Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:15–18
How do affairs happen in a marriage? No one talks about this critically important problem, but it’s wrecking marriages—especially during COVID. See, adultery isn’t just the physical act, but it’s the mental, emotional, and spiritual things that later physically manifest in sex. There are married couples who think it could happen to them and married couples who think it will never happen, but I’m telling you, it will if you’re not aware.
I hope these 12 steps help you protect your marriage with a bit of preventative maintenance. These steps are inspired by Dr. Les Parrot, with a good bit of my own research, experience, and suggestions.
Step 1: You Lean Away from Your Marriage
A little spat, a little argument, and suddenly, something has happened to make you lean away from your spouse physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Step 2: You Become Aware of Another Person
Suddenly, someone at work looks better than they did the day before. It’s not sinful or lusting. It’s just an awareness of another person—we are all visual people, both male and female.
Step 3: Innocent Meetings Begin
An innocent meeting leads to a laugh, a giggle, a flirt. Maybe you told a joke you shared with your wife that didn’t draw a laugh from her, and this person thinks you’re hilarious. Again, there’s no sin, no lustful thoughts because it’s not about sex at this point—something about the interaction just feels good.
Step 4: Innocent Meetings Become Planned
This is where sin enters the equation. You’re planning to have a need met by them that only your wife or husband should be meeting.
Step 5: You Linger in Conversation
In a group setting, you linger together in conversation.
Step 6: Conversations Shift to Feelings
We’re talking deep, personal conversations about wounds and things that really should be reserved for the intimate people in your life.
Step 7: Isolated Meetings
Both parties realize something is there, and they want to act on it. There’s probably some isolation going on at home—maybe you’re sleeping in different bedrooms, arguing more, or not talking at all.
Step 8: Isolated Meetings for Pleasure
It becomes physical. You might even justify it as “innocently” adjusting his glasses or brushing her hair back, but it’s completely inappropriate, and you know it.
Step 9: Embraces Become Affectionate
Playful touching, small, affectionate hugs.
Step 10: Embraces Become Passionate
Step 11: Adultery Happens
The build-up of meetings, conversation, and embraces culminate in sex.
Step 12: You Get Caught
Whether you confess or you make a mistake and get caught, you will be found out. Here’s why: the Lord loves you. It is out of His grace and goodness that you will get caught because He wants to restore back what the enemy tried to destroy in you. The only way God ever does that is to bring us to a place of repentance and brokenness.
I pray that by knowing these steps, you can avoid falling prey to the enemy’s attempts to wreck your marriage. But what if you don’t see the warning signs and end up in a place of marital adultery? Listen, the bad news is that it’s going to cost you more than you think, but the good news? There is no marriage beyond repair. The grace of the Lord is good enough and strong enough.
In Proverbs 5:7–14, Solomon passes wisdom on to his sons about avoiding adultery. Every time I read it, I’m soberly reminded that what the Lord wants for us is better than what the enemy offers us. Solomon even observes it in verse 15. Your spouse is the blessing of your life. In Solomon’s words, “may you ever be captivated by their love.”
This is an excerpt from XO 2021 Colorado Springs. The full message can be found on XO Now.