I’m going to start with my own story. For those of you who don’t know, I fell in the ministry. I was a pastor of a church and I committed adultery. Afterwards, I wrote a book about it and interviewed pastors, experts, counselors, looking for common signs, patterns and help for those who fall. It’s not a book for just pastors, but for church members, leaders and anyone who is tempted.
But what I want to blog about today is our social networking. Texting. Back in the day, men would write letters to their adulterous partners so they wouldn’t be discovered. Today? It’s so much easier. We have Twitter, Facebook, and texting. When a married man is really interested in a woman, all he has to do is have her number and he can text her.
In fact, I know a lot of men (including me), who texted women they were interested in, saying suggestive things and before they got home to their wives, deleted the whole conversation.
It’s rampant. You don’t think it’s a problem? About a year ago, Rev. Cedric Miller told his congregation not to use Facebook. Why? Because it was easy to “hook up” with former acquaintances and talk to them in a sinful manner. He’s got a point. Social media allows us to talk to people we don’t know who have all kinds of physical and emotional needs and we are tempted by them.
Here’s my honesty. Before I committed physical adultery, I was texting my lover. She’s my current wife. You can read all the details in my book. We started harmlessly texting day after day. We got on Yahoo chat and talked. Then, things accelerated.
I know I have a wide audience. Pastors, fallen pastors, wives of fallen pastors, regular people, whomever. Listen, the sin of adultery is right around the corner for everyone. Don’t think you’re immune. Because you’re not.
You know what the easiest thing about texting is? You say things you wouldn’t normally say to a person face to face. You have so much bravado in writing that you put it out there. It’s easier to have a sexual relationship in texting, Facebook inbox or private Twitter direct message than in real life. And from there, the fantasy grows. A lot of you know what I’m talking about. And right now, if you’re married and doing it, you need to put your iPhone down.
The circus of the information highway cannot replace the real relationship you have with your spouse. If you have problems, fix them. Realize why you have a problem. Don’t rush out to a new relationship and feed your inner Frankenstein-like libido before you destroy everything around you. Get a grip.
You say, “Yeah, easy for you to say, Fallen Pastor. You left your wife, got caught and married the woman you had an affair with.” Fine. Go read my back story. I’ll tell you this – there’s a lot of pain in there. I love my wife. She’s my best friend. But I’m telling you that “sexting” had a big part of our relationship. And if you think that it’s something you can control or it’s something you can easily handle, you’re wrong.
No one who has fallen into adultery has an easy story. It’s not all champagne and flowers. It’s tough and rocks your world. Here’s a statistic I didn’t put in my book: Only 2% of couples who marry after an adulterous relationship make their marriage last. Get that?
Because of the availability of technology, we find it easy to flirt. Whether we are pastors, community leaders, blue-collar workers, stay at home moms, pipe-fitters, or church members. No one is immune. It’s not technology’s fault either, so don’t blame it. It’s our fault. We are the users.
I wrote a passionate blog about Congressman Anthony Weiner a while back. He fell badly. Because he sent out photo texts to his lover. Was technology to blame? Nope. His own lust and sin was.
You have to be careful. At all times.
So when is it okay to “sext“? Believe it or not there is an okay time to do it. With your spouse. Some may think I’m going out on a limb here, but when spouses are separated because of work, time shifts, distance or other things, go for it. You say, “Really?” I say, “Heck yes.”
Listen, if there’s a place for people to talk suggestively to one another, it’s in a marriage. But let me be clear. You have to make sure your marriage is in the right place. Men, you cannot expect your wife to respond to you if you are not meeting her needs emotionally. You have to be a romantic man, a Renaissance man. Rub her feet after a long day. Surprise her with a slow dance with a song on your iPhone. Let her know she’s the only woman you love.
For the love of all that is right, read Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages.” You say, “I’m not big on books.” Well, then, you need to read this one. Make your relationship right. Learn how to love your wife right. If you’re willing to sext some woman on your phone without any thought, then you should put more work into your marriage.
You say, “Well, you cheated on your wife.” Listen, that’s why I’m trying to help. This world isn’t perfect, is it? But what if you could have a terrific relationship with your wife? Go for it. Make things right at home. Get the help you need. But please, don’t seek anyone out that isn’t your spouse. Love your wife first. Romance her. Love her. Recapture the flame.
And I’m not joking, but sexting between man and wife is absolutely okay.
Helpful articles about sexting:
Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.
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