unsplash - guess-attic-837156_640As a believing wife and mother who had an affair several years ago, I want to warn others that if they first yield to mental adultery, it could easily take them the whole way down the wrong road. If there’s time to be alone with the other man, the two of you will most likely confess your struggles to each other. After allowing wrong thoughts, this is the most dangerous step to take.

If he is a fellow believer, you will say you must conquer this thing together in prayer. You’ll feel such a tenderness toward each other that you’ll need to express your affection with warm embraces and “holy kisses.” It is a short road from there to the point where you allow yourself the pleasure of more and more sensual temptations. Finally, you quit trying to resist.

If you’re truly a believer who is used to enjoying fellowship with God, you are in for a lot of misery. You’ll long to go back to the time when you could sing, “I Love you, Lord” and mean it. You will cry over songs like “He Is Lord,” knowing that now He is not Lord of your life. You will become unable to give testimonies or share with other believers on anything but a surface level. You will be unable to concentrate on anything else. Then, to cover your sin, you’ll lie.

At the same time, you’ll be involved in a passionate, romantic relationship. You’ll feel beautiful and part of life will seem wonderful. While you know it’s sinful, you’ll find yourself helplessly in love and enjoying part of it.

Eventually the two of you will talk of ways to end the relationship. You may even take some very painful steps. You’ll feel like you’re going through a divorce without being able to tell anyone. The pain is so strong, and the pull is so strong, that these steps will not last long. The longer it all goes on, the more a part of each other’s lives you become, and the more you’ll have stored in your memory. You’ll realize how much easier it would have been to stop it all at the “thoughts” stage. You would give anything to go back and do it all over differently.

You will have lost your relationship with the Lord. And you’ll realize you’ve also lost your relationship with your husband. Either you’ll go through the rest of your life keeping something from him or you’ll eventually confess it to him and destroy him in the process.

Your memories will be your worst enemies. You will both cherish them and hate them. You will long for the days when your husband’s lovemaking was the only way you knew, when certain scents, songs, clothes, places, and words did not stab you with reminders. In the strongest way I can say it, you’ll be sorry, sorry, sorry. Yielding to the excitement will never be worth what you have to reap.

I’m not suggesting that a person who has had an affair must live in bondage and condemnation forever. Yes, God can bring spiritual and marital healing, even of the painful memories. But it will be hard.

If you’ve already yielded and know it must stop, take the risk of praying, “Lord, do whatever you have to do to make me willing to stop.” Then be prepared for what He brings. In my case, it was an unplanned pregnancy. I had to confess to my husband. Years later, we’re still working through it.

All of this did not start or end overnight. It was gradual. It starts with thoughts. And those wrong thoughts should be avoided at all cost.

(The above testimony was written by a woman named Jeanette.)

Another woman, Kathy, shared how she had to change jobs and move to another city to get away from an extramarital relationship.

“It all started with what I thought were some harmless thoughts. It ended with me praying and praying that God would take away my feelings for this man. I became angry with Him that He didn’t. I took me a long time to realize that you can’t always expect God to bail you out of a situation you lived yourself into.”

The above testimonies can be found in the book Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, by William Cutrer, MD, and Sandra Glahn, and is published by Kregel Publications. This book is actually not specifically about emotional infidelity or adultery —those are only a few of the many subjects you will find contained within it. “This easy-to-read book has marvelously blended the glory of sex with the realities of life. It addresses real people in a real world without compromising God’s wonderful design and purpose for His gift of sex. The book holds in highest esteem the institution of marriage, and the sexual relationship is given its proper place within the context of marriage.” In it, “you will discover a practical approach to many of the sexual problems and challenges that confront married couples. Most importantly, you will grow in your love for the Creator, who has given us such a wonderful gift to enjoy.”