Statistics concerning divorce rates can be alarming. Most sources report that roughly half of all marriages endure. Among the other fifty percent that end, a lack of commitment and infidelity are cited as top contributors to why many couples part ways.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines infidelity as “the situation in which one partner in a marriage or intimate relationship becomes sexually or emotionally involved with a person other than the partner’s spouse.”
While we can respect that description, it is important for believers in Christ to understand that adultery, like other sins, does not originate at the point of a physical or emotional exchange with another human being. Infidelity and the state of an emotional affair, however, begins in the heart (Ephesians 2:3).
With unrestricted access, our adversary can influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions. He seeks to gain a foothold in our lives to build a fortress (Ephesians 4:17). For that reason, we need to establish a hedge of prayerful and practical protection around our minds, mates, and marriages.
We don’t have to live in fear, but we can be active in saving our marriage before it’s threatened. In the cases where we have been distracted by desire and experienced infidelity or an emotional affair, we can recover to make our marital bond more resilient.
There may be many reasons or explanations why we or our spouses sought companionship or intimacy outside of the marriage. These reasons don’t excuse infidelity or an emotional affair.
Where there are gaps or unmet needs, we need to be willing to commune with our hearts and face what prompted us to seek fulfillment elsewhere (Psalm 4:4). We must also engage and be present with our spouse in honest, ongoing conversations where we demonstrate an active and compassionate response to one another’s legitimate needs.
Needs and desires may shift over time and through seasons. We can work to revive and preserve mutual honor through purposeful pursuit, connection, and courtship, even within marriage.
Individually, we are ultimately responsible for how we live, even within the space of our own hearts and minds where only God sees (1 Samuel 16:7). If we want any relationship to thrive, including what we experience with ourselves, spouses, and God, it must be nurtured regularly.
The Lord invites us to seek wisdom where we lack because He has the blueprint for what makes for a healthy mind, a happy mate, and an honorable marriage (James 1:5; Hebrews 13:4). As we seek God first and continually, He fuels us with what we need to remain connected and thriving. This is true not only in our relationship with Him but also effective in our marriages (Matthew 6:33; John 15:5).
Next steps for fighting infidelity
Whether you or your spouse has participated in an emotional affair or infidelity, it can seem impossible to recover. It may seem that there is a mountain of regret and misunderstanding that stands between you, your spouse, and perhaps even God. However, you do not have to remain suspended in bewilderment and bitterness.
Trust that the Holy Spirit has brought you to this site. He is navigating your course to reconnect with Himself and with your partner, even with the support of a counselor. God can help you restore your marriage and rebound after an emotional affair or infidelity. Reach out to see how a counselor can help you on that journey.
“Standing on the Sand”, Courtesy of Angelo Pantazis, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Standing on the Sand”, Courtesy of Jonathan Zerger, Unsplash.com, CC0 License