I wanted to share from the perspective of a woman, a note to men; married men, men who profess to be Christians, men who may or may not be believers in the Son of the Living God, men who are separated and not yet divorced from their spouses, men who are ministers or well-regarded in ministry to some level, men who are deeply in pain, men who may have dead marriage pulverized and hurt by their wives, but whomever, any man who has opted to step outside of their marriage and pursue another woman.
Hypothetically, the woman you could be pursuing, could be me, and it might surprise a man how a lady like me truly feels about your passes. I’m not talking as a woman with a Jezebel spirit, I’m implying the woman who you are pursuing, is one that is pursuing the Lord with all of her heart, busy about ministry, tending to God’s work, single or married, that looks enticing, exciting, tender-hearted, sensitive, and the ideal that you have been missing out on.
Since I have heard myriad of stories of these women that have had their fair share of married men test the boundary lines of infidelity to see how far they could take it, no doubt women reading this can fully identify with my thoughts. Most of the time, I don’t think married men consider the long-term issues that evolve out of affairs or attempts to have an affair especially amongst the body of believers. Either they are so blinded by lust, or even their own pain the coping mechanism of indulging into the life of another woman, but in the end do they truly consider the damage that can occur for their very reputation, the pain in their wife’s and children’s hearts, their parents, friends, fellow church members, those that look up to and esteem them, a church body that can be completely divided over their infidelity, financial ruin, and never mind the unbeliever or weak in faith who is wanting to see if anyone truly lives an authentic Christian life. And we can’t forget, the other one that is so damaged in the process, even if nothing happens, is the soul of the very object of their pursuit. The one they are trying give to the role to as “the other woman”
It may appear exciting and quietly scandalous at first with the secrecy of something off-limits, but when reality sets in over the course of the pursuit, that excitement can turn to bitterness and heartbreak for everyone involved seen or unseen.
Personally, I have found it completely and utterly insulting to be thought of as a side note or distraction for a married man, no matter his circumstances. A woman who wants to live a life pleasing to the Lord, knowing that flattery and flirting alone is ultimately costing the trust of the wife of the man to begin with in this conquest could possibly feel they are not worthy in the eyes of a man of being honored and cherished as the opposite gender inside or outside of marriage. It’s not an ego boost for a woman following God to encounter being the target catch for a married spouse, but rather yet, another disappointment in men, as this has gone on for decades in politics, on tennis teams, in friendships, the work environment, amongst neighbors, and so on, but we always hope that ministry just might be the exception.
It infuriates me to no end because it means men have devalued what love IN marriage is meant to be, and have presented women with their worst selves at their worst place. It greatly cheapens the meaning of commitment between a man and a woman. Again, even if nothing actually happens – the fact I am a target for a wife’s hubby, adds me to the potential home-wrecker bandwagon even if I haven’t done a thing. Yes, this is often how it works with a wife’s thinking, because to avoid pain, she may decide to turn her blinders on that her husband had as much to do with it as “that tart that must have seduced my husband”.
But listen wives, you as well can play a party in the fact of a cheating husband. Maybe you have been totally pure and worked as hard as you can on your marriage, blindsided by that gut wrenching reveal that the man you loved was not the man you thought you loved. But, maybe you helped set up this disadvantage for what is now a true reality – did you happen to ignore the signs of what was coming? Did that bitterness and the put downs, the male slamming and bickering happen to lead to a place over the years that this husband just got tired of the stress and felt driven away?
Men are visual, they like to be nurtured, we all like to be nurtured, and when we can’t deepen the communication and be respectful in our quest to get things out on the table for healing and counsel, we heighten the danger for either one in the marriage to seek solace elsewhere. We also need to take a look around at generational attitudes/curses/sins passed down to the next group growing up behind us, dealing with men and women in a commitment. Are we sure we are not feeding the fire of generational infidelity by ignoring God’s principles – “love one another” – “do all things heartily as unto the Lord” – not unto the tradition of making men the target of ridicule, and ignore the entire message of I Corinthians 13 about L-O-V-E. Are we flirting with danger thinking we can stop at any time?
Men, do you put down your wives in the company of friends to fit in? Does she feel valued, adored, needed, and protected? Have you set her up to feel better against you? And that thing we think is “harmless” with flirting, is absolutely untrue. For the small violation of trust with flirting, means a larger violation of trust is imminent if not put into check. Flirting can turn into an all out affair. Caring friends – our siblings in Christ, won’t put each other in a position that would threaten and diminish a person’s walk with God, but would instead, find ways to point the family of God to His Word and fortify the situation with healthy lines never to cross.
Who would think that our actions in and out of marriage could carry such weight? And even though I love the Lord and want total commitment to Him, I am human, and can fall, so when a man who knows better, looks for insecurities, plays on emotions, tries to slowly diminish the boundary lines of what was once – taboo, and justifies actions, it creates a permanent rift and a look back at the fact that I can trust not a single soul, and must be ready to flee immorality and shut off contact with those that I thought were wiser than “that”. It’s a total breach of safety and Satan sees that nothing and no one is off limits.
The good news is, the Lord has equipped us fully and completely with the ability to be filled with His knowledge by His word, flee immorality, clean up our mind, cling to His Word, and learn from other’s mistakes or our own. One has to be on guard, instant in season and out, and it’s the toughest lesson to learn that the enemy of our souls plants his wiles among the pews and in ministries even outside the church walls, in businesses, and anywhere that people have to interact and where the Holy Spirit dwells. Target practice is common place especially if believers are not on guard.
My goal is not to shame and berate, but simply to plant a checklist in the mind for future reference, if you will, that will give you guys something incredibly profound to consider before deciding to open the door for a “hit” on another woman to share intimacy with to fill your void, instead of the Lord doing the healing in your marriage. Hitting on a single or married woman, who is entrusting you as a friend, a minister, a best friend’s husband, is wickedly demeaning to women in general, and puts her into a place that is painfully awkward and uncomfortable. What is she supposed to do if she turns you down and you keep insisting? Are you willing for her to expose your intentions? What do you expect from someone who might eventually cave in and then you find yourself being pursued in return by someone you never meant to go “that far with” emotionally? Why would you foster intimacy with someone who can’t have you? How cruel. What about diseases and surprise pregnancies? And what if the other woman ends up being like the character Alex from Fatal Attraction. Rabbit stew for dinner anyone? Yikes!
And that often used method of dissing your wife and blaming her in the process, smacks of something far greater than just the fact you are unhappy, it tells me you have defaulted to the most widely known form of a lie the enemy can whisper to you …. “that it’s always someone else’s fault and I have the ultimate excuse for my actions being rejected by wife and won’t get to the bottom of the issue with this in order to prevent adding insult to injury.”
Maybe you wanted to test the waters and consider other woman for a back up plan when your marriage ends, but how on earth could things work on a clean fresh slate with her post-divorce, and you two be in a position for God to ever even think of blessing you, the second or even third go around? Yes, I have seen blessed second and third marriages, so don’t fling mud at me for being candid about this part – however that next marriage won’t fly unless it’s done right by your own heart being contrite and fully repentant from from the past mistakes made no matter who did the sinning.
Marriage is a beautiful sacred gift from the Lord, one I fully respect and even protect by not wanting to advocate as a deterrent to a man’s purity. In and of itself, marriage is a ministry that requires total devotion and care and we have to be willing to go the distance by understanding that if we don’t put the Lord first, we set ourselves up for a sad ending. There can be incredible joy shared between a husband and wife, but how about when we self sabotage that opportunity? Women who are married, ask yourselves, do you berate your husbands in marriage or cut them off sexually to get revenge and hold power over them? Men are you leading and protecting or are you expecting her to do things she is not called to do? Do you truly know what it is to honor a wife and mother of your children? What is the source of your estrangement that would lead to a set up of adultery for one or both parties? Or maybe, there isn’t a set up at all. It could just be that safeguards were not taken early on to prevent lust from getting the best of us with someone else. Maybe you married a personality that never could be your true soul mate, with lack of chemistry and compatibility, and now you have settled for misery that grows louder with time, willing to forfeit vows to get needs met elsewhere. Maybe you fooled your fiance before marriage and promised far more than you would ever plan to keep, knowing you weren’t going to hold up on your end of the deal. That’s for men AND women on that note.
Marriage requires wisdom for choosing the right mate, it requires sacrifice when a “better deal” comes along later – aka: temptation from the devil, and marriage success for the Christian requires each party devoted to the Lord, or at least one of them (which can be tough to be the solo Christ-seeker), in order for there to be some level of peace and harmony. When we bind ourselves to another, for better or worse, it’s part of the territory to stay faithful, even in difficult times.
What I also have discovered, to some married men, it may spell an even heightened desire to try his hand at capturing a strong independent woman’s attention outside of his marriage, lower her protective wall, indulge that desire to conquest, to fulfill the man’s seek -n-hunt-n-capture side that the Lord has given them. But may I clarify this to the masses, the Lord most certainly never meant that conquest to be something to violate our vows for sanctity. He never meant for a married man to help a lady that is not his wife, feel “sexy, wanted, needed, valued” and so on, that was only meant for HER husband to make her feel. Even the strongest of women and men have vulnerabilities, we all do, and it is far more mature to protect those vulnerabilities of another than to exploit those for our selfish reasons. In fact when those vulnerabilities are indeed protected, like a soldier guarding with his shield the Achilles heel of another, it makes the person who is and was at risk, soar with respect for the protector.
A man that guards his wife’s heart, the home, his children, and safe guards himself from falling, and shows respect to other women around him, is a hero to be heralded for life. That’s my kind of guy that I would marry one day, but it’s rare, and nearly impossible to find in the current field of available men. I personally have never felt overly desirous to be married and have children, for numerous reasons, and if I do marry one day, there will be no settling for second best in sight.
Be it a desire to conquer, a troubled marriage, lack of intimacy, a nagging problem in the home, an abusive wife, chaotic children, stress in the job market, boredom, falling out of love, money problems, a cheating wife, sexual addiction, the other woman’s neglectful or abusive spouse, irresistible outrageous chemistry with another woman, an open marriage (oh heaven help us), or even a completely happy situational home life with no apparent issues but sexual desire and conquest for an additional fling, the reason for stepping away, is never justifiable to commit the act of infidelity. But even more so, to chisel away and try to woe a woman heartily seeking Christ and purity, is even more deplorable in my opinion, as it spells out a completely self-serving neglectful attitude of the pursuing male, that disregards what it could cost his object of affection – her health, emotional stability, job security, business, ministry, reputation, trust of those around her, her esteem as to who she is, her sense of solid footing, and most definitely her self-respect and feeling of being honored and protected … that will all but be gone. She may never feel any man can be trusted for that matter, if she can’t trust even YOU with who she is in Christ, and all that this could cost both of you based on the unspeakable issues of connecting out of God’s plan.
And let’s not forget the wife of the man who cheats, and his children. Of course I don’t need to go into detail here as there is enough counseling material available on the planet to load up and sink a Titanic all over again. And how about those 20/20 programs we see weekly that show crimes of passion, where some man wanted to get rid of his wife, or a wife catching a cheating spouse, in order to buy into the lie that the grass could be greener on the other side. No doubt every one of them is sitting behind bars right now thinking over and over again how they could have prevented that disaster to begin with … if only.
I even had a married attorney-client, who defended hardened criminals, ask me for a trip out of town for spa time with him. Standing there, on the job, in the middle of discussing business with him, I was completely incensed by his blind recklessness, and lack of respect for a woman owned business that could flat expose his reputation as an infidel and sexual harraser. No doubt, there is a line up of women for this very married successful man, but woah to him, the man that sees case after case of crimes probably due to infidelity and more, that does not know he is being led to the slaughter by such indiscretions himself.
So next thing, and this is the area where I find things going into a more interesting level of discussion. I may infuriate other conservatives, and perhaps create a firestorm of responses with some the following question, which is not my intention, but none-the-less, it’s something I have to address in order to help men see it from the perspective of the other woman they want to make “theirs”.
If a man is that unhappy, bored, unsettled, uncommitted, and needing the validation, to be loved, to have a conquest, why oh why do they stay married and cheat? Even with the excuse of money and children as the deciding factor to stay, or to spare a wife’s pain of leaving her, what is the benefit of cheating on the down low or open-book, with all of the disastrous consequences it can bring? Let’s just be transparent here, it’s fool-hearty and stupid to think it will ever bring about anything good.
Be it that this comes from the type of writer I am, who hates infidelity, broken homes, the wretchedness of children stretched between two homes, and the life long wake of issues that I personally endured as a result of mismatched miserably married parents who split when I was very young, it almost seems strange to me that I ask that myself that a person leave an unhappy marriage.
Perhaps we think we are helping our children remain more settled if we hang in there. Realistically, in my opinion, it’s better to hang in there and be faithful until a divorce, or best case work past the issues and reconcile, than to stay in it and cheat. If you can’t stay faithful, then why do you stay married? No matter what the reason.
Even if a divorce is imminent, you will rarely be trusted fully again in a new relationship due to the obvious. Furthermore, to try to pull another woman, an unwilling one into this is pretty dark and sad. Even if you never intended for emotions to grow, hanging around the break room water cooler at work, or during that business or ministry trip where the dinner conversation turned highly personal, or over a long period of time where feelings grew closer than comfortable in a church setting, over long conversations on social media, or with a neighbor or wife’s best friend, it’s wise to remember that the enemy will use anything he can to crush the ones that can influence the most. He goes after those that can do the most damage, at any time, at your highest level of influence, and will work doubly hard at your lowest point.
For my story personally, I will say that my parent’s split, along with the other sixteen divorces in the immediate family, parlayed into my choices not to marry due to wicked complexities that transpired from a broken home. For me, it truly “messed me up” to have the sudden loss of a two parent home. I felt the deep despair my own mother endured trying to manage in a marriage between two people who simply were never well matched. I was there, and I remember it well, the helpless sobs from their bedroom from my mother after a rip-roaring fight, my dad, huddled in the basement frustrated and filled with rage over the lack of ability for them to communicate or to convince her otherwise for whatever the topic of the issue was at the time. I watched my mother diminish into a waif from anorexia and my dad grow desperate by drawing the line as to how things would be if she left. It wasn’t pretty, and I can still remember the day we left, mom, me, and my grandmother, suitcases packed, as we said good-bye and left him behind.
No, they were not a match made for a wholesome balanced marriage, and I am not certain if their was identifiable infidelity that would ever be confessed, but no matter what the issue, they split, and I believe I am a far better person with the challenge of a single family home life that mom did her best to provide, simply because I was spared further horrific arguments and temper tantrums and sobs and despair while in their marriage. I never ever wanted my parents back together. However, I certainly had my work cut out for me, in that I was left with no example as to a Godly relationship and how to do it right. Fortunately and before I have ever decided to take a vow for matrimony, but certainly not without a high price of devastating dating relationships before this, I have seen the examples and learned a vast amount of wisdom about marriage that would never have been in place sooner in life. There are massive benefits to waiting for marriage later in life – age brings experience and time-honored wisdom. I have had plenty of time to glean from the Lord and those that do set the example of marriage and how it should be. No, I have never been married, but I have never been divorced either, and NEVER would I want to indulge in chiseling away at the trust of those around me in ministry, nor that of the marriage of another by indulging in cheating.
And let’s bring up the area of internet pornography and chat rooms as a “safer” means of cheating – after all you are only entertaining the mind and won’t even lay a hand on her – right? But stop for a second and consider these facts; I recently learned more of the sex trade from those involved in the mission of rescue, that often times these men and women on the other side of the camera are trapped in slavery, and forced to work up to twelve hours a day performing for the camera to make a living. One person I learned about was working through a terrible illness, in order to provide for her daughter, her parents, and her entire brother’s family. She had been raped and abused in her past, and even had the freedom to get out of that trade, but simply was in survival mode in a country where jobs were nearly non-existent under an oppressive ruling thumb of her “president” and this was one of the only alternatives for her to feed her family. She even had to keep it a secret from her own family how she was providing for them. Not so attractive now that you know the truth – is it? And what if that were your baby girl on the other end trapped into a situation that you never even knew about?
The Scripture verse Hebrew 13:4 that says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous,” bears some pretty heavy weight with it and seems rather terrifying to someone who knows that unless they repent of this, get the help they need, and fall headlong into the Lord’s ability to heal, there is a sobering expectation in the long run. It’s even worse, when one does know that truth and still chooses to defy God’s warning.
But let’s look at the fact that there is hope. He Who began a good work in us will be faithful to the end the complete it. He won’t let us feel secure in our infidelities for long, and later in life there is often a regret, and disdain for past behavior with a thirsty desire to make up for the worst. The Lord Jesus Himself could not have been more merciful or kind to the woman caught in adultery, that the vituperative sin-filled blind men of the day wanted to stone, proving that the Lord does indeed see into the heart and life of the one that commits adultery even beyond what the verse in Hebrews discusses. The Lord is incredibly kind, merciful, gracious, and understanding when a marriage is in trouble, and He understands and He forgives, but let’s not trample on that grace and keep up the sin cycle and get to a place that later in life, we live with deep relentless regret. It gets complicated and there never are easy answers with these issues, but there is always hope.
Let me stress, infidelity, sin, for whatever reason, in whatever form, will never produce the righteousness of God. In the mean time, let’s do our best to remember that truth of the matter and work to overcome the desire to cause another one to stumble along with us. To finish off my ending note, what can we do to prevent a disaster and unwanted outcome in marriage, and when do men need to know that professional Godly counsel is in order to prevent further damage?
- For men and for women – do I need to get counseling in my marriage even if I am doing it alone? Do I have a sexual addiction? (There are volumes of places to help.)
- Do I spend time flirting with the opposite sex calling it harmless, and even convincing myself that this flattery is making them feel worthy and needed?
- Do I have a history of infidelity and should I avoid certain types of women that may trigger a desire to step out on my marriage? Should I really be on social media, or stay in the same realm of work on that floor of the church, with “her”?
- Am I calloused to my spouses needs and have I become less and less convicted about the idea of cheating?
- Am I spending time in God’s Word daily and pursuing the heart the of the Lord to prevent issues even in thought, that could lead to infidelity.
- Is my marriage truly over? Have I really tried everything to make it work, and have I been totally transparent with my spouse that temptation sits at the door if we don’t work on things together?
- Did I see some warning flags with my spouse before I married them? Could I have prevented heartache ahead of time? Was she cheating with you and now she is cheating on you? Were you the one cheating and thinking the next marriage would fix whatever it was that was broken?
- Am I lying to myself that flirting with anyone, is harmless? ) All marital infidelity begins with flirting.)
- Do I really want to hurt someone I say I care for? My wife, the ministry, my children, the church body, unbelievers who are looking for hope, and the other woman or women I encounter?
- Are there generational issues of infidelity in my family that I need to be freed from? Can I truly be the one that breaks the line of the curse? Of course you can!
I pray for blessings on you as you read this and take it to heart. There are so many blessings when we ourselves remain personally healthy and attach ourselves to the same. The Lord has a great plan for you, according to Jeremiah 29:11-13, and that would include freeing you from the stronghold of infidelity. God bless you as you endeavor to overcome.
Suggested reading: The Fantasy Fallacy – Shannon Ethridge