Watch Out for the "Stupid Stage"

Last week my husband and I attended the AACC Marriage America conference in Orlando. Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage and leader of one of the tracks I’d selected, discussed a concept that stood out for me. In Thomas’ class he outlined the seasons of marriage. The first of the marital seasons he aptly named, Infatuation Insanity.

I’d venture to say that we’ve all experienced this phenomenon at one time or another in our lives. Depending on how long you’ve been married—you may remember it clearly or rather vaguely—but it’s that dreamy, just-can’t-wait-to-be-with-you stage in a new relationship. 

Flirt PartnerIn my class, Gary Thomas rather eloquently stated that this stage …

“Makes you vulnerable and stupid.”

When I heard that quote—aside from wanting to laugh at the blunt reality—I thought about how appropriately it described the allure of an affair. After all, most affairs are short-lived—meaning once the “Infatuation Insanity” wears off, you lose interest in your illicit love. You come to your senses because the reality has begun to set in, giving you a peek at the mess behind the mask.

So here’s my point … perhaps you think that someone new is better looking or kinder or more attentive or more communicative or whatever than your spouse. Perhaps you’ve allowed yourself to think much too long about this new person and you’re beginning to feel that euphoric feeling that comes with the insanity of infatuation. Allow me to echo Gary Thomas’ words as a wake up call …

You’re not falling in love—you’re just “vulnerable and stupid!”

If that’s where you find yourself—wondering if someone else would make a better wife or husband, then please face the facts …

You’ve allowed your feelings to cause a temporary state of insanity.

I know that if you’ve allowed yourself to go down that road for very long, I’m probably not getting through to you. But I want to pray for you. I want to pray for those of you who have a wandering heart. And I want to also pray for those of you that are the victims of an “insane” and unfaithful spouse.

My prayer is that you are able to get back to that God-ordained place in your marriage where vulnerability is never stupid. And in that place, I pray that your love and marriage is renewed and resurrected.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NLT)

Photo credit – o5com (Flickr)

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  • Megan Elzey

    You speak the spot-on truth! The very words I said about my husband were “it’s almost like he’s possessed!”

  • Ro elliott

    I love Gary Thomas…I give his book as part of my gift to an engaged couple. I am walking with a friend whose husband had an affair…yes insanity it is…and the sad thing is …insanity does not go away quickly…a very slow process. Great post…blessings~

  • This is excellent, Beth. People do develop temporary insanity when they are infatuated; I’ve seen it happen over and over again. And then they often do stupid things (stupid is the right word!).

    I love Gary Thomas’ books. Glad you got to hear him in person. Thanks for passing along good stuff to us.

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, “stupid” is a word we all try to avoid, but sometimes it just fits and this is one of those times! 🙂 I’ve always appreciated Gary Thomas’ approach in Sacred Marriage. It’s so true and often reflected in what I say here at MM. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Lisa!

  • messymarriage

    That’s a great idea–to give new couples his book, Ro! I think I will start to do that too! 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, Megan, that’s another apt description. So you’re one of those among many that I am praying for. I hope that God brings healing to you and your marriage and that you feel God’s love for you in the midst of a very lonely and rejecting time. Hugs*

  • Alicia Bruxvoort

    I love Gary Thomas and his to-the-pointness… yes, beware of the stupid stage. Great advice. Thanks for the reminder

  • soulstops

    I was just talking to a friend about this book…haven’t read it but have read excerpts…wonderful point, Beth…thanks for sharing…Blessings to you…glad that you got to share the conference with your hubby 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Alicia! I appreciate your encouragement! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, it’s a great read, especially for those who have bought into society’s false view of marriage–it’s about being “happy”.

    And yes, it was great to be at the conference with my hubby. We always learn so much and have fun talking about all that we glean. Thanks so much for coming by, Dolly!

  • Emily Wierenga

    i’ve been praying that psalm for quite awhile now. and it’s true… one feels “stupid” and giddy in those states… i guess it’s a form of escape. thank you for keeping us on our toes, friend. i’m jealous you got to hear gary!

  • yep, it is a temprary insanity and it is easy to see the surface of the other and play a little mental grass is greener because you dont have as intimate a knowledge and then you get there and….

  • Beth,
    These are great insights. I think we can all relate to the “stupid stage,” and I love the Psalm you ended the post with. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom!
    Blessings,
    Ann

  • Kim Hall

    Although I am so grateful to have never been in that place in our marriage, I can see where “vulnerable and stupid” are very apt descriptions. I have seen it happen to others, and it’s like trying to get a freight train to stop by hanging on to the caboose!

    Ahh, the messes we create when we act without thinking.

    Thanks for sharing this perspective. Glad you and your hubby had time to get away together. Lots of food for thought from this conference!

  • messymarriage

    You bring up another important point, Emily. It truly is an “escape” from reality. But we can’t escape for long and then we’re worse off than before we buried our heads in the sand.

    It’s funny that you’re jealous that I got to hear “Gary” Chapman, b/c my husband is “Gary” too. The way you said it just made me laugh! 🙂 Thanks as always for being a supporter here and of authenticity everywhere!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for coming by again, Ann. I feel like we have a kindred spirit regarding marriage. I’m so glad we found each other via the cyber world! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    I love the image you just planted in my brain with the train metaphor. 🙂 It really illustrates the destructiveness of pursuing an affair and also perhaps the frustration one might feel in trying to stop a wayward spouse from wandering. Thanks, as always, Kim for weighing in and sharing your great insights as well!

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, I’ve thought of using “the grass is greener” concept as a post idea. Did you know that if you look at grass from an angle it actually appears to be greener until you step over and look down. 🙂 Thanks so much for hosting and coming by, Brian!

  • Gary Thomas is such a great author! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights — “affairs” are things that most people think plague men more frequently than women, but when it’s put in this light, one can easily see how vulnerable women are too. Thanks for linking up to NOBH!

  • messymarriage

    You’re so right, Carrie. Women are definitely not immune to this problem. Anyone that allows discontentment to become a mindset is “vulnerable” to this problem. Thanks so much for coming by. I’ll have to visit your place next! 🙂

  • smiles!

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing the truth in such a straightforward manner!

  • Being vigilant is so important. As a daughter of a father who was not vigilant, who never really left the stupid stage – I know the importance of standing guard! What an important message – a heart-break prevention lesson!