Adultery of the Mind – MM #35

Adultery of the mind - Pixabay young-man-1463299_1920In the Marriage Message before this one (#34), Cindy and I shared some thoughts on the topic of Marital Intimate Issues. Afterward, some men wrote to say they really liked the “sex is a type of worship” part. But as we said, “there is a right kind of worship and a wrong kind of worship.” This time we’d like to talk to men a little more in depth. It concerns adultery of the mind. We’d like to start out by posing two questions and ask you to pray about them:

1) Do I look pure on the outside to everyone else —but in reality have I merely settled on a middle ground somewhere between worldly standards and obedience to God’s standard?

2) Do I get any sexual gratification from anyone or anything other than my wife?

If you do, then you aren’t keeping yourself and your marriage bed “undefiled” as the Bible tells us to do. I don’t know one true Christ follower who doesn’t want to be a man of sexual integrity. Yet at the same time I believe most Christian men struggle greatly in this area of their lives, myself included.

Concerning Adultery of the Mind

My aim in this message is not to throw stones at you. It is to share a few pointers that have helped me and many men I know as well.

First, I had to personally come to realize that I cannot mix God’s standard for sexual integrity with my own. That is because mine will always fall short of God’s. It isn’t a matter of “what I can and can’t get away with” in what I allow my eyes and mind to focus on. Instead it is a matter of staying away from everything that even hints at being wrong.

Why even go there? What’s the point of “playing so close to the edge?” Is that kind of behavior something that would please God? Is it a place where God would want to go with you? Where there is too much confidence in your own strength as well as reckless regard for the consequences, a fall is very likely.

Obtaining even a hint of sexual gratification from a woman by writing to her, talking to her, viewing her in real life or in pictures, on the computer or any other form, is a form of adultery (see Ephesians 5:3-5). Ask yourself, would I do this if Jesus was with me in the room? And yes, if you are a child of God, He IS with you.

Adultery of the Mind and the Body

We’re told in God’s word:

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute (or a woman that you are viewing as if she were one)? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.‘” (1 Corinthians 6:15-16)

The Bible also tells us to flee from immorality (as the Bible says that Joseph did when tempted by Potifar’s wife). Plus, we’re told to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Anything or anyone that we allow for even a brief time to sexually entertain us, apart from our wife, that we don’t flee from, entangles us into sinning. And make no mistake about it, this type of sin is addicting. Experts say that it is “the fastest growing addiction in the world, and it is the addiction of choice among Christians.”

How tragic! It’s one of the reasons so many outside of the church point to us as a bunch of hypocrites. And it has to be angering and breaking the heart of God. As God’s children, we’re God’s Holy Temple, so whatever dirt we bring into our lives, we’re throwing at God as well.

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)

Normalizing Adultery of the Mind

So don’t try to normalize any sexual behavior that dishonors God and your wife. Don’t try justifying it as “harmless” or “only natural” or saying that it “isn’t a big deal.” It is a big deal. You give the enemy of our faith a foothold every time you entertain your sexual appetite apart from exclusively enjoying your wife.

I personally made the decision a number of years ago to flee from feeding this type of behavior. It’s a continual battle, but it’s worth it. For me, that means turning away from TV, media ads, and any images that are the least bit suggestive.

It means that I “starve” my eyes when I need to. Whenever a woman or an image of a woman begins to tempt me to think impure thoughts, I instantly remove my eyes away from it as many times as it takes until it is gone. It’s a matter of starving that which I don’t want to grow. I only want to feed that, which is beneficial to the health of my marriage and my spiritual life.

If I look like a fool to others, I don’t care. I’m not viewed as a fool to those most important to me. My God and my wife don’t see me as a fool when I do this. I came to realize that holiness and purity are achieved by a series of choices that I make every day.

For me, the choices that help me are (1) To set no vile thing before my eyes. (Psalm 101:3) Plus, (2) To put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. (Colossians 3:5-6)

Concerning Adultery of the Mind


I pray you will join me in making the choice to live according to God’s standards for purity.

  • Become accountable with another man whom you can trust to hold your feet to the fire over this serious matter.
  • Search for the help God can bring your way for a “way of escape” when you are faced with temptation.
  • Please take advantage of that, which we offer on this web site. We have many web site links and recommended resources that could greatly help you win this battle.
  • And above all else, pray for purity as David did in Psalm 51:10. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Women, Concerning Adultery of the Mind:

I (Cindy) want to add something to help you as well. I urge you to follow the advice of Laura Hall, who wrote the book, An Affair of the Mind… One Woman’s Courageous Battle to Salvage Her Family from the Devastation of Pornography. In it she said:

“Don’t condemn yourself. A husband will work hard at convincing his wife and others that the addiction [to pornography] is her fault. He does this to lessen his own guilt. But don’t subscribe to such thinking. Beating yourself up is nonproductive and pointless. It also invites self-pity and therefore sin.”

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus(Romans 8:1).

As authors Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus says in their book, “Intimate Issues”:

“God doesn’t want us to condemn ourselves. Neither does He want us to deceive ourselves into thinking we’re perfect. We should always be open to correction and change, but God’s way of achieving transformation is through LOVING instruction, not brutal condemnation.

“How are you doing with the battle in your mind? Are you refusing to ‘compare’ and ‘condemn?’ Are you thinking right? If so, you’re free to begin ‘doing.’ The first item on the ‘to do list’ is to increase your understanding and its dangers.”

Husbands and Wives, Concerning Adultery of the Mind:

We pray you will flee from sexual temptation and sin. Do what you can to sexually enjoy each other only. Plus, refrain from even the “appearance of evil” and educate yourselves on these matters. Do it for your sakes. And also do it to someday help to educate your children before their minds become exposed to things that can draw them into such addictions that can ruin their lives and marriages.

Steve and Cindy Wright

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30 responses to “Adultery of the Mind – MM #35

  1. (DEUTSCHLAND)  I browse and saw you website and I found it very interesting.Thank you for the good work, greetingso

  2. (RSA)  I have been involved with a man that divorced his wife because he has been unhappy for a few years. We have been friends for a while before the divorce but I am honestly not the cause of the break-up. I have suffered a lot since and then because I was blamed for the break-up. The ONLY thing we did wrong was to move in together, only because at the time he did not have a place to stay for a number of reasons.

    We connected to a church where nobody judged us but only tried to encourage us to do what was right. We have been on the ‘road’ again striving to serve God and because we want to do what is right, will be getting married now. We are expecting a baby and we are so very very happy. We want to make right what we doing wrong so we refuse to live together while not being married. We have also been attending marital counseling for a few months now. PLEASE GIVE YOUR HONEST INPUT OR ANY QUESTIONS & I WILL REPLY WITH AN OPEN MIND.

    1. (CAMEROON) To ANGEL, first, what made him divorce His wife, being unhappiness, is not the only reason for Him to do that. He wasn’t interested in his wife any longer because you were around. He had seen that to have you in the house, the only way was to divorce the wife, which was the second thing. The time you spent with him spoke lots of things in his mind, that he knew he would go far in his desire to have sex with you, since you were young, dynamic and sexually active. Also, your manner of dressing also aroused him. I don’t say that you shouldn’t dress decently (the advice is, watch out how you dress when you’re with men who have wives), but this caused him to grow in his desire for you. During the time of blame, how was he counseling you? It was not to think about what others were saying, right? Him moving in with you, has been his heart’s desire harnessed long ago, when you were hanging out together.

      When the church said you should do what is right, what did they really say you should do, which the Bible says in Mark 10:2-12, Matt. 5:31-32? Were these passages given to you, even during your counseling sessions? The truth is that, as a Christian, during the time of divorce, you had a great rule to bring the man to the understanding of loving his wife again. He had just lost that. But with you moving in with Him, you took part in the divorce, as Rose said. The manner he won you to him, is the same he needed to win himself back to his wife.

      Without going further, I would like to ask if this man was a real Christian, or a churchgoer? If a Christian, where were his ethics to manhood in marriage kept? And what did he think before making the decision he took? I want you to know something. One day he’ll get tired of you and leave you alone for another girl, if not for his wife. Don’t you think that what he did to his wife won’t happen to you? My dear, reflect in the mirror of the word of God, for direction to do what he wants you to do. There’s a lot you can do for God. That’s not your man. One thing also, when the devil sees a bright future God has planned for you, he wants to steal it. You should know that he has just done that.

      But to get where you should be, you need to now sacrifice more than ever to reach where you were before. You can continue again in the plan of God for your life. That was maybe a test for you (the man allowed the devil to control his emotions and not God to do it for him). But you let the devil have victory in one area of your life. Being a mother is not a day’s issue. It’s sacrifice. Mother’s know that it’s not easy; they know more. You really need God’s help for movement in the Christian race. The Holy Spirit is in control. If you’re already married, I don’t know what to say, but pray to God, the Holy Spirit who lives in you, to will and to help you on the next step to take. If not, then thank God he has been working something new in your life. But you need lot more. Bible study, prayers and counseling will help you to the point where this disaster started, and with the ambition you would have, you will reach you expected end. Think about the other woman in your place. What would you do if this happened to you? What would you do to the new woman?

      There is one thing I would like you to be proud of when you die. Just to say like Jesus, with great joy, “it’s finished.” The Christian race is not a race of water, food, or of nice things. It’s a road of the thick and thins in life. But after passing the test of life, the Bible says we will receive a crown of life, which never fades away (James 1:12). Dear Angel, the ball is left in your court. Now it’s time for the game. You have to play. In order to win it, you need great sacrifice until the referee says time’s up. Do you best, leave the results to God. Do what is right before the eyes of God, not men. Listen to the Holy Spirit in You. He’s the Great Comforter Jesus gave us, and a great Counselor. God bless you in your decisions (make wise decisions; for the quality of your life reveals the quality of God’s word in you). It’s not too late, and it’s not over until God says it’s over. God is faithful and He won’t give to you more than what you can bear.

  3. (S. AFRICA)  Dear Angel, You have asked for an honest input so here is what I have to say. I am the wife suffering at the moment "because my husband is supposedly unhappy in this marriage" and has moved out to think??? Another women like you stepped in "as a friend" to him and there is now talk of a divorce from me and marriage to her.

    The only thing you did wrong you say was to move in together – Oh Boy!! Sorry to say, but you Knew he was married at the time and should have sent him straight back to live with his wife. This was a very big mistake and I am sorry but you are very much partly to blame for his divorce. You say you both joined a church and were encouraged to do "what was right" What advice did the church give you and did you embrace it? You now say you are expecting his baby and still have to get married.

    I am sorry if I am coming across too strongly but I am hurting so badly at the moment because of the consequences such as the above. My heart bleeds for his ex-wife. I know what she must be going through.

    I am not here to judge but I fear for you. What you both did was wrong in Gods eyes. The only way you can make right is to repent. He needs to go back to his wife and you need to draw on Gods love, strength and forgiveness and move on. You are God’s child and he loves you. What he did to his first wife is a strong indication as to what he is likely to do to you.

    Thank you for your honesty. Maybe I am not thinking clearly because I am hurting so much at the moment. I would love a reply from you and will endeavor to understand from "the other woman’s" point of view.

    Remember when you take your marriage vows you will have to hear the words "those that are joined together before God LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER."

  4. (USA)  Steve and Cindy, Your reading list has been helpful to thousands who have struggled with the issue of sexual sin in their marriage. May I suggest two other books that have been updated to reflect the struggles of the 21st century? "Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction" by Mark Laaser is a rewrite of his intuitive book first written in 1992. and "Shattered Vows" by Deb Laaser is still very new to the marketplace but is a must read for any wife who is dealing with an unfaithful husband.

  5. (AUSTRALIA)  Steve and Cindy – Thank you for your wisdom and insight to such relevant marital issues. I appreciate your work in the ministry!

    I’m an almost 47-year old woman, married 17 years, 3 kids (6 to 12), and at the moment we are living in a bungalow while building a house, so there is really no privacy. I hope you will be addressing wives of husbands who don’t seem interested in physical intimacy because that’s what I’m dealing with, so ultimately I have continual mind issues. I appreciate therefore what Steve said about making choices to not put vile things in front of our eyes, and to put to death sexual immorality and lust, etc. I pray constantly to have a pure thought life, but it’s not easy!

    There are several factors that keep us from being intimate more than once a month, maybe – tiredness, lack of privacy, physical discomfort – and it’s all on my husband’s side, and I can get frustrated with this lack of intimacy and can take it personally. It gets to the point that I won’t go to bed until he’s asleep so I won’t get rejected and disappointed.
    I guess I need some encouragement and ideas on how to discuss this with my husband, how to voice my concern and needs, without making him feel threatened, and what to do on my part to stay pure. Thanks and God bless.

  6. (USA) Thank you for your kind comments. I’m so sorry to read of the sexual problems you’re having in your marriage. What you are suffering from is actually happening in more homes than the media lets on. I can only imagine how very difficult this must be for you. My heart is with you on this.

    I encourage you to check out the article “When the Husband Has a Low Sex Drive” posted in the Sexual Issues section. I pray you find help for your marriage relationship as you pray through and read the article as well as the linked articles that are also included. No matter what, I pray you will guard your heart and won’t allow your husbands unresponsiveness, to be a green light to lower your guard, thus, lowering your Christian standards. God will bless you in other ways for your sufferings. I’ve seen this time and again.

  7. (RSA)  To Jan of Australia, I pray that Jehovah will give you the strength to pull through this one. I am a 37 year old woman (been married 16 years) and 5 years ago I experienced a time in our marriage when my husband was simply not interested or too tired. He was hardly at home as his job involved a lot of traveling and he only spent a week — just a weekend at home every 30 days. To my surprise, the few days he was at home, he preferred to sleep on the couch and catch up on all the soccer matches showing on TV instead of coming to bed with me. Any attempts I made at discussing the issue, he merely brushed off as the usual ‘nagging’.

    Although Steve was addressing the men, when he spoke about making a choice to ‘flee from sexual immorality’, I found myself in a situation where I had to make a personal commitment to run away from tempting situations which surrounded me in my daily activities and work. I confided in my prayer partner (who is also my sister in law and sister in Christ) and we prayed about it regularly. I found it very embarrassing to tell my pastor that I was struggling with impure thoughts, but I guess the Holy Spirit gave him an idea what to pray about concerning me. So Jan, I sincerely pray that God will bring people in your life who are willing to pray with you through this one. The battle is easier when you are accountable to someone else.

    Thanks Steve & Cindy, your website has been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to me. Be blessed!

    1. (ZAMBIA)  Dear Steve and Cindy, I relate to what Jan and Nyaradzo have written. I have a similar situation where I know that my husband loves me a lot and I love him so much as well. However, I have a very high libido which he doesn’t have and It is very frustrating. What makes it worse is that in both my social and work environment I have so many suitors which makes it a challenge to keep my mind straight.

      However, to date, though temtations are high, by the Grace of God I have not had an affair. I try not to encourage these men in any way, and again thank God for the love I have for my husband, which helps me have the will to fend them off. I can only pray that God keeps me this way as it is getting harder to stay on course without the ‘support’ referred to in 1 Cor of not keeping away from each other so as to avoid temptation.

      I usually look for practical ways of fighting off temptation and focusing my mind on God. But one thing I find is most articles are written for men with the assumption that they are the most tempted. As much as women are able to fight longer, there is a fast rise in affairs involving married women and therefore we need more and more articles that relate to us. We are not perfect and for different reasons or excuses also get tempted. In my discussions with friends, temptations discussed include those as a result of low sexual activity in a home, and just a need to still feel attractive even after having kids or being married a long time or whatever the reason like a wondering mind.

      I like your articles but please also write more on practical ways for women to keep temptation away and keep you mind on your marriage even where the man is not intimately lively or one just has temptations.

  8. (KENYA) Dear Steve and Cindy, Thank you for all the work you’re doing. It’s a real blessing in my life, and my friends’ lives. I always share the information I get from your newsletter and website. May God continue to add to you His blessings each day.

    To the wives and husbands hurting because of unfaithfulness, or divorce: only God can grant them the wisdom to make the right choices, and the peace to go thru these difficult times. I hope they will get wise counselors who will guide them thru these circumstances. Thanks, God bless you

  9. (KENYA) Cindy & Steve, I just want to say thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. I got married last December and before that, me and my wife were virgins. We knew nothing at all concerning sex in the marriage. We have read most of the articles posted in your website on this topic and now I must confess, we have learnt a lot. I believe there are more people who need this kind of information out there. One thing that is so true is that there is a lot of cheating and immorality in the society right now than it was in the past (if not why is HIV killing spouses?). What I have learnt here I will strive to make it available to other young married couples. Once again thank you and may God bless you.

  10. (ZIMBABWE) Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus to you Cindy and Steve. I would like to express my profound thanks and appreciation for the articles on your website. They are really very beneficial and touche on practical issues that really separate people from the Lord. Sin of the mind is truly prevalent in most people who outwardly seem to be very holy. Please keep up the good work. I will try my level best to practice and spread what I read from your site. God bless you.

  11. (KENYA) Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the brain child of Marriage Missions. To say the least, this program has lifted my soul and changed my marital relationship from worse to better. Keep it up and alive and may God enrich your strength to higher levels. Please continue praying for us for total change because I am a victim of the worst betrayal.

  12. (South Africa) Thanks so much for this message. I want to acknowledge the truth of it as something I have myself suffered almost 10 years ago and the consequences of which I still grapple with now. I was doing the right thing, a physician going beyond the call of duty to care for a childless couple. I soon started visiting them at home, in all honesty trying to keep them together, since the tensions became a considerable strain to the relationship. I had become a friend of the family and doing a Christian duty… that was what I told myself. This blinded me completely and it took very little time for me to fall into a well knit trap.

    Yes, no man is so strong that he can not benefit from a healthy dose of caution in these matters. The evil one is constantly on the look out for such occassions to create scandal knowing this will harm person and faith. For me, it took 8 years and an angel (who became my wife last year) to bring me back to full communion with catholic church to which I belong.

    Please keep this mission going. It is far far more important than you can ever imagine. The addiction of choice which you refer to, is indeed a horrible cancer. We have a right to chose to use condoms because it is better than hiv spreading, to excuse abortion because the pregnant is a child or victim of a rape, to allow divorce because the world is indifferent, to legalize homosexual marriages because it is xenophobic to disallow it, to fund embryonic stem cell research because it has the potential to cure cancer etc etc. The devil continues to point to the apple of censure as the route to life… and too many of us fall headlong into it. If you can keep me, and people like me from such foolish acts in exercise of a false freedom, you would be doing a great great work. God bless you dearly.

  13. (UNITED STATES)  I don’t know what to do about my husband not wanting to have sex with me, but he will masturbate 3 or 4 times per week. He’s been doing this since we married 35 yrs ago. I’ve turned into a bitter, unhappy, angry woman and I don’t want to be. He says he loves me, but how can someone love someone and cause them such heartache? I begged for sex for 30 yrs and finally gave up. Seems like once a year I fall apart over it and go through the pain and hurt all over again. I feel like I am nothing and only being 54 yrs old, I’m not looking forward to the future.

    I know he doesn’t have pornography in the house, but I don’t know who or what he is thinking about while denying me. My heart hurts so bad I want to die. I am not able to make a living by myself or I’d tell him to leave. I feel so trapped and know that the rest of my life will be spent with pain and hurt. I pray and cry constantly for God to help me.

    1. (NIGERIA)  Dear Wanda, I want you to change your prayer point, and tell God to reveal everything behind your husband’s behavior and actions and you will then know the kind of prayer to render to God. This will help you so as not to pray amiss.

    2. (UNITED STATES)  Wanda, I see that you post is very old, but I’d like to answer it anyway. You deserve better. You have to know this. Ask him to go to counseling with you. If he will not go, go alone. God Bless.