It breaks my heart that people today don’t think much of marriage. Mainstream culture today see marriage as “old-fashioned” and “unnecessary.” Men and women see no problems with sexual relations outside of the marriage relationship. As a result, affairs are rampant and couples even get to a point of indifference, where they simply don’t care if their spouse is sleeping around.
Marriage has become a social, rather than a spiritual responsibility. Husbands and wives simply stay together nowadays for “the kid’s sake.” (As if divorcing after the children are grown makes it easier on them) And as a result, we see or hear of affairs often.
It’s unfortunate but almost everyone knows of someone who’s had or has been a victim of an affair. Maybe you’re the one reeling from it or the one that committed it. If so, I have a few words before we discuss the simple steps to an affair-free marriage.
First of all, you must confess your sin (if you’re the offender). You must confess it to God and your spouse and maybe even your children (depending on their age, of course). You have no right to act so selfishly and foolishly, regardless of how you think your spouse treated you. Your actions did not just affect you and the effects will last for quite some time.
If you’re the victim of an affair, this may be hard, but I want to encourage you to hear the confession and offer forgiveness. Be honest. Be loving. Communicate how you’ve been hurt but also provide instructions on how your trust can be earned back. It won’t happen overnight. But with God’s help, you can restore your marriage.
Second of all, this is not an article meant to bash people who have been in an affair or been divorced. Before you become protective over someone who has been involved in an affair (as a perpetrator or a victim), show them this article and ask, “Could these have helped?” The people who have been affected by affairs will be the first ones to encourage all of us to take the necessary steps to protect our marriages. They know the pain and have experienced the hurt. It is not their desire for anyone else to go through what they went through.
And finally, this is not an all-inclusive list. I am not a marriage expert. I simply have a passion for marriage and will do all that I can to help anyone who wants to strengthen or save their marriage. These steps are based on Scripture and the godly counsel and examples I have observed in my life. So, here it goes.
Step 1: Thank God For Your Spouse and Show Your Appreciation Daily
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… – James 1:17
One of the biggest problems in America today is that we often pine for that which we do not have. Someone once said that contentment is not having what you want but being thankful for what you have.
Stop wondering what life would be like if you would’ve married your high school or college girlfriend or boyfriend! (i.e. the Facebook Romance) Stop fantasizing about that actor or co-worker. The one that should fill your thoughts, excite your heart, and turn you on should be your spouse. Think about it, he/she is God’s gift to you!
One way to be thankful for your spouse is to show your appreciation daily. Don’t just say “thank you” but show it, too, through your actions. It’ll keep you from coveting someone else.
Step 2: Avoid Being Alone with a Person of the Opposite Sex
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? – Proverbs 6:27
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband:and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. – 1 Corinthians 7:4
No offense, but people who’ve had affairs often thought, “This is no big deal. I can handle it!” Newsflash – you can’t! If we play with fire, we will get burned.
The sexual desires we are created with are God’s gifts for our marriage. That’s why He says in Hebrews 13, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled…” The intimacy that should exist between a man and a woman is created for those in a marriage relationship. That is why guilt and misery accompanies premarital or extramarital affairs. There’s no joy or happiness, only deceit and eventual despair. And forget about earning trust. If you’re relationship started out as a lie, what kind of foundation is that? But I digress from the point.
Men and women have a mutual dependency upon each other on various levels (spiritual, emotional, physical, etc.) Those dependencies are to be met, again, within the confines of marriage. Unfortunately, these dependencies also draw men and women together.
It begins with, “I’m glad you understand because my wife sure doesn’t” or “Why can’t my husband be more caring and concerned like you?” And before you know it, you’ve let go of that which is good and now are giving the appearance of evil. You’ve decided to pick up that “fire.”
You also have given someone else power over your mind, emotion, and body, which rightly belongs to your spouse. All of a sudden you notice things you thought you were missing in your marriage and find it in this person. The conversation and companionship alone with each other has moved you away from appreciating God’s gift to you – your spouse!
I know what most are thinking, “It’s not that big a deal!” May I remind you? That’s how it starts. Just ask those who’ve been down this destructive path before.
Step 3: Watch Your Eyes
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes… – Psalm 101:3
…and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon… 2 Samuel 11:2
You can only control, to a certain degree, what is set before your eyes. In today’s society, where sexuality is flaunted, it is hard to “unsee” what’s all over the place. But you can choose not to look again. That’s what got King David in trouble. He knew about Bathsheba. He saw her and he kept watching to a point where he began to desire her. By the way, what happens to David also happens to those who view pornography. They begin to desire who they’re watching or at the very least, seek to imitate in their spouse what they’ve observed through pornography and it never ends well.
Also, husbands, when speaking to a woman, it is best to make eye contact. Don’t let your eyes wander. Her body isn’t meant for your pleasure. Remember, we’re stimulated by sight. But wives, even though sight is not your primary stimulant, follow the same practice anyway. And though this will be further discussed later, please ladies, keep your hands to yourself.
(to be continued)