Could He Confess This to You?

January 21, 2015

in Uncategorized

Please take a moment to read Breaking the Power of a Lie by Cam. I’ll give my wife a kiss while I wait for you.

Paul & Lori kissing © Paul H. Byerly

How does the article make you feel? Scared, angry, confused, encouraged, or some combination of those? I’m sure some feel Cam should avoid the woman in question, but let’s set that aside and look at something else.

If your husband were in a similar situation, would he tell you? Would he feel he could tell you? Would telling you start a huge fight? Could you respond as Rachel did, with love and grace? Could you trust your husband’s heart and support him?

As Cam says, sharing the lie took its power. Being secretive makes temptation and sin grow stronger. Sharing temptations and sins strips away their power. 

Cam said of his wife’s reaction to his sharing, “Rachel was amazing.  She heard me out, chose to believe in my heart for her, and offered her enthusiastic support.” I would bet he wasn’t surprised by her reaction. He knows her from years of marriage, and he knew he could trust her with this. Maybe it went better than he expected, but I doubt Cam felt any real fear about sharing his temptation with his wife. That is what I hope you take from this. When it comes down to the crunch, your husband includes or excludes you based on how experience tells him you will react. If he has reason to think you’ll get angry, or will withdraw from him, he’ll have no motivation to share with you. If he believes you will hear and support him, he’ll find it easier to share with you. If he knows you’ll be on his side and will fight with him, he will want to share with you.

I realise other things can be at play in all this, including past sins on both sides. However, what he thinks you will do if he tells you is likely the deciding factor. What he thinks you’ll do is based on what you’ve done in the past. What do your past reactions tell your husband?

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I know I can tell Lori anything.

Worth ReadingA Shaded View of Romance The Forgiven Wife give us a deeply personal post about romance novels. 

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

IntimacySeeker January 21, 2015 at 5:01 am

I understand it would be easier for my husband to share this kind of struggle if he knew I would not react emotionally and would side with him. However, he should share it even if he fears my reaction. Why? Because it is the right thing to do and it is his responsibility to do the right thing regardless of my reaction. My reaction is my responsibility. Maybe this is what you are saying, but I “hear” that we shouldn’t expect our husbands to do the right thing UNLESS we make it easy for them. Let’s be careful about putting all the responsibility on the wife.

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:29 am

Of course it is the right thing to do, and he should do it anyway. But humans don’t always do the right thing when they know it will cost them.
How his wife has reacted in the past will play into his decision to share or not. He is wrong if he does not. She can make it easier.
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IntimacySeeker January 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

Remembering a time when my husband told my best friend, to her face, in my presence, that he wanted to “do” her. They laughed. I died inside.

How does a wife feel honored and cherished in the bedroom when she learns this about her husband?

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:30 am

That’s brutal. So very sorry you had to go through that.

Maybe it was his poor way of telling you, maybe it was an unfiltered moment. Regardless he certainly made a mess for all three of you.
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Lina January 21, 2015 at 6:46 am

Does he mean ‘romantically’ attracted, or ‘sexually’ attracted? We can’t help our physical feelings and I would be sympathetic with that. ‘Romantically’ – that’s a bit harder because I believe we do have a choice there. Given how quickly he fell into it, either he meant a sexual attraction, or else he is looking at himself as ‘available’. Still, I’d want my husband to tell me so I could help him with it, and I hope I’d tell him if the reverse were to happen. (My husband feels free to tell me about his old girlfriends, women he’s met that he would have considered if I hadn’t come into his life, etc.) My husband, BTW, calls his old girlfriend, who is also his old classmate, once a week. After we became engaged, she asked for my permission to keep talking to him. I told her that if I was worried about him talking to her on the phone, then I wouldn’t consider marrying him. Caveat: he talks to me, a lot. If he talked to her and not to me, that would be different.

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IntimacySeeker January 21, 2015 at 9:52 am

I think in this scenario, romantically attracted and sexually attracted are synonymous.

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

Personally I cannot be sexually attracted without being romantically attracted, but I know this is not the norm for men.
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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:35 am

When it’s in the open, it is far less likely to go wrong.

My wife met my former girlfriend a few years after we married. At that point it had been almost a decade since she and I were together. Lori and I have always talked very openly about our pasts, so she knew everything there was to know about this gal. We attended the same chruch for awhile and became more than acquaintances. I was never alone with the ex, just because I felt it was a bad plan. Lori never had any concern because we were so open about everything.
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Lori January 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm

And, actually, I liked the gal a lot. She was fun and creative. We did give her a bit of distance, mostly because she was a bit uncomfortable.
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FarAboveRubies January 21, 2015 at 7:56 am

It is obvious to me that the unconditional love and respect flows both ways with this particular couple (Cam and Rachel) and has for years. I am not sure I would have the courage to address the attraction issue with the “new” friend (Daniel) who is Elise’s husband. Their friendship was not forged for years and not knowing him enough would be a big risk. Yes, it turned out okay in this particular situation. I wouldn’t want everyone to expect the same results in their own situation.

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:37 am

Talking to Daniel was the part that made my heart jump. I don’t know if I’d have done that. I’d call it wisdom, but it might be fear. My concern would be the other woman knowing, and that would be awkward!
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Lori January 21, 2015 at 3:06 pm

I would think talking to your spouse and perhaps an accountability partner would be good. If you have reasonable safeguards in place there would be no need to tell anyone else (which could create some problems of its own).
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edl January 21, 2015 at 8:07 am

I have to admit, there’s a lot in that story that makes me very uncomfortable. Like everyone else, I would want to know, and I honestly don’t think if my husband told me something like that, that I would have a strong, visible emotional reaction — I wouldn’t burst into tears ot scream at him or start ranting at her on Facebook or anything. I’d probably look pretty calm.

But it would just fundamentally alter how I look at my husband and how I believe he looks at me. And it would bother me beyond words if he continued to be around that woman socially — because why would he choose to do that? A romantic attachment is much stronger than a sexual attraction, and this went on for weeks.

I may be sensitive in this. Much, much less, but my husband has a close female friend, and he regularly tells me how beautiful she is, how successful she is, how adventurous. He took her out for an expensive meal for her birthday and has taken her out a couple of times for drinks after dinner — all things I was not invited to. It feels really weird. I believe that my husband is attracted to her, and I also believe he hasn’t cheated. But — I don’t believe him when he says I’m pretty, because I don’t look anything like Lauren. I don’t have her personality, her money, her clothes, her lifestyle. None of the things that he finds attractive in Lauren. So, if he says I look nice one day (or whatever), I believe him only to a point.

And this is all with him adamantly denying that he feels anything for her.

If he came to me and said he had been falling for her for weeks? Gamechanger.

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

Most of the women I enjoy being with are not much like Lori. To me this makes sense, I’m not looking for a wife/lover/life companion. The things I want for a wife are very different from those I want from friends of either gender.
If I think of the women I enjoy, I know a romantic relationship with any of them would be a bad idea. We click as friends, but we have differences (and similarities) that would be a problem in a closer relationship.
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Lori January 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

I think for me it’s about understanding how temporary an attraction can be. I know that building our marriage is important to each of us and we love and want each other.

Getting an attraction out in the open would rob it of much of its power and help us be more intentional about building our relationship stronger.
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FarAboveRubies January 24, 2015 at 4:36 am

@edl I understand how you feel about your husband’s close female friend. I recently listened to something on the radio. They talked about how eating with a friend of the opposite sex is more offensive than just emailing, when you are married. So, I totally get how you are bothered by the event (not to mention an expensive event).

Here’s the truth. Your husband married YOU. He did not marry that close female friend. You need to come to grips with that fact. When your husband gives you compliments, you need to embrace them like the rock star you are (according to your husband). He feels deep down insulted when you brush off compliments from him. His close female friend probably eats it all up. She has probably little to go home to. I am probably right.

My husband used to tell me how much he admired a female co-host on a home remodeling show. Yeah, she was a skinny blonde but she did things on the show most men don’t tackle. She could grab a right angle drill and go at it like there was no tomorrow. She threw around boulders like they were made of plastic. She did a demolition project like she was Hercules. On and on it went, while we watched the show together. Finally one day, after one more comment, I looked at him and said, “You know, sweetie, she is very good on this show, but she probably can’t cook and is probably no good in bed either. Unlike me, she is not available to you, nor does she care about you.” I addressed both his desire to eat good food and his high sex drive. That was the end of those comments from him during that show forever.

I hope you will have the courage to tackle the issues if they are similar to mine, from way back when. I hope the next time your husband gives you a compliment, you run with it. Tell him that you know you are attractive to him and love to be told. Today is a new day. Let your husband know that he is your priority (in thoughts, words and deeds).

PS I am not a skinny blonde. I am a size 16 and of average looks. I believe my husband when he tells me that I am that million dollar babe. I am to him. It’s a matter of perspective.

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IntimacySeeker January 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm

So the evil one uses a man’s weak spot (sex drive) to tempt him to believe he wants another woman. “I wanted her to know what I was thinking so she could support me in rejecting the lie that I wanted Elise.”

On first read, we might have thought the lie was the secrecy. But it is the secrecy that gives the lie its power. Or the secrecy and accompanying guilt are additional weak spots the evil one uses to increase and intensify the temptation.

Am I on the right track here?

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

You have it. Secrecy is the problem. It can cause guilt or be a thrill, or both. It allows the attraction to grow from something natural to sin.

It happens to women to, usually not via sex but feeling appreciated and valued. Men get caught the same way, and I suspect this is more often a problem than being caught sexually.
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Virginia January 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm

An older, married friend of mine took me out to lunch when I was engaged and talked to me very honestly about her own experience with feeling physically/romantically attracted to her husband’s co-worker. I had never heard that from anyone before, and coming from a Godly woman who I admired for many reasons, it really made an impact on me. Like Cam said, the feelings were not wrong, though what she did with them could’ve turned into sin. Her honesty meant so much to me and set me up well to not feel shocked or wonder what was wrong with me if I even encountered feelings like that after my marriage. She prepared me with the reality as well as a strategy for dealing with it in a Godly way – waaaaaay before I even encountered it!
Incidentally, she was also a super sex-positive voice for me before marriage and in my early-marriage. I wish everyone could have a friend like this – and that I can be one to others!

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Paul Byerly January 21, 2015 at 2:19 pm

God bless that woman!

Now you can do the same for women getting married.
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IntimacySeeker January 22, 2015 at 1:59 am

I must admit that after hearing this confession from my husband, I would automatically shut down emotionally (prostitute mode) during sex. My role would shift to being one of understanding and helping him from a sister-in-Christ perspective, and sex would be limited to him having release on a regular basis in an attempt to help him not lust. In other words, I would feel safer believing the lie that he truly wants the other woman.

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Paul Byerly January 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Edited- My reply below was based on thinking you were talking about what your husband said about your friend. I see now I misread – I think you were talking about him saying what Cam said. In that case, I do not think shutting down is inevitable. I understand the temptation, but I would hope you could get past it.

[I don’t see how you could NOT shut down. I’d like to know why he thought it was a good idea to say that, but I doubt it’s some place either of you wants to go now.]

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IntimacySeeker January 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

I don’t believe he thought at all about whether it was a good idea to say what he said. Just having that memory surfaced has caused me to shut down. Sex has suddenly become something to endure rather than enjoy. Hopefully this relapse will be brief.

To respond in a non-reactive, supportive way as the wife in the story, I would have to detach myself from the situation and the relationship. And once detached, cannot be secure/confident/uninhibited sexually.

Back to the story, I’m questioning whether it was a lie that Cam wanted the other woman. I guess it depends on how we define “want.” It makes more sense to say he wanted her but wished he didn’t because of the conflict it caused in his soul and potentially in his marriage.

I think the way men are programmed causes them to truly want many women, but they must sacrifice that to have a stable marriage. I know you will say that is not true for you–you like monogamy. But I think if there were no threat of hurting their loved ones or displeasing God, they would go for it. The blatant incongruity of loving and wanting only one’s wife AND an ongoing attraction (lust) for another woman supports this theory.

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Paul Byerly January 24, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Want is a tricky word here. I would suspect he never wanted her. He felt an attraction, and dealt with it because 1) he knew it was wrong, and 2) he didn’t want to want her.
Let me try to explain the difference of being aware of a woman and wanting her. If you walk past and smell them cooking a food you really like, the smell has an effect on you. However, you would not think of breaking in and eating the food.
Some guys enjoy “looking” and such men will chase lust. Some of us do not enjoy feeling any interest in other women. We’d turn it off if we could. A man who does what Cam did does not want to feel attraction for another woman. If he did, he’s just stay quiet and desire her in secret. His sharing it means he does not want it.
Being aware of a woman is not always good or enjoyable. For some men it is an intrusion we wish we could avoid.
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Paul Byerly January 24, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Sorry this has caused you some trouble. I’d say that is because you have not fully dealt with it. This gives you a chance to deal with it more, and you will be better for it on the other end. You have my prayers the process is quick and not too painful.
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IntimacySeeker January 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

It occurred to me that if I kept my suffering a secret from my husband, I could be letting the issue take on a larger influence in my life than it should have. Getting that out in the open did diffuse it a bit. More, and perhaps continued, conversation is needed, and I’ll pursue that.

A couple more thoughts: “A man who does what Cam did does not want to feel attraction for another woman. If he did, he’s just stay quiet and desire her in secret.” There could be situations where a spouse wants to continue the behavior/feelings but be relieved of the guilt. As in seeking permission, but not necessarily forgiveness nor willing repentance.

I would say my husband enjoys feeling attraction for other women. He doesn’t understand why that’s an issue for me since he married me, not any of them. He claims he does not “want” another woman, he only wants me and loves me more than he knows how to express.

But the comments still influence me unduly. The other night he commented on another woman’s beauty, someone from the past (so I know the image is in his mind). My first thought upon awaking the next morning was, “I wonder if he’s dreaming about her.” I don’t understand why he makes such emphatic comments about others if it is me he desires.

It is absolutely ridiculous that a women in her mid-50’s who has been married more than 30 years can be so insecure. I feel so silly but also appreciate this venue where I can be so candid.

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IntimacySeeker January 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Whether a husband blurts out this truth in an insensitive manner or presents it as a lie he needs help fighting, the message is the same.

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Lina January 22, 2015 at 10:08 am

Just another thing to consider: when I was sizing my now-husband up as marriage material before I agreed to seriously date him, the fact that he had a lot of women friends, mostly from his church, was a positive to me. Here’s a man who values women as friends, and he had lots of friends without falling for any of them (because he fell for me). So I encourage him to keep his women friends. And his men friends too, of course!

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Paul Byerly January 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Never thought of it that way, but it make sense. Men tend to have a different feeling about women with a lot of male friends. May not be right, but it tends to worry us. Part of it is the belief no single guy likes a single gal just as a friend. I think that is true for some men, but not for all.
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Anon January 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm

My flesh says, I don’t think I would want to know, like IntimacySeeker it would have a strong affect on the way I related to my husband. I would close off, because it would make me feel like I’m “not enough”. I realistically know that there is an attraction to people, but to be “romantically attracted”, that would be hard to swallow. But I know that if he told me something like that, God’s grace would be on me, so I can’t say for sure how I would react. Hopefully, lovingly, with a forgiving nature and a fortitude to fight with him. That is how I was when he revealed other secrets he had kept from me.

I wonder too if that would open me up to playing out on my own temptation? Kind of like, if she cheated on me, I’ll cheat on her. Not a mature thing at all, but the enemy will steal, kill, and destroy any way he can.

Now for me, I fight attraction to other men. Always have, and it just seems random and some doesn’t last long and a few have. I have never told my husband. It’s a spiritual battle I fight that only God and I really know about. I don’t want my husband questioning my commitment to him, nor questioning or wondering every time I talk to the opposite sex. I have never felt the conviction like, this is something I “need to tell” him. Although he has told me, if you ever feel yourself being drawn to [a specific friend of mine], please tell me so we can fight this together. But I just don’t know if I’m convinced it’s a safe thing to do.

Sorry those are such random thoughts. I probably commented because it is something I personally struggle with.

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Paul Byerly January 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm

I think if my wife confessed such a thing to me I would see it as a point of great integrity. To me it would speak of her commitment, not against it. Would it shake me a bit? No doubt.

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