How to Save Your Marriage from an Axe Murderer

How to Save Your Marriage from an Axe Murderer

We have cre­ated a world that has lit­tle account­abil­ity, easy access, secrecy, and vir­tual iden­ti­ties. We can be who­ever we want to be when we are online. And it can prove to be very dan­ger­ous for us.

The other day, I received a pri­vate mes­sage through my Face­book account from a man who was one of my “friends.” We have sev­eral mutual friends. When he friended me long ago, I checked out our mutual friends, looked at his page to see what he was all about. Every­thing checked out. He is like-minded, our friends in com­mon hold the same con­vic­tions our fam­ily holds (and I *really* know most of them). So, I accepted his friend request and never had a word of inter­ac­tion with him. Until last week.

He sent me a com­pli­men­tary note, which both shocked me because of who I thought he was and the fact that I am mar­ried. I stopped in my tracks and con­sid­ered my options of response, if any. Do I tell my hus­band? Do I say any­thing? A sim­ple thank you? What is right and good and appropriate?

While I was con­sid­er­ing my options, he quickly sent me two fol­low on mes­sages which became aggres­sive and assault­ing. And angry.

I did some research, asked a mutual friend who I trust very much if he actu­ally knew him, and I dis­cov­ered that this man is not who he says he is. A sim­ple inter­net search told me that he has a crim­i­nal record, has served time in prison for assault­ing a female and false impris­on­ment. And appar­ently, he does this thing with inap­pro­pri­ately con­tact­ing mar­ried women. From what I have read, it can get uglier than what I expe­ri­enced by the things he sends to the mar­ried women he inter­acts with. Pic­tures and such. This “safe man” is any­thing but.

What I really want to dis­cuss is how to pre­vent the oppor­tu­nity for strangers to get under your skin and into your head. How to bol­ster your mar­riage so that when the temp­ta­tions come, you won’t be pulled toward them and away from him. And they will come.

As I dis­cussed it with my hus­band later, I noted that had I been a wife who felt unloved, unap­pre­ci­ated, dowdy, frumpy, and neglected, I very well may have found myself intrigued enough to respond with a sim­ple thanks. Or more. I could have found myself bait­ing for more com­pli­ments. Never imag­in­ing it would go fur­ther than that,  or that I could have found myself in very real dan­ger. Maybe not from this man, but from any stranger out there who knows enough about me based on what I post online to talk the talk I’m com­fort­able with. And, to note,  most peo­ple who fall into affairs never imag­ine it will get to THAT point. We all think we are stronger, more godly, above that pos­si­bil­ity. Yet, from what the recent sta­tis­tics are say­ing, 54% of women admit to hav­ing an infi­delity in a rela­tion­ship they’ve had. 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught. Even more stag­ger­ing to me is the sta­tis­tic that shows that 31 per­cent of peo­ple have had an online con­ver­sa­tion that has led to in-person sex. 1 in 3. Is your mouth gap­ing? Mine is. I pray that those num­bers don’t include Chris­tians, but I would be naive to think it is impossible.

So, how to pre­vent your­self (or your hus­band) from becom­ing one of the ugly sta­tis­tics is impor­tant to fig­ure out. I have some ideas to share with you:

1. Stay deep in the Word of God daily. Med­i­tate on His Word day and night. Don’t leave room for the enemy to get a foothold. This one should be obvi­ous, so I won’t dwell too long here. But know this: the more you spend in God’s Word, fill­ing your heart and mind with God’s beau­ti­ful truth about who you are in Him, the more equipped you will be to fight off the enemy. And don’t be fooled:  Be sober, be vig­i­lant; because your adver­sary the devil walks about like a roar­ing lion, seek­ing whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He is actively seek­ing to destroy you and your mar­riage. Don’t get lazy in this.

2. Pray for your hus­band. Pray for your mar­riage. Pray for your chil­dren. Remem­ber­ing these aspects of your life daily in prayer will remind you of the impor­tance of these peo­ple in your life. An affair will shat­ter their lives right along with yours. When you are dis­ap­pointed or angry with them, pray dou­bly for them. Pray that the Lord will give you an abun­dance of love for your hus­band, a respect that shines in your eyes. Focus on your role as his wife, not on his short­com­ings and irri­ta­tions. You can’t change those. You can work on you, which remark­ably tends to have an effect on him. Funny how that works.

3. Apol­o­gize and For­give daily. I don’t know how to break it to you, so I’ll just say it: You are mar­ried to a sin­ner. And so is he. As much as you want him to over­look your three or four imper­fec­tions, be will­ing to over­look his. Be sin­cere in your apolo­gies and for­give­ness. Don’t do these begrudg­ingly. I strug­gle with this one. I so eas­ily caveat every­thing with the silly notion that my part of the prob­lem is so minor com­pared to his. And some­times they actu­ally are. I find myself think­ing too highly of myself way too often. This doesn’t build my mar­riage, it tears it down.

The wise woman builds her house,
But the fool­ish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

4. Smile at him more often. I know. The daily grind gets exhaust­ing. The dia­pers need chang­ing con­stantly. They ALWAYS want to eat. every. day. The laun­dry piles up. You don’t get “employee of the month” bonuses or park­ing or even recog­ni­tion most of the time. Drudgery and dis­con­tent can surely move in and set up  house in your heart before you even hear the knock­ing on the door. Smile. With a twin­kle in your eye. You are a team. He’s yours, and you’re his. Let’s act like we are happy about that!

5. Respect him. I’ve shared this before, but my hus­band likes to fly me places for spe­cial events, like my birth­day and our anniver­sary. It always amazes me how I respond to these lit­tle jaunts. I sit there as his lone pas­sen­ger in the plane watch­ing him do his thing. He flew fight­ers in the Air Force for 20 years. I knew what he did, but I never saw this highly respected guy danc­ing in the skies with his jet, doing maneu­vers that would make my head spin. It occurs to me that most of us don’t see our hus­bands at work. They go to work, inter­act with peo­ple there, do their thing, and come home tired and hun­gry at the end of he day. We get the hun­gry and tired, but don’t see the respect they get from oth­ers. We don’t see how trained and skilled they are in their work. And they labor daily for us. I have heard it said that respect must be earned. Really? What does scrip­ture say?

 How­ever, let each one of you love his wife as him­self, and let the wife see that she respects her hus­band. Eph­esians 5:33

How would we feel if we were told that we had to earn the love of our hus­bands? If your hus­band said to you, “Wife, when you start act­ing lov­able, I will love you!” I think we would cry foul pretty quickly. How hor­ri­ble to be told such a thing! We expect uncon­di­tional love. Right? BUT-the com­mand for our hus­bands to love us is writ­ten the same way as the com­mand for us to respect our hus­bands. It isn’t based on works. Do you sus­pect that some­times it is just as hard for them to love us as it is for us to respect them? And maybe this is why God so wisely instructed us to do so? My hus­band has shared with me that the quick­est way to show him my love effec­tively is by respect­ing him. Pub­licly and pri­vately. Don’t just do it for show. Again, what if his love towards you was only for show when oth­ers were around? Do you think you might actu­ally resent it? Be sin­cere. Look at your hus­band with fresh eyes. He is the man God has gifted you with to pro­vide for you and to pro­tect you. To love you and to cher­ish you. Help him by remind­ing him through your actions why you two got mar­ried in the first place.

6. Actively LOVE him. Phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, every way you can. You know, you can’t love him too much. Find out what makes him tick. Does he like you to just sit with him? Does he like it when your hand touches his? What makes his heart soar with the knowl­edge that you love him? Find out if you don’t know. Ask him. While you are meet­ing his emo­tional needs, make sure you explore how to meet his phys­i­cal needs. Per­haps you have an idea in your mind of what fills that need. But, I want to encour­age you to ask him. Ask for specifics. You may be sur­prised at what he tells you. What you may feel is enough, may not be to him. Or, it could be the other way around. You never know unless you talk about it. Don’t be shy. He is your hus­band, and you don’t belong to your­self. You each belong to the other like nobody else on earth. This is such a beau­ti­ful gift. If you find that you are over­whelmed with the basics of life that this aspect of your mar­riage is suf­fer­ing, talk about it with him. Are you neglect­ing him because you have sev­eral young chil­dren who demand too much of you to have much left at the end of the day for him? Are the laun­dry, dishes, mop­ping, food prep tak­ing all of your energy? Tell him. He actu­ally may have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties than you do. Many men would rather pay some­one to come help you dur­ing the day in order to have you at night. No amount of house­work is worth the sac­ri­fice of your mar­riage. And the chil­dren grow. Don’t be strangers at the end of the day. Make him your first pri­or­ity after your rela­tion­ship with God. And don’t put God at the bot­tom of the pile either. It’s not much con­so­la­tion to a man to know he’s right behind God on your pri­or­ity list, only to find out that God is way down there after every­thing else in your life.

7. Flirt with your hus­band. Admit­tedly, this is some­thing that will look dif­fer­ent for every cou­ple. It’s hard to put this one in a sim­ple box. But, show him you are think­ing about him through­out the day. Text him lit­tle mes­sages. Or email, what­ever works for you. Hug him and whis­per sweet words to him when he walks in the door after work. Linger. Remind him sub­tly and not so sub­tly that you are his wife, and that you embrace this role in his life. Keep his eyes focused on yours in such a sweet and inti­mate way. He’s your man. God has given you to each other. 

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

While we, as women, are vul­ner­a­ble online to temp­ta­tions and advances of men, our hus­bands are also sub­ject to the same sort of issues. Many years ago, my hus­band received an email from a woman who was flat­ter­ing to him. She explained that she wanted to write an arti­cle about him. She gushed (in my opin­ion) about how mar­velous he was in all of his endeav­ors, and thought he’d make a great sub­ject for some­thing she was writ­ing. Since we have an open pol­icy about read­ing each other’s email, I saw their cor­re­spon­dences. I warned my hus­band that I thought the woman was insin­cere about her motives, and I cau­tioned him about con­tin­u­ing the cor­re­spon­dence. He wasn’t sure he agreed with my assess­ment, but in an act of honor towards me, told her that he needed to end their cor­re­spon­dence. If she wanted to do an inter­view, then I would be with him for that time. Inter­est­ingly, she became very irate and hate­ful. He hadn’t accused her of any­thing, but she responded as though he did. Her response spoke vol­umes, and my hus­band real­ized that I had been right in my assess­ment of her. Yet, he had been naive about it. We joke that the woman just seemed to be a smart, astute per­son who appre­ci­ated all of his won­der­ful qual­i­ties. I’m thank­ful that we have a strong rela­tion­ship based on trust and pru­dence. He eas­ily could have found him­self trapped in a place he never intended to go.

So, as we hang out with friends online, it’s good to remem­ber that we actu­ally may not really know the peo­ple behind the key­boards. While we invest in their lives, we may be set­ting our­selves up for real dan­ger. Please be care­ful. And, per­haps instead of fear­ing what might hap­pen in the great unknown out there, we ought to be invest­ing in the real life rela­tion­ship with our hus­band. Spend­ing time build­ing our mar­riages may in fact be the sin­gle most impor­tant thing that pro­tects our mar­riages from being vul­ner­a­ble to the crazy stalker who is look­ing for a way into our lives. And while we are at it, we are bless­ing our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren with a faith­ful­ness that over­flows into many gen­er­a­tions. What a legacy and gift! May the Lord be pleased with all we say and do. Noth­ing is secret from Him!

I’ve linked this post at Cor­ner­stone Con­fes­sions and Grow­ing Home. Be sure to stop by and check out other arti­cles you might find interesting.

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  1. Wise words again, Tonya. Thank you for pour­ing your heart into this post.

  2. Such a beau­ti­ful and encour­ag­ing post! Thanks for shar­ing it :)

  3. Tonya, great post. And just a bit scary too. I would like to sug­gest a cou­ple of other things in regards to falling into sex­ual sin/temptation. Don’t judge those who have. I have seen numer­ous times that those who so vehe­mently spoke in judge­ment against those who have fallen, have ended up falling into almost the exact same sin, years later. Remem­ber, “there but the grace of God go I”. Yes Vir­ginia, you too can fall into that same sin given the right set of cir­cum­stances. I have wit­nessed it hap­pen with peo­ple who I never thought would fall into it; as the scrip­ture warns us, “do not judge, for in the same way that you judge oth­ers, you your­self will be judged and with the mea­sure you use, it will be mea­sured back to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, and pay no atten­tion to the plank in your own?” Matt.7:1 Also, that those of us who are Godly, should attempt to restore our brother or sis­ter back to God in humil­ity, with a heart bro­ken for their mess.
    When peo­ple think that they would never do the same thing or fall in this way, it is pride. The enemy of our souls would love for us to get into pride, which opens the door for his activ­ity in our lives. Pride goes before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruc­tion. Proverbs 16:18.
    I hope you don’t mind me shar­ing these thoughts. I have seen so many fam­i­lies destroyed over these two issues, includ­ing my own that I wanted send out a warn­ing about these poten­tial destroyers.

  4. Thank you, Tonya!

  5. Thanks Tonya for your wise and encour­ag­ing words.

  6. Or how about the OBVIOUS? Stay­ing off social media which is a haven for stalk­ers! Reveal­ing all aspects of one’s pri­vate life has become the biggest “selfie” of your gen­er­a­tion. So silly.

  7. Echo­ing the other com­ments. Thank you, for the post and for shar­ing your heart.

  8. Thanks for a thought pro­vok­ing and heart­felt post! Greatly encouraged!

  9. This is such an impor­tant mes­sage as the net can be a dan­ger­ous place. Espe­cially for those who are using it as an escape. I hope many are blessed by this message.

  10. This is EXACTLY why my fam­ily has a STRICT no social media pol­icy for ALL mem­bers. That includes me, and my dear hus­band. The way pri­vate mes­sages are sent vio­lates all our fam­ily bound­aries. I do not have any adult male in my home when my hus­band is not at home. That includes his brother…we meet up at a local resta­raunt or park to visit. The only excep­tion is my father or his father. If a repair or ser­vice per­son must enter our home when DH is at work, I call him on the phone for the dura­tion of the ser­vice call. It is that impor­tant to pro­tect the bound­aries of our mar­riage. Period. No amount of con­ve­nience or curios­ity to con­nect with other peo­ple is worth expos­ing our­selves need­lessly to harm, temp­ta­tion or distress

  11. Christine says:

    This is a lovely post. Good reminders yet Painful mem­o­ries of when we both have made dif­fer­ent errors that have caused us much pain and suf­fer­ing in our mar­riage. God has slowly restored areas of deep pain but there is much mend­ing still to be done. I have not been all that he needs in a wife nor has he been all I need as a hus­band. But God makes up the dif­fer­ence. Thank­ful the Lord keeps nudg­ing me to look at my areas of week­ness and work on these. There were sev­eral reminders here. Respect has been the hardst thing for me to under­stand and DO! I am still learn­ing …failing…and learn­ing. God help us all as we try to be wonem,wives,mothers of virtue!

  12. Thanks! Great title! I come from the per­spec­tive of some­one who isn’t mar­ried yet. I’m sleep­ing in the bed I’ve made, but it still can be uncom­fort­able at times; and even today, I ago­nize over how to stop mak­ing such a bed! Now, hav­ing said that, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleas­ant places — yea, I have a goodly her­itage.” Psalm 16:6 I have noth­ing to com­plain about. What I can say, how­ever, is that I really com­mend you for what you’ve writ­ten above. Believe me, you’re hit­ting the nail on the head. My resolve is to redeem the time while I still have it — and, again, stop mak­ing this uncom­fort­able bed of not being mar­ried yet. My two cents to any mar­ried man or woman is: appre­ci­ate not hav­ing to be alone, because, as God said in Gen­e­sis 2, it’s not good! Here’s how Paul (basi­cally said it): To avoid for­ni­ca­tion, every man have his own wife, and every wife her own hus­band. You know, I get these men telling me it doesn’t get any eas­ier after mar­riage. You know what I say? “It HAS to be eas­ier after mar­riage!” And I think even Paul, here, would agree with me. Later, he says, “Hey! Make a point of giv­ing your­selves to each other. Take a break to fast and pray if ye must, but then come together that satan tempt you not for your ‘incon­ti­nency’”. So that tells me that when hus­bands and wives are unrea­son­ably hold­ing out on each other, they’re being incon­ti­nent. Don’t be — believe me.

  13. Hello there,

    While I am encour­aged by your post, I do have to dis­agree with some points. I agree that it is impor­tant to guard our mar­riages, how­ever, I do feel many women in the church have become overzeal­ous about it…to our detri­ment. If women and men can­not inter­act as friends, we miss what strength and grace may be offered to each other.
    I have seen women so very over­pro­tec­tive of their hus­bands, that they become crit­i­cal, and catty, towards other women. They devolve into treat­ing their hus­bands like chil­dren, or per­haps as if they would have no self-control if left alone for a moment with the oppo­site sex or view a woman who doesn’t yet real­ize the impor­tance of dress­ing mod­estly. This leads me to ques­tion their level of self-control, trust in their hus­band, and sta­bil­ity in their mar­riage.
    While read­ing the part of your post in which your hus­band ended com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the woman want­ing to do an inter­view, I have to won­der if she was upset and offended at the insin­u­a­tion that her sole pur­pose was to get to your hus­band. I believe any­one would get offended by such a thing. Obvi­ously, I wasn’t there, and it is not my inten­tion to be pugna­cious here.
    To act as if we can­not inter­act alone with any man…including rel­a­tives, because surely there will be an affair, seems a lit­tle extreme to me.
    I truly do not wish to start a fight, these are hon­est ques­tions and con­cerns I have. I appre­ci­ate the wis­dom, encour­age­ment, and grace of your posts.


  14. At the heart of the mat­ter is the fact that so many women would com­mit adul­tery if they wouldn’t be found out. That speaks very loudly of their rela­tion­ship with God, because, even if no one else knows, He does, and that is the most impor­tant thing. If we want to com­mit adul­tery, Satan will be sure to give us an oppor­tu­nity. If we don’t want to, we prob­a­bly won’t.

  15. In my less than twenty years of marriage,I thank GOD THERE HAS BEEN NO ADULTERY. I BELIEVEi it is because we prayed,and spoke of any wary cir­cum­stances. Hon­esty is the best pol­icy. Also, daily our fam­ily had devo­tion on the book of Proverbs. God is able to keep us from falling in temp­ta­tion but also it is wise not to flirt with temp­ta­tion. In Christ love!

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