The day had arrived. My wife was going out of town for two weeks. The world tells me that this is every man’s dream – so why did it feel like a nightmare to me?
While many men would wrongfully relish at the idea of getting time to themselves, I was terrified because I knew Satan is always waiting to destroy. If you were honest with yourself, I am sure you could admit that when you are left on your own – your mind, heart, words, and eyes can wander in directions they do not belong. At least, I know that’s true for me. So how in this world would I survive two weeks alone?
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
I am reminded of the story of Noah. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Noah, here’s a concise recap:
In Genesis 6, God is lamenting over the sin that has seemingly overtaken all of humanity. As a result of man’s wickedness, God reluctantly decides to wipe out all of humanity and start from scratch. However, there was one man that was not corrupted amidst all of the wickedness – Noah. Perhaps you remember the next part of the story. God instructs Noah to build an ark in order to save him, his family, and two every every species of animal. As God instructed Noah to enter the ark, God says to him, “for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.” It is in this moment that we realize, as everyone in the whole world around him was doing wrong, Noah rose up and still chose to do what was right. It was for Noah’s righteousness that he was spared the calamity that was brought upon all the wicked. Even though Noah was alone in his ways, it did not deter him from doing what was right.
…for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. (Genesis 7:1)
Perhaps I am being melodramatic, but I sense that many of us feel similar to Noah. In a world where men are expected to loathe their wives, how alone do we feel in our pursuit to love ours? Your buddies talk bad about their wives, your buddies check other women out, your buddies reminisce on the “good ol’ days” before marriage, your buddies imply life would be better without a wife, your buddies flaunt their bedroom escapades as if their wife is an object for affection rather than the object of their affection, your buddies talk of divorce so they can be “free”, your buddies look at porn…your buddies…your buddies…your buddies… The list could go on and on. And even though I say your buddies, the truth is, we do these things as well. So how can we honestly expect our marriage to thrive when we fail so often?
Going back to when I mentioned the wandering of your mind, heart, words, and eyes – I offer you the four things that helped me maintain integrity even though my wife wasn’t around.
1. Take captive your MIND and make it obedient to Christ.
Our minds constantly wander and our thoughts are consumed by many different topics. Baseball, football, work, kids, wife, cars, fishing, beautiful women, beautiful women playing football, beautiful women playing football wearing fishing gear. Okay, Okay, I was just trying to prove that our minds wander. Not only do they wander, but we fantasize as well. Many of us can get lost in our heads, and we have to protect our marriages from our own thoughts. If your thoughts wander… Think of Jesus. Dwell on Jesus. Pray to Jesus.
we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
2. Guard your HEART, its love is only for her.
Oh how easy it is to develop seemingly innocent emotions for someone other than your wife. No, I’m not talking about a bromance. I’m talking about a female co-worker, a fellow ministry volunteer, your friend’s wife, an ex-girlfriend, your neighbor, the grocery clerk, an old friend you recently reconnected with on Facebook, or even your wife’s family member. It’s easy to find ourselves wanting respect, appreciation, or affirmation from others, but this is the most dangerous territory to venture into. If you find yourself developing feelings for someone other than your wife, confess it to your wife and take every step to cut that relationship off. (Matthew 5:30)
And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Proverbs 4:23)
3. Only speak highly of your wife, your WORDS reflect your heart.
I am sure many of us have been in a situation where friends have vented about struggles in their marriage. There is a temptation among men to turn this impromptu counseling session into a war of words attacking our wives without them even being present. I challenge you to never talk poorly about your wife – ever. In fact, only say positive affirmations of the great qualities your wife has. If you resist bad mouthing your wife, you will be amazed how your heart changes for her. Additionally, if you have an issue with your wife, don’t be a coward and bash on her with your boys, be a man and talk to your wife about what hurt you. I know. Talking about your feelings makes you vulnerable. But it doesn’t make you any less of a man. Just like talking poorly of your wife to your buddies doesn’t make you any more of a man.
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. (Matthew 15:18)
4. Keep your EYES to yourself!
I remember hearing my mom say “keep your hands to yourself” a lot when I was growing up. No, not to me, I was the good kid. I’m just kidding. But I’m dead serious when I say keep your eyes to yourself. If you’re at home, alone, and on the computer where you have access to porn… DON’T LOOK! If you’re out with your buddies and an attractive woman walks by… DON’T LOOK! If a co-worker leans over giving a view down her shirt… DON’T LOOK! If there is a nude scene in the movie you’re watching… DON’T LOOK. Sure, some of you might say you don’t struggle when looking at things like that. You will, if you look long enough. So. Just. Don’t. Look. Keep your eyes to yourself when your wife is not around and squarely locked on her when she is.
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
I hope you find yourself encouraged to do what is right even if your wife isn’t around. I’ll be praying for your success as a husband, and I humbly beg you to do the same for me.