In 25% of current marriages one or both spouses are having an affair.
It’s a staggering, heartbreaking statistic, and highlights an important truth: every marriage is vulnerable.
I know, you’ve heard that before. I had too. I grew up being told “anyone can have an affair” and I’d nod my head solemnly because I knew that’s what I was supposed to do. But I never really believed it would happen to me.
Then, it almost did.
A couple years ago I nearly cheated on my wife, and I never saw it coming. After a year of building an unwise and seemingly innocent friendship with a coworker I suddenly found that friendship had changed to an intense attraction. I couldn’t figure out how to shut that attraction down and it came precipitously close to becoming an affair. Thank God it didn’t. Thank God I told someone. Thank God He saved me from detonating my relationship with the person I care about most in this world.
But my “near-marital-death” experience sent me on a long, painful road of self-discovery, healing and restoration. Today my marriage sits on a foundation stronger than before. The love and intimacy my wife share – even in our worst moments – is deep, strong and proven. In trying to process what I’d nearly done I learned a lot about affairs, how and why they happen, and what I can do to keep my marriage safe in the future. I’m at a point now where I’d like to share this hard-won knowledge with others, so for the next several Mondays I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned on how to “affair proof” your marriage.
There are thousands of people who receive this email and, consider that “1-in-4” statistic from before, many of you are struggling. Some of you are flirting with a dangerous connection outside your marriage. Some of you have surrendered to that and are currently cheating on your spouse. And yet you’re still receiving this emails which means there’s a part of you that wants to keep fighting for your marriage, and for that I’m proud of you. And I want every reader to know that, with the power of God in your life, there’s hope. No person is too broken. No marriage is too far gone. The pieces can be put back together. We serve a Savior who stands over His creation and boldly proclaims “I am making all things new.”
I also know many of you have great marriages that you want to improve. I hope me recounting my journey gives you some helpful tips on how to avoid the path I nearly went down. No marriage is invulnerable to affairs, but there are some great ways to keep your marriage away from danger. I hope my weekly musings on this topic give you practical ways to keep your marriage safe.
And so today, in this first installment of how to affair-proof your marriage, I want to give you the first and most important tip I’ve learned. This is the one piece of advice that will hold all the others together. It’s the most important piece of marriage advice you’ll ever receive. Ready?
Pray God’s blessing over your marriage every, single day.
Yes, that’s it.
We are told in the Bible that in Jesus all the blessings in heaven are poured out on us. God wants you to have a good marriage. He knows what you need to have a good marriage. He is rooting for you and actively helping you. I believe wholeheartedly there is power in asking God for His blessings in your marital life. I believe He takes enormous joy both in your asking and in His answering. So make a list of things you pray over your marriage every day. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
Pray for God’s blessing on your spouse, that God would give them grace, peace and love. Ask God to pour out every good thing He has on your spouse. Ask God to help you see your spouse the way He does.
Pray for God’s blessing on your heart. Ask God to give you the gift of a faithful, compassionate, gentle heart toward your spouse. Pretty much everyone wishes they were a better husband/wife so ask God to make you that. Ask Him to form whatever character you know you need.
Pray for God’s blessing on your marriage. Ask Him to keep you and your spouse safe from spiritual attack and temptation. Pray that God would drive back any attacks from an enemy who wants to destroy your marriage. Pray that God would disarm every attack and bring life, power, holiness and love to your marriage.
Pray for God’s blessing on your passion, for Him to renew you and your spouse’s attraction and excitement for each other. Ask Him to increase your emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy beyond “anything you could ever ask or imagine.”
Pray for God’s blessing on the weaknesses in your marriage. Ask Him to show both you and your spouse where deep healing from past wounds needs to occur. Ask God to make you and your spouse “one flesh” in a way that provides a small, fleeting glimpse of the oneness our God – who is three in one – experiences within His own nature.
These are just meant to be inspiration for your own prayers. The point is this: bring your marriage to God just as it is. Don’t try to clean it up for Him – you can’t! – just bring it to His feet like a little child with a broken, precious toy and say “daddy, can you fix this?”
I’m convinced this is one of the most beautiful, powerful, restorative prayers you can ever pray. God’s blessing on you and your marriage today.
Josh, from Thriving Marriages