Jul 172018 5 Responses

The Number One Cause of Adultery

Short-sightedness.

Most affairs happen because one or both people ignore the long-term consequences of their decisions and fixate solely on the immediate impact or feeling. They don’t think of about five years from now or five months from now or even five days from now. They simply consider the immediate need, feeling, desire, pain, and the possibility to have something which makes them feel alive.

Adultery is ultimately a failure of vision. Rather than rationally understanding the consequences of our decisions over an extended period of time, we think only in the immediate. We downplay future ramifications, ignore natural consequences, and deny the direction present decisions are sending us. By focusing solely on the immediate feeling, need, or desire, adultery becomes a logical choice.

When considered over an extended period of time, no rational person would choose to cheat. The price is too high. The consequences are too steep. There are a thousand other options of how to handle frustration in marriage, personal needs going unmet, or experiencing sexual satisfaction other than breaking your vows, violating trust, injuring your family, using another person, and having an affair.

See Adultery for What It Is

Make no mistake about the true nature of adultery. (See: You Will Have an Affair If…)

It’s morally wrong. While society may have no problem with adultery, it is an affront to God. He designed sex and marriage. Adultery violates both designs. Refusal to use God’s creation within His intended purpose is doubly costly. First, it creates a division between us and God because of our rebellion. Second, it brings negative consequences which naturally flow from disobedience. God’s moral law is created for our good. His design is in our best interest. When we choose our own way, we are choosing what is not in our best interest. Negative consequences follow.

It’s selfish. On many (though not all) occasions, the reasons for an affair are understandable. A person is lonely, frustrated, emotionally-needy, etc. But in every case, choosing to inappropriately meet those desires is selfish. It’s deciding to negatively impact others for personal pleasure and gain. While it’s acceptable to find a healthy way to get our needs met, it is never appropriate to injure others in order to help ourselves.

It’s unloving toward others. The damage adultery does to others just can’t be diminished. While a person would rarely intentionally inject a great amount of pain on another, adultery does just that. It devastates spouses. It unsettles the family foundation for children creating insecurity. Friendships are strained. Work relationships struggle. Church interactions can become uncertain. There are many reasons why I should never cheat on Jenny, one of them is because of how my poor choices would negatively impact you.

It’s destructive. Adultery is always destructive. Some never get caught and may never fully see all the negative consequences for their sin. Most experience many of the bad ramifications of having an affair. I can’t count the number of times men and women have told me, “If I knew then what I know now, this would have never happened.” While there are some rare stories of people having affairs and a lasting relationship being created between the two individuals, even those experiences contain extremely painful consequences. But most affairs don’t lead to marriage. Instead, they lead to a plethora of bad circumstances.

Be Far-Sighted

While there are many steps to avoid adultery, one of the key steps is to always see things from a long-term perspective. An affair might be fun for a moment. It might bring temporary pleasure. But it is never the wisest way to achieve what you desire. The price is too high and the returns are too little to risk it. (See: Beware of the Crossfit Affair)

Rather than having an affair, a far better approach is to develop a healthy sexual pattern with your spouse. Have the courage to initiate the difficult conversations. Get professional counseling when needed. Do everything in your power to create the best relationship possible with your current spouse. Adultery might be easy in the moment, but it is going to be a disaster in the long-run. Working on your marriage might be difficult in the moment, but it will make the future much easier.

5 Responses to The Number One Cause of Adultery
  1. Mike Reply

    “Rather than having an affair, a far better approach is to develop a healthy sexual pattern with your spouse. Have the courage to initiate the difficult conversations. Get professional counseling when needed. Do everything in your power to create the best relationship possible with your current spouse.”

    And, if you’ve done all that and she still refuses, with varying different excuse each time……?

  2. Carol Reply

    Analogy: if someone asked your spouse, “would you willingly take a drug to make yourself feel great, knowing it had a very high chance of seriously wounding your spouse?” why
    is that answer so obvious, yet the “drug” of an affair is never thought of that way. I often asked my husband why he didn’t think about long term consequences and he said “I don’t know”. And he was probably being truthful. Educational campaigns should begin in high school! Talk about the opiod crisis! The effects of adultery on a family and society are similar in my opinion.

  3. Roger Reply

    My wife disrespected me and left the marriage emotionally and physically 30+ years ago. No counseling helped. The sessions ended with more disdain.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I would say counseling still helped in that it gave you confidence that you did all you could.

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