The Beach

Since we were in Orange County speaking at Voyager’s Church last weekend, Shelley and I went and walked along the beach together. (by the way, if you want to listen to our story you can do so here: Voyagers) I can’t remember the last time we were at the beach. This experience was definitely unlike any in the past.

Over the course of a half hour or so we talked, walked, and stopped periodically to take in the sights and sounds. People body-boarding, surfing, playing volleyball, and then, inevitably, women in skimpy bikinis. For a moment I felt uncomfortable. Not for my integrity but for Shelley’s security. Would it bring up old memories? Would it trigger body image issues for her? Would it remind her of a time when my eyes would wander and my mind would drift?

So I brought it up. beach

I was the one to say, “hey, I want you to know that my integrity is intact. It sure is nice to be at the beach and not be struggling to look at these women. I want you to know that I am not lusting, and while there has been some temptation, I’m thankful to being seeing people as people, not as objects and bodies.”

And it was so nerve-racking to bring it up! You just never know how a conversation like that is gonna go. It could go south before the first sentence is complete. It could ruin the whole day. And night. It could be a setback. Even 11 years later I still feel anxiety.

Or it could be the way forward.

Of course she was wondering. She was about to ask, in fact. Want to know what it gets built when the wife is thinking it but the husband is the first to bring it up? Yep, you guessed it: Trust. It gave us a sweet moment to reflect on where we’ve come from and what God has done in both our hearts and our relationship.

I encourage you, if you’re married, to talk about how you want conversations like this to go. As a wife, do you want your husband to bring it up and reassure you about his integrity, unprompted? As a husband, do you have fear and anxiety that you need to lean-in to and perhaps break through?



3 thoughts on “The Beach

  1. First, I look forward to listening to “Voyagers” about your story. I have appreciated “Kitchen Conversations” as well. I wanted to comment on this post because my husband and I just experienced a similar situation. He had a dream and the woman he had an emotional affair with 2 years ago was apparently in this dream. He contemplated telling me about it, apprehensive that it may create conflict and triggers for me, particularly since they still work at the same place. He spoke with his accountability partner about it and brought it up on his Sustained Victory call…this was about 4 days after he had the dream. He asked if he should tell me about it, a couple of men said no, a couple of others said yes, and his group leader asked him, “what is the usual format with you and your wife?” My husband replied, “honesty…we always talk about things”, so that’s what was recommended. He did tell me after his call that night. We are 2 years post EMB for him and he has been a diligent worker on the tools received at EMB. Trust has been building between us very well for the past year. When he told me about it, I said, “you can’t control what you dream”, however it’s what you do with those thoughts after your dream. I thanked him for sharing that with me and and with his group; we were good afterwards. I appreciated that he found it important enough for our marriage, our relationship to feel concerned about “me” as well as himself, or to even be concerned at all! 🙂 I am proud of my husband.

    • Hi Sandy, thank you for commenting. And, WOW, how you guys handled this was textbook. He was honest with himself, God and others, got feedback, ultimately erred on the side of honesty and disclosure, and you were able to navigate a touchy emotional situation. You could have blown up, dwelt on it, asked a million questions and been angry that he even had the dream. But, trust has been building and your heart is healing, so there was currency in the account for this withdrawal. Way to go!!
      I don’t think we, as husbands, ever tire of hearing our wives say, “I’m proud of you!”

  2. Thank you for your reply Jason. EMB is a phenomenal program! I have gotten a lot from what it has taught my husband myself. I wanted to briefly comment that my husband and I both listened to your story, “Voyagers”. We listened, we laughed, we cried, we felt the pain you both experienced as well as our own. Thank you and Shelly for opening up such a deeply personal part of your lives to us. My husband and I look forward to doing the same sometime for others…paying it forward. God bless.

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