“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22)
There were so many ideas running through my head but I think that I’m going to talk about spiritual fidelity in marriage a.k.a. emotional affairs. Emotional affairs are basically when you go to another person (who is not your spouse) for emotional support, encouragement, or just because you prefer their company. It’s easy to think that emotional affairs are harmless because nothing physical happened but that is not the case. Broken trust, feelings of betrayal, and fear of divorce come from an emotional affair. It starts off as something harmless like “oh but we’ve been friends forever”, then you spend time together, start to flirt, spend even more time together, fantasize about the other person, and then physical affairs begin.
When my husband and I started to date, we talked about emotional affairs (but I didn’t know there was actually a word for it) and thankfully learned together once and for all what to avoid.
Growing up, one of my best friends was a guy…let’s call him Matt (that’s not actually his name). The week that I started dating my hubs, Matt got home from his mission and I took a plane to see him and, of course, all of my other buddies in the area. So we kept texting, talking, and skyping occasionally. I really did not think that it was a problem because I had known him since we were like 7 and nothing romantic ever happened between us…ever. Then one day, I made a mistake and realized that our little friendship had gone farther than I had intended. I got in a fight with my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and called Matt for emotional support and to feel better instead of working things out with my bf. I felt horrible after I had called Matt…I wanted to progress towards an eternal relationship with my boyfriend but instead of going to him- I went to someone else. That wasn’t very celestial marriage-y of me.
From that moment on, I knew that I had to change my friendship with Matt. But by that point, I had messed things up. Matt thought that my phone call was a declaration of true love/cry for help/ whatever it is he thought and actively tried to break up my hubby (by then fiancé) and I. I remember the conversation when my husband told me that he was hurt and didn’t understand my choice to be so close to this guy. I guess I didn’t understand my choice either and I never wanted to hurt him.
It was a hard, but I had to end my friendship with Matt. And I mean end it- delete his number, unfriend on Facebook, the whole thing but you know what? I don’t regret it for a second. I know that I did the right thing because I was able to put my marriage first and God first. It was worth it to me to lose one friend for my forever best friend. I had always loved my husband but I just didn’t get how my actions were affecting my relationship. Emotional affairs are sneaky like that… but I promise that spiritual fidelity is worth its weight in gold : )
I put a link to another great source about spiritual fidelity and some questions at the bottom that can help you determine if you are possibly in danger of an emotional affair : )
Questions that Evaluate Your Spiritual Fidelity
- “Do you find yourself thinking about your friend even when you’re at home?”
- “Do you seek opportunities to be with your friend even when work doesn’t require you to be together?”
- “Do you e-mail and text your friend when you’re not together?”
- “Have you told your spouse about these messages?”
- “Does the relationship with your friend take more of your time and energy than your relationship with your spouse?”
- “Do you compare your spouse to your friend?”
- “Would you be uncomfortable introducing your spouse to your friend?”