The Most Important Step in Staying Faithful in Marriage, Part 1, Day 21
Guard and Protect
We guard our homes from outside elements and intrusion by insulating our walls, installing a heating and/or cooling system, and locking our doors and windows.
We guard our health by eating the right foods, getting good sleep, exercising, staying clean, getting regular check-ups, and taking our vitamins.
We purchase insurance to protect our homes, cars, property, possessions, health, and life.
We actively seek to guard and protect the most important things in our life. But are you guarding your marriage from infidelity?
As Karen Scalf Linamen writes in her book, Pillow Talk, “The mere absence of an affair does not necessarily mean that you and your husband are practicing fidelity and commitment.”
With the prevalence of infidelity in marriages, I believe it is important to spend several days on the topic of faithfulness.
How Common is Infidelity Actually?
The likelihood of a man or woman having an affair isn’t as high as expected.
- According to Dr. John M. Grohol, founder and CEO of Psych Central, author, researcher, and expert in mental health, over the course of an entire relationship, the chances of infidelity is around twenty-five percent.
- As stated in Psychology Today, according to Dr. Tom Smith, the director of the National Science Foundation’s, in their General Social Survey, “fewer than 5 percent of men and 3 percent of women are statistically unfaithful on a yearly basis.”
- Also in Psychology Today, W. Bradford Wilcox, the Director of the Marriage Project at the University of Virginia explains that only 22% of married men and 14% of married women actually have an extra marital affair in their lifetime.
While infidelity statistics may actually be lower than expected, I can guarantee every one of you has been affected by an affair.
I’m Not a Professional
I am not equipped nor have I been educated to give professional counsel regarding what to do if your spouse had or is having an affair, if you’ve had or are having an affair, or how to recover from an affair. This series on faithfulness is designed to help you actively practice fidelity to your spouse, regardless of where you’re at in your commitment, but I am leaning toward the preventative side.
I am here to encourage you to the best of my ability through Scripture and prayer, equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit, but please don’t expect professional advice or help.
If you have been on either end of an affair, please seek professional Biblical counseling. I’d also recommend connecting with fellow CMBA-er’s Cindy and David through their site, Affaircare – a community dedicated to committed, godly marriages.
How intentional is your fidelity and commitment? Are you taking active preventive steps to protect your marriage faithfully?
Today I want to share 1/11th of a POMEGRANATE with you. I want to share the most important step to guarding your marriage with faithfulness. Over the next few days, we’ll explore more steps to actively preventing marital unfaithfulness – emotionally and physically. These steps are modified from Karen Scalf Linamen’s original 11 steps in chapter 16 – Practice Fidelity and Commitment in Marriage, in her book, Pillow Talk, with a few of my own and my own added thoughts.
Pursue Relationship with God
Your relationship with God must come first. When I’m walking closely with God, my relationship with my husband is so much better. When I am regularly praying, spending time in God’s Word, and connected to the Body of Christ, I more readily and willingly love Adam. There are three ways pursuing relationship with God can help you practice intentional fidelity and commitment in your marriage.
Daily entrench yourself in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing…” Does this mean that your whole life is a one-long-non-stop prayer? No, I don’t think so. Praying without ceasing means we need to be checking in with our Heavenly Father throughout the day. You don’t need to just pray in the morning or at night. Pray in the shower. Pray while brushing your teeth. Pray while mowing the lawn. Pray while cooking dinner. Pray while stuck in traffic. Pray frequently, specifically, and boldly.
Remember it’s not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin when you act on it by giving in with your head, heart, and/or hands. The second you feel tempted, start praying. It’s not a sin to find someone other than your husband attractive, but it is a sin to lust after, to fantasize about, or to compare your husband to another person. Jesus says, “You’ve heard it said ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at [another person] lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Job says in Job 31:1 – “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Intense right? I’m sure all of us are guilty of this at one time or another. This is why you need to…
Daily renew your mind and heart with Scripture.
Read your Bible daily. Study His Word frequently. Remember Day 2‘s Bible verse? Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you may prove what the will of God is, that is good, acceptable, and perfect.”
I highly encourage you to memorize Scripture verses to call to mind when you are tempted. Try one of these verses:
Develop deep connections to the Body of Christ.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
You aren’t meant to go through the Christian walk alone. Stay connected to a small group of godly women and accountability partners. The Body of Christ, other believers, are there to encourage, to equip, to keep you accountable, to instruct, to pray with, and even to rebuke when necessary in the love of Jesus. We don’t have to go through struggles alone.
My hope for all of you is that you would be equipped with the tools to faithfully and actively protect your marriage and your commitment to your spouse.
Today’s 30 Minute Challenge (Nov 21st): Faithful Resolutions
Karen suggests making resolutions for your spiritual development. Why wait until the New Year to set goals? Set goals using the SMART method – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Part One – Ask yourself these questions:
- How would I describe my current walk with the Lord ?
- On a scale from 1-10, how would I rate my devotional time in the Bible (reading and studying)?
- On a scale from 1-10, how would I rate my prayer life?
- On a scale from 1-10, how would I rate my current connection to the Body of Christ?
- In 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or another time, where would I like to see my spiritual walk with the Lord?
- How would I like to improve my devotional time, my prayer life, and my fellowship/accountability with other believers?
Set a minimum of 3 goals (devotional, prayer, and accountability) for your spiritual walk with God.
Part Two – Set at least 1 specific goal regarding marital faithfulness.
- Find a godly married woman to meet with regularly to pray with me for my marriage and keep me accountable in my marriage by January.
- Pray for my fidelity and commitment in marriage once a week on Fridays.
- Memorize 2-3 Bible verses on battling temptation in the next month.
- Do a word study on faithfulness in the Bible in the month of December.
- Get involved in a couples fellowship group or Bible study within the next 3 months.
5 Minute Marathon
Write out today’s Bible verse – Galatians 5:13-14 – and pray this verse over your marital fidelity and commitment.
Dear God, I praise You for Your faithfulness to Your children. Thank You for remaining faithful even when I’ve been so unfaithful. Lord, I pray Your protection over my marriage. I pray Your protection over my marital faithfulness. Help us to stay faithfully committed to one another physically, sexually, and emotionally. Teach us how to actively practice fidelity and commitment to one another. I want to live free, and not be enslaved to my fleshly desires. Keep me from giving into temptation. Keep my eyes from lust. Help me to grow in my relationship with You and in my marriage. Give me the courage and the commitment to follow through on the goals I’m setting today. Amen.
Take It a Step Further
Discuss fidelity and commitment with your husband. Make spiritual and relational resolutions together.
Questions for you to Discuss:
- In what areas do you feel we are the strongest in our marriage (relationally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and/or sexually)?
- In what areas would you like to see us improve and grow?
- How can we actively practice fidelity and commitment to one another?
- How do you think a relationship with God helps us to stay faithful to one another?
Share with Us
Is this concept of practicing active fidelity and commitment new to you? How does staying in relationship with God help you to be faithful to your husband?
This post is Day 21 in of the 30 Dates in November Challenge. See related posts – Doing Your Husband Good and A Counter-Cultural Sexual Affair. Linking up with Raising Mighty Arrows and Messy Marriage.
- Posted in: 30 Dates in November ♦ Change and Growth ♦ Communication Tips & Techniques ♦ Conflict Resolution ♦ Fruits of the Spirit ♦ Honor ♦ Intimate Issues ♦ Knowing God ♦ Real Marriage ♦ Sex
- Tagged: 30 Dates in November 2013, Affair-Proof Your Marriage, Faithfulness, Spiritual Intimacy, The Marriage Bed