It is a scary thing to see what seems to be a good and godly marriage come to an end because of an unfaithful spouse. Most of these affairs do not happen overnight. Most who have an affair do not just end up in the bed with a total stranger and wake up the next morning and wonder how they got there. It started out as “innocent” conversations, but then it progressed from there. It is hard to imagine on your wedding day that an affair could ever take place; but if we are not careful, we can let an adulterous heart slip in (which is sin in itself), which can easily lead to adulterous actions. With so many people seemingly falling into this sin, it seems like we need to prepare ourselves against such things. If a person wants to have an affair, they will find a way to do so, but most people that I know of do not want to have an affair. However, it seems like many people do little preventive work to keep it from happening. I will be the first to say that I need to apply these principles as much as anyone. “My heart is deceitfully wicked above all things” as well. Yet, through the strengthening of the Lord we do not have to be overcome by sin. Here are some ways we can be proactive toward helping affair-proof our marriages. I sincerely hope that you will consider them.
Don’t forget about your covenant:
When you got married you made a covenant with not only your spouse but also with God that you would remain faithful to each other “until death do us part.” When you decide to go down the pathway of an affair you not only break that covenantal promise to your spouse, but you sin against, lie to, and break your covenant with God as well. To break a covenant with your spouse is shameful, but to break it with God is fearful. If the thought of an affair ever enters you mind, don’t forget that you are not just telling your spouse that they no longer “do it for you”, but you are telling God that your desire for that other person is more important that you desire to please Him.
Don’t be alone with a person of the opposite sex:
Before I got into ministry, a very wise pastor once told me, “You need to make it a rule to try your best to never be alone with another woman in a room (or car) that is not your direct family.” I have found this counsel to be very wise. I believe this is a principle that we should all take, not just pastors. Scripture tells us that we are to “flee from the appearance of evil,” in I Thessalonians 5:22. If you are never alone with a person of the opposite sex, it will make it hard to allow an affair to take place. If you must ride together in a vehicle, then if they ride in the front seat, you ride in the back or vice verse. Your marriage is worth fighting for and keeping pure. It may seem uncomfortable to tell the person who you are riding with why you are not sitting next to them, but I promise you . . . your spouse will love you for it. This is just another way of preparing yourself beforehand to “flee from the APPEARANCE of evil.”
Don’t have “close” friends of the opposite sex:
What I mean by “close” friends is to say an exclusive friend who your spouse is not friends with also. I certainly have friends who are women. However, once I got married, I gave up the right to have them as a “best friend” or exclusive “close friend” due to my special relationship with my wife. I love her too much to allow a close relationship with another woman to possibly hinder ours. It is not wise to have friends of the opposite sex that you have lengthy phone, e-mail, text, or even face-to-face conversations with. If you are finding time to just “run into each other” at the store each week, or you just happen to “get coffee at the same place” together each Saturday morning after your run, then it may be time to change up your routine. If you don’t, you might wake up one morning and find yourself on the road to an affair.
Don’t have closed social media accounts:
If you have social media accounts then your spouse should have your passwords and have open regular access to them. If they do not, are you trying to hide something? Most people are not trying to hide anything, but allowing your spouse this open access to your social accounts shows transparency to them and would also help keep you from trying to do things that your spouse might not approve of (remember, you are one flesh now). It is also not wise to be “friends” with someone on your social network that you might have once had a dating relationship with. Why be friends with someone who you once had feelings for? If you and your spouse are going through a hard time, then it might be easy to try to find some comfort through an old flame. Having old girlfriends or boyfriends on Facebook, Twitter, or even in your e-mail contacts is not wise. Avoid old flames, and enjoy your current eternal one. It is too easy to just “check out” your old friend and see what they are up to these days. This has led many down a road that has ended in affairs and even divorce. Just avoid the temptation and just say no to your Ex’s friend invite.
Do have someone you are accountable to:
If you want to help affair-proof your marriage, one helpful way of doing this is by having an accountability partner who will ask you tough questions. Find a close friend, of the same sex, that does not mind asking you about your thought life and your dealings with people of the opposite sex. I truly believe that for a majority of people who have had affairs, if they would have had godly people speaking into their lives asking them these hard questions then it could have helped stopped the affair before it ever stated. It is a wise thing to heed the Proverb to let “Iron sharpen Iron.” Having someone ask you if “you have been with a person of the opposite sex in an ungodly way or a way that would offend your spouse in the last few weeks” really makes you take an inventory of your life. Having someone there who can help you pray though your struggles is a huge blessing. If we are honest with friends about our dealings with others, this can be one major step in helping to keep our “marriage bed pure.”
There you have it. Here are 5 ways that if subscribed to, will help prevent an extra-marital affair. There are a variety of others. Do you and your spouse have any established guidelines or practices to help affair-proof your marriage? Have you found anything specifically helpful in keeping your marriage pure? If so, please feel free to share . . .
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B. Burrell