I realize the statement above can have monumental implications if not explained swiftly and thoroughly, especially when it comes to those of us who are married.
So, before anyone reading this today believes that this article is going to finally provide them with the loophole they’ve been looking for as it relates to seeking intimacy outside their marriage, please prepare to be disappointed. This is NOT a declaration of freedom. But perhaps in many ways, it is.
I will never forget the morning of November 10th, 2006; coincidentally, nearly three years to the date that many of you will be reading this, I was on my way to work that day, along with my wife (Imani) and our oldest daughter (Kayla), who was just 19 months old at the time. Being a one-car family certainly has its moments. And this was just one of many.
As we reached the parking lot area, I heard these words come from the backseat; words that almost made me lose control of the car.
“That’s Daddy’s work!”
My wife and I immediately turned to each other, and we both had the same look of shock written across our face. No. Not the kind of shock you’d expect to see parents make when their children accomplish some great feat like singing their ABC’s for the first time, or being able to tell you when they need to use the ‘potty’ instead of discovering they already ‘used it.’
No. This shock was rooted in something entirely different.
You see at that time, my place of employment was not an office building like most people I know, but in fact a CHURCH. A church that I had worked and worshipped at for nearly 12 years, and one my daughter had primarily only visited on Sunday mornings.
So when our daughter that day got a glimpse of the church building, and in her own words, equated our arrival there as not an expression of WORSHIP, but rather as an expression of LABOR, let’s just say that moment was much more than a shock.
It was a major wake up call.
Especially when I began to reflect on the health of my marriage.
I am convinced that now more than ever before, there are more married men today who are having AFFAIRS with their JOBS than with other women. Although you won’t find many statistical studies done on this growing epidemic, I believe the imbalanced passion most men have for the workplace has become a slow, yet deadly assassin for most married believers.
As men, we have a natural tendency to find our self-worth in occupational achievements. It is undeniable that God has given us the innate desire to be conquerors, and at times, one of the greatest battlegrounds for us to display our abilities is in the workplace. Yet over time, this fervor to excel transforms into longer hours, and a consistent deposit of emotions that often leave us bankrupt and empty every time we return home to our families.
Night after night, we pull our cars into our garages with no energy left to give our children. And most importantly, no love and worthwhile engagement to give to our wives. Men, believe it or not, many of us have become CHEATERS.
We CHEAT our wives when we refuse to guard our time wisely while at work, only to call them with the disappointing news that we’ll be home late again for dinner.
We CHEAT our wives when we have no problem giving our bosses the reports that they ask for, but refuse to give our wives the support they need around the house.
And believe it our not, we CHEAT our wives when we can provide complete strangers more ‘updates’ on our hopes and dreams online, than we can give to our wives face to face at home. We have the emergence of social media to thank for that.
Well, I firmly believe it is time for us to start reversing this trend. The time has come for us as married men to learn how to CHEAT somewhere else. I realize it may sound like strange advice, but if practiced daily, it could unleash the kind of unconditional love God desires for us to share with our spouses. So, without further ado…
You have my permission (MEN) to CHEAT on your job by leaving at 5pm today, in order to surprise your wife by arriving home to help her cook dinner.
You have my permission to CHEAT on that weekly pickup game you have with the fellas every Saturday, so your wife can get a chance to leave the house alone for a change.
In fact, you can even have my permission to CHEAT on that new Blackberry or laptop you were thinking of buying yourself this Christmas, and take the time to discover that the reason your wife’s feet have been so rough lately, is because you refuse to send her to the spa to get a pedicure.
Men, if we’re going to CHEAT, let’s do it in such a way that brings glory to God in our marriages and restores the value many have forsaken in becoming a faithful husband.
The time has come for us to stop giving presents.
And BE present.