Marital fidelity is still the norm even though Hollywood depicts it as a dying possibility. Survey data suggests that 15% of women and 25% of men confess to straying. While these numbers are still too high, they don’t suggest that everyone is being unfaithful.
Myth #2 – Affairs help a marriage.
This is absurd. An affair is a break of covenant and does damage. But all you have to do is read Cosmopolitan or Playboy (I am not suggesting you do!) and you will be given the idea that affairs can rev up a dying relationship. I’ve even heard some marriage therapists suggest an affair to an unhappy spouse. This is ridiculous and harmful.
Myth #3 – Affairs are a result of lost love.
Usually it is the other way around–affairs bring on feelings of lost love. Affairs have more to do with the person who has the affair. It is a choice usually related to issues of identity and values. Friendship, not love, can be a primary motivator.
The reasons for affairs vary tremendously but the bottom line spiritually is a spouse who has strayed from his/her intimate relationship with God.
Myth #4-The affair is about sex.
Obviously affairs involve sex although 20% of people have what are called “emotional affairs” in which they admit to limited sexual intimacy. It is not that affair partners are better looking, more accomplished or sexually more impressive. It is a connection based on some fantasy or emotional tie that has overstepped its limit.
Myth #5-It’s best not to know about an affair.
Because this behavior is a breaking of the covenant, it must be confessed to the betrayed. Lies and deceit will produce problems. Spouses often fear that if they confess, their partners will leave. This does happen. But when the betrayer is sincerely remorseful, has stopped the affair and confessed to God and you, then reconciliation should be tried.
Myth #6- Affairs are caused by the spouse.
An affair is a choice that is made by one partner. You cannot blame the other person for this behavior. Marital dissatisfaction may be a joint or loner feeling. But the decision of how to deal with unhappiness or dissatisfaction is made by one person. If there is any hope of repair, the affair must stop. Whatever the marital issues, the betrayed is not responsible for the betrayer’s behavior.
Myth #7-An affair leads to divorce.
It can. An affair is a marital crisis and brings a set of problems that may intensify and change the landscape of the marriage. Certainly those in repeated affairs who cannot tolerate intimacy have more serious problems that make marriage difficult to sustain. But those who want to work on the marriage and feel guilty for the betrayal, have stopped and want to return to marital commitment should be given the chance. Affairs are sin. Sin can be forgiven and because of that forgiveness, we are to forgive one another. Once forgiveness begins, it is imperative for the betrayer to figure out what motivated the choice to act out and how to prevent it from ever occurring again. The power of the Holy Spirit in someone makes it possible to change and be faithful to vows.