What man or woman intends to cheat on his/her spouse after the wedding day? On that day, it’s smiles vows and anticipation of a great future together. Even so, many choose this destructive path — and for what? A few moments of self-gratification? Was it worth it?
The Bible does say that sin is pleasurable. . . for a season.
If you’re married — and a true believer — that season is shorter than summer in Antarctica.
Most feel shame and disbelief, wondering how they could have allowed themselves to stoop so low. But, unfaithfulness doesn’t just happen. It is the result of thought patterns and many decisions over time, and much temptation from the enemy of one’s soul.
Watching leader after leader fall can be very discouraging. Are you next in line? Is it just a matter of time? Is it possible for a couple to stand together – faithful to each other – in this sin-saturated world?
What can be done in your marriage to prevent unfaithfulness?
1) Draw near to God.
This is not a cliché or a platitude. We are instructed in Scripture to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Every relationship can grow distant over time, and so it is with our relationship to the Father. The responsibility here is on you to take action, to “draw near.” How is that done? Washing one’s mind with the Word, and regular communion – prayer – with the Father. When we walk near the Father, the offerings of sin are rejected.
2) Draw near to your spouse.
Closeness never happens without purposing to be close. If we are instructed to take action and draw near to God, isn’t it logical that to have a close relationship with our spouse, we need to take action – to draw near to him/her? Our real priorities are what we value with our time.
3) Take responsibility for your thought life.
If we’re going to be serious about victory, we have to be serious about victory everywhere. The sinful act isn’t an orphan. It has relatives. If a man or woman chooses the path of infidelity, it happens after a lot of thought. Thinking is powerful. Thoughts lead to actions. We are not victims of our thought life. Our thought life is comprised of what we choose to think about.
Let’s keep it real – men think about sex a lot. And, that’s a very good thing because God designed it that way. God built the wiring, but you are responsible for the electricity! When it comes to sexual thoughts . . . the precursor to action . . . allow only thoughts about your spouse.
Invoke a “zero tolerance” policy for anything or anyone else.
I just feel attacked all the time . . .
Then fight back!
This isn’t a game. It’s war. I’ve never heard of a warrior who didn’t respond to real threats with force. You are not a victim unless you choose not to resist the enemy’s efforts to take you down.
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
4) Take responsibility for what you do and where you go.
You didn’t just happen to read all those trashy parts of that romance novel. You chose to. You didn’t just happen to see those pics in the magazine while reading a worthy article. You chose to. How did you wind up on that TV station? You chose to click. How did you wind up at that site on the web? It wasn’t that sneaky mouse. You clicked on the page.
We’ve got to own it: sin is always a choice.
I will set no wicked thing before my eyes (Psalm 101:3).
. . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14).
The flesh lusts . . . that’s just what it does. Lust comes in all shapes and sizes, is gender inclusive (that’s right, the ladies don’t get a pass!) and very creative. Action is required of those who would be victorious.
5) Make love with your spouse . . . often. It’s what God wants you to do . . . really.
If you don’t remain physically intimate on a regular basis, you are setting yourselves up for sin. It surprises many to learn that the Bible encourages spouses to have sex often:
. . . to avoid engaging in illicit sex of any kind, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. The husband should ensure his wife’s sexual needs are met and the wife should make sure her husband’s sexual needs are met. The wife does not have power (exclusive authority/the right to deny her husband) over her own body and neither does the husband. And, don’t defraud each other (withhold sex from each other), unless you both agree for a time so you can fast and pray about a particular issue. Then, be sure to commence having sex so Satan doesn’t have an opportunity to tempt you to have sex with someone else” (1 Corinthians 7:2-5 MLJV).
Faithfulness to your spouse is faithfulness to God, Who has provided everything necessary for a blessed, faithful marriage, including giving His Spirit, but vigilance and action is required. It is ours to choose to walk in wisdom, obedience, and faithfulness to our spouse.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).