Infidelity.com reports that 57% of American men and 54% of American women admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they have been in. The same site reports that 53% of American marriages end in divorce and that 74% of men and 68% of women says they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught. 1 These are depressing statistics, to say the least.
Adultery is not only a sin against one’s mate, but an attack on the sanctity of marriage, and a course of conduct that can cause havoc in many people’s lives.
Adultery is a Sin against God and One’s Spouse
Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ‘adultery’ as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband”.2 It is also known as infidelity. Adultery is not only a sin against one’s mate, but an attack on the sanctity of marriage, and a course of conduct that can cause havoc in many people’s lives. Adultery is also most importantly a sin against God.
Marital failures, and many other destructive conditions, exist because of sin. They exist because humans have decided that their way is better than God’s way. They have decided that fulfilling their desires is more important than obeying and glorifying the Creator/Sustainer of the universe. Nevertheless, the Christian must learn what the Bible says about adultery in order to see it the way God sees it. Only when we change our views to line up with God’s views can we live the full, blessed life He has waiting for us.
In the Old Testament, God Declared Adultery to be a sin Deserving Death
When God set apart a nation to be His special people, He gave them a set of basic guidelines for living. They were the basis for every other law He would give them. These laws were a written record of the way God expects His people to behave. The seventh commandment God gave His people was, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). God knew that the heart of humankind would naturally seek to fulfill every desire it experienced. God gave these laws to make His holy standards clear.
God viewed adultery as being a sin so terrible that it was punishable by death. “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10; cf. Deuteronomy 22:22). If we ever think that God takes adultery, or any other sin, lightly, we should remember what penalties and punishments He assigned to them.
Adultery is not just an outward action
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). This tells us that adultery can take place within the heart [mind] and is just as sinful as an outward act. The sin of the mind may not affect as many other people, families, and friends as the outward physical act, but it is still a sinful affront to the holiness of God. This applies to the prevalence of pornography in our culture. Often claimed to be a ‘victimless offense’, the damage pornography does to the heart of the one involved in it, and often to those around him/her, can be just as devastating. Pornography and adultery often go hand in hand.
Adultery can keep you out of the Kingdom of God
In First Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul lists some sins that, if continued in without confession and repentance, will prevent the practitioner from entering God’s kingdom, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”. Included in this list is the sin of adultery. This further emphasizes how serious God views this sin. He knew the devastating effects adultery has on individuals and families and He wanted to protect us from that heartbreak. He still feels the same today.
David and Bathsheba: A Biblical Case Study of Adultery
Second Samuel 11-12 tells the story of how the great King David, of whom God called, ‘a man after my own heart’ (Acts 13:22; I Samuel 13:14), committed adultery. There are several lessons that should be learned from this story.
1. No one is immune to temptation.
When King David was a child, he slew a giant. Then God chose him to be the second king of Israel. The Bible also says that David was a mighty warrior (I Samuel 18:7-8). However, he still fell prey to the fleshly temptation of lust. We must never think we have reached a station in life, or a spiritual condition, where we can no longer be tempted to sin. We must always stay in a close relationship to God, so that He strengthens us to resist temptation. We are never strong enough on our own. No matter who we are.
2. Stay in the will of God
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem” (I Samuel 11:1).
Second Samuel Verse 1 says that it was, “the time when kings go out to battle”. However, where was David? He had stayed behind. He was not where he was supposed to be. Instead of being with his men in battle, as was customary and appropriate, David was indulging in some inappropriate leisure time activity. Many times, we are most vulnerable to temptation when we have strayed out of God’s will.
3. Do not let sin dwell in your mind
As David was idly walking around on his roof, he saw a woman named Bathsheba bathing. Instead of turning immediately away, fleeing sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6:18), and seeking the face of God, he lingered and let sin take hold of his heart. Once the sin in his heart had taken hold, he acted upon it, sinned with Bathsheba, and she became pregnant (II Samuel 11:2-5). If we allow sin to linger in our thoughts it will inevitably take root.
4. Do not try to cover up sin; repent and seek God’s forgiveness (II Samuel 11:6-13).
David tried to cover his sinful behavior by bringing Bathsheba’s husband back from the battlefield. David hoped that Bathsheba and her husband would sleep together and everyone would believe it was this marital union that resulted in Bathsheba’s pregnancy. However, Bathsheba’s husband refuse to lay with his wife while the other men remained on the battlefield without him. It seems that Bathsheba’s husband had more morals than King David did in some matters.
Although David could have confessed and repented at this point, he decided to try another cover up. He had Bathsheba’s husband sent back into battle, placed on the front lines, and then abandoned to face death at the hands of the enemy. King David had Bathsheba’s husband murdered in the hope of covering his own sinful behavior. An important lesson to be learned from this is that one sin leads to another, oftentimes worse, sin if the sinner does not confess to God and repent of the sinful conduct (Romans 6:19).
5. God Will Even Forgive Adultery.
Second Samuel 12:1-15 tells us that Nathan, David’s beloved friend, confronted David with his sin. The mighty Kind David’s heart was broken when he realized how he had sinned against God and grieved God’s heart. David repented, asked for God’s forgiveness, and was forgiven.
Today, God offers that same forgiveness. When one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, by confessing and repenting of his or her sin, God is faithful to remove the guilt, shame, and future penalty that sin carried with it. By committing one’s life to Christ, a person becomes a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17), no longer helpless to resist temptation, but empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This forgiveness is reiterated in the New Testament by Paul, writing to the Corinthians. Recall the verses mentioned earlier in I Corinthians listing some of the sins that will prevent one from entering the kingdom of God. Paul did not leave the Corinthian Christians without hope. The next verse says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:11).
Whether the sin is adultery or something else, Jesus Christ has paid the price for our forgiveness by His death, burial, and resurrection. No one has sinned too much or too long to be forgiven. The offer of salvation is for everyone (John 3:16) who is willing to confess and repent of his or her sins and turn their lives over to the Almighty Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the world.
It is a heartbreaking thing to have friends and family members who are going through divorce. Maybe you and your spouse are the ones considering a divorce and are looking for help. I hope that the information in this article can be a help to you or your friends.
If you are going through a strained relationship you may find the stress and emotional anguish difficult to bear. There are long-lasting and far-reaching effects that need to be considered before making life-changing decisions. However your ability to think clearly and rationally about the future is often clouded by the emotional trauma you are experiencing.
The information in this article is intended for Christian couples that are struggling with non-life threatening relationship issues. If you are in an abusive marriage where one of the spouses, or worse yet, children, could become physically harmed then you should get the law involved in protecting the family.
Laying aside physical abuse and unrepentant sexual immorality, let’s look at 5 tips for Christians who are considering divorce and see if God can help you find a way to save your marriage. Because you are reading this article I assume you have some desire to keep your marriage together. I trust that you will seriously consider your alternatives and use these suggestions to bring your spouse close to you once again.
There are long-lasting and far-reaching effects that need to be considered before making life-changing decisions.
Please pray. Don’t neglect this. Pray that God will give you wisdom in your relationship (James 1:5). Pray for your spouse. Pray that God will give you love for him or her again (1 Corinthians 13). If you don’t maintain your relationship with a perfect and loving God during this critical time, what hope do you have for maintaining a relationship with a spouse who is an imperfect sinner like yourself?
You may find that it is hard to pray right now. Reading your Bible may become very difficult. Rarely do marriages struggle where only one partner is to blame for all the problems. It may be true that your spouse carries much of the fault, but your bitterness and pride is probably what is hindering you from wanting to even talk with the Lord. Are you afraid that He will show you sin and improper behavior in your own life?
During this time of great difficulty you should actually pray that God does reveal your faults. You absolutely cannot change your spouse. Only God and your partner can do that. You should pray for them, but spend more time praying that God will change you and make your relationship with Him stronger and better. As a result of building a better relationship with God you will invariably build a better relationship with your mate.
What brought you two together 10 years ago? What was the big attraction to him or her when you first started dating that summer? Those qualities are probably still there you just have to look for them. It is possible that he or she has changed since those innocent days. Why? Is it because you have changed in such a way that you no longer bring out those qualities in your spouse? Maybe you have nagged them so much to change through the years that when they finally did, you buried that quality you fell in love with.
I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently where a young couple fell madly in love. After they were married she nagged him to change the style of shirt he wore. He did. She complained about the way he wore his hair. In an effort to please her, he changed that too. She asked him to change various things about his actions and appearance. He continued to change for her sake. In the end she filed for divorce stating that he was no longer the man she fell in love with years before.
The cartoon was written to comically illustrate what happens to many couples. But you may feel a twinge of guilt if you are the one who coerced your mate into making changes they did not want to make.
Try to remember those early days when you first fell in love. If you built your relationship on the right things then those qualities are still inside your spouse. However, if you built your relationship purely on a physical attraction you have to remember that you don’t have the body of a 20-year-old any more either. Jumping out of one relationship to find another physically attractive person will end the exact same way.
Find, or bring out again, the qualities in your spouse that you loved so much. They are still there. You had the power to reveal those before you were married, you can do it again.
Though we say it all the time, you did not really “fall in love.” You grew together in a relationship. Your love was planted, grew and blossomed over time. You also don’t fall out of love. It is crazy to think that you do. If you no longer have the love you once had for them it is because you have made decisions that have pushed you to growing out of love, not falling there.
Be the Kind of Person You Want to Live With
Have you stopped to consider how you are acting towards your spouse? If he or she acted like you are acting towards them, would you want to be married to you? You should model the type of behavior you expect. I know this is the type of thing parents are told in relationship to their children, but you should act properly toward you spouse as well. Do you go to church on Sunday with a smile, a Bible and all your memory verses learned and then can’t wait until you get out of the church parking lot to start yelling at your spouse? You may put up a nice front with other people, but your spouse has to live with you.
Ephesians 5:22-33 are probably not your favorite verses in the Bible at this time of your life. It commands husbands to love their wives. Wives are told to submit to their husbands. Both of these statements are not conditional on the other person’s actions. Wives should submit whether their husband loves or not. Husbands should love whether their wife submits or not. Don’t look at what your spouse’s responsibility is, focus on what you are to do. Men, become the husband that loves in such a way that your wife wants to submit and reverence him. Ladies, become the wife that makes it easy for your husband to love because you are living in obedience to the commands of God.
Remember when you actually communicated with one another and didn’t yell? I know you may be saying that you really can’t remember the last time you communicated. But there was a time that you did. Otherwise you would not have gotten married. As a dating couple you looked forward to dropping off your little brother so you could be alone with the one you loved. Your friends from high school and college, whom you vowed you would never abandon, got ditched as soon as your spouse came into your life. You found ways to be together so you could talk even when you didn’t have time in your busy schedule.
You may be finding ways to avoid one another lately. Do you take the long way home from work so you don’t have to face the tension? Remember it takes two people to argue. If you will just admit you are sorry for the way you have been acting you could diffuse some of the tension. There is no reason for you to pretend the sinful actions of your spouse don’t exist; however, you can admit your own pride and faults. You may find that your arguments will cease as soon as you take the time to tell them you are sorry.
Attack the problem together. Don’t try to win an argument just to have another notch in your belt. You can both win if you will try and solve the problem together and stop trying to have a better argument than the other person.
It is said we communicate on five different levels. The first is casual and trivial things. This includes the weather, bus schedules and sports scores. Secondly we move to factual information. This is when one person dispenses information like at a lecture. There is usually little passion and the parties are emotionally disconnected. When you move to the third level you are talking about ideas and philosophies. You begin to share things that open you up to being vulnerable because the other person might disagree with you. When you begin to share emotions, dreams and fears you have moved to the fourth level. This is where couples get to in their conversations before they get married. They may or may not move to the fifth level which is a state of total and absolute openness where everything is shared.
Where are you in these five levels of communication? Have you begun to slip backwards on the scale? If you are having trouble in your marriage you may be back to level two or one. Open yourself up and work towards sharing some dreams again.
Live Pleasing to the Lord
Your relationship with God should be your first priority. I know this goes hand in hand with the first point about praying, but this is so critical. When God is first in your life He will help you work out your other priorities. Live a life that is pleasing to Him and He will help clear up your emotion-filled mind so that you can see things from a higher perspective.
If you are in tune with the Lord and your spouse is in tune with the Lord, then you will be in tune with one another. Just because people are Christians does not mean they will never disagree with one another. However, if they will both live in agreement and obedience to the Lord, then they will be in agreement with each other. The Jesus in you will not fight with the Jesus in your spouse.
Your marital problems should be seen as a spiritual issue. You may see your anger over your spouse spending too much money at the grocery store or working too long at the office as a physical one, but you should consider it a spiritual battle to be fought together. Ask the Lord to help you both stand together and attack the problems in your marriage.
If you are not willing to take your marital problems to the Lord then you are admitting that you are part of the problem and not willing to find a solution. Admit that to God and your spouse. Ask forgiveness from your partner and God. Then between the three of you I am certain a solution will present itself.
Have you and your spouse come back from marital problems? Please share in the comments below how God gave you victory. I know this type of topic can be very emotional to discuss. If your marriage ended in divorce anyway, please keep your comments spirit filled. It helps no one to be unkind in a discussion like this.
The earliest use of the English word “marriage” dates back to the 13th century . Marriage by God’s design is the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18). Some say that it is the ceremony (wedding) that makes the man and woman married; God’s word tells us that it is the joining of flesh that makes the marriage (Genesis 2:24). Here are twenty great Scripture quotes about marriage.
Hosea 2:19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
God’s Plan for Marriage
Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Let marriage be held in honor among all
Genesis 2:21-25 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Malachi 2:14,15 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
1 Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Children Given for Marriage
Genesis 29:22,23 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her.
Judges 1:12 And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter for a wife.
1 Samuel 17:25 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”
1 Samuel 18:20,21 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.”
Popular Bible Marriages/Weddings
Genesis 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
1 Samuel 25:40-42 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
Esther 2:16-18 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.
Luke 2:4,5 (KJV) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
John 2:1,2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
What the Earthly Marriage Symbolizes
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Ephesians 5:23,24,32 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 21:9-14 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Christian Quotes About Marriage
“Marriage is an exclusive union between one man and one woman, publicly acknowledged, permanently sealed, and physically consummated.” ~ Selwyn Hughes
“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“A man doesn’t own his marriage; he is only the steward of his wife’s love.” ~ Edwin Louis Cole (Ed Cole)
“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” ~ Max Lucado
“Fifty-fifty marriages are an impossibility. They do not work. They cannot work. In marriage someone has to be the final decision maker. Someone has to delegate responsibility, and God has ordained that this should be the husband. ” ~ Wayne Mack
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
The Holy Bible, King Jame