The first time I saw her I was taken with her beauty. With the advent of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the opportunity is ubiquitous. In the best of circumstances, in the best of relationships, we all have a place inside that longs for "more." That "more" points us to God and His Kingdom.A month later she and I and one other person were working Christmas Day. Straight and Narrow, except for a little emotional adultery. One doesn't even have to leave home to become entangled with another. Emotional affairs contain some or all of the following elements: Boom. You have a human drug to ease your anxiety and discomfort in a fallen world. When we seek to satisfy the "more" in the now we miss the mark, causing pain to our own soul and those who love us.We laughed, worked little, and listened to a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tape about 15 times. I remember thinking, "I'd be a husband that would take care of you." This should have been a huge red flag — one of those giant ones flapping in the breeze outside a restaurant or car lot, saying We had more lunches. I traded one means of filling my empty soul — alcohol — for another: emotional suctioning. There you are — not in love, but emotionally entangled. There's no need to do conflict with your spouse — that's too hard — go talk to your human drug who listens and understands and makes you feel better. But emotional affairs aren't just about our flesh demanding satisfaction.
In many ways, however, my emotional affair with this woman was every bit as damaging to my marriage as Ann's affair, which included an emotional connection and sex. I had given it to another and denied any damage to Ann and to my own soul. Frequent starting points include a transition, such as a new job or promotion, a new neighborhood, a new church, or a new team or activity for a child. How do we develop a hunger and a thirst for Him and His righteousness if we live in perpetual satiation? All who are married live in a fallen world married to an imperfect woman or an imperfect man.
I had thoughts of wanting to be married to her instead of my wife, Ann. Until counseling I had rationalized away any consequence of my emotional relationship, since we didn't have sex. Emotional affairs are a means to sidestep that pressure. But God didn't intend for us to seek satisfaction in every moment.
I literally remember praying and having an image in my mind of allowing God to deal with everything in me — except her. "It tears you apart."I later experienced the many levels of truth in her words when my wife — the wife of my youth, as Proverbs says — had an affair. Sometimes that pressure makes it tougher to share and talk about life.
We never kissed, but I broached the topic of sex with her."Ben, you don't want to do it," she said.
Later, in counseling, I realized that if not for the woman I had become emotionally involved with, we would have had sex.
Michael Cusick is the author of is for men who struggle with pornography.Inside, it is a great study into the depths of the masculine soul, much of which applies to the feminine soul.In the book, Cusick details seven core desires of the human soul: Cusick offers this about our thirsts:"All of these core thirsts are God-given appetites and longings.When they are suppressed, cut off, or shut down, we resemble an Indy car running on four cylinders. To run on eight cylinders, we need to acknowledge that we are thirsty and identify what our thirsts are. Because only when we identify them will we begin moving toward those desires according to God's design."At the time, I was unaware of my longing for respect and admiration.Combine that with a human brain wired to seek the most efficient, convenient path, and I was significantly vulnerable to an emotional affair.None of that excuses my emotional affair, but helps me to understand it. Which of the seven core longings caught your attention? Does anyone come to mind when the topic of emotional entanglement comes up?