At work and church, in our neighborhoods and during our daily activities we all encounter people of the opposite sex who are attractive.  That’s not the problem.  Our selfish choices after the attraction create the problem. Adultery has a progression and most people (even Christians) take these steps before they slide down the slippery slope.

I know, because I chose this path when I left my husband for a coworker named Jake.  I know the lies I told myself, the selfish decisions that broke my husband’s heart and the sins I committed.  I also know the healing and restoration that took place when I confessed, broke off the affair, and found forgiveness from my husband and God.  Although I have healed, there are scars that remain, even 25 years later, so I pray you will learn from my mistakes as you consider these progressive elements of adultery.

An Unguarded Mind

This is the “What if…..” stage where your thoughts begin to grow unchecked.  Asking yourself questions like I wonder if he thinks I’m attractive?  or thinking I hope she sits near me during the meeting.

Perhaps you try to manipulate your schedule or activities to create more opportunities for contact. Nothing inappropriate has happened yet, but you think about the possibilities. If you allow this to continue, your emotions will grow, the fantasies will take root, and you’ll think about the other person in romantic or sexual situations.

Solution:  If an inappropriate thought pops into your head, do NOT allow it to linger. Quickly remove yourself from any tempting situations. Follow the advice in Proverbs 7: 25 “Don’t let your desires get out of hand: don’t let yourself think about her.” Look up Philipianians 4:8 and learn how God want us to think.

An Unguarded Heart  

This is the stage where your emotions run wild and you begin to lie to yourself. (In my case, I told myself I deserve to be happy.)  You may start to build emotional bonds with the other person by creating excuses to spend time together.  You may try to increase the positive contact and do things to please him or her. Example: If he mentions that he likes red: you may be tempted to wear a red dress or if she talks about a favorite flower, you may want to bring her one.

Solution:  Ask the Lord to help you get control of your emotions and to give you a clean heart, which seeks after Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4: 8)

Consider the negative consequences if this flirtation continues: your spouse’s pain, loss of respect from children, friends, and relatives, and financial losses. You may need to confess your temptation to your spouse or a trusted friend who will hold you accountable because dark secrets have less power when you bring them into the light.

An Unguarded Mouth

This step includes verbal flirtations and taking the relationship beyond theory into reality. Perhaps you begin by offering or responding to personal compliments such as, “You are the perfect match for me” or” When I’m with you, the rest of my life fades away."

Knowing that compliments are like magnets, you begin to form an attraction and create a verbal intimacy that includes whispers, code words, pet names, and intimate secrets.  This can also include flirtatious or sensual/sexual email conversations and instant messages

The next verbal step is to talk about the “what if’s.”  For example, “If I weren’t married, you’d be my soul mate.  “I wish I’d met you before I got married.”  Jake and I used to play this fantasy game: “If we could run away together, where would we go?”