I remember when my initial hysteria died down after my wife told me about her affair. I told her to leave and I sat in my bedroom and cried. How could this happen to me? How could my wife of 17 years, a Christian woman, commit adultery? I’ve struggled with that for the past two years. Every time I think I have a handle on the answer, I seem to want to revisit the question because it’s so shocking to me. Here is what I’ve learned.
First, keep in mind that Christians aren’t immune from sins of the worst kind. As the saying goes, “we aren’t perfect, just saved.” Yet isn’t adultery one of those sins where you think a Christian would draw the line? Isn’t that a sin left to those with no morals or ethics? Nope. I would say my wife was a very upright person AFTER she became a Christian over 20 years ago. In fact, from a sexual standpoint, you might even say she was a prude.
I think the number one reason Christians commit adultery is that they aren’t walking closely with the Lord. It’s hard to have intimate fellowship with God and spend daily time in the Word and prayer if you are living in sin. And if you think you are, you’re fooling yourself. Most likely, you are just going through the motions and God isn’t reaching your heart.
For 13 years, our family attended a local community church where we were actively involved typically two nights per week. We weren’t just weekend warriors. Our church was our community. Then we moved out of state. We struggled to find another church to get involved in. After two years of searching, we still hadn’t plugged in anywhere. It didn’t dawn on me that my wife, who had been a stay-at-home mom for 13 years lost her entire social and spiritual network of friends.
Who Are the Influencers?
Another reason my wife ultimately succumbed to adultery was that we started spending more time with non-Christians who liked doing non-Christian things. We weren’t doing drugs or having swinger parties but we were drinking more than usual and spending some late nights together. It’s true what they say about where to draw the line on non-Christian friendships: if they are influencing you more than you are influencing them, that could be a problem. It was one of these non-Christian friends who my wife had the affair with.
Life Feels Empty
My wife would later communicate to me that she felt empty inside prior to having the affair. Life was monotonous. No close Christian friends, a husband who worked and perhaps a mid-life crisis at age 45. When your soul feels empty, you look to fill it up. While she didn’t plan the affair, as soon as the sex started she said she felt “alive”! For a person with a sexually promiscuous past, it was like feeding the old nature.
These are not the only reasons that help explain why a Christian has an affair. Undoubtedly there are many others. These explanations are also not justifications for having an affair- there are none. But husband and wife beware! If your spouse seems empty, distant from God, is soul-searching and/or lacking community with good Christian friends, get involved. Don’t wait and hope they figure things out on their own.
If you are struggling with the devastation of adultery/infidelity in your marriage, please consider following our Facebook page Overcoming Adultery and joining our closed Facebook support group Christian Help for Adultery.