I recently concluded a two-volume fictional series called An Emotional Affair, to illustrate how easy it is for such a stronghold to take captive a marriage. It was also to illustrate that God is able and willing to deliver us all, and that we must be as gracious as He is to release the power of His love in our marriage.
In the story, the lead character, Lola, was a neglected wife, who finally got some attention from another man, Danny. Though she resisted at first, she eventually gave in and fell for his relentless advances. Her husband, Bolu, was able to redeem not only himself and his wife and their marriage, but through his obedience to God, his enemy, Danny, was also delivered from the bondage of the Devil and became a minister for Christ.
Reading many of the comments shared, particularly on Lagos Convo, where the story was re-published, it is clear to me that so many people do not understand what an emotional affair is. It was also surprising how emotional a lot of the comments were, with some even saying they hated Lola, even when she hadn’t done anything yet. Just the fact that she was exposing herself to danger.
Many are quick to judge and give counsel for how she should have carried herself. Being separate from the issue personally, it’s easy to see clearly, and being far enough from the situation, you can also see where the road is leading. But if they had been walking in her shoes…not seeing where the road is leading, and feeling all the real emotions that such a woman would have to face, they might have been more understanding and less critical.
Please note that I did not write this story to condone or justify Lola’s actions. We can understand something without approving it. Neither do I believe every marriage needs a Danny to make husbands like Bolu sit up. But even in the face of adversity and treachery, God’s grace covers a multitude of sins and His love conquers all!
I called the story “An Emotional Affair” not simply because of Lola’s affair, but because the whole ordeal was emotional for everyone involved. Marriage, itself, is an emotional affair, and we get it wrong from the beginning, when we approach it as if it is not! Marriage is not simply about financial stability, or physical intimacy or procreation. It is essentially an emotional life-long engagement, because we are emotional beings!
Especially women. If it is wicked of a woman to deny her husband sex after marriage, it is equally or even more wicked for her husband to deny her emotional needs! Women who marry for love – some do not – do not expect the situation to change once they say “I do”… They very much expect to still feel loved and adored and find security in that, even more than the material needs a husband should also meet in marriage.
A husband’s first duty is to love his wife…(Eph 5:25) If he doesn’t know her love languages, he should learn them! Determining whether he can meet this need is one of the things he should have done before proposing marriage. And a woman is to trust her husband, being reliant on him and God to meet all her needs, and reciprocating his love. Emotional needs must be met by the husband, while spiritual needs should be met by God.
Extra-marital emotional affairs are often fatal to marriages, because it goes right to the heart of the individual and attacks the marriage bond. It is like a poison, a sickness of the heart, leaving the person who has emotional ties outside of their marriage, weak and powerless to reason against their better judgment. That is why the Bible warns us to guard our hearts with all diligence (Prov 4:23). Even a Christian who knows that divorce is not an option will disregard this when their heart has been taken captive by the enemy!
The story told the tale of a woman falling in love with another man in less than one week, and being forgiven by her husband in less than a day. Their road to recovery was completed in less than 30 days, during which Bolu worked to regain her love, trust and devotion!!! As unrealistic as that may be, with God, all things are possible.
The readers are able to see how God intervened at each stage and how His grace carried Bolu through the ordeal. Emotional affairs usually take months to take hold and years to get over. Danny’s perseverance and strategy to have her alone with him, and shower her with attention, compliments and gifts hastened the process. And it was only by God’s intervention in their marriage through the many dreams and revelations He gave and their willingness to be guided by His love and wisdom that they were able to overcome in record time.
Even as it were, as the emotions were played out, it was clear for everyone to see how wicked Danny was, and how foolish Lola was acting. Often, when we are in Lola’s shoes as women, we can’t see the wickedness of a man who would seek our affections, even knowing we are married. We might imagine that he genuinely loves us, and it’s just a case of wrong place, wrong time. We often make excuses for them, that they were only trying to be there for us…and they never meant to fall in love. I was encouraged reading the comments that people could identify the evil spirit motivating Danny, even from the very beginning.
Emotional affairs can originate from different sources. It could be a life-long friendship that suddenly turned intimate during a time of weakness or grieving, where the friend was available for them, instead of their spouse. It could be a colleague at the office, who you’re usually very friendly with, and then they suddenly express their longing for you…you get flattered and allow more intimate relations. It could be someone aggressively seeking you out, like in the case of Lola, or it could be a new acquaintance, who you’re drawn too, because they are attractive, mysterious, understand you etc. You have to be very intuitive to identify friendships that could be toxic to your marriage – and end them!
The worst kind is probably the kind I went through in 2006. That is the emotional affair with the EX! They are the worst agents, because their sudden re-appearance in your life leads you to a path of what ifs, and remember whens, and the promises of “I will always love you…” take hold. ***Please do not ever pledge eternal love to someone that isn’t your spouse!*** Especially when you are emotionally starving in your relationship. Your marriage suddenly becomes a sentence to misery overnight, as you can’t help wondering how much better your life would have been if things had worked out with the ex.
In my case, he was not only an ex, but my first love…and my first time! And I had forsaken our relationship in obedience to God, and joined a Christian sect soon after…where I would end up getting married – not for love, but for convenience. So when my feelings for this ex resurfaced, at a time that I was grieving the loss of my late brother, it was an impossible blow on emotions I had suppressed for years. We reconnected on Facebook – yes, beware of Facebook! I had a bit of an emotional breakdown at that point, as I desired to annul a marriage that had lasted four years.
What followed were many months of turmoil, heart-break, loneliness and pain. Even though I didn’t sleep with him, my need for him was like my need for a drug. I was addicted, and he was my fix. I was blinded by my emotions, and I was suicidal every time I thought of forsaking our relationship. I didn’t want to let him go, and in the end, he was the one who cut the cords. I certainly was not my most attractive self!
My marriage didn’t survive it. But years later, I realised that we could have! Even though it wasn’t built on love, God’s heart is for reconciliation and He is able to restore, if we will let Him. But from the ashes, I learnt many lessons about God’s love and graciousness.
Those who are caught in illicit emotional affairs need deliverance. It is not simply a matter of marriage counselling, or Christian teaching. Yes, those are needed for PREVENTION, but someone whose heart is already bound to another who is not their spouse, is in spiritual and emotional bondage to their enemy. They need prayers.
It takes God to break such bondage. It isn’t simply a case of snapping out of it, like so many commentators expressed, regarding Lola’s indecision. God will use a gracious husband or wife to redeem their fallen spouse. Even if the marriage is forsaken by one, it can be restored by the other who is submitted to God… That is why the Bible also says a three-fold cord is not easily broken (Eccl 4:12). If you’re being tested, do not forsake your marriage, but trust God to deliver you and your spouse from the enemy’s grip.
It is my prayer that more people will save their marriages by, first, not giving place to the enemy (Eph 4:27), and second, resisting him (Jam 4:7)! Sexual ties are real, and they can ravage marriages years after. My firm advice to singles is to abstain from pre-marital sex. Emotional needs are just as real as one’s need for food and water. Don’t deprive your spouse.
Temptation is common to all, but the wise run, where the foolish linger. But there is hope at last. God is able and willing, and His grace is sufficient. Let us follow Bolu’s example to forgive from our hearts and love our enemies, that perhaps, they may be won over by our witness.
These are just some of the lessons I hope you will draw from my story series, An Emotional Affair. Someone also drew a lesson from how Danny seduced and drew Lola into his trap, as they saw parallels with how the devil entices us to sin and to love the world, by making it look harmless, reasonable or even simply inevitable. The greatest lie is “everyone does it!” Don’t fall for it!
Be on your guard against the devil and his agents, and guard your heart! It’s easy to judge others, but watch your own spirit. Prevention is better than cure, so let him that thinks he stands take heed, lest he falls… (1 Cor 10:12).
Photo credit: http://www.bernettastyle.com
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