You know that clichéd movie scene (that I can’t find any examples of on Youtube…), where there is a woman sitting at a bar. A man comes over and offers to buy her a drink.
She smiles and answers, “I’m married.”
He asks, “Happily?”
The implication being, that if someone is happily married, then you shouldn’t bother hitting on them. But if someone is unhappily married, then they are ripe for flirting and pursuing a sexual relationship with.
And this kind of scene (with it’s implication) has always irked me. Because being unhappily married shouldn’t give someone a free pass to hit on you, and it shouldn’t be used as a justification to cheat.
I have no idea if this kind of thing happens in real life – movie dialogue tends to be somewhat stilted and is there for it’s ability to further the plot, not for it’s accuracy.
But I have certainly heard of adulterous relationships starting because one spouse shares with a “friend” that things are difficult in their marriage. This then builds emotional intimacy and paves the way for sexual intimacy with someone who is not their spouse.
The Bible also tells us that spouses who are not sexually satisfied will be more tempted to go outside the marriage – “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5). And yet, this is by no means providing a justification for people to commit adultery if their needs are not met.
What is important is not that we are happily married, but that we are faithfully married. That we keep our vows even through seasons of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
And on the flip side of that, if you feel unhappy in your marriage – or if you start to notice yourself being more receptive to attention from people outside the marriage – DO something about it!
Sure, one person cannot be responsible for the whole marriage on their own, but one person committed to doing good for their husband or wife (no matter what) can certainly make a big difference!
As the saying goes, the grass is greener where you water it.