No one wakes up and hopes to trash their marriage. Yet, it happens every day. And nearly everyone thinks “they could never do anything like that.” The dark secret of marriage is the frequency of affairs. And everyone thinks they are immune.
The most common excuse I have heard? It just happened. I have had many things “just happen” in my life. I have run a red light without knowing it. I have drunk a pot of decaf coffee on accident. I once got fifteen minutes into a movie until I realized I was in the wrong theater. I have never had sex and then asked “how did that happen?”
Big dumb choices are always preceded by a series of small dumb choices. Before the affair there is a predictable series of incremental moves that everyone ignores yet everyone acknowledges. Extra hours at work. Drinks with co-workers where you two are the last to leave. The embrace after a big project that lasts a little too long. Texting, flirting, laughing and lusting. Then it happens. And you thought it would never happen to you.
How can you avoid this avoidable trap? How can you be more than a statistic? Three tools to consider.
1) Always ask, when dealing with members of the opposite sex: Is this the wise thing to do? Not is this wrong, will I get caught or what is the worst that can happen? But is this wise? It might not be wrong for me to have lunch with a female co-worker but it is not wise. Andy Stanely has written much on the topic.
2) Once you start to imagine “what if” you are playing with fire. Affairs are played out in the mind long before they are played out at the Holiday Inn Express. Whoever said look but don’t touch is a fool.
3) Is it worth it? Are you willing to throw away your spouse, have your kids every other weekend, move into a weird apartment and fight over holiday custody just to get…well you know. Take the time to thank God for your spouse, your family and make the most of what you have.
It never just happens. But it can happen to you.