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Posts Tagged ‘Adultery’

You shall not commit adultery. Deuteronomy 5:18 (NKJV)

We continue with the ten questions that German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm might suggest dating couples would do well to consider before getting married. [i]

  1. What is your stance on infidelity? Consider how you would manage this. Better yet, help strengthen your relationship so infidelity will never happen. One way to strengthen your relationship is by teaming together in the household duties.  “A good wife, who is supposed to be a friend, assistant, mother, family head and housekeeper, and may indeed have to run her own business or job quite apart from her husband – such a wife cannot at the same time be a concubine: it would be too much to demand of her.”  Human, All Too Human

Ellen White wrote to a woman whose husband had committed adultery: “My sister, you cannot please God by maintaining your present attitude. Forgive your husband. He is your husband, and you will be blessed in striving to be a dutiful, affectionate wife. Let the law of kindness be on your lips. You can and must change your attitude.

You must both study how you can assimilate, instead of differing, with one another. . . . The use of mild, gentle methods will make a surprising difference in your lives.”[ii]

Perhaps it is good to remember that while the Bible says adultery is a something God accepts as a reason for someone to seek divorce, it does not mean that they must seek a divorce.  God leaves room for forgiveness and reconciliation.

  1. Are you really willing to stay together until death do you part? Commit to keeping your vows for a lifetime. “We love each other; let us see to it that we keep loving each other! Or did we promise by mistake?”  Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Ellen White compares marriage to a school: “To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.”[iii]  Marriage cannot simply be a temporary decision but a lifetime commitment.

Father God, seal and strengthen our commitment to each other.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skye-cleary/10-essential-questions-to_b_7699300.html

[ii] Ibid., p.345

[iii] Ibid., p. 105

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Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. Proverbs 6:32 (NKJV)

Naomi Schaefer Riley[i] reports that in a recent interview, Noel Biderman, the CEO of Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking extramarital affairs, observed, “I don’t see an appetite for unfaithfulness waning around the world.”  Ashley Madison boasts 36 million members in 46 countries.  Biderman attributes the company’s success to “female equality.”  As he explained to Business Insider recently. “Women are getting greater equality and are generally getting married later than those in two or three generations ago. They are now more willing to put their marriage at risk. That’s only going to increase because economic conditions for women are better and it gives them more choice.”  Decades of social science research to confirm his suspicions.

Schaefer Riley cites a 2001 paper in the Journal of Family Psychology, which stated that “Two variables … considered indexes of opportunity for [extramarital sex], income and employment status, were both significantly related with infidelity.”  In other words, it could be true that in the past men, who worked outside the house, had these two indexes available for them while women stayed home to take care of the children.  But as more women work outside the home and are less dependent on the spouse for support, they are more inclined to put their marriage at risk.  In other words , work opportunities have evened the playing field as far as opportunities and risk-taking for both men and women.

I would not suggest we return to the dark ages and keep women at home while men go to work.  Whether we work inside or outside the home, we all need to nourish our marriage so adultery never barges in to destroy it.  We also need to consider the risks and the high cost of an affair.  As the writer of the Proverbs stated: “For the lips of an immoral woman [or man] drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:3-4 (NKJV)

Father God, keep us from falling into sexual sin which will harm and destroy marriages, families, and even communities.

[i] http://family-studies.org/is-our-appetite-for-unfaithfulness-growing/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=884f2fb033-Newsletter_80&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-884f2fb033-104541745

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You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 (NKJV)

 

Sometimes bad information becomes so commonly believed that people accept it as fact.  For instance, one common statistic we hear thrown out there is that 50 percent of relationships involve infidelity.  However, that statistic is not based upon any scientific research.  So, how common is cheating, really?  The short answer is, “Not nearly as common as you would be led to believe.”

According to researchers Blow & Hartnett, [i], over the course of married, heterosexual relationships in the United States, extra marital sex occurs in less than 25% of committed relationships, and more men than women appear to be engaging in infidelity.

Whisman & Snyder[ii] also found support that the likelihood of infidelity decreases the more religious you are, as you age, or if you’re better educated. They also found that the risk for cheating was greater for women who were remarried (compared to those who were on their first marriage), or for either gender with the greater number of sexual partners you have.

In addition, according to John M. Grohol, PsyD, [iii] both the clinical and self-help literature reference general types of infidelity, including one-night stands, emotional connections, long-term relationships, and philandering. But most of the empirical literature does not delineate these types of infidelity, nor does it offer ideas on how prevalent different types of infidelity are or in what kinds of relationships they exist.  In addition, within each general category there are different types. For example, emotional infidelity could consist of an internet relationship, a work relationship, or a long-distance phone relationship. Sexual infidelity could consist of visits with sex workers, same-sex encounters, and different types of sexual activities. Cheating is something to be aware of in any relationship. However, in most relationships, it is not something to be overly concerned about unless you have one of the above risk factors. Even then, the rate is half as what many would have us believe, and that’s some good news for a change.

 

Father God, may our hearts be captive to you that we may not sin against you or against our spouse.

[i] Blow, A.J. & Hartnett, K. (2005). Infidelity in Committed Relationships II: A Substantive Review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 217-233.

[ii] Whisman, M.A. & Snyder, D.K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 147-154.

[iii] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/22/how-common-is-cheating-infidelity-really/

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Scripture: Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry. (Hosea 1:2, NKJV)

Observation: God tells the prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, who was a harlot, and to adopt her children, born to other fathers. The lesson in this book, and through Hosea’s experience, is that of God, who chooses to be our “husband, even though we have turned our backs on Him and committed adultery with His enemy.

Application: I am sometimes asked if there is hope for a marriage after there has been adultery in their midst. They will cite Jesus who said that the only acceptable cause for divorce would be adultery. The first thing we must understand is that while Jesus said that adultery is justification for divorce, He did not say that if there is adultery the couple must divorce.
I do believe that even while there has been adultery in marriage the relationship can be saved. I have personally known of couples, and have worked with some couples, where one o both have had extra marital affairs but they have been able to stay together, heal their relationship, and go on to have a very good, healthy, strong marriage. How can this happen? Several things need to take place:
1. There must be total openness and disclosure, at least as much as the injured party is prepared to hear. Any secrets will simply lead to another fall. Willard Harley, author of the books “His Needs, Her Needs,’ and “Love Busters” (among others) advocates the policy of Radical Honesty which involves past Honesty (anything in our past must be reveal to our spouse, or future spouse), Present Honesty, Emotional Honesty, and Future Honesty.
2. Forgiveness must take place. Forgiveness is not an event but rather a journey. This journey includes feeling the pain, and even hatred, until harmony is restored. Depending on the depth of the injury, the healing make take some time.
3. Recommitment to God and to the marriage covenant. This may be a public or a private commitment, but it is important to have a new beginning.
4. Trust must be rebuilt. Like with forgiveness, this may take some time. As long as a partner will not trust their spouse there will not be in that relationship the feeling of intimacy needed to maintain a healthy relationship and therefore there exists the danger of failure and a fall again.
5. Accountability. The partner who sinned must rely on their spouse and others to serve as accountability partners; this will help him/her to make sure another fall will not occur.
6. Complete cleansing. Put a complete end to any relationship with the person or people with whom they sinned and also remove any temptations from their life. This may mean changing jobs or even moving, changing phone numbers, etc. It may also include limiting internet access by placing filters, giving the spouse all passwords, changing cell phone plans to limit access to the internet, etc. The smallest opening to sin may lead to another fall.
7. Rebuilding their marriage. It is obvious that there were things lacking in the relationship which led to one or both of the partners to seek another relationship outside their marriage. The couple must become intentional in strengthening their marriage by praying individually and together daily, going to a marriage counselor who may help them discover the underlying problems in their marriage, attending marriage retreats and conferences, reading marriage and relationship books together, discussing their content, and applying the principles they learned to their relationship, etc.

Prayer: Father, while we don’t ever want to fail in our marriage covenant, help us to forgive and to do all in our power to keep our marriage together even if or when a moral failure takes place. May Your grace and forgiveness give us the courage and the strength to rebuild our relationship for the sake of our children and for Your honor and glory.

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Scripture: “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.    (1 Ki 11:2 NKJV)

Observation: Solomon, as wise as he was, married hundreds of women, many of who were from the people God had forbidden Israel to have any relationship with.  It was these women who led him to commit idolatry, the sin for which Solomon’s children lost the kingdom God had give to David.

Application: As we read of the lives of David and Solomon, both had several things in common: Both were chosen to be kings of Israel, both were prophets, both were inspired, both did many good things for God and for his people, both had multiple wives.  But where they were different was that David remained loyal to God while Solomon worshiped the idols that his wives brought with them from their own countries.  Without going too deep into the implications, I think we can safely draw a few conclusions:
1. God knows the danger of entering into a marital relationship with someone of a different faith and forbids it.  While many Adventists have led their spouses to God and to the church, the number of Adventists who have left the church because of their spouses is alarming.  Marriage is such a powerful emotional relationship that some people may be driven away from God by their spouse.  From the very beginning we observe the power of this relationship when Eve led Adam to sin by eating of the forbidden fruit.  Adam could not see himself with Eve and chose to die with her rather tha live without her not trusting that God would do what’s best for him.
2. Adultery must not be the worst of all sins.  While we would not condone adultery at any time, at the same time we should not make it the worse of all sins and shun people who commit adultery.  In David’s case, not only did he commit adultery but tried to cover it with murder, and yet God said of David that he was a man after His own heart.  Solomon had multiple wives, and yet God blessed him with great wisdom.
3. What God DOES take great offense at is idolatry – turning away from Him to worship other gods.

Again, we do not wish to excuse adultery in any way, shape, or form.  We do discourage marrying someone of a different faith.  We must never turn from God to worship idols, whatever and whoever they may be.

Prayer: Father, may we always worship You and never idols, may we always be faithful to You and to our spouse, and may Your love always cover us.

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Scripture: (Gen 31:50 NKJV)  “If you afflict my daughters, or if you take other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us; see, God is witness between you and me!”

Observation: After working for Laban for twenty years, Jacob leaves with his wives and children to go back home.  Laban catches up with him and chastises Jacob for leaving without announcing his departure or giving him a chance to say his farewells to his daughters and grandchildren.  His biggest issue, though, seems to be the fact that his household idols disappeared – Rachel had taken them.  After looking for them and not finding his idols, Laban and Jacob establish a series of covenants and build a stone pillar, or memorial, to remind them, and anyone who would ask, about their covenant.  We know the words of the Mizpah established here: “”May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another” (vs.49).  It is the second part of their covenant that we don’t seem to pay much attention to as Laban told Jacob two things: 1. Not to mistreat or abuse his daughters, and 2. Not to take any other wives.  And this covenant was to be made not just between them, but it was a covenant before God.

Application: It would be well for spouses to remember and abide by the words of this covenant:
1. There should never be abuse in the marital relationship, in the home, or in the family.  There is no excuse or reason for abuse of any type, and therefore it should never happen in a Christian home.
2. Neglect in any area of our lives – whether it be physical by withholding food, clothing, shelter, affection, intimacy, etc., is seen as a violation of the marital covenant to care for one another.
3. Once the marriage takes place, there should not be any other person – man or woman – to enter into that relationship as it will disrupt it, damage it, and destroy it.
4. Our covenants – particularly marriage – is not just with one another but between us and God.  Therefore adultery and divorce are taken very seriously by God because they are a violation of a covenant we made with Him.  Many take divorce very lightly and excuse themselves behind things like irreconcilable difference; We can rationalize as much as we want to, but God does not accept or condone divorce for no reason.  Through the prophet Malachi God declared, “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. . . “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith” (Mal 2:16 NIV).
It is interesting that Laban put these two conditions in his covenant with Jacob as some argue that Abuse, Neglect, and Adultery are the only three reasons given in the Bible for divorce that is acceptable to God. (See Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible by David Instone-Brewer).

Prayer: Father, thank you for the covenant we established with our spouse and with You because it keeps us close together in the bond of matrimony You established.  Together, we are a strand of three which can never be broken as long as You are at the center of our lives.  Keep that bond and that covenant strong and alive in our daily living, in our home, in our family, and in our marriage, and may You watch between our spouse and us when we are together and specially when we’re absent from one another.

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