What Leads To Adultery? You’d Be Surprised

After our first anniversary, I remember getting in a big argument with Bobby right before we were leaving for small group. I hatefully told him if he ever cheated on me I would divorce him.

I’ve clearly eaten those words because I have pleaded for his mercy and grace to fight for our marriage and through my craziness and confusion. Our marriage has been a thorn in his flesh and a smiting tool God uses to refine Bobby. Bobby has discipled me through very rough eight years of marriage. Of course there have been joys and graces, but on the whole, we would not recommend to single men to marry a woman like who I used to be.

Because of his commitment to Christ and willingness to genuinely lay down his life for me, in order to present me as spotless before Christ, I owe him my life. He has demonstrated to me day in and day out the barebones of faith in Christ. My life without faith in Christ would be desolate, and Bobby’s example of living Christ never burns out.

Could this be a picture of adultery? On the outside, nope. But we can’t see either heart, so we can’t know. God knows though.


My Foolishness In Thinking I Was Safe
Back to that second year though. I suppose I thought that because I couldn’t see myself committing adultery, I was safe. Most people assume that men are the ones more likely to commit adultery. I think a lot of wives commit adultery in their emotions, in their lack of vulnerability, and in their discontentment. Jesus says after all, that lust in the heart is equivalent to committing adultery. He’s not exaggerating there. God is concerned with the heart seemingly more than actions.

This applies to women who might not be committing sexual immorality, but who are totally emotionally unfaithful. Out of boredom, one friend spent her free time at home in glorified chat rooms. She soon got close with one specific user and started to spend more and more time chatting and getting to know him. She began to compare her husband to the user. She then started wondering what life would be like if she were with this user. Soon, there were things she would tell the user rather than her husband. Thoughts, dreams, desires, wishes. She was convicted that this was essentially adultery, confessed, and stopped talking with this man.

Before the first adultery and while I was still new to marriage, I had carried over a habit from singleness of checking out men, seeing if they were checking me out, checking to see if they had a wedding ring, and assessing other aspects of their physical character all in under ten seconds. I bet you can only guess what that did to my heart. Often I was already committing adultery and I didn’t even realize what I was doing with my thoughts.

Strength in Christ does not mean you are safe either. Surprise, surprise, Bobby fights against temptations to commit sexual immorality (adultery). He had these struggles even before I committed adultery, but understandably revenge adultery was a strong temptation in response to the third adultery. We both agree that pornography is adultery. We even see desires to be with someone else in any way that is meant to be exclusively held for marriage as adultery. It’s a slippery slope to “full blown” adultery!

If Bobby were not to fight every single day, confessing his sin to me and to others, taking every thought captive, he would be swept away. Though Bobby is strong in the Lord, he is totally weak without him, and should never, ever believe he is safe from adultery.

So, read this list with an open mind and consider, are you leaving room in your heart to lead toward adultery? It’s not glamorous at all, and if you need a strong slap, read how my choice to commit adultery nearly destroyed me.

Obvious and Overt Paths to Adultery

  1. Desiring adultery in your heart
  2. No accountability
  3. Not attending worship regularly and not being an active member of the body of Christ
  4. Not reading the word daily
  5. Not fighting sin
  6. Breaking agreed upon boundaries
  7. Not having boundaries with the opposite sex/ attraction sex
  8. Not using discretion with “red flag” members of the opposite/attraction sex
  9. Flirting
  10. Having a practice of keeping secrets from your spouse (keeping part of your life private or off limits)
  11. Deleting any message, picture, or record to prevent your spouse from seeing
  12. Seeking attention from others through dress, attitude, or speech
  13. Blaming your spouse for marital problems
  14. Engaging in any form of pornography (already adultery)
  15. Checking other people out and imagining what it would be like with them sexually or in marriage (also adultery, but of the heart; this was the main issue of my second adultery)
  16. Thinking up ways to commit adultery and how you could get away with it
  17. Not having a healthy view of the marriage bed (sex)

Subtle and Slippery Paths to Adultery

  1. Lack of gratitude, grace, mercy, or forgiveness in marriage
  2. Always assuming the worst of your spouse
  3. Refusing to lay down your life for your wife
  4. Being purposely, un-biblically in-submissive
  5. Lingering, general discontentment in marriage
  6. Apathy toward marriage (it’s not broken, don’t fix it)
  7. Seeking a Disney-style, happy-ending marriage (the main reason for my first adultery)
  8. Expecting your spouse to fulfill every desire of your heart (only Christ never disappoints)
  9. Any lack of self-control sin like gluttony, financial foolishness, slothfulness, anger, etc. (if someone lacks self-control in one area, s/he often lacks control in another, and the self-control failures grow if not trained in righteousness)
  10. Pride in self and in possessions or assets
  11. Seeking my own glory or believing in lies that sin is glamours or satisfying, even in a moment (this is totally the main crux of my third adultery)
  12. Not knowing God’s purpose for marriage and pursuing your own version

I’m not going to put a number on this because the list could easily grow, but these are ways I can see right now that would lead to adultery if not confronted and abandoned at the cross of Christ. I suppose some of these seem ridiculous, but then I’m the one sitting on the other side of adulteries. It is serious, not ridiculous.

I also don’t want to throw out this list and say there isn’t any hope, you’re just bound to commit adultery. If you don’t fight, yes. You will commit adultery. But if you’re willing to lay aside selfish sin and desire and wholly seek Christ, his resurrection power in you, believer, will succeed. Fight!

What are your thoughts? You can comment below or let me know via email to vanessa.jencks at gmail.com so I can pray for you.

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