Wandering . . . nothing is more natural to the undisciplined heart – and it doesn’t have to be the big stuff like porn or adultery. Many couples have found themselves on opposite sides of a canyon in their marriage for many lessor reasons.
Oh, we’re still married. We’re not running headlong away from our relationship . . . just growing a little distant . . . wandering a little way from home . . . seeking fulfillment in something else or some other innocent relationship . . .
For bringing distance and coldness into your marriage, anything will do, like endless “good” reasons to be away from each other multiple evenings every week, or cultivating deep, time-consuming friendships apart from one’s spouse, or pursuing separate goals – anything, really.
That could never happen to us, says the young, inexperienced, immature, foolish couple (and a lot of older couples, too). Yes it could . . . and does . . . every day of the year to couples who haven’t taken precautions to protect their hearts.
Wandering . . . left to itself, it’s what a heart does. Great distances are covered incrementally, over time. What starts out as some minor decision can have a major impact a few years down the road.
That’s why every married man and woman needs to teach his/her heart that the best place is home. If you desire to prevent your heart from wandering, you have to inform it of what is true. Tell your heart, regularly, “My home and my relationship with my wife/husband is the best place for my heart. It’s where my heart belongs.”
Recognize that even innocent, good things, like endless hours/evenings ministering to the needs of others, can be the inducement, over time, to pull your heart away from the heart of your marriage – trading what is good for what is best and highest.
No man or woman ever made a ‘snap’ decision to be unfaithful – and let’s not kid ourselves, unfaithfulness comes in many shapes and sizes, from fairly minor all the way to adultery. Allowing our hearts to be pulled away from the heart of marriage is a long, incremental process so recognize your responsibility to proactively keep you heart at home.
One powerful way to do this is, no matter what it is that is taking you out the door, before you leave, look into the eyes of your spouse and tell him/her, “I’m leaving for a bit but my heart isn’t going anywhere. It’s staying right here, with you.”
A spouse with roving affections – affections that are centered on other people or objects – who can’t wait to head out of the home to be with “the guys” or “the gals” has a wandering heart and is filling with insecurity the other heart that is supposed to be “one” with him/her.
The Bible describes our hearts in pretty negative terms, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
. . . desperately wicked? . . . impossible to truly know and understand?
Better not follow your heart! Much better to tell your heart what to do. Discipline your heart toward what is right, good, and true. And, when it comes to marriage, that means the best place for your heart – for your affections, your attention, and your time – is home, with your spouse.
Your body may be thousands of miles away from the one to whom you pledged your life but distance can never prevent you from disciplining your heart to remain at home, where God’s best for you is always found.
Matt is married to Lisa Jacobson; they are raising their eight children in the Pacific Northwest. Matthew is an author, speaker, blogger, and pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship. Matthew and Lisa are also the authors of the best-selling “his-and-her” marriage books, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife.