This week as I counseled people in my office, I was asked this question: “Why are there so many people having affairs?” It’s a question I have asked myself countless times over the past few years. Without pulling charts and having data compiled, I would say that ten years ago, about 10 percent or less of the couples that I was seeing for counseling were there because of infidelity. Today the percentage is close to 60. That is a huge difference! Now let me throw another factor into the mix. At least 90 percent of the couples I see for counseling are (or would say they are) Christians! We have known for years that the divorce rate between Christian couples and non-Christian couples is virtually the same. Now it seems that the same may be true of infidelity.
Yet that does not answer the “why” question, does it? Here are some thoughts. There are not as many constraints in place today as there were ten years ago. For example, it’s not unusual for some or most of the subject matter of a TV show or movie to be about infidelity. We see infidelity in the lives of many high-profile people. Gradually we are becoming desensitized to it. We start accepting it as a normal part of our culture. For many people, there doesn’t seem to be the stigma associated with stepping out of marriage as there used to be. People in the business world travel more and thus have more opportunities to hook up with people who aren’t their spouses. Even if coworkers find out, there seems to be much less shame associated with infidelity today than in years past. In summing it up, our culture has opened the door wide for people to take that “step out”; and on the surface, unfortunately, the consequences are not much of a deterrent.
The real problem is that society doesn’t talk about the aftermath of an affair. We don’t hear about the pain, the broken families, the devastated kids, the shattered self-esteem, and the guilt. But they are present today just like they were ten years ago. Every time I counsel a couple who has experienced infidelity, I wish so much that I could have talked to them before the affair. So often a husband or wife will say that they knew they needed help, or that they knew they were very vulnerable, but just never made that phone call to talk to someone. Instead they acted out.
Are you vulnerable to having an affair? This will make some of you mad: if your answer was no, I would be concerned for you. All of us are one quick decision away from doing something really stupid that could wreck our lives and the lives of those we love the most. I know I am vulnerable because I am human; but because I admit I am vulnerable, I can put my own constraints in place. I can make the decision to never have lunch or dinner alone with any woman but Nancy. I can keep my thoughts on intimacy totally focused on my relationship with my wife. I can say no to anything that would put me in a position or place that I know could wreck my life.
If we are to reverse the trend of infidelity in our culture, it starts with me and it starts with you. I have to let God guide my choices each day. As much as I would like to, I can’t make that choice for you. Only you can do that. So are you stepping into your marriage or stepping out? It’s your choice. What are you going to do?
A great next step for you would be to pre-order my new book “7 Secrets To An Awesome Marriage.” This book can literally help you transform your marriage from where it is today to where God wants it to be tomorrow. This week you also get a free PDF of my “30 Day Experiment for Couples” workbook. To learn more go to: http://www.iwantanawesomemarriage.com/7secrets.