I would venture to say that most women who commit adultery don’t set out to do so, especially if they’re Christians. They have no idea that they’ll even be tempted in such a way. They aren’t looking.
. . . But they’re not safeguarding their marriage either.
Let’s look at how temptation starts and how we need to be careful. It’s a process, and it begins in the mind.
A couple hits a low point or a rocky place in their marriage. It doesn’t have to be a terrible low, just maybe the day after a disagreement or a time when the wife doesn’t feel that her husband is meeting her needs.
- She knows a guy at work, and he’s kind. They talk from time to time. This man is attentive and says appropriate things. She begins to compare the man at work with her husband, who’s not at this moment listening with interest or being very loving. The wife starts entertaining thoughts about the nice man at work. She’s already in trouble.
- Wife gets a message on social media from her high school boyfriend whom she hasn’t seen in quite a few years. She begins chatting with him. They pick up their friendship where they left off, and in a few weeks, they’re starting a relationship neither of them intended. They’re in trouble.
- She’s very active in her church. Some of the men are attractive and friendly. Her husband isn’t showing her much attention, but at church, people—especially men—are complimentary and talkative. Her husband usually has his phone in one hand, and he works long hours. He comes home late at night and leaves early in the morning. The wife is lonely. She loves going to church where she gets the male attention she craves. One day, she’s out shopping at the mall alone, and she sees one of the guys from church having lunch in the food court. He invites her to join him, and she does. She’s already in trouble.
Not one of these women—I made up the stories—was looking for someone, but someone was just there. The problem began when the wife started thinking about the other man in a way she shouldn’t. She wasn’t lusting after him or chasing him. She was only thinking about someone other than her husband.
She let the first thought in, continued the one-on-one friendship, and she started comparing the man with her husband. Then, she began to fantasize. She’s in trouble, and the next step is emotional adultery. The step after that is physical adultery.
Can I tell you a secret? Every married woman has ups and downs in her marriage. And, everyone experiences at least one of these “thought temptations” in her lifetime. If it’s happened to you, you’re not alone. If a thought romance or emotional romance—outside of your marriage—is starting, please keep reading. Even if you’ve never been tempted to think about anyone besides your husband, please keep reading.
The Bible says, But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15). When the Bible uses the word lust, it means “desire, longing, craving.” If we apply this verse to women, it would say something like this: But every (woman) is tempted, when (she) is drawn away of (her) own (desire, longing, craving), and enticed. Then when (her desire, longing, craving) hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
I’m a woman, so I think I understand what a woman wants in her marriage. I recently read a blog (by a man) where the blogger said a woman wants two things: attention and adoration. Okay, that’s right, but I know I want more than that! I also want protection, provision, fun, a partner, true love, respect, security, and yes, a little bit of romance.
So, what’s a wife to do when Hubby doesn’t reach her high ideal? What’s a wife to do when temptation knocks at the door?
Let me share two concepts with you:
- Prevention—safeguards for your marriage
- Cure—running from temptation
What kinds of safeguards can I implement that will help me not to put myself in a position of temptation?
- Transparency about all relationships—Talk to your husband about all of your relationships with other people, both male and female. Let him into your life. Share with him about the people you work with, the people you chat with online, and the people you run into in town. Make sure he knows what’s going on in all of your friendships.
- Build a fence around your marriage.—If the gate isn’t open, no one can enter. Don’t have private phone conversations, chats, or other interactions with any other men besides your husband. (If you have to talk to someone, let your husband know. “I called the plumber today. He said he’d be able to come tomorrow.”) Even on social media, don’t become buddies with other men. Don’t “friend” a man without his wife. Don’t chat back and forth with men. At church, be friendly without being friendly. Hi, how are you and small chitchat is enough. Make sure you’re sitting with your husband and are usually with him. Act like a married woman! At work, make sure there’s a photo of hubby on your desk or locker, and talk about your husband (nicely!!!!) often. Make sure all your coworkers realize you are a married woman and not looking for extracurricular activity. Of course, no flirting! Also, don’t make one-on-one dates. If your work requires that you do business lunches or dinners, make sure you have a third party with you at the meal. (Make this your work policy.) If you have a chance meeting with someone, let your husband know about it. Don’t ever ride in a car alone with another man. Don’t be the only two people in a room or building. Keep these safeguards, and it will be easier to ward off temptation if/when it comes.
- Strengthen your marriage! Flirt with your husband. Work on making him glad to come home to you. Love him just as he is. Build him up. Show him respect. Enjoy him. Thank him. Have fun in your marriage. If it needs some spice, add some!
- Change your chip. Philippians 4:8 gives us a whole list of the thoughts that God approves of. They include: whatsoever things are pure . . . whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. It simply isn’t pure, of good report, virtuous, or praiseworthy to be thinking about a person who’s not your husband. So, quit. Just quit. As the old saying goes, “Nip it in the bud.”
- Flee. Joseph in the Old Testament ran from Potiphar’s wife. Day after day, she propositioned him and he consistently told her no. One day, she sent the other servants away and tried to get him to lie down with her. He fled! He ran! She caught his tunic, but he kept running. Joseph was strong enough to do right (Genesis 39:7-12). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells the young pastor Timothy, Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). Notice that the remedy for inappropriate desires is substituting good works and fellowship with other Christians. If you’re thinking about anyone besides your husband, just quit now! Don’t talk to him (or her) to explain. Don’t go on chat again and talk it over. You don’t need to text or call. Cut it off abruptly, and run! Don’t go there again!
- Do right. You’re married to your husband. You vowed to love and cherish him and keep yourself only for him, so help you God. You may not feel lovey-dovey at the moment, but marriage is a lifetime commitment. Act right, do right. Honor and respect him. You’ll find that right feelings follow right actions and attitudes. Keep yourself only for him. If the flame is getting small, add some fuel to the fire. Recapture your love and your marriage! It really is possible! And the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33b).
- Pray for your marriage. Ask God for the strength you need to do right. Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Ephesians 5:18b-24).
- Get godly counsel. If your marriage is in trouble, get counsel. Find a godly woman who can mentor you as you strengthen your marriage. Get help for yourself, even if your husband refuses to go for counsel. There is no shame in seeking counsel. It’s much better than not knowing how to help your marriage. Get help for your marriage, and try to encourage your husband to get godly counsel as well. An extra-marital affair is never a solution! The Bible condemns adultery and fornication.
Adultery begins in the mind. The fantasy grows, and the wife begins to give her attention and affections to someone besides her husband. Before she knows it, she’s trapped in sin.
Or . . .
The wife thinks about another man, and immediately she catches herself and asks the Lord to help her think only about her husband. She doesn't give any come-on signals to this other guy, and when he gets friendly, she doesn’t encourage him. In fact, she makes sure he overhears about something that pleases her about her husband. This wife, with God’s help, has conquered temptation.
God, help us protect our minds, hearts, and marriages!
But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding:
he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul (Proverbs 6:32).