“It would be impossible for that to happen to us.”
“I could never cheat on my wife.”
“Only bad people in lousy marriages have affairs.”
So go some of the misperceptions and self-deceptions that have led to disaster in many marriages. During the 1950s, sex-researcher Alfred Kinsey reported that fifty percent of married men interviewed admitted to having extra-marital sex as did twenty-six percent of women. Today, the percentage of those who admit adultery ranges between twenty-five and sixty percent for men and fifteen and forty percent for women, depending on the study.
Ironically, the great majority of people surveyed say they believe that monogamy is important to marriage and that affairs are wrong. Evidently, the belief in monogamy, of having one spouse for life, is not a sufficient safeguard against extra-marital affairs. In other words, many people who strongly believe in monogamy still end up committing adultery.
James and Peggy Vaughn, whose marriage survived an affair several decades ago, assert that the one condition that is paramount for a couple to maintain fidelity to each other is honesty:
“By specifically making a commitment to honesty, both partners realize that attractions to others are likely, indeed inevitable, no matter how much they love each other. So they engage in ongoing honest communication about the reality of the temptations and how to avoid the consequences of acting on those temptations… The process of discussing attractions actually decreases the likelihood of acting on them… Shedding the cold light of day on secret desires goes a long way toward diminishing their power, ”
My friend Rick, who has been a Christian therapist for over 35 years, has shared an open and ongoing conversation with his wife whenever either of them has experienced feelings of attraction to another person. This honesty has engendered a great sense of trust between the two of them. Couples who do not withhold relevant information from each other are far more likely to successfully squelch affairs than those who naively believe they are above such missteps. May the Lord bless you as you “speak the truth in love” in your marriage.