By William C. Sexton
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency (1 Cor. 7:3-5).
All of us who are “tuned in” to what is happening are aware of the fact that many marriages are breaking up; even God’s people are not immune; yea, how many preachers have been caught up in such! Infidelity is a basic factor.
The June 1986 issue of Reader’s Digest (pp. 169-176) has an article which I would suggest that each person read. The article is “Why Affairs Happen.” It points to the high rate of married people who will be involved in an affair – more men than women, but over one-half of each will be so involved. Then some information that has been received from people so involved is presented, as to how, or under what circumstances such did occur. We would be wise to look seriously to some of the causes “why” such does occur, recognizing that each of us can be deceived by Satan, our opponent.
Three factors are pointed to as contributing to unfaithfulness, or infidelity of a married person: (1) Loneliness; (2) Monotony; (3) Failure to Communicate. Each of us can readily see, I believe, that these can indeed contribute to infidelity, and we should seek to prevent such from happening – to us or to our mate.
1. He points to the “power” of a mate over the other’s body. The sexual drive is a powerful force that each healthy, normal person has to deal with. Such is God-given! Recognition of this fact is the responsibility of each child of God. Satan, the adversary of man, too, is mindful of this rightful need and will seek to move us to act outside the God-approved way to meet this need, moving us to sin. A-lone-ness can indeed place one in a precarious position.
2. “Defraud” is not to be practiced; the NKJV says, “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time. . . . ” There is to be mutual consent, and the time is to be short – and such is to be practiced with a specific purpose, so that each may be participating in a high-level-activity: prayer and fasting. There is a basic need for sexual satisfaction. When such is not experienced, the evil one will step in and “tempt” one to seek that satisfaction in an unlawful affair.
3. Communication is a very basic activity essential to continued growth in the marriage relationship. I always tell people in pre-marriage-discussions: Learn to communicate early in the marriage. Learn how to express your likes and dislikes early, while you can do so without making the other angry, while he/she will be interested in pleasing. If you wait too long, till difficulties arise, then you will be unable to discuss them; communication is to be an ongoing activity, growth in the skills, in confidence that you can express intelligently what you feel, like, want, etc. Beloved, keep talking and listening! Express your lack of satisfaction; try to find what the mate needs! Try to satisfy the other in the relationship, and be satisfied only when he/she is satisfied! Otherwise, Satan may tempt you and/or your mate to have an affair with one other than you. Pain will result for you, the mate, and others, too, in many ways.
In order to manifest wisdom, understanding of human nature, and show concern, certain activities need to be practiced — to the end that neither mate might be tempted to be unfaithful to the marriage vows.
1. Priorities must be clearly made: Serving God, relative to my mate, should be taken care of before I proceed to carrying out my other duties. Realistically, if I allow other things to keep me from doing my duty and my mate becomes involved with another, nothing that I achieve is going to compensate for the pain and hurt to both of us. God points to several things which will be taken care of in time. If we fail to give adequate attention to our mate, we are failing to be wise, showing either a lack of understanding and/or proper care and concern.
2. Adjustments must be made, as we grow older, wiser, and more mature – changes will occur, perhaps unconsciously, but the situation will change, too, demanding adjustments from us. Perhaps preachers, as much as any other, may become so involved away from home to the extent that they’ll not take care of their home-work. One preacher wrote me recently that he will not hold a meeting unless he can be with his family at night. I commend this man! Many are not so concerned with their wife and children, or they don’t see the danger of being away for an extended period of time.
Preachers perhaps are inclined to be so involved with “church-work” that they do not take time to do their “home-work,” even when they are at home. I have trouble in this area, as my wife has to remind me occasionally. Women can become so involved with their “schedule” that there is little time to take care of the personal love affairs with their husband. Formality, habits of living, can get in the way of marriage-acts.
3. Recognize temptations and run from them (1 Cor. 6:18-20). Help the mate avoid tempting situations, developing a conscious awareness of the “power” factor in one’s sexuality; hear the clear voice of God saying: Do not allow Satan to destroy you for your “lack of self-control.”
4. Have a realistic goal in your human relations: husband and wife! We can’t realistically expect to “experience” the cloud nine-feeling at every act in the marriage. If we have such expectations, then we’ll grow weary, and begin looking for such potential experiences with another. Satan will help us experiment and/or search for such.
Certainly we do not know all the factors that cause one who has been faithful in marriage to turn to infidelity. No doubt there are many and varied reasons, and no one person can make a marriage work. Yet, I would find it exceedingly hard to say that my mate was totally to blame should such occur. I would wonder if I did not contribute to her infidelity — especially, after we had been married for several years.
I am mindful and hope you are, dear reader, that God has said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commiteth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:9). 1 don’t think that is too hard to understand; it may be very hard, however, to accept. I am also aware, and I hope that you are, too, that the Scriptures say: “And unto the married I command, yet not 1, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10-11).
It is possible for a wife/husband to forgive the mate for infidelity and the marriage be saved. However, there is no restoring the relationship and state of mind and joy that was there “before” the affair! It will be somewhat less.
Beloved, with so much misery being witnessed due to infidelity, let each of us take the measures to keep infidelity from occurring in our lives.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 16, pp. 481, 504
August 21, 1986