The pain of adultery is preventable with the proper focus and foundations. We must develop a plan and execute it no matter the circumstances.
We reside in a sex-saturated culture where immodesty and disdain for marriage creates an explosive situation. The statement, “I can’t, I’m married” is now tossed away as irrelevant to the sexual game. Adultery is programmed into Americans through music, television, movies and novels as normal, expected behavior. No one who is married, they say, is happy and sexually fulfilled. True pleasure is only found through the clandestine sexual liaison in the seedy hotel. It is all so pathetic.
Married people report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than those dating and cohabitating. /1 In their book, “The Case for Marriage,” Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher conclude their chapter on the sexual advantages of marriage, “For both men and women, marriage as a social institution facilitates the development and maintenance of an emotionally committed, long-term, exclusive union, which typically brings spectacular sexual rewards.” /2
Husbands and wives must develop boundaries so temptations cannot gain leverage. Each must foster their defenses so they remain steadfast. We all have our challenges in this area. We may be tempted by lust, emotional attachments or adventure. We must take steps to tamp down these urges.
A man may be attracted to a certain type woman such as blondes or brunettes with a particular body type. Or, a woman may be attracted to a particular type man who is witty and courteous. They need to remain cognizant of these weaknesses and distance themselves from them emotionally. We can share these challenges with our spouses if they become increasingly difficult so they can support and empower us to be alert.
The best defense against adultery is marital closeness. We remain focused on our marriage regardless of circumstances. We protect our marriage in the following ways.
First, we must remain focused on living godly lives. The two greatest commandments cover all of life and they are both centered in humility (Mark 12:28-31). We must put God above everything and love our neighbor as ourselves. To accomplish these goals we must remain connected to God through prayer, Bible study, service and fellowship. Remembering our priorities will keep our minds focused on holiness. And since adultery is contrary to a Christian’s life, it becomes an anathema to us.
Second, we must remain focused sexually. “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4, NKJV). An active sex life protects ourselves and our spouses from being tempted by others. There is much more at stake than many realize. While an adulterer is not excused because of a spouse’s disinterest in sex, it can be a contributing factor. We protect our spouses when we seek to bring fulfillment to their lives, if we can.
Third, we avoid situations and attachments that endanger us. Confiding about marital problems to someone of the opposite sex leads to cementing an emotional attachment to them which can lead to a physical relationship. If we must be alone with someone of the opposite sex because of work or unavoidable situations, we let our spouses know and do what we can to avoid suspicion or temptation.
Finally, we must develop very rigid priorities and remain focused on commitment. C.S. Lewis said, “Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.” Do not allow any level of excuses or rationalizations to intrude on the commitment to remain married for life. It is much easier than trying to arrange our lies after the adultery has already occurred.
2/ Linda J. Waite, Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage (New York: Broadway Books, 2000), 96.
The best defense against adultery is marital closeness.