None of this makes adultery acceptable. Sin is sin. However, understanding the underlying causes for relationship affairs offers both a warning and a solution.

The Warning

If your wife tells you that she is unhappy, unfulfilled, lonely, empty, or anything similar, take it seriously. Ignore it and we'll likely see you at one of our workshops in the future.

Better yet, pay attention to your marriage before it goes bad or, if already bad, before it gets worse. If you mistreat each other, vulnerability occurs. If you ignore each other, vulnerability occurs. Vulnerability doesn't necessarily mean infidelity, but it usually constitutes the first step.

Read a good relationship book together. I'd be honored if you read mine, Your LovePath, but there are several good ones on the market. Additionally, many couples go to at least one marriage event per year. That's very wise. If you can't make it to one, download this one and listen together.

The Solution

If your marriage is already in trouble, understanding how it got that way provides a path to repair and renew love. We call it the LovePath. It demonstrates how people fall in love, fall out of love, sometimes fall in love with someone else, and how to fall in love again with one's spouse. Falling in love is a process. Follow the process and you fall in love whether you mean to or not. Vacate or violate the process and you fall out of love whether you mean to or not. The reason that the phrase "fall in love" exists is that most people have no idea that a process exists, and, as a result, have no clue what such a process might be. It pays to learn it and follow it.

Many couples in crisis include a spouse who is involved deeply with someone else. Every month we witness that situation as well as other destructive marriage problems such as addiction, boredom, frustration, anger, sexual disharmony, financial stress, and the like. Typically the person in love with another comes either because of guilt or to appease someone pressuring them, such as a pastor or parent. The good news is that as we work through the intense three days, three out of four couples work out their situation and remain together. We help both spouses comprehend the underlying causes that got them into their current situation, the future each will have if they continue on their present course, and how to change course so that each of them will find true fulfillment.

We've proven that a marriage can be saved even if one is madly in love with someone else, and even if neither spouse wants to be at a workshop to save the marriage. Just as one or both spouses followed a path that destroyed the marriage, a path exists to heal the marriage.

Conclusion

Most women never stray, no matter how bad their marriages.

Some women forsake their marriage vows primarily because the husband isn't physically there, like when a husband is stationed in Iraq. Those women typically don't leave because of relationship problems; they leave because of selfish desires.

Most wives that stray do so because they were vulnerable and didn't build boundaries to prevent themselves from connecting emotionally with another. They usually aren't bad people, though they are doing a bad thing. We can either cast them out, or try to rescue them.

If you love a good person doing a bad thing, I pray that you do everything you can to save the marriage.

October 6, 2009


Joe Beam is president of LovePath International, an organization that provides marriage help to relationships in danger of separation or divorce. You may follow Joe on Twitter or Facebook.