The following are quotes and thoughts from various resources on the subject of Surviving Infidelity and Safe-guarding the marriage so the ability to build up and give into temptation is defused. We pray they will minister to your situation:
• We all have those moments that some call “suddenly’s.” Moments that forever change the path of our lives. That moment for my husband and me happened on a cold January evening in 1993. Gary came home and confessed to a three year adulterous affair. What followed that confession is a blur of pain and confusion that some counselors liken to post traumatic stress syndrome. Dr. Shirley Glass, author of “Not Just Friends”, tells us that according to therapists who treat couples, infidelity is the second most difficult relationship problem, surpassed only by domestic violence. The point is this; adultery is undeniably an overwhelming issue that requires additional resources for the couple attempting to recover. (Mona Shriver, from the book “Unfaithful —Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity)
• Think your husband [or wife] is having an affair?
Here’s what you should do. 1. Don’t confront him [or her] until you know what you’ll do with the information, advises Peggy Vaughan. Do you really want to know the truth, or are you just hoping for reassurance? 2. Be open to the prospect of either staying or leaving, in order to make the best decision. 3. Don’t make the decision to divorce too quickly, or you will forever second-guess yourself. 4. If you do decide to stay, it takes about two years for the marriage to recover if both partners are committed to working on it. (Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, in Tango.com article “Did Elin Woods ‘Look the Other Way’?”)
• In the initial stages after discovering a spouse’s betrayal, it is very difficult to cope.
We go into shock, sometimes anger, we can’t think straight. Some of us behave like obsessive neurotics, doing all we can to win back our spouse (as if it were our fault in the first place). ‘Surviving Infidelity.’ This would be an appropriate term because that is exactly what we are doing, surviving one moment at a time.
Most of us reported the inability to eat or sleep and significant weight loss. We were unable to cope with our regular jobs. One woman reported being on the edge of an emotional break down. Another remembered having to go to her job, only to find herself racing out of an important meeting to vomit, and then returning, attempting to appear somewhat composed. Embarrassed, ashamed and not free to share the truth, she commented to those concerned, “I must have gotten food poisoning.”
We must live through this mess. We have no choice, but how? How can we go about the overwhelming task of surviving infidelity? One day at a time? No, even that is too much. When I was going through it, I survived only one moment at a time. (Anne Bercht, from article “Ten Strategies for Surviving Infidelity” featured at Beyondaffairs.com)
• Where did I go wrong? Did I cause this?
Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint where someone’s compulsive sexual activity originated because many factors lead to sexual betrayal in marriage. Often, people hope that by getting married they will cure their compulsive behavior once and for all. The problems are not so easily buried, however, and the behavior will usually re-emerge in the marriage.
Because affairs are the end result of so many things, if you are wondering if you did something to cause your spouse’s behavior, rest assured the answer is no. All marriages have deficits and all marriages have difficult problems, but not all marriages experience affairs as a result of these problems. The good news is, now that the behavior is in the open, you can work towards resolving it and discover healthy ways of addressing the issues in your relationship. (From the Affair Recovery Center web site at Affairrecovery.com)
• It’s so important that we separate marital issues from affair issues.
They must remain 2 separate issues if the marriage is to be healed. If they are not kept separate, the betrayed spouse struggles for ongoing years with unhealthy obsessiveness that goes something like this:
Am I pretty enough? Are we having enough recreational companionship? Are we having enough sex? Enough sexual 10’s? Am I being a good enough father? Is the house clean enough? The list is endless, and living with this list, believing it’s directly connected to the possibility of your spouse having another affair, is like living with a ball and a chain around your leg. You may as well be in prison. No one can live this way.
I’m all for spouses working towards meeting each others needs and being conscious and intentional about their marriages. I highly recommend it, but not when we attach, “And if you get it wrong on any given day, I might have an affair.” No one gets it perfect all the time. I need permission to fail sometimes and know that my spouse will seek a healthy way of dealing with his dissatisfaction, not that my failure to get it right is going to lead to the pain of betrayal. (Anne Bercht, from the Beyondaffairs.com article, “Contributing to Marital Problems vs. Causing an Affair”)
• TO THE UNFAITHFUL:
Step up to the plate, and take responsibility. The affair will change your relationship. It can change it for good or for worse. Which way it goes from here depends on what you decide to do. …Do not minimize facts about the affair. That’s lying. Be utterly truthful. For example, if your spouse asks how long was the affair, and it was a year, don’t say it was 6 months long thinking somehow that will hurt your spouse less. It’s going to hurt them more, because you are lying when you claim to be telling the truth. They will find out!
TO THE BETRAYED:
Be careful with your reactions. Don’t do and say things in your anger that you can’t take back, which can cause deep wounds, drive your spouse away, and further damage your relationship. Don’t lose your dignity by lowering yourself, or embarrassing yourself. And by all means, don’t break the law. You will not feel better at all if you end up sitting in jail! We know you are deeply wounded, and we know what you are suffering is not fair, but inflicting more wounds is counterproductive to your own healing and well-being.
…Healing from affairs is a process. Lean into the pain, and go through it. Trying to bury it, skirt around it, or avoid the issues will keep you stuck, prolonging the agony. (Brian and Anne Bercht, From Beyondaffairs.com article, “9 Important Keys for Healing a Marriage After an Affair”)
• How does one rebuild trust in a marriage after an affair?
Very slowly, as the infidel proves himself or herself trustworthy repeatedly over time. We believe trust cannot be reestablished by only one person—it requires hard work by both husband and wife. That means the infidel will have to prove himself or herself over and over again. That means the spouse will have to be open to rebuilding the trust. However, trust does not require blinders. We don’t trust because we know what will or will not happen. We trust someone because we know choose to believe he or she will make the right choice.
What worked well for us was Gary’s willingness to be accountable for all things. Mona didn’t have to check on him; he initiated the contact and checked in. He avoided all situations that could have even a hint of deception, and thus Mona didn’t feel a need to monitor everything he did. The onus really seems to fall on the infidel here. This person sets the stage and the atmosphere. If he or she is willing to be open about activities, phone calls, travel plans, and to go out of the way to include a spouse in decisions, the spouse is able to relax. When the infidel is willing to be transparent, then both husband and wife can move through the slow yet rewarding process of rebuilding trust. (Gary and Mona Shriver, from the terrific book “Unfaithful”)
• What if my spouse won’t admit there’s a problem?
It is not necessary for your spouse to admit there is a problem for God to begin working. God does not allow these types of situations in our lives to bring problems to us, but rather to reveal problems in us. The healing process may well begin as we stop living to the demands of our spouse and begin looking to God for our peace and security. As we place our faith in God, in time He will reveal His truth to us. In the meantime, there are others who have been where you are now who can help you uncover the truth as well as provide their insight and support on how to survive the ordeal you are facing. (Affair Recovery Center web site at Affairrecovery.com)
• Many times people want to know the definition of betrayal.
To some, it is about having intercourse and other sexual contact with another person. With others, betrayal is more about one’s spouse feeling emotionally connected to someone else- late conversations of a personal nature with a co-worker, or an on-going, intimate friendship with another person. To others, it is secrecy. This may involve secret email accounts, cell phones, Internet behavior, or an unwillingness to share information about whereabouts, spending habits, or life plans.
The fact is, there is no universal definition of betrayal. When two people are married, they must care about each other’s feelings. They don’t always have to agree, but they must behave in ways that make the relationship feel safe. Therefore, if one person feels threatened or betrayed, his or her spouse must do some soul searching and change in ways to accommodate those feelings. In other words, betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. If you or your partner feel betrayed, you need to change what you’re doing to make the marriage work. (Michele Weiner-Davis, from article “Ten things You Need to Know About Affairs”)
• The first temptation of the abandoned person is to deny that abandonment has happened.
They hide their true feelings. Denial will not change the reality. We encourage you to feel your pain, to realize that every one of the emotions that surged through you in the first moments and every moment since then is a normal sensation. In fact, it would be abnormal not to feel those emotions. Be poised, not pathetic. It’s very different to say, I am a person and I have this problem than to say, I am a problem, and I’ve lost my personhood.
The goal is to be a poised person who says to himself or herself, I am a person who has a problem, but I’m going to work toward a solution. Maintain your dignity as a person —refusing to accept the negative messages that the circumstances may seem to be giving you (“you’re inadequate; you’re sexually deficient; you’re dumb”). Realize that these are false messages. (Mid-Life Dimensions, Midlife.com)
• Do not make a life altering decision while you are in the initial stages of surviving infidelity.
Even though it may feel as though there is no hope at all for your relationship, there may still be hope. Even though your spouse has done this awful thing, it is possible that he/she still loves you very much and perhaps you still love your spouse as well. …Many people have completely ended their relationships in the emotion of the moment, only to find themselves later in a 2nd marriage to someone who is 2nd best. Later both spouses realize that they both had actually loved each other more than anyone else and they could have worked it out, had they only tried. Don’t doom yourself to a future filled with “what ifs.” (Anne Bercht, from Beyondaffairs.com article “Ten Strategies for Surviving Infidelity”)
• Going through the aftermath of adultery is much like grieving the death of a loved one.
Whether or not you and your spouse reconcile, it is important for you to give yourself the right to grieve. You’ve been through a terrible betrayal. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You’ve been hurt and those feelings of betrayal and grief are normal and to be expected. However, it’s important that you take those feelings of hurt to the Lord and allow Him to minister to you and heal you. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit washes us with the water of the Word. The Bible is His Word. Begin to read it and allow the Lord to wash over you with healing for your emotions. (Jimmy Evans, from Growthtrac.com article “Surviving Adultery”)
• When surviving infidelity, give yourself permission to mourn.
Something has been stolen from you. You can never get it back. Something has been lost forever. You will never again be able to know that since your marriage you are the only one your husband/wife has ever been with. The most important promise, a vow, has been broken. Life will never be the same again. And it’s okay to cry about that. Then force yourself to get up, dress nicely and do something constructive every day. I know you don’t feel like it, but I’m cheering for you. You can conquer this great evil that seeks to destroy your entire existence. You’re surviving infidelity. (Anne Bercht, from Beyondaffairs.com article “Ten Strategies for Surviving Infidelity”)
• One of the first things an angry, grieving spouse wants is the guarantee that this will never happen again.
Often Christian spouses think that if they can just get their infidel partner to walk the aisle to the aisle to the altar, confess his sin in front of the congregation, read his Bible daily, or be convicted by the Holy Spirit or disciplined by the church, all will be well. But nothing could be further from the truth. Any or all of those practices might be appropriate, but none of them will provide the guarantee that the wounded spouse is looking for.
The closest thing to a guarantee that the infidel won’t stray again is for him to feel fully the pain that he has caused the wounded spouse. Let me underline this point: promises to “behave” won’t endure; neither will artificial boundaries such as a curfew each night after work.
The only lasting remedy is for the infidel to feel the agony he has caused his spouse.
If he truly loves his mate (and he usually does down deep; that’s why they got married and why he came back), that will hurt him so much that he won’t want to inflict more on his loved one.
But getting the infidel to experience the hurt of the spouse won’t happen immediately —it could take many months. Remember it will take as long to recover from the affair as it did for the infidelity partner to get involved in it. So allow some time for him to feel her pain. (From the book, Torn Asunder, by Dave Carder)
It Takes Time to Heal
• You will read over and over again that healing [after your spouse has committed adultery] took “time.” We all want to know just how long that time is. We have sat across from couples weary from the effort and battle, tears streaming down their faces, saying, “It’s been (insert specific time here). Isn’t that long enough?” The answer is “apparently not.” The length of your recovery and your spouse’s recovery cannot be predetermined —and most likely you will be on different time schedules. The realization that we were “fully healed” came as a surprise —a surprise that it had happened some time before.
We encourage you to give up any timetable you may have in your brain; it will only frustrate you and be detrimental to your healing. This is a marathon, not a sprint, a journey with many stops. Enjoy each small victory. Take a short holiday when you must and when you can. As long as either of you has a need to continue working, it’s not over. We can only encourage you with the fact that it is worth the journey. (Gary and Mona Shriver, from the book “Unfaithful”)
• You need to work through the reasons you made the choices to choose each other.
It’s important to figure out what you saw in each other that first attracted you to one another. As you work through that stuff, then you’ll rekindle some of that love and affection. Here’s what we say —If you can find 20% of your marital history at level 4 or 5 on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being high, you have better than a 93% chance of making your marriage better than it’s ever been in two years. (Dave Carder, on program for Family Life Today from series: Why do Affairs Happen? Broadcast Date: 04/25/06)
• As you and your mate restructure the intimacy in your marriage, realize that it’s going to be a two-steps-forward, one-step-backward process. Much turmoil will remain to be dealt with. Difficult days still lie ahead. But keep this thought firmly in mind: you are in the process of recovery. It won’t happen overnight; in an ultimate sense you’ll never be completely over the affair. Trauma always changes people, and it should. (From the book, Torn Asunder, by Dave Carder)
• Experts say that the healing process after a spouse has had an affair usually takes 3-5 years.
• The road to recovery is a zigzag, not a straight line.
At first, the bad days will definitely outnumber the good ones. In fact, there may not be any good days to speak of. But slowly, as you begin to talk and make sense of what happened, you will have your positive moments. Moments will turn into days. Then, you will actually have a stretch of a few good days at a time. Just when you start to get optimistic something will happen that will remind the spouse about the affair and bring back those unpleasant feelings. This rockiness and instability will occur for a very long time. You need to expect that. It doesn’t mean that this problem is insurmountable, it just means that this problem is on its way to being resolved. It happens slowly. (Michele Weiner Davis, “Divorce Recovery”)
We got so weary, feeling like we had done all we could do. We began to ask ourselves if maybe restoring our marriage was just too hard. Then the Lord would remind us that it was indeed too hard for us, but not for Him. He would renew our strength and guide our path; He reminded us of who he was. Some days all we could do was cry out to Him, but that was enough. He who created marriage is worthy of our commitment, and we can trust Him. He is faithful. If this sounds too simplistic, we suggest you sit at His feet in prayer, honestly state your feelings, and ask for His help. Then wait and see what He does. (Gary and Mona Shriver, from the book “Unfaithful.”)
• Adultery recovery is painful.
We believe —we know —that when we seek the Lord and walk this road with Him, there is hope. But the pain remains. Life becomes a roller-coaster ride. You feel as if you have climbed that first and highest hill, dangled over the edge until you think you’ll burst from the suspense, and then been propelled downward at a stomach-clenching rate of speed. All the while, you realize you have no power to control the fall. The pain accompanies you along the path, the highs and the lows. And just when you think you’ve reached the end of the ride, the whole new segment becomes visible. And unlike the roller-coaster ride, there is very little “thrill” to the process.
Most of us fully understand those who say they would give all they have to get off this ride. It affects you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A weariness previously unknown saps you of your strength. In this circumstance, we can come to understand Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
If there were only one thing we could say to you who are on this ride, it would be to ride it out.
Complete the journey. To jump off in the middle of the ride may feel better now, but in the long run you will find yourself on another ride just as terrifying and painful. (Gary and Mona Shriver, from the terrific book “Unfaithful”)
• For those who are going through the aftermath of finding out about a spouse’s adultery:
Our hearts break for you, and we want you to know there is hope. Marriages can heal. We know, because ours did. We know, because we’ve been able to support other couples facing this anguish. This will be one of the hardest things you will ever go through. It would have been far easier at the time for us to split up. And we would not have been condemned for doing so. That same thing is true for many others.
We know these words seem hard to believe. When you go through this crisis, you feel as if the weight of the world is pressing down on you. Then the fiery darts from hell come faster and faster, and your shield of faith seems to offer little protection. You are fighting for your marriage with every ounce of strength you can muster until you begin to fear you’re going to lose the battle. Remember, this is where Satan wants you, and he will be faithful to keep the burners on high. Why? He wants you to become another statistic. So let us repeat ourselves: You don’t have to give up! You can make it! (Gary and Mona Shriver, from the book “Unfaithful”)
• It sounds unnecessarily painful, like picking at a scab until it bleeds.
But according to a new online survey of more than 1,000 spouses whose partners have been unfaithful, the key to getting past an affair is talking about it at length, over time. Couples who do are “more likely to stay married and more likely to recover personally,” says Peggy Vaughan, author of Beyond Affairs and The Monogamy Myth.
“There’s no such thing as the one talk,” says Vaughan, who has studied extramarital affairs for 25 years. “There’s no quick fix. It is a long-term process.” (Smartmarriages® – Subject: How can you mend a broken vow? – 9/3/02)
• Avoid rapid-fire questioning.
Ask questions slowly, always asking yourself if the answer will be information you want to live with the rest of your life. (Rick Reynolds, from the Affairrecovery.com article, “How to Survive Infidelity”)
• When a person discovers their mate is having an affair, their world suddenly turns upside down. In order to recover any sense of balance, they need to get more information and understanding of the situation. Without answers to their questions, they convince themselves that the answers must all be bad; otherwise why wouldn’t they be told what they want to know. They feel they’re being treated like a child, and they resent it. While it’s important to get answers to your questions IF you ask questions, this does NOT mean you “should” ask questions unless/until you really want to know. It’s just that it’s essential to get answers if you DO ask.
…Each person needs to decide for themselves the timing of when/what/how much they want to know. (It’s important to determine that you really want the truth, and are not just hoping for some kind of reassurance or disclaimers.) For most people, “not knowing” is worst of all —because their imagination fills in the blanks and the wondering never ceases. (Peggy Vaughan, from the Beyondaffairs.com article, “The Need to Know”)
• To the person who had the affair:
If your spouse is the sort of person who requires lots of information in order to feel better about the affair, you should be honest. I know this is very difficult and you may be tempted to withhold information, thinking that you’re protecting your spouse. …Sometimes you’ll question whether sharing information is a good idea because your spouse reacts so badly to the things you’ve said. But if your spouse determines that the road to recovery is paved with brutal honesty, that’s the path you need to take no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
…Remember, healing is a process, not a quick fix. Just because your spouse was fine on Monday doesn’t mean s/he will be fine on Thursday. It also doesn’t mean that sharing information isn’t working. Some people think, “I told him/her what happened. If that was so useful, why is s/he still having a problem and needing to talk about it constantly? That’s just the way improvement happens … in waves. You need to continue to be forthcoming, from now until forever. (Michele Weiner Davis, “Divorce Recovery”)
Don’t Forget the Forgiveness Received
• I know a couple who came very close to divorcing. He had an affair and his wife had a hard time trusting him, especially if he was late for dinner or late coming home after work. Once when he was late, she accused him of seeing “her” again. He was about to defend himself and speak harsh words to her about “this never-ending mistrust.” But instead, he thought for a few seconds before opening his mouth and realized just how forgiving and loving she is to have stayed in the marriage. Then when he opened his mouth, he spoke words of kindness and love by saying, “Thank you for your commitment to me and forgiveness.
By questioning me now and then, it only proves to me how much you love me, and I’m so grateful to you!” When he started to react, he caught himself remembering what a great wife she is. That is James 1:19 in action [which says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”]. What a blessing to be able to respond to any situation with positive, uplifting words. This is truly a mark of maturity. Will you take responsibility for your words when you find yourself in a potentially explosive conflict? (Dr Gary Smalley)
• A recovery process must begin with a clean break from the partner.
All shared artifacts —pictures, mementos, and other physical representations of their history together —need to be expunged from the infidel’s life. This means the partners separate physically —move to different locations, change jobs, and so on. It certainly requires them to go to different churches. If such a decisive break is not made, the recovering infidel will struggle with the knowledge of the partner’s whereabouts and will be tempted to renew contact during the bouts of doubt and rejection by the spouse that occur in subsequent phases of recovery. (From the book, Torn Asunder, by Dave Carder)
• Shirley Glass (psychologist, author of the book, NOT Just Friends, and expert on infidelity) says it may sound zealous but the best way to insulate a marriage against infidelity is to maintain some boundaries with members of the opposite sex. “People very seldom expect it to happen to them,” she says. “They don’t expect to ever be in that position, but when they are, it’s a catastrophe.” (Staying in a Marriage Rocked by Straying -By Peter Jensen -The Baltimore Sun August 10, 2003)
• Let’s look at the biblical solution to staying pure.
There is only one: You better RUUUNNN!!! Your passport to purity is a simple formula: Purity = running feet! The solution to the temptation of sexual sin is a twofold mandate: First Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee immorality.” Get out of there and don’t sin in the first place.
Flee! Stay out of situations where trouble might find you. There is no other instruction. Just as God made only one way to Himself (through Jesus), and Christ reemphasized the point by saying spiritual birth must occur (“you must be born again”), it is also true of God’s instruction on how to handle sexual temptation. Run! Set your rules, etch them in stone, make sure you follow them, and then when temptation comes — scram! (Jay Carty, from a chapter he wrote in the book, Lovers for Life, compiled by Kenneth Musko and Janet Dixon)
• Realize the power of your eyes.
Your eyes, it’s been said, are the windows to your heart. Pull the shades down if you sense someone is pausing a little too long in front of your windows. Reserve that deep type of look for only one person [your spouse]. (Dennis Rainey, My Soapbox)
• Letting your eyes and heart wander. There’s an old song that said, “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. I keep my eyes wide open all the time. I keep the ends loose for the tie that binds. Because you’re mine, I walk the line.” You know that’s an old song, since the idea of loyalty doesn’t crop up in lyrics much anymore.
I’ve been around long enough to see how subtly the line between “friends” and “lovers” can be blurred. What begins as a pleasant friendship glides silently across the line. The only way to really avoid those boundary violations is to watch for the early warning signs. If you begin to notice that someone lights up your life a little too much, back off! If you find yourself looking forward to the next time you can be together, cancel it. (Louis McBurney, M.D., from an article titled, The Do’s and Don’ts of a Good Marriage)
• Regarding temptation:
I urge you to be wary of pride in your own infallibility. The minute you begin thinking that an affair “would never happen to me” is when you become most vulnerable. We are sexual creatures with powerful urges. We are also fallen beings with strong desires to do wrong. That is what temptation is all about. Do not give it a place in your life. My father once wrote, “Strong desire is like a powerful river. As long as it stays within the banks of God’s will, all will be proper and clean. But when it overflows those boundaries, devastation awaits downstream.”
Some time ago I discovered a little recognized, but universal, characteristic of human nature: We value that which we are fortunate to get; we discredit that with which we are stuck! Also, we lust for the very thing, which is beyond our grasp; we disdain that same item when it becomes a permanent possession. This helps explain the incredible power that the lure of infidelity can have on our behavior. Nevertheless, God promises to provide a “way out” of temptation if we will look for it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Keep looking for the way out and you’ll keep building up trust in your marriage. (Dr James Dobson, Five Essentials for Lifelong Intimacy)
• Flee from sexual immorality.
All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
• Make a pact with a friend of the same sex regarding purity and sexual fidelity to your spouse. Agree to share and ask questions regarding the details of relationships with members of the opposite sex apart from your spouse. Memorize a verse to recall in times of challenge. Recommendation: 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (From the book, Lasting Love…How to Avoid Marital Failure -by Alistair Begg, Moody Press)
• Safeguard your marriage.
If you take care of how things look, you’ll end up taking care of how things are. (Jerry Jenkins)
• An unaccountable man is an accident waiting to happen.
If you don’t have someone asking you after you go on a business trip, “How did you do?” you’re an accident waiting to happen. (Pastor Kevin Butcher)
• Psychologist Dave Carder, a family therapist in Fullerton, Calif., says business travelers “are on a slippery slope headed for trouble” any time they go out to an entertainment venue, drink alcohol, eat expensive meals together, have time “to build a social, platonic friendship” and return to the same hotel. “Secrecy is the protection; alcohol is the barrier buster; and availability lights the fire.” (Gary Stoller, from the article, Infidelity is in the Air for Road Warriors, USA TODAY – April 20, 2007)
• A recipe for adultery:
A man named BL, who was talking about how an adulterous relationship began said: “I just felt like I could talk so easily to her. I could share things with her. She was on my level; she could so easily comfort me. And then she was in a bad marriage, too.” Here’s what Dennis Rainey said: “Now there’s a recipe for adultery! I want to remind you of something. Before this man ever had a physical affair, it started out as an emotional affair. Little by little, he allowed his loyalties to his wife to erode, and his affections for her began to wander —which is why it’s critical that all of us guard against inappropriate conversations and emotional transparency with the opposite sex in the workplace.
Most husbands and wives are separate from each other for at least nine hours a day. Now that’s a huge chunk of time! One final thought. Why don’t you go on the offensive? Invest in your husband or wife. Nurture your affection and protect your marriage from harm. You can choose today to say, ‘No,’ to an emotional affair and say, ‘Yes!’ to your marriage.” (Dennis Rainey, Recipe for Adultery, Family Life Today Broadcast)
• Infidelity that is a three-legged stool.
It’s composed of childhood magic, adolescent sexuality, and adult mobility. Meaning that it’s a bubble experience, and the childhood magic stuff. You see a couple that are having an affair, you can see they’re in a bubble. They’re separated from the real world. There is that adolescent passion and feeling, and there’s that adult mobility —they can go anywhere that they want. They have discretionary funds they spend on each other. So it’s an artificial thing, but —I say to couples, most marriages need what most affairs are all about.
And by that I mean you need to build those three components into your marriage —the childhood magic stuff —just us in our little bubble away from all the responsibilities of life, away from all the responsibilities of the children and the career, the adolescent sexuality, the fun, the playfulness we had when we first got married, the passion we had before we were married. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. It was a constant struggle. And that adult mobility where you go your own separate ways, you take trips together, you do your own thing, and you really have a lot of fun doing it. BOTTOM LINE? Have an affair within your MARRIAGE [not outside of it —create the magic with your spouse]. (From Family Life Today interview with Dave Carder, “How Do I Rebuild Trust?”)
• 3 ways to escape sexual temptation:
(1) God offers only one solution to the problem of sexual temptation—don’t allow yourself to be tempted. Run, avoid, stay away, leave, flee, turn it off, don’t buy it, and get out of there. Beat feet when sexual temptation comes. Running is God’s only solution to dealing with sexual temptation. (2) Nobody can be trusted with sexual temptation. Pastors, counselors, neighbors, friends and relatives shouldn’t be trusted. Too much time in the wrong setting will cause anyone to fall to sexual sin. (3) Since you know you can’t be trusted, police yourself. Think through an evaluation of your high-risk areas and determine what you are going to do about them. (Excerpted from Counter Attack, by Jay Carty)
• The Bible tells us:
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15). Temptation, enticement, desire, sin, death … those are the steps infidelity takes. Because of that, we have to put boundaries in place that keep us from stepping into situations where temptation can take place. (Jill Savage, from article, “8 Safeguards Against Getting Too Close, Marriage Partnership Magazine, Summer 2006)
• If you want to know if you’re risking infidelity, tell your spouse the whole truth about the other relationship. If you find yourself wanting to “edit” the story, you know yourself that you’re playing with fire, even if you want to say you’re protecting the spouse. I agree that secrecy is a key feature of infidelity, so I’d suggest that either spouse has the right to ask and receive a complete and true answer to any question about anything at any time. (Mark Odell, PhD University of Nevada)
• The most important step you can take to affair-proof your marriage:
Improve the connection between you and your husband. Keeping fun and excitement in your marriage, praying daily for your marriage, and having close friends who are happily married are some of your best defenses against temptation. (The Walk Out Woman – by Dr Steve Stephens and Alice Gray)
• Remember, a thirty-five-year marriage does not guarantee a year number thirty-six. Take nothing for granted just because you have it today. (Jim Smoke)
• Don’t forget to nurture your marriage.
We can take a lesson on the way affairs happen by looking at King David. He put himself in the way of temptation when: (1) He chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. (2) He chose to be unaccountable. (3) He got proud and minimized the power of his flesh. (2 Samuel 5:10 and Deuteronomy 17:17) (4) He minimized the power of the enemy. (5) He stopped nurturing his marriage to Michel. (Chapter 6) (6) He wasn’t nurturing his own heart. (Pastor Kevin Butcher)
• Researcher Peggy Vaughan and William Harley Jr. have identified four specific things you can do as a couple now to prevent cheating later: —Talk about attractions —Commit to honesty —Make your spouse your favorite recreational companion —Spend time together, without children or friends, during the week. Watching TV and sleeping do not count as spending time together.
• To reconstruct the marriage:
Put up a wall with the affair partner, and put up a window inside the marriage. Answering a spouse’s questions about what happened in the affair is a way to reverse the process. It’s a matter of who’s on the inside and who’s on the outside? Sometimes people will open windows but not put up walls. Sometimes they put up walls but don’t open the windows. Unless you do both, you cannot rebuild safety and trust in the marriage. (Dr Shirley Glass, in the Growthtrac.com article “Shattered Walls”)
• For the betrayed:
God says that His ear is attentive to your cry, in other words, He will comfort you (Isaiah 66:13 / Psalm 34:15-18). To the one who betrayed, He says, “Repent and turn from your wicked ways, and I will restore you” (2 Chronicles 7:14 / Psalms 103:12).
Whatever you may be facing, turn to Him as you face it because nothing is impossible with God, and He always works on behalf of the person who is committed to Him and is trying to do the right thing.
Scriptures for healing your heart:
(Jimmy Evans, from Growthtrac.com article “Surviving Adultery” )