Today’s post is the second in a series on preventing infidelity. To read Part 1, click here.
The boundaries I outlined last week are wonderful at helping to prevent infidelity, but by themselves, they don’t offer complete protection. Sure, they help limit opportunities for adultery to take place, but they do little to prevent the original desire for an affair. That is why the second commitment my husband and I are making to prevent infidelity is to cultivate a vibrant love relationship with the Lord, first, and with each other, second. Boundaries in marriage will feel restrictive when not accompanied by a healthy relationship. That is what makes today’s article so life-giving. It completes the circle, leaves no holes in the firewall, so to speak, and is fun!
1. Our Relationship With God
If my husband and I are both seeking the Lord individually, each and every day, we will be better equipped to fight temptation with Scripture and flee from lustful thoughts, discontentment, or sexual immorality. If we are sensitive to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, we will not be able to excuse or rationalize any emotional or physical affair. This caliber of spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight and cannot be achieved simply by attending church. Knowing the heart of the Father can only be accomplished by spending time with him by reading the Bible, praying, and listening. Coming to him just to seek and find and not to fulfill an agenda or wish list is important. Over time, our thoughts and actions will become more like his. The closer we grow toward God, the further we push away from the possibility of an affair. Walking intimately with him is the foundation of affair-proofing our marriage.
2. Our Relationship With Each Other
In addition to nurturing and growing in our relationship with God, my husband and I will do the same with each other. If we spend our time and emotional energy focusing on each other, then affairs will be far less tempting. Continuing to pursue the other and choosing not to let life and time steal our romance can be difficult to achieve in this demanding world. To be successful, Jason and I have agreed that we will date with regularity, frequently have exciting sex, and continue to build the friendship in which our relationship began. Other things on our daily agenda are laughing or crying together, sharing our strengths and weaknesses, supporting and cheering for each other, and being kind and considerate in a cold and cruel world. Dealing with conflicts completely and promptly is necessary in order to prevent bitterness from taking root. While marriage doesn’t complete us or define us, it is the second obligation in this world for those of us who are married (after our relationship with God), and prioritizing its success will benefit the health and faithfulness of our vows. If I’m fully focused on romancing, encouraging, and joyfully forgiving the man I married, I will have no room in my heart or my bed for another man.
The scary truth is that even if I have the proper boundaries, walk closely with the Lord, and romance my husband, my marriage is not immune from infidelity. None of us—or our marriages—are. I must worship God alone and not a successful marriage. My hope is in Christ and not in my husband or his faithfulness.
If you are reading this, you are only one half of the equation. Establishing strong boundaries and building a strong relationship with the Lord and your spouse are great starting points to keep unfaithfulness at bay, but it takes both parties cooperating to make these steps successful! If your husband is not on board to affair-proof your marriage, I want to encourage you to choose to live by the standards you want for both of you. Your husband’s actions and attitudes do not have to affect your commitment to proactively keeping yourself from temptation in this department. You don’t have to wait for him to come around to make sure you are covering all of your bases.
As a personal disclaimer, if you are living through the effects of an affair, please know that I am deeply sorry. I don’t have much wisdom to offer on my own, but I will pray for you and would love to suggest this article from my friend Sheila Wray Gregoire: “Discovering Your Husband is Having An Affair: Your Next Steps.”
I opened this series with a description of a couple that could be any one of us. I want to close with a story of a couple whose outcome was different. This is how I want my marriage described:
Once upon a time there was a young bride who married the handsome man of her dreams. So much potential was ahead of these two, and their future seemed brighter than the sun. As the test of time began breaking other marriages apart, their love seemed only to increase. They stayed strong by fiercely following the Lord and passionately pursuing each other. It took a lot of sacrifices, hard work, selflessness, creativity, accountability, and grace, but infidelity never entered into their sacred vows, their relationship thrived, and their marriage glorified God.
What other advice would you add when it comes to preventing infidelity?