The 7th commandment says in Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.” For some of you, reading that verse hurt because you’ve already crashed and burned on it. Others of you may not even realize how close you may have come. Jesus took it a step further in Matthew 5:27-28 when He said, “You have heard it said ‘You shall not commit adultery’, but I say to you, whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.”
Jesus knows where adultery begins. It’s the same place murder begins (or any sin for that matter)…in the heart. I want to take you through the “7 Myths About Affairs” and then the “12 Step Affair Process”. I’ll be open about my own experiences with this subject.
7 Myths about Extramarital Affairs:
1. Everybody is doing it.
Read 2 Timothy 2:22. You may want to focus on “flee” and “along with those.” Flee” means to run away from something. It’s not a casual walking away. If you don’t flee, you will have time to talk yourself into staying. May I suggest you be careful with what you watch on TV or what you read? Most shows and books today don’t see this as sin. If your favorite shows or books portray sex in an ungodly way, it’s time to let them go. I know it’s hard to do. I’ve been there. “Along with those” shows us that there are others pursuing righteousness. You’re in good company. Not everybody is doing it. There are many who are pursuing godly lives.
2. It will be good for our relationship.
Read Proverbs 6:26, 32. This goes for pornography too. I know. I’ve been there too. We had this issue early in our marriage. I’m so thankful God has redeemed that for us. Many men have this struggle and it begins early, sometimes even as a child. It’s very difficult to break this habit, especially since it is available at the click of a button. I prayed that God would take this struggle away from my husband and I am thankful that he was faithful. But just a few summers ago, Satan tried to tempt me with it. Yes, me. We were staying at a hotel during our family vacation. My girls had a pull out couch to sleep on. When I pulled it out the first night, I saw some “not so appropriate” magazines under it. It took me a minute to realize what I was seeing. Thankfully my girls didn’t see them. I got a trash bag and went to throw the magazines away outside our room. (Yes we got clean sheets and a nice discount.) But, while I was walking down the hall to throw the magazines away, Satan stepped in, “Go ahead and take a look. There’s some stuff in there that will help you to please your husband more.” Help me? It’s just like Satan to throw in a little truth with his big fat lie. I’m sure the magazines would have plenty of “tips” but this is not the way I needed to get educated. I immediately got mad and started fighting back with scripture – out loud so Satan could hear me! “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes . . . a perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil” Psalm 101:3-4. I said it over and over as I walked down the hall. It worked. Please hear me, you don’t need “extras” to enhance your sex life. You need the One Who created it.
3. If you truly love your spouse, there’s no way you could be involved with someone else.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:12. Pride comes before the fall. It can happen to anyone! Both of my parents had affairs, so I determined that it would never happen to me. I was too smart for that. I would love my husband and never do anything stupid to mess up our marriage. See, I thought I had the power. Wrong! We are nothing without Jesus! Listed out for you below is the 12 Step Affair Process. More than 15 years ago I almost made it to #6 in a friendship with someone of the opposite sex and didn’t even realize it. I thought I was still “safe.” My husband was not comfortable with the friendship. He didn’t have a good feeling about it. I thought he was just being paranoid. He showed me a sheet that had the 12 step process on it (he had just gone to a conference on this). I really didn’t know what to say so I said nothing. The next day, the friend asked to meet me at a more private location to talk. That was step 6. My spirit quickened. Thank God my eyes were opened to what was really happening. It was time for me to jump off this ladder. If you see yourself anywhere on this ladder, even if it is #1, FLEE! That’s been my goal ever since. Do whatever you have to do to get out of the situation. Satan has a well-thought out plan and he is very patient to see it through. Don’t give him the opportunity.
4. It’s my spouse’s responsibility.
Read 1 Corinthians 7:3,5. You are responsible for you. You can’t solely blame your spouse if you’re not satisfied. You have to communicate. First communicate with God about it. Then go to your spouse. If your spouse doesn’t respond, stick closer than ever to God. He alone can fill the longings of your heart.
5. The other person is sexier than my spouse.
Read Proverbs 5:15, 18. This verse was directed to men, but we get the point. You better “drink from your own cistern”. “Sexy” is a state of mind. If you don’t see your spouse as sexy, PRAY TO. Let God show you what sexy is. The world has us all messed up on that one!
6. Pretending not to know is healthier.
Read James 5:16. Pretending anything is not good. Satan loves things that are kept in the dark. There is healing in The Light. Get things out in the open. Go see a christian counselor.
7. The marriage is over.
Read Luke 1:37. There are many couples who have chosen to restore their marriage after an affair. It’s not easy. There’s a lot of work to do and a lot of feelings to sort through. Nothing is impossible with God. No word of His will ever fail.
Next is the 12 Step Affair Process. Try to visualize each step as a step on a ladder. The higher the climb, the harder the fall. (Of course Jesus says to stay away from the first step.)
The 12 Step Affair Process
1. Readiness – Selfishness is present in the marriage – Needs are not being met
2. Alertness – A growing awareness of a particular person – Begin wondering if so-and so will like this shirt
3. Innocent Meeting – Compliments are frequent – “Innocent” flirtation occurs – this person “appears to be everywhere”
4. Intentional Meeting – May exchange numbers/emails and other info
5. Public Lingering – Growing interest in each other – walking/driving to certain spots hoping they’re there
6. Private Lingering – There is an excitement in seeing each other – Invitations to places and events begin to take place
7. Purposeful Isolation – Plan alone time for “legitimate” purposes – Communication with spouse decreases / work hours increases
8. Pleasurable Isolation – Relationship takes a youthful aroma – Mental comparisons with spouse take place
9. Affectionate Embracing – Secret longings for each other become intense – Spouse can’t do anything right
10. Passionate Embracing – It’s okay, because spouse no longer makes them feel this way – It’s okay, because I really care about this person
11. Surrender – The spouse is suspecting everything by now – Decisions are being made – stay with spouse or leave
12. Acceptance – The spouse almost always knows by this time -Mutual choice to split – one from guilt, one from anger
Stay off the ladder! The higher the climb, the harder the fall!