How Derek Jeter Changed My Marriage
Right now, as I type this blog post, Derek Jeter is playing his last game. I love the Yankees. Back in college, I really loved the Yankees. I had the calendar. I wore Yankees t-shirts to bed. A few of those t-shirts are still balled up in my PJ drawer, many years later. I knew the players. I knew the stats. It never bothered me that I wasn’t rooting for the home-team. It was all about the pinstripes.
While in college, I volunteered my time as a youth leader. I worked with middle-schoolers. The group of girls I mentored knew just how much I loved the Yankees – namely, Derek Jeter – Mr. November himself. The girls got together, pooled their money, and bought me a life-sized cutout of Derek Jeter. I still remember the day they presented it to me at youth group. We were giggly.
Derek was immediately set up in my “homework lounge” at home. Every day as I worked or relaxed, he was there – beckoning me to ogle him in his uniform. I was young. I was rebounding. Most importantly, I was single.
Later that year, I met my husband. During the first few months of our relationship, he let Derek slide. He’d sit on the couch and watch movies with me, as Derek grinned at us from the corner of the room. Once we started to get serious and our talks drifted to marriage, his feelings towards Derek changed. Mine should have.
I didn’t want to take Derek down. He was cute. He was on “my list.” The only thing was, I was engaged. My list needed to be one name long – even in my fantasies, daydreams, and imagination. My eyes, my thoughts, and my heart needed to be SOLELY for my husband. And they weren’t. I loved my fiancee. I loved daydreaming about the life we were going to have. But at times, I’d think about Derek too, and my heart would get all fluttery.
“They’re just innocent daydreams.”
“Everyone has crushes on celebrities.”
“It’s harmless. It’s not like I’d ever act on it.”
I get it. Whenever I write about marriage, especially from a Christian perspective, I get heat. But here’s the thing – our thoughts, our fantasies, and the desires of our heart matter.
Matthew 5:27-28 MSG “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.”
Derek Jeter ended up in the trash. My fiancee put him there – not because he was jealous or petty (although he had the right to be.) He knew we were going to build our life together. He knew my body would be his. But, he wanted (and deserved) my heart and mind too.
When I would talk about, swoon over, and daydream about Derek Jeter (not limited to, but especially in front of my man), it was a sign of disrespect. It was like a slap in the face – a subtle message of, “You’re not enough for me.”
No, I would never cheat – certainly not with a celebrity. But the mere act of keeping myself physically just for my husband is not enough. When that cut-out went in the trash, my thoughts, desires, flirtations, and fantasies for other men had to go in the trash as well. My heart and mind needed to be SOLELY for my husband.
Derek Jeter was symbolic. It wasn’t really about him. It was about me – and what was in my heart. I was allowing myself to think about other men – playing out scenarios in my head. The heat and mind are powerful. “Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body.” When we allow our mind to run free, our emotions easily get away from us. It isn’t harmless. It isn’t victimless. It isn’t okay.
It’s not easy. Attractions come without warning. Marriages and relationships take work. They require work and selfless choices every day. But fantasies and flirtations – those are easy. They don’t require anything. They don’t ask anything in return. We let our desires run wild and begin to see these other men through the lens of what we don’t have. In time, our thoughts and attitudes towards our mate can change – because fantasies are well – fantasies, and not the nitty-gritty, hard-work of real life relationships.
We MUST choose to take captive those runaway thoughts. When we feel attraction creeping in for someone else, we must work to shut them down. Don’t dwell on the fantasies. Root yourself in reality and when those thoughts and feelings come, actively seek out a time of connection with your partner. Build up what you do have. Water the grass you are on.
The thing is, Derek may be attractive, talented, and athletic. He knows how to swing a bat and win a game. But he’s got nothing on my husband – the man I choose to give myself fully to – body, heart, and mind. When we open ourselves up fully to a person and choose to give ALL of ourselves to them, we experience something far greater than a schoolgirl fantasy or a tv crush.
So thank you Derek Jeter – for the Yankees, for the wins, and for helping me realize the way my husband deserved to be treated. My physical presence was not enough. Never physically cheating, is not enough. Thank you for helping me recognize that my spouse deserved an all-out, freely given, without any hesitation or reservation, wild abandon love from my body, heart, and mind. They’re all his. Only his.
*Negative comments will not be published. The above thoughts are what work for me and my marriage, and are written from a Christian perspective.