I used to walk our golden retriever, Hobie, most days early in the morning at the Dana Point Harbor near our home. One day, Hobie and I were strolling along the water and an older couple was walking toward me holding hands. They looked so very happy.
Having done a considerable amount of writing and speaking about marriage, I am always intrigued by couples that look like they have it together. I greeted them, and they greeted me and started talking about my dog.
I then said, “You look so happy. What is your secret to keeping your marriage strong?”
They looked at each other and then sheepishly looked at me and said, “Oh we’re not married. And we wouldn’t want our spouses to know about our (wink-wink)’business trip.'”
I’m not usually without words, but I was stunned. Obviously, this was a couple having an affair. I mumbled an awkward “Oh, I’m sorry” as I wandered off.
They probably took my “I’m sorry” to mean that I was sorry I thought they were married. Actually, I was sorry that they had to find a false sense of intimacy in an illegitimate relationship. I’m sorry for their spouses. I’m sorry for their kids. I’m sorry for their blatant disobedience to their Creator.
If I were going to guess, I would say that these two people got married to the love of their lives; and then when kids and work and bills and all the rest came along, their marriage relationships were neglected. Because of all their other responsibilities, they neglected their relationships with their spouses and neglected their commitment to their marriage vows.
Then their relationships drifted. Sometimes people don’t even know they are drifting until one day they look up and say, “What on Earth happened to us?”
Then who knows what happened, but they perhaps looked to other things and people to fill their deep desire for intimacy in their marriages. Finally, this couple chose to forfeit their God-given potential for intimacy in their marriages for the false intimacy of an affair.
I care deeply about kids. There may be nothing more important to the security and future health of a child, than the relationship between his/her mom and dad. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for single parents as well. Almost all of them would say it would be easier to raise up a child as a couple, rather than single. If you are married, I want to encourage you to be intentional about nurturing the connection with your spouse in your marriage. A healthy marriage is one with a good deal of physical, emotional, and even spiritual intimacy. It brings security not only to the couple, but to their family as well.
If you don’t think you have been focused enough lately on the priority of your marriage, then I want to challenge you to invest in your relationship. It will be good for you and for your kids. It will keep you from going down a road you really don’t want to go on—like the couple I met at the Harbor.