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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,922
June 21, 2018
How To Overcome Adultery
By Mike McManus

The opening words of Nancy Anderson's book: "I was in love. I couldn't eat or sleep - I could barely breathe." A few minutes later, Jake whispered, "I made lunch for us. It's in a picnic basket."

Problem was that Jake was her adulterous lover, and she had promised to have lunch with her husband, Ron. She called him, "You don't still want to go to lunch, do you?"

Her book is Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage.

Nancy had already moved out of her house, asking Ron for a month on her own. After 10 days, Ron called, "I want you to come home. My voice is hoarse from crying."

She replied, "If I move back now, things would be better for a few days, but then we'd get in a fight. You'd swear at me and call me horrible names."

A week later a girl friend called to say, "I've never seen a man cry as hard as Ron. He's out of his mind with grief." Nancy coldly replied, "Tell him I'm looking for an apartment."

Knowing that Ron was going on a trip, Nancy went to their apartment to pick up things to take away. While there, the phone rang. It was her mother, who said, "I have a feeling that something's wrong." Her dad picked up, saying her mother "thinks you're in trouble."

Nancy confessed, "Ron and I are having some problems. We fight a lot...He's mean to me...I'm leaving him. I moved out a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to file divorce papers."

"No, you're not!" Father commanded.

"But Daddy, I'm so unhappy."

"Happiness has nothing to do with it...You've been lying to us for weeks...I think you're responsible for at least half of the problems in your marriage." He asked if she had "gone to counseling or talked to a pastor?"

"No" she whimpered.

"Because we love you, we will not support your leaving Ron. Since Ron is not physically abusive and has not committed adultery, you have no biblical grounds for divorce."

She promised them she'd wait for Ron to return. Later she remembered Biblical verses: "Obey your parents in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:1). Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery: "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:11).

Nancy then prayed, "Please, Lord, give me the strength to walk away from Jake."

When Ron returned, she said, "I'm home. Your prodigal wife has come home."


She replied, "Because I belong here with you."

He asked her if she had a boyfriend. She replied that she did, but added "I want both of us to call him in the morning and tell him we're going to stay married."

Since that day in 1980, they have rebuilt their marriage and have advice for other couples, half of whom have committed adultery:

  • Stop running away from God - ask for His help.
  • Admit your faults to each other.
  • Ask for forgiveness - then forgive each other.
  • Cut off all contacts to inappropriate relationships.

Beyond these initial steps, they urge couples to "join a wonderful church" for worship
and adult Sunday School classes. Begin to compliment one another, realizing that "married love is not a feeling, but a decision."

They began to teach classes on marriage, revealing "the whole truth about the death and resurrection of our marriage." They found their story gave hope to couples "who think infidelity always equals divorce."

They also learned the value of "planting hedges" around their marriage for protection:

  • Hearing: Ask, do I talk more than I listen? Philippians advises, "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right...dwell on the fine, good things in others."
  • Encouraging: "Reach for your mate's hand when you're walking through a parking lot." Ask yourself, what are some of my mate's wonderful qualities that I might praise?
  • Dating: is how to recapture your initial excitement and delight. Try new things. Your city's website lists weird events. Go! Borrow a convertible for a sunset drive. If money were no object, what would you do? Have a double date with another couple.
  • Guarding: Pornography is involved in 60%+ of divorces. Block it with a filter: Couples must join a strong Bible-based church and attend.
  • Educating: Write down five things your spouse can do to make you feel loved such as sex twice a week, pray together every morning, compliment me.

Finally, I suggest couples read Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome to divorce-proof your marriage.

Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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