She sat across from me and fiddled with her braids. I looked at her. Impatiently waiting for her to talk. This was our monthly girls evening out and I could tell Alice had something to tell me. She put her lips over her straw but as I looked at the mark on the glass, I knew the milkshake wasn’t moving up the straw. Alice… She always did this when she was nervous. I would know. Alice had been my friend for over 2 decades. We bumped into each other one night as we hurried towards our classroom for prep. What began as an argument over why she bumped into me soon grew to be an inseparable friendship. We were both married now and though we couldn’t see as often, we made sure we met once a month and caught up on everything we could catch up on. Alice had hinted me she had something she wanted to talk to me about in person; which was strange as we talked frequently on the phone and left our outings free for meaningless banter. I leaned forward, sensing the seriousness of the situation. “What’s the matter, Alice?” I asked, trying to be as patient as possible, while in reality I was wondering what was bearing so heavily on her mind.
Alice took a deep breath and looked away from me with a pensive expression. “Zee, I have a crush on someone who isn’t my husband,” she whispered, I could barely hear her. I sat back in my chair. Relieved. I had been concerned it was worse than this. Well, this was something, but it was not as worrisome as if she had told me something life threatening. Alice! She had always been the gentle one among us. The one who wouldn’t say anything bad about anyone. The one who would turn the other cheek even when she had been insulted. I often fought for both of us – warranted and unwarranted fights!
I took a moment to process what she had just said. It wasn’t an easy situation to be in, especially as I knew how much she treasured Charles. He was her best friend. Literally. But, I knew that as her friend and fellow Christian, it was my responsibility to support her. It must have taken a lot of courage to say this to me. “Hmmm,” I said slowly. “Ok, first off, who is this person?”
Alice hesitated for a moment before finally admitting, “It’s this new guy I met at work. He’s just so calm and cool, and I find myself wanting to be around him and thinking about him more often than I should. He’s nice to me too. I feel like we connect when we talk…”
“It is not like I am attracted to him sexually, but I think about him, a lot” she continued. I let out another ‘’hmmm’’, understanding the complexity of what she was telling me, especially because I had been there before. “That’s tough,” I said. “But remember, you’re married. Letting these feelings grow will cause a lot of issues. Again, how do you think Charles would feel about this?”
Her face fell. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I don’t want to hurt him. I have tried to deal quietly with these feelings but somehow, they just won’t go away…” I took a deep breath before speaking. “Alice, it’s important that you’re honest with yourself and with Charles. The longer you keep this from him, the harder it will be to deal with.”
Alice looked hard at me with a mixture of sadness and understanding. “You’re right,” she said softly. “I know I need to be honest with him, but I just don’t know how to bring it up.” I smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry. We’ll figure it out together. First, let’s pray about it.” We bowed our heads and I prayed for wisdom and guidance for Alice. I knew that this situation was delicate and that we needed God’s help to navigate it. I had been there before and I knew that in these sort of situations, if you didn’t rely on God, you could do something ‘’stew-pid’’
After we finished praying, I suggested that Alice take a step back from the situation and evaluate her thoughts and feelings. It was important that she understood why she was having these feelings and what she could do to prevent them from escalating. After she re-assured me she wasn’t having any problems at home with Charles, I went on to share with her how I got out of my own situation with Patrick. Till today, I can’t even say for certain what it was I liked about him, just that standing close to him left flutters in my tummy.
You see, as a Christian, marriage is a sacred union between you and your spouse. The commitment you made must be kept to. However, sometimes, married people find themselves in a situation where they have a crush on someone who isn’t their spouse. This is usually a very uncomfortable situation and most times they don’t want to talk about it or even accept it as true. They decide to let the feelings die. Sometimes those feelings die, sometimes they don’t. There are several healthier ways to deal with crushes:
- Acknowledge your feelings: this is the first step; be honest about the feelings you have. Don’t pretend they aren’t there. Don’t try to suppress them. Ask yourself why. Is there something about the person that you admire or do you feel under appreciated by your own spouse? Are you going through a rough patch in your marriage? Identify the root cause of the feelings.
- Talk to your spouse: trust me, if all spouses did this, the rate of infidelity in Christian marriages would drop by a huge percent. A lot of unnecessary harm is caused by secrecy. Talk to your spouse. Sure, it will be a difficult topic, but discuss it. Be sensitive to your spouse’s feelings when bringing up the subject, but be sure to have this conversation. Try not to blame them for the crush, just let them know what you are dealing with. And, try to discuss the root cause you identified earlier with them. Be careful not to sound like you are blaming them though, Be honest but kind.
- Focus on your marriage: and on how to strengthen your ties. Is it time to restart your date nights and spending quality time together? Is it time to go on a short vacation together? Time to rediscover the unique things you loved about your spouse? Focus. And remind yourself of why you fell in love with your spouse at the beginning. Fan those embers into flame again.
- Avoid tempting situations: If you are like Alice who shares a workspace with the man she was having a crush on, ensure that you avoid compromising situations where you both are alone and vulnerable. Don’t think too highly of yourself and your ability to resist, just FLEE.
- Talk to someone about it: like with me, Alice talked. We ended up picking through the situation and she realized the crush was just a fleeting fanciful moment.
- Finally, pray. Prayer can fix in a minute what trying and talking can’t in decades. Ask God to help you. He answers prayers. In the most amazing of ways.
In the end, Alice was able to work through her feelings and reconnect on a deeper level with her husband. She remained accountable to me and we talked often about the progress she made on the phone. It wasn’t an easy journey but they were both willing to fix things so with God’s help and the patient commitment from her spouse, she was able to come out on the other side stronger and more committed than ever before.
As I watched my friend grow and learn, I realized that we sometimes face difficult situations in our marriages. However, with prayer, self-reflection, and a commitment to our relationships, we can navigate them with grace and strength. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, and that our mistakes do not define us. What matters is how we respond and how we grow from them. So, deal with that crush today.
No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and weather the storm together – Anon