Thursday, September 10, 2015

Infidelity - A Rising Tide

A couple of weeks ago I was in BC for a conference.  I had an hour before dinner and couldn’t resist the ocean just across the street from the hotel.  It invited me to come and explore.

I strolled along taking time to crouch down to examine tiny marine ecosystems left behind in tidal pools on the beach.  As I squatted beside one I realized the pool had expanded slightly, now lapping at the toes of my shoes. 

Thinking the pool was flowing into the depression left by my shoes in the sand, I backed up, continuing to examine the pool.  Before I knew it the tips of my shoes were surrounded again.  I moved on to another pool.  Before long that one too expanded to encompass the soles of my shoes.

After a few minutes of thinking about this I looked up to see the broader picture.  It wasn’t just the tidal pools expanding to fill the dents left behind by my shoes.  The whole beach was inexorably being consumed by the ocean.

This wasn’t a tide coming in with big crashing waves like I’ve seen on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  This was water, steadily creeping over the sand and drowning every particle.  I had never seen a tide come in like this.  It had an eerie feel to it.
Within an hour the entire sandy beach was ingested by ocean and all the life in the tidal pools returned from whence it came.

Watching the relentless flow of water reminded me of how insidiously infidelity creeps into our marriages.  It starts out innocently enough.  A brief stop to glance in a tidal pool. 

The “tidal pool” might be a friend request on Facebook, or a lunch with a colleague.  A pleasant on-line conversation ensues, one lunch leads to another.  You crouch by the “tidal pool” enjoying the different world into which you are drawn.

Soon you realize your feet are getting wet.  The Facebook conversation turns into a face to face meeting and then a “date”.  The innocent lunch at work becomes regular “business dinner meetings” that last a little longer and become a little less innocent each time.

You back up thinking it’s nothing serious, but you miss the steady flow of water surrounding you.  Once the tide of infidelity starts it doesn’t stop until it consumes everything in its path; your family, your marriage, your faith, your friendships, your job, your self-esteem, your reputation, and your emotional and sometimes mental health. 

When a tide comes in, it sweeps over everything in its path.  When it goes out it leaves debris scattered behind on the beach.  Washed up bits of refuse on the sand and tiny ecosystems struggling to survive in pools of brackish water. 

This isn’t much different than the shattered lives left behind by infidelity in a marriage; each affected party struggling to survive the aftermath. 

Infidelity is easy to fall into.  Watch for the warning signs in your day to day activities and stop it before the tide consumes you.

Are you hiding a Facebook “friend” or relationship from your spouse?  Do you enjoy the attention of a co-worker more than you should?  Are you telling your commuter “buddy” things you should only be sharing with your spouse?  Do you complain about your spouse to someone of the opposite sex so they’ll flatter you and make you feel better?  Do you hide texts you receive from a “friend” from your spouse?

You’re on dangerous ground if you find yourself doing any of these or other questionable activities.  It’s time to take steps to stop an inappropriate relationship before it turns into an affair.

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