Some of you are probably thinking that I am being a little extreme in saying that infidelity in our culture is an epidemic. I get that, but I am not using the word as an attention getter. I am using it because I think the word fits. One dictionary defines epidemic this way: “a sudden, widespread occurrence of a particular undesirable phenomenon.”* Unfortunately, with what I see going on in our culture, infidelity is an epidemic.
Think about this with me. How does a couple go from struggling with finances or communication or any number of “normal” marriage issues to one of them stepping outside the marriage? I have never talked to someone who stepped into infidelity who said it was their plan all along. It is not like they walked out the door one day and announced, “I think I will go have an affair today and tear up my marriage and my family.” It happens one baby step at a time.
Baby steps seem to occur when we do not recognize or accept our vulnerabilities. Here is an example: If Nancy and I are struggling to connect with each other and we allow this disconnection to go on for a long time, we are both vulnerable to getting that need met elsewhere. If we allow fighting and unresolved issues to continue, we are vulnerable. If we mishandle finances and don’t work together for resolution when things get tough, we are vulnerable. Vulnerability does not mean an affair is inevitable, but vulnerability in today’s culture does seem to put infidelity on the table as an option like never before.
Take a hard look at your marriage. What are your vulnerabilities? What are the possibilities of taking a baby step in the wrong direction? If you say, “That is not us,” great; but I truly believe that anytime we think we are not vulnerable we have a tendency to let our defenses down, which can be dangerous. So instead of claiming your marriage is invulnerable, purposely and consistently work together with your spouse to deal with anything that might separate you. The battle against infidelity starts with one marriage at a time. That includes mine. What about yours?