“What I want women to understand is that every woman’s battle is not to compare their husbands to other men. I was in the process of doing that for a number of years. I compared him to my college professor. He wasn’t as intelligent. I compared him to my pastor. He wasn’t as spiritually passionate. I compared him to lots of other men —and in some way or another he didn’t measure up.
“If we look at the great things about other people, and then we look at our husbands, it’s not fair because we live with our husbands. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“You know, we smell the bad breath, we see the toothpaste left in the sink, and we see the cabinet doors open. We also see the dirty clothes on the floor, but we only see the good things in other people. We don’t see the good, the bad, and the ugly. With every unhealthy comparison, it breeds more disillusionment in your marriage, and it has the same effect as having an affair. You become so disheartened and disappointed that you begin to resent him.”
The above dialogue came from part one of a five-part radio broadcast interview. This interview was conducted by the ministry of Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interviewing Shannon Etheridge. At the bottom of this page we will provide links to their web site so you can read the rest of the transcript. You can choose to listen to the interview from their ministry web site over the internet. Plus you can read or listen to the other four interviews.
But first we want to give you a few more “previews” of what was said so you hopefully, will be compelled to want more.
Dennis: I think our listeners need to know, that she (Shannon) wasn’t having an actual affair; it was an emotional fantasy.
Bob: I think that’s interesting, because men and women certainly entertain thoughts about people other than the folks they’re married to. But we entertain those thoughts differently as men and women, and I’m not sure that we really understand those differences.
Absolutely not, and to use the word “entertain,” I don’t want women to get the impression that it’s appropriate to entertain the thoughts. It’s only human that we’re going to have those random thoughts come up in our mind, but to entertain them or fantasize over them or obsess over them or use those as a measuring stick by which we measure our husbands, that’s when it becomes very dangerous.
Bob: Yes, in the same way that it would be inappropriate or wrong for a man to linger with thoughts of another woman, or to stare. In that same way, a woman has to be on guard against the emotional fantasy and that comparison. That’s where the romance novels and the soap operas really feed it.
It feeds it like crazy, and Internet chat rooms are the latest frenzy in feeding these unhealthy behaviors. Often people say, Every Woman’s Battle is about eating or shopping. When I tell them, “It’s discovering God’s plan for sexual and emotional fulfillment,” so often the response is, “women don’t really have sexual issues, do they?”
Or men will say, “Maybe women have some issues, but it’s not near as strong as it is for men.” I want to debate that. The visual stimulation is not as strong for women. But the emotional longings and the cravings of our heart and soul for love, intimacy, affection, and attention is just as difficult to deal with as the visual is for men.
Bob: What woke you up to this issue, personally?
After about five years of marriage, I was actually thinking of leaving, because I felt so disappointed and disillusioned. It wasn’t a particular man that I wanted to leave for. I cried out to my husband, “You just don’t meet my emotional needs,” and he spoke the truth in love to me. He sat me down, and he said, “Shannon, you have a Grand Canyon of emotional needs. Even if every man in Dallas lined up outside your doorstep to spend time with you, it still wouldn’t be enough.” He said, “Until you look to God to meet these needs that you have, there is nothing that neither I nor any other man on the planet can do to satisfy you…”
In this interview, Shannon then gave further testimony of what had happened in her life before and during that time.
She then said:
I hadn’t had as much of a transformation in my life as I truly needed until an aerobics instructor invited me to lunch one day. He had made a comment that I took that to mean that perhaps he needed Jesus. I went under the guise of “I’m going to share Jesus with him over lunch.”
Dennis: Now, you were married at the time. And you’re having lunch with another man?
At the time I thought there was nothing wrong, because I thought that my motive was to share Jesus. But on the way there, I was praying, “Lord, help me keep my focus because his biceps are really big, and he’s really handsome, and he could be a distraction to me.” I knew my weakness. but I was sticking my head in the lion’s mouth praying, “Lord, protect me from the lion.”
But over lunch he said to me, “Would you like to know why I invited you to lunch?” And I said, “Sure.” He said, “It’s because you have a neon sign on your forehead.” I said, “Well, what does that sign say?” He said it says that you’re hungry for love and attention and affection. I thought he was coming on to me. I said, “How do I get that off, because I’m a happily married woman?” And he said, “Do you really want to know?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You have to die to yourself.”
And he turned the tables, and ministered to me, and said, “Shannon, this is what I see in you. You come to aerobics class dressed not as much to sweat but to cause other men to sweat.” He said, “It’s the way you carry yourself. When you told me you were married, I was surprised. And when you told me that you were a youth minister, I was really surprised. The life that you are living is not consistent with the image that you are projecting.” That was a major wakeup call…”
More to Add
There is a lot more to this interview that we wish we could add. But instead, we will send you to the web site for Family Life Today. You can read or listen to the entire interview there. We strongly urge you to do so! It’s a compelling interview and very helpful!
You can also do the same with the proceeding interviews. They are: Guarding Against Emotional fantasies, Overcoming Disappointments, and Guarding Your Heart. The other two are titled: Inspiring a Great Love, Healing from the Battle Wounds. Each one of them has Shannon Ethridge being interviewed by Dennis Rainey. Please go to the following link to take advantage of what they make available on this issue:
— ALSO —
An article to read that you might find helpful, is written by Beth Spraul. You can read it by clicking onto:
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.