"...and when you both notice the sleeping dog, it may be tempting to awaken it. It will be easy to awaken. But creep quietly around the sleeping dog, lest you wake it. Just leave it alone..."
-Words of a professor
freshman year of college
And as I've gotten older, those words have grown more real and helpful.
I want to speak to young married people, specifically, but this can be intended for everyone.
All of us have different temptations and struggles, personally and maritally.
Often times you have been worried to share these temptations and struggles with your spouse, much less with others. But you don't know what to do about it. It's a burden, and the longer you conceal that burden, the heavier it becomes and it begins to infiltrate your thoughts and dreams, and you awake from a dream feeling guilty, or a fleeting thought crosses your mind from out of nowhere and you're wondering if anyone around you can knew what that thought was. It is hard. It is heavy.
The situation my professor was referring to came out of a passage in the Old Testament. I wish I could remember which passage it was, but I do remember it was Old Testament. He was talking about attraction after marriage. He shared that this has happened to him since he has been married, and he had been married for some time at that point. He said to us something to the effect of, "You may think that attraction to another person goes away once you're married. But it doesn't. It's just as hard, if not harder. And sometimes you notice that the person you find attractive also seems to notice you. You might have a desire to know if your suspicion is true, and you may want to betray your own infatuation. It will be hard to resist. And when this happens, treat it like the sleeping dog. When you both notice the sleeping dog, it may be tempting to awaken it. It will be easy to awaken. But creep quietly around the sleeping dog, lest you wake it. Just leave it alone. Once you've awoken it, it won't go back to sleep..."
I remember listening to him and thinking a few things, 1) will this ever be the case for me? 2) why is he sharing this with us? But as I've gotten older, I've become grateful to him for sharing. Why? Because he was right. Someone we look to for guidance, and whom we respect as a person and professor admitted that this has been a problem even for him; no one is subject to temptation. Everyone is prone to this temptation. And we, too, may experience this. He prepared me for the truth. And probably prepared a few others for the truth. Now that I have struggles of my own, I at least know that I am not alone, and that the dog can stay asleep, even if it's tempting to wake it.
Why do I share this?
I want to encourage you in knowing the same truths: temptation is real; you are not alone; confess it to eachother, even if to no one else; and pray for strength to keep the dog asleep. Don't be ashamed for struggling; don't be ashamed to have temptation; don't be ashamed to admit to it; be ashamed when you awaken it.
It can stay asleep. And it better stay asleep.