Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage January 17, 2018

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:48 am
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Extramarital affairs are certainly not the social taboo that they once were, and may be more prevalent now than ever. Unfortunately, Christians are not exempt. With the anonymity of the Internet and the privacy of personal mobile phones, the temptation to cheat on one’s spouse has fertile ground to grow.

After straying to the other side of this marital fence–and returning to find forgiveness and restoration–Anderson brings this practical book about predicting and preventing an extramarital affair. Based on the principle that the grass is always greener when it’s watered, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndromefocuses on how to grow a beautiful marriage by establishing six protective hedges around it.

This second edition includes a new chapter on repairing marriage following infidelity, as well as an appendix considering the Andersons’ own marriage before and after the affair from Ron’s point of view.

My thoughts:

This is a very helpful and practical book. This book could be read before or after an affair, although I think reading it before would be best to keep you from jumping onto the “greener grass.”

The book starts with Nancy’s story. No one should compare their own story to hers. She was able to break away from her affair quickly. She made all the right choices. I had no desire to do that immediately, not that she had the desire, but she had the strength. It took me a few weeks before I was really ready to say, “Okay, I’m going to focus on my marriage.” But Nancy made that commitment almost immediately after her confession. And that might have made the difference. She confessed, I got caught. She had control, I didn’t. That probably plays a huge factor in how you handle it afterwards.

The HEDGES advice is great and every marriage should be following it to build a strong marriage. I also enjoyed hearing from Ron at the end and his preservative on things. Their marriage is definitely a Genesis 5020.

Visit Nancy here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Part X-The Storm April 20, 2012

I have been struggling all week knowing I would write this post today. I have shared my story many times but I have never actually written it down. I will be honest.

I am scared.

I don’t understand why. We shared our story with the church, a couple hundred people at a time. But to write these words seems much harder.

Nevertheless, here I go.

Last week I shared with you the calm before the storm. Today I share the storm.

If you have been reading from the beginning you know my story. You know how I was abused, how I met my husband, and how God won my heart.   You know I had an emotional affair that nearly ruined my marriage. I thought having my son would fix me.

We left off at the beginning of 2009. During that time I heard many people talk about Facebook. I knew all the reasons I shouldn’t get on Facebook. It would be like an alcoholic going into a bar. Not a good idea.

In February of 2009 I reached a point where I almost felt left out because everyone I knew was on Facebook. I started toying with the idea of getting on. One friend said to me, “You really should get on Facebook, it’s awesome.”

She had no clue about my past. But her words rattled around in my brain until I convinced myself that I would be fine and I could handle Facebook. I was healed.

I signed up for Facebook. I didn’t tell Patrick I was doing it but I did tell him as soon as I signed up.

He was mad.

There is no other words to describe it. But I talked circles around him to make him believe I was fine, God had cured me. Didn’t he trust God?

I think I did believe what I said, yet there was a part of me that wasn’t very confident of those words. I told Patrick he could even have my password and check my account whenever he wanted.

Soon after getting on I found an old friend. I guy I dated a bit in high school and on and off my first couple of years in college. The relationship never blossomed, even though I wanted it to, because he told me, “I was too nice of girl for him.” And he didn’t want to settle down.

We became friends on Facebook and started talking. It was nothing, just small chit-chat really. Patrick later told me he even saw some of these first exchanges. I didn’t know at the time he was checking my account.

But then Patrick stopped checking.

The enemy was at work. He knew when Patrick stopped checking and that is when my conversations with this other man slowly changed.

Actually, it wasn’t that slow. One weekend I was upset with this man for his political beliefs and the next I was making plans to see him. It seemed slow but it all happened quickly.

Patrick and I had fallen asleep in our marriage, again. We stopped doing all the things we knew we needed to do to show each other love. I was hungry for attention.

This man started to say wonderful things to me, like, “I should have married your when I had the chance,” and “you are such and awesome person.”

He wasn’t married, never had been married. and he felt like he lost me when he should have held on to me.

It was a slow fade. I started sharing with this man very personal things. Like the abuse, which at the time only a handful of people knew about. I shared with him about the emotional affair.

This all opened doors for him to see into my heart. Places someone who I was not married to never should see.

One day we made plans to see each other. Just get together and talk. At first the date was set for a couple of weeks away but then an urgency hit me and I moved the date up a week earlier.

That is what the enemy does. He convinces us we must act NOW. The quicker he can get us to make a decision the more likely we won’t change our minds.

I knew Patrick would never notice anything strange because I felt he never noticed me.

And he didn’t notice.

I drove to this man’s house.

I had a physical affair.

I didn’t know who I was. What I had become. I hated myself, yet I loved the power I felt I possessed.

For the first time in my life I felt powerful. What a lie.

Two days later Patrick went to check my email. I had changed my password because my conversations had moved to email instead of Facebook.

Changing my password was a big red flag to Patrick, since I had the same password since college.

He confronted me and I denied anything going on.

This all took place on a Sunday. I remember sitting in church thinking, my marriage is going to end. I will need to leave the church and find a place to live.

In that moment, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to leave, runaway and start a new life.

Thankfully, God had other plans.

I made it through the day without really talking to Patrick much until I went to bed. I finally admitted a little of what I had done. I couldn’t admit that I had an actual affair, only that I was having an emotional one.

I spoke my old familiar words, “I don’t love you, I never loved you. We never should have gotten married. Don’t you see we aren’t meant to be together?”

I wanted to set Patrick free from me. I knew I had done a horrible thing to him and he deserved to be happy. I couldn’t make him happy.

The lies swirled around me and I didn’t want to let go of the other relationship. I wanted to let go of my marriage.

There is so much to write but I feel I need to stop here. A lot  happened in a short period of time. I want to handle this delicately so God is glorified, I don’t want to rush any parts and skip over anything that God did during that time.

It is nothing short of miraculous.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Psalm 32:3-4 NIV

Have you found that the enemy makes things seems urgent? That you better to this “thing” now or you will miss your chance? It could be anything, a great sale when you know you shouldn’t be spending money, saying something you know will hurt another person, etc.?


Part VIII-A Son April 6, 2012

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:09 pm
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Today my husband, Patrick, is sharing what happened to him during the emotional affair, what God did in his life. If you are not sure what we are talking about check out last week’s post to bring yourself up to speed.  Enjoy hearing the story from a new POV (point of view).

At the time in our marriage that Melissa was struggling with an emotional affair, there were some underlying issues in our marriage that fueled that affair. 

By no means did these issues cause Melissa to have the emotional affair, but Satan used these footholds in our marriage to aid him in the deception he used against us and our marriage.

God had already given us one beautiful child, our daughter.  As a little girl Melissa always dreamed the perfect family would be three children. 

What we realize now is our dreams are not always God’s plan or what He intends for us. 

In my mind and in my way of thinking, the fewer children we had the better off we would be.  Fewer children meant less responsibilities and more “me.”  My selfish way of thinking often contributed to a lot of hurt, not only between Melissa and I, but also between myself and God. 

I knew deep in my heart that God’s plan in my life was for more than one child, but I tucked that deep down and buried it so that it could never come to the surface.

For anyone who has experienced anything that is difficult (I know we all have) we can often hear God the clearest in our darkest moments.  As I have said many times before, God works the night shift. 

What this means is that God can and sometimes chooses to use our darkest moments for His purposes. 

Often our greatest and closest times with God come when we have to surrender everything to him.

 Often we don’t always do that until crisis arises in our lives.  Wouldn’t it be so much more simple if we would surrender to God daily rather than when we experience crisis?

I have learned that is what God desires from us, daily surrender.

When I found out that Melissa was involved in an emotional affair I definitely experienced a crisis in my life.

 I wish I could say that I totally and fully relied upon God as He desires, but I didn’t completely do that. 

Even though I did not, God worked in and through me.  And it was during this time when I first experienced the audible voice of God. 

I can honestly say that I will never forget the experience I had with God one night as we were battling through the emotional affair.

As I was lying in bed one evening completely asleep God awoke me very abruptly.  So abruptly that I sat straight up in bed. 

God wanted to make sure he had my full attention when He spoke to me, so my tranquil sleep was spiritually interrupted.  He also wanted to make sure we were alone, which is why I believe He waited until I was asleep.

There I was, wide awake, feeling as if I had been awake for hours.  There were no remnants of sleep upon me. 

I didn’t understand it at first, but it didn’t take God long to speak to me once He had my attention.

Very clearly, and very audibly God simply said “What are you doing?  Who are you kidding?” 

I knew exactly what He was talking about.  God wanted to talk with me about His plans for my life and my denial of those plans.  He wanted to talk with me about having additional children

Of course I tried to play dumb and pretend I didn’t know what He was talking about, but who was I kidding…He’s God!!! 

Knowing I was acting confused God said it again, “What are you doing?  Who are you kidding?  You are not fooling anyone.  You know the plans I have for your life always included two children.  But you are refusing that and the blessing I have set aside for you by having two children.  Right now you are doing more than that.  You are hurting your wife, you are hurting yourself, and you are hurting me.  Do not refuse me, I have more in store for you than you could ever imagine.  I have more in store for your future child than you could dream of.” 

God worked the night shift that night.  The saying is true; it always gets darkest just before the dawn.  At that particular point in my life I had reached my darkest moment.  God brought the dawn.

Until this very moment I have never told anyone this; I spent the rest of that night not sleeping, but dwelling on the knowledge that God placed in my heart that my second child WOULD be a son.

I pondered God’s son, Christ, and how proud God was of Him.  I knew I would be just as proud of my son and would get to experience what God did.

 I dwelled upon days of holding him, teaching him, playing with him, wrestling him, spending time with him, watching him stumble and fall, picking him back up, and seeing all God planned for his life.

The next morning I couldn’t wait for Melissa to wake up so that I could share with her exactly how God spoke to me and what He said.

 I am not sure which excited me more; that time with God and my wife or the birth of both of my children. 

What I do know is that God was faithful to what He spoke to me about that evening.  He gave us a son very quickly.  And in God’s sense of humor He made my son look just like me so that every time I look at my son I am reminded of that evening God spoke directly to my heart.

This week I was reminded of God’s faithfulness as my son laughed while he wrestled with his dad. His sweet smile filled my heart and I felt God say, “Remember, I am faithful.”

It is not lost on me that the day I post about God giving us a son we are celebrating the day God gave us His Son as a perfect sacrifice. The day my Savior went to the cross and paid for my sins, and yours. He is faithful.

I have included a beautiful song by Kari Jobe, click here. Be blessed this Easter and remember love has come to rescue you, you are no longer a prisoner to your sin.

If you feel  moved, thank Patrick for being vulnerable and sharing his story with you. This won’t be the last time you hear from him!


Part VII-The Emotional Affair March 30, 2012

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:18 pm
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We left off last week with Jesus coming into my life. I felt wonderful and new. I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t need to look my past in the eye and deal with it. That took place in 2000.

In 2002 Patrick and I had our beautiful daughter, our princess.  That same year Patrick came to know Christ as His Savior.

Sometime between 2003 and 2005 I began having an emotional affair. Before this time I had “dabbled” in my thought life. Thinking things about men I knew I shouldn’t. The thoughts didn’t last long and I would move on.

 This time the thoughts took on a life of their own.

I shared my struggles with a close friend. But as my thoughts consumed me I hid them from her so she couldn’t help me.

I begged God for  two years to take away these thoughts. I knew they were wrong. But I also told myself I wasn’t hurting anyone. What would a few thoughts do to a marriage?

One Sunday at church our pastor  took some pottery and broke it into shards. He gave each of us a piece. We wrote down something we struggled with and then placed our brokeness on the cross.

I wrote down “lust.” I still see it every Sunday, because that cross stands on the platform as I lead worship.

I gave it away, yet I didn’t walk away.

I think I over simplified my issue. The product of my sin was lust but the root was pride and power.

I felt powerful when I had these thoughts. That was a complete lie. The thoughts had power over me.

Blinded by power, I didn’t see my pride. The rules didn’t apply to me so I could think what I wanted.  

I started planning ways to end my marriage. I convinced myself I would never be happy with my husband and I just needed to do him a favor and release him.

During this time I read an article in a Christian magazine. The article was about emotional affairs and referred to the book Every Women’s Battle. I was shocked to learn I wasn’t the only Christian woman who struggled with this problem.

You see, I began to question my faith. I mean, if I thought these unholy things how could I call myself a Christian? Reading that article helped me to realized I wasn’t alone.

But I still didn’t walk away.

I believe this grew more intense for several reasons. I was around this man a lot. I put myself in a situation in which I spent a great deal of time with him. Patrick even made comments about this other man wanting to date me if I didn’t have a ring on my finger. He had no idea I was struggling with impure thoughts  and his comments only fueled the fire inside me.

One more factor played into my issues; I wanted another child. Patrick did not.

I wanted to be okay with having an only child. I started reading books on the best way to raise an only and I tried to convince myself everything would be good. 

Jealousy burrowed a hole in my heart as I watched other women have babies.

I told myself if I divorced Patrick I could have a child with this other man.

In the summer of 2005 everything exploded. I can’t even tell you how because I don’t remember, but it did. I confessed everything to Patrick. Not out of wanting to repent but because I wanted out of my marriage.

I said things like, “I never loved you. I should have called off the wedding before we even got married. I’m not happy.”

Patrick persisted in fighting for me. He searched the Word and spoke truth into my life, even though I didn’t want to hear it.

I was very confused. I didn’t really know what I wanted after Patrick started fighting for me. I finally told him I believed a major reason I wanted out was because I wanted another child and it hurt me deeply that he refused.

Patrick confessed something to me; God had spoken to him about having another child.

His story is very powerful so I want to give Patrick the opportunity to share with you next week.

I hate to leave you hanging, but isn’t that what good storytellers do?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

How about you, have you struggled with your thought life? No need to share details, but can you share how you have overcome thoughts in your own life that could have been destructive?