If you or your mate has experienced an emotional affair, perhaps the marriage isn’t meeting the needs or fulfilling the one involved in the affair. I’m not saying that the emotional affair is the fault of the other spouse, but I am saying that often trouble in a marriage can drive inappropriate emotional attachments. In most cases problems in a marriage exist because both spouses contribute in some way. If an emotional affair turns into a sexual affair, and then a divorce and remarriage occur, the people involved will likely fall into a similar dysfunction again.

Examine your heart for any signs of an emotional affair. If your spouse is uncomfortable with a friendship you nurture, put some boundaries on that friendship. Don’t enable a spouse’s inappropriate jealousies that are bred by control and insecurity, but be sensitive. If you’re spending time with and getting attached to a person of the opposite sex, your spouse will sense that and voice objections. Listen to your mate. Don’t discount what he or she says.

Father, please show me any emotional affairs I might be blind to. Also, make me aware of anyone who is too close to me. Help me put kind-but-firm boundaries on that relationship. I want to be faithful to my mate sexually, verbally, and emotionally. And, Lord, please give my mate the same desires. Give us the wisdom and discernment to avoid unhealthy emotional attachments that violate our wedding vows. Bring us to a point in our marriage where we can joyfully say, “My lover is mine, and I am my lover’s” and mean it.

This article originally posted on March 10, 2008.

 Excerpted from Marriage Revolution: Rethinking Your Relationship in Light of God's Design (Harvest House Publishers) by Debra White Smith. © 2008 Debra White Smith. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

 Debra White Smith has 52 books to her credit and more than a million books in print, including Romancing Your Husband, Romancing Your Wife, and many fiction romances. Debra's award-winning writing, biblical knowledge, and entertaining humor have made her a reader favorite and a sought-after conference speaker.