Just seeing the title of today’s post was painful for many of you. You were in a marriage that was destroyed by adultery. Or you were the one who helped instigate the divorce by getting involved with a married person and later regretted it. Sadly, you are not alone: statistics for those admitting having cheated on their partners range from 17 to 57% according to this study by Statistic Brain: Infidelity statistics.
What makes it harder is that we cannot control what other people say or do, not even our children. We can influence others only so much. We do as much as we can to influence our marriages positively and make them affair-proof. Yet the time to learn how to affair-proof our marriages is before we marry.
Is it possible? I’m not even married right now, you may be thinking.
Again, nothing is 100% certain in this life except death and taxes (and if you believe in the Rapture, death is questionable!). But there are certain things you can do while you are still single to decrease the possibility of your or your spouse’s straying. Here are some ideas.
- Start with yourself.
- How loyal are you to your family, friends, coworkers, ministry associates, pastor, or God?
- How prone are you to complain about close family and friends to outsiders?
- When things start going wrong, what is your typical response?
- How do you deal with stress?
- How easy is it for you to fall in love, or at least get emotionally attached, to others?
- How well do you handle conflict?
- How quickly do you get bored, and what do you do to combat boredom?
- What are your expectations of marriage and your future spouse?
- How much has the world’s view of sex and sin infiltrated your thinking?
- How addicted are you to pornography?
- Have you cheated on a date/spouse before?
These issues are key for many who engage in adultery.
- Ask yourself these and other hard questions with complete honesty, preferably in the presence of a trusted friend or ministry leader (James 5:13-16). These are the people who can help you mature, watch for pitfalls, and pray barriers and strongholds out of your life. Determine you’re going to eliminate the barriers to a positive and faithful relationship so you can continue to mature after you (finally) get married.
- Take a good look at the type of people you’re attracted to. Because, statistically, certain types are more vulnerable/prone to committing adultery. These include people who travel a lot for their jobs and/or work lots of overtime, have a family history of unfaithfulness, are addicted to pornography, are inordinately attracted by physical appearance, or hang around with people who don’t consider fornication or adultery real sins.
- Understand spiritual warfare and learn to set boundaries. The enemy’s tactics are very sneaky and quiet. He doesn’t usually ambush until he has successfully conquered you over several “minor” indiscretions. What critical areas have you been compromising in? What relationships are you investing too much time and emotional energy in, where you have no business doing so—a married person, or someone whose attention you enjoy, but you have no real interest in marrying? Don’t follow your heart; guard it (Prov. 4:23).
- Don’t think you could never, ever, commit adultery. Check yourself (1 Cor. 10:12). Pride goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18). Every day, people “fall” into emotional and physical intimacy with someone they’re not married to. And most people don’t start their marriages planning to cheat.
- Practicing sexual abstinence in spirit and not just technicalities, even “avoiding the appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22) while dating, increases the self-control and character necessary to protect your future marriage. Just because you get married doesn’t mean that temptations disappear. They may even increase as your unavailability attracts and challenges the attention of the office flirt (remember Mrs. Potiphar in Gen. 39?). Saying “No” today makes it easier to say “No” tomorrow and “No” a year from now. Strengthen yourself today in self discipline so you can continue practicing being faithful after marriage.
- Learn to communicate and be with your date in non-sexual ways. There are many ways to connect with your date that doesn’t involve sex. The more you focus on these other ways, the more discipline you develop, the more you see and appreciate your partner as a brother/sister in Christ, and the stronger you become in resisting the devil no matter who he sends your way (James 4:7).
- Pray for both your heart and your future mate’s, even if you haven’t met him/her yet. You’ll both be thankful when you finally meet, start dating, and realize God has called you together in marriage.
You can never be too careful in your marriage. Start guarding it today while you’re single.
Divorcestatistics.info. Latest Infidelity Statistics of US. http://www.divorcestatistics.info/latest-infidelity-statistics-of-usa.html accessed 11/10/17