This is 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 marriages who have been pulverized and hurt by their wives for whatever reason, but whomever, it’s to any man who has opted to step outside of their marriage and pursue another woman. The married man who cheats …
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 woman that looks enticing, exciting, tender-hearted, sensitive, and looks to be the ideal person that you have been missing out on. But hold on a minute, let’s take a look past the first pass you might make into the reality of the situation.
Most of the time, I don’t think married men consider the long-term issues that evolve out of affairs or even the foiled attempts to have an affair, especially amongst the body of believers. The woman you pursue could be strong, she could be fragile, but just like your wife, she too is breakable. Usually the case with men is that they grow close to someone in an effort to fulfill missing intimacy with their wives only later on to see it escalate to a blinding state of lust, using the coping mechanism of indulging into the life of another woman as the way to fix their own emptiness. Pretty soon, they never truly consider the damage to, or may no longer care about, their business or ministry reputation, the pain in their wife’s and children’s hearts, the heartache of friends and other family, fellow church members, those that look up to and esteem them, a church body that can be completely divided over their infidelity, or the significant risk of financial ruin, venereal “gifts” that never go away, and the list goes on and on. And never mind the unbeliever or weak in faith who is watching, thirsty to see if anyone truly lives an authentic Christian life – how about what they perceive in the body of Christ?
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. 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 or ever will be viewed as worthy, in the eyes of any man, of being honored and cherished as the opposite gender, inside or outside of marriage. In general, it taints and erodes away at the respect women have for men, and 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, and a painfully uncomfortable skewed view of who that man was supposed to be.
It’s infuriating and devalues the prospect of what love is INSIDE of marriage when this happens, and since I have never been married for many of the reasons I have seen that have caused divorce within the sixteen dissolved marriages in my immediate family, it drives a long nail into the coffin of desire to ever even want to enter into a possible mindset of meeting someone. Paul said it best to the Corinthians that in marriage, there will be “trouble” and that he was trying to “spare them” from that pain and derailment to their walk with God. Part of the subliminal foot note I feel he might have added was that this is due to two people who are entering into marriage with the wrong intention, are broken and don’t know it, make the other person in the marriage responsible for all of their dreams to come true, and so on, and the expectation levels we put on each other are far from the ability any human being could ever endeavor to meet.
To a single woman who is seeking Christ, when a man presents his “worst self” at his lowest point as a married man, especially in the throws of ministry, it puts her into a very difficult spot if you are a person she has trusted for some time. Furthermore, no matter how you try to explain it, it then brands her with the potential label of “home-wrecker” even if she hasn’t done a thing, but exist in the eye of the cheating man. Yes, a wife may decide to turn her blinders on with her husband and assume that it must have been that tart that seduced her husband and not his own willful decision and their issues that created such a set up. There are women out there like that, the marriage wrecker, but this is not about that type, this is about the woman that wouldn’t dream of helping you crash and burn into sin.
But listen wives, you as well can play party to the problem of a cheating husband. Maybe you have been totally pure and worked as hard as you can on your relationship, 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 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? Do you refuse counseling? Did you know better than to marry the guy that possibly was unfaithful before you said those nuptials? Did you marry just to marry or escape another situation only to realize you two were not a life long match? Did you stop being a friend to him, and dismiss intimacy, and became the mother rather than the wife in the marriage? How about putting a leash on your spouse, did you think pulling him in tighter to your control was the answer?
“Perfect love casts out all fear” as the Word says, but that perfect love needs to be established carefully, with mutual agreement, done over time, and with open and honest transparency. Even if one person is working it harder than the other, at least they know they can put their head on their pillow at night knowing they are doing all things possible to make things work. But if all things are operating out of fear, it can truly be a sinking sand situation for the marriage to try and withstand.
Men are visual, they like to be nurtured, we all like to be nurtured – yes, men, we women need that as much as you do, 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 committed situation. 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 Cor. 13 about L-O-V-E. Are we flirting with danger thinking we can stop at any time? Women are you keeping yourself attractive for your guy? We may not think he notices, but YES, he does. Oh and guys, please don’t fall into that sexist trap that it’s ok for you to have a belly falling over your belt with softened biceps, while expecting your wife to live off of rabbit food and flaunt her rock hard abs for your viewing pleasure. That stuff can get old really quick!
Men, do you put down your wives in the company of friends to fit in with their attitude? Does she feel valued, adored, needed, and protected? Have you set her up to feel bitter 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. Flirting can turn into an all out affair and it is painfully disrespectful to your spouse and caring God seeking friends – won’t set each other up for a fall into sin – so making someone that is a friend an object of your flirtation can be a very dangerous risk on your part. One of the things we subliminally wish for in seduction is that even though the girl you are chasing may love the Lord and want total commitment to Him, we want her to respond. She is human, and can fall, so when a man who knows better, looks for insecurities, plays on emotions, trying to slowly diminish the boundary lines of what was once – taboo, and justifies his actions due to his miserable emptiness in his marriage, it creates a total breach of safety for all, 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. And honestly, I would rather see a cordial end to a marriage that is simply out of fuel, both parties completely spent and done, LONG before one tries out another new relationship, and only then, after a time of counseling and reflection. We don’t want a repeat of what just happened.
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 to share intimacy with another woman 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. And why would you continue to put another women into a place that skews her entire perception of how solid and strong a man can be in Christ when he does things RIGHT?
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? 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.
Let’s also 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. They are scarred, beaten, treated brutally, sore, and tired from putting on an internet show for someone. Even if your eyes and mind entertain the untouchable physically, it definitely pierces the soul regardless and violates the vows for trust. 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, if two shall agree to get the help they need to safeguard against adultery, or the repeat of adultery. 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