The counterfeit pleasure of an affair can never overcome the ways infidelity can destroy a life and marriage.
We were praying for someone who was cheating on his wife. And I was struck by what one person said in his prayer: “Lord, work in his heart so that he will think less about the pleasure he is experiencing and more about the pain he is causing.”
That seemed quite appropriate to me. A spouse who is caught up in adultery is living only for the moment, caught up in a fantasy of excitement and desire, and ignoring the very real consequences.
Recently a seminary paper came across my desk titled “100 Consequences of Adultery,” written by Philip Jay, a student at Phoenix Seminary. The list provides a stark wake-up call about the ways infidelity can destroy a life and marriage. Here’s a selection from Jay’s list, presented with his permission:
If I committed adultery…
- My relationship with God would suffer from a break in fellowship.
- I would need to seek forgiveness from my Lord.
- I would suffer from the emotional consequences of guilt.
- I would spend countless hours replaying the failure.
- My wife would suffer the scars of this abuse more deeply than I could begin to describe.
- My wife would spend countless hours in counseling.
- My wife’s recovery would be long and painful.
- Her pain would grieve me deeply and compound my own suffering and shame.
- Our relationship would suffer a break in trust, fellowship, and intimacy.
- We would be together, yet feel great loneliness.
- The reputation of my family would suffer loss.
- My sons would be deeply disappointed and bewildered.
- My grandchildren would not understand.
- My friends would be disappointed and would question my integrity.
- I would lose my job at church.
- My witness among neighbors would become worthless.
- My witness to my brother would be worthless.
- My testimony among my wife’s family would be damaged.
- I might never be employed by a church again.
- I might never be in men’s ministry leadership.