Ask Anna

A question concerning a sensitive issue.

By the Journal staff. 

Dear Anna,

I’m writing to you because I don’t know who else I can talk to about this. There is an attractive woman in our church who is in her early 30s and is single. She is very friendly—especially toward my pastor-husband. She often sends him thank-you cards after sermons and recently sent him a birthday card. She sits in the front row of the church and, after the service, seems to take whatever opportunity she can to talk with my husband. I don’t want to be overly concerned, but I am worried. What should I do?

You are in an uncomfort­able situation. You don’t want to be concerned, but you are. It doesn’t feel good, does it? The temptation is to blame yourself for feeling bad. Take comfort in God’s statement that He wants to be the focus of our entire at­tention. Be proactive in a lov­ing way!

First, focus on you and God. Ask God for wisdom and words. Praying in Galatians 5:22–6:1, ask the Holy Spirit for the attri­butes that His presence gives­ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc.—that you cannot manufac­ture yourself. Ask God to give you deep love for your husband and joy that spills out of your heart to everyone.

Pray for God’s protection (Ephesians 6:10-18)—truth, righteousness, etc.—over your husband, his ministry, over yourself, and over the woman. Remember that we are not fighting flesh and blood (verse 12). It is the original enemy that would like to destroy us. Instead of praying with hand-wringing, pray with thanksgiv­ing (Philippians 4:6).

Next, focus on you and your husband. Picture a totally loving relationship with your husband. What steps need to be taken to have a Spirit-filled home overflowing with fun, fel­lowship, feasts, and faith—ex­perienced together? Begin to do the things that you can do.

And how should you re­late to the woman? (We’ll call her Jill.) Stand beside or near your husband at the door of the church. Focus on all the peo­ple—greeting, chatting, and caring for their needs (includ­ing Jill’s).

Keep in mind that naturally friendly, outgoing people will talk and entertain others. Some people do not understand rela­tionship boundaries. This may stem from experiences in child­hood.

Find an opportunity to get to know Jill and her story, pray­ing with her and sharing your own testimony. Invite Jill to do something that you share in common in order to build a re­lationship. Do not refer to your husband or your own relation­ship with him.

Finally, if you truly feel that your husband is responding to Jill’s attentions, give him a matter-of-fact lesson in how women feel. Because God did not have the total affections of His people, He said, “I am a jealous God.” In another place He said, “Have no other gods before me.” That pretty much expresses it for you, too.

Explain to your husband that because you love him so much, you don’t want anything to come between you, and that when you see Jill giving him at­tention, whether from the front row, in the foyer, or in his office, your heart feels threatened. While it may not be logical, it still feels that way. You might remind him that there is more than one kind of attachment­ physical, emotional, mental, or imagined (Matthew 5:27, 28); and that all of his attachment belongs to you. (Be sure that you are not giving such atten­tions to another man.)

Then, using the three-time, special-meal Esther approach, propose to your husband: Let’s recommit ourselves to each oth­er and then act on that commit­ment! Let’s do the things that will bring joy and fulfillment into our relationship, and let’s begin today and let the whole world know!