Category: Faith


Often in my work, I hear stories of those who have fallen to unfaithfulness. In a four part series, I will be writing about some different aspects of infidelity: the statistics, the motivations behind an affair, the consequences of having an affair, and finally, ways to protect your marriage. I would love to hear your stories in how you have helped someone, how you have protected your marriage, or how you have been impacted because of unfaithfulness.

Some of the Statistics

First, in a recent Barna study, 4 out of 10 Americans believe that infidelity is morally acceptable. For Christians, that number was 1 out of 10. Perhaps this is the reason unfaithfulness is on the rise.

When reading research about those who have affairs, the statistics can vary greatly. Most researchers come to this general conclusion:

That over a third of married men will cheat on their wives;

That nearly a quarter of all married women will cheat on their husbands;

And that more than 50% of all marriages will be impacted by one of the spouses being unfaithful. Grim statistics if you think about them.

Here are some other interesting facts that we know:

Back in the 1960’s, it was usually the husband who was unfaithful. Today, researchers are finding that women are just as likely as men to have an affair.

Here is some more interesting data (Lampe, 2000):

  • 10% – “One night stands”
  • 10% – The affair lasts no more than a month
  • 50% – The affair lasts more than a month, less than a year
  • 40% – The affair lasts two or more years

Perhaps you are thinking, “This can’t be a problem in the church. Certainly the moral standards of Christians are higher.” There is growing evidence that infidelity is also a tremendous problem in Christian circles. While the research was done almost twenty years ago, one of the latest viable studies showed that 45 percent of Christians indicate having done something sexually inappropriate, and 23 percent were unfaithful (Anderson, 2000). These older numbers are not encouraging and are most likely higher now.

Here is maybe the most important statistic—a recent University of Chicago study discovered that a third of all marriages end in divorce because of an affair. A summary of this study: if you have an affair, it is likely you will lose your marriage.

It is vital that we understand how infidelity happens and effects individuals, marriages and families. Countless times I have sat with couples or individuals who been swayed into being unfaithful to their spouse and then have to face the ramifications of those choices.

And I am not immune; in my own life, I have experienced this same struggle and temptation. I too am bombarded by the message of my culture, “You are your own. You don’t have to answer to anyone. Go ahead…No one will know.” While I have been faithful up to this point in my marriage, I know that without being intentional in protecting my marriage, I also could just become another statistic.

In: Culture, Faith

I had a cool thing happen last year that I want to share with you.

I have known a couple for quite some time and to put it lightly, they have struggled a lot in their marriage of eighteen years.

As an analogy, helping someone in their marriage is as if you are in a boat and you are attempting to have both individuals “stay in the safety of the boat” so that they can move forward in their relationship. However, the problem arises that what too often happens is that just as you are about to get both of them in the boat, you turn your back, and then the other person gives up and has jumped back into the water! A relationship is made up of two people and if you don’t’ have them both on board, little good can happen.

Anyway, the wife in this situation came to me and strongly stated that she was going to seek a divorce. She had given up. She couldn’t take it anymore. He wasn’t going to change anyway. I met with her at church and I think that when she showed up she thought I was going to have my Bible in hand and make sure she knew all of Bible verses that states how “God hates divorce.” When she sat down and explained her situation and her resolve, I began by simply saying, “You have to do what you have to do.” She looked at me astounded; she must have thought, wasn’t I going to admonish her! And then after a pause, I said this, “All I ask is this, do me one favor, ask God if he wants you to divorce your husband. Can you do that?” She nodded, we concluded our conversation and we said our good-byes. As I walked back up to my office, sadly, I thought, Well, that’s probably the last I will see of her…

The next day as I came to the office I opened up my email and viola, there was an email from her. Kind of surprised, I opened it up and the writing simply said this:

I want to thank you for your advice and your suggestion to pray. I did as you asked and prayed about divorce. I came across an on-line Bible study about marriage, studied this and prayed some more. I decided you were right; I was shaping things to my will instead of God’s will. I expressed my thoughts to my husband and I will not be bringing up divorce again.

Isn’t that amazing…if we would simply go ask God what he wants us to do, our lives can be shaped by his will and not our own. I think often when we are helping someone, this is all we have to do—point them back to the One who has all the right answers (and questions). Sometimes, we don’t have to get out the Bible; sometimes we don’t have to give them our best advice; sometimes we simply have to say, Would you talk to God about this? What does He want you to do?

By the way, as an update: that couple a year later is doing great. Actually, better than ever before…


In: Faith, Psychology
Tags: , , , , ,