I recently read the story of a man who received oral gratification from a random woman at a party. His response when asked why he didn’t share it with his wife was, “I didn’t think it was cheating”. So with ignorance of this caliber, let’s create some parameters, some guidelines, and some things to avoid:
- Avoid any form of physical touch beyond a friendly distanced hug or handshake. When private parts are exposed and fondled in any way, you are officially cheating.
- Avoid relationships you look forward to more than being with your spouse. I’m not talking about the night out with the fellas or ladies day. I’m not even speaking of dangerous liaisons where you plan to have a sneaky rendezvous of some sort. I’m speaking of that daily meeting you find yourself looking forward to, the response you get from ordering his special coffee each day because you were getting yours anyway. Intelligent adults can recognize the warning signs when you take the time to think about it.
- Avoid anything you wouldn’t do in front of your spouse. The flirtation, the compliments even some of the playful banter. I’m sure this wonderfully wise young man who “didn’t think it was cheating” would never participate in his escapade in front of the wife he claims to love so much.
- Avoid situations you begin to make excuses for. When people notice and begin to call you names like “work spouse” or “husband and wife” it is time to make some change. If you find yourself doing things for that individual that you only do for your spouse, there is a breach.
Why so extreme you ask? Extramarital affairs are one of the top reasons for divorce among married couples. It is a violation of the marital bond and leaves painful reminders of some level of failure in the relationship. Many people internalize extramarital affairs. Whether it is the perpetrator or the victim, there is often some level of blame placed on both by both. Sadly extramarital affairs are truly the enemy’s number one way to destroy the bond that can put him to flight. The Bible frequently addresses the power in two (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12; Matthew 18:19-20). When a marriage is torn apart the enemy realizes we sacrifice some of the power we hold.
Sadly, the parameters of an affair have changed so often that the definition has become obscure to say the least. Some define it as any romantic or sexual encounter with someone other than one’s spouse. Others define it as sexual intercourse with someone other than one’s spouse. With this variance it is difficult to recognize whether your side relationship is a full blown affair or a dangerous tightrope walk of temptation waiting to become a full blown affair.
Recognize extramarital affairs have been happening since the beginning of time and the enemy continues to use this trick because “IT STILL WORKS”. Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them until it does. The warning is: remember affairs hurt all involved. There is no win and everyone loses. When you find yourself in the midst or even just getting close to the fire RUN. The Bible reminds us’ “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. James 4:7
Be proactive about saving your marriage
- Cut off all contact to this individual.
- Seek counseling for you individually and for you as a couple to figure out where the root originates.
- Find an accountability partner
- Think through the future. Think about the pain this will cause your spouse, your children, the extended family, the church, and any relationships that has anything to do with you and your spouse. Sometimes we underestimate the pain affairs inflict on others. Think about it before you go there.
- Think about the pain inflicted on your savior and the bruising of your witness that will result.
- Finally think about Tyler Perry’s 80/20 rule. Your spouse provides 80% of what you need and want. The affair provides about 20%. Who in their right mind would you risk losing 80% simply to gain 20?
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”.
Ephesians 5:33, New King James Version