I really believe one of the best ways to affair-proof your marriage is to meet with an accountability partner every week. But this only works if you truly understand the significance and definition of an accountability partnership.
First, an accountability partner is someone of your same gender whom you trust completely. Second, the relationship needs to be reciprocal: the two of you must be willing to meet every week to openly and honestly talk about the struggles you both deal with in life. That means you must be every bit as honest and open with your accountability partner as they are with you. If you are honest, if you share all your struggles, if you expect that person to ask you the tough questions every week, and if that person follows through, then the accountability partnership can work to help affair-proof your marriage. But if you are not willing to be vulnerable and honest, don’t waste someone else’s time.
Here is an example of how the accountability partnership should work: David, a married man, works in a large company. A new woman, Beth, is hired to work in his area, and the first time David sees her he is very attracted to her. Over the next few weeks, he finds himself thinking more about what he is going to wear to work. He finds excuses to “conference” with Beth. He has not crossed the line yet, but he is getting very close. Enter Brian. David’s pastor challenged the men in his church to find accountability partners, and Brian asked David if he would like to join him. Their first meeting is today at lunch. Now David has a choice.
Option one looks like this: David agrees to meet with Brian. He is mostly open with him and shares some of his struggles—but not all of them. Since nothing has really happened, David thinks there is no point in sharing about Beth. He figures he’ll bring it up later if it becomes a problem. So David does not share and continues to take baby steps toward Beth; and one day he realizes that she is taking baby steps toward him. By the time David tells Brian about Beth, a lot of lines have been crossed and David is in a full-fledged affair that will eventually cost him his marriage—and a lot more.
In option two, David takes the accountability partnership with Brian seriously from day one. He tells Brian about this new woman at work and his infatuation with her. He asks Brian to hold him accountable. That means every week Brian’s job is to ask David about Beth, about his thought life, and about what he is doing to grow his marriage. To hold David accountable, Brian prays with him and for him. The bottom line is that David is willing to admit that he is tempted to go down a road leading to destruction and that he needs Brian to get in his face every week and ask the tough questions. He is asking Brian to love him that much.
My example involves men, but I firmly believe women need accountability partners too. As our culture changes, I see more women than ever before choosing the road to infidelity. Over 30 percent of the couples I see for infidelity have experienced the wife going outside the marriage.
There are certainly a number of ways to affair-proof your marriage, and I will share more of them next time. Having an accountability partner is a big first step. You may think you do not need one right now, but seriously consider starting that accountability relationship today—long before you might desperately need it tomorrow!