What if I had married someone else?

Jay Dee

What if I had married someone else?

Jan 30, 2017

Many of us play the “What if” game and don’t realize how dangerous is it can be. I have at least three readers who are going to think I’m writing this post for them based on questions they’ve asked recently.  The truth is,

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What if I had married someone else?Many of us play the “What if” game and don’t realize how dangerous is it can be.

I have at least three readers who are going to think I’m writing this post for them based on questions they’ve asked recently.  The truth is, I had decided to write on this topic before either of them had reached out to me.  Nevertheless, I hope it answers their questions.

The “what if” game encompasses questions like

  • What if I had never gotten married?
  • What if I had married someone else?
  • What if I had married her/him?
  • What if my spouse died? Would I remarry? Who would I marry next?

Now, the fleeting thought of these questions isn’t an issue.  After all, they’re questions that could easily pop into your mind, especially during a difficult period, or a conflict.

What matters is what your reaction is to this.  The reaction can be positive, or negative.

1. Negative responses to the “what if” game

A negative response is anything that entertains the idea that you might be happier with someone else.  It is any sort of continued thought or attention given to negatively comparing your spouse with other potential options, real or imagined.

So, while it’s not a problem to have the question “I wonder what it would be like if I married someone else”, it is a problem when you take the next step of “I bet they wouldn’t yell at me as much” or “I wonder if they’d be more emotionally available” or “They can’t possibly be as sexually repressed as my spouse”.

It’s this second step that starts you down the road of comparing your spouse to other options, whether it’s another person, a fantasy, a friend, or friend’s spouse, or even “freedom” from marriage.  This continued attention to these proposed possibilities starts teaching your mind that there are better options out there.  Your brain starts looking for reasons to support this theory.  You start cataloguing your spouse’s negative behaviours, or lack of positive behaviours, and you grow less and less content with your spouse as the current reality.

This is where affairs are born.  Not when you sleep with someone, not when you kiss them.  Not when you start having secret meetings, or inappropriate conversations.  It’s not even when you start thinking about them more than your spouse.  It’s when you decide to entertain the idea that there’s a better potential option for you.  At that point, you’re already taken your first steps to cheating, divorce or just checking out.  Either way, that’s a dangerous place to be.

There are people who have affairs who said they never would and believed it, who don’t believe in divorce who end up getting one, who want to be involved that eventually just talk themselves out of being interactive with their family.  It happens all the time.  So, how do you prevent this?

2. Positive responses to the “what if” game

What if I had married someone else?If the question of “what it” might pop into your head, how do you deal with it?  What if you’ve already been entertaining it for a while?

The answer is to change the response.

Now, that’s progressively harder to do the longer you’ve been entertaining negative responses, but it’s always possible, even if difficult.

I know people who constantly deride their spouse.  They don’t believe in divorce or affairs, but they can barely open their mouth without saying something negative about their spouse.  If you bring up marriage, you can guarantee their response will be something about how they wish they weren’t married.  If you mention their spouse, they will let you know just how awful a person they are.  Those are the worst cases. When they can’t even filter what they’re saying anymore in public.

But there are more spouses who just think it instead of verbalizing it.

So, how do you stop?  Find one positive thing about your spouse per day.  Every day try to find something good about them.  The next day, try to find another.  Try to build a habit of looking for the positive.

When you think “I wonder what it would be like to be married to them”, think of something positive in your relationship.  Dig into the past if you need to.  Think if your children, if you have them.  Whatever the case, you can always find something positive that happened.  Then build on that tomorrow.  Find another item of positive response.

Keep up the habit and make that your default response.  You’ll be amazed at how your brain changes.  Because it will start to look for the positive in your spouse.  Your outlook on your marriage will gradually shift to be more positive, and in most cases, your spouse will respond.

Even if they don’t, well, at least you’ll be more content.

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3 thoughts on “What if I had married someone else?”

  1. Mike says:

    I have passed this article on to my newlywed group. I think it would be helpful to watch for signs of a problem and take steps to overcome them before they get out of control.

    I have not thought of this question while I have been married, even in the very difficult times. A commitment to me is a commitment. I have no interest in any of my past girlfriends. I have not met a women that I would want to marry. I have eyes only for my wife.

    However, with so many dating sites popping up everywhere, I did ask myself if my wife died, would get married again? My answer to myself right now is a definite “NO!” It has taken me 50 years to get used to the wife I have now, I cannot imagine taking years to adapt to another woman again. I hear that with age comes a certain stubbornness and difficulty to change set ways. I am certain I have learned some habits that another woman would find very difficult to live with (and visa versa).

  2. Cdm says:

    Thank you for this respond. I know I am one of those who asked about this. Things have started to get better but I have had these thoughts for a long time. I was very insecure about getting married and to be honest I felt pushed in to get married by my now spouse. You may wonder: how can that be? Well, I am an insecure person and wasn’t sure of what I wanted and I wasn’t sure about if I should call it all of or no. I wasn’t sure about if it was Gods will to get married because me and my now spouse sinned a lot. I can’t say I wasn’t guilty but she was more experienced and I fell a lot. During a long time I felt very stressed because of this and that sadly led me to start watching porn. I had been free for a long time before I met her but I fell in it again because I felt so much shame and stress because I was so unsure about the relationship. Some people said that I should brake it off because I always loved the Lord and wanted to serve him and they said that she wasn’t the girl that the Lord wanted for me because she wasn’t as devoted as I was. And I felt it too in many ways but thought she would grow spiritually. others said that I should stay with her and as I said I was very insecure. So we got married. And i can’t say it has been all bad. In the beginning apparently she heard me talking in my sleep crying that it was a mistake getting married(I wonder how she didn’t leave me then). But things felt pretty good. She is a wonderful person. What’s been hard is that my spiritual life has gotten worse. She wasn’t as devoted as I was so when I started to lose my devotion i didn’t find any support in her. And she didn’t seem to understand why I wanted to be in church all the time and all that started the thought of what if. My porn addiction also has continued even tough I have confessed it to her and am working on it. Many times I wonder what if I would just have called it off. I would been close to God, free from porn and burning to preach the Gospel. “What if i had confessed my feelings for the girl I met before my wife who was a burning Christian who loved Jesus and even wanted to have bible studies with me, something I never had with my wife, what if I had waited for someone who would have loved to pray, to worship and who would be prepared to lose all to follow Jesus. Those thought comes now and then. Less now but I don’t know if it is because I have given up on my dream on becoming the Christian I dreamt of being and accepted that I won’t fulfill Gods plan for me and that He is blessing me just because He is good altough this wasn’t His plan. I sometimes tell Him that i messed up by getting married and that I am sorry I ruined everything. I don’t know what to do anymore. I guess I just have to accept that i ruined the life I could have had but I love her and I am happy and now I just hope i will at least get over the finish line and not go to hell. But I would give the advice to any person who hasn’t gotten married yet that they should not get married if they are not sure. It’s better for you and your future spouse if you’re honest and say that you are not sure. Maybe even break it of because the thought of having made a mistake is painful. Be honest to yourself and your future spouse.

    1. Mark says:

      Sir, I just thought I’d point out a few Things I have about your post. I’m glad you love your wife. It sounds like she loves you too. I can understand the idea that she’s keeping you from having a better relationship with our Lord and Savior. I’ve been there. However, as we mature spirituality (most often through marriage) we increasingly realize that we are called to walk with Him regardless of those around us. You then, if you truly desire to please God, can lead your wife, first by living it and loving her unselfishly and sacrificially. Pray for your own guidance, growth, and redemption as you learn to better show your love for your wife, in ways that she will recognize, understand and most importantly, feel the love you have for her. As you continue in prayer and practice, the Lord will grant you further strength and guidance in your heart, thoughts, understanding and feelings. Follow obedience to our maker and trust His lead. This is exactly how the Lord will grow you and teach you and bless you, by being committed in your marriage as He has designed us to do and be. The resulting goal is that your marriage will closely emmilate Christs relationship with His body.

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