What a ridiculous picture, I couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing it! There I stood, staring at a blown up photograph of two cows heads, one facing east and the other facing west. However, they were separated by an old wire fence; the spaces in the fence were big enough for the cow to stick his head through, but not big enough to fit his body. And so, one cow sticks his head through the gap to the other side, to eat his neighbor’s grass on the other side of the fence, and the other cow does the same. Neither of these bovines is smart enough to notice that nothing is special about the grass just a few inches away, separated by a wire fence. As comical as it seemed, it was very profound and made the old saying “the grass is greener on the other side,” come to life.
Unfortunately, sometimes men are like those cows. There may come a time within your marriage when things seems to fizzle out. The spark is gone. The romanticism is non-existent. The stomach butterflies and sweaty hand holding days of dating have long passed. For some men (and women), this is when they find themselves contemplating cheating. They tend to forget what they have, who they have, and the ramifications of adultery. Of course, sin never comes to us as unappealing, or we wouldn’t fall prey to the desire of our flesh and temptations. As the Apostle James noted, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:23-24).
The one who is contemplating cheating, seeking that new spark, is like the man who looks into the mirror; he sees the need to comb his hair, brush his yellow teeth, or wash the dirt off of his face, and yet walks away content to leave it as it is—he forgets what he looks like. Likewise, the Word of God warns us and yet we seldom heed the warning. The Scriptures provide some sound advice, “For by means of a harlot, a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life” (Pro 6:26, NKJV). It is my opinion that men do not stumble upon adultery, they run to it with open arms. Perhaps it begins slowly, a wink across cubicles, a polite smile, sharing an elevator at the office, a hand on a shoulder when laughing, connecting over lunch, and then an innocent flirt, but as the writer of Proverbs noted, a woman can reduce a man to a piece of bread. Has that ever happened to you? Sure it has, that’s how you got married!
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It doesn’t take much to stroke the male ego or to make a man feel secure, strong, and confident—some women know exactly how to do it. Now, this doesn’t mean women are evil, sharing an elevator is wrong, or even smiling at women; no, the point was to show that no one “falls” into sin, or it just “happens.” There is an intentional path, warnings, and chances to stop following the passions of the flesh. The grass is not greener, and while it may seem more plush, over time you’ll eventually feel the same way about that grass. The wise man knows that grass which stays greener and fuller, grows healthier when he applies fertilizer during the right seasons, manicures it, waters it, and reduces people from walking on it. Likewise, if you honor your marriage vows, invest in your wife, don’t walk on her, but encourage her and pray for her, she’ll always be the love of your life.
• Do you invest more time in dreaming of what it would be like with another woman than your wife? Where’s the investment and what do you think the return will be?
• Sin always looks appealing and always binds us. The Apostle Paul stated, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).
This article is one of the 30:1 Marriage Devotions coming which is to be published soon, in the 30:1 series.
Matthew Fretwell is married, has three daughters, loves Jesus, being a dad, people, and coffee. Besides being an author (Denied Desires; Identity Theft, Sanctificagious, 30:1 Manhood), he’s Pastor of a 112 year old revitalized church planting church (Oak Hall Baptist) in Sandston, Virginia, and is the founder of Job 31 Ministries. Matt’s an advocate board member of Living Bread Ministries, a global comprehensive Church Planting organization. He also writes for Church Planter Magazine.