5 reasons why having an affair is a bad idea
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Opinion - Over the past few weeks, I have heard heart-wrenching stories of families being torn apart because of infidelity.
The aggrieved spouse describes the feeling as worse than death. Children are left broken. They watch their moms and dads try to keep things together, while wondering if they are to blame. It will affect their self-worth, their education and even their future romantic relationships.
Is it all worth it? Well, some would say it is. The passion, intrigue and thrill of escaping detection is a turn-on for many.
Lord David Cecil once said: “The nurse of infidelity is sensuality.”
What starts off as flimsy flirtation quickly turns into a web of deceit. At its core is emotional or sexual intimacy that violates the trust of a spouse.
Here are five reasons why having an affair is a terrible idea:
1. It will ruin your reputation. Society never forgets and when you slip up and get caught, you will be humiliated and embarrassed. More importantly, every piece of advice you give to others will be questioned based on your moral transgression. Your confidence is likely to drop, as well as your influence.
2. Your spouse will never fully trust you – probably for the rest of your life. They will start to question everything, from why you took so long at the store to whether you’re really working late at the office. This trust will take years to rebuild and every day will be different, as they battle to reconcile what happened and why.
3. Your children will no longer see you as a role model. Knowing that you chose to be with someone other than their mom or dad will make them feel insecure, confused, sad and angry. You will lose your authority to steward and discipline them because you have been a poor example. If you have daughters, the emotional trauma may lead to them quickly getting involved in a relationship without performing due diligence. If you have sons, your behaviour may rubber stamp them doing the same.
4. You increase your chance of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Did you know that you can have an STD even though you don’t experience any symptoms? STDs can lead to infertility in both men and women. It can also increase your chances of contracting HIV, cancer or syphilis. Cheating on your spouse can, therefore, directly impact both your quality and length of life.
5. Most importantly, infidelity is a violation of covenant and is against everything our faith in God stands for.
In Hebrews 13:4 we are asked to “give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another”.
The Bible goes even further in the New Testament. Matthew 5:27 says “you have heard it said, ‘Do not commit adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who even looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
My hope is that these five reasons will be strong enough to put the brakes on any scent of sensuality outside of your marriage covenant.
IN TOO DEEP?
But what if it’s too late? What if you’re already too deep but you have now decided to walk away? At the outset, know that it’s not going to be easy – but it is the right thing to do.
You will have to gather all your courage and end the affair. Don’t wait for after Valentine’s Day. Do it today. If you need help, speak to a close friend or a pastor, who will support you through it.
Make the break quick and to the point, and then end all communication. Change your number, change cities or countries if you have to. Like my husband puts it, just kick down!
If you are in a marriage, tell your spouse that you have been unfaithful, that you’ve ended it and that you want to make your relationship work. This is a tough one, and there’s no guarantees about how your spouse will react, but the chances are higher that you will be met with a little more leniency because of your transparency. There has to be genuine remorse and don’t expect your spouse to simply get over it, even if they have decided to forgive you and try again. Rebuilding trust takes time and, during this phase, your spouse will be processing all sorts of emotions. Give them the time and space they need.
If you and your partner commit to working together to make your marriage work, sit together and identify gaps in your marriage that may have led to you seeking affection elsewhere. This could be a wide range of problems.
Communication is a major factor. Do you actually talk to each other? I mean, do you have real conversations? Do you set aside time every evening to talk about your day? Do you sit and eat together around a table as a family with the TV switched off? Do you attend church together, even if it’s online? Do you pray together in your home? Are there problems around intimacy, family interference, pride, laziness, insecurity, unforgiveness, alcohol, drugs or physical abuse?
Together with your spouse, come up with an action plan to make your marriage a happy place. This will entail putting in place goals and priorities, and sticking to them. Once you – as a couple – find each other, the love will also filter down to your children and will translate into a healthy and happy environment for them to thrive in.
Marriage is demanding and challenging, and sometimes rather frustrating, but it also comes with great rewards. All the bumps along the journey can lead to greater transparency, connection, insight and intimacy.
The challenges force us to access resources and strength we never knew we had, as we engage in covenant and, of course, we can’t ignore that it is rather fun to have someone to annoy all our lives.
Ecclesiates 10:8 says: “He that digs a pit will fall into it, and he that breaks a hedge, a serpent will bite him.”
In modern terms, we need to have a strong hedge or fence around our marriage, with security beams. When trouble comes, we must be able to press the panic button and call for help from specialists in the field.
We need to constantly make sure the fence around our family is in good condition. If any part of the fence is damaged, or broken down, it will compromise the security of our marriage.
So let’s put in place proper structures today and perform the required maintenance to ensure that our marriages are fortified, and can ultimately be a haven of love and rest.
* Moses is a radio news editor and a blogger. Contact her on [email protected] or visit her blog at http://www.diaryofapastorswife.org
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.*