The “Crush” and The Christian Marriage
Wow. I’ve read the word “crush” so much on Christian blogs that it got my mind spinning and thinking toward the topic more seriously. Do Christians get any help dealing with this idea of a “crush”? It seems or sounds innocent enough…
You aren’t going to hear this discussed on Desperate Housewives episodes, or Sex in the City.
Questions I thought of:
- What about crushes?
- What to DO with them?
I mean, I’ve read here and there about Christian “crushes” on actors, discussing past flames, checking them out on my-Space (where old crushes are, where they live, what they are doing, or “just keeping in touch”.) Then, there is the bothersome “crush” at work or in ministry. Thay person we can’t get off our mind. It happens.
First, I guess I should say that I hesitate to use the word “crush”. It’s over-used, it sounds innocent and non-commital.
So, is it just someone you would are “attracted” to? That happens. Or is a crush actually taking someone you are attracted to and begun to let fantasy mix with it…enjoying a mental vacation to fantasy.
A crush implies an attachment, right?
“Crush”? Here are some checks:
- not being able to get someone off your mind.
- Thinking of excuses to be with person.
- Wanting person’s time and attention, arranging it, perhaps in covert ways.
- Liking the sound of person’s voice on the phone a bit too much.
- Giggling a bit too much around person. Acting giddy or silly.
- Lingering on the phone over no particular point of conversation a bit too much,
- being overly attentive, overly curious.
- Feeling good when they are around or when you talk,
- rehearsing conversations with person after it’s over throughout the day, just because it makes you smile.
- Enjoying person’s great points, tending to not notice the bad anymore.
- Checking person out, coming up with adjectives to describe them in your mind.
- Talking about person inappropriately to others in terms of appearance or appeal.
- Not being able to “take your eyes off person”.
- having to rationalize some changes in your own behavior until it seems “right”
All this surrounds crush-infatuation.
1. You may be bored and have too much “down time”. The Bible tells us to stay busy and productive with our lives. Idle minds are prone to wander and prone to “leave the God they love” as one hymn says. Focus on the basics of discipleship.
2. Accountability: have fulfilling community active in your life. This minimizes the tendency toward fantasy and gives you help when problems like this arise and seek to steal your joy, perhaps your family.
3. Realize that Christians don’t lose human-ness. Though married, we do not cease to be attractive or attracted.
Making fun of the past is fun. It is our past! Making fun of crushes from old single days is a light side of life. The warning point may very well be when you begin to go back, check mySpace, scope people out. Wondering. Staying concerned about people is okay, but checking the heart motive is very necessary. Respecting/honoring your spouse is very necessary.
DANGER: Going to meet them, calling on the phone, or doing eChats is usually not ‘concern’ or “friendship” for married people. One of the two spouses would or perhaps should have qualms. Whether you “trust” each other or not, setting yourself up for outside relational heart attachements does not affair-proof your marriage. Perhaps you’ve seen different marriage stats than I have, but our goal is to do whatever it takes to be the exception. Keeping relationships checked and tight is necessary.
Fantasy/Dreaming: The heart becomes easily attached and dreams of better times,better situations, better marriages, and better life. Is it really there? Probably not. All life, all marriage is process. It’s hard work. Don’t forget that.
You may be heading yourself straight toward a historical infatuation, fantasy land, wondering, and mental playgrounds.
Learn to “let go” as a married person. Live in the present. Build “your kingdom”, and protect it like a knight.
To help you “release” or “let go”:
Pray for past flames when the mind wanders. Choose to do a Bible study helping you focus on and be thankful for your own spouse and situation. Busy your mind in Bible studies and other passions as God leads. God tells us to live alert and self controlled lives. This doesn’t come from free floating mentally. THAT is where the problem lies with dreaming. Let him have your dreams, and create in you a passionate dreamer with dreams that grow His kingdom.
Learn to life thankfully, not wistfully. God promises this is the cure for the dissatisfied blues. Pray for God to use this person, protect their family, grow them to godliness, and provide for them. One prayer, or occassional prayers in this direction is enough. God hears. And…no need or necessary benefit to tell the person, “I’m praying for you”. Guard your heart as a precious treasure. Protect.
Pray that you would be able to focus on your own business as you should.
Pray, and release. Meditate on scriptures you need. God says his Word is as sharp as a double edged sword penetrating through soul and spirit. You need that. Share with a same-gender, trustrworthy friend with a proven track record who you know you can trust. Confession can help “heal us” as scripture says.
Time with your spouse ALSO needs a tune up. We’ll discuss that later. Find some in a relevant book at your local Christian bookstore.
Fill your mind with fruitful creative exploration and outlets in healthy direction. Pursue the passions God gives you. Develop a lot of same sex relationships…pray for them, and wait on God for good ones.
JUST A FRIENDSHIP? “Friendships are healthy! They are okay!”
Continually growing male-female friendships need to involved a healthy mix of community, accountability, and clearly directed purpose. If you are not trained to guide and coach people and in a professional position to do so cross gender, I’m advising you to stay away from it. Being in a “helper” role to someone of the opposite sex is dangerous for you both. Isn’t that an element of friendship? Can’t guys and girls be friends. Yes. But, if you want to make sure your marriage is secure and you are safe…here are the safe guidelines. There is no way around them. If you want to protect your Christian witness and example, you have to be very carefully about friendships with those of the opposite sex, making sure you honor your spouse. Honor? We’ll talk about what that really means more later.
Do you “just like the smiles?” The “joy”? The “cheer”? The lifeheartedness and joking? The reciprocated curiosity (real or imagined)? Ego boost? Is that okay? Can’t we just have fun? Does everything have to be taken seriously?
Well, let’s do some checks. Do you:
Find yourself wondering what to wear when they will be around?
Wonder if they will be “there”, and if you will get to talk, and
What you will talk about?
What witty or funny thing you will say?
What compliment you might give?
What silly or playful situation you might construct or look forward to?
“He or she is just always so fun!”
“My spouse isn’t like that, doesn’t make me feel that way, doesn’t look as good, never says those things to me!”
Do you wonder what could or would happen, in another life? Another situation?
Do you find yourself quoting this person constantly? Time for space and some balance.
Do you feel God’s blessing in what you are doing, or do you feel a constant “check” wondering how far this thing could go without your getting into “trouble”?
Is this normal, or wrong? And where does it get “wrong”?
You might say, ” But, we’re not even necessarily at ‘lust stage’ here necessarily (not often anyway)! ‘That’s’ not really a problem. I’m not thinking of anything ‘dirty’. Should I really ‘freak out’ over innocent and inevitable cross gender stuff?”
If you are saying “yes” to answers of the FIRST set of questions, these are not the questions at hand. Your mind can convince you this is all overkill. Guard your heart. Even if you are single, the “crush” can be problemati–it’s fantasy mixed with a lot of unrealistic expectations and infatuation rather than the reality of the person a lot of times. Let God lead you beyond your emotions and fantasy. Surrender them to Him. Let him do the work of building solid relationships in your life.
I’ve heard a lot of people have one crush… and begin to wonder if they married the wrong person at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. No. God knew it all when He made you “one”. You are now one and your marriage is blessed by him. It may be a lot of work and take a lot of work, but that marriage is yours…your example to the world of what God’s faithfulness to you looks like and feels like. Stick with it. It will be fulfilling and serve it’s purpose in your life and that of those around you. We’re not talking about extraordinary situations of life threatening abuse here.
The key thing you can do is to give yourself space. Space away from conversations. Contact. Greetings. Don’t cross paths, avoid eye contact for a while, and share with someone that you need prayer.
When the Lord frees you to interact in any way with the person again, you’ll have a clearer heart and not worry about it.
I’ve heard people say, “Flirty is fun for everybody. We all want and need it. As long as you know where to draw the line. We all enjoy the tension of a little flirting. Life is meant to be fun and exciting. Anyway, I just like to see smiles! Nothing wrong with making someone smile. I enjoy that. And…I’m not stopping just to be ‘perfect’.”
Realize that “perfect” is not our goal. Holiness is. God calls us to holiness. This is not the same as “perfection”. Holiness means growing up, moving toward maturity of Christ, being sure to not get in the way of someone else walking in holiness.
Truth be told, some of us would just rather not ever grow up! Get involved in a church with some people who can guide you and help you find the purpose and direction in life you are looking for. I heard a sermon yesterday that said it well. “Babies crawl. Children run. Teens style. Adults get the job done.” Grow up in Christ. If you refuse to grow up, don’t be suprised when you feel like “God isn’t letting you drive”.
- How often are you making the same person happy?
- Are you honoring that person’s spouse in the way you interact?
- Are you creating heart attachments and “woo-ing” the person’s heart? Why?
- Are you honoring the weakness of others who do not need to follow your example?
- What might others think of you as a result of your interactions with this person?
- Has anyone questioned you about it?
Guard your family and your reputation, and theirs. Guard hearts.
If you make healthy changes and give yourself “space”, the crush-friend may think you are upset with them for a while…let them get over it. Assure them you are just busy or whatever. Get on with your life. Be kind, but don’t be overly attentive and “agg” anything on with anyone, crush or not. Be responsible for your brother or sister.
A scripture I meditate on regarding my husband:
You are to feel for them [your spouse, husband here] all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him — to honor, esteem, appreciate, PRIZE, in the human sense, to ADORE him, that is…admire, praise, be DEVOTED to, deeply love and ENJOY YOUR husband. I Peter 3:1 AMP
If you have limited a view of and active fun relationship with your spouse…you two have some work that needs to be done as a priority. You likely have too narrow a view of them, and are doing to little together in terms of projects, social time, thankfulness, helpfulness to them, cultifated times of good humored family and couple time.
Plan a balance of fun and creative activities and time with your family, and just with your spouse as often as you can to keep it fulfilling to both of you. The majority of cross-gender needs are meant to be fulfilled in marriage.
Yes, God made us to be a “body” working together–just check your heart. God says the path of life is for the wise. I want HIS path of life for me and my family. I am human, but I don’t want my human-ness and bad choices to get in the way of His best plan for us.
Compliments/Encouragement versus Flirting: We can interact with other people in ways that can be uplifting, encouraging and have God’s blessing. But, sometimes people’s compliments are actually backward attempts to make draw attention and esteem back toward themselves. It makes THEM feel good to try to make you feel good. That’s not really an “honest compliment” anyway. I think it’s worth some nitpicking in this area to keep our hearts pure and avoid pitfalls.
Honest, sincere, short, and non-emotionally charged, compliments can be uplifting. Be cautioned, many people get few at home, AND a compliment from someone we don’t know often has more “charge”. Be careful in the way you give and receive compliments. Don’t give it too often. Guard your attention. Don’t turn someone’s attention toward you with numerous compliments. Don’t steal attention their spouse deserves. Be an encourager…but, be very wise and discerning in doing so. God says if we pray for wisdom, he’ll give it to us. Once we have wisdom, if we are still wishy washy, we end up getting blown and tossed as if by the sea. Use the wisdom you have. Compliments are to be powdered sugar, not even the icing on somebody else’s cake.
Learn to say, “Thank you” to an honest compliment and let it go.
Watch spiritual support and team work. I won’t explan on that. I think it’s self explanatory. With more and more people functioning in ministry roles as we should have been all along, we have much to learn in terms of discretion and wisdom to stay safe. It’s going to be an uphill battle for most churches. Learn all you can. Read. Be prepared.
Most of us think we spend the majority of our time at home and give the majority of our best attention to home, whether directly or indirectly. Let’s see: we work for our family, cook for our family, clean for our family, mow the grass for our family….
Look at it this way…in terms of “balance”. do you really have a decent blend of play time, talk time, project time, REAL date time, sharing time, family time? This is the “balanced marriage” that grows together and is enjoyable, intimate, and fun. This keeps flirting and needful “play” where it needs to be. Marriage is fun and fulfilling. It really can be! Have fun with other people as God allows you to in your spirit, but don’t neglect that your marriage and family needs your reserve of that, too. A passive marriage is a dying marriage. Be active about growing and nurturing your marriage and family.
Sometimes marriage can be exhausting. So family can wear us out. Many are tempted to seek the fun and thrill elsewhere just to escape. Breaks are good, but also build needed refreshment into both of your lives and family. Are you spending too much time at things away from home? Honoring family above all else honors God above all else.
Most spouses don’t complain about flirting…they reciprocate. It may seem harmless, then all of a sudden, the whole cycle is not so “fun-loving”.
How “playful” is Christianity? It is, can, and should be fun, and can be playfu lin “micro-doses” (with the same person over and over.) People are more vulnerable to repeat attention than most of us realize. Damage CAN be done.
Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she NOTICES him, REGARDS him, HONORS, him, PREFERS him, venerates, and esteems him, and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him EXCEEDINGLY). Ephesians 5:33 AMP
Not exactly what secular magazines and books lead us to do “naturally”.
Get active with your marriage again. It’s both of your responsibility, it’s slow going, it’s a long, life-LONG process. Don’t rush it. Relax, rest, and spend time appreciating your spouse. Make a list of five things you are thankful for that they do for you for a week. Make a list of things you love about them and keep adding to it. Put it in their stocking when Christmas comes. Relish in your love.
Be real. Be human. Just take care to not be whipped around by the fine line that comes with being human. It’s there. Rescpet it.
I’ve heard this:
“Oh, but my spouse (boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance) is secure. They know me. The real me. They aren’t bothered by my ‘silliness’! We don’t like “jealousy”. We “trust” each other. They agree the person is attractive, admirable, skilled, fit…we just talk about these things casually together. We talk about everything.”
My answer to that is: You have no idea how deep insecurities in your spouse probably run. Be careful. A lot of men and women I thought seemed the most beautiful and secure have deep insecurities they compensate for with drive and projection of a self confidence that wavers just like everybody elses. You can’t assume a beautiful Christian woman is secure enough to handle “innocent flirtation”, or even to hear you talk about how attractive an actor/actress is necessarily. Honor her.
Jealousy: What role does it play?
One question? Is God jealous?
Yup! He is a jealous God with a jealous love! Many assume it’s a character fault to be jealous just because I Cor. 13 says, “Love is not jealous.” Here it is referring to jealousy in a hindering way . There is a natural jealousy that is healthy for marriage relationships. Marriages are meant for “one”…and jealousy is inherent to, and necessary to protect.
God wants our full attention, focus, and commitment. He IS a jealous God. He has a jealous love. He desires the same for our marriages. He tolerates our mistakes, but not our “playing around” with other loves (not for long!) He calls us into question. Jealousy is a warning light. It CAN be healthy. Allow your spouse to want your “other-attention”: your love, focus, and heart-attention! Protect their heart and let them help protect yours. You belong to each other. You are “one”.
If you find yourself struggling with the fine line. A few timps to protect yourself and your marriage.
- Give yourself time with truth (Family Bookstore is a great place to explore…see “marriage development”
- Get space from the person (avoid them completely for a while if possible–or make it possible),
- Get involved in a Sunday School class or small group with your spouse where you can learn and have safe fun with other people
- Use wisdom, read Proverbs again. Learn what “prudence” means. Respect wisdom God gives.
- Find some accountability (Tell a mature person who understands marriage and can be trusted to help you that there is a quirky feeling you’d like oversight with for a while just to be sure. You can say “May be nothing…just seems more than usual for some reason right now and I want it checked so that I don’t fall into a trap.” Ask for accountability for the other person, if that’s an option, say in ministry settings. YOU are not to be their mentor.
A live “crush” implies a heart attachment most of us don’t want or need to reckon with and need to tame. Don’t be more concerned about offending the other person than about protecting marriage. Find out what God’s will is and pursue it with a passionate abandon. Let feelings take a backseat. They are useful and real, and part of “us”, but, they can be destructive and deceptive tools, too ready to rip lives apart. Learn how to manage feelings responsibly. Only the word of God, prayer, and accountability is going to get your head cleared and keep it anchored so that you can be all your were intended to be.
I hope this was helpful. You might find these helpful as well: