One of the ways God has allowed us to use our story is in helping people avoid some of the choices and some of the behavior patterns we’ve had in our marriage. I’m asked several times a week, “What can I do to make sure I or my spouse doesn’t have an affair.” The first thing I say to them is, “If you want to make sure you never have an affair, don’t ever say, ‘I’ll never have an affair.’ Pride always comes before a fall.
Beyond that, here are a few things that will protect your heart, mind and marriage.
1. Pursue God
I’ve never talked to anyone who has cheated on their spouse who has told me that their relationship with God was healthy when they had an affair. The truth is that your marriage will not be perfect. You will have problems. You will face temptation. But if you are pursuing God; His Word; His truth and allowing Him to form you and shape you, that is the best thing you can do to affair-proof your marriage.
2. Pursue Your Spouse
Trisha talked about the importance of this a few days ago. It is hard to fall out of love with someone you are pursuing. It is difficult to lose interest in someone that you are prioritizing. Other people don’t look so attractive when you are setting aside time to pursue and date your spouse. Most couples lose interest in one another because they fail to spend time with one another. Sitting next to each other at your kid’s soccer game or a band concert doesn’t count. Date your spouse. Buy her flowers. Put perfume on before he gets home from work. Talk. Laugh. Pursue.
3. Don’t Fantasize About Someone Else
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I never thought about that, it just happened.” All sin starts in our mind. The Bible calls it temptation. Temptation is normal. Temptation is common. Temptation is something that you are guaranteed to face. Jesus experienced temptation. Temptation becomes sinful when it moves to fantasy. When you begin to fantasize about someone other than your spouse, you have already broken intimacy in your heart and mind with your husband or wife. It is why the Bible says to guard our hearts. Affairs always start in our mind.
4. Share Your Secrets
Every time we withhold truth from our spouse we create distance in our marriage. Oneness is how the Bible describes our marriage relationship. Secrets have no part of oneness. Secrets break oneness. The word intimacy means, “to be fully known.” When we don’t allow our spouse to fully know us, we compromise intimacy. I am not saying that keeping secrets from your spouse will cause you to have an affair. I am saying that not keeping secrets from your spouse will prevent you from having an affair. It is hard to for sin to grow in light. It is hard for deceit to grow in the context of authentic truth.
5. Physical Intimacy
Physical intimacy is a gift from God. It will not solve all of your marriage problems. But if you are committed to pursuing God; pursuing your spouse; keeping your mind and heart pure; sexual intimacy will strengthen the oneness in your relationship like nothing else can. Our culture uses sex to sell for a reason…it is a powerful force in our lives. It can and should be a powerful force in our marriages as well.