Conservative infidelity statistics estimate that “60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair. These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved; at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages. According to Peggy Vaughan, author of “The Monogamy Myth,” first published in 1989 by Newmarket Press (third edition published 2003).
The continuing increase of women in the workplace and the increase of women having affairs on the Internet means that the numbers for women having affairs is probably similar to those for men—about 60%.
Also at work or away from home:
- -2 out of 3 women and 3 out of 4 men admit they have sexual thoughts about co-workers.
- -86% of men and 81% of women admit they routinely flirt with the opposite sex.
The bottom line is that if you want to help avoid infidelity in your relationship, then you must nurture and prioritize your relationship with your spouse. As you may have already figured out, unlike planes, relationships cannot be maintained on “auto-pilot”.
If you are feeling vulnerable to the temptation of being unfaithful to your spouse, I recommend you read Proverbs chapter 5. It will give you a perspective that is timeless, a message that is strong and forceful. God created sex for enjoyment not only for reproduction. He didn’t put the “marriage wall” around sex to rob us of pleasure but to increase pleasure and protect it. In Proverbs 5 Solomon explains the disappointments that come when people violate God’s loving laws.
Let’s take a closer look at Proverbs chapter 5. Each blue number (5:4) can be clicked on to allow you to read that verse.
Infidelity starts sweet, but ends in bitterness (vv. 1-6). The beginning of this affair may be exciting and sweet, because the kisses and words from her lips drip like honey, but in the end, the “sweetness” turns to bitterness and the honey becomes poison (5:4). Infidelity of any kind was and still is extremely dangerous. It destroys family life. It erodes a person’s ability to love. It degrades human beings and turns them into objects. It can lead to disease. It can result in unwanted children and is against God’s law. As we read on we see even more bitterness that leads to heartbreak.
Infidelity ends in heartbreak (5:7–14). Temptation always includes hopeful promises; otherwise, people would never take the devil’s bait. For a time, it seems like these promises have been fulfilled, and the offender basks in the sunshine of pleasant experiences and false assurances. This is what is called, “the myth of the greener grass.” People who commit sexual sins think their problems are solved (“She understands me so much better than my wife does!”) and that life will get better and better. But disobedience to God’s laws always brings sad consequences and sinners eventually pay dearly for their brief moments of pleasure.
When you read verses 9-14, you hear the words of a suffering individual regretting the high cost of disobeying God’s laws, because the most expensive thing in the world is sin. He discovers that the woman’s husband (or today a lawyer) is a cruel man who demands that he pay for what he’s done, so the adulterer ends up giving his strength to others and working more to pay his debt. Instead of luxury, the adulterer has misery; instead of riches, poverty; instead of success, ruin; and instead of a good reputation, a bad one. He looks back and wishes he had listened to his parents and his spiritual instructors, but his wishes can’t change his awful situation. Yes, God in His grace will forgive his sins if he repents, but doesn’t erase all earthly consequences.
Sex within Marriage is Best (vv. 15-20). Solomon compares enjoying married love to drinking pure water from a fresh well, but committing sexual sin is like drinking polluted water from the gutter or sewer.
“Drink water from your own cistern” is a picture of faithfulness in marriage. It means to enjoy the spouse God has given you. In desert lands, water is precious, and a well is a family’s most important possession. In Old Testament times, it was considered a crime to steal water from someone else’s well, just as it was a crime to have intercourse with another man’s wife. In both cases, the offender is endangering the health and security of family
A man and woman pledged to each other in marriage can experience the growing satisfaction that comes with love, commitment, depth, and purity.
But there’s something else involved here. Solomon admonishes the husband to be “ravished” with his wife’s love (5:19-20); the word translated “ravished” also means “intoxicated” or “infatuated.” The adulterer watches the springs turn into a sewer. The faithful can remain intoxicated by their spouse. When a husband and wife are faithful to the Lord and to each other, and when they obey Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 and Ephesians 5:22-33, neither of them will look for satisfaction anywhere else. If they love each other and seek to please each other and the Lord, their relationship will be one of deepening joy and satisfaction; they won’t look around for “the greener grass.”
Infidelity Leads to Death (5:20–23).
Freedom of choice is one of the privileges God has given us, but He instructs us and urges us to use that freedom wisely. As long as we use our freedom wisely, we will mature in godly character, and God can trust us with more freedom. But if we abuse our freedom and deliberately disobey His Word, our freedom will gradually become bondage, the kind of bondage that can’t easily be broken. (5:22).
It’s impossible to sin without being bound. One of the deceitful things about sin is that it promises freedom but only brings slavery. The cords of sin get stronger the more we sin, yet sin deceives us into thinking we’re free and can quit sinning whenever we please. As the invisible chains of habit are forged, we discover to our horror that we don’t have the strength to break them. Millions of people in our world today are in one kind of bondage or another and are seeking for deliverance, but the only One who can set them free is Jesus Christ. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, NKJV).
No wonder Solomon warns us to stay away from the adultery. “Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8, NKJV). “Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (7:27).
In contrast to much of what we read, see, and hear today, this passage urges couples to look to each other for lifelong satisfaction and companionship. Many temptations entice husbands and wives to desert each other for excitement and pleasures to be found elsewhere when marriage becomes dull. But God designed marriage and only within this covenant relationship can we find real love and fulfillment. Don’t let God’s best for you be wasted on the illusion of greener pastures somewhere else. Instead, rejoice with your spouse as you give yourselves to God and to each other.
Don’t crash your life with adultery; steer toward God’s best for you and your family.
For more about The Ridge Fellowship or to find out more about the series “Life Crashers” or this week’s message, “Cruising for An Affair” go to www.ridgefellowship.com