One of the things I have a great passion for in life is marriage. Marriage is a wonderful thing with the right person but preparation and good support are necessary if you want to succeed. Like many people I've had my share of wars and some grueling years of marriage. I've been married now for over twenty one years. But I'm glad to say that today my marriage is on solid footing and I enjoy being with my lifelong spouse.
Despite some advances and new strategies utilized in society and religious circles to help prepare people for marriage, divorce is still around fifty percent. Naturally as a pastor I've married a few people in my day and I've counseled scores of couples before and after marriage. Honestly, because of some of my past experiences with couples which I'll have to share in another entry, I've grown weary of marrying people. Truthfully, I'm seriously considering not performing any more ceremonies. I personally take marriage serious and it breaks my heart if I marry people and they divorce. Although I do understand that in some circumstances divorce is necessary it still pains me to see people fail when you've done all you could do to help them succeed.
This blog entry is about one of the most devastating things you can do to damage or destroy a marriage. The thing I'm referring to is infidelity or cheating. According to ulive.com there are three top reasons why couples divorce: 1) Money 2) Communication 3)Infidelity. While both money and communication may be at the top of the list, it is usually infidelity or cheating that cuts the heart out of a marriage. When the heart is gone love is on life-support and the emotional connection is fragile. At some point in time most everyone who is married has been tempted with the thought of cheating. If you're considering cheating, or you've already cheated and you're contemplating doing it again, please think about what I'm getting ready to share. I've got seven reasons why you shouldn't cheat on your spouse. Today's entry lists my top four reasons. I hope you are challenged and changed.
1. YOU ARE BREAKING YOUR VOW TO GOD
One of the things that gets lost in our post modern world is not only the sanctity of marriage but the author and creator of it. For the record unlike some people I'm an unapologetic Christian who believes that God/YHWH is the creator of the institution of marriage. (Genesis 2:21-24) But even if you don't believe the way I do you can't ignore the fact that most every young or ancient religion of the world has embraced the institution of marriage. Any ancient cultures that didn't respect it such as the Greeks and Romans had their empires come to ruin. Marriage and family are bedrocks of society. When we make marriage vows we aren't just making them to each other we also make them to God/YHWH. It should be our intent that if we make a vow to God to keep it. As I said earlier there are things that happen in a marriage that can justify a divorce but we must always be conscious that God has a vested interest in marriage. And when you got married you made a vow before God and witnesses to do your best.
2. YOU ARE BREAKING THE MARRIAGE COVENANT
Merriam Webster says a covenant is "a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement." Many people say that marriage is like a contract but really marriage is a covenant. Not only is it a binding agreement it is also solemn and sacred. Just as God has made covenants with mankind throughout the bible and honored them. When men and women marry they make a covenant with each other. Most marriage covenant vows are something like this:
(His/Her) do you take this (woman/man) to be your wedded (wife/husband?) And do you earnestly promise, before God and these witnesses, that you will love (her/him), comfort (her/him), honor and cherish (her/him) in sickness and health; and that, forsaking all others for (her/him) alone, you will perform unto (her/him) all the respect that a (husband/wife) owes to (his/her) (wife/husband), until God, by death, shall separate you?
(Him/Her) "I will"
When you cheat you're a covenant breaker who has broken a solemn oath that you took before the God you believe in and the people you love. It's an agreement that says you will honor and cherish the one you love no matter how bad the situation may get. When you have sex with someone else other than your spouse you've broken the covenant and jeopardized the future of your marriage.
3. YOU ARE BETRAYING YOUR SPOUSE
Marriage is about the sharing and blending of individual selves to become one. Becoming one doesn't mean you lose your own identity it simply means your identity is now fused with the identity of another. And as Genesis 2:24c states "...they shall be one flesh." Upon becoming joined in matrimony you no longer only think of yourself, you think of your spouse. It is no longer "I" it is "we". It is "us". Because it is "we" and "us", you plan and live life as a team. You share money with them. You share your hopes, dreams, even fears, with them. You share living space with them. You share your body with them. You share your heart and spirit with them. You elect to become one in spirit, soul, and body.
Marriage dips very deeply beyond the superficial veil of flesh. Your spirit, thinking, emotions, and so much more, are connected in marriage and they become more interconnected through intercourse. Intercourse should not just be limited in definition to physical and sexual acts. Intercourse can occur emotionally and spiritually. Most people have emotional intercourse which is called an "emotional affair" long before they engage in sexual intercourse. People typically become intimate emotionally before they consummate their relationship physically.
Marriage is a union of the spiritual, emotional, and physical. Sex not only consummates marriage through the joining of our intimate sexual body parts, it also fuses or melds your spirit and soul together. You merge and become one with whoever you have intercourse with. (1 Corinthians 6:16) To give your spirit to another not in covenant with you is "marriage treason". To give your heart and emotions to another not in covenant with you, is "marriage treason". To share your personal, sexual organs, and the pleasure that comes with using them with another who is not in covenant with you, is "marriage treason". We don't wed to give our spirit, soul, and bodies to others that we aren't in covenant with. We wed to share ourselves even the most personal, intimate parts, with the "one" we love. When you take personal, intimate intercourse, that should remain reserved for two married people, and share it with a third party, that is the ultimate betrayal.
4. YOU ARE DAMAGING THE SPIRIT AND HEART OF YOUR SPOUSE
As it relates to the expression of love through sensuality and sexuality this kind of intimacy should only be reserved for the one you're married to. When you've committed your whole self in marriage to a person you trust, that trust should be honored, and respected. As I mentioned in reason number three, intercourse between lovers isn't just limited to the sexual dimension it also encompasses the spiritual and emotional realm. Therefore, when you cheat and take the intimacy of intercourse that should be reserved for two people and share it with a third party, that is the ultimate betrayal.
When a man or woman that has reserved their love, spirit, heart, mind, will, emotions, body, money, time, possessions, and total self for one person, discovers that they've been cheated on, it traumatizes them. It wounds their spirit and causes them to doubt God and themselves. Some even question why would God allow this to happen to them. Spouses who've been the victim of infidelity many times don't feel like they are good enough or that something is lacking in them. Cheating shatters their self-esteem, self-image, and self-worth. There is nothing like loving somebody with everything and then through infidelity realize they don't love you, like you love them.
Then there is the torture that comes along with reliving some of your tender intimate moments with your spouse in your mind, only to be rudely interrupted by thoughts of that pleasure being shared with someone else. It is a staggering, hideous, cataclysmic reality, when you realize that someone else has enjoyed the spirit, heart, mind, and body, of your beloved. Like a broken CD, the mind continuously replays imagined images of your beloved, being sexually intimate with someone else. These vexing, hurtful images are replayed often in the mind of the wounded spouse for years. As a result of being betrayed many men and women go into deep depression or turn to drugs, alcohol, and even revenge sex with others, to medicate the pain they feel. The pain of betrayal literally changes people. I've counseled many people down through the years and infidelity always creates some of the deepest wounds I've ever seen. It cuts the heart of the betrayed and damages them spiritual and emotionally. Sometimes it takes a miracle for them to love and trust again.
Well, I've run out of time so I'll finish the list in my next entry. I hope that in the meantime you've considered the first four reasons and will share them with someone else. If you're struggling in your marriage and feel yourself moving toward infidelity, get help. Find a counselor, clergy, family, or friend you can trust, and talk to them. I know you may be tempted, hurting or angry, but understand, that once you cheat you'll be releasing a cycle of pain and the one you betray may never be the same. If you like my blog please leave a comment, follow me on Facebook, and tell others.
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