When you find yourself connecting with another person who starts becoming in even the smallest way a substitute for your marital partner, you’ve started traveling a dangerous road. That’s when avoiding emotional adultery is important, because that is the turn that is starting to take place. So, how do you protect yourself —and your marriage?
Here are some helpful principles:
1. Know your boundaries.
You should put fences around your heart and protect the sacred ground that is reserved only for your spouse. Barbara and I are careful to share our deepest feelings, needs, and difficulties only with each other and not with friends of the opposite sex.
2. Realize the power of the eyes.
They are the “windows of your soul.” Pull the shades down if you sense someone is pausing a little too long in front of those windows. It’s true that good eye contact is necessary for fruitful communication, but there is a deep type of look that must be reserved for only one person: your mate.
Frankly, I don’t trust myself. Some women may think I’m insecure because I don’t hold eye contact too long, but that’s not it at all. I simply don’t trust my humanity. I’ve seen what has happened to others, and I know it could happen to me.
3. Beware of isolation and concealment.
One strategy of the enemy is to isolate you from your spouse, by tempting you to keep secrets from your mate. Barbara and I both realize the danger of concealment in our marriage. We work hard at bringing things out into the open and discussing them. Our closets are empty.
4. Extinguish any chemical reactions that may have begun.
A friendship with the opposite sex that is beginning to meet needs your mate should be meeting must be ended quickly. A simple rule of chemistry is this: To stop a chemical reaction, remove one of the elements. It may be painful or embarrassing at first, but it isn’t as painful as suffering the results of temptation that has given birth to sin.
Ruth Senter wrote an article for Partnership Magazine entitled simply, “Rick.” It was an incredibly honest examination of a godly wife’s encounter and ensuing friendship with a Christian man she met in a graduate class. Her struggle and godly response to this temptation were graphically etched in a letter that ended that relationship. She wrote,
“Friendship is always going somewhere unless it’s dead. You and I both know where ours is going. When a relationship threatens the stability of commitments we’ve made to the people we value the most, it can no longer be.”
5. Ask God to remind you how important it is to fear Him.
The fear of God has turned me from many a temptation. it would be one thing if another person learned I had compromised my vows, but it’s quite another thing to realize that God’s throne would have a knowledge of my disloyalty to Barbara faster than the speed of light.
It has been said that a “secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven.” My Heavenly Father and my earthly father are there right now. Thinking of hurting them keeps me pure.
This article came from the book, Staying Close: Stopping the Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage by Dennis Rainey, published by Thomas Nelson Publishing. This book won the Gold Medallion Book Award in recognition of excellence in evangelical Christian literature. It’s highly recognized as being a powerful book for those who are married. It helps those of us who are married to learn how to pull together instead of drift apart.
— ALSO in AVOIDING PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL ADULTERY —
To read a related article on this subject, please click onto the link provided below to read:
To read another related article, please click onto the Crosswalk.com link below:
To better deal with emotional adultery issues, it’s important to answer the question, “Is another relationship betraying your spouse?” How can you recognize danger signs and what do you do to better guard your marriage? These are questions that Gary and Mona Shriver address in the Todayschristianwoman.com article:
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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