The news loves stories about affairs. There is always something about the politician, the superstar, or the infamous athlete who cheated on their spouse. While I watching the news one day, someone next to me responded to one of these types of stories with a nonchalant, “Affairs just happen.”
I don’t agree with the idea that affairs are accidental. While there are few that purposely make the decision to be unfaithful, the majority that commit an affair are guilty of failing to protect their marriage. Affairs don’t just happen. They are cultivated; they are given opportunities to solidify.
There are some ways that people encourage affairs:
#1- Daydreaming about someone who isn’t your spouse
2 Corinthians 10:5 says to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” How often do you capture your thoughts? It’s easy to let your mind wander on the possibilities of other romantic and sexual partners, but those thoughts are dangerous. Every action begins with a thought. The more you think about someone other than your spouse, the more likely you are to invite sinful behavior. Fantasies may be thrilling, but they’re damaging. Even though you aren’t acting on your thoughts, you’re still weakening your marriage, and you’re giving Satan a foothold to play with.
#2- Creating intimacy with the opposite sex
Sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone else about how you feel, what you’re going through, and what’s on your heart. But just because it’s easier, doesn’t mean it’s better. Emotional and spiritual intimacy should be present in community groups and with friends, but even more so, it should be present in your marriage. Creating a strong emotional bond with someone who isn’t your spouse can open up the pathway to an affair. Don’t let any friendship be more intimate than your friendship with your spouse. Talk about intimate things with others who are of the same gender you are.
#3- Failure to pursue your spouse
Marriage is hard, no matter who you’re married to. The idea that you married the wrong person and it would be easier if you had married someone else is ridiculous. But we want that infatuation high; the feeling that this is the person you care about more than anyone, and they feel the same about you. That passionate, romantic feeling is still hiding in your marriage somewhere. Bring it out. Pursue your spouse with romance, affection, consideration, and friendship. It won’t be easy all the time, and you may get rejected quite a few times before making any progress, but it’s worth it.
I have no intentions of pointing my finger at those who have had affairs and declare them guilty; the Lord is the final Judge, not myself. (And the process of forgiving those who have sinned against you with affairs is a topic for another time.) I write this not to make anyone feel guilty, but to make people think about how their actions with the opposite sex affects their marriage. Affairs don’t accidentally appear, they slip in through the unguarded back door. Take extra precautions to safe guard your marriage. It’s worth it.