Every week it seems like another case of adultery has made the rounds on social media, and in gossip circles garnering the full shock and disbelief of the community. But why aren’t we appalled by the silent killer amongst marriages? The one that opens the door to physical infidelity? The one you could very well be participating in right now?
Let’s talk about emotional infidelity.
Just after his famous Beatitudes sermon, Jesus once again breaks our paradigm by saying,
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28
Oh, brothers and sisters. We love to categorize our sins, especially the ones that seem most repugnant (i.e. adultery).
But Jesus blows away our legalistic grounds and says if we so much as look at another person with lust, it is the same as physical intimacy with that person. Whoa. Raise your hands if you haven’t looked at another person with lust besides your spouse…thought so. At some point we have all been guilty – such is the nature of fallen man.
The problem with this sin is that it is under the radar; because it is not visibly apparent, it doesn’t seem “as bad” as the real deal. Except in God’s eyes, it’s all the same.
Unaffected by it? Ask yourself this – when was the last time you “crushed” on a celebrity or movie star? In all seriousness, I’ve had multiple women tell me they had “dreams” about said celebrities. I’ve also witnessed fellow married brothers in the Lord speak inappropriately about actresses. Saints do you not realize you have already crossed the threshold?
And I’m not talking about noticing a handsome man or a pretty lady and admiring beauty for what it is (but even that can become an idol). I’m talking about beyond that – letting your imagination take you beyond the will of God.
Seems like small beans right? Except this is where it all starts. Men and women both start fantasizing about other people and our minds become consumed by those thoughts.
This becomes even more chilling when we think about the workplace.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you and your spouse both work full time that means at least 40 hours a week are spent with people other than your spouse. In many instances, you spend more time with your office mates than you do your spouse.
Through daily intimate conversation and work, you begin to form bonds with these individuals that goes beyond workplace acquaintances and friendship.
How do we begin to guard our hearts and minds against the schemes of the devil to destroy marriages with emotional infidelity? If you begin to realize your heart has turned towards something else, I want to encourage you to implement these 5 steps.
- Flesh Out Your Motives
Why are you lusting after someone else in the first place? What is drawing your eye to wander instead of being focused on your spouse? Deal harshly with yourself – remember, according to Jesus this is the exact same thing as if you were physically cheating.
- Turn To The Lord
we are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. – 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
Love demands obedience; allow the Lord to expose your motives and seek His help to overcome the manipulation of the devil.
- Remove Yourself From Situations
What starts off as innocent discussion becomes friend requests on Facebook, text messaging, and suddenly more. Your heart and mind become fixated on the attention this relationship gives you, similar to the addiction an alcoholic feels towards a bottle.
No you aren’t falling “out of love” with your spouse; you are just cultivating another relationship instead of your covenant between your spouse and God. Put software on your computer that blocks access to sites. Let your spouse have full access to all your media devices — and if all else fails, quit that job.
Seriously. Is the covenant you made with your spouse not more important than any job? I would quit my job, sell my home, and give everything away to protect my marriage. This is the kind of radical holiness Christ calls us to live.
- Create A Dialogue
Communication is one of the most important things in marriage; tell your spouse what is going on inside you. They are not mind readers. Telling your spouse the truth about yourself might be the hardest thing you ever do, but this is what brings resolution. Don’t keep secrets – bear your heart, soul, and mind with your spouse. They deserve to know the truth, no matter what it reveals.
- Seek Help
I don’t know the issues you have in your marriage, but if you have exhausted all efforts and are at a loss to address the problem, seek help. Find a counselor, coach, pastor, or trusted mentor in the Lord to discuss your problems.
Our minds are not a safe space; if anything they are just as permeated by the fall as the rest of our members. Don’t deceive yourself by qualifying feelings you know are not in line with the Holy Spirit. Appearances mean nothing in the light of Glory. And remember,
The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” – Hebrews 4:12-13