How affair-proof is your marriage? A recent Gallup poll found that 91 percent of Americans believe that cheating on a spouse is morally wrong. Nothing destroys a family faster than adultery.
Here’s the problem. Would you agree that every marriage experiences unmet needs, unresolved conflict and unfulfilled expectations? Would you also agree that we live in a sexually saturated society? Adultery is a trap and these days many people are falling into the trap.
Willard Harley Jr., in his excellent book, His Needs, Her Needs, identifies five top needs of women and men.
Women's 5 most basic needs from her husband:
· Openness and honesty
· Financial security
· Family commitment
Men's 5 most basic needs from his wife:
· Sexual fulfillment
· Recreational companionship
· An attractive spouse
· Domestic support
In a nutshell, the key to avoiding an affair is to become aware of each others' emotional needs and learn to meet them. If any of a spouse's five basic needs goes unmet, that spouse becomes vulnerable to the temptation of an affair. Remember that everybody is unique and has special needs. If you’re not sure what your spouse’s five top needs are, simply ask them.
PREVENTION (6 Steps)
Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If we prevent an affair from occurring in the first place, it will save us a great deal more in time, energy and cost than it would in trying to repair the damage done after the affair.
1. Make a Commitment to a Higher Standard
As a person of faith, I recognize a divine creator who made us as human beings and set up a high standard of morality when it comes to marriage in order to make it work properly. In fact, the seventh commandment speaks directly to this issue. Whether you are spiritual or not, Gallup’s poll reveals there is a universal standard of right or wrong when it comes to adultery.
2. Magnify the Consequences
Remind yourself of the devastation and destruction that is caused by an affair. Adultery leaves permanent scars. The sense of loss to everyone involved is enormous. As a pastor, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve counseled with who deeply regret having an affair.
3. Maintain Your Marriage
A growing relationship to your spouse will reduce the pull and attraction of an affair. I like to say, “If there was more courting in marriage, there would be fewer marriages in court.” The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence – it’s greener where you water it.
I like it when spouses become best friends. It’s been said, “It’s easy to leave a spouse. It’s hard to leave your best friend.” Continue to build your friendship.
4. Manage Your Mind
Adultery begins in the head before it ever reaches the bed. There is no such thing as a one-night stand. Adultery is a process and it begins in the mind. Porn can destroy a marriage as one spouse becomes addicted to a digitally enhanced fantasy female or male. Watch out for emotional affairs as well, they are on the rise and in many ways can be as damaging as a physical affair.
5. Maintain Proper Relationships
Most affairs occur between close friends and not total strangers. This includes co-workers and family members. The great philosopher Rocky Balboa said, “If you hang out with coconuts you become a coconut.” Choose your friends carefully.
6. Minimize the Opportunity
If you don’t want to get stung, stay away from the bees. Don’t place yourself in situations where you know you’re going to be tempted. Be careful if you’re thinking this could never happen to you. We are all vulnerable. Be humble. But for the grace of God there go I.