Infidelity, Lust, and Your Marriage
Updated: Feb 23, 2019
Whenever I speak to most couples about infidelity, most feel 100% positive they could "never do such a thing". No one, at least not yet, has come into my therapy room admitting they were intentionally hoping to break apart their marriage. It is devastating for both the offending and betrayed spouse. In most cases families experience many consequences such as financial hardship, separation, loss of employment, a child in distress, and at times physical altercations involving police. The emotional response after discovery is unpredictable, usually causing depression, anxiety, and or isolation from others. Couples suffer quietly in their relationships, unsure and ashamed to turn to someone for help. According to the Institute for Family Studies 13% of women and 20% of men report having sex outside of their marriage.
The cheating gap widens for genders with age. Men are observed to cheat more than woman as they age. Although everyone's story is different, there are some common experiences shared by those who are unfaithful.
Poor Boundaries- People with poor boundaries engage in activities that place their marriage at risk, such as confiding in the opposite sex about personal issues or problems in their marriage. Some people have lunch or go out for drinks with the opposite sex, engage with the opposite sex regularly on social media. These behaviors make the relationship vulnerable and open the doors for a friendship that can intensify, and satisfy an emotional need, that should only be met by our spouse.
Feeling Abandoned- Some people feel alone and isolated in their relationship. This can be due to a spouse who mostly focuses on self, typically a workaholic, ignores their spouse’s emotional needs. At times a wife or husband will feel overwhelmed with work or raising children all by themselves. In these instances the abandoned spouse is left vulnerable because they feel alone, without comfort, and unable to turn to their spouse for help.
Revenge- Some spouses are so disconnected from their relationship and are so hurt, that engaging in an extra marital affair is the self destructive choice of coping. Some spouses seek revenge rather than speaking up and taking an assertive stance to heal from the pain caused earlier in the relationship. The individual feels so hurt that they feel justified in engaging recklessly with the opposite sex.
Losing Interest In Your Spouse- Some experience a loss of interest in their spouse. We are aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly in our relationship. At times the grass may look greener on the side for some partners. In this instance your spouse just doesn't meet your expectations, and you have lost that desire to seek them out and enjoy their company. Individuals who lose interest tend to focus on self and lose sight about how intentional one must be to make their marriage flourish.
Our society normalizes, lust, pornography, the constant objectification of men and women. If the marriage is left unprotected, the security you feel will erode. Jesus said, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Mathew 5:28-29 KJV) You and your spouse are in a battle against the unhealthy relationship norms of this world. Our culture normalizes pornography, lusting after others, the objectification of women, and self indulgence at the expense of others. We are constantly bombarded with with messages and images that are not pro-marriage. Our marriage is so precious, we must guard it as such. This means there is no room for fooling around. Your spouse should be the only one that your body longs for. At what lengths will you go to protect your marriage? Jesus says to pluck out your right eye if need be. Protecting your marriage starts with a willingness to submit to God, and a desire to please Him. If your intention is to protect your marriage daily and abide in Christ, then you will be equipped for the battle. Here are some practical ways to keep healthy boundaries, and avoid opening doors to emotional or physical relationships outside your marriage.
1- Stop spending time with your flirtatious co-workers or engaging in flirtatious conversations. Avoid intimate or inappropriate conversation with the opposite sex. Are you willing to stop those flirtatious and unnecessary facebook comments and messages? Are you willing to stop fishing for compliments on social media?
2- Let go of resentments by working on them. Seek help from a pastor or a counselor. Begin to pray about resentments and ask the Lord to help you truly forgive.
3- Stop watching or listening to media that is negative and invites thoughts about reckless behavior or lust. This includes pornography, rap music or songs that encourage deceptive and inappropriate relationships. Instead renew your mind with positive messages and the word of God.
4- Seek your spouse out, ask about how they feel and what their needs are. Listen to your spouse’s concerns, and avoid minimizing their feelings, event if you don’t understand them.
5- Begin to express your core feelings instead of arguing. If you feel hurt say you are. If you feel scared, say you’re scare, or sad or disappointed. Put aside your pride.
Making a marriage work means you are getting active and are present in your relationship. It takes time and effort, but the rewards are beyond words! Are you willing to make the necessary and drastic changes to protect your marriage? Jesus asks this of us. If your heart is full of Jesus' love, then lust, resentment, anger, will be cast out. We must be willing to go above and beyond. If you feel your marriage is at risk, I want to invite you to pray and ask God to cast out lust, anger, and resentment from your heart, right now. My prayer is that you seek God first, and that you put everything on hold such as work, weekend fun, the kid’s activities, your phone, and make your marriage your top priority.