families and marriages are more stressed than ever before.

Why do we feel more frightened at the very times when we should be supporting each other the most?

The magnifier in times of stress is our Greatest Fear working inside each of the marriage partners. Look back at the articles and videos about the Greatest Fear of Men and the Greatest Fear of Women and you will see that we are built with fears inside us. When our lives start to tremble, our fears kick in and magnify the “jiggle” into a tsunami.  Our sexual lives are the place where our fears and anxieties have their greatest impact. Believe it or not, staying “in love”, staying “in passion”, staying in an active sexual life is the hardest thing two people can do. Why? Because it takes two people who can overcome their own fears and questions to find a way to take care of the fears and frustrations of the other! That does not happen automatically or easily.

The automatic response to dramatic change and the resultant grip of fear, is to find an “easier” connection that will ease our fear, rather than fighting our way through the issues with our spouse.  Understand, this does not mean that anyone is looking for a different sexual partner.  It means they are starting to look around for someone who has fewer of their own issues so they can focus more quickly on helping us settle our fears! It just seems easier to “feel like a real man” with someone other than your wife at those times when your wife seems to make you feel like a “scolded child” every time you walk into the room. It seems easier to think that someone else can make you feel “safe and secure” when you fear your marriage is coming unglued and your husband is becoming more distant and uncaring.

“I don’t LOVE him/her any more….and don’t remember the last time I DID!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that expression! The people who say it believe in their hearts that once that is said, there is nothing more that can be done. Once you have fallen “out of love”, they think there is no hope for the relationship. That is the common misunderstanding of how things work. You are “in love” with that person or the marriage is history.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In truth, the strongest and most durable building blocks to an enduring marriage are hewn out and set in place as we fight our way back into an intimate relationship together. I tell people over and over, “You can stop working on your marriage and make the unhappiness permanent, or you can fight your way back to an intimate relationship again.” People who drop out and find new partners will almost certainly go through the process of dropping out again and again and again. There is no perfect partner that will make a happy marriage. That is a myth that is created in places like Hollywood (pretending to be real life) and Madison Avenue (selling you what they claim is a real life). Within moments of finding your perfect match you will find he/she has “issues” just like the one you left behind!

I had a friend who thought he would find happiness with someone other than his wife. He left his wife and married the new, wonderful wife only to find that the two ladies were IDENTICAL!  The new wife had the very same fears, the very same feelings, the very same demands as the wife he had left behind.  Except now, he had to deal with two wives. His “perfect” life was now ruined by having to clean up the mess he had left behind while trying to hold his new life together with his new wife.  What a mess!

There is NO problem so bad that two people cannot repair the damage. I make that kind of bold statement because I have seen the results and know it is true.  In the next lesson I will show you how God tells us to face our problems and not just run away when they appear.

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