By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
References “Intimate Allies” by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III and “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller
Adultery is about integrity. It’s not about whether your spouse loves you like you deserve or how unsatisfying your marriage is– it’s about the kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be the kind of person who uses other peoples’ shortcomings as an excuse to sin, or do you want to be the kind of person who keeps their covenants?
Excuses People Make for Cheating
1. My spouse let him or herself go.
Some have argued that wives who “let themselves go” deserve a measure of blame for their husbands’ infidelity. But why do these women “let themselves go”?
What is going on in their marriage that women do not bother to look nice anymore? Wives do not “stop trying” because they have snapped up a man and now he is obligated to stay married to them regardless of what they look like. They stop because they are too exhausted to make the effort, or because they don’t think it is appreciated anymore. But passive aggressively responding to marital neglect with yoga pants isn’t the answer. Wives owe it to themselves and the covenants they made with their spouses and the Lord to do what they can to fix their marriages.
It is the same for husbands– the next time you try to let yourself off the hook by blaming your partner’s failure to meet your standards of beauty, ask yourself what you could be doing wrong that they don’t bother to look nice for you anymore.
2. I haven’t felt this way in years.
You know why? This happens because the honeymoon period is not meant to last. Yes, you should still feel affectionate and attracted toward your spouse decades down the road, but you do not necessarily get butterflies every time they look at you. The reason you get a thrill when this new person walks in, but don’t feel that way about seeing your spouse, is basic biology. Researchers have proven the exhilarating “can’t eat, can’t sleep” infatuation does not last longer than two years. Should you continue carrying on with this new person, those exciting sensations will eventually fade, just as they did with your spouse.
“What you think of as being head over heels in love is in large part a gust of ego gratification, but it’s nothing like the profound satisfaction of being known and loved. When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience… The kind of love life I am talking about is not devoid of passion, but it’s not the same kind of passion that is there during the days of naïveté. When Kathy first held my hand, it was an almost electrical thrill. Thirty-seven years later, you don’t get the same buzz out of holding your wife’s hand that you did the first time. But as I look back on that initial sensation, I realize that it came not so much from the magnitude of my love for her but from the flattery of her choice of me. In the beginning it goes to your head, and there is some love in that, but there are a lot of other things, too. There is no comparison between that and what it means to hold Kathy’s hand now, after all we’ve been through.” (Keller 95)
3. I don’t love them anymore
Way back in the day when I was in youth group, one of the teachers told us there were times when the only reason she stayed with her husband was because of the covenant promise she made with him and the Lord when they married. This was a bombshell to a teenager who had never heard an adult speak so candidly about the trials of matrimony. But it’s true. Emotions strengthen and atrophy during the life of your relationships. Sometimes you will not like your spouse as much as you used to.
So what do you do? You love them anyway–
“You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must be tender, understanding, forgiving, and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.” (Keller 104)
It does not take much faith to serve someone you love. It shows the true strength of your faith when you must serve someone who sets your teeth on edge; which is what Christ did for us. “You see, at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Matt. 5:6-8 NIV)
Christian Counseling for Adultery
“Adultery is like the worship of false gods. It allows for the passion that God intended without bowing the knee to the one whom we were called to love. Adultery is not merely sex with the wrong person; it is union with someone who will never require us to face our sinfulness or draw forth out glory so that we are more and more in awe of God. It is intimacy without commitment, flight from the struggle of intimacy without ever facing our part in the loss.” (Allender, Longman III 308-309)
A professional Christian counselor will help you and your spouse talk about the problems in your marriage in a safe, neutral environment. They are not there to judge you; they are there to help you build a stronger marriage.
Is-my-spouse-cheating Flickr user andrewmalone
Signs hes cheating Flickr user cogdogblog
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