“Forsaking all others, keeping myself for you alone . . .” It’s a phrase I’ve heard many couples speak to one another. It not only makes for a great expression and promise at a wedding, but it’s also reiterated a lot in Scripture.
The above passage is extracted from Paul’s qualifications for a leadership role in the church. It’s a call for men to be the husband of one wife. So could there be more than one woman in a man’s life? Absolutely . . . with the top two possibilities being polygamy and adultery. Both polygamy and infidelity were quite common among the first century ranks of Gentile men and are still present in our culture today, even in the church. The phrase ‘husband of one wife’ literally means “a one-wife man.” So, men are called to be faithful and true to one woman.
It’s interesting to note that the call to faithfulness applies to both genders. The expression is used also in describing the qualification of giving benevolent help to wives who were widowed. The expectation was that they should have been “the wife of one man.” What a fitting reminder that both men and women are subject to the same temptations.
With all the targets of temptation out there via television, the Internet, business relationships, and friendship circles, it’s wise to guard our hearts and minds from the pitfall of marital unfaithfulness. Whether it’s the visual doorway or emotional intimacy met by another, the enemy wants to creep in and destroy.
Adultery isn’t the only manner of unfaithfulness, though. The often unacknowledged mistresses of work, hobby, recreation, or an overindulgence of social media can also hurt marriages. My personal challenge is to seek balance in the midst of work and marriage. Sometimes “forsaking all others” means taking a few days off and focusing on our spouse.
So how are you doing with forsaking? Is there a need to talk to a friend and share a struggle? Are there some changes that need to be made or boundaries that need to be rebuilt? Is there a need to cry out to God to keep you from preventing a future fall?
DIG: Is there something that’s come between you and your spouse?
DISCOVER: What are some things you can do to experience a healthy, faithful marriage?
DISPLAY: Today, take time to focus on your spouse and faithfully honor him/her.