Feb 21, 2013

The Slow Fade... The Warning Signs

This is the second in a three part series about infidelity in marriage.  You can read part one here.

In the first part, I discussed the WHY.  Why does this happen??  Why does a man or woman betray the person they love in this way?  

In the second part I will be discussing the warning signs that you or your spouse may be going down this road. 

In the third part I will be discussing ways to protect your marriage {and yourself} from infidelity.

First I want to talk about consequences.

What are some common consequences of affairs? 

1. Affairs stunt personal growth because they deny the opportunity to face legitimate pain and suffering.  So, new and better coping skills are not being learned and you keep going back to the same strategy.  

Proverbs 5:21-22 {which is warning against affairs} says "For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him."

2. People always get hurt.  ALWAYS.  Even if no one discovers the truth, people in the affair use each other, which is damaging. 

3. It hinders non-believers from trusting Jesus, or can cause another believer to stumble.  

Romans 14:13 says "Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall."

4.  We will be a slave to our sin, which will eventually be "shouted from the roof-tops."  Nothing can stay concealed long. 

Luke 12:2-3 says "Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known.  Whatever you say in the dark will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops."

5. It hurts our relationship with God

Sin is sin.  It's bad stuff man, bad stuff.   The reality is that sin destroys the intimacy that we have with God, and in the case of infidelity, it destroys our intimacy with our spouse too.  

Warning signs to watch for in your spouse:
1. Moodiness, increased irritability, depression
2. Unexplained or unusual absences
3. Increased drinking
4. You may feel you are being closed out, kept distant/ your spouse is isolated
5. Infrequent or non-existent sex at home
6. Constantly working late (avoiding going home)
7. Not taking days off
8. Intense blame, denial, avoidance of personal responsibility
9. Lack of accountability and intimacy with others
10. Noticeable increase in FB and or email use that is secretive (shutting down computer when you come into the room, etc.)

Please don't print this off and carry it around with you and question your spouse suspiciously every time one of these is true.  I suspect that there will be times in every marriage where there are other issues that can cause these warning signs.  Just keep alert.  Don't become complacent.  Remember, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." {1 Peter 5:8}.

Warning signs to watch for in yourself: 
 1. Your own conscience!  
 You know when you are doing something you shouldn't be doing.  The Holy Spirit will prompt you.  Your little cricket will be warning you by chirping in your ear.  Don't ignore the warnings!!  

2. Feeling Attracted.  {This isn't being aware that someone else is good looking, this is a deeper attraction} here is the progression:
1. Thinking about him/her.
2. Looking for the person in social gatherings
3. Finding excuses to call, and/or ways to be with or alone with and or going out of your way to see them.
4. Decreased desire to be with spouse and friends
5. Suggestive talk and comments {i.e. flirting}
6. Fantasizing about the person during sexual activity
7. Boundary violations: meeting them privately, sitting closer than to others.
8. Increasing self-disclosure.  Confiding, telling secrets to the person.
9. Lying, and fear of being discovered
10. Obsessing over the person.          
3. Compromising what you allow yourself to see, think about, touch.

If God's eyes are too pure "to behold evil" (Hab 1:13) we had better think twice before watching shows that edify the sexual exploitation of men or women.    The more you expose yourself to shows that glorify adultery, the more likely you are to start to consider it, or think about it as "normal".  

If you suddenly find yourself imagining what it would be like to have an affair with someone else, you are definitely heading down the wrong road.  Fortunately, God allows U-turns... {oooh cheesey!}
Maybe post this somewhere...
4. Other People

Your friends will question you if you start hanging out with someone other than your spouse (I would hope).

Other people will notice and may warn you.  Heed their warnings!

If you are taking baby steps away from God and your spouse and toward an affair... STOP!  You can stop before you make the mistake.   I will talk more about the steps to take if you are in trouble now.

Now you.  What are other warning signs that could be present in yourself and your spouse that should serve as a wake-up call?!  Have you ever watched this happen to a friend or family member?  What happened?  What were the consequences??

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