Jump directly to the Content

Preventing an Affair

How to guard your relationship
Preventing an Affair

A friend recently confided, "If you had asked me a year ago if I thought this could happen to my marriage, I would have said you were crazy. I love my wife and kids! But here I am. I just can't believe it."

The attraction begins innocently. Laughing together, a touch, a friend just being there?a connection. One that's missing at home. Then it's coffee together, and you look forward to the encounters. The connection becomes fierce, insistent and spreads to other levels?forbidden levels.

Learn what matters to your spouse and make sure it happens

An affair is the most arduous course a couple must navigate. The pain of betrayal is devastating. Trust?essential to a vital marriage?is long in the mending. Of course, Satan knows this, so he uses infidelity to try to mortally wound a relationship put in place by God. It is essential that Christians work to affair-proof their marriages. Here's how.

1. Begin with yourself. Make sure you see your marriage as a sacred vow, a covenant, as God does. Acknowledge that vow before God and recommit to it, to your marriage and to your spouse. That vow leaves no room for infidelity.

Like Joseph (in Genesis 39), purpose in your heart not to sin against God or defile your marriage. "Wash your mind" often with such passages as Proverbs 5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 and James 1:13-16.

2. Be honest with each other about personal needs and marital problems. While sexual addiction, personality disorders or a search for validation can precipitate an affair, most affairs reflect problems in the marriage. The best way to beat temptation is to prevent it from coming. Make sure you're connecting with each other and that appropriate needs are being satisfied at home. Honest discussion shows a commitment to both spouse and marriage. You're willing to take a chance so you and your spouse can address what's important to your marriage's vitality.

3. Talk frequently and openly with your spouse. Talk about your relationship, affection, changes (like extra pounds and thinning hair) and failures. Allow your spouse to be open with you. First Peter 3:8-12 has been helpful for us as we have navigated the difficulty of honest communication. It's easy to express your unmet needs but far more difficult to hear about your faults.

4. Monitor priorities. Don't allow jobs, hobbies, parents, school, church or kids to crowd out the attention that belongs to the marital bond. Not all needs are met at home, but make sure those that should be are.

5. Be intimate. Leave mushy notes in her purse or his briefcase. Have Friday night dates, romantic picnics and candlelit dinners. Gaze into each other's eyes and talk about love and making love. Learn what matters to your spouse and make sure it happens. Never discount him or her, and if you do, make sincere amends. Grow together in Christ.

Treat your spouse like what he or she is?a precious gift from God. That way you will remain what God has made you?one flesh in his sight.

Dr. Tim Clinton is executive vice-president of the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Julie Clinton is executive director of the Light Family Health Clinic in Lynchburg, Virginia. Married for 16 years, they have two children.

We'd really like to know what you think about this article!

Is this the kind of article you'd like to see more of?

Is there a topic you'd like us to cover?

Please send your suggestions to: cpt@christianparenting.net

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Free CT Women Newsletter

Sign up for our Weekly newsletter: CT's weekly newsletter to help you make sense of how faith and family intersect with the world.

Read These Next


Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter

Follow Us

More Newsletters