His picture just popped up on my high school’s reunion site!
I just want to see what she’s up to these days!
He was more than just my boyfriend; he was my best friend, too!
Once upon a time, we all had high school romances. Once upon a time, we ended those high school romances. Once upon a time, as we graduated from high school and moved on those romances became nothing more than a fond memory. Honestly, often a memory made fonder by time and distance.
Today, the Internet and social media sites have changed that “once upon a time” dynamic. Easy access to old romances, whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another social media site have introduced this generation to a new set of temptations and new opportunities for spiritual and marital failure.
Even though it’s easy to find our old “loves” on the Internet is it the wisest decision for Christians who desire to honor both God and their spouse? Could it be that those memories of past relationships are an avenue that can cause strife, distance, and disinterest in our own marriage relationships? Could it be that a quick and easy decision is really a danger zone to be avoided at all costs?
Although some people may be able to rekindle those old friendships without any adverse affects to their marriage, I would say that those people are definitely in the minority. No, we won’t necessarily have an affair (physical or emotional) just by reconnecting with an old love interest, but I do think such interactions set us on a path of potential destruction in three specific ways.
First, even though we can see that our old high school flame has aged and changed in appearance, it is so easy to allow our minds to dwell on the former physical attraction we had for them. While our spouse may have gained weight, lost hair, or changed over time, our memory of that old boyfriend or girlfriend is stuck back in high school. Of course they had a flat stomach, glorious head of hair, and sun-kissed, tanned skin… They were teenagers and in their glory!
You would think that one look in the mirror would remind us that if that old, physically beautiful specimen of a memory saw us today, they surely wouldn’t want what we have to offer! Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. When we allow our minds to dwell on the memories of that past relationship, we will certainly recall ourselves with the same forgiving mirror of remembrance with which we remember our old boyfriend or girlfriend. Our spouse cannot help but end up looking less than desirable when compared with that air-brushed high school memory.
A second issue rears its ugly head as we deal with our spouse on a daily basis. Two sinners living together will certainly have their fair share of struggle, strife, and relational misunderstandings. When we have allowed ourselves to rebuild a friendship with an old love interest, we will open a door to what I call the “grass is always greener” syndrome.
Like it or not, we all present ourselves in the best possible light when we are on social media. We don’t share our failures and we highlight our successes. Trust me, our new “old” friend is doing exactly the same thing. They aren’t telling us that they are harsh with their spouse. They don’t share that their bank account is overdrawn just like ours. They certainly don’t mention that they’re workaholics, or alcoholics, or addictive in any way. Like us, they want to seem as though life flows smoothly and all is well in their world. Honestly, they (and we) are presenting a virtual reality that is too often far from the truth.
When our very real and very fallible spouse is not living up to our expectations, it’s tempting to re-imagine our present lives with our old boyfriend or girlfriend. As we allow our imagination to shape the sweet conversations we would have and the tender way that they would respond to our needs and desires, our own spouse can easily become repugnant to us. Never mind that we don’t really know how any of those imagined conversations would truly turn out, in our minds our old relationship has just got to be better than where we are now! There is just NO WAY our spouse can compete with Mr. or Mrs. Virtual Reality!
Here’s the final issue with rekindling those old friendships. In Genesis chapter 2, we are told that God commanded Adam and Eve to “leave and cleave” as they became a new relationship of oneness. Although we often think of the leave and cleave process as a necessary breaking off of the daughter or son relationship, this scripture also speaks of the need to abandon our old boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. The word “leave” translated in this passage can be understood as “to forsake” those old relationships. When we allow ourselves to walk back into a relationship with someone who once held a position of affection in our heart, we are in essence trying reenter a door that should remain locked shut out of respect for both our spouse and our God.
Don’t just assume that you can reenter an old relationship without it causing harm to your marriage!
Don’t assume you’re the exception to the rule when it comes to this issue!
Self-evaluate your own heart carefully, spend time prayerfully seeking God’s direction for your online friendship choices, and finally, but most importantly, ask your spouse what he or she thinks about you revisiting a friendship with an old boyfriend or girlfriend.
Don’t allow a fleeting moment of reminiscent happiness to derail the strength and security of your present marriage. Proverbs 27:12 reminds us: “The wise man sees the danger and avoids it.” When it comes to reopening a door that we’ve already closed, we must become those wise men and women.
When we do so, our marriages will be blessed and our God will be honored!