by Jane Schultz (Pseudonym)

I had been married five years and almost gave it all away.

I took on the job of running a medical mission team in Central America for four months. A huge part of this operation was putting the trip together. I’d get up early each morning and work until late at night.

Before this project came up, I usually spent time daily reading my Bible and praying, but with my new workload I thought I’d maximize my time by skipping my appointments with the Lord. I remember one day when I said to myself, Wow, I haven’t spent time with God in five days, and I’m really not doing too badly! I thought that living independently, rather than relying on God, was working for me. But my habits were actually leading me into a trap.

When I didn’t come each day and read God’s Word and give Him control of my life, my spirit became insensitive. My perspective became selfish, I refused His warnings, and I responded to temptations on my own power. I’d cut off the power of His Holy Spirit.

So when Sam, my wonderful husband, and I flew to Guatemala City to oversee the medical mission team, I was already vulnerable to spiritual entanglement. There we met one of our interpreters who would be traveling with us.

Right away I felt an attraction to this handsome man with an alluring Spanish accent.

We had so many similarities: He had a college degree in Archeology; I had an interest in Mayan history. He was a professional musician, and so was I.

And almost before I knew what was happening, I allowed my heart to become entwined with his. We would sit for hours and talk. We went to a museum together. Several times I even sent my husband and the medical team on without me under the pretext of being too tired, so I could stay and chat with this fascinating man.

God has graciously given Christians an alarm system—He’s called the Holy Spirit. I sensed flashing lights and flares going off inside me, which was the Spirit saying, “Warning! Danger!” But I chose to ignore Him. Instead, I continued devising ways to spend time with the handsome interpreter. Right in front of my loving, unsuspecting husband I was allowing my heart to pursue this relationship and to nurture that giddy excitement that should have been stopped before it began.

God designed marriage as the total surrender of two people to each other—forsaking all others—for life. Marriage was created for two people to give themselves completely—body, mind and spirit—to only one another. So my emotional bonding with another man was wrong. Yet I chose to continue. After a month of the mission, Sam had to return home to California to do some work. And that left me on my own with the medical team and the interpreter in the land of Mayans, music, and mystery.

Because I chose to nurture those growing feelings and to rationalize them each day, it only took about two months before I began wondering if I even wanted to return home to my husband, or if I would just stay with the Spaniard.

Then the night came when I needed to make a decision to stay or go. I didn’t know what I’d do. Here I was, in full-time ministry, married to a godly man, and I was trying to decide if I was going to stay in Guatemala with an archeologist I had just met or return to my husband. I believe this situation stemmed from me not allowing God to change my heart daily through input from His Word. Obviously, I had developed a hardened heart toward Him for this to happen.

However, by God’s grace, I chose to return home.

When I got there, I confessed to Sam what I had done. Usually emotional affairs start when both spouses are making poor choices. But Sam has always been the best husband. I just chose to give in to feelings and to form an emotional bond with another man. By God’s grace, nothing physical had happened between the interpreter and me. But emotional infidelity can be just as devastating to a marriage as physical adultery, because the emotional bond is the core of the relationship.

After I admitted what I had done, my husband and I cried together. We also prayed together, and then cried some more. I also reconciled with God and determined to spend daily time with Him again, finally understanding my desperate need to meet with Him daily.

Sam and I chose to work through the mistrust and the damage that I had so quickly caused to our marriage. Healing took time. God had to heal both of us from the consequences of my sin.

Fortunately, our God is in the resurrection business, and over time He restored my feelings and love for my husband.

We’ve been married for 16 years now, and in hindsight, I see that my marriage is not the only thing affected by my daily time with the Lord. All my relationships are affected. How I handle problems and temptations is affected. Spending daily time in God’s Word and in prayer affects everything!

There is no such thing as a stagnant Christian. We are like a ball on a hill. It takes work and effort to push that ball up the hill. But the moment we let go, it starts rolling down. In the same way, spiritually we never stand still. We are either growing to be more and more like Christ each day, or we are rolling away from Him. I had to go all the way to Central America to realize my propensity to roll away from the Lord and His gifts. But now I see my desperate need to stay in close daily fellowship with God.

* Names and places have been changed in this article.

Editor's Note: Jane would welcome conversations with you but asks that you send your correspondence to Heart of America Ministry Women and we will forward it on to her.

Recommended Books

The Marriage Prayer by Patrick Morley, David Delk
Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas