adjective – made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud; fake
noun – a fraudulent imitation of something else; fake.
synonyms – mock, inauthentic, phony, forged, pseudo, imitative
Is your spouse in a relationship with a counterfeit? The “other person” can be one of the most difficult aspects of standing for your marriage, but make no mistake, a counterfeit is never a satisfactory replacement for the real deal – YOU. Your spouse is deceived, and deception is a tool of the enemy. That same enemy (Satan, not the other person) is hoping you, too, will be deceived so you will give up on your covenant spouse. His plan is to steal God’s glory and destroy God’s plan for you, your spouse and family (John 10:10).
People who unknowingly purchase fake replica Rolex watches or designer handbags are disappointed when the items stop working or fall apart. They’re embarrassed and angry when they compare their mockup with the real thing and realize they’ve been deceived.
A counterfeit cannot live up to God’s standards for loving partnership, because he or she is in sin by being with your spouse. 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love Chapter,” is probably the most quoted scripture at weddings. Sadly, most of us don’t truly comprehend the depth of its message until love has dissipated.
“Love is patient and kind.” (v. 4a) Is the other person patient as your divorce drags on for months? Is he or she patient and kind about the time your spouse spends at your house picking up and dropping off the children or attending school programs and activities? Do you think that person would wait patiently, trusting God, for the amount of time you have been standing faithfully for your beloved to return home?
“Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (v. 4b) Do you seriously think the other person never envies the relationship between you and your husband or wife? Counterfeits know they will never be able to match the years, the children, the vacations, the family history, and everything else you shared. As counterfeits, they must convince themselves that they are superior to you, which leads to envy, pride and boasting. These are traits even a prodigal will begin to resent, especially if your prodigal knows you are remaining faithful and loving, in spite of their infidelity.
“It (Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (v.5) Counterfeits will likely resort to putting you down to your spouse and others, as an attempt to build themselves up. Even if your spouse has shared negative things about you, true or not, it will hurt your husband or wife to hear the other person putting you down. This is particularly true if you have demonstrated over time that Christ has changed you. The other person will not have the qualities of a godly spouse because he or she is not living in accordance with the will of God. Even if the counterfeit is a deceived Christian, he or she is quenching the Holy Spirit by living in disobedience and will not possess the fruit of the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:17-31) As you exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, your spouse will see the contrast and will desire a peaceful life of true love with his or her one-flesh, covenant spouse.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (v.6) The counterfeit may believe he or she is happy doing evil, but God’s word tells us sin has a cost. His truth about the marriage covenant will stand. When we choose our own way rather than God’s, we are wanting to be God. Isn’t that why Satan was cast out of heaven? Isn’t that what Eve decided to do in the garden of Eden? Things did not go well for them, and they will not go well for a prodigal who is involved with someone else. What they are doing is evil, and it is certainly not love!
“It (Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (v.7) As standers, we know God’s truth, and as we grow in our love and desire for Him, our spouses will see us protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering. Our husbands and wives will be amazed. And though it may take longer than we like, remember that we are the real deal, not a fake imitation that in time will fail and fall apart!