school chemistry taught me a very valuable lesson: When certain
substances come into close contact, they can form a chemical reaction.
I've discovered that many married people don't understand that a
chemical reaction can occur with someone other than their mates.
Don't misunderstand me I'm not just talking about sexual attraction.
I'm referring to a reaction of two hearts, the chemistry of two
This is emotional adultery an intimacy with the opposite sex
outside of marriage. Emotional adultery is unfaithfulness of the
heart. When two people begin talking of intimate struggles, doubts
or feelings, they may be sharing their souls in a way that God intended
exclusively for the marriage relationship. Emotional adultery is
friendship with the opposite sex that has progressed too far.
I have looked into the eyes of many men and women who have fallen
into full-fledged adultery, and what I saw made me nauseous. As
I've talked with them, I've discovered that, in most cases, the
adulterous relationships started as a casual relationship at work,
school, even church.
A husband talks with a female co-worker over coffee and shares some
struggles he's experiencing with his wife or kids. She tells of
similar problems, and soon the emotions ricochet so rapidly that
their hearts ignite and ultimately become fused as one. To those
who have experienced it, this
bonding seems too real to deny.
You may be converging on a chemical reaction with another person
- You've got a need you feel your mate isn't meeting
a need for attention, approval, or affection.
- You find it easier to unwind with someone other than
your spouse by dissecting the day's difficulties over
lunch, coffee, a ride home or through E-mail
correspondence on the Internet.
- You begin to talk about problems you're having with
- You rationalize the "rightness" of this
relationship by saying that surely it must be God's
will to talk openly and honestly with a fellow Christian.
- You look forward to being with this person.
- You wonder what you'd do if you didn't have this friend
to talk with.
- You hide the relationship from your mate.
When you find yourself connecting with another person as a substitute,
you've started traveling a road that ends too often in adultery
and divorce. But how do you protect yourself to keep this from occurring?
First, know your boundaries. Put fences around your heart
to protect sacred ground, reserved only for your spouse. Barbara
and I are careful to share our deepest feelings, needs, and difficulties
only with each other.
Second, realize the power of your eyes. As it has been said,
your eyes are the windows to your soul. Pull the shades down if
you sense someone is pausing a little too long in front of your
windows. I realize that good eye contact is necessary for effective
conversation, but there's a deep type of look that must be reserved
for your spouse. Frankly, I don't trust myself.
Third, extinguish chemical reactions that have already begun.
If a friendship with the opposite sex meets needs that only your
mate should be meeting, end it quickly.
Fourth, beware of isolation in your marriage. work hard at bringing
things out into the open and discussing them.
Finally, never stop courting your mate. One of the most liberating
thoughts I've ever had in my marriage relationship is that I will
never stop competing for Barbara's love. As a result of that commitment,
I stay much more creative in how I communicate with her emotionally